Articles Posted in Car Accident

Speeding is one of the main causes of car accidents throughout the country. High-speed driving increases both the severity and the likelihood of car crashes. Driving at higher speeds makes it more difficult to react to mistakes on the road from yourself or other drivers, such as quickly stopped cars and rapid deceleration. Additionally, higher speeds lead to more serious crashes when drivers do collide with other vehicles or obstacles. Florida is no exception, with the state experiencing extremely high levels of car accidents and auto fatalities. According to a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV), in 2021, car accidents spiked throughout Florida after two straight years of decline. Throughout 2021, Florida saw 401,170 total car accidents. Additionally, approximately 40% of car accidents in Florida result in fatalities. The FDHSMV found that fatal car accidents have been on the rise throughout Florida. A recently published news article discusses a dangerous multi-car crash in Okaloosa County.

According to the news report, the accident occurred in the evening on Friday, November 3, when a black Jeep traveling north on State Road 4 nearly collided with a white Chevy that was stopped. The driver of the black Jeep nearly collided with the rear of the white Chevy, swearing into the southbound lane, crashing head-on with a white Hyundai. The spinning black Jeep then struck the white Chevy. According to the Florida Highway Patrol stated that the crash resulted in serious and critical injuries for both the driver and passenger of the black Jeep. Authorities shut down State Road 4 for an extended period of time for roadway cleanup, and the investigation is still ongoing.

In Florida, surviving family members can sue for wrongful death following a fatal car accident by filing a lawsuit in a civil court. Prior to filing a claim, the family members need to gather evidence to support the claim, prove liability, determine the value of their claim, meet the statute of limitations, and then file the claim with the court. According to Florida statutes, a wrongful death claim brought by surviving family members of a car passenger can result from accidents where the death is caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another party. An attorney can evaluate the details of your case and determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim based on the details of the case.

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion in an appeal involving a negligence and vicarious liability claim by the Plaintiffs-Appellees, the estates of four women who died in a car accident, against the Defendant-Appellant, Discount Rock & Sand, Inc. Following the fatal car accident, the women’s estates sued Carlos Manso Blanco, the driver who rear-ended their car, for negligence, and the estates sued Blanco’s employer, Discount Rock & Sand, Inc., for negligently entrusting the company’s truck to Blanco and for vicarious liability for Blanco’s negligent driving. After the estates and Blanco settled, the district court ordered the estates to file a stipulation of dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a), which they did. Based on the stipulation, the district court ordered the dismissal of the claim against Blanco. The remaining claims against Discount Rock went to trial, and the jury found the company liable and awarded nearly $12 million in damages to the estates. Discount Rock then appealed the judgment.

Facts of the Case

In March 2018, four Spanish citizens vacationing in the Florida Keys were killed in an automobile accident. The four women were traveling northbound on U.S. Route 1 (the Overseas Highway) and stopped near mile marker 79 to turn left into a scenic viewing area. Two vehicles, driven by Cheyenne Del Okeyes and Eduardo Ponce, passed the women’s Nissan Rogue sport utility vehicle on the righthand shoulder. But a third vehicle—a truck outfitted with a large tank holding water and sewage and hauling a port-a-potty—slammed into the Nissan. The truck, which was owned by Discount Rock and driven by its employee, Blanco, propelled the Nissan into oncoming traffic, into the path of a recreational vehicle driven by Daniel Pinkerton. All four women died at the scene.

The women’s estates sued Blanco for negligence and Discount Rock for negligent entrustment and for vicarious liability for Blanco’s negligence. The estates sought compensatory and punitive damages. The estates and Blanco settled, while the remaining claims against Discount Rock proceeded to trial. At trial, the jury found Discount Rock liable and awarded nearly $12 million in damages to the estates.

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In a recent case, the Fifth District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida issued an opinion in an appeal involving a wrongful death case arising out of a single-vehicle crash that resulted from the failure of a fourteen-year-old tire. The Plaintiff/Appellee, filed as the personal representative of the estates of her husband and their son, suing the Defendant/Appellant Discount Tire Co., a retail tire sales and service store. The Appellee claimed during the ensuing jury trial that Discount Tire breached certain industry standards.

In February 2017, the Appellee’s husband took his truck to Discount Tire where he purchased two new tires which were installed on the rear wheels while the older rear tires were rotated to the front. Four months later, while driving his truck on I-95 at highway speeds, the truck’s left front tire experienced a tread separation resulting in a loss of control that led to a crash in which both the Appellee’s husband and their son were killed. In her complaint and at trial, the Appellee asserted that the left front tire that failed was dangerous and likely to fail due to the fact that it was allegedly more than ten years old. She further asserted that Discount Tire was negligent for having serviced that older tire, i.e., rotating it to the front from the rear, and that “industry standards” called for taking tires of that age out of service.

The Appellee’s tire engineer and failure analysis expert testified that the fourteen-year-old tire failed because it was too old. At trial, another of Appellee’s experts testified about Discount Tire’s internal policy: employees at its stores were not to service any tire that was over ten years old. However, he did not identify any existing standards in Discount Tire’s industry regarding older tires that the Appellant had violated in this case.

Florida is consistently ranked very high on the list of states with the highest number of hit-and-run accidents each year. Through August of 2022, Florida had already reported 52,791 hit-and-run car accidents throughout the state. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents resulted in 11,494 reported injuries and 119 fatalities in Florida in 2022. There are many reasons why a driver may flee the scene after an accident. The primary motivating factor is likely that the driver wants to avoid the legal or financial consequences of the accident. Depending on the cause of the crash, drugs, alcohol, outstanding warrants, texting, or distracted driving, there could be serious legal ramifications, leading to the driver leaving the scene. Other reasons, such as lacking proper insurance, holding a commercial driver’s license, or driving the vehicle without permission, could result in significant financial consequences for the driver, leading them to flee the scene.

Florida drivers and pedestrians should be aware of some of the elements involved in calculating pain and suffering damages after an accident. Such factors can be used to determine the value and compensation in court after a crash or auto accident. (1) the type of injury and seriousness of the harm, (2) the amount of recovery time required, and (3) the necessary treatment required by the injury. These issues are related to each other. For example, generally speaking, if your injury is more serious, the recovery time and treatment required will be more elaborate and will often result in greater compensation. Subsequently, if your injury is relatively minor and there is not a ton of pain associated with it, any damages awarded may be on the lower end. A recent news article discussed a fatal Florida hit-and-run crash that occurred in September 2023.

According to the news article, the incident began when a Chevrolet SUV and a Dodge pickup truck collided at an intersection. A 34-year-old man passing the scene of the crash stopped to help. At that point, a Honda van struck the Dodge pickup truck, knocking it into the 34-year-old and killing him. The driver of the Honda van then left the vehicle at the scene and fled on foot.

Year after year, Florida is one of the states with the most traffic accidents. While it can be difficult to gauge car accident statistics from state to state, one of the most common ways to measure the risk of fatal car accidents across states is the metric of deaths per 100 million miles traveled within a state. Using this statistical format can be helpful to calculate driving risks in a state while controlling for disparities in population between different states, allowing for a more true comparison.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the deaths per 100 million miles traveled within Florida is 1.60, placing it ahead of all but a handful of other states in the country when it comes to drivers and passengers killed in car accidents. Fatalities in Florida car accidents have been rising since 2018, and currently, nearly 40% of all vehicle crashes result in injuries. Crashes occurring on highways can be particularly dangerous due to the higher speed limits on highways, resulting in more serious implications than crashes occurring at slower speeds.

When it comes to vehicle accidents, drivers and passengers in Florida need to be aware of a number of different factors that can be used to calculate pain and suffering damages after a car collision. These factors include but are not limited to the category of injury, the recovery time required for such an injury, necessary medical treatments, and the severity of the crash. These different factors can help pinpoint the necessary compensation in court after a car crash. Many of these elements are related, as the more serious the crash, the more likely the time to fully recover will be longer. A recent news article discussed a recent fatal crash in Poinciana, Florida, from last month.

In a recent case, the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Fourth District issued an opinion in an appeal involving a negligence action arising from a car accident. The negligence action occurred between the plaintiffs and the defendant after the defendant hit a golf cart with her car, potentially injuring the plaintiffs in the process. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant’s conduct amounted to gross negligence and sued. The defendant appealed the trial court’s order granting the plaintiff’s motion to amend their complaint to plead a claim for punitive damages.

The underlying accident occurred in the morning on a residential street located inside a gated country club housing community. A resident had stopped his golf cart on the side of the street to speak with the plaintiffs approximately four to five feet past an intersection. The plaintiffs were standing in the street between the golf cart and the sidewalk when the defendant drove her car around the corner and onto the street with the golf cart and the plaintiffs. In the process of entering the street, the defendant collided with the golf cart and hit both of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claimed that one of them suffered from permanent injuries as a result of the crash. Subsequently, they sued the defendant for loss of consortium and later moved to amend the complaint to add a claim for punitive damages based on gross negligence.

In the proposed amended complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant had a habit of speeding in the community, that she was speeding at the time of the accident, and that she ran the stop sign at the corner of the intersection before turning onto the street where they were standing. In support of the allegations, the plaintiffs submitted their own answers to interrogatories, an affidavit from the golf cart owner, and a proffer of testimony from the resident with the golf cart. The court granted the motion to amend and the defendant timely appealed.

In a recent case, the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Second District issued an opinion in an appeal involving the City of Tampa’s (the City) motion to dismiss a citizen’s action against the city for negligence and loss of consortium. The suit resulted from an incident where the citizen was struck by a vehicle while cycling on a bike lane in Tampa. The cyclist was struck between the traffic lanes of West Cleveland Street in Tampa.

The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, the citizen, in issuing the nonfinal order denying the City’s motion to dismiss the action. After the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint, the City moved to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action in that the plaintiffs challenged the design of the bike lane, which would be a planning-level decision for which the City is immune from suit. The trial court held a hearing on the motion and ultimately denied it, determining that the second amended complaint contained adequate allegations to state a cause of action. The City then appealed. On appeal, the City argued that the trial court erred in denying the motion because the plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that the City had a duty to warn of a specific danger to cyclists and that therefore it is sovereignly immune from suit.

The appellate decision stated that Sovereign immunity is an affirmative defense that is not properly asserted in a motion to dismiss unless “the complaint itself conclusively establishes its applicability.” Further, the opinion stated Liability cannot be imposed when the government exercises its discretionary, planning-level function; however, operational-level decisions are not so immune. To that point, the appellate court stated that, while the City’s actual design and construction of the bike lane may have been a planning-level decision immune from liability if the execution of that planning-level decision created a dangerous condition, the City’s failure to warn users of the bike lane about that dangerous condition would be an operational function that is not immune from liability. Subsequently, the appellate court held that the plaintiff’s second amended complaint was sufficient to open the courthouse door at the motion to dismiss stage because the facts pleaded did not conclusively establish that the claims were barred as a matter of law, ruling against the defendants and affirming the trial court decision.

Recently, the district court of appeals for the State of Florida Sixth District issued an opinion in an appeal involving a negligence claim by the appellee, the plaintiff, against the appellants, Hernando J. Lancheros and VL Auto Transport, Inc. The appellee sued the appellants claiming they negligently injured him in a car accident. The appellants conceded fault, and the matter proceeded to trial solely on the issue of causation and damages. The appellee stated that he suffered a permanent injury to his back and that the injury was caused by the car accident in question. The appellants contended that the appellee’s injuries stemmed from a pre-existing condition and were not caused by the car accident. At trial, the court improperly directed a verdict on causation. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the lower court decision, remanding the case for a new trial.

Facts of the Case

The appellee, who was twenty-four when the accident happened, testified that he had rowed crew competitively since he was a teenager. He further acknowledged that he visited a chiropractor two times before the accident for back pain due to either weight training or rowing crew. Following the car accident, the appellee did not seek treatment for his back either at the scene or in the aftermath of the accident. He did not obtain x-rays or an MRI on his back in the immediate days after the crash. The appellee waited eighteen days before going to a chiropractor for what he described as lingering back pain after the initial soreness from the accident faded.

Accidents involving both cars and bicycles are increasingly common. According to People Powered Movement (PPM), a bike and walking alliance, Florida had 5,952 bicycle collisions in 2021. Such crashes caused 5,574 injuries and 169 deaths. PPM further found that in Florida, bicycle accidents are overwhelmingly caused by automobile drivers. Of the 169 fatal bike accidents in Florida in 2021, law enforcement officers found that automobile drivers were responsible for 140 of them. In total, that means that car drivers were responsible for approximately 83% of all fatal bicycle accidents in Florida in 2021. PPM similarly found that of the 759 bicycle accidents that resulted in life-threatening injuries and the 4,815 accidents resulting in minor injuries, Florida law enforcement officers placed the blame on automobile drivers in 76% of the serious accidents and 69% of the minor accidents.

Bike accidents result in a high percentage of fatalities for a number of reasons. Bicycles and other open-air vehicles expose the rider to greater risk during collisions as they are often thrown clear of the vehicle during a crash, creating more violent landings. Additionally, many bicycle riders do not use proper headwear, resulting in head trauma during collisions. Any impact to a person’s head is disproportionately likely to result in fatal injuries, further increasing the risk of death in bike accidents. A recently published news report detailed a fatal crash between a bicycle and an SUV crash in Bradenton, Florida, earlier this month.

According to a recently published news report, a 33-year-old man died when an SUV crashed into his bicycle. The man was riding his bicycle after midnight on Wednesday, August 9, when an SUV driven by a 23-year-old man struck the bike. A Florida Highway Patrol report stated that the bike rider was not wearing a helmet at the time and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Law enforcement reports state that both the SUV and the bicyclist were traveling east on State Road 64 when the crash occurred, throwing the rider onto the bridge’s concrete surface before he collided with a raised curb.

Recently, the district court of appeals for the State of Florida Fourth District issued an opinion in an appeal involving a negligence claim by the appellee, the plaintiff, against the appellant, Napleton’s North Palm Auto Park, Inc., (the Dealership). The plaintiff sued the Dealership after an employee (Employee) of the Dealership hit the plaintiff’s parked car while allegedly intoxicated during his shift, alleging negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of the Dealership’s employee. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend her complaint to add a punitive damages claim.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and the Employee were both employed by the Dealership. The Employee maintains that on the day of the alleged incident, he had “a couple drinks” while on his lunch break at home before he returned to work. That evening the Employee “brushed” alongside the plaintiff’s parked car as he was moving his car from an employee lot across the street to a closer parking lot. The Employee was later arrested and would enter a guilty plea to a DUI charge and his employment was terminated on the day of the accident.

The plaintiff then sued the Dealership for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of the Employee. She alleged that the Dealership knew or should have known that the Employee had been found guilty of a DUI offense prior to hiring him, and the Dealership knew or should have known that the Employee consumed alcohol during work hours. The plaintiff then moved to amend her complaint, adding a claim for punitive damages. In doing so, she highlighted three events to establish the Dealership’s knowledge of the Employee’s history of driving while intoxicated: (1) the Employee’s prior DUI conviction in 2006; (2) the Dealership’s discipline of the Employee in January 2020 based on another employee’s suspicion of the Employee being intoxicated while on the clock; and (3) the assistant manager’s observation that the Employee was acting “off” and “loopy.”

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