Articles Posted in Car Accidents

From the time they burst onto the traffic landscape, ride share services like Lyft and Uber have been touting their success in driving down the number of drunk drivers and making streets safer. However, Southeast Florida auto accident lawyers are aware of a growing body of evidence suggesting in fact the opposite may be true. South Florida Lyft accident lawyer

In cities throughout Florida – indeed, throughout the country – there is evidence that Uber and Lyft drivers create more danger in cities where they opposite – for a myriad of reasons.

Uber and Lyft accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach have been mounting, as too has litigation. Both companies offer a maximum $1 million of insurance for bodily injury liability and/or wrongful death caused by rideshare drivers.

Among the factors cited in Uber and Lyft accidents: Continue reading

Drunk driving accidents in Florida claim thousands of lives – 12 percent more than the national average. West Palm Beach injury attorneys know it’s a serious problem especially in South Florida. When it comes to liability, obviously the drunk driver can be held responsible, but there are circumstances under which others can be held responsible too.West Palm Beach drunk driving injury lawyer

For example, there are dram shop liability cases, which in Florida per F.S. 768.125 only includes vendors who served alcohol to individuals who are either under the age of 21 or who are known to be habitually addicted to alcohol. Other states have broader laws for what encompasses liability.

There may even be circumstances when one’s employer can be responsible. For example, some employers have been deemed liable for alcohol-related injuries (primarily drunk driving accidents) if they encourage employees to drink on-the-clock or compel workers to attend after-hours events consuming alcohol with clients, etc. These aren’t always slam-dunk cases, but a recent ruling out of Oregon shows that employers won’t necessarily be automatically entitled to a summary judgment either. Continue reading

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it doesn’t stay that way for long when drunk drivers hit the streets of South Florida over the end-of-year holidays. An although it’s been said many times, many ways, “Stay Sober, or Get Pulled Over.”

Miami drunk driving injury attorneys know no matter how many times motorists are warned, there will seemingly inevitably be drunk drivers out on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.drunk driving injury lawyer

We have more drivers of all ages expected on the roads through the end-of-year festivities, with more than a few loaded up on liquid courage and ready to play Russian roulette with their lives on the way to their next destination. If only it was solely their own future with which they were gambling.

Some will become the last among an estimated 34,500 people to die on our roads in 2018. Others will be among the first of 2019. On any given day, seven people die in Florida drunk driving accidents, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, each have an average of 11 drunk driving deaths. (Keep in mind: That doesn’t include the serious injuries that result from these collision too.) The riskiest time on the road December 31st is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (when nearly 44 percent of that day’s crashes occur) and on January 1st between midnight and 3 a.m. Jan. 1st (when about 30 percent of the day’s fatal crashes occur).

Police Report Miami Drunk Driving Numbers Down

On the bright side, it does appear appear some drivers are catching on, with Miami-Dade police reporting overall DUI arrests were down 65 percent last year compared to 2014, according to NBC-Miami. The previous running average was about 1,500 DUI arrests a year, last year it dropped to 600 arrests. In the City of Miami, DUI arrests are reportedly down 31 percent. Continue reading

An Orlando car accident lawsuit alleges vehicle manufacturer Tesla has mislead consumers into believing the autopilot feature of these vehicles is more capable – and safer – than it truly is. Florida car accident attorneys know that while claims against car makers isn’t a new phenomenon, this case could foreshadow what we can expect in the courts when the auto industry is rolling out ever more advanced tech for use on our roads.car accident lawyer Orlando

According to Wired, the autopilot feature was a key reason he opted to buy the Tesla Model S vehicle last year. His daily work commute was 250 miles round trip, most of it on the highway, and he concluded the semi-autonomous driving system would make his life easier. He used the feature on a regular basis, allowing it to keep the car in his lane and avoid other moving vehicles. During his ride, he relaxed, checked his emails, private messages and social media – though he insists he never completely stopped paying attention. Then a few weeks ago, as he was returning home to Winter Garden from his job in Fort Pierce, Autopilot engaged at 80 mph on the Florida Turnpike, something unexpected happened: He crashed. He struck a disabled, empty Ford Fiesta that was abandoned in his lane of travel.

Now his car accident lawsuit, filed in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, alleges severe permanent injuries, including a fractured vertebrae. In a written statement, a company spokesperson indicated the automaker has no reason to believe the feature somehow failed, stressing that when Autopilot is engaged, it is still the driver’s duty to stay alert to their surroundings and “in control of the vehicle at all times.” The company insists it has never advertised the feature as a fully autonomous system and never promised that Autopilot would make the car crash-free. Prior to using Autopilot for the first time, drivers are required to watch the road and keep their hands on the wheel. If a driver goes more than a few seconds without their hand on the wheel, a warning bell starts to ding. Continue reading

Anyone involved in a West Palm Beach car accident should become familiar with the acronym, “PIP,” which under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law refers to “personal injury protection” benefits, as outlined in F.S. 627.736.West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorney

As our car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can explain, it basically works like this: You’re  in an auto accident. You’re hurt. It doesn’t matter which driver is at-fault, the PIP auto insurance will cover its own insured (and passengers, qualifying resident relatives and in some cases, non-vehicle occupants such as pedestrians or bicyclists).

However, the most you can possibly recover is up to 80 percent of your medical expenses and 60 percent of your lost wages – maxing out at $10,000 (assuming your injuries are emergent; otherwise, you’re capped at $2,500). It’s only in cases of serious, debilitating, permanent or fatal injuries, as outlined in F.S. 627.737, that one can step outside of that no-fault system to file an injury lawsuit against the negligent driver or file a claim for your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits.

Tort Reform Advocates Claim Frivolous Crash Claims Clogging the System Continue reading

The family of a girl killed in a drunk driving crash fueled by alcohol given to her and her boyfriend by a 22-year-old high school basketball coach sought to sue the school district for liability in the case. drunk driving injury attorney

However, the Washington Supreme Court held that the school district could be neither directly or vicariously liable in the case. That does not mean the family is wholly without options in pursuing a claim for wrongful death, but it does mean this is the end of the claim against the school district.

As our dedicated drunk driving death attorneys in West Palm Beach can explain, unlike most car accident lawsuits, drunk driving litigation usually involves more than one defendant, especially when the person who was impaired behind the wheel was a minor who couldn’t lawfully consume alcohol in the first place.

Suing the at-fault driver responsible for your South Florida car accident injuries is really just the first of what could be several legal options. The other driver might be liable for negligent operation of that vehicle, but the vehicle’s owner might be vicariously liable. So too might the driver’s employer, if the driver was acting in the course and scope of employment when they crashed. If the crash was caused in whole or in part due to a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part, the product designer, manufacturer and/ or marketer could be held responsible too.Palm Beach car accident attorney

Thoroughly investigating the case and identifying and naming potential defendants is imperative because failure to do so could result in you not receiving all the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled.

In any injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the court will be asked to apportion fault. The defendant driver shares a percentage (sometimes all) of the fault. Sometimes you, the plaintiff, will be assigned a percentage of fault (known as comparative fault, though thankfully in Florida, F.S. 768.81 does not bar you from collecting compensation, even if your damages will be proportionately reduced). Other named defendants may also be apportioned fault, and they will be responsible for paying their fair share. However, if the court finds that a non-party is responsible for some percentage of the blame, you may not be able to collect their share of the damages.

However, there is a bit of good news for plaintiffs who acknowledge there is another potential defendant, but don’t know his/ her identity. (We see this in hit-and-run crashes and so-called “phantom vehicle” cases). The saving grace there is uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) benefits.  Continue reading

Auto insurers in Florida have two duties with regard to their insureds:

  • A responsibility to indemnify, or pay damages for which insured would otherwise be liable (up to policy limits);
  • Duty to defend insured from legal action (i.e., hire a lawyer and help mount a defense).car accident attorney

Even if an insurer argues it doesn’t have a duty to indemnify (the incident is not one that is covered or the person is not one for whom coverage should be extended), there is often still a duty to defend. Failure to adhere can be a form of bad faith insurance. This could ultimately be an issue for plaintiff to deal with directly if the at-fault driver assigns whatever claims he or she might have had against the insurer for this over to plaintiff as part of whatever settlement is ultimately reached.

Insurers are within their rights to outline the parameters under which they will provide coverage, and there are unfortunately a host of rules and exceptions in almost every policy. However, many times insurers will interpret their policies a bit more broadly than they should, which is why it’s important to have an experienced car accident attorney in South Florida who will fight for you and take them to task. Continue reading

A grieving father whose daughter was killed in a highway motor vehicle accident in Tennessee involving an allegedly defective guardrail purchased a television advertisement at a local West Palm Beach affiliate airing the Super Bowl in President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort community. The father did so in the hopes the president would take notice of the ad, noting the president had promised to address highway guardrail safety in his recent infrastructure plan.car accident attorney

The specific guardrail in question is one produced by X-LITE. It’s a brand that state highway officials across the country are scrambling to remove after a rash of serious and fatal crashes wherein the guardrail allegedly pierces rather than absorbs or deflects fast-moving vehicles.

CBS News reported that like so many others involved in these kind of collisions, the man’s 17-year-old daughter was killed when she struck the guardrail, which instead of collapsing (as is the reported intention of the design) acted as a spear. The guardrail struck the girl in the head and chest, resulting in fatal injuries. Continue reading

Courts in Florida have established a legal concept known as “rebuttable presumption” when it comes to rear-end collisions. The rebuttable presumption is that if a vehicle strikes another from behind, the rear vehicle was presumptively negligent, though that can be rebutted. There are some specific exemptions to the rule, and motorists filing claims should pay attention to these. car accident lawyer

This rebuttable presumption can make it easier for plaintiffs in these cases to prove liability, and it can also make it tougher for the defendant to prove comparative fault. Florida is a pure comparative fault state. That means whatever percentage of fault is shared by the plaintiff will proportionately reduce the amount of damages paid by the defendant – up to 99 percent. So for instance, if you were 40 percent at-fault for a crash and the defendant was 60 percent at-fault, defendant would only be responsible to pay 60 percent of your total damages.

Some of the grounds on which the rebuttable presumption can be challenged (per the 2007 ruling in Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Saleme) are:

  • Evidence of mechanical failure by the rear vehicle (in which case, the vehicle manufacturer may be liable);
  • Evidence/ testimony of an unexpected or sudden stop or lane change (drivers must anticipate these scenarios to an extent and maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead; defendants must prove the stop or lane change truly both sudden and unexpected);
  • Evidence the vehicle was not stopped legally on the roadway.

Continue reading