As a car accident lawyer located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Joseph Lipsky knows too well that the reputation our drivers have is not good; and now recent study demonstrates Floridians’ reputation of being poor drivers is well founded. To begin with, Florida drivers, more than those from any other state, use on-line search engines such as Google to inquire about police issued tickets, particularly those for speeding and traffic. This on-line activity is certainly due to the number of police issued traffic citations for bad and illegal driving.

And, having represented injured victims of Florida car accidents for nearly 25 years, Joseph Lipsky also knows that Florida has the 2nd most uninsured drivers in the United States. This fact is why he tries to educate all motorists about the importance of buying uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when someone is injured in a car accident which is caused by a driver who has no or not enough insurance. In those situations, the injured person’s uninsured motorist insurance company essentially will pretend that they insure the person who caused the crash and injuries; thereby allowing the injured victim to have a source against which to seek payment of their damages.             

The study was based upon data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who reviewed the circumstances surrounding the more than 32,000 car accident related wrongful deaths last year. The analysts then reviewed the number of DUI arrests, on-line searches and car insurance rates. The compilation of this data allowed the study to conclude that Florida is one of the leading states for bad drivers. And within Florida, Miami is the nation’s worst city for driving. Miami has the most vehicle wrongful deaths, the most instances of pedestrians being hit by a car or truck and sadly the most yelling or gesturing at other motorists.

Miami car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky sadly reports that wrongful deaths from car accidents rose nearly eight percent over the past year. This drastic increase means 2015 was the deadliest year on Florida roadways in nearly a decade.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent report, over thirty five thousand people died in car and truck accidents last year.  The deadly increase took investigators by surprise as the number of accident deaths in 2014 dropped to a decades low.

While investigators are not able to point to a specific reason why traffic deaths rose last year, it is believed that low gas prices put more motorists driving more miles on roads across the country. Additionally, as is certainly known, the increase in driver distraction, particularly texting while driving is certainly a contributing cause.  The number of deadly crashes rose despite ongoing safety efforts by the NHTSA, such as attempts to accelerate technology which may avert sleepy driving. The agency also announced additional initiatives to change driver behavior as it pertains to fighting drunk, impaired and aggressive driving.

Although common sense dictates that all vehicle occupants should be able to reach their destinations safe and alive, especially with the prevalence and use of so-called autonomous vehicle systems, such as automated braking and stability control, inattentive driver behavior remains a compelling reason for deadly crashes. Although, the recent death of a motorist who was apparently watching a movie while using his vehicle’s auto pilot feature last week, reminds us that accident prevention technology has serious limitations in its effectiveness.

Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky is one of the people who believes that driving a sports utility vehicle (SUV) will help him avoid being seriously injured in a crash. Yet recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just proved that this common conception is not entirely accurate.

Most motorists are generally aware of the tests The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety do to determine the safety of cars involved in head-on and side impact crashes. Most people don’t realize that one of the most common types of car accidents involve so-called overlap crashes; that is, when the front corner of a vehicle crashes nearly head-on but actually closer to the drivers’ sides of passing vehicles, other types of overlap crashes happen when a vehicle strikes a pole or tree. These types of crashes account for nearly 25% of all serious car accident injuries. Given the increasing number of these overlap crashes and their resulting personal injuries and wrongful deaths, including nearly 1500 vehicle occupants who lost their lives in overlap crashes over the past two years.

Many of the small SUVs in the study sustained significant intrusion, over one foot, into the occupant compartment. Intrusion causes a vehicle’s instrument panel and parking brake to rapidly move toward the driver, impacting their knees and torso. Additionally, one of the vehicles even had a door during the test. If a vehicle door were to open during an actual crash, it is likely the occupant would be ejected, and killed. Death is sadly the most frequent outcome on an ejected occupant.

Like most motorists, Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky relies on his vehicle’s back up camera when pulling out of a parking spot into the street. Unfortunately, recent research indicates that even with the ever increasing presence and use of back up cameras, drivers keep having backing up car accidents.

A recent report demonstrates that ongoing efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require back-up cameras as standard equipment in all new vehicles by 2018, may not be the miracle most believe. As back-up cameras have been in vehicles for many years, the government has ample data to evaluate as to their effectiveness in preventing car accidents.

As review of that data demonstrates that while the number of vehicles equipped with back up cameras rose nearly 100% over the past three years, that the number of personal injuries caused in backing up car accidents only dropped by under 10%. On a positive note, car accident wrongful deaths caused by backing up accidents did decrease by thirty percent, from 274 to 189, over the last four years.

According to news reports, Volkswagen is agreeing to make cash payments of up $10 billion, or up to $7,000.00 to owners of their diesel cars, which apparently pollute more than advertised. The amount of each owner’s payment will depend upon the year of their car, among other factors.  The settlement is pending before the U.S. District Court for approval. The settlement stems from Volkswagen “fixing” of their emissions test results, in which they claimed their diesels were “clean” for the environment.

As Volkswagen is not expected to be able to repair these cars, owners will be entitled to a cash payment or negotiating a buyback of their vehicle.

Given the negative ramifications vehicle owners will have when they try to sell or trade-in their diesel vehicles in the future it is imperative that those owners seek legal guidance to make sure they make the best financial decision.  We are the Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky are available for free no-obligation consultations with owners of Volkswagen diesel cars to discuss the depreciation of their vehicles.  Feel free to contact us at our toll-free hotline 1-888-352-5298 (888-FLA-LAW8).  We are here to help.

 

 

Florida boat accident attorney Joseph Lipsky is surprised that a recent report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the number of boating related wrongful deaths actually declined nearly 25% last year, from 73 in 2014, to 55 in 2015. Predictably, more deadly boat accident happened in Broward County and the Florida Keys than anywhere else in Florida last year. Not to be left out, Miami Dade had the honor of having the greatest number of so-called reportable boating accidents, those involving personal injury and/or property damage more than $2,000.00, in 2015.

With the size of Biscayne Bay and frequent boating off shore of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade had 96 boating accidents in 2015, which resulted in nearly $3 million in property damage and unfortunately with three wrongful deaths and seventy four personal injuries. The Florida Keys, comprising of both Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, accounted for 78 accidents, resulting in 5 wrongful deaths and nearly 50 injuries. The 57 boating accidents in Broward County during 2015, resulted in five deaths and over 40 injuries.

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, about one half of all boat accidents were caused by operators failing to maintain a proper lookout and being distracted, just like the careless actions of distracted car drivers.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky has seen an increase in the number of car accidents across Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach over the past year. Now it appears those rising number of car accidents and the personal injuries they cause are the reason of South Florida drivers paying some of the highest care insurance premiums in the United States. In fact, contrary to the promises made by insurance companies in their ever present advertising, car insurance rates across Florida have actually increased by fourteen percent over the last year and a half.

According to the state’s insurance commissioner, the insurance companies are steadily raising their rates because the number of drivers on the road is steadily increasing. The increase in drivers is certainly due to lower gas prices and less unemployment. Regulators blame the steady rise in personal injury protection, or PIP, claims as a major cause of the premium increases. PIP, generally referred to as no fault insurance, requires all drivers to have $10,000 of PIP to pay for their own medical bills and lost wages in the event they are involved in an accident. Each person is required to use their own insurance, not that of the at fault party, to pay the first $10,000.00 of their medical bills/lost wages. The portion of car insurance attributed to PIP is responsible for approximately 25% of all car insurance premiums.

Florida remains one of the only states with such a no-fault/PIP system. Most other states have mandatory liability insurance which makes the at fault party responsible for the damages they cause. But because such a change would require mandatory liability insurance, most insurance companies are opposed to changing the law. Also, most hospitals, which seemingly overbill accident victims, are also opposed to abolishing PIP, which they look upon as a cash cow given its higher reimbursement rates, when compared to Medicare and health insurance.

Florida car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky has seen an increase in the number of deadly car accidents over the past few years. Now a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirms Mr. Lipsky’s observations. It seems that the steady increase in highway speed limits over the last number of years is one of the most likely causes for the rise in highway accident wrongful deaths.

The IIHS’ study concluded that more than thirty thousand lives have been lost over the last 20 years, due primarily to higher speed limits. Last year alone nearly 2,000 people died in high speed highway car accidents. Incredibly, the rise in high speed highway deaths is more than the number of people saved by mandatory vehicle front crash airbags. Across the United States more than 9,000 people died in car accidents involving a speeding vehicle.

Ever since the U.S. Congress allowed states in 1987 to increase highway speeds above the 55 m.p.h. limit, the number of highway car accidents which resulted in wrongful deaths has risen exponentially. Most people do not realize that the reason speeds were allowed to rise, was not due to safety studies proving increased speeds were safe; rather, because gas price fears has subsided.  In fact, it was those concerns over energy prices which mandated the 55 m.p.h. speed limit.  The unexpected, and welcomed, side effect was a drop in highway car and truck accident deaths.

With the growing talk of self-driving autonomous vehicles, Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky has wondered about the efforts of the companies hoping to sell driverless cares to protect other drivers and pedestrians. Apparently one of those companies, Google, has also been thinking about how to prevent pedestrian car accident personal injuries. Recently, Google received a patent for what can only be described as human fly paper.

Google’s invention is essentially a strong adhesive type tape which will be placed on the front/hood of their vehicles. In the event of a car vs. pedestrian accident, the tape would “hold” the pedestrian onto the hood of the vehicle, preventing them from falling to the roadway.  As many of the injuries pedestrians suffer after being hit by a car happen when that person is thrown onto the road after being hit by a car, the thought is the tape will help stop the so-called secondary impact.

The inventors envision the tape being covered by some type of shell which will break open upon impact with a pedestrian, but will keep the tape protected from road debris such as dirt and bugs.

With the increasing demand to legalize marijuana in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky wants proponents of legalization to realize that driving under the influence of marijuana has resulted in a dramatic increase in wrongful death car accidents in other states which have already legalized pot. While the deadly effects of a stoned driver are well known, unlike with drunk driving prevention, the issue confronting law enforcement is how to determine when a marijuana user is too stoned to drive.

Unlike alcohol use, which in Florida subjects a driver to criminal charges if he/she has a blood alcohol level of .08, marijuana uses has no such comparable test. As of yet, there is no test to determine when a pot smokes is too high to driver, although we would argue that no amount of marijuana use is safe, if the smoker is going to be driving. Considering THC affects different users differently,  as of now there is no way to determine if a particular “level” of THC in the blood stream equates to being too stoned to drive safely.

Not surprisingly, legal marijuana supporters like to point to a Department of Transportation study which determined that drunk drivers present a greater danger than stoned drivers. This position deflects from the point, which is that both drunk and stoned drivers are a danger to other motorists and pedestrians. Considering the difficulties associated with testing for THC, which requires a blood test, rather than a breath test as is available for suspected drunk drivers; determining the amount of THC in a person’s blood, so that they may be arrested for being impaired, is not accurate.  Law enforcement advocates recommend using a “road-side” test, similar to suspected drunk drivers, to try to ascertain the level at which a person is functioning while behind the wheel.