Articles Posted in Car Accident

When someone is injured in a car accident, an applicable insurance policy may cover their losses due to the accident. However, any damages after a car accident are only recoverable if the accident was the cause of the damages. This may seem obvious, but as your experienced South Florida car accident attorney can tell you, in the courtroom it can be more complicated than it seems at first.

Trial Court Holding

While he was driving, the plaintiff was struck from behind. Luckily, the plaintiff had an insurance policy that covered him under his uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. As he did not believe he was properly compensated, he sued the insurance company. Both the insurance company defendant and the plaintiff agree that the driver who hit him was acting negligently. However, where the parties disagree is whether certain injuries were caused by the accident or whether they were already existing and thus not eligible for compensation under the policy.

You probably know that people injured in car accidents in Florida can recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, in some cases, people who have been injured in car accidents or other personal injury actions may also be able to recover attorney’s fees on top of their other damages. Your skilled South Florida car accident attorney can help you to determine whether your case may qualify for recovery of attorney’s fees.

When You Can Recover Attorney Fees 

As noted above, if you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover attorney fees as well as your other damages. Before your case goes to trial, typically your attorney will have sent the other party a proposal for settlement. If they decline the settlement, and you go to trial, you can get attorney fees if the jury awards you at least 25% more than what you asked for in the settlement.

The American justice system is based on the idea that judgment should come from a jury of one’s peers. Even in civil cases, the court relies on the jury to decide who should prevail and the amount of damages that should be awarded. The court does have mechanisms where they can increase the amount of damages awarded, called “additur.” However, additur is only supposed to be used in extreme cases. A knowledgeable South Florida car accident attorney can help you to present your case in a way so that the jury will understand the true amount of injury and suffering from the beginning.

The Car Accident

During stop and go traffic on I-95, the plaintiff in this case was rear-ended by the defendant. They dispute how severe the accident was, but the plaintiff’s airbag did not deploy and EMS was not called. After the accident, the plaintiff went to get her hair washed and returned to work. Later the plaintiff had chiropractic treatment and physical therapy. She did not receive any injections, pain medication, or surgery related to the injuries. A year after the accident the plaintiff brought a negligence suit against the defendant.

When you buy an insurance policy, you expect it to cover you in the event of an accident. However, you may want to exercise caution to ensure that it actually covers you, as this case warns. If you are injured in a car or truck accident, before you contact your insurer you should consult an experienced South Florida truck accident attorney to help protect you. Insurance companies will sometimes urge plaintiffs to settle for less than they deserve. Alternatively, as in this case, the insurance company may declare that unbeknownst to them, the policy holder is not actually insured.

Truck Accident Facts

The plaintiff in this case is a truck driver. He worked for a trucking company. While employed in this position he applied for an insurance policy through the National Independent Truckers and Contractors Association, Inc. Group Insurance Trust (“the policy.”) On May 13, 2015, the plaintiff sent off his application for the policy. The next day, he was injured in a truck accident. He spent six weeks in the hospital and incurred significant medical bills.

In the U.S., we have both federal and state courts. If you are involved in a car or motorcycle accident, a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine which court would be proper to file your suit in. Sometimes the suit may start in one court and then be moved – referred to as “removed”- to the other.

Motorcycle Accident

The underlying facts of this case involve a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when it shut off suddenly. This caused him to lose control of the motorcycle and he was injured. In the original demand letter, plaintiff asked for $275,000 plus “med pay benefits.” At the time the letter was sent, plaintiff’s medical bills had so far totaled $68,218.87. The plaintiff filed his suit in state court and the defendant removed the case to federal court. Now, the defendant is asking for the case to be moved back to state court. The case was decided by the Middle District of Florida, which is a federal court.

If you are injured in a car accident, you may envision that the only person that you need to take legal action against is the driver who caused the accident. However, oftentimes insurance companies will also need to be brought into court in order for them to pay the damages that they owe. Even if your insurance company seems cooperative, they may just be trying to get you to settle for less than you deserve. If you are injured in a car accident, you should contact a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to decide whether you should take the settlement offered or if you need to involve the insurance company in legal action.

The Car Accident

A man was driving on a Florida highway with his friend in the passenger seat. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a cement barrier. While the driver was not injured, the passenger suffered serious injuries and was paralyzed from the waist down. To complicate matters even more, the car itself was owned by the driver’s father’s business. The insurance policy included a one million dollar garage liability policy and a two million dollar commercial umbrella policy.

Generally, when one car rear ends another car, the driver of the car that does the rear-ending is at fault for the accident. However, that is not always the case. In this appeal, the parties disputed whether the rear ending occurred while the injured passenger’s car had been stopped for a time, or whether the injured passenger’s car had just completed an unsafe lane change. If you are in a car accident, you should contact a skilled South Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to gather all available evidence to help you present your case in the most persuasive light.

The Facts of the Car Accident

On a rainy day while stopped at an intersection, one car rear-ended another car. A passenger in the car that was rear-ended claimed that the accident caused her a significant back injury. The injured woman claimed the other driver was negligent, which caused the accident and her injuries. The other driver disputed this account and said that the driver of the injured woman’s car quickly changed lanes right before the accident occurred. They also argued that her back injuries were not caused by this accident, but instead were the result of previous accidents, injuries, and congenital conditions.

If you get into a car accident due to a visual obstruction, you may wonder who is responsible for the injuries or damage caused by the accident. The Florida Third District Court of Appeals addressed this topic in a recent decision. It held that in this case, the people responsible for the foliage that the plaintiff alleged caused the obstruction could not be held responsible for damages from the accident. If you are injured in an accident, it may be difficult to know who can be held responsible for the conditions that caused the accident. That’s why it’s important to hire a skilled Florida car accident attorney to help you hold the appropriate parties responsible after an accident.

The Facts of the Case

A man riding a motorcycle was killed when he was hit by a car. The driver of the car blamed the fact that there were shrubs planted near the intersection and they obstructed her view. Thus, she sued the city of Hialeah, R.J. Behar & Company, Williams Paving Co., Inc., and Melrose Nursery. R.J. Behar & Company was the designer of the project that planned the layout of the intersection, including the shrubs. Williams Paving Company was the general contractor who was responsible for building the road and the swales, and Melrose Nursery actually planted the shrubs. The paving company, planner, and nursery moved for summary judgment. Summary judgment is granted when there are no genuine issues of material facts and one of the parties is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. That means that if the court grants the motion for summary judgment, the claims against the planner, paver, and nursery will be dismissed.

Florida car accidents not only cause new injuries for those involved in the accident, but aggravate pre-existing medical conditions as well.  Regardless of whether the injuries were old or new, all must be tied to the accident in order to recover damages.  A recent appeal examines the presence of pre-existing conditions in a rear-end collision between a bus and another vehicle that pulled out in front of it.  The case went to trial with a $1.5 million verdict in favor of the injured passenger.  The defendant appealed, arguing the instructions referring to pre-existing conditions were faulty. 

The plaintiff in the suit fell from his seat as a result of the impact and was taken to the hospital immediately after the accident for treatment.  The injured was treated and released the same day, but continued to seek treatment for lower back pain and stiffness.  X-rays revealed arthritis and a degenerative disc condition in his back.  A later MRI showed he had a three-level disc herniation in his lower back and that he suffered from diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH).  He filed suit against the defendant driver, alleging she caused the disc herniation in his lower back. 

The defendant admitted she was negligent, but denied she caused the disc-herniation and requested amount of damages.  The defendant asserted the bus passenger’s complaints of pain stemmed from his preexisting conditions.  To counter, the injured offered the testimony of a medical doctor who stated there was a reasonable degree of medical certainty the herniation was caused by the accident.  The doctor came to this conclusion after a review of his own records of examination, the MRI, and his patient’s own statements that he did not have any back problems before the collision.  The physician testified there was no way to tell from an MRI if the herniation occurred  before, during, or after the accident.  The doctor did note the injured suffered from DISH and that the injured had been dealing with DISH for a long time, which causes pain, spasms, stiffness, and other complications.  The plaintiff’s expert testified the DISH was located above the herniated discs and were unrelated to one another.

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In any personal injury case, the injured person must connect the accident to the alleged injury in order to receive damages.  The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal recently assessed in a Florida car accident case, No. 4D17-1900, whether it was an error for the trial court to allow an expert witness for the injured person to testify about causation and permanency in violation of a trial preparation order.  The plaintiff sought damages for the bodily injuries she sustained due to an accident.  The driver of the other vehicle admitted fault but denied the accident caused the victim’s alleged injuries.  The case moved forward to trial to determine whether the accident did cause her injuries, whether those injuries are permanent, the reasonableness and necessity of medical bills, and damages.

The defendant objected to one of the injured person’s expert witnesses, an orthopedic surgeon, but the court allowed the expert to opine on the causation and permanency of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The surgeon testified the injured person’s shoulder was damaged as a result of the car accident and required surgery.  The physician described his course of treatment and provided copies of the total bill of $58,000 from his practice group.  The injured person also testified, discussing the multiple treatments she received to remedy the injuries from the accident.  The injured person went to an urgent care facility on the day of the accident to address pain and stiffness in the back of her neck and a numbing sensation starting at her shoulders and reaching through her arm to the fingertips.  The injured person additionally described seeking help for several months when she went to physical therapy and underwent an MRI.  Eventually, surgery was recommended by two separate physicians.  The injured person testified she underwent the procedure and had to follow up with additional post-surgical care to improve her strength and ability. 

On appeal, the defendant asserted the trial judge erred in the dismissal of his motions because there was insufficient evidence about the reasonableness and necessity of past services provided for the injured person’s medical care.  Florida requires an injured party to produce more than the mere bill for expenses to prove whether the amount was reasonable.  The defendant argued the physician’s testimony was unnecessary to show the necessity and reasonableness of the bill, but the injured person’s lay testimony was acceptable.  The defendant claimed that since there was no testimony from the injured person connecting each bill to the accident, there was no testimony meeting the burden set by Florida statutes and case law. The appellate court was unpersuaded by this argument and concluded the plaintiff sufficiently proved the reasonableness through her testimony and her expert’s testimony.