Articles Posted in Auto Accident

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Typically if you are injured at work, you should be able to collect workers’ compensation insurance. However, because workers’ compensation is considered an “exclusive remedy,” your employer is immune from further litigation related to that injury – even if the company was negligent. There are a few exceptions, but they are very narrow.cars

What’s more, this immunity extends also to co-workers who are acting in the course and scope of employment. That means even if your co-worker does something that is extremely careless and you wind up hurt, you still can’t sue them. But (there’s always a “but”) there could be an exception if your co-worker was not acting in the course and scope of employment. This would apply to an extremely narrow set of circumstances, particularly if the plaintiff qualified for workers’ compensation. However, it is possible, as the recent Washington Supreme Court case of Entila v. Cook illustrates.

According to court records, defendant and plaintiff were both employees of the same company. One was heading into work, and one was leaving. The injury occurred as plaintiff was crossing the street on an access road belonging to the company, while defendant, operating his personal vehicle on that same road after finishing his shift. Defendant struck plaintiff with his vehicle, causing plaintiff to suffer serious personal injuries. Continue reading →

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One of the greatest risks on the road is drunk drivers. We all know that. But another hazard that is equally dangerous – and gets far less ink – is drowsy driving. sleepy

A recent study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety opines that acute sleep deprivation exponentially increases the risk of an auto accident. In fact, even mild sleep deprivation ups the risk. Drivers who slept for less than seven hours in the previous 24 hours and also drivers who slept for one hour less than normal had a “significantly elevated crash risk.” As compared to drivers who slept 7 hours or more in the preceding 24 hours:

  • Drivers who slept 6-7 hours had 1.3 times the crash rate;
  • Drivers who slept 5-6 hours had 1.9 times the crash rate;
  • Drivers who slept 4-5 hours at 4.3 times the crash rate;
  • Drivers who slept less than 4 hours had 11.5 times the crash rate.

Meanwhile, drivers who slept 1 to 2 hours less than their usual rate had 1.3 times the crash rate. Meanwhile, those who slept 4 or more hours less than their usual had 10.2 times the crash rate.  Continue reading →

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Many auto insurance policies contain anti-stacking provisions that are intended to avoid applying multiple sets of deductibles or multiple sets of limits to cover a single car accident. It’s important that Florida car accident victims understand whether their policy allows for stacked coverage because it can significantly impact the amount of damages to which you are entitled.

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The allowance of these provisions with respect to uninsured motorist (UM)/ underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage varies significantly from state-to-state.

Recently, the Idaho Supreme Court considered whether the UIM anti-stacking language in two separate policies that covered a young man seriously injured in an auto accident was valid. In Gearhart v. Mutual of Enumclaw Ins Co., the divorced parents of a young man seriously injured in a crash both sought UIM benefits under separate auto insurance policies that both covered him in the event of a crash. Now, following the court’s ruling, they’ll be able to collect on those benefits, which will go toward helping their son recover. Continue reading →

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Auto accident insurance companies will always fight to limit the benefits you receive following a crash. This is true whether you are a third-party or their customer. caraccident4

All auto insurance policies define certain limits based on how much they are willing to pay per-person and how much they will pay per-accident. If the amount from the at-fault driver’s insurance company is insufficient to cover all damages, victims may want to explore recovery through an underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage policy. This could be a policy the victim held directly or one that covered the non-fault driver in a car accident wherein they were a passenger.

In the recent case of Trotter v. Harleysville, plaintiffs argued that the UIM coverage should kick in when the at-fault driver’s insurer did not pay them the full per-person amount to which they were entitled. The UIM insurer, however, argued that the total per-accident limit had been paid by the at-fault driver’s insurer, and thus it was not required to pay any more. The case was weighed recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Continue reading →

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Courts are reticent to allow the introduction of evidence pertaining to insurance coverage in accident cases. The reason is that unless it is somehow pertinent to the cause of the crash or extent of the injuries, it can be prejudicial to a jury. crosswalk3

For example, if jurors know that a certain defendant has no insurance, they may decline to impose a significant award of damages to the plaintiff – knowing the defendant is going to have to come out-of-pocket for that expense. Similarly, if jurors had knowledge that a defendant had a sizable insurance policy, they may be inclined to impose a heftier damage award – because they know the insurance company can pay.

Courts prefer to simply take it out of the equation.

In the recent Maryland case of Perry v. Asphalt & Concrete Servs., Inc., a pedestrian was struck and severely injured by a dump truck wherein neither the driver nor the vehicle had the proper liability coverage. But was this fact admissible?  Continue reading →

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Auto insurance policies can contain complex legalese that can be difficult to sift through, particularly in the wake of a devastating auto accident. atv1

These policies are purchased not just because they are often required by law, but also because they offer necessary financial protections to to those who survive and also to those who survive them. However, establishing insurance liability when there are so many caveats to coverage can be a challenge.

In the recent case of Nodak Mutual Ins. Co. v. Koller, the guardian of a child whose mother perished in an all-terrain vehicle accident sought to establish maximum coverage from the insurer. The insurer, however, fought to establish that only the lesser “step-down” coverage was applicable. The outcome hinged on whether decedent driver was a household resident of the insured, his stepfather. Continue reading →

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There is much discussion nationally about “tort reform,” and this idea that it’s somehow quite easy to take home millions of dollars for a frivolous filing. This isn’t true, and the reason we tend to hear so much about lawsuits with multi-million-dollar verdicts is they are rare.carcrash51

Truth is, most successful lawsuits are settled out-of-court before they ever make it to the trial phase. They also don’t tend to be multi-million-dollar payments with inclusion of punitive damages, but rather adequate sums that  help to compensate the victim for substantial losses.

When a plaintiff signs off on a settlement, he or she must be very cautious in reading the language contained therein. They need to make sure they aren’t signing away important rights to which they may have wanted to avail themselves at a later time.  Continue reading →

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Florida has a major problem with hit-and-run accidents. Drivers who are involved in serious, injurious and even fatal crashes fail to take responsibility for their actions – and risk facing a minimum mandatory four years in prison – by fleeing the scene. steeringwheel2

This presents a host of problems for injured victims. The first is that the failure to call for help or render aid results in precious time lost for emergency response that can mean the difference between life and death. Beyond that, survivors may have substantial medical bills, which are compounded by loss of wages and earning potential. Florida’s no-fault insurance typically pays for a small portion of that, but if the driver is not identified, the victims may have no choice but to pursue uninsured motorist coverage through their own insurer. This coverage isn’t mandatory in Florida, but this is one of the main reasons it’s recommended, especially because, as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports, hit-and-run crashes spiked nearly 25 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Now, a recent case out of Port St. Lucie has sparked conversation about whether in-vehicle technology may be useful in preventing hit-and-run accidents or helping to catch perpetrators. According to news reports, a woman was driving a Ford truck when she allegedly rear-ended another driver in a Dodge minivan. But rather than stay at the scene, as required by F.S. 316.027, she allegedly took off. Meanwhile, the woman in the other vehicle was transported to a hospital with back injuries. Continue reading →

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Florida law requires drivers to use reasonable care in the operation of their motor vehicle. Failure to do this is met with punishment from the criminal justice system, and sometimes accountability through the civil system when people are hurt or property is damaged.bees1

Generally, “reasonable care” means abiding by all traffic laws and taking every precaution to operate the vehicle safely and avoid accidents.

However, there are some scenarios in which drivers get a pass. It’s not often, and it’s usually not a given. But if a defendant can show he or she was grappling with a “sudden emergency” at the time of accident and that sudden emergency is what caused the accident, it’s likely he or she will evade both criminal charges and civil liability. Continue reading →

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Highway work zones are dangerous both for the motorists who navigate them and the workers employed there.constructionroad

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports an estimated 88,000 crashes happened in work zones in 2010. Most of these don’t lead to fatalities, but when they do, it can leave families reeling. When a worker is killed, he or she is often a major contributor to the family household income, and it’s important for families to explore all viable options for compensation to ensure future financial security.

Luckily, most if not all of these workers are entitled to some form of workers’ compensation. This is money paid out to an injured worker or, in the event of the worker’s death, his or her surviving, dependent family members. It is not necessarily in a workers’ compensation action to prove negligence, only that the accident occurred in the course and scope of employment. However, workers/family members who collect these benefits cannot pursue legal action against the employer for negligence. There may be an opportunity to file a third-party liability action, but that will depend on the circumstances of the case. Continue reading →

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