Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

hiring a lawyerThe period of time following an auto accident is stressful. You’re in pain, your vehicle is likely damaged, and it probably feels like the paperwork will never end. You want to hire a car accident lawyer, but how can you be sure that you’re hiring the right one for you?

Before you commit to hiring an attorney, it’s important that you schedule a sit-down with them. This meeting is called an initial consultation, and it will not only give you a chance to get to know the attorney a little before you commit to working with them, but it will also give the attorney a little information about you and your case.

We’ve accumulated some of the most important questions you should ask before you hire a car accident lawyer. Read on to learn what you should ask and why.

Florida_I-95_from_Lantana_Road_overpass-1024x768If you’ve been on a drive through our beautiful Sunshine State in the last year, you may have spotted something among the palms and coastal views: signs and billboards featuring the words “Arrive Alive”. The Arrive Alive campaign was introduced shortly after the end of 2016, the year that highlighted Florida as one of the worst in the nation for traffic deaths.

We know that Florida has never been a stranger to traffic incidents, seeing as it’s a place that millions call home and thousands more move to each year. But because of the steadily-rising population and Florida’s unique geography accidents have been steadily rising and turning deadlier each day as we reach mid-2017.

It’s important to know just why these incidents are occurring more frequently and to learn how to protect yourself and loved ones from becoming victims of an accident. Read on for more.

car accident legal process
No one likes to think about being involved in an accident. Car accidents are stressful at best and at their worst, they can be completely devastating. Regardless, it’s important to understand the legal stages that follow after an accident. It pays to be well prepared should an accident happen to you.

Stage 1: Initial Investigation

In the first stage, an attorney will open an investigation to determine if your accident case is viable. They’ll unearth the facts and evidence to support your damage or injury claim.

jury during trialA recent Florida appellate case illustrates the dramatic impact that social media can have on litigation. In Murphy v. Roth, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant after sustaining injuries in an automobile accident. The issues of whether the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s damages and the amount that the plaintiff was entitled to receive as compensation, if anything, were hotly contested. During trial, the plaintiff asserted that her vehicle was struck in the rear “by a phantom vehicle,” which caused her car to swerve. She lost control and then was hit by the defendant’s vehicle and forced off the road.

The defendant refuted this by saying that the plaintiff’s vehicle collided with his vehicle on the rear passenger side, forcing his car to the right. Then, the plaintiff’s car struck the front right side of his car, which caused him to spin off the roadway.

Voir dire is a process in a trial that is used to select jurors. During the procedure, both parties have an opportunity to ask jurors questions and object to any jurors being on the final jury panel. Objections can be based on biases, but the parties each have a number of objections they can make without having to give an explanation as to why they would like to remove that prospective juror.

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Florida_I-95_from_Lantana_Road_overpassThere are many Federal and Florida state laws in place that protect drivers from accidents that occur as the result of a defective roadway design. Florida experiences a never-ending flux of tourist traffic and some of the highest rates of roadway construction in the country. This leads to many opportunities for defective roadway crashes to occur.

It can be very difficult to establish liability in a defective roadway design case, due to the large number of statutory protections that are afforded to the government entities that are responsible for designing our public roadways and highways. A recent Arizona Supreme Court decision, however, shows Florida residents that it is not entirely impossible for a plaintiff to recover compensation when his or her injuries are the direct result of a defective roadway design.

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child's handsWhen it comes to children involved in car accidents, there are a number of special laws that apply to protect their interests. In the recent case of Allen v. Montalvan, et al., three children were injured in a car accident. The driver of the car in which the injured minors were riding was the grandmother of two of the children and the mother of the third. Unfortunately, the driver was killed in the accident. The other three passengers consisted of the mother and another minor child, both of whom suffered minor injuries in the accident.

Two days after the collision, the mother executed an agreement with a law firm to provide her family and her with legal representation, including the minor children injured in the accident. A term in this agreement provided the law firm with the right to handle legal claims on behalf of the minor children, including settlements. The law firm sent a letter to the family’s insurance carrier, requesting information about the policy’s coverage and limits. The insurance policy provided limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.

The law firm had a discussion with the insurance carrier, the details of which are heavily disputed by both of the parties. According to the insurer, the employee with whom the law firm spoke said that the insurer would be tendering the policy limits to extinguish all bodily injury claims. She said the law firm requested two checks for $25,000 each, among other details. According to a lawyer at the firm, the conversation transpired differently. The insurer agreed to tender the full policy limit, but the parties did not discuss specific check and dollar amounts.

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ambulance in lotIn the recent case of Medical Center of The Palm Beaches v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal had a chance to consider whether a qualified medical provider must determine that an emergency medical condition was present for benefit payments to exceed $2,500 under Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) statute. More specifically, in order for an insured to receive more than $2,500 in payments, does the insurer need to conclude that an emergency medical condition is present?

The insured in this case suffered injuries in a car accident. The injuries required her to seek medical care at an urgent care facility. At the facility, she indicated she was experiencing pain in her cervical region and right shoulder. The treating physician referred her to a physical therapist. After obtaining treatment, the plaintiff submitted invoices to the insurer, but the insurer denied the claim for compensation. According to its analysis, Florida Statutes section 627.736(1)(a)(4) only required the insurer to pay a maximum of $2,500 under the policy. It sent a letter to the insured, asking her to provide a determination from the treating physician stating that the plaintiff was experiencing an emergency medical condition.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the insurer, stating that it breached the insurance agreement when it failed to pay for the full scope of the plaintiff’s medical treatment. After filing suit, the plaintiff sent a note from her treating physician stating that she was experiencing an emergency medical condition. The insurer then paid the outstanding invoices until the policy limits were reached. It moved for summary judgment, which the lower court granted, concluding that the statute in question capped medical benefit payments at $2,500 unless the insured can prove that they received emergency medical treatment. The lower court also agreed with the insurer that it was correct in asking for documentation regarding the nature of the plaintiff’s injury, and it rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the insurer waived its right to assert certain defenses when it paid the additional benefits.

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parked white vanIn Boyles v. Dillards, Inc., the plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident when her vehicle partially collided with a delivery van that was owned and operated by Dillard’s. Timothy Davis, a Dillard’s employee, was driving the van at the time of the accident. During trial, there was no dispute that each driver was driving in the same lane of a two-lane highway. Davis was driving immediately behind the plaintiff when the accident happened. The evidence also showed that the Dillard’s van struck the right rear corner of the plaintiff’s car.

The plaintiff testified that she did not leave the lane in which she was traveling and that the van struck her car when she made a right turn into her driveway. According to Davis, the plaintiff left the lane in which she was traveling and merged into a gore that was on the left of the lane in which the cars were traveling. Davis then testified that the plaintiff abruptly directed her car back into the lane in which they were traveling and that he did not have enough time to avoid colliding with her vehicle.

The plaintiff sued Dillard’s for damages. During the litigation, she brought a motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether she had sustained permanent injuries to her shoulder. The court ruled in her favor on this issue. Next, the plaintiff went to trial on the issue of whether Davis was negligent at the time of the crash, whether he caused the crash, and whether the plaintiff also sustained permanent back injuries. Following the trial, the jury concluded that the defendant was not negligent.

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Charlotte_Amalie_harbor,_Saint_Thomas,_US_Virgin_IslandsThe recent case of Morrissey v. Subaru of America, Inc. involved a motor vehicle accident in which a husband and wife sustained injuries after the car in which they were riding accelerated unexpectedly and crashed into a fence made out of stone. The accident occurred in the Virgin Islands, a territory of the United States. The women sustained severe injuries during the accident that left her paralyzed permanently.

After the accident, the couple brought a legal action against the maker of the automobile, a Japanese company, in Florida court. In their complaint, the husband and wife asserted multiple theories of recovery, including negligent design, strict liability, negligence per se, breach of warranty, negligent manufacturing, and failure to warn. The husband also asserted a loss of consortium claim.

Continue reading Florida state appellate court recently reversed a trial court’s ruling in a case involving a woman who sustained injuries after the car in which she was riding collided with a dead horse lying across the roadway. As a result of the collision, the woman’s vehicle overturned, which caused her to suffer severe harm.

After the accident, the woman initiated a lawsuit against the County Sheriff, which the woman initially won. Following the suit, the woman filed a motion for additur, which requests the court to increase the amount of damages that the jury awarded to the prevailing party in its verdict. The trial court granted the motion and issued a judgment.

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