Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Multi-vehicle crashes can create a quagmire for injury lawyers, insurance companies and courts when it comes to issues of causation and fault. In some instances, the negligence of one driver is clear-cut. However, comparative fault by other motorists (as explained in F.S. 768.81) can affect who is responsible to pay for what and how much compensation victims can expect to receive.

According to a recent news article from the St. Pete Patch, a 24-year-old man was killed in a multi-vehicle car accident in Florida.Three others were inju20red in the incident, which involved a total of three vehicles.

car accident lawyer BrowardAuthorities report decedent was driving his Cadillac when he apparently drove his car into a high curb and lost control of his vehicle.  He allegedly hit a Mercedes, and then he drove into the opposite side of the divided roadway and hit a Toyota that was heading in his direction, as he was on the wrong side of the road at this point. Continue reading

Florida drivers get a bad reputation on a lot of fronts, and unfortunately, much of it is well-deserved. crash

We rank second in the country for having the most uninsured drivers (24 percent). We have the most bicycle accident deaths, the most pedestrian accident fatalities. We have more motorcycle deaths than any other state in the country (616 in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

So perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised that Florida has ranked as one of the worst states for distracted driving. According to a new study by an online auto insurance provider EverQuote, Florida ranks second only to Louisiana in terms of distracted driving habits.  Continue reading

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become mainstays in Broward County, and Fort Lauderdale specifically. This was even after a protracted battle with county officials that resulted in the companies being kicked out over regulatory disputes regarding driver background checks and vehicle maintenance. phone

Now, a Florida Senate committee has approved legislation that would strip local governments’ ability to regulate ridesharing businesses such as these. It would put a statewide regulatory system in place and scrap the patchwork system of city and county laws that currently in place statewide.

Previous efforts to pass similar measures in the state had failed. Now, SB 340/ HB 221 is moving at a steady clip through the process. The passing by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee by a 7-2 margin is a first.  Continue reading

The New York Court of Appeals recently considered a case wherein plaintiff alleged injuries sustained as a result of a poorly-maintained, diseased tree was the responsibility of both the property owner and the state. According to court records, plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries when a large branch broke off that tree, which abutted the road, and fell onto her Jeep. The impact caused her to suffer traumatic brain injuries. treebranch

Plaintiff and her spouse sued both the property owner and the state. Against the property owner, plaintiffs alleged there was negligence in the failure to inspect, trim and remove the dead/ diseased tree. As far as the state, plaintiff alleged negligence by Department of Transportation workers for a failure to properly maintain trees along that road or warn drivers of the dangerous along that highway.

Defendant property owner asked to be allowed to introduce trial evidence of the state’s alleged negligence, and also requested a jury instruction on the apportionment of liability for damages between property owner and the state. Plaintiff indicated that while there was nothing preventing the jury from hearing trial evidence tending to show the state was possibly liable for her injuries, but she objected insofar as the jury should not be allowed to apportion fault against the state. (The state could not be ultimately joined in this action because sovereign immunity laws prevented her from prevailing in such action.)  Continue reading

Japanese auto parts maker Takata recently pleaded guilty to fraud for concealing defects in millions of airbags sold to consumers throughout the U.S. and across the globe. The Justice Department announced the company will pay $1 billion for this deception, which affected 19 automakers and some 100 million vehicles worldwide. airbag

Although that sounds like a lot, it’s actually peanuts, given the scope of the fraud in comparison to what other companies have paid for similar offenses. For example, Volkswagon was required to pay $21 billion over an emissions-cheating scandal. Although penalties will include $125 million to consumers, the judge could have imposed as much as $1.5 billion. However, doing so likely would have put the auto maker out of business.

Still, that might yet be on the horizon. In Miami, a U.S. District Judge said the settlement means the pending multi-district litigation can move forward, most likely via settlements before trial. Continue reading

Plaintiffs in a recent wrongful death lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme Court argued that the township, the county and the state department of wildlife and parks were liable for the fatal car accident. Claimants attributed the crash to the failure to provide adequate barriers, signs or other warnings along sections of the road where the crash happened. roadsign

These kinds of cases can be challenging because there are special rules to abide anytime you sue a government agency. Most government agencies and government workers are protected by sovereign immunity statutes, but these are waived in some cases under certain circumstances.

In this situation, plaintiffs sued a number of government entities alleging liability in the deaths of two people on a road in Kansas. One of those was a young man who was a father to two children. His mother filed the claim on behalf of those children. The other was a young woman whose mother filed the claim on her behalf.  Continue reading

A new analysis conducted by the Federal Insurance Office reveals millions of Americans live in swaths of the country where car insurance is not affordable. In an analysis of 9,000 ZIP codes with high numbers of “underserved” people, including those with low-to-moderate incomes and minorities, approximately 10 percent lived in regions where auto insurance cost them 2 percent or more of their household income. That equates to 19 million people nationally.traffic

Here in Florida, the percentage of uninsured drivers in Florida was approximately 24 percent, or about 1 in 5. That’s the second-highest uninsured driver rate in the country. The cost of insurance can’t be discounted as a primary reason for this. The federal researchers concluded that a 40-year-old man with a clean driving record and a strong credit score would pay $1,655 annually for car insurance. That’s 25 percent more than the national average.

When researchers looked at Florida ZIP codes, they found that among all of Florida’s 19 million residents, about 41 percent – or 7.9 million people – live in ZIP codes that have high concentrations of people who are considered under-served. Nearly 30 percent of all people in those ZIP codes pay more than 2 percent of their income on car insurance, which amounts to about 3 million people. Continue reading

Florida lawmakers are slated to begin considering whether to repeal the state’s long-standing no-fault auto insurance requirement. On average, this additional protection costs drivers about $81 per policy, according to recent research. The question legislators have to decide is whether those savings are going to be worth it in the end due to the fact that it will likely result in an uptick of car accident lawsuits.car

The no-fault insurance for motor vehicles allows that there is “no-fault” when it comes to paying out an auto insurance claim following a car accident under a certain amount. Instead, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which extends payment for any medical expenses and certain non-medical costs associated with the crash, such as lost wages or replacement benefits (i.e., having someone come help you clean your house while you are unable to do so). All Florida drivers are required to carry a minimum level of PIP benefits in addition to liability insurance requirements. Then if they are involved in a crash, they file a claim with their own auto insurer. The only way they can pursue a claim outside that no-fault system is if the injuries are considered permanent or permanently disfiguring/ scarring or if there is some significant or total loss of an important bodily function. Drivers have to carry at least $10,000 in PIP benefits.

Legislators have decided that in the spring, they will mull a proposal to scrap the no-fault insurance law that has been followed in the state since the 1970s.  Continue reading

Work is a dangerous place for many in South Florida, and there are numerous opportunities to get hurt, depending on the field. Falls are typically the most common, but motor vehicles accidents are a significant source of workers’ compensation claims too. Workers’ compensation benefits are typically the only source of money one can get from an employer for a work-related injury. The good news is employees don’t have to prove the company was negligent, but they are usually only entitled to coverage of medical bills and a portion of lost wages. driveInjuries caused by co-workers – even negligent co-workers – usually fall under this exclusive remedy umbrella.

However, if a worker is injured by a co-worker who was not acting in the course and scope of employment, then the injured worker may be able to pursue a claim directly against that co-worker.

This was the situation in Entila v. Cook, recently weighed by the Washington Supreme Court. Although the ruling doesn’t have a direct bearing on cases in Florida, it’s known that state high courts will often look to the rulings set by other state supreme courts in deciding similar cases.  Continue reading

Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. die in distracted driving accidents – 3,400 in 2015, to be exact. While most states, including Florida, have some type of law on the books that aims to curb these incidents. But there are plenty of traffic safety advocates who say these measures aren’t doing enough. phone

Just take Florida, for example. F.S. 316.305 went into effect in 2013 (and was one of the last texting-and-driving bans in the country to be enacted). The statute prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a phone or wireless communication device. So far so good, right? But there are a few issues. First off, it’s a secondary offense, which means police can’t initiate a traffic stop on this basis alone; they can only issue a citation if they stop a driver for another offense. Even if they do ticket the driver, it’s only a $35 citation for a first-time offender. Not much of a deterrent. Beyond that, the law doesn’t ban talking (which studies have shown can be just as distracting) or dialing a number (and it can be tough for an officer to discern the difference between that and texting from outside the vehicle, especially if it’s moving). Also, it doesn’t address the expanding technology, which includes video chats.

Now, there are two bills on the table to enhance penalties for those who violate Florida’s current ban on texting and driving. HB 47 would increase the fine (doubling it for offenses in school zones or designated crossings) and also make the violation a primary offense, as opposed to a secondary offense. Meanwhile, HB 69 targets drivers 18 or younger, and would make the offense primary only for these motorists.  Continue reading