Articles Tagged with car accident lawyer

If one suffers an injury in a Florida car accident caused by another’s negligence, there may be an opportunity to step outside the state’s “no-fault” system (which allows for up to $10,000 in compensation through PIP benefits) and take action against the other driver. However, in order to ensure the damages are covered, one must prove they are causally related to the crash. car accident

In many crash cases, this is a fairly straightforward process, particularly if the injured party immediately sought medical attention. However, causation can be tougher to prove when one waits to obtain medical care or when injuries are latent, not becoming fully apparent until days or weeks later. It may also be an issue when not all alleged injuries are physical. This is not to say one cannot collect compensation for emotional or mental damages, but they can be harder to prove.

Recently, the Montana Supreme Court weighed this very issue, reversing a summary judgment in favor of plaintiff (injured party), finding there were questions of material fact as to whether the medical bills and lost wages she claimed as damages were causally related to the crash.  Continue reading

In a recent ride-along with Florida Highway Patrol troopers in South Florida, an NBC affiliate news crew took note of numerous drivers texting, scrolling and talking away behind the wheel. Despite observations of this extremely dangerous behavior, the trooper was without an actionable cause to stop these drivers. That’s because Florida has one of the weakest distracted driving laws in the country, despite this being a serious problem known to be even more prevalent than drunk driving. distracted driving lawyer

Florida is one of a handful of states where texting-and-driving remains a secondary offense. That means an officer must also observe some other traffic offense before a traffic stop can be initiated and a texting-while-driving citation issued.

 F.S. 316.305, also known as the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, prohibits the use of an electronic device (manually typing, sending, reading or researching data or interpersonal communication) while operating a motor vehicle. There are a number of exceptions to this rule (i.e., researching traffic or weather alerts, those who are searching radio broadcasts use of a system for navigation), but the biggest issue is the fact that it’s a secondary offense. Plus, even if a fine is issued, it’s only $30 for a first-time offense.  Continue reading

An auto insurer’s failure to comply with the state’s Claims Administration Statute, F.S. 627.426, meant  no genuine issue of material fact was left to consider regarding insurance coverage of an absconded drunk driving suspect who allegedly killed five people in a horrific crash.car accident

Plaintiffs, parents of one of those killed, sued defendant driver for wrongful death resulting from the crash. The incident happened on I-95 outside Miami, when defendant drove his mother’s vehicle onto the shoulder of the highway, plowing into seven other vehicles that had just been involved in a chain reaction collision and had parked in the emergency lane. Victims ranged in age from 22 to 57. (Plaintiff’s son was a recent university graduate.)

Defendant driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.127, well above the legal limit of 0.08, and that was several hours after the crash. He also smelled of alcohol, a trooper noted, and allegedly admitted to drinking at a local nightclub prior to the collision.  Continue reading

Almost every public service announcement warning regarding drunk driving in Florida suggests finding a designated driver. This is a person who agrees to be sober in order to safely drive another person or group of people after they’ve been indulging in alcohol. All drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care on the roads. But by taking on this responsibility, does a designated driver owe a higher duty of care to intoxicated passengers? car accident

This was a question recently considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, which answered: No.

The driver in this case was the designated driver among a group of young adults who were drinking at a house party. The group was rowdy, and when it was time to go, two of the passengers opened the trunk and piled in, their back to the rear windshield. Driver instructed them to get out, but the two passengers refused, insisting they would be fine. They weren’t going far and she could drive slow. Not wanting to argue, she relented.  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

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

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

The family of a 5-year-old girl killed in a car accident by a driver who was reportedly distracted is suing technology giant Apple Inc. for wrongful death. Plaintiffs allege Apple officials knew its FaceTime app, in use by the at-fault driver at the time of the fatal crash, was being used by drivers in a dangerous manner. Further, plaintiffs say, Apple had the technology needed to make the app inaccessible to drivers (while still allowing passengers to access it), and yet chose not to implement it. sad

Specifically, plaintiffs say the company failed to install and implement a safer alternative design that would have halted a driver from accessing the app while speeding down the highway.

According to court records in Modisette v. Apple Inc., filed in the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County, the girl was in a booster seat in the rear passenger seat, behind her father, who was driving. He slowed his vehicle because traffic ahead on the highway was backed to a standstill. However, the driver behind them, a 22-year-old from Florida in a sport utility vehicle, apparently didn’t notice the slowed traffic as he barreled down the road at 65 mph. He slammed into the back of the car. Everyone was injured, the little girl and her dad most severely. He survived. She did not.  Continue reading

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule that would accelerate the kind of vehicle-to-vehicle technology that would allow cars to “talk” to one another, and ultimately prevent accidents.drive

Under the proposed rule, all new cars and like trucks would communicate wirelessly not just with one another, but with traffic lights and other roadway infrastructure. NHTSA officials say the technology has the potential to transform driving and dramatically slash the number of traffic deaths every year. The rule would be mandatory for all new model vehicles, if the rule is approved.

So how exactly would this work? Well first, it’s important to outline what V2V is. It is a type of crash avoidance technology that hinges on the communication of information between nearby vehicles that can warn drivers about possibly hazardous situations that might lead to a collision. For instance, V2V technology could alert a driver that the vehicle up ahead is breaking, so they need to slow down. It could also inform a motorist that it isn’t safe to go through an intersection because another vehicle – one that can’t yet be seen by the driver – is fast approaching that same intersection. The information communicated would involve short-range data (about 300 meters) that would include other vehicle information such as:

  • Location
  • Speed
  • Direction
  • Breaking status

This information exceeds what can be gleaned from the current cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors that many vehicles are currently affixed with. V2V communications can also detect a threat much sooner than camera sensors or radar. In fact, the data is shot out at a rate of about 10 times per second. Continue reading