Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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Florida golf cart accident lawsuitIn a somewhat recently-filed South Florida golf cart accident lawsuit, plaintiffs allege an elderly gentleman died because a reckless driver failed to use reasonable care.

As our Florida golf cart accident lawyers can explain, per F.S. 316.212, golf carts incapable of traveling more than 20 mph aren’t typically allowed to be operated on public roads – unless the roadway has a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less and is specifically designated for golf cart use. Golf carts are allowed to cross portions of a county road intersecting with a road approved for golf carts or a road that intersects a golf course or mobile home park. In any case, the roadway should have posted signs clearly indicating golf cart crossings. Operators of golf carts need not be licensed, but if they’re going to operate on a designated public roadway, they must be at least 14-years-old.

The recent case out of Delray Beach involved an 83-year-old grandfather who died in June after his golf cart was reportedly struck by a car at a crossing near a golf course. The decedent was reportedly crossing South Ocean Boulevard at an intersection with golf cart crossing signs. The Florida golf course accident lawsuit alleges the car driver was speeding, disregarded golf cart warning signs, and improperly passed another vehicle on the road before striking the cart.

 

According to Palm Beach Daily News, the decedent and his friend had just finished half of their first round of golf and were on their way to the other side of the course – by way of a designated crossing – when they were struck. The posted speed limit on the road is 35 mph. The police reported the defendant driver was traveling somewhere between 45-70-mph at the time of the collision. He reportedly didn’t see the golf cart before it was too late. The cart spun and then flipped. The passenger was pinned underneath, while the decedent was ejected, struck the passenger side of the car and ultimately landed on the road. He later died at the hospital, and is survived by his wife, adult children, and grandchildren.

While the Florida golf cart accident lawsuit is pending in civil court, a state prosecutor declined to press criminal charges. The assistant state attorney said that while the driver was careless behind the wheel, his actions didn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense. Police had initially sought a warrant in the case for vehicular homicide, but the state attorney has prosecutorial discretion. This, of course, underlines a key point in civil litigation, which is that the goals and proof burdens are very different than in criminal court. It isn’t necessary for someone to be charged or convicted in criminal court to prevail in a civil lawsuit. Instead, what is needed is to establish failure to use reasonable care, which is defined as the degree of caution a reasonable person would use in the same or similar circumstances. Continue reading

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Fort Myers car accident lawyerAnother rainy season is just around the corner here for us in Southwest Florida, where an average of 56 inches of rain falls annually. Just as safely navigating snow and ice are critical skills for drivers up north, careful driving in severe thunderstorms is imperative for motorists in South Florida. As a longtime Fort Myers car accident lawyer, over the years I’ve seen too many preventable crashes caused by drivers who failed to use adequate caution during heavy rain.

Although turbulent weather can be cited as a factor in a collision, it doesn’t negate the fault of drivers who operate their vehicles with less care than they should during a downpour.

If you drive in Florida, you owe certain reasonable duties of care to your passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, construction workers, bicyclists and anyone else sharing the road. Drivers are expected to take any and all precautions to drive safely at all times. Reasonable care is expected with regard to every vehicle or person in the foreseeable zone of danger. That means mostly driving at a speed that is reasonable for the amount of traffic on the road, but it also means adjusting one’s speed and driving behavior in accordance with weather conditions.

For example, a driver caught in a sudden rainstorm may be moving at the speed limit but still deemed to be negligently operating their vehicle because of the significantly reduced visibility and increased potential to skid and slide. Continue reading

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South Florida injury lawyerAs a longtime Florida car accident lawyer, I’ve come across many individuals who were tricked into believing that if they were involved in a crash, they had nothing to worry about because “I have full coverage.”

Unfortunately, in the auto insurance world, “full coverage” doesn’t go half as far as most people think. And even in situations with decent insurance, it can be a tooth-and-nail battle to compel the insurance company to pay their fair share.

In Florida, people have an especially warped view of how much might be covered because of the fact that we are a no-fault auto insurance state. The (erroneous) presumption is that insurance is going to cover damages, no matter who is at-fault. Although it is true that Florida requires personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of every vehicle owner, some (like motorcyclists) are expressly excluded. Plus, it only covers up to $10,000 in damages – and sometimes even getting them to pay that requires negotiation.

What Exactly Does it Mean to Have “Full Coverage” in Florida?

If you’re involved in a crash with another driver who assures you, “Don’t worry – I’m fully covered,” you shouldn’t assume that everything will be covered and that it’s ok to relax. For one thing, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you can’t collect damages from the other motorist at all unless your injuries meet the serious injury threshold criteria, outlined in F.S. 627.737. You’d also have to prove the fault of the other driver. Over the years we have learned that insurance companies often don’t do the right thing and fairly pay claims; if they did our law firm would have little purpose and would likely be out of a job.

But beyond that, “full coverage” simply means that one has the bare minimum coverage legally required by Florida law – and that ain’t much. Specifically: Continue reading

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Florida distracted driving crashesFood delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, have been doing booming business in recent years. The online food delivery industry is now generating more than $26 million annually, and nearly one-third of Americans say they used food delivery services twice a week. But as their popularity has risen, so too have reported Florida distracted driving crashes attributed to their drivers.

Last year, there was the tragic case of an Uber Eats driver allegedly slamming into the back of a motorcycle in Tampa, killing a 19-year-old University of Tampa student on the rear of the bike and permanently injuring her brother, the operator. The 33-year-old food delivery service driver was reportedly on her phone making a delivery near campus when the crash occurred. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the police cited the driver for failure-to-yield, but the citation was tossed when the traffic officer failed to appear in court – a ruling the police department is appealing. No criminal charges have been filed, but the victim’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. They allege Uber, its subsidiary, and the driver are all liable for their daughter’s untimely death. Specifically, they say the driver was rushed and inattentive/on her phone, and that Uber is negligent in failing to train her and for encouraging driver distraction with a feature that prompts workers to communicate with customers while they’re driving. Plaintiffs also say the company hired the driver despite a poor driving record that included citations for speeding, carelessness, and a crash.

Similar cases have been reported from Boston to San Francisco. There are currently numerous, ongoing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against the drivers, vehicle owners, and delivery app companies.

Factors in Food Delivery Driver Crashes

The reality is food delivery drivers have always been slightly more prone to crashes, even before smartphones were everywhere. In fact, they have one of the highest occupational fatalities rates in the U.S. Primary factors driving up crashes for food delivery drivers: Continue reading

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large truck crashesLarge truck crashes are on the rise throughout the U.S., according to a new report by federal safety regulators. This news comes just as trucking industry lobbyists have begun pushing hard for relaxed safety rules on things like hours of service and CDL age requirements to combat supply chain snags and driver shortages.

Fort Myers, Florida truck accident lawyers at Garvin Injury Law were troubled to learn that fatal accidents involving large trucks (those with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000+ pounds) reached nearly 4,500 in a single recent year. That’s the highest it’s been since 2005 when overall crash rates were at record highs. Factor in buses, and that figure shoots up to 5,230. About 1 percent of the total 550,000 large truck accidents reported each year are deadly, per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, the number of fatal crashes has gone up, even as the overall number of accidents has slightly fallen.

We also can’t overlook the fact that even when truck crashes aren’t deadly, people are frequently suffering injuries that are extremely serious if not catastrophic. There were 160,000 large truck crash injuries reported in 2019. Data shows us time and again that when someone is hurt or killed in a large truck accident, it’s the occupants of other vehicles – not the trucker –  bearing the brunt Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are also at high risk.

As for when/where large truck crashes are most likely to occur, the FMCSA gives the following breakdown:

  • 57 percent of all fatal large truck crashes occur in rural areas.
  • 25 percent occur on interstate highways, like I-75.
  • 13 percent fell in both categories, occurring on rural interstate highways.
  • 36 percent of all fatal truck accidents and 22 percent of all injury crashes occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • 83 percent of fatal trucking accidents happened on weekdays.

The largest percentage of drivers involved in fatal truck accidents are between the ages of 46 and 55. Continue reading

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Florida's careless driving statute Drivers who cause South Florida car accidents rarely intend to hurt anyone. However, Florida’s careless driving statute does not consider a driver’s intention. What matters is whether the driver was using reasonable regard for the laws and current road conditions. Failure to use reasonable care, the basic allegation in a careless driving traffic case, is also what injury lawyers assert when alleging negligence in many Florida crash cases. As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers can explain, a driver who is negligent failed to use reasonable care. They can be held legally liable to cover some – or all – of the resulting damages (assuming the injuries were serious enough to exceed the criteria set forth in F.S. 627.737).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates some 95 percent of crashes are caused by human error. Florida’s careless driving statute is outlined in F.S. 316.1925. It states anyone operating a vehicle on any street or highway in Florida, “shall drive … in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances, so as to not endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Failure to do so is careless driving.

Careless driving is frequently cited in cases like rear-end car accidents and failure-to-yield crashes. It’s also sometimes cited by officers in distraction cases, though if they can specifically prove it, they may assert a violation of F.S. 316.305, Florida’s distracted driving law. This provision bans not only texting while driving, but also emailing, instant messaging, and other forms of nonvoice interpersonal communication behind the wheel.

Allegations of careless driving may cross the threshold into “aggressive careless driving,” as defined in F.S. 316.1923, if two or more traffic violations occur at the same time or one right after the other.

Some examples of applicable violations: Continue reading

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Florida car accident injury riskA new analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that car accident injury risks are higher for women than men, though the reason appears to have little to do with physical differences. Rather, it comes down to the types of vehicles women tend to drive compared to men.

As our Fort Myers car accident injury lawyers know, men have long been known to be overrepresented in fatal crashes. Research suggests this is because men on average drive more miles and often engage in riskier driving behaviors (speeding, impaired driving and foregoing seat belts, etc.). But once IIHS researchers controlled for speed and other factors, they found women on a per-crash basis were nearly 30 percent more likely to be killed and 37-73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries.

They concluded this had to do largely with the types of motor vehicles women tend to drive. Once study authors limited comparison to similar crashes and vehicle types, the gender discrepancies mostly disappeared. Women are more likely to drive cars that are smaller and lighter. They’re also more likely than men to be driving the vehicle that is struck in front-to-rear and side-impact crashes. These types of crashes can result in more severe injuries.

Curiously, they did discover an unexplained phenomenon of women being especially prone to serious leg injuries compared to men, something researchers said “will require more investigation.” Continue reading

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Fort Myers hit and run injury lawyerEnduring any car crash is painful enough. But 25 percent of those in Florida car crashes have no one to answer for what happened because the at-fault driver took off or fled the scene. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports 1 in 4 crashes in the Sunshine State are hit-and-run accidents. There are laws on the books intended to hold fleeing drivers accountable. But even if those drivers are never caught, there may still be several insurance claim options that can help injured persons collect damages. If you’re hurt in a Fort Myers hit-and-run accident, injury lawyers advise taking certain steps to preserve evidence and protect your right to recover your losses from what insurance companies call a “Phantom Vehicle”

Fort Myers Hit and Run Accident Laws

An accident is considered a “hit-and-run” when a driver flees the scene without staying long enough to exchange personal information with the other driver (name, address, license number, vehicle registration, insurance information) or to render aid and “reasonable assistance” to anyone who’s injured. Per F.S. 315.062, reasonable assistance can mean simply calling 911 or, in some cases, physically taking the injured person to a hospital themselves.

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Naples car accident lawyerYou’re going about a regular day when suddenly you’re blindsided in a Florida car accident. Traumatic and jarring, the experience may leave you bewildered about what to do next. Often, one of the first questions is, “Do I really need a lawyer?”

The answer depends on a myriad of factors. Let’s start with something we can say unequivocally: There is no law anywhere in Florida statutes that says you must hire a lawyer if you’re involved in a crash. However, there are numerous situations in which it would be prudent or even strongly advisable to do so.

Here, we offer the top three questions to ask before deciding if you should hire a car accident lawyer in Florida: Continue reading

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drunk driving injury lawyerThanksgiving is associated with tradition, togetherness and turkey. But among public safety officials, it’s well-known as one of the booziest and most dangerous holidays of the year. In fact, the night before Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday,” and is statistically aligned with a steep increase in alcohol-impaired driving and drunk driving injury. (There’s also the increasing popularity of “Danksgiving,” which involves an uptick in marijuana consumption, dangerous when those individuals get behind the wheel.) Crash and fatality rates have reportedly been higher than even New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, or St. Patrick’s Day.

As Fort Myers injury lawyers, we recognize there are a few reasons behind this troubling trend. Part of it is because there are so many more people on the road. AAA anticipates a return to pre-pandemic travel levels this holiday, with nearly 54 million people hitting the road – a 13 percent jump since last year, the biggest year-over-year climb since 2005. Three cities in Florida (Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale) are listed in the Top 10 U.S. destinations for Thanksgiving 2021 holiday travel. In addition to that, many people have no work obligations during the long weekend, and folks are eager to return “home” to see family and friends. It’s also typically the first break college students have to return to their hometowns and catch up with their high school buddies – usually at local bars and clubs. Add to the mix this year that people are eager to shed COVID gathering restrictions, and it could be a recipe for particularly raucous reunions.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 415 people may die and another 47,500 may be seriously injured over the Thanksgiving holiday due to drunk driving. The agency’s predictions on drunk driving injury and death have historically been fairly accurate.

An analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data by ASecureLife revealed the states with the higher Thanksgiving holiday crash rates were in the South. The NHTSA reports that between 2015 and 2019, nearly 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday period. Over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, there were more than four times as many alcohol-impaired crashes during the nighttime hours compared to during the day.

Who May Be Held Liable for Florida Drunk Driving Injuries, Wrongful Death Claims?

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