Articles Posted in Car Accident

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 90 percent of accidents involve driver error. Moreover, nearly 35 percent of those accidents involve road rage or aggressive driving. In Florida, road rage commonly refers to the anger a driver experiences when they experience stress or frustration while driving. Road rage is a serious problem in Florida, and a person’s fleeting rage can have long-term and potentially fatal consequences for other drivers, passengers, and bystanders.

While Florida authorities often distinguish between “driver error” and “aggressive driving,” many errors begin with an error and escalate into a rage. For instance, news reports described a harrowing road rage accident that took the life of a pregnant woman. The woman hit a motorcyclist and drove away from the incident. While the motorcyclist did not suffer injuries, he followed her to get information. The motorcyclist and two witnessed tried to get the woman to stop at an intersection; however, she continued driving and went to her home. The motorcyclist and witnesses followed her and waited outside of her home, and called 911. The woman appeared from her house with a firearm and pointed it at the motorcyclist and witnesses. The motorcyclist drew his handgun and shot at the woman multiple times. He remained at the scene of the accident until emergency responders arrived. Tragically, the woman died from her wounds.

  • Some common driver errors include:

Recently, news reports described new harrowing details following a Florida Tesla crash that occurred last September. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation and reported that that the car flew through a yellow light at around 90 miles per hour. The speed limit in the neighborhood was 30 mph. Apparently, as the driver approached reached the intersection, he hit the accelerator to 100%. The driver then sped through the light and slammed into two trees in succession. Following the impact, the car’s battery exploded and burst into flames. The fire reignited at least one time which caused firefighters to experience challenges when trying to extinguish the explosion. The 20-year-old driver and his 19-year-old passenger died at the scene of the accident.

Tesla is frequently under fire for its self-driving or “autonomous” driving options. Many argue that these functions are not nearly as safe as the company touts, and a lack of driver experience and company oversight leads to deadly consequences. However, this accident seems to involve another issue concerning lithium batteries. The NTSB has repeatedly voiced concerns about lithium battery fires in aircraft, Teslas, and other vehicles. The agency has issued safety recommendations urging regulators, manufacturers, and firefighters to prevent and prepare for these types of fires.

Lithium-ion batteries have been the source of highly publicized investigations and recalls. Lithium is the lightest metal with the least dense solid element thereby creating a high-energy-density. This density allows lithium to store more energy over a longer time, compared to traditional batteries. Despite this benefit, the battery poses a serious danger because of its combustible material. A single cell can get hot to the point where it catches fire and spreads to the next cell. This “thermal runaway” effect essentially makes the battery easily catch fire or explode quickly.

The Third District Court of Appeals recently addressed a defendant’s appeal following a jury trial awarding the plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages. According to the facts, the cause of action arises from a car accident when the defendant crossed over the center line and slammed into the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing it to flip over nearly two times. The plaintiff and her children survived, and she filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant. The plaintiff amended her complaint and added a claim for punitive damages, arguing that the defendant was high on heroin at the accident.

Before trial, the parties provided a list of witnesses and any potential expert testimony. The defendant filed an “expert disclosure” for a CPA to testify regarding the plaintiff’s economic damages. Later the same day, the defendant filed a supplemental disclosure for the CPA, indicating that the expert would testify to the defendant’s net worth and the amount he needs to sustain himself. Further, the defendant claimed that the expert would testify about the effect that punitive damages would have on his livelihood. The plaintiff moved to strike the disclosure, arguing it was untimely; the court agreed and limited the CPA’s testimony to economic damages. The defendant testified to his limited financial resources at trial, but he did not call the CPA as a witness. The defendant appealed the jury’s award of punitive and compensatory damages to the plaintiff.

Under Florida law, courts can exercise discretion when determining whether to allow an untimely disclosed witness. Courts should make their decision primarily based on whether the testimony will prejudice the objecting party. Prejudice refers to the objecting party’s surprise, not to the adverse nature of the testimony. Some factors that a trial court should consider including:

A Florida appellate court recently decided a case addressing whether a trial court erred in dismissing a plaintiff’s car accident lawsuit against a deceased defendant. Four years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant in the case passed away three months before the plaintiff’s action. The lower court removed the deceased woman from the filing and substituted the woman with the personal representative of her Estate. In response, the Estate moved to dismiss the complaint, contending that the court lacked jurisdiction over the action. Specifically, they argued that the action could not proceed because it named a deceased person as a defendant. Further, they asserted that the complaint could not be amended and relate back to the original filing.

Under Florida law, negligence actions must include a:

  • A cause of action in negligence;

An appellate court recently issued an opinion in a bad faith insurance lawsuit stemming from an accident between an 18-year-old driver and a motorcyclist. The accident occurred when the 18-year-old turned into a median in front of the biker. The biker slammed into the driver’s car with such force that the vehicle spun 180 degrees. The biker suffered serious injuries from the collision and was airlifted to a hospital.

The 18-year-old was driving his mother’s car at the time of the accident, and when he called the insurance company, he reported property damage but neglected to report any physical injuries. The insurance company interviewed the driver, who disclosed that the biker suffered injuries, and he indicated that the biker might have been speeding. The preliminary insurance investigation revealed that the accident occurred in a low-speed limit area, the motorcycle left long skid marks, and the driver did not receive a citation. With these facts, the insurance company concluded that the biker was likely contributorily negligent.

About ten days after the accident, the insurance company decided to tender the bodily injury limits to the biker; however, they asked the biker’s attorney if they could inspect the motorcycle. The next day the insurance company delivered a “tender package” to the biker’s attorney. The package included a cover sheet and described the content of the delivery, which included a $50,000 check and a form that released the company of “all claims.” The letter invited the biker’s attorney to edit the release or suggest changes to a release. The biker’s attorney did not address the release but rejected the offer stating the insurance company was trying to take advantage of the biker and his family by including an overbroad release.

When we buy a product, whether it’s food, an appliance, or a car, we expect and trust that the product will be safe for our use. Sometimes, however, these products can cause property damage or injury, which may mean that you may be eligible to receive compensation. From prescription drugs to negligently manufactured appliances, product liability lawsuits are always available for consumers so that the public can hold manufacturers accountable.

According to a recent news report, a major car accident involving a Tesla is prompting a federal investigation into the vehicle’s new technology and safety for consumers. After the accident killed two people, U.S. safety investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board sent three representatives to specifically look for photos or videos of the crash or the fire that broke out after the initial accident. Because Tesla vehicles are electric do not use gasoline, it is unclear what specifically caused the crash or the fire. It is also unclear whether the vehicle’s automated driving system was activated at the time of the collision, which has been the subject of federal interest in recent years. The report investigators plan to generate will create recommendations to other federal agencies about future safety regulations.

In Florida, there are frequent incidents that give rise to similar product liability claims. These claims, however, are subject to specific laws and requirements that govern product liability lawsuits. Because these cases can often be complex, it is crucial that potential plaintiffs understand the details surrounding filing a product liability lawsuit and what a claim will entail.

A Florida appeals court recently considered a Florida car accident case in which the jury had found in the defendant’s favor, despite admissions made by the defendant. The defendant had been driving a car and collided with a motorcycle, resulting in a fatality. The plaintiff filed a claim against the defendant and the case went to trial. According to the court’s opinion, prior to the trial, the defendant made some “admissions” in her deposition, which were admitted at the trial. Despite this, the jury found in favor of the defendant, finding she was not the cause of the crash. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court denied. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the jury’s decision was contrary to the evidence presented at trial and that the jury was bound by the defendant’s admissions.

If a party receives a jury verdict that is not in their favor, the party may be able to appeal the decision and other decisions made by the trial court. On appeal, a Florida appeals court reviews the decisions made by the trial court under different standards, depending on the decision. If a party files a motion for a new trial, the trial court will review the decision to see if it was supported by “competent, substantial evidence,” while considering the court’s observations about the witnesses at trial.

Thus, a trial judge can consider, in light of these observations, whether the jury’s verdict was “unjust” or a “miscarriage of justice.” When an appeals court reviews a denial of a motion for a new trial, the appeals court can only consider whether the trial court “abused its discretion” in denying the motion for a new trial. Thus, the appeals court should only overturn the judge’s decision if the evidence at trial clearly and obviously reflected a verdict in the other party’s favor—only where there is “no rational basis in the evidence to support the verdict.” In addition, if a party appeals a jury’s verdict, an appeals court will consider whether the verdict was “contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.”

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Despite innovations in technology to make life easier, accidents often still occur. When these accidents cause injury or death, the responsible party will often blame the technology for the incident. However, in many cases, the user of the technology has still made errors leading to the accident. Because of this, they are still liable, and the injured person can bring a negligence lawsuit. But when the accident was not the fault of another person but actually a defective product, Florida law allows the injured party to bring a lawsuit in this instance too. Since it is difficult to discern whether a person should bring a negligence or a defective product lawsuit, listed below are the elements of both negligence and products liability lawsuits.

In Florida, an airborne Tesla plowed through a stop sign and into a home early last week. According to one news report, the car was fully airborne when it crashed through the house, leaving a massive hole in the middle of the property. The driver of the car sped through a stop sign and hit a curb—this sent the car into the air and into the house. The accident caused the death of a 69-year-old woman in the house, a passenger in the car, and left three people seriously injured. While the vehicle has an Autopilot function, it was not deployed at the time of the accident.

Negligence Lawsuits

After the death of a loved one in an accident, many things may feel out of the family’s control. However, something the loved ones of the deceased can control is whether or not to bring a lawsuit if the accident was caused by another person. These lawsuits are called wrongful death lawsuits, which can be brought in any state. However, states, including Florida, have different requirements for who can bring the lawsuit along with what the parties must allege.

Recently, a Florida man was arrested after a multi-vehicle crash led to fatalities. A man from Miami was traveling west on I-80 and rear-ended another vehicle, which was then hit by another car. In total, the crash involved eight vehicles and caused two fatalities—a father and son who were in the car who was initially rear-ended—and five other people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police indicated the initial driver caused the accident by not paying attention and driving extremely fast; he has been arrested on two counts of motor vehicle homicide.

Many states have specific laws dedicated to bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act governs all wrongful death suits. The purpose of the Wrongful Death Act is to shift the losses when a wrongful death occurs from the deceased’s survivors to the wrongdoer of the act. Because of this, the family of a person killed under these circumstances can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, there are strict requirements that must be met in order for a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful. A lawsuit can only be brought if the death of the person is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person, and the accident would have entitled the deceased to bring a personal injury lawsuit if they had not died.

Car accidents are traumatic for those involved, as well as for an accident victim’s loved ones who were not a part of the accident. When someone is killed in a tragic car accident, bringing a lawsuit is not the first thought on the family’s mind. As time progresses, and if they decide that they want to financially recover, the family may be confused about who is permitted to bring the lawsuit. However, Florida law has specific requirements for who is able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one has passed away in a car accident.

Recently, a car accident in Miami claimed the lives of a teacher, her husband, and her mother. The teacher, who was driving her mother to her dialysis treatment, was struck by another driver as she was trying to make a turn. Miami-Dade police later indicated that the driver of the second vehicle had been drinking and this likely caused the accident.

In situations like the aforementioned tragedy, it may be confusing to determine who should bring a wrongful death lawsuit. According to Florida law, the lawsuit must be brought by the deceased’s “personal representative” with the intent to obtain compensation for the benefit of the deceased’s “survivors.” A deceased’s “survivors” can include their spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other extended family members. The law also allows other individuals to financially recover from the loss of a loved one if they depended on the deceased for support—either emotionally or financially. Therefore, Florida law provides many family members with the opportunity to sue the accountable party after the loss of a loved one in a car accident.

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