March 3, 2014

Broward County To Make Roads Safer for Pedestrians and Bikes

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky knows, having represented hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclist who have been seriously injured by careless motorists, that our local roadways aren’t always meant to be shared. For that reason, we are happy to report that the Broward County commission recently implemented its Complete Streets policy, which requires future roads to be designed with increased safety measures to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.

Some of the expected roadway improvements will include wider pedestrian and bike lanes, and open medians. According to the recently enacted rules, roads in Broward County will be constructed "to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation.” This needed trend toward protecting pedestrians follows similarly implemented rules by the Town of Davie and the cities of Sunrise, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood.

In order to facilitate wider bike lanes, car lanes will be narrowed, thereby providing bicyclists with an additional 3 feet of protection. Wider roadway medians will give pedestrians a safe place to wait for traffic to pass, if they are unable to fully cross a street before a light changes color.

Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky certainly believes, that given the active South Florida community, in which many of our fellow residents enjoy walking and bike riding, that these roadway design changes will reduce the number of deadly car versus pedestrian and cyclist accidents.

February 27, 2014

Elderly Drivers Less Likely to Die in Car Accidents

Having represented hundreds of order drivers, Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky knows too well the public’s general perception about elderly driver’s driving habits. Contrary to most people’s beliefs that elderly drivers are the cause of many dangerous car accidents, a recent publication from the Institute for Highway Safety actually revealed that current older drivers are not more likely to be injured in a car accident, as previous generations were.

In fact, Miami car accidents with drivers over the age of 70 which resulted in wrongful deaths have decreased at a greater rate than similar deadly car accidents among middle aged drivers. The study demonstrated that car accident related deaths of elderly motorist actually dropped more than thirty percent over the past decade. This drop in so-called elderly involved car accidents is good news as the number of drivers in Florida over the age of 70 is expected to double over the next 25 years.

Much of the decrease in such deadly Fort Lauderdale car accidents may be attributed to better built cars, as required by increasingly strict federal law. Some of the federally mandated vehicle safety improvements include side air bags, traction control and crash avoidance. While a motorist aged 70 or above is still 3 times more likely than a middle aged driver to die in a significant car accident, we believe the decrease from almost 4 times, is good news.

Miami personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky recommends all elderly motorists follow basic common sense rules, such as always using seat belts, avoiding driving in bad weather and not drinking and driving, to make sure they have a better chance of avoiding and surviving a car accident.

February 3, 2014

Speeding Along I-95 Express Lanes Miami Result in Serious Car Accidents

Driving along the I-95 expressway in Miami on the way to and from the Dade County Courthouse is always an adventure for Miami Personal Injury Attorney Joseph Lipsky. Due to the time constraints of attending hearings, Joseph Lipsky usually takes the so-called express lanes, which were designed to allow motorists an opportunity to travel at a quicker pace. One of the unexpected downside to creating the express lanes was the narrowing of all lanes, including the roadway's safety shoulder.

Due to the narrow width of the safety shoulder, which was reduced from 13 feet to 8, Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are extremely reluctant to make any traffic stops in the express lanes, for fear of placing the motorists they stop, and themselves, in danger from the traffic speeding along side. Apparently many express lane users realize the FHP will avoid stops in those lanes, and therefore, they speed at a higher rate than typical highway traffic. In fact, the average speed in the express lanes after seven o'clock in the evening is more than 10 miles above the posted speed limit.

Now, due to an increase in Miami car accidents, and motorist complaints, the FHP is beginning to step up its enforcement along I-95 with their Operation I-95 Saturation. While most motorists don't like to see police increase their ticket writing, as a personal injury attorney in Miami, we know one thing too well, speed kills; and for that reason we applaud the highway patrol in their efforts to make our roads safer.

January 30, 2014

Teen Driver Contract Now Available for Parents of New Drivers

For those parents who have, or are about to have, a new driver in their family, it is an exciting and worrisome time. New drivers are more dangerous and cause many car accidents, not only due to their inexperience, but because they may lack the necessary maturity to be safe in many driving situations. it is no surprise that new drivers are one of the leading causes of car accidents in South Florida.

In hopes of helping our fellow Floridians, and parents of new drivers, we at the Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Law Offices of Joseph Lipsky, are releasing our Parent and Teen Driver Contract. This agreement, which is printed below, tries to cover many of the most often abused teen driving issues. We hope that you use this contract, and share it with other friends and family members with teenage drivers, to help hold them accountable for the serious responsibilities which accompany driving a car.

_________________________________________________________________________

PERSONAL INJUYRY
LAW OFFICES OF
JOSEPH I. LIPSKY, P.A.

1200 South Pine Island Road
Cornerstone One • Suite 320
Plantation, Florida 33324
Toll-Free 888-FLA-LAW8 www.lipskylaw.com

PARENT AND TEEN DRIVER CONTRACT

I ________________, understand that driving is a privilege and not my right, just
because I now have a driver’s license. In order to keep my license, and the privilege
of driving, I promise to follow the rules listed below:

TEEN DRIVER’S RULES OF THE ROAD

- To call you before I drive

- To let you know where I’m going and what time I will be home

- To let you know whom else will be in the car with me

- To always wear my seat belt, and to make sure all of my passengers wear theirs on too

- I will follow all traffic laws, and will stay within the speed limit and not drive aggressively

- I will NEVER use the car to race or to try to impress someone else

- I will not drive with more than ____ passengers in the car at any time

- I will stop driving immediately, and call you, if one of my passengers is acting unsafe

- I will NEVER use my cell phone while driving, regardless of whether it’s to text, use
the internet or use GPS

- I agree that I will only answer incoming cellphone calls if I am able to use a hands-free
system – BUT I will not make any cell phone calls at all

- If I need to use my cell phone to make a call, I will pull off the road to safe location

- I will not eat while driving

- For the next ____ months, I will not drive in bad weather

- I will NEVER drive if I’ve used any drug or consumed alcohol

- I will NEVER allow anyone else to use drugs or drink alcohol in the car

- I will NEVER get in to another car if that driver has used drugs or consumed alcohol

- I will NEVER get in another car if drugs or alcohol are present

- I will NEVER give a ride to someone I do not know or a hitchhiker

- I will NEVER let someone else drive the car unless you give me permission

- I will NEVER drive someone else’s car unless I have their parent’s permission

- If I ever receive a traffic or parking ticket, I promise to notify you and I understand
that I will be fully responsible for paying for that ticket

- I understand that keeping my grades up is one of the jobs I must do to maintain my driving
privileges. I agree that if my grade point average drops below a B, that I will lose my
driving privileges until my grades improve.

In the event I break one of the above Rules of the Road, I agree that I will lose my
driving privileges as follows:

PENALTIES

- Drove after drinking alcohol or using drugs, No driving for ____ months
- Got ticket for speeding or moving violation, No driving for _____weeks
- Drove with too many passengers in the car, No driving for _____weeks
- Drove without wearing seat belts (self and others),No driving for _____weeks
- Any other Rules of the Road violation, No driving for ____ weeks

PARENT(S)’S COMMITMENT

- I/we will not be angry or upset, and I/we promise to pick you up, when you call if
you feel driving is not safe, regardless of when or where you are
- I/we will not embarrass you if you decide not to drive and want me/us to pick you up

Teen Driver Acknowledgment
I agree to follow each and every rule listed above, and to use my common sense when driving, in order
to keep my driving privileges.

_____________________________
Signature: Date:

Parent(s) Acknowledgement
I/we promise to teach you good driving skills.

_____________________________
Signature: Date:


While this contract does not cover every situation which may arise concerning a new teenage driver, it provides a basis for a commitment with your teenage which will hopefully prevent an accident and save lives.


January 27, 2014

Buzzed Drivers Cause Florida Car Accidents Too

Fort Lauderdale Car Accident attorney Joseph Lipsky wants you to know that according to a recent study from the University of California, driving a car after drinking, with only a little buzz, increases your chances of causing a crash. The study which reviewed deadly car accidents over a 17 year time period, essentially determined that there is no amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood stream, with which it is safe to drive.

The study focused on blood alcohol levels of driver who were found to be at fault for causing deadly accidents, including running a red light and causing an intersection collision, which are most of the most prevalent types of Fort Lauderdale car accidents. Of most surprise, even drivers with a blood alcohol level of .01, had an almost 50 percent greater chance of causing a collision compared to a driver who had not consumed any alcohol.

The researchers compared Florida’s .08 alcohol level with those from other countries which have a lower .05 limit, and found that the only safe vehicle operator is the one who had no alcoholic beverages. While Florida’s so-called legal blood alcohol levels have steadily dropped from .15 to .10 and now .08, it seems clear that a lower level, such as .05, is a reasonable change to help reduce the number of alcohol related accidents along our roadways such as I-95, the Florida Turnpike and I-595.

Most drivers are unaware that they may be found guilty of DUI, with even a .02 blood alcohol level, as the .08 level presumes a vehicle operator was under the influence. So on behalf of our fellow Floridians, we urge you to not to drink any booze and drive.

December 13, 2013

Deadly Hit and Run Car Accidents on the Rise on Miami

Sadly one of the most frequent types of accidents Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky is asked to help accident victims with involve hit and run car accidents which cause someone's wrongful death. In fact, about once a week someone needless dies in a hit and run accident somewhere in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or the Palm Beaches.

Given the increase in these deadly accidents, a bill requiring tougher mandatory sentencing is making its way through the Florida Legislature. The bill titled the "Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act," is named after a bike rider killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway in 2012.

The proposed legislation would require a minimum jail sentence of 10 years for someone convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a wrongful death. Currently, there is no minimum sentence for running from the scene of a deadly accident. The proposed legislation would also require the convicted driver to have his license suspended for at least 3 years.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, over the past year there was an increase of more than 500 deadly hit and run car accidents. Incredibly, in 2012, there were about seventy thousand hit and run accidents in Florida alone. Of those, more than 90 resulting in wrongful deaths in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches.

In an effort to reduce the number of hit and run accidents, hoping to make motorist take responsibility for the carelessness, the Florida Highway Patrol started a campaign, called "Hit and Run. From Bad 2 Worse." Miami personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds our fellow drivers to take responsibility for their carelessness; while causing an accident is just negligence, leaving the scene makes it a crime.

December 3, 2013

Protect Yourself From Uninsured Drivers In Florida Car Accidents

One of the most important pieces of advice that Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky gives to everyone he meets is, make sure to add uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy. For a number of reasons, many drivers in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches choose not to have any liability insurance. As Florida does not require drivers to have liability insurance, when those drivers cause an accident and badly injure someone, having uninsured motorist coverage is the only way to insure that there is a source of money to pay medical bills, lost wages and compensate injured victims for their pain and suffering.

A recent study by the Insurance Research Institute confirms Miami car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky’s advice, as the study found that approximately 14% of drivers are not insured. In addition to being unable to pay for the damages they cause to others, those uninsured motorist cause drivers who actually have insurance, to pay significantly higher premiums.

While some states are trying to enforce mandatory insurance requirements, by means such as authorizing police officers to remove license plates from accident involved cars which are uninsured, many drivers still disregard their state’s laws. Other states are now penalizing uninsured drivers by prohibiting them from brining a claim for their own pain and suffering, even if they are injured due to someone else’s fault. As a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of experience, Joseph Lipsky does not believe a state has a right to restrict an innocent accident victim from pursuing compensation if they are hurt by someone else’s negligence, regardless of whether they themselves have insurance.

While studies indicate that such aggressive enforcement of insurance requirements may result in more drivers complying with their states’ laws, we issue the same advice; protect yourself by buying uninsured motorist coverage. While you may pay more money now, if you are ever the victim of an accident, you will know you have a source of recovery to pursue for your damages.

In Florida, the legislature recognizes how valuable uninsured motorist coverage is, which is why insurance companies are required to have drivers sign a form specifically rejecting uninsured motorist coverage if they decide not to buy it. Remember, while signing the form and rejecting uninsured motorist coverage may save you some money in the short term, it leaves you susceptible to being on the hook for all of your damages if you are hurt in an accident.

November 15, 2013

Reversing a Trend, Car Accident Deaths Rose in 2012

Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky takes no pleasure in relaying news from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the number of car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths rose for the first time in over eight years, to a number which incredibly exceeded 35,000. The reason for the increase is due to a dramatic rise in the number of deadly accidents involving bicycle riders, pedestrians accidents and those riding motorcycles.

The numbers tell the deadly story. There were 1,800 more traffic deaths last year than in the prior year, with riders and pedestrians accounting for over 650 of those increased deaths. In fact the more than 9,000 riders and pedestrians who died in car accidents was almost equal to the number of car accident fatalities caused by drunk drivers.

According to the NHTSA, the vast majority of car accidents and resulting wrongful deaths are due to human error, drunk drivers, and vehicle occupants failing to wear seat belts. In fact, researches determined that more than three thousand motorist die annually because they failed to use a seatbelt.

The research also revealed that about a third of all car accidents happened when one vehicle struck another from the rear. Vehicle manufacturers are beginning to include automatic baking systems in car which may help reduce the more than 2,400,000 people who annually suffer car accident related injuries.

Considering the research found an increase of almost 5 percent in deadly drunk driving accidents, we strongly urge all motorists to bring along a designated driver, or take a cab when you drink; think of the lives which may be saved…including your own.

November 5, 2013

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Rest to Prevent Car Accidents

Although it does not receive as much publicity as distracted driving or drunk driving, Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Joseph Lipsky want to make sure you are aware that driving while over tired, or drowsy driving, is a dangerous problem which results in too many preventable car accidents annually. In hopes of reducing those crashes caused by sleep deprived drivers, the National Sleep Foundation declared this as National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

A review of Florida traffic accident reports shows that over the past year, there were more than 280 thousand car accidents or truck accidents in Florida, that means that about 770 times every day, someone has a car accident on one of our roads, including I-95 and the Florida Turnpike. In fact, there were over 50 thousand car accidents in Miami alone last year. Of those thousands of accidents, the likely that drowsy driving played a role as a driver had slower than needed reaction.

The NHTSA believes that more than 1500 people suffer wrongful deaths and more than 70,000 people are seriously injured in crashes in which drowsy driving played a role. Those most likely involved in driving while sleep deprived include men, under the age of 26 and those working in the medical filed who into the evening. In fact, drivers who work a "night" or "midnight" shift have a 6 times greater risk of causing an accident.

Too often over the past 20 years, we had to help a client overcome the destructive results of a truck driver who continued driving, beyond their statutorily regulated hours, and caused a crash. We remind everyone that if you are overtired, and have to open your car window, or play the radio loudly, in an effort to help you stay awake while driving; make our roadways safer by pulling off the road and taking a nap, before something bad happens.

November 1, 2013

Florida Car Accident Victims: Be Aware of New PIP Law

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals just overturned a challenge to Florida’s new personal injury protection, or PIP, law. Because the new PIP law is now unchallenged, there are numerous restrictions of which Florida car accident victims need to be aware. Fort Lauderdale based car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds all Florida car accident injured victims of the new law’s limitations which apply to all Florida car insurance policies as of January 1, 2013.

First, you need to be evaluated by a doctor, or at a hospital/urgent care center, within 14 days of your car accident. If you delay seeking initial medical care by more than 14 days, hoping that your pain subsides, your car insurance company will NOT pay any future accident related medical bills.

Secondly, you must complain about all of your injuries, no matter how minor you think they are, at your first evaluation. If you fail to mention some injury at your initial visit, and then bring it up to your doctor later, that “new” complaint will not be covered by your car insurance company.

Thirdly, unless a medical doctor, osteopathic doctor, or LPN makes a diagnosis of your suffering an Emergency Medical Condition, your car insurance company will only be responsible for the first $2,500.00 of your medical bills. With an appropriate diagnosis of an Emergency Medical Condition, you are still entitled to $10,000.00 of medical coverage. However, understand that a chiropractor is not permitted to render the Emergency Medical Condition diagnosis. Therefore, if you are only examined by a chiropractor, your car insurance company will only be responsible for $2,500.00 of your accident related medical treatment.

The law defines an Emergency Medical Condition as one which shows itself through immediately sever symptoms, including pain, that in the absence of immediate medical attention you would be expected to suffer from your health being in serious jeopardy, a serious impairment of your bodily function, or a serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or body part.

Finally, the new law allows your car insurance company to not pay for any massage therapy or acupuncture care.

Because of the stringent limitations placed on Florida car accident victims, personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky strongly recommends everyone injured in a car accident consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after their crash. Making sure you understand your rights and how to best protect them is more important than ever.

October 28, 2013

Prevent Car Accidents by Following Florida's Laws

As an attorney representing seriously injured victims of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Joseph Lipsky is always happy to help his fellow Floridians with tips which hopefully prevent such accidents and their resulting personal injuries. There are many driving laws which most of us know and follow, but too many drivers either don’t know or choose not to follow some important laws.

We continually remind drivers to “move over” when they see a police officer on the side of a road, but most people don’t realize that the same laws which apply to protecting those in law enforcement also applies to all assisting vehicles along Florida’s roadways, including tow truck and road rangers. This ignorance of the law is part of the reason the Florida Highway Patrol wrote more than 8,000 tickets last year for violators of the “move over” law.

Some of the other less know Florida traffic rules include:

- You can’t use your car’s hazard lights when your car is driving, even in bad weather;
- You must have your headlights on if you are using your wipers;
- You must yield to city buses trying to merge back into traffic, after picking up passengers;
- You can make a U-turn anywhere, if there is no sign preventing it, so long as you do it safely;
- If traffic lights are out, you must act like an intersection is a four way stop, for all traffic, remember that the car to your right always has the right of way;
- No having a television or entertainment display that is visible for a driver;
- You cannot back up on an interstate if you accidentally pass your exit;

Because driving on the roadways in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach are dangerous enough, we believe that knowing and following some of these less know traffic laws can help prevent car accidents.

October 25, 2013

Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Florida

As a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who helps victims of serious car accidents, Joseph Lipsky wants to make sure parents of teenage drivers know that it is Teen Driver Safety Week. One of the most important themes of Teen Driver Safety Week is that parents must be more involved in their teenage driver’s training and behavior.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which speaks on behalf of various state traffic safety organizations, believes more involved parenting is critical to help keep teenage drivers safe. Of particular importance is parents using the leverage graduated driver licensing process. The leverage graduated driver program is a step by step process for teenage drivers to slowly move from less hazardous to more dangerous driving scenarios, such as night driving or driving in poor weather.

The benefits of a graduated driver license program are demonstrated in a twenty to forty percent drop in those teen’s accidents. When parents implement specific driving rules, such as only permitting day time driving for the first 6 months and to prevent distracted driving accidents-a strict prohibition against cell phone usage, the resulting reduction of teenage accidents drop substantially.
While it may be anecdotal, the truth is that teenage male drivers show a greater propensity, for speeding, particularly if their friends are with them. Clearly, parents of new male drivers need to take an active role in initially protecting them from such dangerous situations.
Some of the Governors Highway Safety Association recommendations include:

- Teach good driving skills, including enrolling your driver in driving school; and

- Reminding your teenage driver that driving is a privilege, not a right, which is based upon the teenager agreeing to strict rules about how and when they may drive.

As a parent of teenagers, we strongly agree with these and other common sense recommendations which will not only reduce the likelihood of a teenager being serious injured in a car accident, but will also protect the other drivers on the road. Our best advice is to make sure that a family’s excitement for a new driver, does not outweigh the need to practice safe driving behavior

August 29, 2013

Car Accidents Remain Likely to Happen in Miami

A major insurance company recently released their annual evaluation of the most dangerous driving cities in America. This information does not come as a surprise to us as Florida personal injury attorneys, or to everyone who endures a daily commute along South Florida's roadways in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood/Pembroke Pines. Our cities remain some of the most statistically dangerous in the likelihood of car accidents happening at a rate well above national averages.

In fact, Miami remains ranked at 187 nationally, with the likelihood that a driver will be involved in a car accident every 6.3 years. Miami's car accident rate is 59.4% higher than the national average. Fort Lauderdale did not fare much better, ranking as the 148 safest driving city, with drivers expecting to be in a crash every 8 years, a rate which is 25.1% higher than the national average. Finally, the combined area of Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and Miramar comes in a 168th place, with a car accident rate of every 7.6 years, which is 31.8% higher than the national average.

We recommend our fellow Florida drivers follow some basic common sense rules to avoid being a car accident statistic. Some of these rules include giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination; listening to local radio reports of traffic problems; remaining alert, which means being ready to stop or slow down for pedestrians, buses and deliver trucks; take the time to get directions to where you're going before you head out; and being mindful of changing speed limits, particularly in school zones.

August 22, 2013

Car Accidents Projected to Increase Over Labor Day Weekend

As personal injury attorneys who help seriously injured victims of car accidents, we always encourage our fellow Floridians to drive carefully. As we approach the Labor Day Holiday weekend, we note a recent study by AAA which projects a significant increase in roadway traffic over the upcoming long holiday weekend. In fact, AAA predicts more than 34 million people with travel a distance greater than fifty miles away from their homes over the holiday.

This anticipated rise in vehicle traffic is forecast to be at its highest limit since the recession. The study cites improving financial conditions, particularly in the housing and job markets, as the motivating factor behind the increase in expected vacation travel. The study also attributes the increasing cost of plane tickets as another factor in Americans traveling by car rather than plane. It goes without saying that an increase in vehicle traffic brings an increase in car accidents, as more people are trying to quickly get to their destinations.

As most Americans think of Labor Day as the last hurrah before the school year begins, sadly there is a comparable increase in the number of drunk driving related crashes. In fact, each year there are approximately 350 people who needlessly lose their lives in car accidents over the Labor Day weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 40% of those Labor Day wrongful death accidents will involve alcohol.

We urge our fellow Floridians to drive safely over the upcoming holiday, make sure you wear your seat-belt and in accordance with our state's ban on texting while driving, leave your smart phone alone when you're behind the wheel.

August 11, 2013

Talking on Cell Phones Do Not Cause Car Accidents

A a Miami car accident attorney who helps seriously injured victims of car accidents throughout Florida, I am always interested in studies which investigate the causes of accidents. Yet I was surprised by the results of a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University which revealed that there is no relationship between a driver speaking on a cell phone and the number of car accidents in the United States.

The study was based upon an analysis of more than 8 milliion car accidents. The study only looked at speaking on a cell phone, not the effects of texting or other smart phone actiivities, which are a primary cause of distracted driving.

The results of the study even surprised the researchers, who had to double check their results. The researchers looked at cellphone usage after 9 p.m., which is when there is a significant increase of cellphone use. Yet despite the increase in such cellphone usage, there was no corresponding increase in car accidents.

In fact, the study also examined states which banned cellphone use while driving, and found no reductions in the number of car accidents. The researchers felt that drivers may be deciding when its safer to make a call, rather than using their cellphone indiscriminately. While the results of the study are certainly interesting, as Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, we believe drivers should keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel at all times.

July 19, 2013

Flasher Use During Rainstorms Cause Car Accidents

As we are in the midst of yet another wet summer, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky reminds our fellow motorists that a behavior which many people think prevents car accidents, may in fact cause them. The behavior in question is turning on a car's hazard warning lights during a heavy downpour. Not only does this behavior actually create a hazard, but most motorist do not realize, it is actually against the law.

Many motorist think that by turning on their hazard lights that they are helping other drivers better see their car. Unfortunately, the natural reaction of those other drivers is to assume that a vehicle using its hazard lights is actually stopped and needs help. Additionally, when hazard lights are on, they prevent turn signals and brake lights to work properly, making other motorists overreact and causing car accidents.

The applicable Florida law prohibits drivers other than first responders from turning on their hazard lights unless their car is disabled or stopped on the side of a roadway. The State of Florida does not keep track of the number of such tickets given, although we can assume that the law is not regularly enforced, as police officers certainly don't want to get out of their vehicles during heavy rains.

The Florida Highway Patrol's advise is if its raining too hard and you are having trouble seeing, that you should pull over on a median and wait for the rain to lessen. As we all know too well, our weather changes unexpectedly and quickly. We remind all of our friends that vehicles do not react the same during wet conditions, so please make sure to drive under control.

July 1, 2013

Many Designated Drivers Still Drink and Drive

As a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney, I am always saddened to hear about people who undertake a responsibility to act safely and then fail to live up to that obligation, causing harm to others. This is precisely the situation involving a great many so-called designated drivers in Florida. According to a recent report undertaken by the University of Florida, about one third of proclaimed designated drivers drink, drive and cause a drunk driving car accident resulting in serious personal injuries.

In fact, many of those designated drivers after being stopped by police or after being involved in a Miami car accident, are found to have an alcohol level in excess of .05, which is close to Florida's legal limit. The study involved questioning and using a breathalyzer of in excess of a thousand drivers who after they left restaurants and nightclubs in the evening. Although the study took place in a college town, the majority of the participants were over the age of 28.

It goes without saying that as a driver's blood alcohol level rises, the likelihood of causing a deadly car accident rises. In fact, just a single alcoholic beverage can result in a driver's diminished ability to react and avoid a crash. The study suggests that groups of people should decide before going out, who is going to act as the designated driver, and then act accordingly.

June 20, 2013

Florida Car Accident: Teenagers Admit to Texting Behind the Wheel

As a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney who is concerned about the safety of his fellow Floridians, Joseph Lipsky sadly reports that a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics, about ½ of all high school aged kids admitted to texting while operating a motor vehicle, a behavior which significantly increases the likelihood of being involved in a deadly Miami car accident. Sadly, those same drivers also admitted to other dangers activities, such as failing to use a seat belt.

The study was based upon answers from almost nine thousand young drivers. Interestingly, older pupils admitted to texting and driving more frequently than younger students. Also, girls admitted to texting less frequently than boys.

Considering looking away from the roadway for a brief time is all it takes for a car accident to happen, texting while driving is an ever increasing problem. As such, parents and teachers should make a concerted effort to continually educate students about the dangers of distracted driving, which also includes other activities such as horse playing with friends in a moving vehicle. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, many high school aged drivers feel like nothing bad can happen to them, they often ignore known dangers.

Because young drivers are the most inexperienced ones on the road, their distracted driving behavior tends to result in some of the most deadly car accidents. And, even though almost all teenage drivers admitted to being aware of the deadly consequences of texting while driving, partly because they see their parents also exhibiting such dangerous behind the wheel behavior, they often ignore the known danger.

We could not agree more with the idea that “it can wait,” meaning don’t look at your phone until you are stopped in a safe location. As we tell all of our Miami personal injury clients, using a smart phone while driving is really dumb.

May 13, 2013

Drowsy Driving Causes Many Florida Car Accidents

As Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys we are too familiar with the personal injuries and wrongful deaths caused by distracted driving . However, there is an equally dangerous behind the wheel activity which does not get as much publicity as distracted driving, and its something too many drivers do, drive while drowsy. In fact, according to governmental studies, more than 1000 people die each year in car accidents and truck accidents caused by a drowsy driver.

One of the reasons drowsy driving is difficult to reduce is that police are unable to determine when an accident is caused by a drowsy or sleeping driver. Unlike drunk driving accidents, in which police can measure whether someone is under the influence, or a distracted driving accident, in which cell phone records may reveal what a driver was doing at the time of a crash, there is no way to measure how sleepy a driver was when an accident happened.

And while the commercial trucking industry is subject to various limits on the number of hours a driver may operate a vehicle before being required to sleep, those limits are often exceeded because those drivers keep their own logs.

Because drowsy driving is an activity that most motorists have done, thinking they were alert enough to drive, this problem it is difficult to educate against. As for legislation, only one state has passed a law penalizing drowsy driving. Other states have taken measures to awaken drowsy drivers by installing rumble strips and other physical lane restraining devices to alert drivers who may be drifting out of their lane of travel of travel. Despite folklore, activities including loud music, talking or eating do not cause a drowsy driver to be more alert.

As Miami personal injury lawyers we believe that the results of the Centers for Disease Control study which found that nearly 5% of all drivers briefly fell asleep at least once a month, are alarming and require greater driver education, particularly among new drivers of the dangers that such drowsy behavior may cause.

May 8, 2013

Car Accident Deaths of Young Drivers Increase

As Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys who also happen to be parents of teenagers, we know too well the dangers associated with young drivers on the road. That is why we are disappointed to report that a recent study revealed that wrongful deaths of such young drivers rose almost 20% over the past six months.

Sadly, this is the second straight year that such teen driver deaths have risen, as last year demonstrated a three percent increase, ending an eight year reduction streak. As with other recent studies, an independent safety expert related the dramatic increase in teen car accident wrongful deaths to a turn-around in the country's economy; people tend to drive more when they have more income. Other causes include distracted driving, which hopefully here in Florida, will lessen with the passing of a recent law prohibiting texting while driving.

Car accident deaths involving teens were not the only such rise, according to NHTSA projections, all traffic fatalities are expected to rise about 8% for the upcoming year. As Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers we only hope that our legislature continues passing common sense bills, like the texting ban, to get back to reductions in such needless deaths.

May 6, 2013

Car Accident Wrongful Deaths Increase

As Miami car accident attorneys, we are always excited to report news of deceases in roadway deaths; sadly, however, we've come across a recent study from the NHTSA which shows that wrongful deaths from traffic accidents experienced its first increase in more than seven years. Despite ongoing education efforts and increased law enforcement, deaths from motor vehicle collision were up more than five percent over last year.

While experts had apparently anticipated an increase, in-step with improvements in the country's economic situation, as highway traffic rose by almost a third of a percent last year, unfortunately the rate at which deaths occur is expected to rise by more than 6 tenths of a percent. This increase is the first in more than a seven year period which has provided about a 25% drop in traffic fatalities.

The data also revealed that motorcycle related deaths rose almost 10% over prior year, and now make up almost 15% of all vehicle wrongful deaths. This increase is particularly alarming in Florida, where we have no mandatory helmet laws. We certainly hope that the recently passed ban on texting bill will help stem the tide on distracted driving's role in this rise in fatalities, making Florida's roadways safer.

April 22, 2013

Most Underage Drinking Wrongful Deaths Not From Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys here in Florida, we often pass along news involving reductions in the causes of accidents. However, as parents we occasionally come across information that meets that need, but includes other concerning revelations. A recent study from Mothers Against Drunk Driving sadly meets that exception. The study revealed that more than sixty-five percent of all underage deaths attributed to alcohol consumption, happen due to reasons other than car accidents.

The study, which was based upon statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, revealed that about thirty percent of alcohol involved deaths of minors happened in car, truck or motorcycle accidents. Sadly, the publicity for the causes of the vast majority of underage drinking deaths, including to self-inflicted wounds, murders and alcohol sickness, are too often overlooked by the media; resulting in parents overlooking these other deadly effects of underage drinking.

The study demonstrates the need for parents and children having frequent conversations about the dangers associated with underage drinking, and to begin those discussions early in adolescence. As other studies demonstrate that almost ten million adolescents drink alcohol each month, it is clear that underage drinking is a significant problem.

Given the prevalence and difficulties associated with peer pressure, we can only hope that parents and schools devote additional resources towards educating minors to the many dangers of excessive alcohol use.


April 16, 2013

Florida Senate Approves Texting Ban to Reduce Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys representing seriously injured victims of car accidents throughout Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys and Palm Beach, we are happy to report that the Florida Senate finally voted on, and approved, a ban on texting while driving. The bill will now move on to the Florida House of Representatives for their consideration.

Considering Florida is only one of a handful of states that has not addressed the ever increasing dangers associated with texting while driving, the Senate's common sense approach to this deadly epidemic is welcome news. Incredibly, almost a dozen teenagers perish each day in distracted driving car accidents.

Instead of allowing a police office to stop a driver solely for using their phone, the bill considers texting/emailing as a secondary violation. This means that a police officer will have to observe another driving violation, such as speeding, in order to pull over the offender. We remind our fellow Floridans that using a smart phone while driving is anything but smart.

April 10, 2013

Number of Distracted Drivers Increases

The cause of the ever increasing number of deadly car accidents throughout Florida, particularly in larger cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale is well document in a recent study by the Centers For Disease Control about distracted driving. The study found that almost seventy percent of drivers admitted to using a cell phone to talk or text while behind the wheel during the past month. This rise in the dangerous use of so-called smartphones while driving presents a danger to everyone on the roadway; and despite increased efforts to educate drivers, this conduct continues to result in deadly car accidents every day.

The study confirms the government's suspicions, that texting behind the wheel is increasing, as prior studies demonstrated that one quarter of drivers admitted to texting while driving, and now, that number has risen over thirty percent. As personal injury attorneys representing seriously injured victims of car accidents, saying we are alarmed at this twenty-two percent increase in two short years is an understatement.

This driving while using a smart-phone use is the reason why wrongful deaths caused by distracted driving are increasing, while the overall amount of traffic deaths is dropping. In fact, according to the report, in 2011 such wrongful deaths caused by distracted driving increased almost two percent, while other types of traffic deaths dropped by the same amount.

We agree with the study's characterization of the conduct which results in these crashes and deaths as not being accidental, as the driver who decides to use his phone while driving, does so consciously, not by accident. We also agree with the Centers for Disease control in urging drivers to put down their phones until they are able to stop off the roadway. Remember, using a smart-phone while driving is anything but...smart.

November 28, 2012

Drivers Causing Rear End Crashes Can Blame Who They Hit

The Florida Supreme Court recently overturned fifty years of legal precedent by ruling that a driver who causes a car accident by running into another vehicle from behind can argue, and a jury may consider, that the driver who was struck was also at fault, or comparatively negligent. Essentially this ruling means that careless and distracted drivers, such as those texting while driving, can argue that the vehicle they struck came to an unexpected stop without warning.

The Court felt that the legal doctrine of comparative negligence should apply to rear end car accident personal injury cases when there is evidence, no matter how unsubstantiated, for a jury to consider if the driver of the stopped vehicle was at fault. Thankfully the Court's decision made clear that it does not overturn the presumption of negligence when a injured person is properly stopped at a red light or stop sign.

In setting aside 60 years of law, in which the person who caused a rear end crash was presumed to be at fault, the Supreme Court opened the flood gates of unnecessary and extensive litigation. This ruling will certainly cause an increase in litigation as insurance companies will argue that their drivers could not stop in time because an injured victim stopped without warning.

As personal injury lawyers helping innocent victims of car accidents throughout Florida, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we are distressed with our highest Court's decision to allow clearly at fault drivers to argue that those they hit were at fault.

November 26, 2012

Florida Legislature to Consider Ban on Texting

In hopes of preventing deadly car accidents, the Florida legislature is going to reconsider passing a law which would ban drivers from texting or reading emails. The proposed legislation would classify texting as a secondary violation, only allow a police officer to issue a citation to a driver if the officer pulled them over for another violation, such as speeding. The proposed law would not prevent drivers from using their nav systems or from using hands free software.

If passed, the law would follow the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation to halt cell phone use while operating a vehicle. The goal of the NTSB's recommendations is to reduce distracted driving. Such a reduction would hopefully diminish the more than four thousand wrongful deaths which occur on roadways each year due to distracted drivers. Sadly, Florida is currently only 1 of 5 states which have no restriction on texting while operating a motor vehicle.

As personal injury attorneys helping accident victims throughout Florida, we can only hope that our legislature passes this common sense measure, which has, in the past, been opposed by legislators with misguided intentions. Given the increase in texting, particularly by younger less experienced drivers, any legislative action to make our roadways safer is welcomed.


November 15, 2012

Florida Court Allows Injured Drunk Driver's Case Against Ford to Continue

Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that a personal injury products liability case against Ford Motor Company, in which a drunk driver caused a single car accident and suffered catastrophic personal injuries may continue. The injured motorist claimed that she suffered personal injuries because Ford negligently designed the suspension and roof supports in a 1999 Ford Explorer.

The Court held that if someone is injured due to a car's mechanical defect, that Florida's strict liability standard in product liability cases should hold the manufacturer responsible even if the defect which caused the injury was not the cause of the crash. The Court reasoned that a manufacturer's responsibility should also include cases where a crash is not caused by a structural defect; stating that how a crash occurs, and the mechanism of injury, are inseparable and should be considered a single incident. And, because such car accidents and personal injuries are foreseeable, the vehicle manufacturer must assume those risks.

Having helped seriously injured victims of dangerous products across the State of Florida for more than twenty years we agree with the Court's reasoning and hope that all manufacturers understand the necessity in making their products less dangerous and crash-worthy.

November 9, 2012

Driving While Drowsy More Common Among Younger Drivers

A recent study by AAA found that drivers aged sixteen to twenty-four drive in a drowsy state more often than older drivers. Almost 15 percent of these younger, and less experienced, drivers admitted to falling asleep, albeit briefly, while driving. Unfortunately, the number of older drivers, who also admit to drowsy driving is also a dangerous 10 percent. Such dangerous behavior accounts for 17 percent of all car accidents resulting in wrongful death, and 12 percent of car accidents resulting in personal injuries.

Warning signs of drowsiness while driving include problems focusing, head bobbing, not being able to keep a vehicle within its lane of travel. According to the study, younger motorists, due to their inexperience, do not understand the dangers associated with drowsy driving. AAA believes drowsy driving to be one of the most dangerous and understudied car accident related issues.

Thankfully efforts are being made, including the installation of small speed bumps along roads which are intended to notify sleepy drivers that they are veering off the road. We remind Florida drivers to use common sense prevention tips, including getting a full night's sleep prior to driving, having someone else in the car with you, drinking coffee and stopping every couple of hours.

October 15, 2012

Fake Airbags Can Result in Deadly Car Accidents

The federal government recently issued an alarming report concerning the prevalence of counterfeit airbags being installed by non-new car dealer repair shops. According to the NHTSA, thousands of repaired vehicles are currently being driven with fake airbags, which unfortunately will prove dangerous when those vehicles are involved in a car accident. The vehicles targeted for such fake airbags also includes many commercial trucks.

Incredibly over 90% of the fake airbags tested did not work as required in crash tests. As such, the government has a list of the vehicles for which such fake airbags are likely to be used listed on its site at Safercar.gov. While thus far the NHTSA has not liked any wrongful deaths to the fake airbags, it is not likely that a police officer investigating a crash is able to differentiate a fake from a real airbag.

This issue presents such a significant danger that the government is asking all vehicle owners whose model of car is listed on their website, and whose car has undergone replacement of airbags within the last 3 years to bring their car to a dealership for inspection and verification.

October 9, 2012

Wrong Way Crashes In Florida Frequently Caused by Drunk Driving

Although they occur infrequently, wrong way crashes, in which a driver is improperly driving against traffic on the wrong side of the road, are some of the most deadly and destructive car accidents. According to the NTHSA there were almost 400 such crashes during the past 5 years.

As personal injury lawyers representing injured victims of deadly car accidents, we are saddened, but not surprised, by the Florida Highway Patrol's determination that drunk driving played a significant role in the 22 such collisions in Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach over the past 5 years. Even though roads are designed with various warnings, drunk drivers are often too impaired to notice them. Thankfully many of the at fault drivers being convicted of drunk driving.

As engineers continue to develop roadway systems which activate when a driver enters a roadway in the wrong direction, we hope such advances in technology will make our roads safer by reducing these deadly crashes. Of course, greater use of ignitiion locks on prior drunk driving offender's vehicles can only help remedy this deadly problem.

October 6, 2012

Wrongful Deaths Caused by Car Accidents Increase

We are sorry to report that according to the NHTSA, deadly car accidents increased by almost ten percent over the past six months. This rise in wrongful death related car accidents brings to an end a five year decrease in such fatalities.

Incredibly, more than 16,000 people died in car and truck crashes during the first half of this year. While the NHTSA cannot yet determine a cause for the surprising increase, speculation is that lower gas prices contributes to an increase in roadway traffic. Of course, there can be no doubt that the increase in distracting driving, which here in Florida, our legislature continues to refuse to address, played a significant role in the deadly increase.

We certainly hope that this year's increase is a blip which will not reverse the previous five years' decreasing trend.

October 3, 2012

Increase in Deadly Car Accidents from Distracted Driving

As personal injury attorneys representing injured victims of car accidents through the State of Florida, we are continually amazed that drivers continue to disregard the basic fact that distracted driving is dangerous. The National Highway Safety Administration recently updated their ongoing data as to the number of wrongful deaths and personal injuries caused annually by distracted drivers.

Incredibly, in the past year more than 3000 people died, and over 400,000 were injured, in car, truck and motorcycle accidents in which a driver was "distracted." The NHSA defines distracted driving as something which causes a driver to do something other than just drive, such as using a phone to call or text or eating. Of course, texting or sending an email is the most dangerous of such activities as the driver's eyes are taken off the road for an extended amount of time. Yet last month alone, over 200 billion such texts were made in the United States; and that number is increasing exponentially every year.

In particular, are motorists younger than twenty are the most frequent of such distracted drivers, as more than ten percent of all deadly accidents involving such driver involved a distracted driver. Yet despite this verifiable data, our legislatures continue to refuse to pass laws banning or even restricting such deadly behavior. We certainly hope that the Florida Legislature finally confronts this danger and finally does something to protect our citizens and visitors.

September 4, 2012

Distracted Drivers Admit Their Dangerous Behavior

As Florida Personal Injury Attorneys helping innocent victims of deadly car accidents throughout Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we are not surprised that a recent study, which was funded by Ford, found that drivers willingly confess to the dangerous distracted driving activities they do behind the wheel.

Some of the admitted dangerous driving behavior includes almost 3 quarters of the surveyed drivers eating or drinking while driving, more than half of those questioned admitted to driving while using a cellular phone and more than one third said they regularly drive when drowsy. These findings fly in the face of most drivers' opinions of their driving behavior, in which most claim to be safe drivers.

Apparently Ford paid for the study to ascertain how the technology they install in their vehicles affected driver's behavior. The study also found that more than a third of Ford vehicle owners did not know about all of the safety features in their vehicle, including those which are specifically designed to limit teenage drivers' ability to speed or use their phones while driving.

We certainly hope that Ford and all other car manufacturers take the necessary steps to equip their vehicles with technology that may help prevent accidents, and to teach their purchasers how to best use such life saving equiptment.

June 19, 2012

Advances in Car Safety Prevent Wrongful Deaths

As personal injury lawyers helping the innocent victims of deadly car accidents throughout Florida, we are pleased to note that although Floridians are driving greater distances, car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths have drastically decreased over the past decade. According to the NHTSA this welcome decrease in deadly accidents is due to car manufacturers' greater concern for safety.

Due to a better understanding of how to build vehicles that better protect occupants, the NHTSA concluded that over a million people have been spared serious personal injuries and more than 2000 lives have been saved. The NHTSA's study looked at the ability of vehicles to protect their occupants from the so-called secondary impacts; that is, the occupant striking the interior portion of the vehicle.

Some examples of more crash resistant safety advances include more and improved air bags, pre-tensioning seat belts, increased vehicle crumple zones, side impact protection, additional interior padding and accident sensing head rests. We concur with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in celebrating the decline in wrongful deaths and personal injuries.

June 11, 2012

Teens Admit They Are Distracted Drivers

According to a recent study a majority of high school age drivers regularly text while driving. The study, which is the first from the federal level, confirms what we parents are all too well aware of, that teen drivers are dangerous. The study supports the Secretary of Transportation's' comments concerning the "national epidemic" of smart-phone use while driving.

Those findings are part of the reason for the Department of Transportation's upcoming programs in various states to educate young drivers about distracted driving as a frequent cause of deadly car accidents. Wrongful deaths from car accidents caused by distracted drivers account for almost sixteen percent of all teenage car accident deaths.

The study did have some surprisingly good news, that a greater number of teenage drivers are wearing their seat-belts than ever before. And, a greater number of teenage drivers indicate that they have not driven impaired or rode with an impaired driver.

As personal injury attorneys in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, we continue to be amazed that Florida is not one of the 39 states that prohibit texting while driving.



May 31, 2012

Companies Starting to Ban Cellphones to Reduce Deadly Car Accidents

As personal injury lawyers helping victims of deadly car accidents in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and the Palm Beaches we applaud the efforts of some large businesses to ban cellphone use by their on-the-road workers. These companies action are In response to recent NTSB guidelines which recommended a ban on cellphone usage while driving.

Unfortunately, according to a survey by the National Safety Council, only 10% of Fortune 500 companies have such rules limiting cellphone use. The Safety Council suggested that there be a complete ban for all cellphone use while driving. The suggestion is based upon numerous studies which found that cellphones, even those used hands free, are not safe to use while driving.

While many companies are concerned that productivity will decrease, data collected by the National Safety Council revealed that such cellphone limits did not have such an affect . Considering the deadly car accidents caused by employees while talking on a cellphone, any reduction in cellphone usage will not only save lives, but will certainly result in an equivalent reduction in significant personal injury damage awards against such companies.

Not surprisingly, organizations such as the Consumer Electronics Association disagree that stopping cellphone use while driving will result in a decrease in accidents. We can only hope that the legislature will take the necessary action to cause these trade organizations to realize that even one life saved makes such a limit on distracted driving worthwhile.

May 24, 2012

Enforcement of Safety Laws Would Lessen Personal Injuries

According to a recent study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research, if states, including Florida, monitored and forced compliance with safety laws, they could prevent millions of unnecessary personal injuries annually.

As personal injury attorneys representing victims of accidents in the Palm Beaches, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, we know too well that the leading cause of wrongful deaths of people age one to 40 years are accidental injuries. Yet amazingly many states, including Florida, refuse to pass common sense laws which would prevent injuries, save lives and lower overall health care costs.

While Florida does have mandatory seat-belt laws, which are proven to prevent about 12,000 annual car accident wrongful deaths; our legislature passed a law allowing motorcycle riders not to wear a helmet. Considering that helmets prevent approximately 1,5000 lives annually, and given the state's obligation to pay the enormous medical bills incurred by those who sustain brain injuries from head trauma, such lack of legislative action is certainly reckless .

Not all blame falls upon the state, as national injury prevention funding has decreased almost twenty five percent over the last five years. We can only hope that the Florida Legislature will have the fortitude to disregard lobbyists and take aggressive action to pass and enforce needed safety laws.

May 22, 2012

FHP Enforcing Seat Belt Use To Prevent Car Accident Wrongful Deaths

In hopes of saving lives, the Florida Highway Patrol, and police officers nationally, are about to begin their annual "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement effort. As personal injury lawyers who help victims of deadly car accidents throughout Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and the Florida Keys, we applaud law enforcements efforts to be on the lookout for drivers and passengers who fail to protect themselves by not wearing seat belts.

Florida mandates that anyone in the front seat of a car or truck must wear their seat belt,and that everyone younger than eighteen, even if seated in a rear seat, must use their seat-belt. Considering the NHTSA estimates that seat belts safe more than 12,000 lives annually, the proof is in the pudding; seat belts save lives.

While no one wants to receive a ticket, which in Florida is a non-moving violation; the lesson learned from receiving a ticket is certainly better than the one learned by being involved in a crash without using a seat belt.

May 18, 2012

Government Seeks to Lower Wrongful Deaths Caused by Drunk Drivers

As personal injury lawyers helping the innocent victims of deadly car accidents throughout Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, we are certainly glad to hear that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is seeking to take action to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths.

Although the number of wrongful deaths caused by drunk drivers has dropped from an annual high of over 18,000 in the late 80s, to just over 10,000 in the past year, the needed decrease has plateaued over the past 8 years.

Proposed solutions include ignition locks which stop an impaired driver from starting a vehicle, and increased enforcement of drunk driving laws.

We commend the NTSB for their proactive attempts to reduce the deadly consequences of drunk driving.

April 5, 2012

Injured Victims of Car Accidents in Florida: Be Aware

As personal injury attorneys practicing law in the State of Florida, we are sadden to report that the Florida Legislature recently passed a law which drastically restricts the rights of those injured in car accidents . Since 1972, Florida has had a no-fault car insurance system for those injured in car accidents. The no-fault system essentially required everyone who owned a motor vehicle to purchase personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage. This PIP coverage would pay for the medical care required to treat car accident related injuries regardless of who was at fault for causing the car accident.

Now the legislature, to benefit insurance companies, has placed restrictions on the time a car accident victim has to seek medical care, restrictions on the types of eligible medical care,and most importantly, restrictions on the amount of coverage available based upon the type of injury sustained. Beginning in January, car accident victims will only have 14 days following an accident to seek medical care if they want to be able to use the PIP coverage they paid for as part of their insurance premium. Any delay past those 14 days will result in the injured victim being unable to use their car insurance to pay for any medical care they may need for accident related injuries.

Additionally, although car owners are required to buy $10,000.00 of PIP coverage, if their injury is not considered to be an "emergency medical condition," they will only be entitled to $2,500.00 of medical coverage. Clearly this arbitrary definition of what is an emergency medical condition will be used by insurance companies to limit their exposure to car accident victims who sustain less severe, but still debilitating, injuries.

While these limitations were passed into law allegedly to reduce our fellow Floridians' insurance premiums, the legislature amazingly did not require the insurance companies to reduce the premiums they charge. We consider this failure to require the insurance companies to reduce what they charge to be a benefit for them; and yet again, a burden for our fellow Floridans.

February 14, 2012

Car Accidents Caused by Speeding Police Officers Result in Wrongful Deaths and Serious Injuries

As Florida Lawyers helping the surviving victims of deadly car accidents, we are certainly glad to hear of recent reports which illuminate a serious issue affecting all drivers in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches; that police officers regularly disregard the very traffic laws they are sworn to enforce. Often, the speeding police officers are not even responding to a crime, but simply driving to and from work.

Having had the opportunity to assist victims of car accidents caused by such speeding officers, we know too well that these reckless officers usually face no repercussions from the court system, as their fellow officers routinely fail to issue any citations. Also, rarely do official reports regarding such accidents ever find that the speeding officer was at fault.

Over the past eight years, speeding officers caused the wrongful deaths of more than twenty Floridians, who were just minding their own business. Not surprisingly, few of these officers even faced any internal discipline.

While we are thankful for the dedication police officers have to their jobs and the communities they serve, we agree that the culture of protecting one's own, needs to be brought to light to hopefully save the lives of other innocent drivers and pedestrians.

February 4, 2012

Leaving Disabiled Vehicles Result in Deadly Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys helping seriously injured victims of car accidents throughout Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, we want to remind our fellow Floridians of the dangers of exiting a disabled vehicle along our roadways. Just this month, three people who stopped to help a disabled motorist were hit and killed by a passing car in Plantation. Those needless wrongful deaths bring the total of disabled driver and occupant deaths to more than 11 over the past year alone.

Despite Florida Highway Patrol requests that such motorists seek the safety of standing behind guardrails, too often drivers and passenger simply stand, unprotected along busy highways-a certain recipe for disaster. The Highway Patrol reminds drivers that if you can't find the safety of a guardrail, then staying in your car is safer. The FHP stresses that drivers should consider the time of day, visibility, lighting and what type of road you are along, when deciding if it is safe to exit a disabled vehicle.

We urge all of our fellow Floridians to exercise extreme caution along our deadly roadways.

January 4, 2012

Seatbelts Reduce Injuries for Back Seat Passengers in Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys helping injured victims of car accidents throughout the State of Florida, we always advocate the increased use of seat belts, particularly for rear seat passengers.

Now the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirms that rear seat passengers in cars using shoulder belts reduces the likelihood of a fatality by almost 50 percent. Incredibly, for those rear seat passengers in vans and suvs that risk of wrongful death drops by more than seventy percent.

Thankfully many states are now requiring rear seat passengers to be secured with such life saving seat belts. In fact, Illinois just became the 30th such state to require seat belt use for all rear seat passengers. We can only hope that the Florida Legislature will follow suit and require everyone on our roadways to take the necessary precaution to save lives.

January 3, 2012

Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Teens Rise on New Years

In some alarming news, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company recently released a study which found that 10 percent of all teen drivers drive drunk on New Years. Considering New Year's Eve is the most deadly night for car accidents caused by drunk driving, it is alarming that school programs have not work well enough to further lessen the incidents of teens driving under the influence.

The study did find that most of the questioned teens indicated that they would allow a someone else to drive, if so asked. As personal injury attorneys helping the families of those injured or killed in car accidents in Florida, we can only hope that those "friends" speak out and ask their impaired friend not to drive drunk.

Not surprisingly, the study found that those teens whose parents further educate their kids about the dangers of drunk driving were less likely to drink and drive. As with most things, good choices come from outspoken parents.

December 15, 2011

Pedestrian Deaths Rise While Deadly Car Accident Drop

As personal injury attorneys helping the victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and throughout Florida, we too are concerned by a recently released study from the NHTSA which revealed that while wrongful deaths from car accidents continue to drop, pedestrian deaths from roadway accidents rose over the last year. The increase in pedestrian deaths is the first in over 4 years.

The deadly increase has the government stumped. Speculation of reasons for the increase include greater numbers of walkers, either for exercise or due to the economy, along multi-lane roadways, which were constructed to help alleviate traffic, but did not adequately consider pedestrian traffic. Sadly, the three most deadly cities for pedestrians are all in Florida.

Other possible causes for the increase in fatalities include pedestrians also being distracted, just like drivers, by using their smart phones while walking near traffic. And, incredibly almost half of all pedestrian wrongful deaths involved alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the vehicle driver. We urge everyone who is walking or riding a bicycle to be particularly careful of the two ton vehicles traveling around them.

December 14, 2011

Car Accidents Caused by Texting Result in Thousands of Wrongful Deaths

According to a recently released study by the NHTSA, more than 3000 people died last year in car accidents caused by a distracted driver. Generally speaking, distracted driving involves texting or using a cell phone while driving. Incredibly, this means nearly 1 out of every eleven car accident related wrongful deaths was caused by smart phone usage while driving.

While many people believe that using their phone in a "hands free" mode is safe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that such usage is also considered to be a dangerous distraction. This difference of opinion about what is or is not safe is troubling, as most drivers feel it is safe to use their phone as long as their hands remain on the steering wheel. Such driver opinions will certainly make the government's efforts to reduce distracted driving difficult.

As personal injury attorneys in Florida who have too often had to help families who have lost loved ones in such distracted driving accidents, we certainly hope the general public recognizes the dangers of distracted driving, and stop using their phones while behind the wheel.

November 2, 2011

Deer Cause Many Car Accident Wrongful Deaths

Believe it our not, more Americans are killed by deer than by any other type of animal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, deer cause more than a million car accidents every year. And unfortunately, more than 200 Americans die each year in car accidents caused by deer.

State Farm Insurance reports more car accidents involving deer occur in November than any other month. Those car accidents result in more than ten thousand personal injuries and almost a billion dollars in property damage annually. While Florida is not on the list of the top ten states of deer involved car accidents, those of us in West Miami, the Florida Keys and along the Everglades in Broward and Naples, know that we have a large deer population.

Studies demonstrate that if motorists wear the seat belts and pay attention to roadside "Deer Crossing" signs that there is a significant decrease in the likelihood of being in such a crash or being injured. Those studies specifically found that proper placement of such warning signs, at known deer crossings, drop the number of car accidents by more than one third. So add one more thing to the list of hazards on our roads, along with texting driver and drunk drivers, deer.

October 30, 2011

Seat Belts Are Not As Helpful for Women in Car Accidents

Seat belts, particularly those in older cars, are not as effective at protecting women, as they are men, from being injured in a car accident. A recent study by the American Journal of Public Health determined that because seat belts were designed for the average person, that women, who are generally smaller than men, are more likely to be injured from airbags and the seat-belts themselves.

One of the reasons for the seat belt size issues is due to the fact that men are much more likely to be in a car accident involving serious personal injuries. Consequently, car manufacturers, relying on the law of averages, build their safety equipment to protect those most likely to be in a deadly accident. Unfortunately, this leaves women more vulnerable when they have an accident.

Thankfully, newer cars have sensors which adjust the safety mechanisms for whomever is driving the car. We hope these technological advances will protect all vehicle occupants.

October 29, 2011

Watch Out: Black Boxes Know What Happens in a Car Accident

Many times car accidents happen and there are no independent witnesses to explain who caused the crash. Usually those cases are handled on a "he said - she said" basis, pitting the two drivers' words against one another. However, what many drivers are unaware of is that many vehicle manufacturers have placed event data recorders, known as black boxes, in their cars and trucks.

The vehicle black boxes provide attorneys and accident reconstruction experts with detailed information about the movements of a vehicle just before an accident happens. With such information, including, the speed of a vehicle, whether the gas or brake was being pushed, and what direction the car was moving, the battle of words is becoming a thing of the past in personal injury litigation. While vehicles are constantly monitoring this data, only once an air bag deploys, does the black box actually keep this information.

The information on the black boxes, once difficult to retrieve, has become increasingly accessible. In fact, various companies specialize in downloading this crash data information. Not surprisingly, insurance companies love to access the information, not only to see if their driver was a fault, but also to give themselves a reason to raise that person's premiums if they caused the accident.

We remind all Florida drivers that if you are unfortunately involved in a car accident, be cautious about describing how the accident happened; many times, something else knows too much.

October 28, 2011

Aggressive Driving Causing More Car Accidents in Florida

As personal injury attorneys helping victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, we are not surprised by the findings of a recent report which indicated that instances of aggressive driving have increased almost ten-fold over the past decade. According to Florida Law Enforcement data, citations issued for aggressive driving increased from about 4,000 in 2003, to more than 23,000 last year.

Aggressive driving involves instances of swerving between lanes of travel, tailgating and excessive speeding. The increase in such tickets is the most pronounced over the past two years, with an increase of almost 90%. The increase may be an indication of our generally impatient population.

Florida drivers who commit 2 or more aggressive driving violations are labeled "aggressive." Those "aggressive" drivers are likely to be assessed greater points against their licenses, resulting in increased insurance costs and the likelihood of having their license suspended.

Not surprisingly, the American Automobile Association determined that more than fifty percent of all wrongful deaths from car accidents and truck accidents were caused by an aggressive driver. For that reason alone, we ask everyone driving on Florida roadways to please slow down.

October 10, 2011

Florida Sees Decrease in Drunk Driving Car Accidents

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), car accidents involving drunk driving decreased by thirty percent over the last 5 years. Interestingly, the study links the drop in drunk driving, not to greater police enforcement, but to the current poor economy, as the costs associated with drinking at commercial establishments proves to be too expensive.

Yet, despite the significant drop, almost one in fifty of the drivers interviewed admitted that they did drove drunk during the past month. The study noted that at least three hundred thousand people drive drunk every day. Not surprisingly, men between the ages of 21 and 34 are the ones most likely to drink and drive.

The CDC's study comports to similar one conducted by the NHTSA which also showed a decrease in drunk driver, albeit a smaller reduction. Despite these decreases, someone is either killed or injured on our roadways every hour. Clearly, there is still more work to do to save lives.

September 30, 2011

Wrongful Deaths from Car Accidents in Florida Drop

As personal injury attorneys helping injured victims of car accidents throughout Florida, we are happy to report that wrongful deaths from car accidents fell to the record lows last year. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the car accident death rate dropped to 1.25 deaths per 100 million roadway miles traveled.

The statistics indicate that car accident involved wrongful deaths across Florida fell almost 5% over the last year. Unfortunately, last year in Florida almost 2500 people still died in traffic related accidents. And, deaths of pedestrians increased almost 4% during the same time period.

Regardless of the reasons, whether less people are driving due to the economy, or that vehicles are becoming safer, less traffic fatalities are good news.

September 23, 2011

Kids Injured in Car Accidents Due to Improper Child Seat Use

In a wake up call to parents who think their kids are protected from suffering personal injuries in a car accident in Florida, a recent study by Safe Kids found that the majority of parents are improperly using their kids car safety seats. The study found that only about thirty percent of parents properly use the tether straps on their kids seats, subjecting them to preventable head injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death of kids between the ages of three and fourteen. Yet, if parents installed and used their kids safety seats correctly, the risk of such wrongful deaths would decrease by more than half.

The improper use of tether straps, which prevents the safety seats from tumbling forward, were the study's most glaring observation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that proper use of the tether straps would would save lives and prevent more than 3000 car accident injuries a year. We echo the ongoing effort to educate parents about the proper use of car safety seats. We hope that a car accident is not the event which reminds parents to fully protect their children.

September 12, 2011

Car Accidents Caused by Drug Use in Palm Beach On The Rise

As personal injury attorneys in Palm Beach, we are not surprised by the fact that car accidents caused by drivers under the influence of drugs rose by eighteen percent in 2010. Interestingly, drug use involved crashes throughout Florida decreased last year.

There can be no doubt that the number of so-called pain clinics in South Florida and their ever increasing sale of Oxycodone and Xanax played a significant role in the increase of drug involved car accidents. These pain clinics may very well be the reason that drug use in Florida differs from the rest of the United States. A nationwide analysis of car accidents by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that marijuana and cocaine were the drugs usually found in drivers.

As there is no minimum impairment standard, as there is for alcohol use, there is a strong likelihood that prescription drugs as a cause of car accidents is actually greater than thought. This is one of the reasons why we urge the Florida Attorney General's Office to continue its prosecution of the doctors and clinics who sell these dangerous drugs for profit.

August 10, 2011

Distracted Driving Car Accidents Reduced by Police and Publicity

As personal injury attorneys representing the victims of car accident cases in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, we are always glad to hear of ongoing efforts to reduce deadly accidents. Recently numerous cities have begun ticketing drivers who are texting while behind the wheel.

According to the Department of Transportation, the increased police activity, borne by forward thinking legislatures, in combination with increased publicity regarding the dangers of distracted driving, has caused a dramatic reduction in such deadly car accidents. Currently, this two prong attack at reducing injuries is taking place in Syracuse, NY and Hartford, Connecticut.

The results of these efforts is astounding. During the past year alone, in which police have written almost 10,000 tickets for texting or talking while driving, there was a average reduction of more than 65% in the number of accidents. Incredibly, more than half a million drivers and passenger suffer personal injuries due to distracted drivers. We certainly encourage the Florida Legislature to pursue such laws to protect our fellow Floridians.

June 24, 2011

Multiple Car Accidents Lead to Wrongful Deaths in South Florida

As personal injury lawyers in South Florida, we sadly report yet another extremely deadly day on our roads. Yesterday, two car accidents, one in Miami and the other in Pembroke Pines, resulted in the wrongful deaths of three drivers.

The most destructive accident happened on I-75, when a pick-up truck drove south in the northbound lanes, and struck another car head-on. The force of the collision was so significant that the pick-up truck burst into flames. Sadly for the family of Marcos Goya, the innocent right-way driver, minutes earlier, another driver called 911 and informed them of the wrong way truck.

Later in Miami, a driver lost control on his truck on Coral Way and hit a tree in the median, and died.

We can only continue to stress to everyone the importance of wearing seat belts and to be cautious of your surroundings. Our thoughts go out to the victim's families.

May 24, 2011

Click It or Tick It - Florida Highway Patrol Hopes to Prevent Wrongful Deaths

As personal injury lawyers representing victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, we are glad to announce that the Florida Highway Patrol is joining police nationwide for the 2011 National Click It or Ticket campaign. In our practice we too often seen the deadly damage caused by the failure to use seat belts, so we certainly agree that everyone should take the effort to make sure their seat belt are properly used.

This year's campaign starts today and runs through the Memorial Day holiday until June 5. Florida Highway Patrol Troopers will actively cite drivers who ignore their responsibilities by failing to secure their seat belt. It goes without saying that many wrongful deaths would be prevented if drivers just used their seat belts.

As a reminder and plea, Florida Law requires all occupants of a vehicle, who are under 18 years of age, to use their seat belt, regardless of where they are seated in a vehicle.

April 26, 2011

Florida Court Rules Rental Car Companies Not Responsible for Car Accidents

Although Florida has more rental cars on its roads than any other state, and even though the drivers of those cars may have limited driving experience or foreign licenses, the Florida Supreme Court recently held that the car rental companies are not responsible for any car accident, no matter how deadly, which are caused by the drivers of their rented vehicles.

The Florida Supreme Court's ruling essentially upheld a Federal Law, known as the Graves Amendment, which the United States Congress passed into law in 2005, solely to provide a benefit to rental car companies. This ruling and the Graves Amendment overrule decades of established Florida Law which holds the owner of a motor vehicle responsible for the operator of their "dangerous instrumentality."

Prior to the passage of the Graves Amendment, car rental companies were held to the same standards as any private citizen or business owner who allowed someone else to operate their vehicle. For whatever reason, Floridians are now at a greater risk of not having someone to hold responsible for the damages they suffer in a serious car accident.

This law essentially "passes the buck" from the rental car companies, who are profiting from the rentals of their vehicle, to the hospitals who must treat many seriously injured victims who often do not have enough insurance to cover what may be extensive medical bills. Ultimately, the cost of treating those uninsured victims falls upon all tax paying Floridans to cover those medical bills; all so the rental car companies can increase their profits. This just doesn't pass the smell test.

April 7, 2011

Deadly Car Accidents Decrease Even as We Drive More Miles

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wrongful deaths from car accidents dropped to a new low in 2010. These results are surprising given that we are driving more than in years past. Incredibly, the three percent drop from last year still resulted in more than 32,000 people dying on our roadways.

Secretary of Transportation attributes these welcome decreases to advances in vehicle safety, greater seat-belt usage and increased enforcement in preventing drunk and distracted driver. Thankfully, wrongful deaths from car accidents have declined steadily since 2005.

We commend our friends in law enforcement and encourage them to keep up the aggressive crackdown on distracted drivers, particularly in South Florida, where many of our main highways are under constant construction.

April 5, 2011

Car Accidents Kill Too Many Police Officers in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale

As lawyers representing police officers from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, who are seriously injured in car accidents, we were not surprise to learn that over the last fourteen years, more officers have died in car accidents than from being shot in the line of duty. In fact, more than double the number of police families have had to endure the wrongful deaths of officers than those who suffered fatal gunshots.

Not surprisingly, many of these tragic losses occur when a patrol officer is stopped along the shoulder of a roadway and a passing motorist fails to "move over" a lane. A study by the National Highway Safety Administration confirmed the alarming increase in wrongful deaths to police officers due to car accidents.

Unfortunately, the studies also found that only about half of the officers involved were wearing their seat-belts when the collisions happened. So, as we tell our friends in law enforcement, please keep your seat-belts on, especially when stopped along our dangerous roadways. And, please make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage on your personal automobile insurance policies, as this will provide a source of recovery in the likely event you are struck by someone who does not have any insurance, a likely reality in South Florida.

April 4, 2011

Distracted Pedestrians Cause Car Accidents Too

As lawyers practicing personal injury law in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, we are glad to see that some state legislatures are looking to increase public awareness about the dangers of pedestrians and bicycle riders who text and use personal music players while near motor vehicles.

In the words of the Governors Highway Safety Association, "distracted walkers and joggers," also present a safety hazard on areas adjacent to a street or roadway. In downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale, too often are pedestrians crossing the street, while using some type of electronic device, often walking directly into the path of an oncoming car. Not surprisingly, nationally, about twelve percent of traffic wrongful deaths involve pedestrians.

In the hopes of decreasing what are too often deadly accidents, we agree with such efforts to increase education about the dangers of walking or running while distracted by electronic devices.

March 21, 2011

Changes in Car Seat Guidelines Hope to Lessen Injuries

In hopes of averting some of the devastating injuries children suffer in car accidents, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) updated their recommendations for car seat use. Now all infants are recommended to remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the age of two. Research indicates that rear-facing seats provide infants with needed support for their head and neck, which are susceptible to injuries in most car accidents.

In addition to the change regarding infants' car seat use, the NHSA also updated their guidelines for elementary school children. Previously, parents were told to keep children in booster seats until they were 8. The updated recommendations, which are based upon size rather than age, indicate that booster seats should be used until a child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall.

As personal injury attorneys practicing in Florida, we find it sad that although 47 states mandate that older children use booster seats, Florida has no such requirement. The lack of such a requirement places too many of our kids in danger. We certainly hope the legislature addresses this oversight.

March 18, 2011

Miami Dade County: Prevent Car Accidents, Stop Texting

In hopes of stopping a rising problem of deadly car accidents caused by texting, Miami Dade County is joining the national efforts of bringing attention to the dangers of texting while driving. While the campaign is focused on drivers in South Florida, the message resonates nationwide.

Unfortunately, the campaign's premise, which describes what happens after someone dies in a car accident caused by texting, is all to real. Everyday we speak with the suffering families of loved ones lost due to such reckless behavior while driving. The county's message ties into those from the USDOT, which include the “Faces of Distracted Driving” series. According to Secretary LaHood, "distracted driving is a deadly epidemic."

Given the similarities of impaired drivers and those distracted by texting, as personal injury attorneys practicing in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, we strongly urge all drivers to "get the message" and put down their phones when they are behind the wheel.


December 2, 2010

Drug Use Found in Many Deadly Car Accidents

In some alarming news to those of us driving on Florida roads, a recently released study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found a third of of all drivers who die in car accidents are found to have drugs in their system. The study also found positive drug use among drivers rose five percent over the past five years.

While not as publicized as alcohol use while driving, there can be no doubt that drug use has at least as detrimental effect upon motorists. Although drug tests cannot precisely determine when the motorist took the drug in question, the fact that the motorists have any drugs in their system in disconcerting.

As we approach the holiday season, we hope all motorists use more common sense and refrain from doing anything which may impair their ability to drive a car, truck or motorcycle.

November 8, 2010

Too Many Fatal Car Accidents Caused by Sleepy Drivers

As personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, specializing in representing victims of serious car accidents, we are alarmed at the results of a AAA study which showed that more than sixteen percent of car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths, were caused by tired drivers. The study also found that one in eight car accidents in which someone went to the hospital also involved an overly tired driver.

The AAA study evaluated crash data for the 10 year period ending in 2008. According to medical professionals, sleepy drivers, even those not falling asleep, have impaired judgment and difficulty remembering where they are driving, causing greater driver distraction.

Incredibly, the National Sleep Foundation reported that 58 percent of Americans admitted to driving while drowsy. Most experts compare driving while overly tired to the effects of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

November 2, 2010

Car Accidents On I-595 In Fort Lauderdale Increase

Considering our personal injury law office is located along the I-595 corridor in western Broward County, running along the cities of Davie, Plantation and Weston, we know too well that car accidents have increased due to the ongoing construction. While the final results of the 595 construction will hopefully make life easier, for the next four years drivers will be faced with narrow lanes and ever changing traffic conditions, which certainly will cause more accidents and traffic problems.

According to statistics, car accidents along I-595 have increased more than 10 percent over the past few months, compared to the same time period last year. Thankfully, for those concerned about traffic delays, a Rapid Incident Scene Clearance program was implemented which provides bonuses for towing companies that are able to clear accidents in less than an hour and a half.

The only advise we can give to our fellow West Broward drivers is to be extra aware of your surroundings and be patient, we all have a long road ahead of us.

October 23, 2010

Car Accidents Are The Main Killer of American Tourists

An analysis of United States State Department records indicates that car accidents are the primary cause of wrongful deaths of Americans outside of the United States. According to USA TODAY, approximately one third of Americans traveling outside of the United States died in car accidents. Incredibly, a U.S. tourist dies every day and a half in car accidents in other countries.

The majority of the car accident deaths happened in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Most of the deadly accidents are the result of a combination of bad roads, lost tourists and dangerous cars. Unfortunately, with the every shrinking world, the numbers may double within the next 10 years.

Lesson learned: don't forget to use your seat-belts while on vacation.

October 22, 2010

Restrictions on Young Drivers Show Reduction in Deadly Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys who investigate deadly car accidents through Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County, we are always eager to report government studies which show more people are surviving car accidents. The Centers for Disease Control recently released one such report. The CDC's report indicates that the number of wrongful deaths from car accidents involving teenage drivers dropped by more than a third over the past four years.

The data suggests that restrictions imposed on teenage drivers by states, including Florida, are the cause of the welcomed drop in such deadly car accidents. The study evaluated fatal car accidents involving sixteen and seventeen year old drivers. The numbers demonstrated a decrease of 800 such deadly crashes of the time period evaluated. The CDC looked at 9,600 fatal accidents when teens were behind the wheel. The data also suggests that the majority of the deadly car accidents involved boys who were speeding.

Despite these reductions, car accidents remain the leading cause of wrongful deaths of teens; meaning, the legislature can only do so much to prevent needless tragedies.

September 24, 2010

Child Car Seats Prevent Wrongful Deaths in Car Accidents

As personal injury attorneys practicing throughout Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, we continually tell our clients to always place their kids in proper safety seats. Now, the National Highway Safety Administration released statistics which prove that such safety and booster seats are the reason more kids survived car accidents last year.

While the number of such wrongful deaths was only three percent lower than in the prior year, even one life saved is great news. The number of children injured and killed in car accidents is staggering. According to the NHTSA, more than 179,000 kids suffered personal injuries last year. The number of such injuries is reduced due to 96 percent of children younger than three using safety seats.

Unfortunately, only forty-one percent of kids between the ages of four and seven use appropriate booster seats. Parents are encouraged to move their children from front facing seats to booster seats until the kids grow to at least 4 feet 9 inches. Thankfully all states have various laws which required parents to use such car and booster seats.

We appreciate the words of David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, who stated "...[parents need] to make sure their kids are properly protected on every trip, every time," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

September 23, 2010

Deadly Car Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Use Declines

Not that those of practicing personal injury law in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or Palm Beach would agree, given the number of deadly accidents we see weekly, but according to data from the Department of Transportation, car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths due to distracted drivers actually dropped last year by six percent.

The Department's statistics indicated that more than 5400 people died due to car accidents caused by distraction in 2009, compared to more than 5,800 such wrongful deaths in 2008. All in all, drivers using cell phones, whether for calling or texting, were cited as a factor in sixteen percent of car crashes and wrongful deaths in both 2008 and 2009. According to the Secretary, the statistics may be skewed because many police departments do not include such cell phone usage in their crash data.

While the statistics are certainly a welcome note, according to the Secretary of Transportation, “We are not talking about numbers, but about lives being broken and people being killed in crashes that are 100 percent preventable.” As personal injury lawyers practicing throughout the State of Florida, we could not agree more with the Secretary's opinions, and we hope all drivers would limit their texting and reading emails while driving on our roadways.

September 10, 2010

Study Shows Decline in Car Accidents and Personal Injuries in Florida

In some surprisingly good news for motorists, the United States Department of Transportation reported that personal injuries and wrongful deaths from car accidents dropped to their lowest level in almost six decades. The study demonstrated that Florida, including Miami, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, enjoyed a reduction of more than fourteen percent in such deadly collisions.

According to the statistics, wrongful deaths from car and truck accidents dropped almost ten percent last year. Thankfully, the number of wrongful deaths from motorcycle accidents dropped as well. The statistics also showed a drop of more than seven percent in drunk driving involved deaths. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol played a role in more than 10,000 car accident deaths last year.

While the reasons for these reductions are being associated with improved vehicle crash-worthiness and the poor economy, whatever the cause, we, as attorneys representing innocent victims of such deadly car accidents, welcome the results.

June 15, 2010

Deadly Car Accidents in Florida Decline Thanks to Seat Belts

According to a report released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety, wrongful deaths from car accidents in Florida, particularly in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach have steadily decreased, to a new low. The data shows a drop of almost 15% in fatalities from car and truck accidents in Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the drop in deaths is directly linked to a new Florida Law which permits police officers to stop and ticket drivers and passengers solely for not wearing a seat-belt. Before this law went into effect in 2009, police officers were only allowed to ticket someone if they pulled them over for another violation.

Other reasons for the decline in such accident related deaths include better roads, more guard rails and better driver education. Regardless of the reason why, as personal injury lawyers practicing in Florida, we applaud anything which reduces preventable deaths.

June 8, 2010

Florida Has The Deadliest Road in America

In yet another dubious honor for the State of Florida, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared that I-95, particularly in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, is the most deadly road in America. NHTSA's declaration is based upon their evaluation of the number of car accidents and truck accidents resulting in wrongful death compared to the distance of a particular stretch of highway.

According to the study, there were about 1.73 deadly accidents for every mile along I-95 during the years 2004 through 2008. The Florida Highway Patrol's own evaluation of our deadly roadway, blames such accidents and deaths on driver's being distracted by activities like using cell phones and navigation devices. Those of us who endure the daily commutes along I-95 in South Florida are all too well acquainted with those drivers who are clearly paying attention to something other than their driving.

The Florida DOT also believes that the sheer number of vehicles on the limited number of lanes on I-95 in Miami and Broward Counties is an obvious reason why our highway is so deadly.

As personal injury lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale we again urge everyone to be particularly vigilant to reckless drivers, especially during this summer travel season.

June 2, 2010

Seat Belts Saves Life of Hollywood Car Accident Victim

Unfortunately, three passengers from Hollywood, Florida, died in a car accident outside of Vero Beach this weekend. This deadly accident is another strong reminder that seat belts are the best defense against suffering serious injuries and death in car accidents. According to the Highway Patrol, all three victims were ejected from the vehicle apparently because they were not wearing seat-belts.

In something that probably is more than a mere coincidence, the only person to survive the collision was the driver, who according to police, was wearing a seat belt. The deadly car accident occurred on I-95, when according to the highway patrol, the tread on one of the cars' tires separated, causing the driver to loose control and roll-over. All of the passengers in the SUV were ejected in the crash.

As attorneys practicing personal injury law throughout Florida, too often we see innocent victims suffer debilitating and deadly injuries, which might have been prevented, if they only "click it." Over this summer season we again urge everyone to use their seat belts, and to make sure that children use appropriate car seats.

March 1, 2010

Florida Again Named Deadliest State for Pedestrians and Bike Riders

In a dubious honor, a study by the Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership determined more pedestrians and bicycle riders are killed in car accidents in Florida than in any other state. Florida, including its heavily populated and tourist frequented areas of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, is now the deadliest for state pedestrians and cyclists.

Amazingly, 11.1 percent of all pedestrians, and 17.4 percent of all bicyclists, killed in traffic accidents across the United States, die in Florida. The results, while shocking, are not surprising as this marks the ninth consecutive year that Florida has ranked in the top three deadliest states for pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

As personal injury attorneys practicing in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, we certainly hope our legislators take a hard look at these figures and institute greater safety awareness programs to turn the tide against such tragic losses.

December 22, 2009

Texting While Driving is More Dangerous Than Talking on Cell Phone

Not surprisingly, a recent study, done at the University of Utah, determined that texting while driving, not only increases the risk of having a car accident, but is significantly more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving.

The study determined that texting drivers were less likely to apply their brakes in a timely manner to avoid a car accident, that they followed other vehicles too closely and demonstrated significantly delayed reaction times. Further, the researchers determined that texting drivers were 6 times more likely to be in a car accident, as compared to drivers who were concentrating on driving.

The study found that texting to be more dangerous than simply talking on a cell phone, determining that drivers can better split their attention between a call and driving, rather than texting, which causes the driver to concentrate more upon typing or reading a message. This research, from the journal Human Factors, ultimately determined that drivers increased their risk of being in a car accident by thirty percent when texting.

December 21, 2009

Unregulated Highway Work Zones Result in Deadly Car Accidents

As Florida Lawyers practicing personal injury and car accident law in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, we are alarmed when we learn of ongoing conduct which results in the wrongful death and injury to innocent drives. According to a recent report, car accidents caused by drop-offs along highway construction areas kill about 160 people and injure another 11,000 people each year.

Most of these deadly car accident occur when a car slips off the edge of a road onto the shoulder, causing the driver to overreact and lose control. Generally these drop-offs are the result of roadway contractors negligent failure to smooth out the sides of roads they recently paved.

Sadly, there are few regulations requiring such safety measures along highway work zones. Consequently, few fines are levied against contractors, who, due to either their own carelessness or desire to save money, continually violate these guidelines.

Given the recently enacted Federal Stimulus Package, which is intended to promote additional highway construction, we certainly hope Florida Officials will take a hard look at these dangerous and too often neglected safety issues before more Floridians are hurt.

November 9, 2009

Pedestrians More Likely to Die in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale

As Florida Lawyers handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, we've learned of yet another report which demonstrates how dangerous the roadways are for pedestrians in South Florida. According to a recent report, the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area achieved the dubious honor of being named one of the nation's most dangerous areas for pedestrians.

The study indicates that because our roads were designed to speed up traffic, people walking along any given road in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are most at risk of being involved in a car accident. People who do walk in Miami and Fort Lauderdale face a relatively high risk of being struck by a car and killed. Our pedestrian fatality rate is 3.04, with a danger index level, which consists of the average pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 residents over a two-year period and the percentage of residents who commute to work by foot, is 181.2.

Apparently suburban growth, with roads designed to assist vehicular traffic, many without sidewalks or adequate crosswalks, is the main reason for the increase in fatalities. Not surprisingly, more than half of fatal vehicle crashes occurred on wide, high-speed roads. We certainly hope that these statistics will convince future engineers to be mindful of the safety of pedestrians on our roadways.

September 30, 2009

Pedestrians and Bike Riders Involved in Double the Accidents with Hybrid Cars

In the desire to go "Green," the steady increase in hybrid cars on the road are causing a drastic increase in the number of car accidents with pedestrians and bicycle riders. According to a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, due to the lack of noise generated from hybrid engines, pedestrians and cyclists are less likely to hear such vehicles that were turning, slowing or backing up.

Thankfully, in light of this unintended side-effect, vehicle manufacturers are apparently proposing to include a device in their vehicles which would generate noise under certain circumstances, such as the back-up warnings used on commercial trucks.

The study reviewed over 8,000 hybrid and 550,000 non-hybrid car accidents in 12 states, including Florida, and determined the collisions usually took place at low speeds, when the sound difference between a hybrid and traditional car engine is the most pronounced.


September 29, 2009

Students Injured in Accidents On Way to School in Broward County

Today was a particularly dangerous day for students going to school in Broward County. Two students walking to school were injured in separate accidents, one with a car and another with a bus. The accidents happened in Hollywood and Oakland Park.

In the Hollywood car accident, police say a driver disregarded an extended school bus stop sign and struck a boy trying to get on the bus. The driver then fled the scene. The collision occurred at the intersection of Taft Street and 56th Ave., Hollywood. According to police, the victim, who attends South Broward High School, suffered serious but thankfully, not life-threatening, injuries for which rescue took him to Memorial Regional Hospital.

In the Oakland Park accident, police reported that a 16-year-old girl suffered serious injuries to her legs when a school bus struck her. The accident occurred at N.W. 21st Ave. and 39th St., Ft. Lauderdale.

As we are rapidly approaching the end of day light savings time, as personal injury attorneys handling car accident and pedestrian cases throughout Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach, we urge all drivers, including bus drivers, to be vigilant in watching out for innocent students trying to get to school or on their way home.

August 21, 2009

Florida Highway Patrol Steps-Up Red Light Patrols to Prevent Car Accidents

The Florida Highway Patrol announced the results of their recent efforts to further prevent deadly car accidents, by increasing enforcement at intersections by citing drivers who fail to stop at red lights. The Florida campaign was done in conjunction with the National Stop On Red Week effort to monitor drivers who disregard red traffic signals. The campaign was an attempt to prevent deadly accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists.

During the week long process, in which the Florida Highway Patrol Troopers cited 1,190 drivers who ran red lights, was, according to the head of the Florida Highway Patrol, “(a) campaign is a great reminder of the risks associated with red light running, as every day our troopers see the tragic consequences caused by running a red light."

Sadly, traffic crashes are the single frequent cause of preventable death and injury in the United States. Last year, Florida drivers running red lights caused 76 fatalities and more than 7,100 more accidents involving injury or property damage. The leading excuse offered by drivers for running a red light is “being in a hurry."

We certainly commend the Florida Highway Patrol's efforts to make our roadways safe.

July 30, 2009

Florida Drivers Who Cause Multiple Car Accidents Must Retake Tests

As Florida Attorneys representing victims of car accidents who suffer personal injuries in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, we applaud the Florida Legislature for enacting a new law which mandates that any driver who is convicted of three car accident related moving violations over a three-year time frame will have to pass a driving test, just like when they first received their license.

The new law will take into consideration all car accidents and tickets issued since January of 2009, as prior car accidents will not be counted. Regardless, AAA believes the change necessary.

Although public perception is that elderly drivers are the most likely to cause car accidents, according to the State of Florida, those most likely to be affected by the new law are white men, younger than 40, in and around major cities. Not surprisingly, Miami and Broward Counties are both in the top five counties with the greatest number of dangerous drivers.

We too hope that this new law will act as a strong deterrent to prevent future car accidents throughout Florida.

July 29, 2009

Florida Highway Patrol Cracks Down To Prevent Car Accidents

As Florida Lawyers representing victims who suffer personal injuries from car accidents, in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm each, we are certainly glad to hear that the Florida Highway Patrol is stepping up its efforts to stop aggressive drivers.

This week the Florida Highway Patrol is increasing the number of troopers along the Turnpike and Interstates hoping to reduce car accidents by stopping aggressive drivers. The Highway Patrol intends on giving tickets to those who quickly switches lanes without warning, tailgate, runs red lights, or anything else they determine to be dangerous driving, including motorists who ignore Florida's "Move Over Law."

We are glad to hear that, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, this is the first in a series of enforcement efforts which will focus on special violations.

June 20, 2009

Palm Beach Car Accident Results in Injuries to Road Worker

As Florida Lawyers specializing in car accidents in Palm Beach County, we are continually amazed at the carelessness of drivers as they disregard roadside warnings, and hit and injure roadway workers. Today, a roadside construction worker was struck by a truck and suffered serious personal injuries, while he worked along a road in Palm Springs.

According to The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Ernest Howell, who took the precaution of wearing a traffic vest, was struck while working in a marked construction zone, when a driver disregarded traffic cones. Mr. Howell was working on a crew which was resurfacing the roadway. Mr. Howell's injuries required him to be transported by helicopter to a Delray Beach hospital.

In the spirit of the "move over" law which was enacted to protect emergency workers from injuries along the side of roadways, we encourage all drivers to pay particular attention to, roadside construction workers. For further information, please follow link to www.FloridaCarAccidentHelp.com.

May 8, 2009

Florida Enacts Updated Seat-belt Law to Save Lives

As Florida personal injury and car accident attorneys practicing in Ft. Lauderdale, we applaud the Florida Legislature for enacting a new seat-belt law, which will allow police officers to ticket drivers solely because they are not wearing seat-belts. Considering seat-belts prevent serious injuries and wrongful deaths, we believe all actions taken to insure their use is not only appropriate, but necessary.

Previously, police officers were only allowed to ticket a driver for not wearing a seat-belt, if they stopped that driver for another violation. The law, which Governor Crist signed, is named after Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti, both of whom lost their lives in car accidents while not wearing seat belts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the new bill will save 124 lives and prevent over 1,700 serious injuries every year in Florida. That statistic speaks for itself.

March 1, 2009

Car Accident Involving Miami Dade Police Officer Results in Wrongful Death of Mother

As Florida Attorneys we are always saddened when we hear of a family suffering the wrongful death of a loved one due to the carelessness of police officers. Today, a 23 year-old wife and mother of three died in a car accident when her car was hit by a Miami-Dade Police Officer who claimed to be following a speeding car.

The car accident occurred in Miami in the vicinity of N.W. 103rd Street close to I-95, while police were "following" a vehicle earlier seen driving at close to 100 miles per hour. The police cruiser, which was driving without any overhead lights or sirens engaged, went through an intersection slamming into the seat-belted victim. Police claim, that despite following the speeding vehicle for more than 11 blocks, they were not in pursuit, so that, as they claim, the did not have to have their lights and sirens on.

Considering the protection afforded police departments in Florida, we are disappointed that this family will be limited to the minimal recovery provided under Florida's sovereign immunity, that is, unless the Florida Legislature enacts a claims bill.

February 26, 2009

Cruise Ship Excursion in Dominica Ends in Bus Accident

As Florida Attorneys we are always sorry to hear about tourists who are injured in bus and car accidents caused cruise line tour operators in foreign countries. Unfortunately, another preventable accident happened this week, when fourteen passenger traveling on the Celebrity Cruise Lines Summit, were injured, many critically, when the tour bus type vehicle they were in, crashed outside of Roseau, Dominica's capital.

The tour bus driver, working for a Celebrity Cruise Line vendor, claimed the brakes on his vehicle failed, causing the wreck. The injured passengers were flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on two air ambulances.

Incredibly, these types of serious accidents are easily preventable. However, cruise lines are too interested in the profits they make from such excursions, rather than insuring that the companies they do business with are operated properly. Considering most cruise ships are registered under foreign flags, such accidents will continue to happen, until the United States Congress passes laws requiring cruise lines operating from American ports of call to take the necessary safety precautions to protect their paying passengers.

February 20, 2009

Suspended Florida Drivers Cause Too Many Car Accidents

As Florida Attorneys, we are distressed at the alarming number of people who are driving on Florida roads with suspended or revoked drivers licenses. Those same motorists, which in 2008, alone, totaled more than two million, caused almost 20 percent of all car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths, according to a AAA study.

According to a recent investigation, since 2004, more than twenty thousand drivers in Palm Beach County received a second or third ticket for driving with a suspended or revoked license. And, incredibly, a recently enacted law reduced penalties for repeat suspended license offenders. Amazingly, when many of these scofflaws finally go to court to deal with their suspensions, they actually drive there.

The law passed last year, reduced jail time for drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked because they failed to pay tickets. We can only hope that the Florida Legislature reverses the current law, and provides greater penalties, which can only serve to protect everyone traveling on Florida's roads.

February 13, 2009

Hit and Run Car Accident Leaves Two Dead in Ft. Lauderdale

As Florida Lawyers, working in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we are saddened when tourists, those coming to our city to enjoy themselves, are wrongfully killed by the carelessness of speeding motorists. Unfortunately, such another tragedy happened today when two British tourists were killed in a hit-and-run car accident outside of the Marriott Hotel in which they were staying.

A white Porsche, which witnesses say was speeding, and which police suspect was racing another car, struck the victims as they were walking along State Road A1A near the beach, on Seabreeze Blvd. Shortly after the collision, police found the Porsche deserted along I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale.

Considering the area in which this collision occurred, is one that is heavily traveled by pedestrians, we can only hope that local law enforcement will take a more proactive response to hopefully prevent such needless tragedies from occurring.

January 22, 2009

Florida Drivers Beware, Car Accidents Caused by Uninsured Motorists Expected to Rise

As Florida Lawyers who represent injured victims of car accidents, we are concerned about a recent report from an insurance research group indicating that the country's current financial recession will result in a sharp increase in uninsured motorists, particularly in Florida, by 2010.

According to the Insurance Research Council, there is a correlation between the percentage of drivers who choose to forgo car insurance and each state's unemployment rate. The report indicates, based upon unemployment rate estimates, that the percentage of uninsured motorist will increase by 15% over the next year. This is not good news for Floridians, as we already have the distinction of being one of the top five states with uninsured motorists, at an estimated 23%.

Having witnessed too often, the pain an injured victim endures when they learn the person who caused their damages had no insurance, we cannot stress strongly enough that everyone should make sure they have uninsured motorist coverage. While most insurance agents will tell their insureds that this coverage is not needed, particularly if you already have health insurance and/or disability insurance, it is truly the most valuable coverage you can buy, because it protects you and your family.

January 10, 2009

Palm Beach County Car Accident Results in Mother's Death

As Florida Lawyers who handle serious injury and wrongful death car accidents, we are truly distressed by the tragic story of a mother of eight who died today due to the recklessness of an unlicensed and drunk driver, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Phyllis Henzel was on her way home in Lake Worth when the alleged drunk driver slammed into her car on B street.

To make matters worse for this family, their mother's tragic wrongful death comes just over thirty years after one of her sons was struck and killed by a car, unbelievably, also on B Street.

Too often, due to too many unlicensed drivers, particularly in South Florida, families must endure these types of tragedies. We only hope the increased traffic fines being imposed by the legislature will cause the police to take greater vigilance in helping get these individuals off our roads.

October 31, 2008

Four Dead In Broward Car Accidents

As Florida Lawyers, we are sad to report that last evening was one of the deadliest in memory, as three different car accidents resulted in the wrongful deaths of four people. The collisions included an accident in which two vehicles erupted in flames.

The most tragic collision occurred overnight on the Sawgrass Expressway, west of Ft. Lauderdale, when, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, a car driving the wrong way, collied with a pickup truck, killing both drivers. Workers closed the highway for four hours after the accident.

The highway patrol also responded to a deadly motorcycle accident on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, in which the driver allegedly lost control and struck the rear of a truck, and was ejected onto the highway.

Finally, the Town of Davie Police Department handled another late night single car accident on Flamingo Road in which the driver died.

We urge all drivers, particularly those driving in the late evening, to be extra vigilant. Having represented too many families who lost loved ones in similar accidents, we express our thoughts and condolences to the families involved in these losses.

October 16, 2008

Broward Sherrif Hopes to Prevent Deadly Car Accidents

On the heals of being informed that Ft. Lauderdale is one of the aggressive driving capitals of the State of Florida, in which too many people suffer wrongful deaths in car accidents, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced a law enforcement agreement which permits any police officer to cite aggressive drivers everywhere in Broward County. The hope is that such aggressive enforcement will prevent car accidents and save lives.

What makes this policy unique is that any police officer, even one outside of his jurisdiction, may issue such a citation. The focus of this enforcement are drivers who tailgate, put on their high beams, and speed to pass other motorist who are obeying the law.

As Florida Lawyers practicing personal injury law, we congratulate the Sheriff for his efforts and warn Florida motorists that, as stated by the Sheriff, "you are twice as likely to be killed in a traffic accident in South Florida as you are in a homicide."

October 15, 2008

Car Accident in Ft. Lauderdale Results in Multiple Injuries

In an unusual series of circumstances, a multi-vehicle car accident, in which one of the cars collided with a Broward County Bus, forcing another one of the cars into a bus bench, resulting in injuries to seven people, who were taken to Broward General Hospital.

The early morning car accident which occurred at the intersection of U.S. 1 and 4th St. in Ft. Lauderdale, was apparently caused when the driver of one of the cars, ran a red light. The force of the impact unfortunately caused another vehicle to strike a bus bench, where a man was seated.

As Florida Accident Lawyers, we remind the public that even momentary lapses in judgment or attention behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, can put a series of events in motion, which can injure many harmless victims.

September 18, 2008

Don't Cause a Car Accident in Davie, Florida, It Will Cost You

In what we can only imagine is the beginning of an alarming trend, drivers who cause car accidents in the Town of Davie, Florida, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, will be billed close to a $1,000.00 by the Town for expenses supposedly incurred in their handling of those car accidents. The expenses are associated with the alleged cost of police and emergency medical responders having to attend to the collision.

The proposal was opposed by the Town's Mayor, who said such billing should only apply to crashes on major highways. However, the ordinance, in its current form, applies to all car accidents on all roads in and around Davie, which require the Town to provide such emergency assistance.

According to the Town, most car insurance companies have agreed to be responsible for such charges. Regardless, considering the amount of property taxes Florida Residents pay toward police and fire rescue services, forcing insurance companies to reimburse these publicly funded services certainly will only cause the insurance companies to increase local residents' premiums. as they always pass along such charges.

Aside from the obvious insurance issues, we are concerned as to what type of due process allegedly negligent drivers have to challenge their fault, which is ultimately a concern for all of us.

August 31, 2008

South Florida Car Accident Deaths Declining

Finally in some good news for Broward County residents, police are reporting a seven percent decline in car and motorcycle deaths this year, compared to 2007. This makes the second consecutive year of such decline. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, car and motorcycle accident wrongful deaths are decreasing monthly.

Reports indicate the drop in such car accident related deaths is associated with the apparent decrease in vehicle traffic in South Florida. This trend mirrors national statistics in the reduction of vehicle traffic, possibly tied into the dramatic increase in the cost of gas, which also has drivers speeding less, in an apparent effort to save fuel.

Unfortunately, there still were 134 traffic deaths in Broward County this year, a figure that in our opinion remains too high. We only hope Florida driver, particularly those in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding area, continue to take precautions such as slowing down, and wearing seat belts, to continue with this trend.

Broward traffic deaths in the same period of 2008

August 20, 2008

Injured Florida Car Accident Victims Cannot Sue Rental Car Companies

In what is certainly bad news for those injured in car accidents caused by the negligence of rental car drivers, Federal Law now definitively prevents any such personal injury cases against those rental car companies. While the United States Congress previously enacted the so-called Graves Amendment, a number of lower courts in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale had found the amendment to be unconstitutional.

However, yesterday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which essentially oversees all cases in the Southeastern United States, issued a ruling that the Graves Amendment is constitutional. This ruling, for all intensive purposes, puts an end to all such personal injury and wrongful death cases against all rental car companies.

Considering the number of out-of-town and international drivers operating rental cars upon the roadways of the State of Florida, it is truly disappointing to inform our severely injured clients and surviving family members of such deadly accidents, that they will be without any recourse, unless the renter of the car actually took out additional liability insurance. We can only hope that the new congress will rethink this law, which only serves to protect an industry which profits significantly from those out-of-town drivers, many of whom are unaware of, or disregard, the dangers of driving on our roadways.

July 6, 2008

Car Accident In Miramar Leads to Wrongful Death of Baby

In what we consider to be the most tragic, and preventable, type of wrongful death, an early Sunday morning car accident in Miramar, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, left a less than one year old baby dead. Unbelievably, the baby was in a baby carrier which her mother failed to secure. The single car accident occurred when the mother apparently fell asleep and hit a concrete sign along Miramar Parkway.

Not surprisingly, according to police, alcohol was apparently a factor in the collision.

According to the police spokesman"besides being a law that a child has to be securely fastened inside of a vehicle, it's every parent's responsibility to make sure this sort of tragedy doesn't happen," we could not agree more. Having had the unfortunate opportunity to represent many families whose children have died in similar accidents, we can only hope all parents and caregivers take a firm stance to protect those unable to protect themselves.

June 24, 2008

Police Enforce "Move Over" Law to Prevent Roadside Car Accidents

In their annual effort to remind Florida motorists of their need to comply with the "move over" law, the Florida Highway Patrol is beginning a strict enforcement policy this week. The increased police effort is to hopefully prevent needless roadside car accidents, which, on too many occasions, lead to the wrongful death of an emergency worker.

Florida's six year old law provides that when a police officer, ambulance or fire rescue vehicle is stopped on the side of the road with its emergency lights on, that oncoming drivers move over a lane or decrease their speed to 20 m.p.h. below the speed limit. In those instances where the speed limit is 20 m.p.h. or less, motorists must drive a maximum of five m.p.h. when approaching an emergency vehicle

Thankfully, according to The Highway Patrol, only officer has died in such an accident since the law went into effect. However, more than 1,800 other emergency workers have been injured, including more than 270 police officers last year alone.

Drivers should also remember that the law requires similar preventative efforts to protect road rangers and tow trucks.

June 11, 2008

Staring at Crashed Fort Lauderdale Police Car Causes Four Car Accidents

Consider this one as a wake up call for all Florida drivers to avoid being distracted by car accidents they drive past. Today, four separate car accidents occurred along I-95 in Boynton Beach, due to drivers taking their eyes of the road.

The car accidents happened when, as described by the Florida Highway Patrol "people started slowing down to see [a] wrecked [Fort Lauderdale Police Department] patrol car on the road and they were hitting each other." All of the other accidents happened within twenty minutes.

Thankfully according to the Florida Highway Patrol, there were no serious injuries, although one person was taken JFK Medical Center.

While human nature compels us to look at such collisions on the side of the road, we certainly hope everyone will remember that driving a car requires your full-time attention to your surroundings, in particular, the cars traveling in front and behind you.

June 9, 2008

Car Accident Claims Life of University of Miami Law Professor

The University of Miami School of Law lost a pillar of it's community, when a Sunday morning car accident outside of downtown Miami claimed the life of Professor Alan Swan. Professor Swan died from injuries suffered in the collision which occurred Sunday morning on northbound S. Dixie Highway. Swan's wife also suffered seriously injuries in the collision.

According to police, the car accident happened as the Swans were driving up US 1 to I-95 when another vehicle, speeding along US 1, struck Swan's vehicle, sending it out of control. Police charged the other driver with leaving the scene of a deadly accident.

As attorneys working in Miami, we send out condolences to Professor Swan's families and urge his former students to recall the memorable experiences and lessons he passed along to them.

June 6, 2008

Wrong Way Car Accident In Boca Raton Leaves One Dead

A car driving against traffic on Interstate 95 caused a car accident which left one person dead and injured two others in Boca Raton Friday evening. The car, identified as a Jaguar, was going the wrong way on I-95, just north of Yamato Road, when it caused an SUV to overturn.
The passenger who died was thrown from the SUV. Two other occupants of the SUV were transported via air rescue to Delray Medical Center.

Even though the Jaguar caused the tragic accident, it did not stop, until it continued down the road and crashed into another car a half a mile away. Although the driver of the Jaguar was not identified, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, the vehicle is owned by a resident of Lake Worth, a suburb of Palm Beach.

Unfortunately, these collisions are a continuation of an unfortunate trend of wrong way car accidents on I-95. According to the Highway Patrol, at least 21 people from Palm Beach County and the surrounding areas have died in such car accidents over the last 15 years. We certainly hope the appropriate agencies take the necessary steps to turn the tide against such tragedies.

June 5, 2008

Hallandale Hopes Red Light Cameras Will Prevent Car Accidents

The city of Hallandale, which is just south of Fort Lauderale in Broward County, is hoping that installing red-light cameras at busy and dangerous intersections will, in the words of Police chief Tom Magill, "reduce the risk of injuries to our citizens," by reducing, if not preventing, car accidents.

The City Commission gave initial approval to install such cameras at various intersections, including the intersection of Hallandale Beach Boulevard with Dixie Highway, Sixth and Eighth Avenues. Violators of the ordinance will face a fine, but would not be subjected to points on their drivers licenses.

Given the number of drivers who try to "time" or beat yellow lights, putting everyone else on the road at risk, we applaud the City's effort to reduce dangerous inter-sectional car accidents. It seems this is a growing trend among cities, which we certainly hope continues.

June 1, 2008

Boca Raton Car Accident Leaves Children Critically Injured

In what should be a lesson to all parents, a father and two children, none of whom were wearing seat belts or child safety seats, suffered critical injuries in a Sunday morning car accident on I-95 in Boca Raton. Fire Rescue took the injured to Delray Medical Center.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the single car accident happened on the southbound lanes of I-95 near Congress Avenue. Witnesses told the highway patrol that the vehicle was speeding when it lost control, ran off the interstate and rolled over.

Thankfully another child in the vehicle was uninjured, due to the use of restraint, as reported by the Highway Patrol.

We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of the use of seat belts and child safety seats. While many adults choose to risk their own lives by failing to use an available seat-belt; the decision of whether to place a child in such a restraint is not be a choice, but rather, a requirement. We hope all parents and care givers take the time and show the care to protect their children.

May 21, 2008

Ft. Lauderdale Train Accident Leaves One Dead

A Coral Springs Man died when his car was unable to clear the railroad crossing on West Atlantic Blvd., in Ft. Lauderdale, and was struck by an Amtrack Train. The train, which was traveling from Miami to New York, was going approximately 80 m.p.h. when it had the accident with a car driven by Shawn Crowell.

According to reports, the crossing gates were down and even though the the train conductor apparently engaged his emergency brake, the train tragically slammed into the car. Per the Sheriff's Office, witnesses said the crossing gates and flashing lights appeared to be working. Crowell apparently had started crossing the tracks, but was apparently unable to move due to heavy vehicle traffic.

We have too often seen these types of deadly accidents, and given the number of railroad crossing in South Florida, we urge everyone to be particularly aware of their vehicle's location in and around railroad crossing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Crowell's family.

April 10, 2008

Car Accident Victims Receive Improved Protection in Side Impact Accidents

According to a report release today by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, new mid-size cars fared much better, than prior year's testing, in protecting victims of side-impact car accidents. The tests were done to determine what type of injuries, serious or otherwise, occupants involved in a variety of accidents would suffer.

While testing demonstrated improvements in side-impact crashes, which are mainly attributed to side-impact air bags becoming standard equipment in most vehicles; unfortunately, the same vehicles did not perform as well in preventing injuries, such as rib fractures and internal organ injuries, in rear-end accidents. Rear-end collisions are more likely to occur in stop and go commuter driving, such as most of us face in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

The Institute believes better head restraints, and seats which work better with those restraints, would go a long way in protecting occupants. As the Vice President of the Institute said "it is not a major feat of engineering to design seats and head restraints that afford good protection." We could not agree more.


March 6, 2008

Florida Highway Patrol Cracks Down to Prevent Deadly Car Accidents

Given the increasing number of police officers injured and killed in car accidents, while they are involved in traffic stops along Florida highways, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Broward County Sheriff's Department are starting a zero tolerance initiative to enforce the State's "Move Over" law.

Florida's "Move Over" law mandates drivers leave the lane nearest to a stopped emergency vehicle, whether it is a police officer, fire truck, Road Ranger or tow truck, or if they are unable to move over, motorists are required to drive 20 m.p.h. below the posted speed limit. The Florida Legislature initially passed the law to protect police officers, of whom more than 150 wrongfully die annually while attending to other motorists on the shoulders or sides of roadways.

We too often represent police officers and tow truck drivers, or in many tragic situations, their surviving families, who, while providing a necessary public service, are struck down in the line of duty due to the carelessness or inattentiveness of a driver. We urge all Florida motorists to pay attention to emergency workers and give them the protection they deserve.

March 3, 2008

Ft. Lauderdale Car Accident Results in Wrongful Death of Teenager

In what we truly consider the epitome of a wrongful death and clearly a tragedy, a 19 year old from Oakland Park, a city adjacent to Ft. Lauderdale, who was wearing her seat-belt, died in a car accident Sunday evening.

The accident which occurred on the ramp heading from southbound I-95 to 595, was caused when a "phantom vehicle" swerved into the 19 year old's lane, causing her to take evasive action and strike a large sign post. The vehicle rolled over and the driver died at the scene.

A "phantom vehicle" is what we refer to as a vehicle which causes or contributes to a car accident but leaves the scene of the accident without being identified. The vehicle is a "phantom," rather than a hit and run, because there was no contact between the two vehicles.

We can only pray for the driver's family, as their daughter did everything she could to protect herself. And, we hope that others will not be dissuaded from using their seat-belts, because of this senseless tragedy.

March 2, 2008

Miami Car Accident Results in Death

Friday was a deadly night on the MacCarthur Causeway, the main roadway from Miami to South Beach, as a three car accident resulted in the wrongful death of an occupant of one of the vehicles. The accident occurred when a Toyota sports car collided with a Chevy Blazer and then rolled over.

According to police, they are still trying to determine who was driving the Toyota, because, unfortunately, the occupants of the Toyota were not wearing their seat-belts. The other occupant of the Toyota was taken by Fire Rescue to Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove.

We are truly saddened by the continuing failure, particularly of young people, to wear their seat-belts. While some serious injuries and deaths occur even with the use of seat-belts, many more lives would be spared with the constant use of such life saving devices.

January 30, 2008

Student On His Way To School Involved in Car Accident

In a wake up call for Florida drivers, a student on his way to class at Hallandale High School, located in a suburb of Broward County, was the victim of a serious car accident, when a van, driven by an unidentified female, struck him. According to police and witnesses, the student was within the school zone when the van struck him.

Witnesses characterized the impact as significant, as they said the van was driving in excess of the school zone's speed limit of 15 m.p.h. , which is why the driver was arrested. Given the force of the impact and amount of blood loss suffered by the student, it is unfortunately likely he sustained a spinal cord or brain injury. The student was taken by emergency medical services to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.

In our practice we have represented many families whose children were struck by vehicles speeding in and around schools, including the Bustillo family. We remind all drivers that our children are precious, and it is imperative that everyone obey school zone speed limits and pay particular attention while driving around schools.

January 18, 2008

Deadly Car Accidents in Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale result in Pedestrian Death

In a wake-up call for pedestrians, separate car accidents resulted in the wrongful death of a 71 year old woman in Delray Beach, a suburb in Palm Beach County, and critical injuries to a man in Ft. Lauderdale. Both accident victims were pedestrians.

An SUV being operated by a driver with a suspended license struck the Delray Beach victim. As we see too often in our practice, the driver had multiple prior violations; in this case, her was license suspended on six prior occasions. Clearly, this is an example of how the leniency of the traffic court system allows habitual traffic offenders to freely drive and endanger other Floridians.

The most disconcerting fact about this car accident is the fact that the pedestrian was within the crosswalk. According to the investigating traffic homicide police officer, two witnesses saw the pedestrian in the crosswalk, and indicated that the SUV driver should have easily seen her. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's office referred the matter to the State Attorney's Office for further investigation into criminal charges.

As for the Ft. Lauderdale victim, police found him in the street and transported him with critical injuries to Broward General Medical Center.

December 27, 2007

Car Accident in Deerfield Beach Leaves One Dead

A family trip ended tragically when a head-on car accident in Deerfield Beach resulted in the wrongful death of one driver and spinal cord injuries to two others.

The accident, which happened at the 300 block of S.E. 10th Street, in northern Broward County, occurred when the driver of one of the cars veered into oncoming traffic. The injured driver and passenger, who were returning from Disney World, were taken to North Broward Medical Center.

In our practice we too often see such catastrophic injuries from preventable car accidents. With New Years Eve almost upon us, we again caution everyone to be overly careful. And, while this tragedy does not appear to have been the result of intoxication, with the biggest night for drunk driving almost upon us, we plead for everyone to use a designated driver, so we may all have a healthy and happy new year.

December 12, 2007

Broward County Pedestrian Dies in Truck Accident

In a wake up call for pedestrians throughout the State of Florida, a man from Davie, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, died after being involved in a truck accident this past weekend. The pedestrian was attempting to cross West Stirling Road when he was hit by an SUV.

According to the Davie Police Department, who investigated the evening truck accident, the pedestrian, who was wearing dark colored clothing, was not walking within the marked cross-walk. The pedestrian was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, and later pronounced dead.

In our practice we see these types of deadly results too often. Unfortunately, many pedestrians wrongfully believe that drivers will automatically yield to them, regardless of where they are crossing the road. We urge all pedestrians and bike riders to be mindful of vehicle traffic, and further urge them to obey all traffic control devices and use marked cross-walks, which are purposefully intended to warn drivers of people possibly crossing a roadway.

December 10, 2007

Two Dead in Separate Miami Car Accidents

In continuing with our last entry about local alcohol related accidents, two South Florida residents, one from Miami and the other from Sunrise, died in separate car accidents when each of them were struck by cars driven by apparent drunk drivers.

The first victim was a tow truck driver who was attempting to help some motorists, who themselves had an accident. Despite placing warning cones on the roadway, essentially closing off two lanes of the Palmetto Expressway, a driver ignored the cones, drove through them, striking and killed the defenseless tow truck driver. The motorist violated Florida's "move over" law which was implemented to try and prevent police, rescue and tow truck drivers from being injured or killed while helping others on the side of the road.

The second accident occurred on the Gratigny Expressway when a motorist drove the wrong way, against westbound traffic, striking another vehicle head-on, killing the other driver.

We again remind everyone that during this festive time of the year, to use a designated driver to help prevent senseless tragedies such as these.

November 22, 2007

Florida Landowners Now Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Their Landscaping

In some great news for Florida drivers, the Florida Supreme Court held that homeowners may be liable for personal injuries and wrongful death from car accidents which are caused by the landowner's failure to prevent their landscaping from overlapping into a public right of way and obstructing other traffic or traffic signs and signals.

In reviewing the case of a 1997 truck accident, which claimed the life of a driver, the Supreme Court extended the liability, which already exists for commercial property owners, to homeowners who improperly allow their trees and bushes to extend over their property-line and into a public right of way. As South Florida personal injury attorneys, we believe that this codification of the law will truly benefit all those traveling on Florida roadways.

The minimal costs and effort now mandated upon private landowners, is greatly outweighed by the life saving benefits to Florida drivers. Finally, victims of Florida car accidents, whose cases were previously denied as unavoidable, now have the right to collect damages from private landowners who disregard the growth of their landscaping. On Thanksgiving, this is certainly something for which all Florida drivers should be thankful.

October 26, 2007

FHP Reacts to Deadly Truck Crashes with Crackdown

Due to a disproportionate number of deadly car accidents involving commercial trucks, the Florida Highway Patrol is heightening enforcement of aggressive tractor trailer drivers in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The so-called "Operation Safe Ride" is part of the state's ongoing efforts to reduce wrongful deaths and personal injuries on Florida highways.

According to the Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, due to the size and weight of those commercial vehicles, drivers of smaller vehicles are at a greater risk for mass destruction and serious injuries. While commercial trucks are involved in about eight percent of all Florida roadway crashes, they are involved in almost thirteen percent of all deadly collisions.

On behalf of our numerous clients who were unfortunately seriously injured as a result of the recklessness of some tractor trailer operators, we applaud the highway patrol's efforts, and wish them success in their battle to safe the lives of our fellow Floridians.

October 10, 2007

"Put the Brakes on Fatalities" to Stop Florida Car Accident Deaths

Florida drivers are urged to be extra cautious today, the seventh annual "Put The Brakes on Fatalities Day." The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in an effort to help reduce the more than 3,365 wrongful deaths which result from car accidents in Florida each year, is joining in the national observation of this special day.

Considering nine people die each and every day on Florida roads, we willingly promote initiatives like this to help educate Florida drivers about the dangers associated with driving a car, and how some additional driver responsibility will help safe lives. The initiative includes educating drivers about keeping their cars in good working condition, not using cell phones while driving and always using seat belts.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, there are more than 43,000 people who die in car accidents every year in the United States. Hopefully, initiatives such as "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day" will help reduce this horrific loss of life.

October 5, 2007

Florida Legislature Says Car Accident Victims Must Still Have PIP

You can file this one as more news than my opinion, this afternoon the Florida Legislature passed a new version of the so called "PIP," personal injury protection law, which will apply to all Florida drivers and car accident victims effective January 1, 2008. As everyone, particularly in Miami, Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, which was the focus of complaints regarding alleged fraud, are probably aware, the PIP law "sunset" on October 1, 2007.

The new law provides many of the same provisions previously mandated in Florida. Apparently, the most important differences include a medical fee schedule which will limit most medical providers reimbursements to 200% of Medicare's reimbursement rate; and a require $5,000.00 of the medical benefits be initially reserved for hospitals and their doctors who treat injured car accident victims.

Of course, due to the fact that from October 1, 2007, through January 1, 2008, there will be no PIP, anyone suffering a personal injuries in a car accident during that time will be entitled to pursue their claims under a strict tort system. Rather than being limited to the "no fault" threshold, apparently those injured car accident victims will not have to prove they sustained a permanent injury. As we already have a number of such injured clients, it will certainly be interesting to see how the courts will handle those who fall into this new category.

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.

July 24, 2007

Florida Drivers Convicted of DUI Required to Carry Increased Car Insurance

In some good news for Florida car accident victims, Governor Crist just signed into law, a bill which will require all drivers convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to carry a minimum of $100,000.00 in bodily injury liability insurance and $50,000.00 in property damage insurance.

This new law, known as Florida House Bill 359, significantly increases the amount of car accident insurance convicted drunk drivers are required to have, as the old law only required $10,000.00 in bodily injury liability insurance. This new law will further protect Floridians, by requiring the convicted drunk driver to keep this insurance in effect for a minimum of 3 years, assuming they have no other similar drunk driving issues.

In our practice, we have had too many occasions to represent the innocent victims and surviving family members of such car accidents. Having seen our clients suffer brain injuries, personal injury and death, we are all too familiar with the escalating medical costs and damages caused from these types of accident. We are certainly thankful that the Florida Legislature took up this matter and mandated this increased protection for all Floridians.

July 10, 2007

Florida Victims of Accidents Caused by Governmental Negligence Face Limited Recoveries

Many of our client's are surprise to learn that anyone injured by the negligent actions of any employee of the State of Florida, any of its political subdivisions, including those employees of a County or City, is limited, regardless of how seriously they are injured, to a maximum recovery of $100,000.00. This limitation or cap, which applies to car accidents, slip and falls, and even medical malpractice occurring at a County run hospital, is known as sovereign immunity.

The Florida Legislature passed this law, known as Florida Statute section 768.28, to shield governments from paying for all of the damages caused by their employee's negligence, while allegedly giving accident victims a source of recovery. Unfortunately, for Florida accident victims, especially those who are catastrophically injured, the $100,000.00 cap is woefully inadequate.

Only in the rarest of circumstances does the Florida Legislature entertain, much less pass, a "Claims Bill," which may provide an accident victim with a greater recovery, only if the Legislature and the Governor enact a specific law to help a specifically injured person. Even when the governmental entity, which caused the catastrophic injury, wants to pay the accident victim more than the $100,000.00 cap, the victim must go through the difficult process of pursing a Claims Bill.

We represented an unfortunate boy who sustained a near drowning, resulting in him being in a coma and ultimately dieing. Despite the agreement of the school district responsible for his brain damage, to pay an increased amount, the Florida Legislature delayed our client's recovery for more than 2 years.

We strongly believe this law and the procedures necessary to pursue claims against the government, needs to be changed.

June 28, 2007

Careless Motorcyle Stunt on Florida Roadway Causes Death

A motorcycle accident in Coral Springs left one person dead and another in critical condition. The driver who was performing a wheelie when he lost control and hit a tree

We can't understand why so many people continue to endanger themselves and others by driving motorcycles in an irresponsible and dangerous manner. In this case, as you can imagine, neither the driver nor passenger were wearing a helmet.

Florida law allows a motorcycle rider not to wear a helmet if they have $10,000.00 in medical coverage insurance. With numerous motorcycle accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries, such as in this situation, the minimal insurance required barley covers the bills of even a emergency room visit.

While many Floridians enjoy riding responsibly, it is the activities of riders such as these which cause such tragic losses and compel non-riders to think all motorcycle riders are careless, which is certainly not the case.

June 25, 2007

Palm Beach Jury Verdict Finds Driver on Cellphone Liable

A Palm Beach County Jury found a driver, who was talking on her cellphone at the time she rear-ended another vehicle, responsible for causing a multi-vehicle collision which resulted in the death of a Lesley Beers, a wife and mother.

The verdict, of just over 21 million dollars, clearly demonstrates the jury's disapproval of the driver's cellphone use, and how its accompanying distraction caused the collision. This is yet another example of the public's continuing outcry that too many car accidents are the result of inattentive drivers using cellphones.

While cellphones certainly are a convenience, we agree with the sentiment of the jury's verdict, that is, that too may drivers concentrate on dialing and texting rather than watching the roadway. We have a number of seriously injured clients whose car accidents could have easily been avoided if the other driver was not using their cellphone.

This verdict is one of a growing number of verdicts which not only compensates seriously injured victims, but also seems to punish a driver on a cellphone. We can only hope that drivers, and those companies whose employees drive extensively, pay particular attention to not only this verdict, but the roadway.

June 21, 2007

Florida Car Drivers No Longer Required To Have Insurance

We can't believe it, but due to the Florida Legislature's inactions, the requirement that Florida drivers have car insurance, to pay their medical bills and to protect others involved in car accidents, will expire on September 30, 2007. On that date, the so called, Florida "No Fault" law is going to expire, as the legislature has not re-enacted it, nor have they passed a replacement law.

For more than the past 20 years, all car owners and drivers in Florida were required to have a minimum of $10,000.00 of insurance coverage for personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage. But now, unless the Florida Legislature has another special session to address the issue of car insurance, Florida drivers will not have any such requirement.

What does this mean to you? First of all, unless you have health insurance, it will be more difficult to find a doctor who is willing to treat your injuries following a car accident, as the person who caused the accident will not be required to pay anything until your case is settled. This means, doctors may not want to treat car accident victims because they will have to wait an extended period of time before they are paid.

Secondly, and of greater concern to all Floridians, is the loss of revenue that all trauma hospitals will suffer due to the lack of payments from automobile insurance companies.

We can only hope that the Florida Legislature does something to correct this impending crisis, otherwise, we suggest all Florida drivers purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as they can.