Articles Tagged with injury attorney

Your auto insurance policy is a contract. It outlines your rights and your obligations, and as long as it isn’t ambiguous or contrary to public policy, the terms of it are most likely binding. One of the common terms is the obligation of insured to cooperate with the investigation.car accident

This does not mean you are required to give a statement before talking to an attorney. But it does mean you may be required to testify under oath at the request of the insurer, or else risk foregoing coverage.

This was exactly what happened in a recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision wherein substantive issues of material fact relating to the crash were in question.  Continue reading

A recent report by Harvard Medical School revealed the rate of medical malpractice claims paid out in the U.S. has dropped substantially over the last 20 years – by 56 percent. Meanwhile, the average payout for successful claims has climbed by nearly 25 percent, reaching about $353,000 between 2009 and 2014, up from about $287,000 in the 1992-1996 time frame. medical malpractice

Health insurance rates – one of the primary justifications for imposing damage caps and other limitations on these claims, making them harder to win – have risen astronomically. NBC News reported recently that health insurance has risen almost every year, and it’s gone up faster than wages and inflation. They have risen 213 percent since 1999 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Foundation. By comparison, wages rose 60 percent during that time while inflation rose 44 percent. Health care spending accounts for 17 percent of the U.S. economy, whereas in 1980, it was just half that.

The Florida Supreme Court addressed this very issue in its 2014 5-02 ruling in McCall v. U.S., where it ruled damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits ending in death are unconstitutional. The court cited the Eighth Amendment’s equal protection clause, but noted the wrongful death noneconomic damage cap did not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose, which was the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis in Florida.  Continue reading

Recently, three tourists were injured in Fort Lauderdale after they were struck by a vehicle on Dania Beach Road. All three were family members on vacation from Utah. All were seriously injured, and one lost her foot. crosswalk

According to news reports, the trio were reportedly walking back to their hotel along Southwest 42nd Street after dinner. They were in a wide swath of grass when a pickup truck driver veered toward them and crossed over from the westbound lane to the eastbound lane and then onto the shoulder of the road. Authorities said speed and alcohol are likely factors in this pedestrian accident.

Florida – and South Florida in particular – is a perilous place for pedestrians, and has been for some time. Addressing these issues may take an approach that considers better traffic engineering and more targeted enforcement. However, those efforts can only go so far if drivers continue to disregard our traffic laws and the safety of pedestrians. Two recent reports show the problems, at least for now, aren’t getting better.  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 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

The holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones and celebrate the season. People especially look forward to New Year’s Eve and the chance to start all over again with a clean slate. But sadly, for far too many people, New Year’s is a time of endings. That’s because there is a surge in drunk drivers. Revelers are out late to ring in the New Year, and fail to plan ahead, call for a ride or just stay where they are. Instead, they risk their own lives – and the lives of their companions and everyone else sharing the road – to make it to their destination. newyearseve

Technically and statistically speaking, New Year’s Eve isn’t actually horrible when to impaired drivers. The worst comes after midnight, on New Year’s Day. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than half of all fatal crashes on New Year’s Day involve a driver who was drunk or impaired. Intoxication by alcohol is typically measured by whether one had a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeded 0.08.

New Year’s Day exceeds even July 4th when it comes to the percentage of fatal crashes stemming from alcohol intoxication. On that day, 42 percent of all deadly accidents involve a drunk driver. The third is St. Patrick’s Day, on which 40 percent of all roadway deaths involve impaired motorists.  Continue reading

A man who successfully sued a hotel chain and several other defendants for third-party liability stemming from a criminal attack at a hotel has now won another victory for attorney’s fees before the Florida Supreme Court.parkingbumper

At issue was F.S. 768.79 and whether a trio of defendants – named as one entity in jury instructions – received sufficient offers of settlement to trigger the requirement that they cover plaintiff’s lawyer fees.

The statute allows that if an offer of settlement is made (by either side) and isn’t accepted within 30 days and the matter then goes to trial and is decided in favor of the opposite party (at least 25 percent less than the offer made by a defendant or 25 percent more for an offer made by plaintiff), the losing side has to pay the attorney’s fees of the other party. The goal is to encourage litigants to accept reasonable offers and thus reduce the time and expense of a trial. (It should be noted that most civil injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they are only paid a percentage of your total damage awards if you win, but nothing if you don’t win. An award of attorney’s fees means your financial obligation to your lawyer wouldn’t be taken out of your final damage award.)  Continue reading

If a worker is struck by an under-insured driver while on-the-job, it can result in a unique situation for compensation. As you probably know, most injuries that arise out of the course and scope of employment are going to be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, it can get a bit thorny if you settle with your workers’ compensation carrier based on the assumption you’ll still collect uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits. Forklift

Florida statute gives auto insurers the right to set off its obligation not just by what workers’ compensation actually paid, but by the full amount you were entitled to receive. This is spelled out in Fla. Stat. § 627.727. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale overseeing your case. You don’t want to undercut your rights with UM/UIM coverage by settling too soon.

There could be other considerations as well. Recently, the New Mexico Supreme Court was asked to resolve an issue from a federal district court concerning state law as it pertained to the UIM benefits a deceased worker’s family was entitled to collect after already receiving workers’ compensation death benefits. The case was Vasquez v. American Cas. Co. of Reading. Continue reading

When a drunk driver crashes into your vehicle in Florida, what recourse do you have to recover damages?beer

The answer depends on the underlying circumstances, but generally, you will want to explore:

  • The at-fault driver/ insurance;
  • The owner of the vehicle/ insurance;
  • The employer of the at-fault driver (if he or she was working);
  • The establishment that served the at-fault driver alcohol.

That last one – which falls under Florida’s dram shop law – will only work if the drunk driver was either under 21 or known to the establishment to be habitually addicted to alcohol. Per F.S. 768.125, those are the only circumstances under which an establishment may be held accountable for the injurious actions of a drunk driver.  Continue reading