Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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car accidentThe lawmakers in each state are able to determine what amount of insurance is required to legally operate a vehicle on public roads. Most states require motorists to obtain a certain amount of bodily injury liability coverage to ensure that an accident victim is able to recover – at least in part – for the injuries they sustained. However, Florida lawmakers left the bulk of the decision to obtain car insurance in the hands of the individual motorists.

Unlike many other states, Florida law only requires motorists to obtain $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability. Personal injury protection, also called “no fault insurance” covers the motorist (and other qualifying individuals) up to the policy maximum, without a showing of fault.

While this sounds good in theory, by not requiring motorists obtain additional bodily injury liability coverage, few motorists have coverage beyond the bare minimum PIP. This means that many Florida motorists do not have insurance to cover the medical expenses of those who are injured in an accident that they caused. Given the state’s lax insurance requirements, it is no surprise that Florida ranks among the worst states for uninsured and underinsured drivers.

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funeralIn the tragic event that someone is killed in a Florida car accident, the victim’s family members may be able to recover financial compensation from the at-fault parties through a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. The Florida Wrongful Death Act is contained in Florida Statutes § 768.16, which provides for various forms of recovery, depending on the relationship between the deceased and the person filing the case.

Florida wrongful death claims can be filed by qualifying survivors. A “survivor” is defined under the Florida Wrongful Death Act as the deceased’s “spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the [deceased] for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.”

Any qualifying survivor is able to pursue a claim for the loss of support and services they experiment as a result of the loss of their loved one. In addition, there may be specific types of compensation available to certain survivors. For example, a surviving spouse may be entitled to compensation for their loss of companionship and protection. Similarly, surviving minor children may be entitled to compensation for their “parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering.” Surviving parents are also eligible for pain-and-suffering damages for the loss of a minor child.

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distracted drivingResidents of every major city like to claim that their drivers are the worst. Of course, dealing with any commute day in and day out gets tiresome, and inconsiderate or aggressive drivers tend to stand out in commuter’s mind when they make these comments. However, Florida drivers, in many motorist’s minds, are among the worst.

According to a recent news report discussing a study conducted by SmartAsset, in 2018, Florida drivers ranked eighth for the worst drivers in the country. This figure represents a drastic improvement over the 2017 figures, which named Florida drivers as the absolute worst. Nevertheless, the high number of accidents in our state requires knowing a skilled South Florida car accident attorney in the event that you are injured in a collision.

The study took several metrics into account, including the number of DUI citations, the state’s traffic fatality rate, the rate of uninsured drivers, as well as the number of traffic citations issued by police. The following is the data for Florida drivers:

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This summer, Cecere Santana, PA celebrates 10 years since partners Michael Cecere and Erick Santana decided to join forces and open Cecere Santana, PA. Attorneys Cecere and Santana met in the early 90s when they were both insurance adjusters for State Farm Insurance Company. Mike-Erik-Final-2017-300x200Their paths crossed again in 1996 when they attended Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University. After graduating and practicing law for several years, the attorneys decided to combine their years of experience in personal injury and property claims and in 2008 they opened their first office in Sunrise.

At the time, the firm consisted of two attorneys and three case managers. Since then, Cecere Santana has moved to a larger office in Plantation and the team has grown to four attorneys and more than 10 paralegals, case managers and support staff, with the sole purpose of offering our clients the best legal representation and the best customer service in the industry. In the last 10 years, Cecere Santana has helped thousands of clients hurt in automobile accidents, slip and falls, negligent security and all types of personal injury cases. We have also collected millions of dollars for home and business owners who have suffered losses to their properties due to hurricanes, storms, fires, water damages or other types of property claims.

At Cecere Santana, our priority is to offer our customers not only sound legal advice, but also excellent customer service. Our attorneys make a point of speaking directly to our clients when they sign with our firm, but also throughout their case. Our staff is trained to assist our clients throughout the legal process, guiding them every step of the way. As a result, our clients are our best referral source. Most of our new clients come to us referred by a friend or family member.

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Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) opened up an investigation following a fatal Florida car accident involving a Tesla vehicle that killed two teenagers. According to a recent news article discussing the tragic accident and subsequent investigation, the vehicle was traveling southbound on Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale when it left the roadway and crashed into a concrete wall. The vehicle then immediately caught fire.

Legal News GavelThe driver and front-seat passenger were both pronounced dead in the accident. The rear-seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle and sustained major injuries but is expected to live. Police believe that speed may have been a factor in the fatal accident.

Following the accident, the NTSB opened an investigation, focusing not on the autopilot feature that has been a matter of recent concern but instead on the vehicle’s electric battery and the possibility that it was responsible for the fire.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida wrongful death case requiring the court to determine, among other things, if the plaintiff qualified as a “surviving spouse.” Ultimately, the court concluded that, although the plaintiff was not married to the accident victim at the time of his injury, the relevant inquiry was whether they were married at the time of death.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was driving with her fiancé when a car pulled out in front of them. The plaintiff’s fiancé swerved to avoid a collision, but in so doing lost control of the vehicle. The car rolled once or twice before coming to a rest in a roadside ditch.

The plaintiff was not injured in the accident. However, her fiancé was immediately rendered a quadriplegic. Her fiancé filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, as well as the pizza-delivery chain for which he was working at the time of the accident. A few months later, the plaintiff and her fiancé were married. Before the plaintiff’s fiancé’s case concluded, he died due to injuries related to those that he sustained in the accident.

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While the thought of fleeing the scene of an accident is completely foreign to most motorists, the fact remains that there are over 33,000 hit-and-run accidents across the country each year. In many Florida hit-and-run accidents, an accident victim’s injuries are worsened by the fact that they were not able to receive the medical treatment they need in a timely manner. The result is that many hit-and-run accident victims suffer serious injuries.

Legal News GavelAfter someone has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, they may be entitled to monetary compensation from a variety of sources. If police are able to locate the hit-and-run driver, the accident victim can pursue a Florida car accident lawsuit against the responsible driver. However, in some cases, the at-fault driver eludes authorities.

When police are unable to locate a hit-and-run driver, the accident victim may still be able to recover for their injuries through their own insurance policy. Under a policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorist provision, a hit-and-run accident victim can file a claim against his own insurance company as though it was the at-fault driver. Of course, the insurance company may reject the victim’s claim, in which case the victim can then file a personal injury lawsuit in hopes of getting a court to compel the insurance company to pay out on the victim’s claim.

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Over the past few years, the popularity of rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, has skyrocketed. Indeed, last year, over 45 million people used a rideshare app at least once to get to their destination. However, drivers who are employed by these companies do not need to meet any special criteria other than having three years of driving experience and a clean driving record. The result is that, in too many cases, inexperienced drivers looking for a quick buck end up causing Florida car accidents while transporting passengers.

Steering WheelThe rideshare movement, has raised a number of questions involving who can be held responsible when an accident occurs. The two main rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, each maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover drivers, riders, and even third parties, such as pedestrians or other motorists. However, that policy is only in effect once a driver has accepted a passenger’s request for a ride.

If an accident occurs while a driver is waiting for a passenger to contact them, or is using their vehicle for personal reasons, the companies’ $1 million insurance policy will not provide coverage. However, there may be other options for accident victims, including filing a claim under their own insurance policy, filing a claim with the driver’s personal policy, or filing a claim with the rideshare company under their liability-only policy. The companies’ liability policies, however, offer only the greatly reduced coverage limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.

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Florida is known for its temperate, warm climate, which lends itself to nearly year-round motorcycle riding. As a result of this, many Floridians have a motorcycle that they use, if not for their main means of transportation, as a secondary vehicle. At the same time, Florida is also known for its bad drivers. And as anyone who has ridden a motorcycle knows, bad drivers and motorcycling don’t mix.

legalnewsIn all, nearly 500 motorcyclists are killed each year in Florida motorcycle accidents. According to one recent government study, this represents the most fatal motorcycle accidents in any state. In fact, aside from Texas (which is just slightly behind Florida), Florida has nearly three times the number of fatal motorcycle accidents as any other state.

The duty to prevent Florida traffic accidents rests with all motorists, but when it comes to multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, there is a common theme. More often than not, these accidents are caused by another motorist failing to take notice of a motorcycle. This may result in a motorist changing lanes into a motorcyclist, or a motorist attempting to make a left turn in front of an approaching motorcycle. In either case, a distracted driver can be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence through a Florida personal injury lawsuit.

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In most Florida personal injury cases that are tried to a jury, once both parties have concluded their presentation of the evidence, and the jury returns a verdict, that verdict is final. However, Florida lawmakers recognize that jurors can make mistakes, and thus they have provided a mechanism for parties to petition the court in these situations.

Legal News GavelRemittur and Additur

Under Florida Statutes section 768.74, after a jury determines that liability exists and returns a verdict, a party can ask the court to “review the amount of such award to determine if such amount is excessive or inadequate in light of the facts and circumstances which were presented to the [jury].”

If the judge determines that the amount awarded by the jury was inadequate, he or she can order an additur, which increases the amount of the jury’s verdict. Similarly, if the judge finds that the jury’s verdict was excessive, he or she can order a remittur, which reduces the jury’s verdict. If the party asking for review does not agree with the new figure, the judge will then order a new trial on the issue of damages only.

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