Articles Posted in Car Accident

Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida pedestrian accident case involving a pick-up truck that struck a woman who was standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus. Specifically, the court was asked to determine whether the owner of the pick-up truck had a duty to install brakes on the trailer that was being towed. Ultimately, the court concluded that such a duty may exist, depending on the surrounding circumstances, but remanded the case to the lower court to make the determination.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was standing on the side of the road, waiting for a bus with her grandchildren when she was struck by a pick-up truck towing a trailer. The driver of the pick-up truck was the daughter of the truck’s owner, who had loaded the truck in preparation for the trip. However, before leaving, the owner of the truck did not feel well and asked his daughter to make the trip. The trailer was overloaded and did not have brakes installed.

As the owner’s daughter was driving, the traffic in front of her suddenly stopped. She applied the brakes in an attempt to safely come to a stop. However, as the owner’s daughter approached the traffic ahead of her, she realized she wasn’t going to stop in time. She swerved onto the shoulder to avoid stopped traffic, but struck the plaintiff.

Florida motorists must purchase automobile insurance that provides at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage. PIP coverage is a no-fault coverage that provides compensation to motorists and qualified family members for certain accident-related medical expenses. Florida is a no-fault state, and insurance companies cover their policyholders in an accident. However, the law does not require motorists to purchase insurance to protect themselves when they are negligent. When someone is involved in an accident with a driver that does not have adequate protection, the victim may face significant challenges recovering for their losses.

To avoid potential significant financial burdens, motorists should purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) protection. Unlike several other states, Florida automobile insurance laws do not require motorists to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) protection; however, this coverage provides drivers, their passengers, and household family members, with additional financial security.

UIM protection is useful in cases where motorists are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver with inadequate insurance coverage. Further, this coverage protects policyholders in hit-and-run accidents, unknown vehicle collisions, or if the policyholder or their family members suffer injuries as a pedestrian or cyclist.

Car accidents can leave injured motorists, passengers, and pedestrians with substantial property damage, physical injuries, and psychological trauma. After seeking medical attention, one of the first steps a Florida car accident victim should take is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Many Floridians assume that insurance companies operate swiftly and fairly; however, this is often far from the truth.

In most instances, car accident victims will attempt to recover damages from the at-fault party or their insurance company. This requires filling out lengthy forms, providing detailed information, and explicitly requesting appropriate compensation. Insurance companies rarely agree to the amount the victim claims and will either counteroffer, deny, or even delay deciding the clam. If an insurance company is engaging in unlawful practices or countering an inadequate amount, injury victims should contact an attorney to file a complaint

To initiate a lawsuit against an insurance company, potential plaintiffs should file a complaint in court. Attorneys can assist the plaintiff in including all relevant and pertinent details, including a demand for damages. During pre-trial pleadings, both parties will have the opportunity to file motions to support their claims. If the case survives pre-trial proceedings, the parties will then engage in discovery and then trial.

Under Florida’s personal injury laws, individuals who suffer injury because of a negligent driver may be able to recover for their losses through a Florida car accident lawsuit. However, these cases are rarely straight forward, and plaintiffs must ensure that they understand the evidentiary and procedural requirements they must follow. In addition to fact and evidence disputes, plaintiffs must anticipate and refute any defenses that the defendant may present.

There are three main types of defenses in Florida car accident claims that, if successful, can defeat liability. These defenses are, assumption of the risk, contributory negligence, and force of nature or unexpected loss of capacities. To overcome these defenses, plaintiffs must be able to pierce the evidence that the defendant presents.

The assumption of risk defense reduces a plaintiff’s right to recover when the defendant establishes that the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly assumed the risks of the dangerous activity that led to their injuries. Plaintiffs must present evidence that they did not know there was a risk of the same type that they suffered, or that they did not voluntarily take on the danger. Defendants may also argue that the plaintiff somehow contributed to their injuries and subsequent damages, and therefore their recovery should be reduced by their level of fault. To avoid a significant reduction of compensation, plaintiffs must be able to show that their behavior did not contribute to their damages. Finally, some defendants argue that an unexpected loss of capacity or other force of nature led to the plaintiff’s injuries. This defense typically requires a defendant to prove that the behavior giving rise to the incident was unanticipated, exceptional, unavoidable, or related to a grave natural disaster or phenomena.

Recently, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that insurance companies must comply with Florida Statutes section 627.727, which covers uninsured motorist (UM) coverage minimums. The ruling comes after an insurance company appealed a lower court’s ruling in favor of the plaintiff in a dispute over coverage after a Florida motorcycle accident.

Before his death, a man purchased home insurance coverage that included a collector vehicle. The policy included a UM provision that limited benefits to accidents involving the collector vehicle. After the man’s death, his family tried to recover for damages through the UM provision in his home insurance policy. The defendant insurance company denied coverage, citing the UM limitation. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Florida insurance company, arguing that Florida Statutes section 627.727 prohibits the insurance company from placing restrictions on UM coverage. On appeal, the defendant argued that section 627.727 does not apply to specialty insurance policies, such as the collector vehicle at issue.

Florida Statutes section 627.727 governs “motor vehicle insurance, uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage, and insolvent insurer protection.” Typically, the statute provides coverage to the policyholder, their spouse, and resident relatives. This coverage applies when a person suffers bodily injury by a negligent motorist, whether they are driving or a passenger in their vehicle, driving or riding in someone else’s car, or suffer injuries as a pedestrian. There are several exceptions to this statute, but there are no exclusions related to a collector or antique vehicle.

Insurance companies play a vital role in most Florida car accident cases and are expected to abide by the terms of their policies faithfully. However, in many instances, insurance companies wrongfully deny claims, and Florida personal injury victims end up in lengthy and costly disputes. These disputes can take longstanding financial, physical, and emotional tolls on Florida car accident victims. Florida has several statutes and remedies in place to hold insurance companies liable for delaying or wrongfully denying claims. Floridians who are at a standstill with an insurance company should retain an experienced attorney to help them get their rightfully due damages.

Florida motorists typically purchase automobile coverage with the expectation that the company will provide them with financial protection if they are involved in an accident. Insurance companies must deal with their policyholders in “good faith” and with “fair dealing.” These terms mean that the insurance company must treat their policyholders fairly and carefully when determining the validity of a claim, and settle claims against the insured within the agreed-upon coverage limit. Insurance companies act in bad faith when they refuse to pay or settle a claim without a reasonable basis, fail to promptly and adequately investigate or defend a claim without justification, implement deceptive practices to avoid paying a claim, or refuse to offer the full value of a claim.

There are generally two types of Florida bad faith insurance claims, first-party and third-party claims. First-party insurance claims occur when a Florida motorist’s insurance company fails to address and pay a claim adequately. This typically occurs when a Florida driver evokes their policy’s underinsured or uninsured coverage.

Florida motorists should engage in a comprehensive and thorough review of their available insurance policies to ensure that they have adequate protection in the event they are involved in an accident. One area of coverage that deserves close scrutiny is the terms of the insurance company’s uninsured and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM coverage protects Florida drivers that suffer injuries because of a negligent driver who does not have adequate vehicle insurance. A shocking 25 percent of Florida drivers do not have insurance, and this can have disastrous consequences for injury victims.

Florida’s no-fault insurance rules require that insurance companies protect their own policyholders in minor accidents, so long as the drivers purchase personal injury protection. However, issues arise when a driver sustains serious injuries in a Florida collision. In these instances, Florida drivers must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Filing a complaint with the negligent driver’s insurance company often raises challenges because Florida law does not require drivers to purchase insurance coverage that protects them from liability if they injure someone else.

Appropriate UIM coverage can provide a motorist with extra protection in case the other party is under or uninsured. However, policyholders often face difficulty evoking this policy because insurance companies are reluctant to pay out substantial amounts. Insurance companies will sometimes wrongfully delay claims, or assert specific provisions to avoid paying out claims.

The significant growth of ride-sharing companies has resulted in new professional and financial opportunities for many people, in addition to another way for commuters to get to work. However, this method of transportation has its own set of complications, especially when someone suffers an injury during a pickup or ride. In addition to the typical risks associated with car travel, utilizing these companies introduces a whole new set of concerns. Additionally, individuals who use Florida ride-sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, often face difficulties recovering for damages that they suffer during their rides.

In response to competing with new ride share companies, compounded with the rising concern of the safety of drivers and riders, Uber began a 21-month effort to review their safety standards. In effectuating their safety mission, they undertook a close examination of their business practices by reviewing hundreds of thousands of customers’ support requests and categorized them according to severity and response.

The jarring results revealed that there were over 3,000 reported sexual assaults in 2018 and close to 3,000 in 2017. Additionally, there were 5,500 other incidents involving unwanted sexual advances/touching and groping. Further, the report also showed nine murders in 2019 and 10 in 2017, which accounted for driver and passenger deaths. Finally, the report also indicated that the company recorded close to 60 fatal crashes in 2018 and 49 in 2017.

Florida law requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to cover property damage and personal injuries that may result after an accident. In some situations, Florida injury victims are unable to recover for their losses because the at-fault driver cannot pay. To address this issue, lawmakers require Florida insurance companies to offer their policyholders optional uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects motorists, relatives they reside with, and people who occupy their vehicles. In most cases, insurance companies offer UIM coverage in the same amount that the policyholder has bodily injury coverage. This coverage is essential in instances where a driver is involved in an accident with a negligent driver that does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the victim’s injuries. This coverage typically covers damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitative or nursing care, medical devices, pain and suffering, and death.

This coverage is vital because, despite laws requiring insurance coverage, Florida has a high rate of uninsured drivers. Additionally, Florida has a very low minimum amount of necessary coverage. These two facts can have devastating financial and physical consequences for car accident victims. Injury victims who wish to evoke this coverage may face difficulties because insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out damages. When this happens, injury victims may incur a delay in obtaining appropriate medical treatment, which can contribute to additional serious health conditions.

The risk of a car accident is an unfortunate reality that all drivers must recognize each time that they get into a car. Statistics indicate that close to 2.5 million people suffer injuries or fatalities each year because of a car accident. Many car accidents result from user error, unsafe driving, and inclement weather. The rate of South Florida car accidents may begin to increase as the popularity of self-driving cars and autopilot features starts to gain mainstream traction.

Some say that self-driving cars may eliminate many of the common causes of car accidents, since these vehicles are unable to drive impaired or become distracted, and they can adjust their settings to inclement weather. However, this feature entails its own set of problems that may increase the rate of car accidents in Florida. Recently, the car manufacturing company Tesla has faced significant scrutiny over the company’s autopilot technology. While the company claims that its autopilot feature is safer than traditional driving, there have been several high-profile accidents involving the technology in recent months.

For example, according to a recent news report, a man collided with a disabled police vehicle while his Tesla was in autopilot mode. The man reported that he was tending to his dog in the back seat of the car when his vehicle went off course and slammed into the unoccupied police vehicle. Tesla states that the autopilot feature allows their cars to steer, accelerate, change lanes, and brake automatically. However, they also advise drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and remain alert. To add to this confusion, Tesla’s CEO has posted videos on social media that depict drivers engaging the autopilot feature without their hands on the steering wheel. These facts, compounded with recent fatalities that occurred while this feature was engaged, suggest that autopilot technology is not as advanced as the company claims.

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