Florida Personal Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in AUTO ACCIDENTS

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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:

Establishing Negligence – by Nathaniel Fick
The main aspect of establishing liability in an auto accident case is proving negligence, and there are certain situations and types of accidents where liability is relatively clear-cut. These include:

Rear end collisions. The basic rules of the road require that vehicles keep a safe following distance from one another, so the vehicle that rear ends another will almost always be found liable. The law imposes duties of care on both drivers of lead vehicles and drivers of following vehicles. The operator of the leading vehicle must exercise the same degree of care to avoid injury to the vehicle behind him or her.

Left turns. Generally, a car making a left turn is usually held responsible when there is a collision with another vehicle coming straight from the other direction, although there can be exceptions, such as if the vehicle traveling straight was speeding or running a red light.

Accidents involving impaired drivers. Although a drunk driver’s fault is not automatic, the fact that they were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and arrested for DUI will make it hard for them to escape at least some degree of liability.

When a car hits a pedestrian. Drivers are required to be extra cautious when pedestrians are present, but pedestrians are not held blameless in all situations, such as when they don’t use a designated crosswalk or walk along a busy freeway at night wearing dark clothing. Full article at legalexaminer.com

Since 1991 the attorneys at Lazarus and Lazarus have been effectively fighting for the rights of personal injury victims throughout the state of Florida. They are experts dealing with issues involving negligence, liability, injuries, and damages.

With offices in Fort Lauderdale, Weston and Orlando, Lazarus and Lazarus attorneys are available to meet with you and discuss your case. Calling 954-356-0006 will put you directly in touch with an attorney who can answer your questions and guide you through the process of establishing facts and protecting your rights.

Edited by Dergle Mumpton

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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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1012894_cn_tower___%20sxchu.jpgLast month, a nine-year-old boy was killed and more than one dozen other children were injured when a school bus collided with a semi-trailer truck carrying landscaping sod near Fort Pierce. Many students, including the child killed, were wearing lap belts as required by Florida law. Still, several were ejected from the bus and lying on the ground when emergency crews arrived. The bus driver, Albert Hazen of Port St. Lucie, reportedly led the injured children off of the bus and directed them to rescue crews before collapsing and being taken to a local hospital.

According to a seven-page crash report released by the Florida Highway Patrol, the Frances K. Sweet Magnet School bus accident was caused by an inattentive bus driver. The report states the bus driver caused the accident when he turned left into the path of the oncoming tractor trailer. Despite that the 24-year-old semi-truck driver, Charles Cooper, attempted to avoid the accident, his vehicle struck the right side of the school bus and sent it spinning. Cooper was also taken to the hospital over injuries he sustained in the collision.

On the day of the accident, the sky was reportedly clear and the roadway was dry. Although toxicology results are currently pending, the driver is not suspected of using alcohol or other drugs prior to the crash. Still, the Florida Highway Patrol has stated charges related to the deadly accident are currently pending.

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death claims filed in the State of Florida. Commuters, students, tourists, and others risk being injured in an auto accident every day. Some of the most common causes of Florida car accidents include drunk or impaired driving, driver inattention, and speeding. Many car crashes are also caused by drivers who are distracted by other vehicle occupants, cell phones, email, or text messaging.

Although car accidents may be minor, they can also be fatal. The medical costs related to recovering from an unexpected injury can be enormous. According to Florida law, those hurt in a collision are protected by mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Unfortunately, the costs of recovery are often not completely covered by PIP. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and your options for recovery following a car crash.
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1197277_by_the_pool%20sxchu.jpgLast week, a pregnant Massachusetts woman was killed when a car drove into a Fort Lauderdale hotel’s poolside cabana while she was inside. 27-year-old Alanna DeMella died after 35-year-old Rosa Rivera Kim of Plantation lost control of the car she was driving, drove over a curb, and hit a cabana at the Riverside Hotel. DeMella’s 31-year-old husband was inside a nearby men’s room at the time of the accident. He was taken to Broward General Medical Center for minor injuries. The couple’s unborn son also died in the accident.

Kim was also taken to Broward General Medical Center for her injuries. Police did not perform a breathalyzer test or draw Kim’s blood immediately following the accident due to her injuries. The accident is currently under investigation and police are still determining whether to file charges against Kim.

The Massachusetts couple was reportedly in town for a marriage conference paid for by their church. They apparently chose to extend their vacation by one day after the conference. Just hours after the couple checked into the Riverside hotel, DeMella, a teaching assistant for third-grade special education students, was killed.

Although most are not as bizarre as this one, unexpected automobile accidents are one of the main causes of wrongful death in the State of Florida. Because of Florida’s many beaches, seaports, and amusement parks, our state often has a great number of tourists on both sidewalks and the road. Every day, tourists, commuters, students, pedestrians, and others risk being injured by a motor vehicle. Common causes of Florida pedestrian accidents include impaired driving, speeding, driver inattention, failure to yield, and drivers who are distracted by cell phones, email, or text messaging.

Pedestrian accident injuries are often catastrophic and the expenses associated with recovering from such an injury can be high. In Florida, injured pedestrians may recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pain and suffering. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a pedestrian or car accident, it is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
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