Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

A fatal Florida trucking accident lawsuit involving two distracted truck drivers has resulted in a $1 billion verdict.Palm Beach truck accident lawyer

As our Palm Beach trucking accident lawyers can explain, this type of verdict is not typical. However, it does reflect how a punitive damage award can substantially increase the amount one is compensated. Punitive damages, as outlined in F.S. 768.72, require special permission from the court as well as evidence the defendant was grossly negligent or acted with intention or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages can amount to treble (triple) the compensatory damages.

This case involved an 18-year-old freshman at the University of North Florida who was struck and killed by a distracted semi-truck driver in 2017. His car was one in a line of standstill traffic on I-95, all backed up because another semi-truck driver had crashed earlier into an RV, causing it to burst into flames. The two vehicles and debris blocked highway traffic well over a mile for more than an hour.

According to the Florida Times-Union, a truck driver approaching from behind was reportedly operating his semi on cruise control at 70 mph. The data recorder on board showed he didn’t even attempt to brake until just one second before the fatal impact. However, he wasn’t the only one deemed negligent.

Testimony at trial revealed the driver whose semi truck flipped in the earlier crash, causing the stalled traffic, reportedly:

  • Was distracted by his cell phone at the time of the crash.
  • Was in violation of federal Hours of Service limit regulations.
  • Did not have a commercial driver’s license at the time of the crash.
  • Ha previous traffic violations on his record, including for speeding and other acts of aggressive driving.
  • Was not given a background check prior to being hired.

Continue reading

Emotional and mental distress are common for anyone who’s been injured in a violent car accident. However, when considering claims for emotional distress or mental anguish, the Florida impact rule (also called the physical impact rule) requires claimants prove either:

  • They also experienced some physical impact, OR
  • Their emotional injuries were somehow manifested physically.

There are a few exceptions, but mostly, you will have a very tough time securing damages for emotional distress (anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, etc.) in Florida if you didn’t personally suffer a physical injury too.car accident lawyer

Generally speaking, a physical injury is a key element in crash claims. Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys often also seek compensation for emotional distress on behalf of our clients, but not without this element. Claims solely involving emotional distress can be exceedingly difficult, though not entirely impossible. It really depends on the individual circumstances. Clients should know upfront the potential challenges of such claims, and consult with several injury attorneys before deciding the next step. Continue reading

If you’re in a South Florida motorcycle accident, you may have sustained substantial injuries and are wondering what to do next. It can be more perplexing if you’re fairly sure you were at least partially at-fault for the crash. motorcycle accident lawyer West Palm Beach

Two things to bear in mind:

  • Never voice your conclusions of fault to the other party or to any insurance representatives without first talking to an injury lawyer. Even if you strongly suspect you’re to blame, there may be factors about which you’re unaware/that were out of your control that skew your perception of events.
  • Even if you were partially at-fault for what happened, Florida law favors a system of fair compensation for which everyone pays their own share. This is called comparative fault, and it means that if you were 30 percent at-fault and the other driver was 70 percent, the other driver would be responsible to pay 70 percent of your damages. So if your total losses were $100,000, you’d be entitled to receive $70,000.

Keep in mind that the final word on fault and what percentage each party shares is not up to the investigating police officer nor necessarily the insurance adjuster. Disputes with regard to fault are settled either in negotiations with your attorney and the insurer(s) and/or by a mediator or judge.

A West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyer can carefully investigate your case and gather evidence that will allow proper apportioning of fault. We’ll also work hard to protect your right to recover full and fair compensation. Continue reading

Road rage puts motorists at high risk of serious injury and death. And studies show people are aware that aggressive driving behavior is a major problem that contributes to traffic fatalities – yet 75 percent of U.S. motorists admit to driving aggressively. A higher percentage than that admitted in a survey to experiencing anger, aggression or road rage at some point behind the wheel in the 30 days prior.West Palm Beach road rage

It’s most commonly punctuated with tailgating, honking or yelling, though it’s defined as any extreme anger or aggression intending to create or cause physical harm. It might also involve:

  • Speeding in heavy traffic.

Florida lawmakers want to put the brakes on the state’s decades-old no-fault car insurance law. Both the state Senate and House passed a measure that would repeal the seventies-era statute requiring personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in favor of a system that would instead require all drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage.West Palm Beach car accident lawyer

Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys know the decision, which is now in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ court, could have a significant impact in the way we pursue damages in Florida car accident cases.

This state is one of only a handful remaining that uses the no-fault system of car insurance. As it stands, all vehicle owners are required per F.S. 627.736 to purchase PIP, which offers up to $10,000 in medical expense and wage loss reimbursements per crash and $5,000 for funeral expenses, regardless of fault. Those figures have stayed the same since 1979 (seven years after the law first went into effect), failing to keep a realistic pace with current medical expenses and other costs. Further, a more recent update to the law caps the recovery amount to $2,500 if the injuries don’t require emergency treatment. Continue reading

Teen drivers are notorious for being accident-prone. Their biggest disadvantage is their lack of experience, but they’re also poor judges of risk and are more likely to engage in hazardous behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and texting. A recent survey by consumer motorist researchers at Co-Pilot revealed teens in Florida are among the highest risk nationally, being more likely to drink and text while driving and less likely to wear a seat belt. Palm Beach car accident lawyer

The analysis looked at numerous risky driving behaviors, and ranked Florida teens 13th in the country. Nearly 8 percent don’t wear their seat belts, 6 percent admit to drinking and driving at some point in the last 30 days and 36 percent confess to texting and driving. All of these are illegal and increase the risk of a crash (or severity of injuries).

Florida, like many states, has numerous safeguards to help reduce the risks posed by teen drivers. For example, we have a graduated licensing process intended to help teens work up their experience level on the road with guidance from an older, responsible driver and fewer in-vehicle distractions (fellow teen passengers).

Insurers are likely to charge much more for teen coverage too, which is understandable, but the high rates can backfire.

As longtime Palm Beach car accident lawyers, we know teens are also less likely to have adequate insurance to cover the damages if they cause a crash. Frequently in such cases, we pursue vicarious liability against the teen driver’s parents as owners of the vehicle. Vehicle owners can be held liable – even if they weren’t driving – because in Florida, vehicles are considered dangerous instrumentalities. Continue reading

Many Floridians are tired, overworked or even exhausted. Behind the wheel, this can be deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 700 people are killed annually in drowsy driving accidents. The true number is probably much higher. Unfortunately, driver fatigue isn’t as easy to ascertain as conditions like alcohol impairment, even though the effects are similar. An earlier analysis indicated nearly 40,000 accident-related injuries in the U.S. annually are caused by sleepy drivers.West Palm Beach car accident lawyers

In Florida recently, three people – including two sisters – were tragically killed in an overnight highway crash while returning from vacation. Authorities speculated drowsy driving was the cause.

“We believe this driver may have been just tired,” an FHP official told the local news station. “Just drowsy. He did not state that, but that’s indicative of this type of crash that we see especially in the overnight hours.”

How Does Sleep Affect One’s Driving Abilities? 

As noted by the Sleep Foundation, drowsiness can have a significant impact on a driver’s judgment, coordination, attention, vigilance, decision-making skills, and reaction time. Continue reading

Personal injury litigation is the most common type of civil action in Florida courts. Car accident claims in particular are ubiquitous. Many of these will be settled prior to trial, but it’s important to understand that unless your degree of injury meets something called the “serious injury threshold,” your case won’t gain much traction.South Florida injury attorney

Florida is one of the few states that adheres to a no-fault system when it comes to car insurance. Vehicle owners are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, as outlined in F.S. 627.736. This provides up to $10,000 in coverage for medical bills and lost wages incurred in a crash, regardless of who caused it. Property damage liability coverage is separate.

For minor car accidents, PIP coverage may be more than enough. But if someone suffers serious injuries, that amount won’t go very far. Still, Florida law sets a serious injury threshold for personal injury recovery in car accident cases. In other words, your injuries must meet certain criteria in order to pursue damages against the at-fault driver. Some bruising on your arm and face probably won’t cut it, but if you’ve suffered broken bones or torn tendons, it might. Continue reading

Any car accident can be traumatic and stressful. But when you are pregnant, all of this is compounded two-fold. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that car accidents are a top cause of injury and death for pregnant women and a leading cause of traumatic fetal death. pregnant car accident Florida

As our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys can explain, crashes can present unique and scary complications for both mother and child. Knowing some of these unique risks and what should be done immediately after can help empower victims and increase your chances for fair compensation from negligent drivers.

See a Doctor – Even if You Feel Fine

First thing’s first: If you’re in a crash, get to the doctor right away, even if you aren’t transported to a hospital via ambulance. This is a critical precautionary measure for both you and your unborn child. Continue reading

You are driving down Clematis Street in West Palm Beach after work. You glance down to briefly look at your phone and respond to a text. Out of nowhere, a drunk driver veers into your lane from the opposing direction. You suffer serious and lasting physical injuries as a result of the car accident. Florida comparative negligence

Does the fact that you were texting and driving mean you can’t pursue damages from the drunk driver?

In Florida, the answer is “no.” The reason is because of Florida’s adherence to the negligence standard of pure comparative fault.

What does that really mean?

As our West Palm Beach injury lawyers can explain, per F.S. 768.81, it means that whatever percentage you were negligent, your financial recovery will be reduced by that amount.

So let’s take the above hypothetical car crash scenario. If you filed a personal injury lawsuit and the jury found you 25 percent negligent for the crash because you were texting and driving, your total damages would be reduced by 25 percent. So let’s say the court decided the case at your favor and determined you incurred $200,000 in damages. The drunk driver was 75 percent at fault. Your total damage award would be reduced by $50,000 (25 percent), so the most you would receive is $150,000. Continue reading

Contact Information