Articles Posted in Car Accident

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case illustrating when certain types of damages are appropriate. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss a jury’s verdict that awarded a plaintiff compensation for both future medical expenses as well as lost wages. However, the court concluded that the jury’s verdict insofar as it related to the plaintiff’s lost wages was contrary to the evidence.

Broken WindowThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant. The defendant admitted that he was responsible for causing the accident, but he argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident. Thus, the case went to trial on the issue of damages only.

The jury heard evidence from the plaintiff’s expert witness, who testified that the plaintiff would need palliative care. The expert also recommended that the plaintiff undergo a cervical surgery to improve her quality of life. Depending on how the cervical surgery went, the plaintiff may also need a lumbar surgery, although it was too early to tell if such a surgery would be needed. The expert estimated that the costs were as follows:

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine if a jury was within its right to refuse to award future medical expenses to the plaintiff when the defendant failed to provide contradicting expert testimony. Ultimately, since the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony was “far-from-conclusive,” the court determined that the jury was free to make the decision it did.

Neck X-RayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a Florida car accident that was caused by another driver. The at-fault driver either did not have insurance or had insufficient insurance to cover the plaintiff’s injuries, so the plaintiff filed an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim with her own insurance company. The extent of the plaintiff’s injuries were not conclusively established, but it was determined by her neurosurgeon that she suffered from degenerative disc disease.

The insurance company did not contest that the other driver caused the accident, but it claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident. In support of its position, the insurance company attempted to present three expert witnesses. However, the court prevented the jury from considering the experts’ testimony.

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As a general rule, Florida landowners have an obligation to ensure that their property is safe for those whom they invite onto their property. The extent of this obligation depends on the relationship between the parties and takes into account the reason why the plaintiff was on the defendant’s property. For the most part, landowners must take action to clear known hazards or warn of the hazards that may not have been visible by the visitor’s naked eye. If a landowner fails to take the adequate precautions, they may be liable for a visitor’s injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.

CrosswalkIn some cases, a landowner can be held liable for injuries that occur off their property, although this is a much rarer scenario. That is because the general rule is that landowners are not responsible to ensure a visitor’s safety before the visitor enters the property or after they leave the property. However, if the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s conduct increased the dangers involved, or if it obscured the off-site hazards, a defendant may be found liable for injuries occurring off their property.

A recent case provides an in-depth discussion of landowner liability as it pertains to off-site injuries.

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As is often the case in many of life’s endeavors, preparation is crucial to the outcome of a Florida personal injury case. While this is true across the board – from the moment the case is filed to when the jury returns a verdict – preparation is especially important when it comes to understanding the other side’s case and anticipating which issues may arise. Such preparation gives a Florida personal injury plaintiff an advantage that cannot be overstated.

Rollover AccidentA recent case illustrates how an insurance company’s lack of preparation resulted in the company waiving an issue that would otherwise likely have been resolved in its favor. As a result of the company’s failure to raise the issue, the plaintiff was successful in getting an adverse lower court ruling reversed in her favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she was involved in a car accident that was caused by another motorist. The at-fault motorist did not have adequate insurance coverage to fully compensate the plaintiff for her injuries. However, the plaintiff was covered by two other insurance policies, both of which contained underinsured motorist protection. The plaintiff’s mother had a policy with Allstate that provided $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, the plaintiff’s father’s policy with Geico provided $20,000 in underinsured motorist protection.

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When courts consider a product liability lawsuit, they will instruct the jury on one of two available tests to determine whether the plaintiff has established their case against the defendant manufacturer. In Florida, courts use the consumer-expectation test to evaluate a plaintiff’s Florida product liability claim.

SUVThe consumer-expectation test is fairly straightforward and requires jurors to ask themselves whether the product at issue performed as a consumer would expect it to perform under the circumstances. This test is generally preferred by product liability plaintiffs to the other predominant test, the risk-utility test.

Under a risk-utility analysis, jurors are asked whether the risks of the design chosen by the defendant manufacturer outweighed the utility, or benefit, the design provided. The risk-utility test also requires that the plaintiff establish that there was a reasonably safe alternative design that the defendant manufacturer could have used. Since this test places a burden on the plaintiff to establish that a reasonably safe alternative exists, this is generally a more difficult test for product liability plaintiffs to meet.

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After a driver is involved in a South Florida car accident, they will likely make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, seeking compensation for the damages they sustained in the accident. In the event that the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have adequate insurance, the accident victim may then have to file a claim with their own insurance company.

Car AccidentInsurance claims, however, are not always approved. Insurance companies operate on a for-profit model and are often looking for ways to reduce their costs. This may mean trying to find ways to deny a claim that would otherwise be costly to the insurance company. A recent case illustrates the difficulties one motorist had when making a claim with his own insurance company following a serious car accident.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his wife were involved in a serious car accident with another driver. The plaintiff’s wife was seriously injured and later died before she could recover from her injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver as well as his insurance company. In addition, since he believed that the at-fault driver’s insurance policy was not going to provide full compensation for his loss, the plaintiff named his own insurance company, based on the underinsured motorist provision in his insurance contract.

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Most people buy car insurance with the hope that they never have to use it. Indeed, aside from being required by law, car insurance provides motorists with the peace of mind of knowing that, should the unthinkable happen, at least they will be covered. However, thousands of South Florida car accident victims are shocked each year when they are made a low-ball settlement offer that doesn’t cover their expenses, or they are told by their insurance company that their claim has been denied.

Rear-EndedFollowing most Florida car accidents, the accident victim will file a claim with the other driver’s insurance policy. However, there may be several reasons why a driver files a claim against their own insurance company as well. For example, if the other driver’s insurance limits are too low, the accident victim may seek compensation through their own policy’s underinsured motorist provision. A recent case illustrates how a driver’s own insurance company may try to limit the amount of money payable to the accident victim.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of two people who were killed in a car accident. At the time, the plaintiffs’ family insured five cars through the insurance company. Since the company had a rule to only have a maximum of four cars per policy, the company generated two policy numbers. Three of the plaintiffs’ cars were on one policy, and two of their cars were on the other policy. Each policy had a limit of $250,000 for underinsured motorist protection.

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After someone is involved in a Florida car accident, they may seek compensation through a South Florida personal injury lawsuit. In order to successfully bring a case against an allegedly negligent driver, a personal injury plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s actions resulted in their injuries.

PedestrianOnce a plaintiff establishes that a defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff, the next step is to determine the damages that the plaintiff is owed. The calculation of damages in a Florida car accident case can be a very contentious and complex issue, depending on the surrounding circumstances.

Some types of damages are fairly easy to calculate. For example, determining the amount of past medical expenses may be as easy as reviewing medical bills. However, figuring out the exact amount of damages is not always straightforward, especially when there are subsequent injuries sustained by the plaintiff.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a car accident case that will be of interest to South Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the limits of the doctrine of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that allows a plaintiff to hold a third party responsible for the negligent acts of another party. The classic example of vicarious liability is when an employee causes an accident while working for his employer, and the accident victim seeks to hold the employer liable for the employee’s negligence.

CollisionIn some cases, if an employee negligently causes an accident while acting within the scope of his employment, anyone injured in that accident may seek compensation not just from the employee but also from the employer. However, the burden rests with the accident victim to prove that the relationship between the parties is sufficient to establish legal liability. Generally speaking, this means showing that the person who caused the accident was actually an employee and was acting within the scope of their employment. The case mentioned above illustrates how courts analyze these claims and which types of evidence courts may consider when determining if a person is an employee.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with a delivery driver who was working for the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the driver of the vehicle as well as the company that hired him.

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Florida has long had a reputation for being a state with a large number of “bad drivers.” Indeed, Florida drivers are involved in over 250,000 auto accidents each year, with over 100,000 of those accidents resulting in serious injuries. In all, Florida car accidents are responsible for approximately 1,800 fatalities each year.

Smashed CarIt may come as no surprise, then, that according to a study released earlier this month, Florida ranks among the states with the worst drivers in the country. The study took various variables into account, including the total number of drivers, the number of DUI accidents, the number of traffic tickets issued, the total number of traffic fatalities, and the number of uninsured drivers. After all of the data was analyzed, Florida was ranked as the state with the worst drivers.

Interestingly, one key variable that stuck out when looking at Florida driver data was the unusual number of internet searches for “speeding tickets” and “traffic tickets.” Presumably, if a motorist is researching traffic tickets, they have recently been issued a ticket or warning by a police officer. Florida also had the second-highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation, second only to Oklahoma.

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