Articles Tagged with Naples car accident lawyer

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Naples car accident lawyerIf you are considering filing a Naples car accident claim for injury damages, it’s important to understand Florida’s permanent injury threshold.

Essentially, because Florida (for the foreseeable future) is a no-fault state when it comes to car accident injury claims, most registered vehicles must be covered by personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This pays the insured up to $10,000 for medical bills and lost wages – regardless of who caused the crash. The only way most people injured in a crash can step outside of that no-fault system and successfully sue a negligent driver for non-economic damages like pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience is to establish injury in accordance with Florida’s serious injury threshold.

As our Southwest Florida car accident lawyers can explain, the serious injury threshold is set forth in F.S. 627.737(2) and requires proof that the crash caused:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
  • Permanent injury (within a reasonable degree of medical probability).
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Death.

These injuries must be directly related to the crash caused by the defendant.

The kinds of injuries that generally meet the criteria will be things like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, significant facial fractures and scarring, spinal cord injuries, and death. However, this is not an exhaustive list, and the insurance company does not have the final word on what is “significant” or “permanent.” Their goal is always going to be to minimize your damages and mitigate their own liability. You should always consult with an experienced injury attorney before agreeing to any insurance adjuster payout. 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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Naples injury attorney

Florida law requires that police be called when a motor vehicle crash occurs. The investigating officer will arrive and be tasked with documenting the scene, interviewing witnesses and preparing a crash report.

At the same time, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees those accused of crimes the right to refuse to answer questions that could be used against them in a criminal proceeding. To prevent a possible constitutional violation, Florida law has carved out something called accident report privilege (which is not exactly a privilege, but more on that later). Basically, statements made to an investigating officer for purposes of completing the crash report can’t be used in criminal proceedings OR a civil injury lawsuit.

As a Naples injury attorney can explain, there are a lot of different reasons for this protection – constitutional and otherwise. But it’s important to note because it could have a negative (or positive) impact on your ability to recover damages from the at-fault driver. The good news is that if you work with an experienced attorney, he or she can usually obtain that same information elsewhere – especially when the details can still be gleaned during the discovery process. Continue reading

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Florida no-fault car insuranceFlorida no-fault car insurance law isn’t going anywhere, at least this year. For motorists, that means continued reliance on personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and proof of serious injury before pursuing a fault-based car accident claim against negligent drivers.

Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed the bipartisan Senate Bill 54, passed by state lawmakers in April. The bill would have rewritten our unique, no-fault state car insurance law and required drivers to obtain new policies by next year.

In a short statement released by the governor’s office, DeSantis, while calling the current law “flawed,” explained he felt the bill failed to adequately address issues faced by Florida drivers and could have adverse, unintended consequences for both consumers and the market.

The veto was a bit of a surprise, given that the bill had strong bipartisan support, passing with little debate several months ago. SupportersĀ  insisted it would reduce auto insurance premiums in a state that consistently ranks within the top five. However, analysis of potential impacts yielded mixed results. Plus, the insurance industry and medical providers came out swinging hard against it.

What Does Florida No-Fault Car Insurance Mean for Motorists?

The effect of the veto is that nothing really changes for Florida drivers, at least not this legislative term. No-fault auto insurance remains in place.

Florida is one of the few states that continues its use of no-fault car insurance, as opposed to a system of fault recognized by many states. Contrary to what some presume by its name, no-fault insurance doesn’t mean no-fault is assigned in the crash. It just means the coverage pays certain damages incurred by insureds upfront, regardless of who was at-fault. Continue reading

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Florida car accident injuries

When it comes to liability for Florida car accident injuries, well-established case law and the dangerous instrumentality doctrine allow vehicle owners to be held liable for injuries caused by the negligence of authorized drivers – even if the owner was not driving or otherwise negligent. However, there are exceptions for rental car companies under the federal Graves Amendment. Still, it may be possible to sue a rental car company for Florida car accident injuries under certain circumstances if the company is negligent.

A recent example is playing out in Florida courts, as reported by The Tampa Bay Times. While the possibility of recovery in this far-fetched case is incredibly unlikely, it will work to illustrate the point. This case started in 2013 when a man rented a vehicle from Enterprise. According to the affidavit, written from a corrections center where he is serving hard time for vehicular homicide, plaintiff stated he was in no shape to drive when he entered the rental center to rent a vehicle.

He reportedly could not get a rental in his own name because his driver’s license had expired. Plus, there was a warrant for his arrest. When he entered the rental facility, he said he was so intoxicated he could hardly walk. Because he did not have his own valid driver’s license, he presented that of his younger brother. He alleges that a management trainee at the facility either knew or should have known that his drunk state alone rendered him unsafe to drive. The fact that he was handed the keys anyway, he alleges, amounted to negligence.

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