Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Florida law establishes strict requirements for auto insurance, including requiring all drivers to carry a type of coverage called personal injury protection, or PIP. Per F.S. 627.736, this PIP coverage provides up to $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits resulting from bodily injury, sickness disease or death arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. This applies to crashes, regardless of who is at-fault.car accident

When lawmakers established Florida as a “no-fault” state, the goal was to make it easier to obtain fast coverage for injuries suffered in a crash – even if the other driver didn’t have insurance – and to reduce the burden on the court system.

However, our accident lawyers know that while there are some benefits to this PIP system, the problem is far too many victims who have suffered serious injuries are denied benefits, or else they are offered settlement “deals” that are far less than the actual losses they suffered. Plus, there are a number of exclusions. Still, the only way a person can step outside the boundaries of PIP is to meet the threshold of injury as outlined in F.S. 627.737. Continue reading →

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Initial investigation of a fatal South Florida car accident involving tennis star Venus Williams resulted in law enforcement’s conclusion that Williams was at-fault. However, new video evidence – specifically, surveillance footage obtained form a nearby community just south of the Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the crash occurred – led police to walk back their original findings. car accident

Although Williams is listed in a defendant by decedent’s widow, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash, police now say it was Williams who was cut off by another vehicle upon entering the intersection. This in turn set off a chain event crash that within seconds resulted in a fatal collision with a third vehicle that critically injured a 78-year-old man who died two weeks later.

His estate, represented by his bride of 33 years, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, alleging Williams was negligent and seeking damages for medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, loss of companionship/ consortium and funeral expenses. Although Williams has expressed her “devastation” over the incident, her attorney insisted from the beginning that she was innocent, traveling only 5 mph when she entered the intersection with a green light.

The case underscores how determinations of “fault” in Florida car accidents may not always be a simple, straightforward matter. Eyewitnesses to the very same events can emerge with a different accounting of what happened. Experts must work to piece together what they can with accident reconstruction methodology and technology, but even that sometimes is subjective. Absent clear video footage of the crash – and even that sometimes doesn’t tell the whole story – the truth of what happened may be obscured.  Continue reading →

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An $11 million verdict stemming from a claim of a defective vehicle resulting in a fatal crash was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Among the plaintiffs were family members of decedents, as well as one of the drivers, who was originally convicted of vehicular homicide. That conviction was later vacated after the vehicle manufacturer began recalling vehicles for the same defect involved in this case – unintended acceleration. car accident

The three-judge panel ruled unanimously in favor of plaintiffs, who alleged the vehicle malfunctioned, leading to three deaths and the driver’s imprisonment.

At trial two years ago, driver was found 40 percent at-fault and vehicle manufacturer deemed 60 percent at-fault. Total damages were set at $14 million, but that was reduced to $11 million based on damages obtained in previous settlements with other defendants. That $11 million will be divided among plaintiffs. Continue reading →

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You may recall several months ago in Fort Myers the case of the a North Fort Myers mother who lost her legs after a horrific collision on I-75 when she pulled over and assisted the victim of a previous car accident. She survived the crash and has since returned to work, though she will require ongoing treatments and assistance.car accident

A very similar situation occurred several years ago in Rhode Island and now, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has decided that the Good Samaritan victim in the crash is entitled to collect underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage from the insurer who provided a policy for the vehicle in which she was a passenger prior to being struck. Insurer initially denied the UIM claim, asserting victim was not “occupying” the insured vehicle at the time of the crash, and therefore was not entitled to coverage.

While the trial court agreed with defendant insurer, the Rhode Island Supreme Court vacated, holding plaintiff was entitled to recover UIM benefits under the terms of the policy. Continue reading →

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People think of summer driving as easy sailing: Clear skies, downtime and road trips.car accident

Unfortunately, some of the most popular summer holidays are also incredibly dangerous on the roads. In fact, a new study by Value Penguin ranks all major holidays by their potential for a fatal crash. No. 1 on the list was Memorial Day, followed by Labor Day at No. 2 and 4th of July weekend at No. 3.

This is a bit jarring for some because people generally associate holidays like New Year’s Eve as being the deadliest. In fact, it’s the summertime holidays – when the weather is nice, more people are outdoors, many people are drinking and teens/ young adults are off school that are the most hazardous.  Continue reading →

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UM/ UIM benefits (uninsured motorist/ underinsured motorist) are extended to insureds who are injured by someone without insurance or without enough insurance to cover their injuries. underinsured motorist coverage

In a no-fault auto insurance state like Florida (see F.S. 627.7407), the first avenue of recovery for damages is one’s own personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. One can receive up to $10,000 in PIP benefits, which cover 80 percent of one’s medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages. However, one can only receive $2,500 unless they can prove emergency care was medically necessary (per a recent legislative change), and they can only pursue compensation from the other driver if they can show their injury is sufficiently serious/ disabling.

But just because you have UM/ UIM coverage doesn’t mean getting it is a cakewalk. More often than not, insurers will try to offer low-ball settlement agreements or sometimes deny your claim outright. That’s what happened in a recent case before the Michigan Supreme Court (also in a no-fault insurance state).  Continue reading →

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“Steer clear of the state of Florida,” the lead sentence of a recent Forbes.com article reads. The reason? Our traffic safety is atrocious, particularly on South Florida highways. Of those that had the most car accident fatalities in the last decade:

  • Florida U.S. 1 – 1,079 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 41 – 772 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 27 – 614 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 441 – 442 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 17 – 420 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 98 – 465 deathshighway

Six of the top 10 deadliest highways in America are right here in the Sunshine State. The Forbes writer referred to these as “death tollways.” The numbers were based on a recent analysis of federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by a company called GeoTab.  Continue reading →

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A crash on I-75 that led to catastrophic injuries for one North Fort Myers woman has now led to a careless driving citation for a St. Petersburg man.car accident

According to The News-Press, the 30-year-old victim, a mother and foster parent, stopped on the side of the highway to help another motorist who had lost control in a rainstorm and struck a guardrail. She let the stranded motorist sit in her vehicle as she went to retrieve a blanket from her trunk. It was then that another driver swerved and struck her, pinning her against a vehicle and the guardrail, ultimately requiring her to undergo a leg amputation.

The citation of the driver does not necessarily have a direct impact on any future claim for damages, as the criminal and civil litigation will be separate procedures. However, it could potentially be used by plaintiff attorneys as evidence of driver negligence. Continue reading →

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Anyone who lives in Fort Myers knows U.S. 41 is a nightmare for motorists. Lanes are narrow. Traffic volumes are atrocious, especially at rush hour. There are few crosswalks and drivers routinely speed or tap away at their phones as they weave in-and-out of traffic. Worse, there is very little alternative, as the thoroughfare, also known as Tamiami Trail, is one of the main in the Southwest Florida. Car accidents occur with regularity.car accident

Perhaps it should surprise none of us, then, that it is ranked as the No. 2 most dangerous road in the country. Further, most Floridians would probably not be shocked to learn that four of the top five most dangerous roads are in Florida, as reported by NBC-2, which detailed the findings of a new study by Geotab. Six of the top 10 most dangerous highways are in Florida.

While car accident rates have spiked everywhere in these last two years, with increasing driver distractions and lower gas prices, Florida has been acutely affected.

Continue reading →

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Florida is second only to Louisiana when it comes to the worst states for distracted driving. That’s according to a new study conducted by an online insurance company that used an app called EverDrive to measure behaviors like speeding, aggressive turning, sudden acceleration, hard braking and other dangerous movements while the motorist’s phone was being used behind the wheel. Study authors made sure to exclude measurements of movements that occurred in the car when the phone was in sleep mode or when it was used in hands-free mode (which we know still is not as safe as you might think). iphone

The analysis proved that more than 90 percent of drivers across the country with cell phones have used them while in a moving car at some point in the previous month.

When it came to state rankings, Florida was placed at No. 2. This was based on data from 2.7 million trips and 230 million miles driven, according to the company.  Continue reading →