Articles Tagged with West Palm Beach car accident lawyer

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

A shocking 57 percent of all motorists were using their cell phones within one minute of crashing this year, according to a recent study by transportation analytics firm Zendrive. Nearly 17 percent of motorists in crashes had been using their phones in the five-second window just before. car accident lawyer

Study authors culled data from more than 86,000 crashes that took place in the U.S. throughout this year. What they found was that not only were there record-setting crash rates – even amid pleas to stay home and social distance – but that these very often included some form of distracted driving. Even more troubling, distraction appeared to grow worse as the year wore on.

Of course, distracted driving is a problem that existed long before 2020.  Unfortunately, it seems likely to continue being a scourge for years to come. The upheaval in travel patterns of late serves only to highlight this longstanding issue.

Sending a single text message can tear a driver’s eyes away for nearly 5 seconds. If you’re traveling 70 mph (the maximum speed on most Florida highways), that’s like traveling 1.5 football fields completely blind. While a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is associated with a 12.5 percent reduction in reaction times, sending a text message or engaging on a social media site is associated with a 38 percent reduction in reaction time.

As we prioritize the health and safety of our community in many other ways in the coming year, our South Florida injury lawyers urge everyone to do so on the road as well. Continue reading

Americans have been driving less in recent months, and some auto insurance companies recently announced they’ll be extending financial breaks to policyholders through June. That may help more drivers hang onto their policies, but many have already had their coverage either canceled or reduced. Even before the Florida unemployment rate topped 13 percent, the Sunshine State had the highest percentage of uninsured drivers at nearly 27 percent. If you’re in a Florida auto accident with an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, it’s important to understand your rights as well as the means by which you can still be compensated.West Palm Beach car accident attorneys Continue reading

A city police officer struck by a van and seriously injured while directing traffic in Florida secured a claim for workers’ compensation and a settlement of $1.5 million against the at-fault driver. More recently though, he lost his claim for bad faith insurance. Florida car accident lawyer

Florida’s bad faith insurance law is designed to protect people why buy insurance and fulfill their contractual obligations (paying their premiums) by making sure the insurer acts in good faith when investigating, handling and settling an insured’s claims. Insurers are compelled to settle claims when a reasonably prudent person would. Failure to settle when extended a reasonable offer to do so can give rise to a bad faith insurance action.

In deciding whether an insurer has acted in bad faith, courts are supposed to consider the totality of the circumstances. The standard isn’t negligence but whether the insurer acted diligently with the same speed, care and rigor it would if it were in the insured’s shoes in working to avoid an excess judgment.

In many bad faith insurance claims stemming from auto accidents, the third-party injured person can obtain from the right to step into the shoes of the at-fault driver insured and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurer. That was what happened in the recent bad faith insurance case involving the Florida city police officer. 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.

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