Articles Tagged with car accident injury

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A recent decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals upholds the liability of auto insurance company GEICO in covering damages awarded to plaintiffs who won a $15 million verdict against GEICO’s insured. car accident lawyer

The case is a tragic and complicated one, and despite the commonality of Florida auto accident claims, how complex they can sometimes be when it comes to disputes with insurers. That’s why it’s so critical that claimants seek top quality legal counsel to represent them in such cases.

The case began with events that occurred in March 2011 in Miami. Court documents revealed defendant driver was operating his mother’s vehicle when he slammed into a cluster of other vehicles on the shoulder of I-95. The other motorists had just been involved in a minor chain-reaction crash set off when one vehicle clipped a stalled vehicle that was parked in an emergency lane. A total of seven cars were involved in the initial crash. People had exited their vehicles and were waiting on police to arrive when defendant swerved from the express lane, slammed into a concrete barrier and then crashed into the crowd. He instantly killed four people and a fifth died several days later of severe personal injuries.  Continue reading →

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Typically when someone is injured at work, the exclusive remedy they will have from their employer is workers’ compensation. This is true even if it was the wrongdoing of the company or the co-worker who caused the accident that resulted in serious injury.driving

There are some very narrow exceptions in which the law will allow workers to go outside these bounds and seek additional compensation from these parties. One of those involves some type of intentional harm or actions that the company knew would likely cause the worker to be injured. This is often very difficult to prove. However, a case out of Washington State recently carves out another interesting exception. It won’t apply to every case in which a co-worker is negligent in causing a work-related injury, but it may be worth considering when weighing whether to take legal action.

The case is Entila v. Cook, and it was decided recently by the Washington Supreme Court. This was a case where plaintiff was on his way in to work, crossing an access road on company property, when he was struck by a car driven by a co-worker and seriously injured. The injured worker was able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Normally, this would mean his co-worker would be immune from any liability. However, plaintiff alleged his co-worker was not immune from a third-party liability claim because the co-worker was not acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash. Continue reading →

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The Virginia Supreme Court reversed a $20 million product liability verdict favoring a woman seriously injured when her Mazda convertible rolled over. Justices ruled trial court abused discretion in allowing plaintiff’s expert witness to testify, and further, defendant manufacturer had no legally recognized duty to design or supply a soft top to a vehicle that would provide protection to occupants in the event of a rollover crash.

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This was a major decision, particularly given that, with interest, the actual payout in this case would have been well over $30 million.

The injury lawsuit stemmed from a single vehicle accident that occurred when the 26-year-old driver swerved to avoid an object on a dark roadway. The object reportedly flew off the back of a truck ahead of her. She took the risk of swerving because there was no oncoming traffic on the two-lane road. This led her up a slight grassy incline. Her convertible rolled, landing upside down, with the driver’s side up against a tree. The convertible top was up, but the force of impact caused the windshield to separate from the roof. When it collapsed inward, her head was forced down so severely it caused a condition known as hyperflexion. Continue reading →

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A Collier County jury recently awarded $5.1 million the family of a 91-year-old woman killed in a Marco Island car accident caused by a man reportedly traveling 77 mph in a 30 mph zone before running a stop sign in November 2013. road7

The civil judgment comes almost exactly one year after the conclusion of the criminal case, in which the defendant, also from Marco Island, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. This was just one year less than the maximum 15 years he faced on the charge of vehicular manslaughter. Defendant had three prior DUI arrests and two tickets for excessive speeding. He was not charged with DUI manslaughter in this instance, prosecutors say, because only one official at the scene detected signs of impairment that might warrant a blood draw. Without that evidence, proving defendant was drunk at the time of the fatal crash was nearly impossible. Nonetheless, the criminal court judge apparently wasn’t swayed by his pleas for leniency that pointed out his participation in half a dozen charitable golf outings annually. His attorney asked for a maximum of three years. The judge gave him nearly five times that.

At the civil trial, plaintiffs attorneys presented evidence that defendant had consumed five shots of liquor and three beers in the hours just before the crash. A bartender at the establishment defendant had earlier patronized testified at trial.  Continue reading →

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A car accident victim in New Jersey has just been awarded $1.2 million from her own insurance company after fighting for years following a 2013 crash with an uninsured driver.

Why would one need to battle their own insurer?carcrashinsurance

It’s especially common in Florida, a no-fault state when it comes to insurance. That means the first $10,000 paid out to car accident victims is through personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. PIP benefits cover 80 percent of your reasonable medical expenses related to the accident, 60 percent of wage losses and $5,000 for death benefits. When you are seriously injured, your damages are inevitably going to exceed that.

Also in Florida, 25 percent of drivers do not have insurance. That is 1 in every 4 motorists you pass on the road. Even those who do carry insurance are only required to maintain $20,000 in bodily injury liability insurance. That is probably not even going to scratch the surface of your medical bills in a bad wreck. So what option do you have at that point? Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage (also sometimes written UM/ UIM coverage).  Continue reading →

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Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal recently weighed the issue of whether it was proper to grant default judgment against the owner of a vehicle in a car accident lawsuit when there had not yet been a determination on the liability of the alleged negligent driver.gavel21

The court’s answer: No.

Beyond that, the court determined the insurance company seeking subrogation in this action, Kotlyer v. Metro Casualty Insurance Co., had wrongly characterized the damages as “liquidated” when in fact they were “unliquidated.” The reason that matters is that courts can’t issue a default judgment without a hearing on unliquidated damages because a hearing is required to determine the exact amount. No hearing had been granted in this case before the judgment was rendered.

A default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of one party on the basis of some failure to take action by the other party. In most cases, default judgment is issued when one party fails to respond or appear before a court of law. Continue reading →

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Punitive damages can be awarded in Florida personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in which a defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct. The definitions of these terms are set forth in F.S. 768.72. carcrash9

But while punitive damages may substantially increase the amount of a certain damage award, the Fourteenth Amendment blocks these awards from being “grossly excessive.” But what does that mean? There is no dollar figure that establishes what is “grossly excessive,” which means the courts have to interpret legislative intent and rely on prior case law.

One Florida injury case where this became necessary was  State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company v. Brewer, recently before the Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals. In this case, defendant and his insurer sought review of a final judgment entered in favor of plaintiffs in an injury case arising out of an automobile accident. The court affirmed judgment in favor of plaintiffs as well as the compensatory damages awarded. However, with regard to punitive damages, the court ruled the award was excessive to the point of being unconstitutional. For this reason, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Continue reading →

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Prom and graduation season is upon us, which means many high school students will be donning tuxedos and gowns and heading out for a final bash. limousine1

Parents concerned about the possibility of drunk driving may splurge on a limousine service for their kids, just to be certain teens won’t be tempted to drive while impaired. But limousine services can sometimes be negligent too. When a limousine accident results in injury, our experienced auto accident lawyers can help.

In a recent case out of Illinois, a limousine service carrier is the target of at least one lawsuit and a federal regulator shut-down following a fatal crash in March.  Continue reading →

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A night of fun in Oklahoma turned tragic when a 48-year-old driver caused a motor vehicle accident that killed five people – including herself – and severely injured two others. Aside from the driver, those killed were between the ages of 18 and 23. The two injured were 17 and 22. caraccident7

The families of two decedents (one of whom was a young mother) and two survivors sought compensation from the estate of decedent. But she only had a bodily injury liability coverage of $50,000 – hardly enough to compensate even one of the victims for their losses. Indeed, the estate settled the cases for $3 million per each survivor and $5 million for each family whose loved one died. The problem was who would pay those amounts. Decedent’s insurance was only $50,000 – and that was paid.

The approved settlement indicated collection of damages would be limited to applicable insurance policies. Soon after the settlement was approved, three insurance carriers sued the victims for a declaratory judgment that would assert they were not liable to pay the insurance settlement. In the case of Universal Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Winton, plaintiffs argued either that one of the insurers was liable under garage and umbrella policies because the dealership still owned the vehicle, or alternatively that another dealership still owned the car and therefore a different two insurance policies covered the accident.  Continue reading →

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Roadway signs are the means by which drivers learn the rules, warnings, guidance and other information necessary to safely navigate their route. Erection and maintenance of roadway signs are the responsibility of whoever owns that street, whether it’s a local township, county, city or state.  gravelroad

There are sometimes contracts between these entities wherein the owner of the road will sign over certain rights in exchange for maintenance duties. According to the Federal Highway Administration, signs are only effective if you can clearly see them. That’s why it’s imperative to:

  • Clean them;
  • Implement vegetation control;
  • Protect them from theft;
  • Make sure they are properly supported and adjusted.

These are all reasonable steps that governments can take to ensure the signs are visible and drivers can safely navigate. But what if a government agency doesn’t take reasonable measures? If it results in a driver being involved in an injurious crash he or she likely would have otherwise avoided, it’s plausible there are grounds for personal injury litigation. Continue reading →