As a Florida personal injury attorney for over 25 years, Joseph Lipsky is concerned about the impending arrival of so-called self-driving or autonomous cars. Given the race by all automobile manufacturers to see who can get their cars on the road the fastest, as an attorney representing seriously injured victims of car accidents, Joseph Lipsky, like many of his fellow motorists, is concerned that the self-driving race will lead to dangerous situations for consumers. Now it finally appears the federal government understands this concern as they just released rules which are meant to guide car manufacturers about how they should rollout their technology on our roadways.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the new rules will go into place immediately.  The hope is that these rules will provide a unified understanding of what self-driving cars and trucks must have and be able to do in order to be considered safe. These rules begin with a 15 point Safety Assessment which manufactures must document in their vehicles. The 15 points include:

Operational Design Domain – How and where the vehicle is supposed to operate

Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky wants to make sure all seriously injured victims of all types of accidents, including car accidents and slip and falls accidents, understand the importance of telling their attorneys and treating doctors about any prior injuries and accidents they’ve had. With the technological advances in “cloud” based computing and analytics, personal injury victims need to understand the ease at which all insurance companies can access their past accident and injury information. Failure to disclose prior accidents and injuries often times may result in a judge dismissing a personal injury case for what they believe is “fraud upon the court.”

One of the first things insurance companies and their attorneys do when an accident victim files a claim for personal injuries is investigate that person’s past for any other accidents and/or injuries. Thereafter, when an injured accident victim fails to disclose any such prior injuries and accidents, especially in a deposition or in answers to interrogatories, the insurance company’s attorney will seek to present evidence to the presiding judge about those prior accident and injuries, for purposes of having the judge will dismiss the case.

Recently the Third District Court of Appeals, which presides over Miami-Dade and Monroe County, took such action when it dismissed a personal injury case against Home Depot. In that case, the injured plaintiff did not disclose a prior accident in which she received medical care.  The plaintiff also failed to disclose a prior hospital visit in which she complained of pain in her back, which was one of the injuries she was suing Home Depot for causing.  Once Home Depot presented evidence to the trial judge that the accident victim provided false and misleading deposition testimony, in not revealing the prior accident and medical care, the judge dismissed the personal injury case.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky is a proponent for advances in car and truck technology which are intended to prevent accidents and limit injuries. This is why he is concerned that too many motorists are unware and not properly educated about the intent and effectiveness of the automatic emergency braking systems which are increasingly showing up as either standard equipment or options on new cars and trucks. As demonstrated by a recent study from AAA, researchers learned that while many people who are looking to purchase a new car have a general understanding of newer car accident avoidance technologies, many potential buyers remain unaware of many of the devices which have recently been installed in cars for the purpose of preventing car accidents versus those vehicles which only have technology intended to lessen the damage done when a crash occurs.

The AAA believes automobile manufacturers and car dealers need to make a concerted effort to educate consumers as to the why and how concerning these devices, especially because their inclusion in most vehicles will be rapidly increasing thanks to federal requirements. In fact, the majority of vehicle manufacturers will install pre-accident sensing automatic braking technology in all vehicles by the turn of the decade. Pre-accident automatic braking, in combination with lane assistance and adaptive cruise control, will enable newer cars the ability to make life saving decisions much faster than an average driver is capable of making.

It is the hope and expectation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the accident avoidance technology will significantly lessen the alarming trend of rising car accident related wrongful deaths. As personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky previously reported, according to the National Safety Council, 2016 looks to be the most deadly for traffic accident deaths in over ten years. Sadly, more than 19,000 people needlessly died through the end of June. In fact, in an effort to expedite the reduction in these fatalities, the NHTSA obtained a promise from most vehicle manufacturers to include car accident avoidance automatic braking more than three years sooner than regulations require.

Over the past 25 years Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky has helped hundreds of seriously injured Some of the most senseless actions involving Florida car accidents actually happen after a driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. The senseless conduct is when the person who causes a crash, fails to stop and leaves the scene, thereby turning a routine accident, into a crime – a hit and run crash. Florida Statutes, sections 316, seq., generally define a hit and run crash is defined as one in which a driver fails to remain at the site of a vehicle crash which involves damage to another person’s property, including a vehicle, building or structure.

Not surprisingly, the high number of hit and run crashes throughout Florida remains steady at over 90,000 annually. While most hit and run accidents, nearly 80%, only result in vehicle damage, sadly nearly 200 people lost their lives in so-called hit and run collisions last year alone. Those who cause crashes, either by carelessness, by speeding or driving distracted, or by recklessness, in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, compound their conduct by turning what would considered a bad situation to something much worse, when they panic and flee the crash scene. While common sense would tell motorists that they should stop if they cause or are involved in a crash, Florida Law does require any driver who is involved in a crash to stop, regardless of whether the accident happens on a public or private road/property.

In fact, when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, they face criminal penalties, including a felony, which may result in the loss of their driver’s license, and depending upon if someone was injured, up to four years in jail. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more than seventy percent of drivers who flee are men between the ages of 18 and 27. Often times, those relatively inexperienced motorists claim panic is the reason why they flee; however, those who are caught generally are found to be driving with an expired or suspended license, or are also violating Florida’s mandatory insurance requirements.

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.