Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Last week, our West Palm Beach personal injury law firm reported that the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for all states to ban texting and cell phone calls while driving. We also wrote about the upcoming debate among Florida lawmakers regarding whether or not to ban texting in the state.

This week, we’d like to blog about a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey on the distracted driving habits of Americans. Over 6,000 drivers participated. Per the results:

• At any moment, nearly one out of every 100 drivers is e-mailing, texting, surfing the Internet, or doing something else with a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle.
• Most of those surveyed admitted to answering phone calls while driving.
• Close to two out of every 10 drivers surveyed admitted to e-mailing or texting. Drivers in the 21-24 age group were most likely to text while driving.
• Over 50% of drivers don’t believe that making a call affects their driving performance.
• About 25% said they don’t think that e-mailing or texting impacts their driving.
• 90% of drivers don’t like it if the person driving the car they are riding in is e-mailing or texting • More drivers said they read texts over sending them.
• Two times as many drivers admitted to answering calls over making them while operating a motor vehicle.

As evidenced by the survey results, most drivers think that they can text or talk on the phone safely while driving. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Cell phone conversations and texting takes a motorist’s attention away from the task at hand, which means he/she is not 100% focused on the task at hand. This can make it hard to avoid causing or becoming involved in a South Florida traffic crash. Remember that it takes just a few seconds for a catastrophic Miami motor vehicle accident to happen-those same seconds that a driver’s eyes are off the road in order to read an e-mail or dial the phone.

Over the last couple of years, Federal, state, and local safety officials have made a concerted effort to educate people about the dangers. Yet even when there are laws limiting cell phone use or banning texting, some people can’t seem to stop themselves, which places everyone in danger.

Drivers can no longer say that they didn’t know that distracted driving can kill people. As the victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be able to pursue Palm Beach traffic crash damages from the negligent motorist.

More drivers texting but few think it’s dangerous, survey says, The Denver Post/AP, December 9, 2011
NTSB pushes for nationwide ban on cellphone use for drivers, The Washington Post, December 14, 2011
National Distracted Driving Telephone Survey Finds Most Drivers Answer the Call, Hold the Phone, and Continue to Drive, NHTSA (PFD)

More Blog Posts:

As NTSB Recommends Full Cell Phone While Driving Ban, Florida Again Considers Whether to Make Texting Illegal, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 13, 2011
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011 Continue reading

In the upcoming legislative session due to start next month, Florida legislators will once again consider whether texting should be banned in the state. Right now, Florida is one of 15 US states that haven’t made texting while driving illegal. Florida is also among the few states without any type of restriction on cell phone use while driving. Our Miami personal injury law firm is familiar with the types of catastrophic South Florida car crashes that can occur because someone was distracted driving.

This time around, however, lawmakers who favor a statewide texting ban may be coming into the debate with the extra support they need following today’s recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board that use of cell phone and text messaging devices while driving be made illegal throughout the US-unless, of course, there is an emergency situation. Although the NTSB cannot impose state laws, its recommendations are taken seriously by lawmakers.

The federal safety board called is calling for the ban because it says distracted drivers are threatening public safety. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, distracted driving was a factor in at least 3,092 US traffic crashes last year and at any moment during daylight hours, close to 1 out of 100 drivers is using handheld phones. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt even went so far as to call distracted driving the “new DUI.”

When explaining the need for a nationwide ban, the NTSB cited the tragic multi-vehicle Missouri traffic pileup in August 2010 involving a tractor-trailer, a pickup truck, and two buses. More than 30 people were injured and two people killed, including the 19-year-old driver of the pickup, who, within 11 minutes, sent or received 11 text messages. The other victim that died was a 15-year-old that was riding the school bus.

Texting, emailing, and talking on the cell phone are dangerous activities when done while driving. You want to work with a Palm Beach car crash law firm that knows how to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or a loved one’s death. Just because these driving habits are still legal in Florida does not mean you cannot recover damages.

Cellphone ban while driving? The tragedies behind the issue, Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving, CNN, December 13, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011
Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011 Continue reading

According to authorities, 18-year-old Alexander Worrall caused the Boynton Beach car accident on Wednesday that left an elderly couple with serious injuries when he ran a red light. The traffic crash occurred at the intersection of Military Trail and Old Boynton Beach Boulevard. The couple, 85-year-old Maurice Gartman and his 82-year-old wife Evelyn, is receiving treatment for their serious injuries at Delray Medical Center.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s investigators are trying to determine whether Worrall was intoxicated when the Boynton Beach traffic crash happened.

Red Light Running
According to the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, about 153,000 people were injured and nearly 900 others killed in the US in 2007 because drivers failed to stop at a red light. Meantime, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that red light running is a leading cause of urban collisions.

The most common reason why people run red lights is because they are in a “hurry” to get to their destination. However, what they forget in their rush to get to where their going is that red light running may actually prevent them from arriving at their destination. In the Institute’s 2009 analysis of deadly red light running accidents, it found that those most likely to run a red light were usually male and belonged to the under 30 age group. Many were involved in previous crashes, had a story of drunk driving, or received citations for speeding and other moving violations.

Our Boynton Beach car accident lawyers have seen the devastation that red right running can create in the lives of victims. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and the occupants of vehicles that had the right of way are the ones that end up suffering.

Authorities: Teen to blame for wreck that sent elderly couple to hospital in suburban Boynton Beach, The Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2011
Red Light Cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Red Means Red

More Blog Posts:

Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011
Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011 Continue reading

A 26-year-old Coconut Creek woman was killed on Thursday in a Broward County, Florida car accident. Amanda Smith was ejected from the Jeep she was a passenger in after the vehicle collided with a Lighthouse Point police cruiser.

Smith was not using a seat belt at the time of the Pompano Beach car crash. After being thrown from the auto, she was partially pinned under the Jeep, which had tipped over. Smith died at the collision site. She leaves behind her father and two sons, ages 5 and 6 months.

Boca Raton resident Gary Judd Costa, who was driving the Jeep, has been arrested. He is charged with DUI, possession of a controlled substance, and failure to exercise due care. He and Lighthouse Point Police Officer Mark Riemer sustained minor injuries.

According to police, Costa lost control of his Jeep on the Federal Highway. He then hit the concrete median before colliding with the police cruiser.

If someone you love was killed in a Broward County traffic crash, you may have reason to pursue damages from other liable parties. Because Florida is a comparative negligence state, even if the victim played a role in causing his injuries, compensation from any other liable parties for whatever percentage of the collision is deemed to be their fault is still possible. For example, if a Pompano Beach car accident victim is found be 30% at fault for his/her injuries, then the other responsible party can still be held accountable for 70% of whatever damages are awarded. Florida’s comparative negligence standard has been in effect since 1973.

Not all states follow this type of law. For example, some states follow the contributory negligence standard. Under this law, if an injured party is found even a little liable for his//her injuries, then he/she cannot recover any compensation.

Dad mourns daughter killed in police car crash, Sun-Sentinel, December 4, 2011

More Blog Posts:

Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011
$2.25M Palm Beach Car County Accident Verdict Awarded in Boynton Beach Wrongful Death, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, March 18, 2011
Mother Files Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit Against Alleged Drunk Driver Over Daughter’s Wrongful Death, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 17, 2010 Continue reading

Keith Gorski, a West Palm Beach police officer, is expected to survive the serious injuries he sustained in a Palm Beach County motorcycle crash on Wednesday. Gorski suffered multiple injuries, including several broken bones, when a car struck his bike.

According to police, Gorski was trying to stop a speeding car when he was hit by another vehicle. Rescuers had to perform CPR d on him before he was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center.

If you were injured in a West Palm Beach motor vehicle crash while doing your job, you likely cannot obtain Palm Beach County personal injury damages from your employer. However, if there were other parties or persons whose negligence caused your South Florida traffic crash, you may be entitled to damages from them.

The family of Eyder Ayala is suing University of Miami college student Ivanna Villanueva for Miami-Dade wrongful death. Ayala, 68 was killed on Sunday when the vehicle she was riding was rear-ended by the vehicle driven by Villanueva, 19.

Police say they believe that the University of Miami college student may have beeb under the influence of alcohol at the time. They say that she appears to have been driving at a high speed. According to, the impact of the crash was so severe that the trunk Ayala’s vehicle ended up in the front seat. She died at the Coral Gables car accident site.

Toxicology results are still pending, so it is not known at this time whether Villanueva will be charged with DUI. She is, however, charged with reckless driving and vehicular homicide. Meantime, Villanueva is out on bond and is under house arrest.

According to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there has been a 4.6% drop in the number of Florida traffic deaths. Compared to 2009, when there were Florida 2,565 motor vehicle fatalities, there were 2,444 Florida traffic deaths reported in 2010. That’s a nearly 31% drop since 2005. County wise, the number of traffic fatalities also went down in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties last year.

2010 figures also show, however, that the number of Florida pedestrian deaths have gone up by 3.5%. There were 482 pedestrian fatalities in 2009 and 499 Florida pedestrian deaths in 2010.

Other 2010 Florida Traffic Facts:

The woman who sustained a Florida traumatic brain injury when an ATV being driven by an on-duty cop hit her is suing the Clevelander Hotel and Erick Kuilan for Miami Beach personal injury. Kitzie Nicanor and her friend Luis Almonte, both 29, were walking on the beach before dawn when the ATV, which Kuilan was driving, struck them. As a result of her Florida TBI, Nicanor, who is still in the hospital, has experienced memory loss, problems concentrating, paralysis on her right side, and difficulty talking. She also broke a leg, sustained heart perforations, and had to have her spleen removed.

Nicanor is still in the hospital. Her Miami brain injury attorney says that she will likely have to undergo rehabilitation for years. She has a 1-year-old son.

According to her Miami-Dade County personal injury complaint, the Clevelander Hotel regularly lets on-duty cops drink alcohol and hang out at its clubs. (The Miami Beach Police says cops are banned from drinking while they are on-duty.) More than four hour after the ATV crash, Kuilan, who has since been fired from the force, still had a BAC exceeding Florida’s limit of .08%. He is charged with two counts of reckless driving resulting bodily injury and two counts of driving under the influence. Nicanor may also sue the City of Miami Beach.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a Miami Beach motor vehicle crash because someone was careless, reckless, or made mistakes, you may be entitled to Florida personal injury recovery. Some injuries are so serious that you will need all the financial compensation you can get to cover medical expenses, recovery costs, lost wages, and other damages. Sometimes, there is more than one party who should be held liable.

For example, in this Miami injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking to recover compensation not just from the person who was driving the ATV, but also from the establishment that allowed him to drink alcohol. She also is considering suing the city of Miami Beach, which employed Kuilan at the time.

Miami Beach hotel, fired cop sued in ATV crash, AP, July 29, 2011
Aunt: ATV crash a nightmare, The Miami Herald, July 7, 2011

Related Web Resources:

ATV Safety Institute

Miami Beach Police Department

More Blog Posts:
Man Files Miami Car Accident Lawsuit Against Ex-NBA Heat Player Alonzo Mourning, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 20, 2011
Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Yamaha Over Fatal WaveRunner Accident That Killed One Teen, Leaving Another With Brain Damage and Physical Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 20, 2011
$1.575M Broward County Injury Settlement Reached with Sheriff’s Office Over Abused Child’s Brain Damage, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 4, 2011 Continue reading

A widow whose husband died in a Palm City motorcycle accident last year is suing Port St. Lucie Police Sergeant John K. Holman for his Martin County, Florida wrongful death. John Garcia died when his motorcycle and the 2002 Jeep Wrangler by Holman collided at the intersection of Mapp Road and Catalina Street early on June 16, 2010. Holman was off-duty at the time.

Florida Highway Patrol cited Holman with failure to yield, but the citation was thrown out when the FHP officer who investigated the crash did not show up at the hearing. Now, however, Alice Garcia and her son Derek Garcia, have filed a Palm City, Florida wrongful death lawsuit against Holman seeking over $1 million. Their personal injury attorney also wants to know why a Florida traffic crash that ended in a vehicular homicide only resulted in a failure to yield citation.

Florida Traffic Crash Deaths

21-year-old William Candelario is suing former Miami Heat basketball player Alonzo Mourning for Florida personal injury. Candelario claims that the former NBA player failed to help him after he was injured in a Miami-Dade car crash on the Julia Tuttle Causeway on Sunday.

Mourning’s Porsche had reportedly stuck Candelario’s vehicle, which had been disabled in an earlier crash, close to the intersection with Interstate 95. The ex-Heat player says that he did stop and check on Candelario before leaving the scene. He then called the authorities and then returned to the crash site. He has not been charged in the crash. Candelario, however, believes that Mourning could have done more to help him. He is also suing Eddy Desir, who is the driver of the car that was involved in the first collision with him.

Candelario’s Miami car accident lawyer says that his client sustained a concussion and suffered memory loss. Because of his injuries, he received treatment at the Aventura Hospital emergency room twice. It is not known at this time whether any of Candelario’s Miami car crash injuries are permanent.