Florida Personal Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in AUTO ACCIDENTS

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Issues Regarding Insurance and Licensing Have Politicians Busy Deciding Their Future

It seems everyone these days is doing the Uber. Using Uber saves money over traditional taxi cabs and the service offers an opportunity to people with a car to make extra money. A win-win for everyone, right?

That’s not entirely accurate. Several issues have arisen over the past few years as Uber has grown from an idea to a multi-billion dollar enterprise in just 7 years.

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Can a Fly Really Fly 500 Miles Per Hour?

I recall having a conversation with a friend once about a fly on an airplane. The man said that he was bothered by a fly that had somehow made its way onto an airplane he was traveling on and he expressed that it annoyed him the whole trip. Then he pondered “if the fly was on his shoulder, and flew forward six rows to bother someone else, was that fly actually flying as fast as he plane?”

This conversation took place at a party where perhaps my friend had consumed an adult beverage or two so he wasn’t necessarily all there. A fly cannot travel 500 miles per hour under its own power, nor can my friend. Both were actually experiencing Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

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Low Impact does not Mean Low Injury

You may remember from science class in school that there were some very smart people throughout history who gave thought to things we “normal” people don’t think about. One such person was Sir Isaac Newton, and his theories about gravity, motion, and optics profoundly impacted the study of physics and are involved in our daily life.

Your elbow bumps a cup of coffee on your desk, and it falls to the floor. We don’t think about it, but Newton’s observations and theories of gravity and motion explain exactly what happened and why.

You’re sitting in your car at a red light and someone strikes you from behind. The laws of physics are involved here as your body is thrust forward, you experience sudden stress to your neck, shoulders, hips and head.

Newton looked at simple occurrences in life and reasoned that there must be a way to calculate the forces of nature using scientific methods. In the case of a moving object striking an object at rest, he reasoned correctly that two factors are important to determine the force (F) of the impact, and those are speed, or acceleration (a) and the weight, or mass (m) of the moving object.

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You see your friend’s car with a dent in the door and he says “I had an accident, but it wasn’t my fault.” Certainly police officers hear that all the time, irate drivers pointing fingers after a fender-bender assert their innocence, and attorneys hear it when clients visit them for a consultation.

Establishing liability (or negligence) in a personal injury case is not always as easy as it may seem to the drivers involved. This is why having an experienced, qualified attorney on your side is so important.

The online legal news source legalexaminer.com published some key elements involving how negligence is determined:

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506099_caution_%20sxchu%20username%20ugaldew.jpgTwo men were killed outside of an historic Liberty City eatery when an allegedly drunk driver lost control of his truck and struck them. 60-year-old Wilton Harris and 61-year-old Al Hamlin were standing on a sidewalk in front of Jumbo’s Restaurant when a white pickup truck driven by 53-year-old Antonio Lawrence reportedly sped into the parking lot. Initially, the pickup hit a car parked outside of the eatery. The force of the impact then pushed the parked car into the two men before the vehicle went through the front windows and came to a stop inside of the restaurant. During the accident, Hamlin was reportedly thrown into the restaurant while Harris was pinned under the pickup truck. Both men died at the scene of the crash. Luckily, although about a dozen patrons were inside of the restaurant at the time, no one else was injured.

According to an accident witness, Lawrence appeared to be intoxicated as he stumbled out of his pickup truck following the crash. He was later arrested and charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter. Lawrence is reportedly being held in Miami on a $30,000 bond.

Unexpected car crashes are one of the leading causes of wrongful death in Florida every year. Because of the number of beaches, amusement parks, seaports, and other attractions located in the state, many people are on the roadways and sidewalks at any given time. Unfortunately, commuters, pedestrians, students, tourists, and others risk being hurt by a careless or impaired motorist every day.

When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, the resulting injuries are frequently catastrophic. Pedestrians who are hit by a car often sustain broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and may even be killed. In Florida, an injured pedestrian may recover compensation for medical costs, physical and occupational therapy expenses, pain, suffering, and lost wages. Close relatives of someone killed in a Florida pedestrian accident may also be able to recover for wrongful death. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident caused by a careless or intoxicated driver, it is a good idea to contact a knowledgeable Florida car accident lawyer as soon as you are able.
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494062_that_hurt%20sxchu.jpgIn June, two people were killed in a five vehicle accident on State Road 54 in Odessa. 16-year-old Matthew Capelo-Fine of Trinity was driving a BMW Sedan east towards Lake Polo Drive when he unexpectedly lost control of the car and skid across a median. After he crossed the median, Capelo-Fine struck a westbound Hyundai carrying five people. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Capelo-Fine’s sedan began to spin following the initial crash. Capelo-Fine’s vehicle then hit a PT Cruiser that was sent spinning into the Hyundai he collided with initially. Meanwhile Capelo-Fine’s BMW continued on to strike a Nissan Altima. A nearby Chevy Impala also received damage to its windshield when it was struck by flying debris.

Unfortunately, Capelo-Fine died at the scene of the accident. 91-year-old Anna Davis, 13-year-old Collene Carberry, 15-year-old Jilly Horaneck, and the driver of the Hyundai, 71-year-old Joseph Furphy, were transported by rescue crews to Tampa General Hospital where Davis later died. Both Furphy and Horaneck reportedly suffered serious injuries in the crash and Carberry received only minor injuries. Although the cause of the collision is still under investigation, alcohol is reportedly not a suspected factor in the accident.

In Florida, we often spend countless hours in our automobiles every week. Unfortunately, with so many drivers and passengers on the roads, motor vehicle collisions are a fact of life. Every year, auto collisions are one of the leading causes of personal injury and death in the State of Florida. Injuries sustained in a car accident may be minor or they may be catastrophic. Car crashes are frequently caused by inattentive or inexperienced drivers, defective vehicles, weather, road debris, speeding, fatigue, and aggressive or impaired driving. If you or a loved one was injured through no fault of your own in a motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and any resulting disability. If you were hurt or lost a loved one on a Florida roadway, you should contact an experienced Florida car accident lawyer to help you file a claim against the negligent party.
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869866_crash_car%20sxchu%20website.jpgIn early June, three people were killed and 12 others were injured on Interstate 95 in Volusia County when the driver of a 15-passenger van lost control and left the roadway. 57-year-old Vilbrun Bertrand of West Palm Beach was driving a group of Haitian migrant farm workers to New Jersey for the blueberry harvesting season when one of the van’s tires separated north of Ormond Beach. According to Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol, the van rolled repeatedly and several passengers were thrown from the vehicle.

Three passengers who were not wearing seat belts, Benitoh Delice, Sonja Maubrun, and Berteau Nazaire, died at the scene of the crash. Two other passengers were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in critical condition. Nine additional passengers were taken to four different Central Florida hospitals for their injuries. Bertrand, who was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, was treated for only minor injuries.

Sgt. Montes stated there was visible damage to the van’s tire and the vehicle itself was significantly damaged in the accident. Although alcohol is not a suspected factor in the crash, the Central Florida automobile accident is currently under investigation. According to Sgt. Montes, a language barrier made the accident investigation difficult. State Troopers reportedly required the assistance of translators to interview the injured passengers at each of the four area hospitals.

Unfortunately, the van crash was the second fatal accident on Interstate 95 in Volusia County in a single weekend. On the previous day, a 40-year-old Titusville man was killed when his stranded vehicle was run over in the shoulder of the roadway by an 18-wheeler tanker carrying liquid nitrogen.

Automobile accidents cause a large percentage of the Florida wrongful death and personal injury claims filed every year. Tourists, students, and commuters risk being hurt in a car accident every day on Florida roadways. Some common causes of motor vehicle crashes include speeding, driver impairment, poor road conditions, driver inattention, and automobile defects. In Florida, those hurt in an automobile collision are eligible to receive compensation from a driver’s mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover the first $10,000.00 in medical treatment. Oftentimes, however, PIP insurance is not sufficient to cover the immediate medical costs associated with recovering from a catastrophic injury as well as the costs of future medical treatment and a lifetime of pain and suffering. It is a good idea to contact a qualified Florida car crash attorney to discuss your options for recovery following any injury accident.
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3491_car_steering_wheel_in_the_rain%20sxchu%20website.jpgA recent report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement states Florida Highway Patrol officers made errors in connection with a January 29, 2012 accident that killed 11 people on Interstate 75 near Gainesville. On the day of the multi-vehicle crash, the interstate was closed through Paynes Prairie State Park prior to the accident due to a mix of fog and smoke from a nearby wildfire. According to the report, Sgt. Bruce Simmons was reluctant to reopen the interstate and warned Lt. John Gourley that poor visibility was likely to return. In a conversation recorded on Simmons’ in-vehicle video equipment, he told a deputy from a local Sherriff’s Office that his warning fell on deaf ears. Gourley allegedly ordered that the roadway be reopened because he believed keeping the interstate closed through the dark, unlit stretch of road also created a potentially hazardous situation for drivers. Gourley was reportedly concerned about creating secondary wrecks like those he had investigated in the past. Gourley was also allegedly concerned about a lack of suitable alternative routes for drivers. Department of Law Enforcement investigators stated Officer Gourley made the decision to reopen the interstate without any sort of proper formal training.

Although the Florida Forest Service and the Florida Department of Transportation reportedly supported reopening the roadway, the accident investigation report placed blame on the Florida Highway Patrol due to a lack of effective safety guidelines and procedures. The report stated troopers refused to share information that was vital to decision-making with one another prior to the pile-up accident. The investigation report also said troopers failed to adequately monitor conditions on the interstate after it was reopened. As a result, more than 12 passenger vehicles, six semi-trucks, and a motorhome crashed in six different pile-up accidents on the dark roadway. Several vehicles burst into flames. In addition to the dead, 18 people were hospitalized for their injuries.

The investigation report suggested that the Florida Highway Patrol adopt written and mandatory guidelines for reopening roadways when visibility is poor. It also suggested the state add signs along the interstate to warn drivers the roadway through the State Park may be hazardous. The Florida Legislature recently appropriated about $4 million to improve interstate warning signs in areas where visibility may be diminished throughout the state.
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209511_motorway%20sxchu.jpgA study recently published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) found that driver misuse of turn signals contributes to approximately 2 million car crashes in Florida and elsewhere throughout the United States each year. The study found drivers fail to use their turn signals when making lane changes or leave their signals on after changing lanes about 48 percent of the time. It also found that one quarter of the time, American drivers do not signal before making a turn. This means U.S. drivers fail to properly use turn signals approximately 2 billion times every day.

Distracted driving such as talking, texting, using email, or even eating behind the wheel is a hot topic in the news lately. In April, United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for federal legislation that would ban cell phone use while driving. Still, only about 950,000 U.S. accidents are blamed on distracted driving each year. That is less than half the number associated with misuse of turn signals.

The SAE turn signal study was reportedly the first of its kind. Police and other law enforcement officers allegedly tend to refrain from enforcing turn signal requirements and instead focus more on compliance with speeding and other laws. The author of the study report, Richard Ponziani, stated although turn signals are highly effective for communicating with other drivers and avoiding collisions, their lack of use has reached epidemic proportions. He also said drivers should view their duty to use turn signals in the same way they view their obligation to stop for red lights.

The SAE study suggested the use of smart turn signal technology may be useful in avoiding collisions. Ponziani said a turn signal that shuts itself off after a specified period of time or after detecting a lane change could be helpful to drivers and contribute to roadway safety. Additionally, a system that reminds drivers who regularly fail to use their turn signals may also aid in preventing crashes. According to Ponziani, incorporating smart turn signal technology into new vehicles may actually be cheaper than current turn signal mechanisms. He believes implementing such technology would not only reduce the nation’s accident rate, but may also make drivers more courteous.

Unexpected automobile accidents can happen at any time. If you or a loved one was hurt in a motor vehicle collision as a result of another driver’s inattention or carelessness, it is a good idea to contact a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney as soon as you are able. You may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, pain, suffering, disability, lost wages, and other damages based on the severity of your injuries.
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Matt%20Bush%20Mug%20Shot.jpgIn early May, the bond for Tampa Bay Rays baseball player Matt Bush was reduced from $1 million to $440,000. Bush has remained in the Charlotte County Jail on multiple driving under the influence (DUI) charges since March. He was arrested on March 22nd after the sport utility vehicle he was driving allegedly hit a motorcycle carrying 72-year-old Anthony Tufano on US Highway 41. Although Tufano was seriously injured as a result of being thrown from the motorcycle, Bush reportedly fled the scene of the collision. The Rays pitcher was later stopped by police on another road and subsequently arrested. Following the accident, Tufano was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

According to local law enforcement, Bush exhibited slurred speech, poor coordination and balance, bloodshot eyes, and smelled of alcohol following the crash. When police administered a breathalyzer test, Bush blew a .180 and a .171, more than twice the State of Florida’s legal limit of .08. Bush admitted to hitting a pole earlier in the day, but told police officers he did not remember hitting a motorcycle. He was previously charged with DUI in both Arizona and California.

Following the crash, Bush was charged with fleeing the scene of a serious injury accident, DUI with serious injuries, DUI with property damage, and driving on a suspended license. If he is released on bond, he will be required to wear both an alcohol monitoring device and a GPS tracking bracelet. The judge who lowered his bond also told Bush he was not allowed to leave Charlotte County or enter any establishments that serve alcohol. Although prosecutors argued Bush was a flight risk, his attorney stated Bush cannot afford bail and will likely remain in Charlotte County Jail even with the lowered bond.

Intoxicated drivers threaten the lives of those traveling on Florida roadways every day. If a drunk driver has hurt you or someone you love, you should contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, disability, and lost wages. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries or relieve your financial burden following a family member’s Florida wrongful death.
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