Articles Tagged with Fort Myers car accident attorney

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Fort Myers car accident lawyerEvery single day, there are an average of 1,050 Florida car accidents, according to the Florida Department Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Almost always, the cause(s) of a crash can be traced to driver error. Common Fort Myers car accident catalysts include things like speeding, failure to yield, improper turning, following too closely, driving carelessly or recklessly, disregarding traffic signs or signals, failure to maintain proper lane, and driving while distracted or impaired.

But what if both drivers were at-fault in a crash?

As longtime Fort Myers car accident lawyers, we know it’s fairly common that both drivers shoulder some degree of responsibility for the collision. But what truly influences the dollar amount outcome in a Florida car accident case is not so much whether the injured plaintiff (the person filing the claim) shares any blame at all, but rather: How much?

This is because Florida follows a system of pure comparative negligence (referred to in F.S. 768.81 as comparative fault).

What is Pure Comparative Fault – and Why Does it Matter in Fort Myers Car Accident Cases?

Pure comparative fault means that in any negligence action – including car crash claims – the at-fault parties are only responsible to pay for their own portion of the blame. So in a two-car crash with both parties sharing some measure of fault, the damage award (legalese for financial compensation aka money) that is available to the plaintiff will be proportionally reduced by how much of the blame they share.

For example, if Driver 1 was 30 percent at-fault, Driver 2 was 70 percent at-fault, and total damages topped $100,000, the most that Driver 1 could collect as a Florida plaintiff would be $70,000. Conversely, the most Driver 2 could collect as a plaintiff would be $30,000.

“Pure comparative fault” means that even a person who is 99 percent at-fault for a Fort Myers car accident could still collect on 1 percent of their total damages from the other at-fault driver. That said, collecting only 1 percent of damages (ex: $1,000 on a $100,000 claim) isn’t a desirable outcome for any plaintiff. Skilled South Florida injury lawyers know how to make effective legal arguments to help minimize assertions of comparative fault – with the end goal of maximizing your damage award payout.

It should be noted that Florida is in the minority of states for its pure comparative fault law. Most other states with comparative fault laws impose a 50 percent or 51 percent “bar.” That means each person or entity is only financially responsible to cover their own percentage of fault. BUT if the plaintiff is 50+ percent to blame, they will be barred from collecting anything at all. Some states take it even further, holding that if a plaintiff shares just 1 percent of fault, they are barred from collecting anything at all.

So Florida is actually one of the most plaintiff-favorable states in this regard. However, that doesn’t mean your car accident case will be easy or that you should cede much ground on this issue if you can help it.

Wait – Isn’t Florida a No-Fault Car Accident State?

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Florida car accidentIn late last year, a jury awarded $420,000 to a man who at 17 suffered permanent neck injuries in a South Florida car accident. The case is noteworthy for the fact that it went to trial (more than 212,000 Florida car accident injuries are reported annually, but most claims are settled long before a trial), as well as for the fact it was against the victim’s own insurance company. It illustrates the fact that just because you’re a good customer doesn’t mean your auto insurance company is going to make the claims process easy for you – especially when the stakes are high.

Specifically at issue was something called underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

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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┬ádrive 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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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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