Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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When you are involved in an car accident in Miami or other areas in South Florida, you might be saddled with overwhelming medical bills at a time when you are unable to work.  If you are disabled for an extended period of time, you might struggle to pay your mortgage, car note, and other monthly expenses.  While an injury victim can pursue legal compensation from a negligent driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually handle the claim and pay the settlement or judgment unless the at-fault driver is uninsured.

While an insurance company owes a legal duty of good faith and fair dealing to its policyholder, the other driver’s insurer does not have an obligation to treat your fairly.  Rather, the insurer of an at-fault driver has an adversarial relationship with a plaintiff seeking damages, and the insurer will use a range of strategies to avoid paying a claim or to minimize any payment.  Our experienced Miami car accident lawyers have provided some examples of strategies that insurers might use to prevent injury victims from receiving the full value of their legal claim in this two-part blog post.

Requesting a Recorded Statement: The insurer for the at-fault driver might contact you and ask that you agree to provide a recorded statement.  The insurance adjuster might seem cordial and helpful, but the adjuster’s job is to ensure you receive as little compensation as possible for your claim.  Although the adjuster might contend that the recorded statement will allow the insurance company to evaluate your claim and cut you a check, the purpose of the recorded statement is to acquire information that can be used to deny or lowball your claim.

Stalling Settlement of the Claim: Insurance companies benefit from any delay in paying a claim because the money that would be used to satisfy a settlement or judgment can remain invested and earning a return for the insurance company.  By contrast, an injury victim who is facing prolonged time off work and mounting medical bills often feels increasing pressure to accept a less generous settlement offer if the claim process drags on.  Insurance companies will be particularly inclined to drag out the claims process when an injury victim is not represented by an experienced Miami Auto Accident Attorney.  An attorney who regularly litigates car accident claims can keep the process moving by conducting discovery and filing motions to counter tactics primarily intended to cause delay.

Disputing the Cause or Severity of Injury: Even when the fault of the other driver is reasonably clear, such as when you are rear-ended while stopped at a red light, the insurance company will not simply cut a check for the value of your damages.  When the evidence regarding fault is overwhelming, the insurer will shift its focus to disputing the nature and/or extent of your injury.  The insurer might ask you to sign a consent to release of information, so the insurer can go on a “fishing expedition” through your medical records.  The insurer might look for prior injuries or medical conditions reflected in the records that can be blamed for the injuries you attribute to the car crash.  If you seek immediate medical attention following a crash, doctors can conduct a diagnostic evaluation and scans like an MRI, X-ray, and/or CT scan that can provide evidence showing the collision caused your injuries.  If you delay medical treatment, the insurance carrier also might argue that you did not seek medical attention right away because you were not actually injured in the crash.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a car accident, our Florida Auto Collision Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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While most parents recognize that distracted drivers constitute a significant cause of many fatal teen collisions, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests the problem is even worse than previously suspected.  The recently published study based on an analysis of actual crash video footage from 1,700 teen crashes reveals that distractions are a factor in almost 60 percent (58 percent) of all moderate-to-severe collisions involving teenage drivers.  Although distractions have long been considered a significant cause of teen driving fatalities, previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates postulated about 14 percent of teen car accidents were linked to driving distractions.

The study has been lauded as the most comprehensive study ever done that examines the relationship between teen driving accidents and distracted driving practices.  The research was conducted by evaluating six seconds of video footage from data event recorders in vehicles driven by teens involved in crashes.  This emerging technology also provided other significant information about teen distracted driving.  Distractions constituted a factor in 89 percent of road-departure collisions while distracted driving contributed to 76 percent of rear-impact collisions

Types of Driving Distractions Causing Teen Traffic Accidents

The varied types of distractions included the following:

Type of Distraction                                                                             Percentage of Crashes

Conversation with Passengers                                                                        15 percent

Use of a mobile phone                                                                                    12 percent

Locating objects inside the vehicle                                                                 10 percent

Gyrating or singing along with music                                                             8 percent

Personal grooming (e.g., applying makeup, shaving, brushing hair)               6 percent

Trying to grab an item                                                                                     6 percent

This study provides valuable teen driving information that can guide policymakers in making our state safer for teen drivers and others with whom teens share Florida roadways.  The study revealed that teen drivers manipulating or using a cell phone in some fashion diverted their eyes from the roadway for an average of longer than 4 seconds.  The researchers also found that over half of the time teen drivers were involved in rear-end crashes while multi-tasking, the teens made no effort to steer or brake prior to the moment of impact.

Lessons for Policymakers in Charge of Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) Programs

An important objective of the research was to provide guidance to states in updating their graduated driver’s license programs based on real world teen driving behavior.  The statute offers significant guidance for the Florida legislature.  GDL programs grant driver’s licenses in stages, so novice teen drivers are granted increasing privileges based on experience behind the wheel and the maturity that theoretically accompanies aging.

While all states limit drivers with a learner’s permit, GDL programs involve issuing “restricted driver’s licenses” (also called “provisional driver’s licenses”) that place certain restrictions on newly licensed teen drivers.

Many states prohibit any use of a cell phone by teen drivers and restrict the transport of teen passengers with an intermediate license because these have long been thought to be the leading causes of distracted teen driving.  This current study reaffirms this conclusion given that more than 25 percent of teen distracted driving crashes involve one of these two forms of distraction.  Although Florida law has a universal ban on text messaging while driving regardless of age, all other uses of cell phones, which include making phone calls and posting on Facebook, are not prohibited practices even for teen drivers.

Florida law only limits driving during certain nighttime hours, but this research suggests that cell phone and passenger restrictions might also save lives.  Another important finding for teens is the prevalence of other driving distractions.  Extensive public awareness campaigns have helped educate teens about cell phone use behind the wheel, but there might be fewer teens that even consider traditional distractions like putting on lipstick, looking for a textbook, or reaching for a beverage as a form of distracted driving.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Teen Distracted Driving Accident Injuries and Deaths

If you or a family member has been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, our Florida Teen Accident Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

http://newsroom.aaa.com/2015/03/distraction-teen-crashes-even-worse-thought/

http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/teendriv.html

 

 

 

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Despite stricter DUI penalties, more aggressive law enforcement strategies and enormous expenditures on public awareness campaigns, drunk drivers still cause approximately 10,000 fatalities and 170,000 injuries annually, which amount to one-third of all traffic crash-related deaths.  This high toll in bodily injuries and fatalities has led many traffic safety advocates to argue that additional steps are necessary to prevent alcohol-related accidents in Florida and across the U.S.  Our Miami personal injury lawyers have been following a proposal that the .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for finding a driver is intoxicated be reduced.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the .08 percent BAC level be lowered by nearly half to .05 percent.  The federal agency cannot require such changes, but it can make recommendation that can be adopted by other states.  The federal government often offers financial incentives to prompt state compliance.  Currently, all fifty states have established .08 BAC as the legal threshold at which a driver is presumed to be too intoxicated to drive.  According to the NTSB, the change would save an estimated 1,000 lives per year along with preventing many other injuries.  Research cited by the agency indicates that motorists experienced a decline in vision, reaction time, reflexes, and cognitive brain activity if they have a .05 percent BAC.

The agency has also recommended that all drivers convicted of DUI be compelled to install an ignition interlock device (IID).  An IID requires motorists to blow into a portable breath testing device installed in the vehicle, which prohibits the engine from starting unless a breath test reveals the driver has a BAC significantly below the legal limit.  While Florida forces many drivers convicted of DUI to install an IID, the requirement is left to the discretion of the judge for a first time DUI unless a child passenger was in the vehicle or the driver had a BAC of .15 percent or above.

Restaurant trade groups and the alcohol beverage industry have criticized the traffic safety proposal.  These organizations contend that the approach punishes drivers who are engaging in perfectly safe and responsible behavior.  They further argue that the proposal would have little impact because motorists who cause the majority of alcohol-related accidents are hardcore offenders with high BAC levels.  However, the country of Australia reported a 5-18 percent drop in traffic fatalities when it reduced the legal blood alcohol level from .08 to .05 percent.  Further, the NTSB indicates that a driver with a BAC of .05 percent presents a 39 percent higher risk of being involved in a car crash than a driver with no alcohol in his or her system.

While the proposal might seem like a radical change for many in the U.S., lower BAC levels for drunk driving are common in other countries.  While the U.S., Iraq and Canada have .08 BAC levels, most countries in Europe, including Russia, Australia and the majority of South America have imposed a .05 BAC level as the legal limit for drunk driving.

Our Florida personal injury law firm lauds attempts to make our state’s roads safer because we see the tragic consequences of alcohol impaired drivers far too often.  While it is still unclear whether the NTSB recommendations will be followed, we commend efforts to prevent life-altering car accident injuries and deaths.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Caused by Drunk Drivers 

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, our Miami DUI Drunk Driving Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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This is the second installment in our two part blog analyzing the challenges and special issues involved in personal injury claims involving hit and run accidents and uninsured drivers.  While this blog series addresses specific issues involved in cases where there are challenges in identifying a viable defendant or source of funds to pay a settlement or judgment, we recognize you might have specific questions about your unique situation, so we invite you to speak to one of our experienced Miami personal injury lawyers.

Alternative Sources of Financial Compensation

If you are injured in a collision with an uninsured motorist or hit and run driver, lawyers at our Miami Personal Injury Law Firm investigate all potential responsible parties, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Owner of the vehicle: Liability may be imposed on a vehicle owner who “negligently entrusts” a vehicle to an obviously unqualified or unsafe driver. “Negligent entrustment” might be a viable legal theory if the owner of the vehicle lends the car to a driver with knowledge the driver is unlicensed or has a poor driving record that includes prior accidents and serious traffic offenses.
  • Governmental Entity: The public authority responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining the roadway can be liable when street or interstate defects contribute to or cause a crash. Because public entities often have the benefit of protection against liability claims based on sovereign immunity, the injury victim might need to comply with special notice requirements and deadlines to bring a lawsuit against the public entity.  While the precise substantive rules in a dangerous road case will depend on the law of the jurisdiction and other factors, the injured party might need to establish facts showing the public entity “knew or should have known” the road was unsafe.  Evidence that might prove valuable in a defective road lawsuit can include reports to the governing public entity of road defects and a history of accidents or near misses at the location.
  • Employer of the Driver: The employer of a driver who flees the scene of a crash can be liable even if the driver cannot be tracked down or lacks insurance. An employer can be liable for the negligence of an employee involved in an accidents in the course and scope of employment.  The employer might be liable even if the accident occurs outside business hours as long as employee is engaged in a task that benefits his or her employer.
  • Other Motorists: More than two motorists can play a role in many collisions, so another driver might be liable even if the driver who fled the scene cannot be found.
  • Vehicle (Parts) Manufacturer: If a defective component or vehicle contributes to a crash, the vehicle or component manufacturer might be liable under a theory of product liability. Even if the defective component affected the vehicle that you were driving, you might have a viable legal claim against the automaker.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) & Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: If you purchased personal injury protection (PIP) and/or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, these forms of coverage can provide a valuable source of compensation when you are injured by a hit and run or uninsured driver in Florida. PIP coverage provides $10,000 to cover your medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault.  If you are not at-fault, your insurance premiums will not increase unless you have had three crashes within a five year period.  UM coverage provides compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering once your PIP coverage and bodily injury liability coverage of the at-fault driver are exhausted.  While many people presume they do not need a lawyer to pursue payment from their own insurance company, insurance carriers are not anxious to pay benefits, so you might want a Florida Uninsured Motorist Claims Lawyer in your corner.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a crash with an uninsured or hit and run motorist, our Miami UM Claims Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

 

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Pedestrians and vehicle occupants are injured by hit and run and by uninsured drivers on a daily basis in Florida.  Although a driver who flees the scene of a car accident and uninsured in Florida might be liable for causing a crash and/or failing to stay and render assistance, legal claims for injuries caused by such drivers raise unique issues and special challenges.  Although a law enforcement investigation might result in tracking down a driver who flees the scene of an accident, many hit and run cases go unsolved every year.  Further, uninsured drivers might be “judgment proof,” so they have no viable means to satisfy a judgment or settlement.

When the at-fault driver cannot be located, the task of identifying a defendant with insurance or viable resources to pay a personal injury settlement or judgment can be difficult.  The legal theories that may be applicable to assign liability to a particular individual or entity will depend on the facts and circumstances of the crash.  States differ in terms of the specific legal theories recognized in the jurisdiction.  Therefore, car crash injury victims should promptly seek legal advice from an experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer who can analyze the situation and conduct research to determine the best way to pursue financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other forms of loss.

The Risk of a Crash Caused by an Uninsured or Hit and Run Driver Greater Than You Think

Although many drivers presume that their odds of being in a collision with a hit and run or uninsured driver are extremely low, real world data tells a different story.

  • Hit and runs rose to such epidemic proportions in Los Angeles during a recent year almost half of all crashes involved a driver who fled (USA Today)
  • Fatal crashes involving drivers who left the scene recently rose 13.7% during the same three year period that fatal collisions declined by 4.5 percent overall (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • 1 in 5 pedestrian accidents involve hit and run drivers (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
  • Approximately 29.7 drivers in the U.S. with no insurance
  • 2 million uninsured drivers in Florida

Another important factor that increases the risk that motorists or pedestrians will be involved in a collision with a hit and run driver is that poor drivers are more likely to flee the scene.  While any driver might panic and leave the scene of a crash to avoid criminal charges and civil liability, drivers have a greater motivation to flee from the scene of a crash if any of the following apply:

  • Record of prior accidents especially those resulting in injuries or deaths
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (currently and/or on prior occasions)
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver’s license
  • Fleeing because he or she is at-fault
  • Lack of insurance

Uninsured drivers also tend to be among the worst drivers because their reason for driving without a license often involves a suspension or revocation based on prior accidents, tickets, or DUIs.  If you have been involved in a hit and run accident or a crash caused by an uninsured driver, we invite you to read Part II of this blog to learn more about you legal rights and options.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a crash with an uninsured or hit and run motorist, our Miami UM Claims Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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This blog post is Part II of a two-installment blog reviewing the dangers posed by vehicles that are exempt from the requirement of implementing vehicle defect recalls.  Many people do not realize that the requirement to ensure that safety defects are corrected on vehicles prior to making them available to consumers is limited to new vehicle sales.  Despite efforts to get defective rental cars and used cars off the road, consumers should confirm that a used car or rental can is not subject to a recall prior to purchasing or renting the vehicle.

Vehicles Exempt from Safety Recalls

Despite proposed legislation intended to close loopholes involving vehicles that are not required to fix defects, public safety remains dependent on voluntary action.  The law does not require that a rental car be repaired before it is rented to another customer following issuance of a safety recall.  Admittedly, certain rental car agencies voluntarily pull vehicles subject to recall out of circulation, but there are strong economic incentives not to take this step.  An article in Fortune magazine discussing this issue indicated that a major vehicle recall can impact one-third of a rental car company’s entire fleet of vehicles.

Under current federal law, a new car dealer cannot sell a vehicle subject to a safety recall until the issue has been fixed.  There is no similar requirement imposed on the sell or rental of cars from a rental car agency, used cars, or loaners.  The loophole is so large that used car dealerships, rental car companies, and dealerships that provide loaners do not even need to inform customers about significant safety recalls that affect a vehicle.

Danger of Fatal Accidents Caused by Unrepaired Vehicle Defects Claiming Lives

Although it might be tempting to dismiss this potential dangers as more theoretical than actual, the loophole that allows certain categories of defective vehicles to remain on our roads have caused traffic fatalities and catastrophic injuries, such as the following:

  • Two sisters tragically perished in a vehicle fire when they were driving a rental car that had been recalled because of a fire hazard.
  • A woman rented a car with an airbag that was subject to recall. She suffered significant injuries when her defective airbag failed to deploy during a crash.
  • A California Highway Patrol officer and three family members were involved in a horrific crash when their loaner Lexus suddenly accelerated unexpectedly until it reached a top speed of 120 mph. The vehicle went over an embankment and burst into flame.  Three vehicle occupants died in the crash.

These high profile examples demonstrate that unrepaired vehicle defects are actually causing harm to unsuspecting drivers and vehicle occupants who have no idea they might be driving a moving death trap.

Efforts to Require Compliance with Safety Recalls for All Vehicles Have Failed

Traffic safety advocates and lawmakers have been promoting new legislation to mitigate the danger posed by this loophole for years.  However, there is an increased urgency because of the seriousness and scope of recent vehicle defects.  Some rental car companies have voluntarily entered into an agreement not to re-rent recalled cars until safety issues have been addressed.  Unfortunately, these voluntarily measures have left millions of defective used vehicles and rental cars on our roads.

While federal lawmakers and regulators have been slow to formally respond to this risk, motorists are not without remedies when defects cause accidents.  When a defect causes a collision involving a vehicle exempt from recall requirements, the following parties might be liable for significant injuries or death:

  • Manufacturer of the vehicle
  • Rental car agency that re-rents the defective vehicle
  • Used car dealership that sells a defective vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer
  • New car dealership that furnishes a loaner to a customer while the customer’s car is

being serviced

These parties might be liable along with other negligent parties who constitute a substantial factor in causing an auto accident, such as other drivers, public entities, vehicle repair shops, vehicle owners, employers of negligent drivers and others.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or your family member have been injured in a Florida car crash, our Miami Auto Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

 

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With the arrival of summer, families are making vacation plans which might include getting a loaner car while you take your car in to get it serviced or making arrangements for a rental car.  While you might presume that used car dealerships and rental car agencies confirm that the cars they provide to customers are mechanically sound and comply with safety recalls, there is no factual basis for this assumption.  Although new car dealers are required to comply promptly with car defect safety recalls, this requirement of federal law does not apply to dealers that provide loaners, rental car companies, and used car dealerships.

2014 Brought a Record Number of Vehicle Safety Recall Defects

Although the loophole that exempts used cars, dealer loaners, and used cars from recalls has always posed a serious danger to the public, this risk has been magnified by the record number of recalls in 2014.  Last year, carmakers recalled a record 62,000,000 vehicles for safety defects.  The most prominent recalls that dominated the news involved faulty ignition switches and defective airbags.  General Motors (GM) recalled millions of vehicles because of a potentially deadly ignition switch defect.  The defect caused the switch to rotate into the off position while the vehicle was moving, disabling steering, brakes, and airbags.  GM ignition switch defects has claimed the lives of over a 104 people as of May 18, 2015.

While the ignition switch recall was limited to GM, the recall of airbags manufactured by Takata® involved as many as ten different automakers and constitutes the largest recall in history.  The airbags at issue rupture violently when they deploy causing metal shrapnel to be propelled at unsuspecting drivers.  The number of vehicles affected by the defective airbags continues to rise at the time of the writing of this blog post, but the toll claimed by the defect is currently at six fatalities and dozens of fatalities.

Along with these vehicle defects, recalls have been related to a range of other safety issues involving faulty fuel gauges, fire hazards, impaired steering, sudden brake failure, and other airbag defects.  The public was inundated with safety recalls, and over 700 recalls were announced during 2014.  The failure of Hyundai and GM to act promptly enough when implementing recalls even resulted in significant fines imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Given the massive number of safety issues with vehicles, loopholes that exempt rental cars, used vehicles, and loaners from recalls is concerning.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or a love one has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, our Miami Car Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Recently, three people were killed in an early morning car accident in Miami Lakes.  Investigators report that a red Nissan Altima was driving west on Miami Lakes Drive when the driver suddenly lost control at the intersection with North Miami Lakeway Road and slammed into a wall.  The car wound up wrapped around a light pole.  The accident occurred at about 1:20 a.m.

There were three people in the Altima, two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s.  All three occupants were killed on impact. The vehicle was damaged so badly that it was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office with the three bodies inside.

A nearby resident reports that during his 20 years living in the area, he has seen several crashes.  The mornings, he feels, are the most dangerous.  Investigators report that the driver of the vehicle was a single mother to a ten year old boy and studying to be a medical billing specialist.  It is believed speed was a factor in the crash and the potential role of drugs or alcohol is being investigated.

Miami Lakes Drive is a busy stretch of road.  During the police investigation, one vehicle drove past the speed limit sign, the police cruiser, and straight through the police tape.  A field sobriety test was administrated and the suspect was arrested for a possible DUI.

That same morning, officers responded to another speed related accident, this one occurring at Lejeune Road and Northwest 36th Street.  The driver was headed east when he lost control and crashed into a light pole on the median.  He died at the scene of the accident.

Speed is a Top Cause of Car Accidents

            Nearly one third of all car accidents can be attributed to speed.  The faster a car is traveling, the less time drivers have to react to obstacles or roadway hazards.  Speeding causes cars to lose control, swerve, hit cars ahead, and much more.  Some 13,000 lives a year are lost due to speeding.

Speeding is a deliberate behavior and when a speeding driver injuries another, he or she may be held accountable for the damages that ensue.  If you have been injured in a speed related crash, contact a licensed car accident attorney as soon as possible.  Your attorney will start by gathering evidence of the at-fault party’s excessive speed.  This could include photographing skid marks, checking traffic cameras, police reports, witness statements, assessing damages, and taking weather conditions into account.  With this evidence compiled, your attorney should be able to present a strong case for negligence on the part of the speeding driver.  Remember, the at-fault driver’s speed need not always be high to be considered excessive; road and weather conditions require speed adjustments and those who fail to take these conditions into consideration can be held accountable.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Award Winning Automobile Accident Attorneys   

            This recent tragic accident highlights the need for increased automobile safety.  If you have been injured in a car crash, the Miami Automobile Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted accident victims in car accident, personal injury, and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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On Saturday, March 7, a 21 year old woman from Miami was killed after the van in which she was a passenger overturned on a ramp between Interstate 95 and Interstate 595 in Broward County.  The young victim was one of five people riding in a 2006 Dodge Durango.  The van crashed at about 3:30 p.m. as the driver attempted to exit northbound I-95 and enter east I-595.  According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the victim was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

The driver, a 51 year old from Miami, apparently failed to negotiate the curve on the ramp and lost control of the vehicle.  Two occupants were ejected from the Durango.  Another passenger, a 24 year old from Miami Gardens, is currently listed in serious condition in Broward Health Medical Center.  She was also not wearing a seat belt.

The driver and two others in the van, one of which is a four year old child, suffered minor injuries but thankfully were wearing seat belts and will make a full recovery.

This tragic crash serves as a sad reminder of the importance of seat belts.  Our Miami car accident lawyers  have seen time and time again—a seat belt can save a life in the event of a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 15,000 lives are saved each year by seat belts.

Seat Belts Offer 5-Way Protection

            Seat belts are known to prevent serious injury to the occupants of motor vehicles in five ways:

  1. Keep occupants inside the vehicle: When a car accident occurs, your body will attempt to continue to move at the speed the vehicle was traveling.  Seat belts keep you from being thrown out of the car or traveling through the windshield.  People thrown from the car are four times more likely to die in an accident than those kept within.
  2. Seat belts restrain the strongest parts of the body: Seat belts use the strongest parts of your body, the hips and shoulders, to restrain you in the event of a crash.
  3. Spreads out the force of a collision: Seat belts will spread the force of a crash over a wide area of the body.  By avoiding putting stress on any one area, seat belts help to avoid serious injury.  The shoulder strap will also keep our head and upper body away from the steering wheel, dashboard, and other hard parts of the vehicle that you would otherwise hit in the event of a crash.
  4. Slows your body down: It is the quick change of speed that often causes injury in a crash, and seat belts help to extent the time it takes for your body to slow down in a crash.
  5. Protects brain and spinal cord: Seat belts are designed to protect the two most fragile parts of your body—your brain and spinal cord.  Head injuries can be deadly and spinal cord injuries can have serious consequences, both of which seat belts guard against.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.: Aggressive Representation for Car Accident Victims

            If you have been injured in a car accident, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. are here to help.  For over 130 collective years, we have assisted car accident victims across South Florida.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Allow our dedicated attorneys to mount your successful case.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Starting January 1, 2015, more Florida children will be kept safe in child safety seats designed to minimize injuries and save young lives.  The Florida Child Safety Seat Law was implemented by the Florida Legislature just this year.  The law came after 14 years of battling for Florida legislatures to strengthen the state’s notoriously weak child safety seat requirements.  Now, all children ages four and five must be in a child safety seat while riding in the car. Our Miami personal injury lawyers report that appropriate safety seats must be state approved and meet certain minimum safety requirements.

The revised law marks an important step towards reducing the number of child deaths in the state and improving overall child safety.  Children in child safety seats are better protected in the event of a crash.  By including four and five year olds in child safety seat requirements, the Florida Child Restraint Law has expanded safety across the family.  Studies have unanimously found that the use of age appropriate car seats and booster seats greatly reduces the risk of serious or fatal injury for young children.

Under the new law, all four and five year olds must ride in a state approved child car seat or booster seat.  Harsh penalties will be lobbed against those that fail to comply, including fines of $60 and up to three points applied on their driver’s license.

Some children will need to sit in booster seats beyond the age required by Florida law, depending upon the child’s size.  The FLHSMV provides guidelines to parents in assessing whether a booster seat is needed after the age of five.  These guidelines recommend that children should remain in a booster seat until:

  • The child is at least 4’9” tall;
  • The child can sit at the back of the seat and bend his or her knees at the edge of the seat;
  • The shoulder belt should stretch across the child’s chest, not the neck; and
  • The lap belt lays flat across the child’s upper thighs, not the stomach.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a booster seat reduces the risk of serious injury for children between the ages of four and eight by 45 percent, as compared to just using a seat belt.  Booster seats raise the child to the required height so that the seat belt can offer appropriate restraint.

The attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A are proud to see this latest amendment to Florida law aimed at reducing the risk of child injury and death.  We hope that parents will take heed and place their young children in appropriate car and booster seats so that in 2015 we will see a substantial decrease in child related car accident injuries and deaths.

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A.:  Assisting Child Accident Victims

All parents want to keep their children safe at any cost.  Unfortunately, sometimes car accidents that involve children will occur to even the safest of drivers.  If your child is injured in a car accident, you will need the representation of the very best to ensure he or she receives the recovery deserved.  The Miami personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A have over 130 years of collective experience zealously fighting for the recovery of child and other accident victims.  Our dedication and commitment to excellence has earned us recognition as a top South Florida firm by the Miami Herald and an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so that we can begin mounting your successful personal injury action.

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