Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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teen driver crash risk

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for Florida teens, and adolescents face four times the crash risk as drivers over 20, particularly within the first 18 months after receiving their driver’s license. Part of the reason for that could be immaturity, which could lead to dangerous actions behind the wheel that heighten the crash risk. But a new report also finds teen drivers have a greater chance of serious injury or death in a crash because they’re more likely to be driving older, smaller cars.

As one research scientist for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated, “Despite everything we know about young drivers and crash risk, teens are still driving the least safe vehicles. Small vehicles do not protect as well in a crash, and older vehicles are less likely to be equipped with essential safety equipment.”

The study authors examined data from deadly crashes that occurred between 2013 and 2017. What they discovered was that among teen motorists killed in these crashes, those operating older vehicles faced four times the fatality risk as those driving newer models. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of teens who died in collisions were in vehicles that were older than six years. Teenagers also spend more than half their drive time in a vehicle that’s more than a decade old. Nearly one-third of those who died were in vehicles that were lighter and smaller. Less than 4 percent of teen drivers who lost their lives in crashes were in vehicles under three years old.

Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand parents’ reluctance to pay a lot of money for their teenager’s first vehicle. But what many probably are not aware of is how much less safe those older cars are.

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Florida emergency vehicle accidentsWe all know that when an emergency vehicle approaches with its lights flashing and sirens blaring, other motorists should make way – and fast. But what if you cannot move quickly enough? What if you did not see the lights or hear the sirens before it was too late? What if there were no lights or sirens activated at all?  As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, state law allows for legal accountability in Florida emergency vehicle accidents in some circumstances. Proving it will likely require an extensive investigation, expert witness testimony, and an experienced legal team.

According to the National Safety Council, emergency vehicle crashes – those involving police vehicles, ambulances or fire trucks – caused 168 U.S. deaths in 2018. Of those, less than half (48 percent) occurred while the authorized vehicles’ lights and sirens were in use. Most of those who died were either an occupant of non-emergency vehicles or pedestrians (69%). Police vehicles were involved in the most fatal crashes (64%), followed by ambulances (28%), and then fire trucks (8%). These numbers provide some insight but do not give us a full picture as non-fatal crashes are not included.

F.S. 316.072 allows emergency vehicle operators some leeway when it comes to traffic rules. For example, they can proceed past a red light or through a stop sign – but only after slowing down as necessary for safe operation. They can exceed the maximum speed limit – so long as the driver does not endanger life or property. They can also disregard regulations governing direction, movement, or turning – but only so long as life or property is not endangered. Many departments also have written policies that outline the caution their employees should use when responding to an emergency.

What the law makes clear is that while these first responders are tasked with critically important duties for which seconds count, they do not have free reign to drive recklessly on our roads or needlessly endanger others.

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Fort Myers injury lawsuitA Fort Myers injury lawsuit resulted in a jury verdict of more than $5 million in damages, which included $2.25 million for past and future pain and suffering a few years back.

The Daily Business Review reported that in 2017, a driver in Fort Myers was reportedly high on heroin when he crashed into the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff and her two children, who were in the backseat, were seriously injured. Initially, the other driver was arrested for driving under the influence, but he later pleaded guilty to lesser charges. His auto insurance company agreed to cover the cost of the children’s injuries but argued their mother’s injuries were mostly the result of a pre-existing condition. She filed a Fort Myers injury lawsuit. The defense conceded liability, but the plaintiff still had to prove the full extent of her damages – which included pain and suffering.

Here our South Florida injury attorneys explain what pain and suffering are in the context of tort law and what legal recourse you have to be compensated for it.

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Florida car accident lawyerA jury recently awarded a plaintiff $202 million in damages for a Florida car crash that left her seriously injured and her son with permanent, catastrophic injuries. Law.com reports the at-fault driver slammed into the passenger side of a vehicle, where the plaintiff, then 8-months-pregnant, was sitting, causing her to suffer placental abruption. She suffered serious injuries. Her baby, born prematurely, barely survived. The plaintiff reports the child, now 4, is blind and non-verbal with permanent brain damage and suffering some 20 seizures daily.

The defendant was convicted of drunk driving. He was negligent in the crash. Yet as the article notes, “The defendant … was uninsured and unrepresented, so the damages award of $202 million is likely unrecoverable.”

Uninsured drivers are indeed a serious problem in Florida. We have the highest percentage of uninsured motorists in the U.S. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 27 percent of motorists in Florida do not have auto insurance – even though it is required by law. Continue reading

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Fort Myers car accident lawyer

The novel coronavirus pandemic is dominating headlines – not to mention the lives of most Americans right now. But how might COVID-19 impact your Fort Myers car accident claim?

Our personal injury lawyers know several elements of your case could be affected by the pandemic, but the most important things to know are: You should not delay seeking medical treatment or consulting with an attorney. These are the quickest ways to jeopardize your health and reduce the value of your claim.

The silver lining in all of this is that with reduced traffic on the roads, we may see fewer crashes in total. However, pending cases will still proceed (even if delayed) and a crash during the pandemic is not impossible either.

That said, you should be aware of a few things that might be different. It is important to stay informed as we navigate this once-in-a-century national and global crisis. Continue reading

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side impact crashesChild car seat manufacturer Evenflo, maker of the “Big Kid booster seat,” promised parents on its website that the side impact tests the company had conducted to ensure safety were “rigorous,” and simulated realistic side-impact crashes. This may have been a key selling point for many parents, given that side-impact crashes are responsible for one-fourth of all deaths of children under age fifteen (15) in crashes. As our South Florida car accident lawyers have seen, side-impact crashes are more likely to cause severe injuries because the only thing separating the child from the intruding vehicle is the door.

For years, these booster seats were marketed as safe. In reality, according to a new ProPublica investigation, the side-impact crash testing fell far below what one might consider rigorous.

Internal video records show that Evenflo’s tests of child-sized crash test dummies in the Big Kid boosters in a T-bone crash scenario were thrown far out of their shoulder belts. One of the company’s top booster seat engineers conceded in a deposition that if an actual child had been sitting in that same seat, that type of movement could cause potentially catastrophic spinal, head and neck injuries. They would also be at high risk of death.

Despite this, Evenflo gave the booster seats a “passing grade” for safety in side-impact crashes. As ProPublica put it, “The company’s test bar was so low, the only way to fail was if the child-seized dummy ended up on the floor or the booster itself broke into pieces.” Continue reading

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Florida driveway accidentsPeople often consider their driveway as part of their “safe zone.” It is an extension of their home, and the only traffic – if any – is typically slow-moving, either pulling in or backing out. That is why driveways are fairly popular outdoor spaces for children to play – drawing with sidewalk chalk, shooting hoops or playing with water hoses.

The unfortunate truth is driveway accidents are far too common. According to KidsandCars.org, approximately 2,400 children in the U.S. are injured every year in driveway accidents. That is 50 every week, 2 of those dying from their injuries. Small children are at the highest risk of serious injury and death in driveway accidents, accounting for 64 percent of all non-traffic related auto fatalities.

In November of 2019, The News-Press reported the death of a 5-year-old girl in a Fort Myers driveway accident on Cypress Drive. She was playing in a driveway when the homeowner returned and made a left turn into his parking spot. His view of the girl was reportedly obstructed by a sport utility vehicle parked on the right side of the driveway. The girl was rushed to Lee Memorial Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead – the 79th road fatality in Lee County as of the end of November. Continue reading

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Cape Coral bicycle accident lawyersDrunk driving has long been a serious problem on Florida roads, but increasingly, so is drunk bicycling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports alcohol intoxication was a factor in 37 percent of all deadly bicycle crashes in 2017. That includes both motorists and cyclists.

As our Cape Coral bicycle accident lawyers can explain, not only can bicyclists be arrested for DUI just like drivers, the fact of a bicyclist’s intoxication can hurt the chances of securing a favorable verdict or settlement in the event of a crash with a car.

That is not to say it is impossible for a cyclist to win a bicycle accident lawsuit if he or she consumed alcohol prior to a crash. Frankly, it can make for a tougher case resulting in a reduced damage award. It is a fact that can alter your attorney’s strategy during settlement negotiations and at trial, so it is important to be forthright with your lawyer early on when discussing your legal options. Continue reading

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Florida car accident lawsuitThe crash itself, into a palm tree after the driver lost control, should not have killed him. He had not even suffered any broken bones. But according to the South Florida car incident lawsuit, an alleged malfunction of the Model S Tesla’s doors meant there was no escaping the electric vehicle after the lithium battery ignited. First responders, finding no other way to extricate him, watched on helplessly. The anesthesiologist’s widow says he died from smoke inhalation. Now, she’s suing Tesla, on behalf of herself and their five children.

The retractable door handles are supposed to auto-present when a key fob is detected nearby, the lawsuit said. But this time, it did not. The door handles could not be accessed, rendering the car a “death trap.”

This is far from the first time a Tesla has caught fire. Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys anticipate that unfortunately, this will probably be far from the last wrongful death lawsuit with a similar fact pattern.

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If you suffer car accident injuries in a crash caused by another driver’s sudden health emergency – such as a seizure or heart attack – the claim can be impeded by a defense known as the “sudden emergency doctrine.”car accident injuries

As our Cape Coral car accident injuries lawyers can explain, the law expects drivers to conduct themselves with a certain degree of reasonable care. Failure to do so is negligence.

But the law also recognizes that emergencies can arise. The sudden emergency doctrine is a defense that can be raised for people who are confronted with some unexpected danger. If established, it can mean the defendant isn’t held to the same standard of care as they might otherwise be for their actions. Continue reading

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