September 21, 2007

Injured Florida Car Accident Victims Can Sue Rental Car Companies

In what we can only describe as great news for Florida car accident victims, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which covers Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, declared a Federal Law, which prohibited personal injury lawsuits against car rental companies, as unconstitutional.

The law, known as the Graves Amendment, which the U.S. Congress passed in 2005, gave rental car companies immunity if one of their renters injured someone in a car accident. The amendment was contrary to Florida Law which had always allowed personal injury cases against car owners, if the person they allowed to drive their car, negligently caused an accident, this doctrine is known as "dangerous instrumentality."

We in Florida are particularly affected by the Court's ruling, given the high number of foreign tourists who rent cars, do not pay for insurance, and drive carelessly on our roadways seriously injuring and, in too many occasions, killing others.

September 20, 2007

Palm Beach and Miami Buck Decline in Car Accident Deaths

In some good news for most of Florida, the death rate for victims of car accidents on Florida Highways fell to new low in 2006. According to the State of Florida Motor Vehicle Department, this is the first time in the last ten years that deaths from car accidents deceased. Unfortunately, both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties saw an increase in car accident fatalities.

In 2006, there were 3,365 deaths throughout the State of Florida due to traffic related accidents, including car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents. As we unfortunately expected, more than a third of all such deaths involved alcohol.

Our greatest concern and disbelief is that there was an almost 30 percent increase in the number of children who were killed in such car accidents while not using seat belts or safety seats. As the executive director of the Motor Vehicle Department succinctly stated "even one...fatality, is one too many." We could not agree more.

September 14, 2007

Miami SUV Driver Dies on Florida Turnpike

In tragic car accident, a Miami Man, who was not wearing his seat-belt, was run over, when he was thrown from his SUV after it rolled-over on the Florida Turnpike. The SUV swerved several times, and rolled-over at least twice, when the driver was ejected onto the road. Unfortunately, the driver of another car did not see the ejected man on the roadway and struck him.

Too often in our personal injury practice, we see horrific accidents, in which lives may have been saved, if only the drivers and passengers wore their seat-belts. Although Florida Law requires all car and truck occupants to wear their seat-belts, as evidenced by national and state studies and statistics, too many drivers ignore the known risks associated with car accidents, and fail to wear their safety belts.

Of greater concern, are the parents and custodians of young children who disregard their own children's safety by either not using child seats or boosters, or by failing to properly use them. While every adult has the right to make choice, albeit bad ones, which affect their lives, they should be held to a higher standard when making such poor choices for their unknowing children.