Articles Tagged with car-accident-lawyer

Kim Smith had dedicated her 20-plus year career to helping the disabled as a therapist. Now, at 57, she is a patient. She will always be a patient, now that she has been rendered paraplegic and is now a resident of an apartment complex for seniors and the disabled after a drunk driver slammed into her two years ago. It’s been a year since she moved into the complex, following a year of being hospitalized after the crash. wheelchair

Recently, the man responsible for her injuries was sentenced by a Broward County judge to 12 years in prison. The Sun-Sentinel reported that while the 31-year-old defendant apologized to Smith, saying he is, “infinitely regretful,” Smith doubted his sincerity. She did however take comfort in the fact that he will be off the streets, at least for a time. It’s only a small measure of comfort, though, considering the daily pain she lives with. She calls the wheelchair, “exhausting.” She notes the pain that radiates from her back to her rear. She explained how she had fallen out of it several times just in the last month. She lamented that every system in her body is compromised, and will continue to be for the rest of her life, which is now expected to be much shorter.

She told the court about all the life events she missed due to being hospitalized after the car accident. She wasn’t able to say goodbye to her dying brother. She wasn’t there to help her 91-year-old mother transition into a nursing home. Meanwhile, defendant was a college graduate with honors who had started his own online marketing company. He didn’t fit the mold of most defendants, the judge noted. Yet he had a pattern of abusing substances and then getting behind the wheel, prosecutors allege. They sought 19 years. His defense lawyer sought to go below the minimum mandatory five years. In the end, he received 12 – three in county jail and nine in state prison.  Continue reading

A lot of folks will be making long trips this holiday season to spend time with loved ones and ring in the New Year. Now, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a warning for those who get behind the wheel with too little sleep: You are imperiling yourself and others the same as if you just downed four drinks. car with keys

Prior studies by the foundation established that as many as 13 percent of all serious crashes and 21 percent of deadly crashes involved a driver who was tired. This newest research delves into quantifying the relationship between sleep and driving ability. What they discovered was fascinating – and disturbing. Drivers who got less than four hours of sleep in the last 24 hours had a crash risk that was 11.5 times than someone who had gotten seven or more hours of sleep. That’s similar to drivers who have a blood-alcohol concentration of somewhere between 0.12 and 0.15 0 which is nearly twice the legal limit. Drivers who slept between 4 and 5 hours had a crash risk that was 4.3 times higher. That is akin to someone who has a blood-alcohol level that is just at or above the legal limit of 0.08. Those who were lucky enough to get between 5 and 7 hours had a crash risk that was 1.9 times higher. And even those who got at least six hours a night still had a crash risk that was 1.3 times higher.

Of course, this issue isn’t just a problem during the holidays. In the hustle of a go-go world, the reality is many people don’t get enough rest on a daily basis. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report approximately 35 percent of Americans get fewer than the recommended seven hours of shut-eye a night. Twelve percent say they are getting fewer than five hours of sleep daily.  Continue reading

Our roads and bridges are in terrible shape, and that puts us all risk for serious injury and death while driving. cars

According to a recent report by TRIP, a transportation solutions research group in D.C., we would need to shell out $740 billion to repair the infrastructure deficiencies that exist right now on highways, roads and bridges. And even that wouldn’t be a long-term solution. We need to find a sustainable source of funding if we’re going to keep pace with the ever-increasing amount of vehicle miles traveled – which has increased 15 percent in the last year and is expected for heavy trucks to increase 72 percent in the next 15 years.

The report, “Bumpy Roads Ahead, America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make Our Roads Smoother,” details how poor road conditions affect our wallets and our safety. Potholes and pavement deterioration are bad for our tires and for the level of control we maintain over our vehicles. This is especially perilous on highways, which get high volumes of heavy vehicles. If those drivers lose control of their vehicles – even momentarily – the it could prove deadly.  Continue reading

In a multiple-vehicle accident, there are more than two cars that hit each other or are involved in a chain of rear-end collisions. It can be difficult enough to sort out liability in these scenarios, but it can be even more complicated when there is an allegation of a phantom vehicle or a “John Doe” driver. A “John Doe” or  phantom vehicle is one that may have played an integral role in causing the crash, but never actually made contact with any of the others and either has not been identified or is not a party to the case.traffic

This is what was being alleged by the defendant in Reboulet v. Schlosberg, tried before a jury in Georgia.

Ultimately, jurors concluded defendant was liable for the collision and awarded plaintiff $813,000 for his spinal damage.  Continue reading

Since the Graves Amendment was enacted into federal law, rental car companies have been able to evade any vicarious liability for the negligent actions of their drivers. That means if you’re injured by someone driving a rental car, you can’t hold the owner of the vehicle responsible (as you normally would be able to under Florida law) unless the company was in some way directly liable for the accident.car inside

What’s perhaps even more troubling is that there is no federal requirement mandating that vehicle renters purchase liability coverage on that vehicle. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for rental car companies to rent out their fleet to motorists who are not insured.

This means those injured by uninsured renters may find themselves with little recourse – unless they have uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This was the scenario in the recent case of Martin v. Powers, weighed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Here, plaintiff was battling his UM/UIM carrier because the company refused to find a rental vehicle “uninsured/ underinsured” for purposes of the policy. True, the vehicle was owned by a large, wealthy company. The problem was the only insurance to which plaintiff was entitled was a $25,000 liability policy maintained by the allegedly drunk driver – and that company wouldn’t pay either because it asserted the injury was intentionally inflicted. 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

A mother and two of her six young children, ages 5 and 8, were killed recently in a car accident on I-75 in Pembroke Pines. carseat1

Of the other children – girls ages 2 and 4 and boys ages 6 and 9 – only the 2-year-old was strapped in to a car seat. Neither the 30-year-old mother nor the 25-year-old driver, father of the 2-year-old, were buckled in. Each of the children were transported to a Hollywood hospital in serious condition. The driver was reported to be in critical condition. All are from Plantation.

Authorities were attempting to sift through the cause of the accident, which occurred around 10:15 p.m. All they know is that for unknown reasons, the driver lost control in the construction zone of the median.  Continue reading

In one of the biggest, most comprehensive studies on behind-the-wheel habits of U.S. drivers, a troubling – though perhaps unsurprising – trend has emerged. 

We have known for some time that distracted driving is a greater problem today than it has ever been. Motorists have easy access to smartphones and demands for their attention are constant. But the recent conclusions of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, have revealed is this:

Drivers in the U.S. are distracted more than 50 percent of the time their vehicle is moving. More than half the time we are driving, we are not actually driving – or at least we aren’t focused on doing so. Continue reading

Pedestrian deaths are making up an increasing percentage of U.S. traffic fatalities, especially here in the Sunshine State. Florida has long held the dubious distinction of having the highest number of pedestrian accident fatalities in the country. 

Now, according to new research released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, preliminary 2015 data shows that in the first half of the year, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed nationally, as compared to the first half of 2014. If that same momentum holds true for the rest of 2015, it would mean the single highest year-over-year increase since the GHSA began collecting fatality data more than 40 years ago.

In an average year, an estimated 5,000 people are killed in America while walking. While we have seen death rates for occupants of passenger vehicles drop over the years, the rate of pedestrian deaths has not. In fact, it is climbing.  Continue reading

Although some people would argue they are “attached” to their cell phones, the reality is that under the law, these are two separate entities. No matter how dependent one feels on that little device, there is a clear distinction: The owner is a person and the phone is property.prostheticleg

Currently, there is a mostly similar distinction when it comes to a prosthetic limb and the person who uses it. However, an interesting point was raised recently at the University of Oxford’s Human Enhancement and the Law: Regulation for the Future Conference. This was a British conference, but the issues discussed are highly relevant this side of the pond.

The idea is that as new and advanced prosthetic devices become available and an increasing number of people are using them, the delineation between person and property becomes muddled. The traditional distinctions that have been upheld in the past may be challenged. Continue reading