Articles Tagged with car accident lawyer

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When examining liability for a South Florida car accident, our injury lawyers in Cape Coral will of course first examine the negligence of the other. We’ll examine the potential vicarious liability claims of the vehicle owner, the driver’s employer and the motor carrier (if applicable). We may even look closely at whether there was a vehicle defect that would render the auto manufacturer or repair shop responsible to cover damages. In some cases, the local county or municipality could be liable too if there is evidence the entity failed in its duty to maintain public roads.car accident

It’s not often in these cases that we will lodge a premises liability claim – but it’s not something that should be discounted. Premises liability involves the responsibility of property owners to maintain their site in a reasonably safe condition. Usually, these types of claims would include things like slip-and-fall accidents or trip-and-falls or drownings. However, it may arise in a car accident claim if there is evidence some condition on the property that posed a danger to drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians. There are a number of successful Florida premises liability claims that have stemmed from car accident injuries.

The California Supreme Court recently considered one such case involving a pedestrian accident that resulted in the injury of a church member who was struck crossing the street from the church overflow parking lot to the main parking lot on his way to attend services. The court ruled that a landowner does not owe a duty of care to assist invitees to cross a public street when the landowner maintain a parking lot requiring invitees to cross the street to access the landowner’s main site – as long as the typical dangers of a public street aren’t in some way magnified or hidden by some condition of the landowner’s property or by some action taken by the landowner.  Continue reading →

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When someone’s negligence causes injury to another, victims can pursue compensation. Negligence is generally understood as the failure to use reasonable care when one was required to do so. In some cases, injury to another is the result of a criminal act. On the road, some criminal acts also amount to negligence, though the criminal and civil cases will be handled by the separate courts, respectively. car accident

The primary purpose of a criminal court is to attain justice for the state (on behalf of the victim). The purpose of civil court is to ascertain whether one is owed compensation, and if so, determine how much is necessary to make the victim “whole.” Restitution to the victim is not the primary purpose of the criminal justice system – but it can be a consideration for certain crimes. The impact this will have on a pending civil case should be discussed with an experienced injury attorney in Cape Coral.

F.S. 775.089 holds that restitution can be ordered by the court (in addition to any punishment) for:

  • Damages or losses caused directly or indirectly by defendant’s offense;
  • Damages or losses related to the defendant’s criminal episode.

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Most car accident auto insurance settlements are handled quietly and often rather quickly. Those involving the death may take longer, but even then, it often doesn’t generate headlines. A recent case out of South Florida was different for the fact that an auto liability insurer, while conceding all the evidence unequivocally shows their client to be the clear victim, agreed to pay families of several teens who died while joyriding in a stolen car. car accident attorney

It’s somewhat of a unique case, but it also illustrates the various avenues of recovery that may be available to those involved in serious car accidents, even when there is evidence they are partially (or, as in this case, largely) to blame.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, the 29-year-old insured was on his way to work at a grocery store in Tampa around 4 a.m. when a sport utility vehicle barreled through a red light at 112 mph, slamming into his compact car. He would later learn that the vehicle had been stolen and the driver was 16-years-old with no license. The driver and two of his three passengers – all young teens – were killed. A fourth survived and was later charged with grand theft auto.  Continue reading →

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Most car accident lawsuits are a simple matter of proving negligence, shown by establishing:

  • Duty owed to plaintiff (i.e., duty to other motorists to obey laws and act in a reasonably prudent manner);
  • Breach of duty (carelessness or violation of law);
  • Causation (breach of duty caused the accident);
  • Damages (plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the accident).personal injury lawyer

However, there are some Florida auto accident cases that delve into more complex areas of law because they involve a negligent driver who was either on-the-job or at least furthering an employer’s business at the time of the crash. In these cases, the employer can be held vicariously liable for the worker’s negligence. This means plaintiff doesn’t have to prove employer was negligent, only that worker was in fact an employee (as opposed to an independent contractor) and was acting in the scope of employment when crash occurred. This legal theory is referred to as “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “Let the master answer.”

If there is evidence an employer was negligent also (i.e., negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision, negligent vehicle maintenance, etc.), the company could be found both directly and vicariously liable. A skilled personal injury attorney in Fort Myers can help you sort out the type of case you have and identify all potential defendants.  Continue reading →

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Most auto insurance policies impose per-person or per-accident limitations. This is typically a pretty straightforward issue. However, a dispute about how many “accidents” occurred can leave a big question mark as to how much claimants are entitled to receive. bicycle accident

In a recent bicycle accident injury case before the Wyoming Supreme Court, plaintiffs were suing a single driver after an incident wherein they were riding bicycles together and both were struck by defendant driver operating a car. One bicyclist died and another was seriously injured. They had uninsured motorist coverage through their own carrier, which had a policy extending $300,000 in damages per accident. That would mean no matter how many claimants, the insurer would only pay out a maximum $300,000.

Plaintiffs, however, contended they were each entitled to a maximum $300,000 because there had actually been two accidents, not just one. While the trial court granted summary judgment to the insurer, the state supreme court found the record insufficient to conclude there had only been one accident. The case was remanded for further proceedings.  Continue reading →

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The bankruptcy of a negligent driver who caused injury to a husband and wife may prevent plaintiffs from actually seeking damages against the defendant, but it doesn’t shield the auto insurer from having to pay out.car accident attorney

That was the ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court in a recent case involving two car accident claimants. Although this is an out-of-state case, it deals with matters that could just as easily arise in Florida, and justices often consider rulings by sister courts that have weighed similar issues.

To understand the court’s ruling, we must first explain a bit about U.S. Bankruptcy Code and how it impacts personal injury claims. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in particular involves a trustee who gathers and sells a debtor’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds to pay creditors in accordance with the provisions of bankruptcy law. Part of the debtor’s property may be subject to liens that can be paid to creditors. Continue reading →

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A 3-year-old girl was recently killed in a South Florida pedestrian accident while walking with her mother as they returned from dropping her older brother off at the bus stop. pedestrian accident

According to The Press Republican, the girl, her mother and a neighbor were walking at the intersection of Hampton Meadow Way and Bright Street in Riverview when they were struck by the 33-year-old driver of a pickup truck. The driver said he looked before he turned onto the street, where he saw the two women and the dog. However, he said he did not see the little girl. As soon as he heard the sickening sound of the impact, he immediately stopped and realized he had struck the girl.

The girl’s mother, meanwhile, asserts the driver was operating on the wrong side of the road. Her daughter, she said, was approximately two arm’s lengths ahead of her as they made their way home. The girl had made it nearly to the sidewalk right in front of her home, where she stood waiting for her mother, holding a sippy cup.  Continue reading →

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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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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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“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 →