Articles Posted in Car Accident

1259-Blogimage-02-640x-432Why did the turtle cross the road? Who knows, but the turtle probably wasn’t intending to cause a multi-vehicle accident on Florida Route 331. Motive aside, that’s exactly what happened. And, while the turtle may be primarily at fault, turtles are what we call judgment-proof. Thus, in an accident like this, it begs the question of which driver was at fault.

What Happened?

According to a local news report, the accident occurred on Florida Route 331 as the driver of a black pickup truck noticed a small turtle crossing the road. Thinking they were doing the right thing, the driver stopped in the middle of the road to allow the turtle to pass. Not surprisingly, as cars approached from behind, drivers had to slam on their brakes or swerve out of the way to avoid a rear-end collision. However, an approaching semi-truck was unable to come to a complete stop in time and rammed into the back of the black pickup truck as well as at least one other vehicle. The incapacitated semi-truck then ended up coming to a stop in the lane of oncoming traffic.

Legal Analysis of the Accident

This accident raises two different issues, both of which relate to how Florida courts determine which driver was at fault for an accident. The first is the concept that drivers who rear-end another motorist are presumed to be at fault. This presumption applies because most rear-end accidents are the result of a driver following too closely or being distracted. However, the presumption can be rebutted, for example, in situations where a driver’s tail lights are out so motorists behind them can’t see if they are braking.

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Uber-car-accidentEarlier this month, prosecutors filed criminal charges against two men for their roles in a December 2022 DUI accident that claimed three lives. According to a recent news report, the accident occurred when a Toyota Tacoma began driving west in the eastbound lanes of Route 44 near DeLand, Florida. As the Toyota was driving the wrong way, it collided with an Infiniti. The driver of the Infiniti lost control of the vehicle, which spun out into a nearby median. As a result of the head-on collision, three people died.

The driver of the Toyota fled the scene, leaving behind an injured passenger. Police spoke with the passenger, but she was initially reluctant to identify the driver. Subsequent investigation revealed that the driver of the Toyota was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Prosecutors are charging him with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury, three counts of leaving the scene of a crash with death, three counts of vehicular homicide and reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury.

The driver of the Infiniti, who remained at the scene, was also intoxicated. Through its investigation, law enforcement determined that the Infiniti was traveling at approximately 100 miles per hour in the moments before the crash. This prompted prosecutors to charge the driver with reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury as well as three counts of vehicular homicide.

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Accident Victim

If you’ve been injured in any accident involving another’s negligence, you are legally entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, Florida law requires you to bring a personal injury claim within a certain time. If you don’t, you will almost certainly lose any ability to hold the at-fault party accountable, and, in turn, you may be leaving a lot of much-needed money on the table.

Here at the Blakeley Law Firm, P.A., we want to ensure that accident victims are fairly compensated for everything they’ve been through. And we understand that nothing is more frustrating than learning that you’ve missed your chance to hold a negligent party accountable. So, we’ve put together a list of Florida personal injury statutes of limitations and some of the most common questions related to how long you have to file a personal injury claim.

Motor Vehicle Accidents – 4 years
Dog Bites – 4 years
Assault and Other Intentional Acts – 4 years
Product Liability Claims – 4 years
Slip and Fall Cases – 4 years

As you can see, the vast majority of negligence cases must be filed within four years. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule:

Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations. However, determining when the statute of limitations starts to run can be complex. Generally, the medical malpractice statute of limitations begins on the day of the medical error, but if the patient didn’t learn of the error until a later date, they have two years from that date. However, medical malpractice cases are subject to a four-year statute of repose, meaning that a case cannot be brought more than four years after the alleged medical error (unless the victim is a minor).

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In Florida, when one driver collides with another vehicle, it is often presumed that the driver is negligent and should be held accountable for any harm that ensues. In some instances, however, even if it seems liability is clear, a defendant in a case arising out of a car accident may be able to assert a defense that precludes a jury from assigning him or her fault. For example, the unexpected and sudden loss of consciousness while driving is a defense to negligence claims in car accident cases. In a recent opinion, a Florida court explained what evidence a defendant must offer to support a loss of consciousness defense, in a matter in which it ultimately reversed a verdict in favor of the defendant. If you were injured in a collision, it is smart to meet with a Florida car accident lawyer to determine what damages you may be owed.

The Accident and Trial

It is reported that the plaintiff’s car was stopped at a red light when it was struck from behind by a vehicle operated by the defendant. The plaintiff and her minor children, who were passengers in her car, sustained serious injuries. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, averring that his negligence caused the accident and their harm.

Allegedly, during the trial, the defendant argued he should not be liable because he suffered a sudden loss of consciousness prior to the collision. The jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, after which the defendant filed a motion for a directed verdict. The defendant’s motion was granted by a judge who had not presided over the trial, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

Rear-end accidents often cause significant trauma. In most instances, they occur because the driver of the second car was driving too fast or while distracted, or otherwise acting negligently. While the person operating the second vehicle is usually responsible for causing rear-end collisions, they may not be solely liable, and the courts may be reluctant to rule in favor of plaintiffs as a matter of law in cases arising out of such accidents. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion issued in a rear-end collision case in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is advisable to speak to a Florida car accident lawyer to discuss your potential claims.

The Subject Accident

It is reported that an accident occurred on a highway in Florida when a car driven by the plaintiff was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer operated by the defendant driver and owned by the defendant company. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the accident and brought a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the negligence of the defendant driver caused the crash. Depositions of the parties were taken, after which the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The defendants filed a response in opposition to the plaintiff’s motion.

Liability for Rear-End Collisions

In Florida, a party moving for summary judgment must offer proof that there is no true dispute as to a material fact and that he or she is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If parties offer such support, their motion will only be denied if the opposing party demonstrates that there is a genuine disagreement over a material fact. In cases in which the parties offer conflicting evidence, the proofs offered by the party responding to the motion will be presumed to be true, and all inferences in that party’s favor that are reasonable will be drawn. Continue reading

In many car accident cases, it is undisputed that the plaintiff suffered harm in the subject collision. In others, though, the defendant may argue that a crash did not cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. In such instances, the defendant may attempt to offer the testimony of a biomechanical expert on the issue of the force conducted in the accident and whether it was sufficient to bring about the plaintiff’s harm. Recently, a Florida court discussed the limitations imposed on biomechanical experts in car accident cases, in a matter in which the plaintiff objected that the expert was not qualified to opine on the issue of causation. If you were injured in a crash, it is important to understand what evidence may be presented to refute your claims, and it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney to assess your options.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was injured in a collision involving the defendant. She subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging that the defendant’s negligent driving caused her harm. The defendant argued that the crash did not cause the plaintiff’s harm and disclosed that she intended to rely on the testimony of a biomechanical expert to support her opinion. The plaintiff moved to preclude the expert from testifying on the grounds that he was not qualified to testify regarding whether the accident caused the plaintiff’s harm. The court ultimately agreed and granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Testimony Permissible by Biomechanical Experts

In federal courts, Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governs expert testimony. Specifically, it states that a person who is qualified by experience, training, skill, or education may testify if his or her knowledge will help the fact finder understand the evidence or determine a disputed fact, and the proffered testimony is based on adequate data or facts and is the product of reliable methods and principles. Continue reading

Under Florida law, when a person driving a borrowed vehicle causes an accident, the owner of the vehicle may be deemed vicariously liable for any harm incurred in the crash. There is an exception in cases filed in federal court provided by a law known as the Graves Amendment, though, for parties that are engaged in the leasing or sale of motor vehicles that rent a car to the party involved in the crash. In a recent Florida opinion issued in a car accident case, a court discussed evidence needed to prove a party falls under the exception and should not be held vicariously liable. If you were hurt in a collision caused by a careless driver, you could be entitled to compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a seasoned Florida car accident attorney to determine your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the driver took his wife’s car to the defendant dealership to be serviced and was provided a loaner vehicle to borrow in the interim. It is disputed whether the driver signed a rental agreement. Regardless, one week later, he was involved in a collision with the plaintiff, who suffered substantial injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing it was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligent acts that led to the accident. After discovery was completed, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Graves Amendment applied, and therefore, it could not be found liable as a matter of law.

The Graves Amendment

The Graves Amendment preempts vicarious liability under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine. It provides that the owner of a car, who rents or leases the car to another person, will not be liable for harm that arises out of the possession or operation of the car if the owner is engaged in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles, and did not engage in any negligent acts or criminal wrongdoing. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for people hurt in car crashes to file personal injury lawsuits asserting claims against the party responsible for the collision. It is critical that any claims for damages are filed within the applicable statute of limitations, but in cases in which accidents occur in states other than Florida, it is not always clear when the statute of limitations runs. In a recent Florida opinion, a court discussed what factors are considered in determining what statute of limitations applies in a case in which the accident happened in Georgia, but the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in Florida. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Florida personal injury attorney to assess your options.

The Subject Accident

Allegedly, the plaintiff husband was injured in a car crash caused by the defendant. The accident happened in Georgia, but the plaintiff husband treated his injuries in Florida, where he resided. He and his wife ultimately filed a personal injury action in a Florida federal court, seeking damages for negligence and loss of consortium. The defendant, who was a resident of Michigan, moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, arguing that Georgia law applied and under the applicable statute of limitations, the plaintiffs’ claims were time barred.

Evaluating Which State’s Laws Apply

Ultimately, the court found that the Georgia statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff husband’s claims, but the Florida statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff wife’s claims. Thus, the plaintiff’s husband’s claims were dismissed, but the plaintiff wife was permitted to proceed. The court stated that in evaluating which state’s laws apply, a Florida federal court will employ the most significant relationship test. In other words, the court will assess which state has a more substantial relationship to the injury in question. In doing so, the court will examine numerous factors, including the applicable policies of the forum, the needs of the interstate system, uniformity of results, and justified expectations. Continue reading

It is not uncommon for a driver to set off a chain of events that leads to a series of collisions. When multiple crashes arise during a single incident, it may be disputed whether they constitute one or more accidents for purposes of determining insurance coverage. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing the issue of determining how many discrete events occurred in a case in which the plaintiff and her insurer disagreed regarding the extent of underinsured motorist coverage available. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a driver without insurance, you might be owed significant damages from your insurance company, and you should meet with a trusted Florida car accident attorney regarding your rights.

The Subject Collision

It is reported that that the plaintiff was traveling on a Florida highway when she was struck by a pickup truck that was traveling next to her. The truck driver drove away after the crash. The plaintiff was then hit by a driver without insurance. She subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking uninsured motorist benefits from her insurance company, alleging she was involved in two accidents. The insurance company disagreed that two accidents happened, asserting that the incident constituted a single occurrence. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately found that there was only one occurrence. The plaintiff then appealed.

Accidents in the Context of Underinsured Motorist Insurance

On appeal, the court noted that the term accident in the context of insurance has been subject to multiple interpretations when the policy does not provide a definition. Generally, cases that define the term accident focus on whether an insured is liable for the harm. They typically define occurrences as accidents, which include a repeated or continuous exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions. Continue reading

People injured in car accidents often pursue compensation from the parties responsible for the crashes via civil lawsuits. Plaintiffs that argue defendants’ acts caused them to suffer physical harm place their health at issue, and therefore, information regarding their medical treatment is typically subject to discovery. There are some exceptions, though, such as in cases involving a medical provider’s trade secrets or propriety information, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling in which the court denied the defendant’s request for certain information from the plaintiff’s treatment provider. If you were injured in a collision, you might be owed damages, and it is smart to speak to a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney to assess what evidence you must produce to prove liability.

The History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant. The plaintiff sustained back injuries in the accident, after which she sought treatment from a provider that specialized in spinal care. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his negligent driving caused the accident and her subsequent harm. The defendant conceded he was liable but disputed the extent of the plaintiff’s damages.

Allegedly, during the discovery process, the defendant sought records from the plaintiff’s treatment provider. The provider filed a motion for a protective order, arguing that the information sought was protected from disclosure as it constituted trade secrets and proprietary information. The trial court ordered the provider to produce certain documents, and the provider appealed. Continue reading

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