Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Three years ago, Rebecca Forkey was a 24-year-old woman heading to the gym, training for a bodybuilding competition. Little did she know, her physical fitness is likely what kept her alive in a car accident that would have killed most people, her doctors now say. Driver

The Missouri woman is now quadriplegic. She hopes one day to regain some use of her hands and arms. Her physical therapy is intensive, and while she makes strides, she’s likely to remain permanently disabled the rest of her life.

Now 27, the East Bay Times reported she just secured a $24 million settlement against the employer of the so-called “Good Samaritan” who nearly killed her while trying to do the right thing.  Continue reading

A Florida judge in Duval County has set a trial date for August next year against the makers of the Ohio-based Evenflo, a car seat manufacturer accused of improperly recommending car seats that are too big for some children. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 5-year-old girl who was severely and permanently injured in a 2014 crash in Jacksonville on I-295. carseat1

According to News4Jax, plaintiffs in this product liability lawsuit allege the manufacturer was negligent on several fronts. Among those: Designing, testing, developing, making and marketing a product that fails to provide sufficient protection to child occupants in the event of a collision. Specifically, the booster seat the manufacturer produced was marketed to children under 40 pounds. However, the seat didn’t incorporate a five-point harness system, which would strap the children in over the shoulders, around their waist and between their legs. Instead, this was simply an over the shoulder and lap belt, which plaintiffs assert is not adequate protection for a child under 40 pounds.

Plaintiffs allege the actions of this manufacturer run counter to the recommendations of both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Had the child been in a seat with a five-point harness, plaintiffs say, she would have been spared her terrible injuries. Evenflo rejects plaintiffs assertions, with a spokeswoman saying that while she could not comment on the particulars of the case, the booster seat in question – Evenflo Big Kid booster – has been sold for more than 10 years and reportedly has a solid safety rating that is compliant with government safety standards in the U.S. and Canada.  Continue reading

The latest government statistics on car accidents and resulting fatalities in the U.S. paints a troubling picture of the lack of safety on our national highways and roads. drive9

Last year, the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes was nearly 35,100, according to the latest numbers released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That amounts to an increase of 7.2 percent over the previous year. To put that into perspective, the last year there was an increase that high was when Lyndon Johnson was president – way back in 1966. There were 2,348 more people killed in traffic crashes in 2015 as compared to 2014.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx lamented the increase in a press release, saying that even with decades of improved safety features and technology, there are still way too many people being killed on our roads. Fixing the problem, he said, is going to require effort from multiple sectors. His office is working to amass a coalition of safety experts, researchers, data scientists, law enforcement, technology firms, auto manufacturers and the public to help find effective ways to prevent these daily tragedies.  Continue reading

Officers investigating drunk driving accidents have a device at their disposal called breathalyzers, which help them detect a person’s breath-alcohol concentration. Blood-alcohol concentration can also be detected through a blood test, though they may have to get a warrant for that. In cases where a driver is suspected of driving impaired by drugs, many departments have trained drug recognition experts (DRE’s) who can help ascertain this. But what if the driver was suspected of texting? iphone

It’s a common scenario, given that more than eight people die every single day in the U.S. as a result of distracted driving. Another 1,000 people are injured. In fact, it’s believed to be at least part of the catalyst for why we’re seeing rising car accident statistics in the U.S. for the first time in a decade. But “testing” for driver distraction can be tricky. Even when it involves a smartphone, calculating a person’s use and tying that with the exact second of an accident can prove challenging.

Enter the Textalyzer. It’s a device that may allow on-scene officers to test the devices of drivers involved to check for recent activity. The technology would be able to show whether the driver was texting, email or engaging in any other electronic communication that is barred under F.S. 316.305, Florida’s distracted driving law. This could prove important not just in proving the cause of a crash, but also in cases where plaintiffs may want to make an argument for punitive damages due to gross negligence.  Continue reading

The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled on the common law precedent of the original tortfeasor rule, which allows a person who is civilly liable to another for some injury may also be civilly liable for the negligence, mistake or lack of skill on the part of a doctor or surgeon who treats the injured person for that injury. doctorpatientrelationship

What is often considered is whether aggravation of the original injury or subsequent additional injury due to poor medical or surgical treatment was a natural and probable consequence of the original injury or a direct result of the original tortfeasor’s actions.

In Florida, this issue was weighed by the Florida Supreme Court in Stuart v. Hertz Corp., back in 1977. In that case, our highest court ruled that a rental car company whose vehicle injured a woman in an accident could be liable for injuries she sustained from medical negligence while she was being treated for her original injuries. The court further ruled the rental car company couldn’t introduce the doctor into the case and make him pay for his portion of the damages. (The federal Graves Amendment has since barred individuals from taking action against rental car companies for the negligence of their driving customers, though that is beside the point here).  Continue reading

In the case of Etheringon v. Owners Insurance Co., the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a $2.25 million verdict against a car insurance company for engaging in bad faith during settlement of an underinsured motorist (UIM) case. drivefastsaab

According to the complaint, the insurer was sued for breach of contract and unreasonable delay or denial of a claim for benefits.

Bad faith insurance cases, while they may be arduous to pursue, are important for two big reasons:

  • They can result in treble (triple) damages for those who suffered injury;
  • They provide incentive for insurance companies to deal fairly with customers.

Continue reading

In early May, a fatal car accident on a Florida highway seemed like just one of the many tragedies that occur on our roads daily. The driver, a 40-year-old from Canton, Ohio operating a Tesla car in Williston, Florida, had crashed into a tractor-trailer while traveling 65 mph.drivingsleepy

But then in late June, federal authorities got roped into the investigation when it was learned the Tesla’s Autopilot system was engaged at the time of the crash. In effect, this was a self-driving car, which are touted as infinitely safer options than human-operated vehicles. After all, human error is the cause of 90 percent of all crashes. Yet despite the fact that the Autopilot system was engaged, neither the driver nor the system activated the brakes before the car struck the tractor-trailer.

Now the federal government wants answers. But Tesla insists the cars are safe. There are 70,000 Tesla cars on the road that have this Autopilot feature. Representatives with the company insist the systems are safe when used as intended, and the problem in these cases is more likely than not driver error. That is, they aren’t using the systems properly. Continue reading

The family of Michael Waddle, 50, told The Palm Beach Post the former firefighter always insisted on kisses and hugs whenever someone left the home because, “You never know when you might see them last.” driving6

It turned out to be wiser than perhaps he would ever realize. After working 20 years as a firefighter, he was forced to retire due to a work injury. He was on his way to his new job as a security guard when was killed on his way to work, just miles from his home, when his Ford F350 struck another vehicle before rolling over and then striking a cement pole near Summit Road in Palm Beach Gardens. The driver of the other vehicle, a 54-year-old woman, was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Now, Waddle’s wife and three children say the man who was always their hero is now their angel, who will continue to inspire them in new ways. Continue reading

The purported negligence of an Orange County pizza delivery driver working for a franchise may cost the parent company as much as $9 million after a jury awarded a $10 million verdict to the plaintiff, widow of a firefighter who died 15 months of crash-related injuries that left him quadriplegic.roadgoesdistance

Orlando Sentinel reports the January 2011 crash occurred on a dark stretch of highway in Christmas, when a pizza delivery man tried to merge into a westbound lane of Colonial Drive. He spotted the oncoming headlights approaching as he looked to merge from the median, but thought he had enough time and space. Decedent, who was behind the wheel, swerved to avoid hitting the deliveryman, but the car flipped and he struck a tree. His fiancee, who later became his wife, was with him at the time of the crash. She suffered leg injuries as shards glass slashed her legs. Her fiance, however, suffered severe injuries.

Decedent received treatment at a hospital in Georgia that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries. After a few months, the pair made the long drive back to Florida, and stopped in a courthouse and got married along the way. He died months later at age 62 after a blood clot developed in his lungs, something for which quadriplegics are at 19 times higher risk of suffering than the average person. Blood becomes stagnant in the body because the limbs aren’t moving.  Continue reading

Jurisdiction is a key issue for any personal injury lawsuit. If a certain court does not have jurisdiction, the case cannot proceed. It’s imperative to have a thorough understanding of whatever jurisdictional issues may arise prior to filing the case, as an error could result in a setback that not only wastes time and money, but could result in forever losing the opportunity to bring the case, if the decision falls outside the statute of limitations. pickup1

There are three basic types of judicial jurisdiction: Personal, Territorial and Subject Matter. Personal jurisdiction is when a court has authority over a person, regardless of the location. Territorial jurisdiction is authority that is confined to a certain space. Subject matter jurisdiction is when one has legal authority over the subject of the legal questions in the case. When a court has exclusive jurisdiction, it is the only court that can decide the case. If the court has concurrent jurisdiction, one or both parties may try to “forum shop,” to take the case to the court the party presumes may reach the most favorable result.

In the recent Alabama Supreme Court case of Hinrichs v. General Motors of Canada, Ltd., the question was whether the state courts in Alabama had jurisdiction over a foreign automobile manufacturer accused of designing a defective pickup truck seat belt that allegedly failed to restrain a passenger in a rollover car accident. The plaintiff, a German citizen, now suffers quadriplegia as a result of the crash. Plaintiff was in Alabama as a member of the German military who was assigned to Fort Rucker for flight training.  Continue reading