Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

Florida Bicycle Accident Injuries.001Florida is a state that is filled year round with bicycle rides and cyclists of all ages and skill levels.  During any given trip by a driver of a motor vehicle – long or short, there is a high probability that you will pass or see a bicyclist on or near the roadway. It is vital that all drivers slow down near bicyclists and treat each bicyclist with due respect.  Let’s face it – a bicyclist / bicycle is no match (weight, force, and speed) for any motor vehicle out on the roads.   Distracted driving is an ongoing problem in the State of Florida.  Drivers are unfortunately and tragically paying more attention to their phone, text messages, and e-mails than other drivers, pedestrians, and, yes, bicyclist on or near the roads, highways, and streets.
Florida has adopted a comparative fault set of laws applicable to automobile accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.  In other words, in order to pursue a case for compensation for personal injuries, the injured bicyclist can be partially at fault for the accident or incident.  In representing an injured bicyclist, it is preferable if the driver is 100 % at fault; however, there may be circumstances where the bicyclist is partially at fault. There also can be situations in which two or more drivers may be at fault for a bicycle accident leading to personal injuries.
It should be noted that under Florida Statutes a bicyclist is given the same rights as a pedestrian under many situations.  As such, drivers should keep the law in mind as well the safety of all bicyclists and pedestrians in mind when operating a motor vehicle in the State of Florida.  It should also be noted that Florida has adopted a Dangerous Instrumentality Law as it applies to automobile accidents and bicycle accidents.  As such, the registered owner of a motor vehicle is liable for the negligence of a permissive driver even if the owner did nothing wrong OR was not even present at the time of the incident or crash leading to the personal injuries of the bicyclist.

Stop Sign Negligence.001A Stop Sign is posted due to he traffic pattern and flow in a particular geographic area. It should also be noted that there should not be any ambiguities or doubts as to the purpose and function of a Stop Sign. Furthermore, it is clear that once a driver stops at a Stop Sign – he or she should diligently be on the look out for other traffic and then take whatever time is necessary to safely proceed through the intersection at issue. In Florida and other States, many automobile accidents occur due to the failure to obey speed limits and traffic signage. There is also a significant problem with Distracted Driving due to mobile phone use, Web Browsing, and Text Messaging.  Many lives can be saved and many personal injuries due to Florida Automobile Accidents can be avoided by simply obeying and following the traffic signage like a Stop Sign and by being more attentive to traffic and weather conditions.

It was recently reported in Hastings, St. Johns County, Florida that four people were transported to a hospital.  The intial news and media reports indicated that a pick up truck driver ran a stop sign.  Due to fact that a death and serious personal injuries resulted from this Florida Automobile Accident, a full investigation including a Traffic Homicide Report will be completed by local law enforcement officials and / or the Florida Highway Patrol.   Certainly, any time that a person dies as a result of a Florida Automobile Accident – it is tragic.  Even more so if it is determined that that the automobile accident was avoidable with more attentive driving.  It should be noted that with more attentive driving and patience – many such Florida motor vehicle crashes can be avoided.

When there is a motor vehicle crash, the personal injury victims are faced with a number of challenges and issues.  It is important that the victims and families get support from their extended family, the neighborhood, churches and religious institutions, and others.  The injury victims and families certainly deserve compassion in this time of need following a horrific traffic crash. It is also important for the injury victims and families to have legal representation early on in the process.

Red Bicycle.001In the State of Florida, a bicycle can be operated on a street, sidewalk, and crosswalk.   Pursuant to Section 316.2065 (9), Florida Statutes – Bicycle Regulations:

316.2065 (9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

As such, a bicyclist is essentially considered a pedestrian when operating a bicycle on a sidewalk and crosswalk. It is important for all drivers to be on the look out for bicyclists in the community whether the bicyclist / cyclist is a toddler, child, teen, adult, or competitive cyclist of any age. Florida weather permits bicycle riding year round.  As such, drivers should always be on the lookout for cyclist at all times.  Unfortunately, far too many bicyclist are injured every year due to the negligent driving of others and / or distracted driving of others.

Red Bicycle.001In Florida, there is a common activity in every one of the 67 counties – children riding their bicycles.   From toddlers on trikes to teens on mountain bikes and racers, children enjoy the freedom and exercise of riding their bicycles on and near Florida roads and streets.  While it is a very enjoyable and normally healthy activity to participate in, it can also be quite dangerous.   The truth is that the road is filled with drivers who are in a hurry and drivers who are distracted.   Just a second of inaction or carelessness behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can have drastic and life altering effects on the child bicyclist.  As such, it is vital that ALL DRIVERS be on the look out for the child bicyclist in the community.   A child bicyclist can be seen in a variety of locations from the driveway to the neighborhood to busy streets and parking lots. Wherever you see a child bicyclist, SLOW DOWN and MAKE SURE that the child is not put in harm’s way.   Safety awareness and attention are keys to protecting our children in the community who are bicyclists / cyclists.

If a child bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, the family of the child can pursue a legal case or claim on behalf of the injured child.   There are four essential elements to prove in a Florida Bicycle Injury Case as follows:

1. Duty;

Autombile-Accident-Car-Keys-150x150
Many automobile accidents in the State of Florida as well as the rest of the country result from a rear end crash or collision.  In most crashes, the driver, who crashed into the vehicle in front of him or her, is at fault.  There are some exceptions to this general rule if there is a sudden and abrupt stop by the vehicle in front.  Section 316.0895, Florida Statutes – Following Too Closely provides that driver’s shall not follow another motor vehicle more closely than is reasonably prudent.  On Florida streets, highways, and roads, drivers should have due regard of the speed of other vehicles, traffic, road conditions, and weather when driving behind other vehicles and / or when approaching other vehicles.

Some may believe that once a rear end crash is essentially an open and shut case.  The automobile insurance company will recognize and admit liability and responsibility for damages to the vehicle that was rear ended and admit liability and responsibility for the injuries to the driver and passengers who were occupying the vehicle that was rear ended.  The truth is that automobile insurance companies scrutinize every part of a claim or case including the cause and details of the crash, the extent of the impact or the force of the impact, the relationship of the crash to the injuries complained of, the age of the injury victim, the prior medical history and condition of the injury victim, the reasonableness and necessity of the medical care provided, the finding of the treating medical providers, the finding of the treating radiologist, and the reports of the treating medical providers.  Florida law provides that it is the burden of the injury victim to prove by the preponderance of the evidence all elements of a personal injury case which are as follows:
  1. Duty;

Bicycle Injury Rider.001In the State of Florida and other states, bicyclists are put at risk for personal injuries.  From the simple bicycle ride of a child to a more rigorous bicycle ride by an experienced cyclist, an injury, accident, or crash could take place at any place and time.  Some bicycle injuries are quite minor in the form of a scared knee or elbow that heal quickly; however, other bicycle accident related injuries can be quite significant and change the life of the injured cyclist.  Tragically, far too many cyclists from toddlers to elementary school age children to teens to adults to seniors die every year due to the negligent driving of an operator of passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle.  Any time that a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver should keep in mind that on any given trip there will be pedestrians, cyclists (bicycles), and bikers (motorcycles) on the roadway.  There is a common expression or theme out there – Look Twice for Motorcycles.  This simple but powerful advice applies the same and even more to pedestrians and cyclists especially those who are children.
When a cyclist is injured or a cyclist dies as a result of the fault of a driver, the cyclist and the family of the cyclist can seek compensation for the damages (personal and property) caused by the bicycle accident  Most states have adopted a comparative fault form of liability for bicycle accidents.  In other words, even if the cyclist was partially at fault, an injury claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist and / or the family of the injured cyclist.  It should be pointed out that each claim or case involving a bicycle accident or injury should be evaluated on its own merits, facts, and circumstances. It is important that the injured cyclist and family retain the services of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to review the facts, circumstances, insurance coverages, medical bills, and medical records to determine the recommended practical and legal courses of action.
A police report detailing the details of the bicycle accident can be helpful as part of the investigation; however, it should be noted that a case or claim can be pursued on behalf of an injured bicyclist even without a bicycle accident report and even without a favorable bicycle accident report. In other words, if the police officer places some or all of the fault for a bicycle accident on the injured cyclist, a civil claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist. In most instances, the police officer, deputy sheriff, and / or highway patrol trooper arrive on the scene after the bicycle accident has already taken place.  As such, the police officer is merely assessing the information as he or she processed it at the time of the crash.  In most jurisdiction, for purposes of a bicycle accident, the police officer is not given the role of insurance adjuster, judge, or jury.  In other words, the conclusions and evaluations of the police officer are not completely dispositive of a claim or case on behalf of an injured cyclist.

Interstate 95In the State of Florida, just one crash can change the lives of many people and families.  This is especially true when there are multiple deaths or multiple claimants involved with a traffic crash. There are many issues and challenges to a case involving one injured person or party.  The issues are compounded when there are multiple victims, injuries, and claims.
For most personal injury claims or cases, the amount and type of automobile insurance often come into play and require a close evaluation and study.   It is important for a personal injury victim and / or the family of the personal injury victim to retain the services of an experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney to determine the rights of the victim, the rights of the family, and the recommended courses of action.  It should be noted that there is a big difference between the legal rights of the victim and the practical options or practical resolution of a case.  For instance, let’s assume that a person suffers a fractured leg requiring surgery and an extended hospitalization.  Let’s further assume that the reasonable value for such a case is $450,000.  The at-fault driver had an automobile insurance policy with a bodily injury policy limit of $50,000.  As such, the total amount of liability insurance in place for this particular claim was $50,000.  Under these facts and circumstances, the fair value of the case is $450,000; however the practical resolution of the case may end up being the $50,000 policy limits.  Again, there is a difference between the legal rights of the personal injury victim and the practical resolution of the case.
On Interstate 95 near Titusville, Florida, there was a recent fatal crash that was reported by news and media outlets.  The crash ended the lives of three young girls who were ejected from the vehicle.  It was reported that there were 11 people occupying the vehicle that was manufactured with a maximum capacity of 8 passengers / occupants.  A tire problem caused the Dodge Durrango SUV to go off off the road and then the SUV flipped several times.  Certainly, this tragic crash will have a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, and community.   

Bicycle Injury Rider.001In every community, there are cyclists and bicyclists of all types and ages.  It is important for drivers to slow down any time a cyclist is on or near the roadway.  Let’s face it.  A bicyclist, even an experienced one, is no match for a vehicle that crashes into or cuts off the bicyclist.  The result of such an incident or crash can be devastating and tragically ends of the life of far too many bicyclist.  Many bicycle accidents are preventable with safer and more attention driving.   Drivers should slow down and be respectful of bicyclists and cyclists.  Many injured cyclists are children who lack the safety awareness and motor skills to avoid impact with a vehicle that is heading straight for the bicyclist or cuts off the bicyclist.
This leads to a question that is common in bicycle accident cases.  What the value of a bicycle accident case?  While this may seem like a simple question, there is no simple answer to such an question. There are a variety of factors that are considered when properly evaluating a bicycle accident case.  For instance, the value of a case depends in part of the seriousness of the injuries.  An abrasion to the shin that heals in a weeks is evaluated much differently that a fractured leg that requires surgery.  Another factor to consider involves the amount and type of automobile insurance coverage in place.  Let’s say that a cyclist is hit by a vehicle through no fault of the cyclist.  The cyclist was wearing a bicycle helmet but still suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that required 1 year of treatment and the bicyclist now has ongoing headaches, memory problems, and cognitive problems.  One would think that this case has a significant value.  Let’s assume that the at-fault driver had $1,000,000 (One Million Dollars) in insurance coverage.  Then, yes, the case would have significant value and there is a good amount of insurance to cover the injuries.  One could even argue that the injuries exceed $1,000,000 (One Million Dollars).  For most injured bicyclists, the amount of automobile insurance coverage is much less than $1,000,000.  Let’s say that there is $25,000 in coverage.  Let’s further say that the case has a value from an injury standpoint of $750,000.  Even though the injuries are quite significant from a medical and value standpoint, the case may utimately be resolved (for practical reasons) for the Inusrance policy limits of $25,000.
Before making any decisions as to the settlement or a resolution of a case, the injured cyclist and his or her family should have an experienced Florida Personal Injury to evaluate the case and to provide advice, guidance, and legal representation.

Beach Personal Injury.001In the State of Florida, there are beaches on both coast from Key West to Jacksonville to Tampa and across the state to Pensacola.  For most beach goers, the days are filled with wonderful scenes, the surf, and family fun.  Unfortunately for some pedestrians and beach goers, the beach is the scene of a personal injury caused by the negligence with of a driver.  Many beaches have both pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic.  It is important for all drivers to proceed with due caution when driving on a beach because there are pedestrians, sun bathers, and, yes, teens and children in the area.  Many such incidents or accidents could be avoided with safer driving and / or more restrictions on beach driving.
During Mother’s Day Weekend – May 2016, two teens were hit by a Park Ranger with Atlantic Beach, Florida on Atlantic Beach.  The two girls were laying on the sand when they were hit by the vehicle.  With beach goers laying down, it is difficult to see them but this is all the more reason to drive extremely slow and careful when operating a motor vehicle on the beach.  First Coast News and other media outlets reported that the Park Ranger was at fault and will be issued a citation.
If a pedestrian or beach goer is struck by a vehicle while on the beach, the injured pedestrian or beach goer has legal rights to pursue compensation for medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, mental anguish and the loss of the enjoyment of life.  Compensation is not necessarily automatic or guaranteed.  Each potential case should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  It should be noted that cases or claims against government entities and its employees are handled differently by both practice and procedure.  There are formal notices that are required.  Furthermore, there are limitations of recovery on personal injury cases against government entities.  There are essentially four elements of a personal injury case:  1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages.  It should be noted that the results on ones case do not necessarily control the results on a similar case.  For instance, let’s say that a person is speeding through a school zone and hits a 6 year old waiting for the school bus.  The 6 year old suffered some minor abrasions but was otherwise fine.  This case certainly has some merit or value. Let’s change the facts a bit and say that the child suffered a broken leg, broken arm, and a serious traumatic brain injury.  While the circumstances surrounding the pedestrian accident were similar, the injuries and value are quite different.

School Bus CrashIn the State of Florida, millions of students are transported via school bus on a daily basis.  The typical school bus is yellow or orange in color and clearly visible to all other drivers on the roadway.   When there is a school bus on the roadway, other drivers should pay due care and drive safely.  Of course, this is simple common sense; however, it is important to stress the importance of driving carefully when driving near school buses.  Our most precious “cargo” is on board in the form of school aged students.  At times, there are crashes involving two or more school buses who are following each other on a school outing or during a transportation run. When school buses collide, the force can be quite intense and personal injuries can and do result from these crashes.  There is no immunity per se from liability for school districts for the negligence of a school bus driver.  This should not be confused with the legal term – “Sovereign Immunity”.  When a person reads the term “Sovereign Immunity”, one may get the idea that a claim or case cannot under any circumstances be pursued against a government entity.  The truth of the matter is that a case or claim can be pursued against a government entity like a school district when there is a school bus crash that is the fault of a school bus driver.  “Sovereign Immunity”  only means that there are certain notices and procedures to follow when pursuing a case or claim against a government entity.  For instance, there is a required formal – technical 6 month notice that is required to be given to the school district.  Furthermore, there are limitations as to the amount of compensation that can be recovered and there are restrictions or limitations on the attorney fees that can be charged by a Florida Child Injury Lawyer representing the injured child.

In Clay County – Middleburg – Florida, there was a reported crash involving 3 school buses.  It was a rear end type of crash.  It was reported that 100 students were being transported with approximately 23 or so being transported and treated at a local hospital. Initial reports indicate that the first two buses stopped or were stopping when the third bus crashed into the second bus which was then pushed into the first bus.  The parents of the children injured in this Clay County school bus accident will be faced with the challenge of dealing with the child’s medical bills, the medical treatment, and the personal injuries in the aftermath of the crash.  Even though the children were on a school bus, there may be benefits available to the child under a parent’s or resident relative’s insurance policy.  Furthermore, there may be limitations as to the total amount of compensation available to the injury victims who seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
David A. Wolf is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in handling child injury cases including school bus crashes.  He understands the importance of advocating for the injured child and providing the parents with timely and practical legal advice in the aftermath of a school bus crash or other incident causing personal injuries.  He is the author of 5 books including the book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident.  The book covers issues including but not limited to medical bills, medical treatment, settlement and value of cases, automobile insurance, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.  David Wolf prides himself on his work ethic and availability to his clients and prospective clients days, nights, and weekends.  If you have a case or claim to discuss with David A. Wolf, contact him right now and see him go into action for you. He provides a FREE CONSULTATION on all injury cases. David A. Wolf handles personal injury cases including child injury cases on a contingency basis. In other words, if there is no financial recovery, there are no fees or costs charged by David A. Wolf.