Articles Tagged with automobile accident

Auto Crash.001As parents, we do our best to protect our children from harm. As part of regular every day life, children are transported to and from school, sport practices, and other activities. It is common to see children in vehicles before and after school as well during the school day while attending field trips and other school related activities. Unfortunately, there are far too many drivers on the road who fail to pay attention to traffic, road conditions, weather, and, yes, the presence of children in passenger vehicles, school buses, day care center vans, and other vehicles.

When a child is injured as a result of the negligence of another driver, the parents on behalf of the child can pursue a personal injury claim or case. Certainly, as a passenger, there can be no fault attributed to the child passenger; however, it should be noted that only children under the age of 6 years old are immune from being blamed in part or whole for his or her actions. As such, let’s say a 12 year old is a passenger in a vehicle but fails to wear a seatbelt. The 12 year old may be blamed in part for the personal injuries if it can be established that there was an operational seatbelt and that the use of a seatbelt would have prevented the injuries in the entirety. If the seatbelt would have lessened the injuries, then a case or claim can still be pursued. In most instances, a child is wearing a seatbelt and this particular issue is avoided due to the child’s reasonable actions in wearing a seatbelt.

Moving beyond potential seatbelt issues, it is important that the injured child receive immediate care through an emergency room, urgent care center, clinic, or pediatrician’s office. From there, if the child is still experiencing pain and / or other medical complications, follow up care should be sought and obtained on behalf of the injured child. Handling a personal injury case or claim is not an easy task or endeavor. This is especially true when the parent is dealing with the challenges or issues on his or her own without the benefit of legal advice or legal representation. As such, when a child is injured, it is important to consult with a Child Injury Lawyer who can provide the necessary guidance, direction, and, yes, legal representation when the injuries warrant the involvement of an attorney.

Car Crash and Florida Wrongful Death.001In Florida and other states, headlines are made when there is an automobile accident involving serious personal injuries or the death of a driver or passenger.  This is especially true when children and reengages are the unfortunate victims in a Florida Automobile Accident Crash.   The death of a teenager can have a ripple effect throughout the community.  In many instances, a school crisis team is put in place to provide some guidance and counseling to the other students at the school where the victim attended.  Certainly, the biggest loss is upon the parents.  It is unnatural in the scheme of things for a parent to suffer the loss of a child especially after putting in some many years of work and love to raise the child from an infant to a young adult.  When a teenager dies, so much of the promise that was there just disappears in a moment of time.  It is the moment of time in which another driver was speeding or otherwise not paying attention.  This momentarily lapse in good judgment and safe driving can and does often lead to serious personal injuries and the deaths of innocent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Just recently, an 18 year old died in an automobile accident which took place in St. Johns County – St. Augustine, Florida near the World Golf Village area.  It was reported by a number of media outlets that Griffin Moody, who had just graduated from Allen D. Nease High School in June 2016 died as a result of this 2 vehicle crash.  The crash occurred on Murabella Parkway according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Griffin Moody was a passenger in a 2005 Ford Focus that was being driven by another teenager.  It was also reported that five other people suffered personal injuries in this crash.

Florida has statutes in place that set forth the rules of the road.  Generally, drivers should obey the posted speed limits and yield the right of way to drivers on the roadway.  A left hand turning vehicle should yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.   All drivers should maintain control of the respective vehicles and otherwise remain attentive to traffic conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions.  Each driver has a duty to avoid a crash when he or she has the ability to do so.   It should be noted that each Florida Automobile Accident should be evaluated based on its own facts and merits. When a persona dies as result of a Florida traffic crash, the local law enforcement department and / or Florida Highway Patrol will investigate and issue a Florida Homicide Traffic Report upon completion of the investigation.  It should noted that the results or conclusions of such a report are not binding per se on insurance companies or any further potential civil cases.

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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;

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.   

School Bus Stop Sign.001In Florida and other states, school bus stop areas are busy during the morning and afternoon areas.   Some school bus stops are well marked with signage, flashing lights, and crosswalks while other bus stops are not as well set up or equippped.  If a driver knows of a school bus stop by signage, lights, and / or by a general knowledge of the area, it is important for drivers to slow down and be on the watch for children at the school bus stop area or walking to or walking away from the school bus stop area.

Unfortunately and tragically, children continue to suffer injuries and even die as a result of pedestrian / automobile accident incidents in and around school bus stop areas.  Florida has adopted a number of legal concepts that may apply to personal injuries suffered by a child pedestrian in or near school bus stop areas.  A child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held negligent for his or her own actions as a matter of law.  For children 6 years of age and older, the conduct of the child is evaluated / considered based on the age and maturity of the child as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding the pedestrian / automobile accidents.  In addition, Florida has comparative fault when evaluating the liability or responsibility for pedestrian and automobile accidents.  In other words, there may be negligence on behalf of the child 6 or older which does not prevent the right to pursue a cause of action for injuries or death to the child. For instance, if is determined that a child is 25 % at fault for an accident, then the child and / or the family of the child would be entitled to recover 75 % of the damages associated with the injuries / death.  The negligence of the child pedestrian is not a bar to recovery in the State of Florida.

A tragedy was recently reported in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida.  New 4 Jax and other media outlets reported that Kymora Christian, a 7 year old girl, died while walking to her Palm Coast school bus stop for Wadsworth Elementary School. It was reported that there was no crosswalk in the area.  In Flagler County and other Florida counties, some school bus stops have crosswalks and some do not.  This makes it even more important for drivers in and near the school bus stop area to slow down especially during drop off and pick up times.  The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident that involved a SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).  Since a death resulted from a vehicular accident in the State of Florida, a full investigation as to speed, preventability, and other factors will be conducted and reported by the Florida Highway Patrol. You can read more about this tragic incident at Florida Highway Patrol – 7 Year Old Girl Killed at School Bus Stop – Flagler County – Palm Coast, Florida.

Parents work tirelessly to raise and mentor their children.   Parents make sacrifices every day to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their children.  During the infant and toddler years, parents or appropriate care providers are typically with the child at all times.  As a child grows older, it is not practical, possible, or necessary for a parent to be that 24 / 7 protector of their children.  As a child grows older, we, as parents, cannot be everything for our children.  They must and do venture out in the world.   As teenagers, parents still provide for their children and serve as guides and mentors.  When a teen is away from a parent on a short trip or a long one, a parent will worry but, again, cannot be there at all times.  Tragically, many teens die as a result of Florida Automobile Accidents on a far too frequent basis.  Through no fault of the teen victim, a life is lost due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver.  The at-fault driver may be another teen driver, an adult driver, a commercial driver, truck driver, etc. . .  No matter the identity of the at-fault driver or at-fault owner of the automobile, truck or vehicle, a teen’s life is lost and parents will grieve after the accident and for a lifetime for that matter.
It is interesting to note that in the English dictionary there is no word designated for a parent who loses a child.  When a man loses his wife, he is a widower. When a wife loses her husband, she is a widow.  When a child loses his parents, he is an orphan; however, when a parent loses a child, there is no word to describe the parents. Furthermore, the pain in losing a child is indescribable.
Certainly, the first thought that enters a parent’s head following the death of a child is not “Let’s get an attorney.”   It is more common and natural for a parent to be in shock and a loss for word or rational thought.   Questions that commonly arise include the following:  What happened?  How could this be?  Is this a nightmare?  Is this a mistake?  Could my child really be gone?  

Ambulance on Blue BackgroundFlorida roads, highways, and streets are far too often the locations of tragic automobile and trucking accidents.  Whenever there is a death on Florida roadways, the lives of surviving family members, friends, and neighbors are forever changed. There is a certain ripple effect from the death of even one person who untimely dies as a result of the careless driving of another person.   In Green Cove Springs (Clay County), Florida, there was a tragic accident reported in which 5 people died and 2 children were injured.  The Florida Highway Patrol reported that one driver drove over the double yellow lines and into the right of way of the there driver.  A fatal head on accident resulted with just tragic results. You can read more about this story at Fatal Accident Reported in Green Cove Springs, Florida. 
When a death is caused by the negligence or fault of another person, entity, or business in Florida, a wrongful death case can be pursued under Chapter 768, Florida Statutes.  It should be noted that when a person dies in the State of Florida, the civil lawsuit focuses on the loss, pain, and suffering on the surviving family member which may include a parent, child, or both.   Certainly, a person who dies as a result of an accident may have suffered extreme pain prior to death. There may have been an extended hospitalization leading to death.  However, once the person dies, the type of case that is pursued is a Florida Wrongful Death case assuming that the death was proximately caused by the trauma from the automobile accident or trucking accident. 
There are many twists and turns to the pursuit of a Florida Wrongful Death Case.  Because of this, it makes sense for family members to consult a Florida Personal Injury Attorney for advice, consultation, and legal representation.  The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About the Florida Wrongful Death Act.  The book has sections on Personal Representative, Settlement / Compensation, Damages, and other topics. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty

suv_110002376-012814-intIn Florida and other states, children are put at risk by negligent drivers. This is especially true when a driver decides to take the wheel even after a day or night of drinking or drug use. Any given time during the day or night, cars on the road with children as passengers and many with teen drivers. When a person takes the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, these actions but put the safety, health, and welfare of children and adults alike in harms way. When a child is injured in an automobile accident as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver, the child has legal rights to pursue case for compensation for the damages associated with the personal injuries.
It should be noted that when evaluating a potential case. There are essentially two ways to view the case. One way involves a legal analysis. The other way involves a practical evaluation. There may be a legal case to pursue but for practical reasons like the lack of available liability insurance – there may be practical reasons not to pursue a legal case related to a drunk driving automobile accident. As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer, I am often often called upon to review cases involving injuries.  As part of my evaluation, I always consider both the legal elements combined with the practicalities of pursuing such a case.   As a law student at the University of Florida over 25 years ago, the focus of my law school education was on the legal elements required to prove a case.  Back when I attended law school, there was not much emphasis on the practical aspects or expected financial results or recovery of such a case. While the legal analysis of the case is important, the real world is the real world.  For parents dealing with the aftermath of a Florida automobile accident causing serious personal injuries, the real world involved the practical problems and challenges of dealing with medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and injuries that could and do impact a child for a lifetime.
When a child is injured as a result of a drunk driving accident, a child has the right to recover monetary damages for these medical bills – past and future as well as the non-economic damages related to pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.  Typically, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer will focus on the available automobile insurance in order to recover these damages.   Certainly, a drunk driver can be sued for the entire value of the case. A judgment can be obtained which means that there was a court determination via a jury verdict or a bench (judge) verdict which requires the defendant to pay damages to the injured child.  However, it should be noted that the actual collection or recovery of said judgement is quite something different.   Because of the complexities of these matters, a parent should seek the advice, guidance, and representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

Wrongful Death Book Cover.001When a child is born, parents have the dream and expectation that the child will live a long and successful life.  Of course, it is impossible to either predict or control the future; however, with good parenting and a motivated child, success and a good life are certainable attainable.  The dream, of course, can be shattered by unexpected events and tragedies like a Florida Automobile Accident.  Children can be seen travelling as passengers in vehicles in every community.  Most of us have seen the signs or bumper stickers on cars that state “Baby On Board”.  This is a message to remind other drivers to drive with due caution and at a safe speed.   Of course, all drivers should be attentive to road conditions, traffic, and other vehicles.  In the flash of a moment, a crash can take place.  It can be because of excessive speed, carelessness, distracted driving, and other reasons.  Whatever the reason, when a crash takes place, children can and do suffer personal injuries.  Many children tragically die as a result of Florida Automobile Accidents.
When a child dies a result of an automobile accident, a parent can pursue a cause of action pursuant to the Florida Wrongful Death Act.  There are special provisions in the Florida Statutes and case law that apply to the death of a child.  A parent can bring an action for the wrongful death of a child and seek damages for the loss of the child including loss of services, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.  It should be pointed out that while the child’s suffering is germaine to the case – it is the loss of the parent that matters.  If the parent had a close relationship with the child, that will be taken into consideration when pursuing the case.  Is there really any form of compensation that will fairly compensate a parent for the untimely and preventable death of a child?  This is, of course, a loaded question of sorts.  However, the pursuit of a civil case for the wrongful death of a child does come down to money or compensation.  At some point in the case, the issue of compensation will be discussed.  If a settlement can be worked out, then the case can resolve without having to go through the stress of a trial; however, if a settlement cannot be reached, a parent can seek recourse / compensation through a trial.  As a Child Injury Lawyer, I am asked if other family members can also seek compensation like a brother or sister.  The simple answer is No.  The parents are the statutory survivors of a minor child.   There are circumstances where the minor child,  which is defined as a child under the age of 25 years old, has a child.   Under these circumstances, a wrongful death case can be pursued on behalf of the surviving parent and the surviving offspring of the minor child.  The Florida Wrongful Death Act is not a voluminous law by any means but there are some twists and turns to the statute.  As such, it makese sense for parents to seek the advice, counsel, and legal representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer when dealing with the aftermath of the death of a child.
The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of Child – What You Need to Know About the Florida Wrongful Death Act – covers general provisions of the statute, the pursuit of a wrongful death case, the assessment of damages, and other matters. You can get this book for free at When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty.

State of Florida Map YellowA recent tragedy that took place in Jacksonville, Florida on the Buckman Bridge brings out the ripple effect of crashes of this nature.   It has been reported that the family was in Jacksonville, Florida visiting from Pine Bluff Arkansas.  There really are no suitable words to describe the loss of four family members in one automobile accident. Unfortunately, the castastrophe of a deadly automobile – trucking accident happens far too often on Florida roads, highways, and expressways.  The Buckman Bridge, which is a large bridge connecting Jacksonville to Orange Park, has seen its share of accidents including those that involve the wrongful death of adults and children.

Visitors and tourists flock to the State of Florida by the millions every year. We have great weather, attractions, and wonderful residents.  Whether it is a trip to a relative’s house or one to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, there are millions of visitions from outside the State of Florida.   Many of which travel from Southern States including the State of Arkansas.  Case in point, the recent tragic accident on the Buckman Bridge involved four family members (2 adult and 2 children) from Arkansas.  You can read more about the Arkansas family and the “shock” and despair surrounding the aftermath of the crash at Arkansas Family Killed in Florida Vehicle Accident. 

Are the legal rights of the resident of Arkansas any different from the legal rights of Florida residents when there is an automobile accident in the State of Florida?  The simple answer to this question is, “No, not really.”   The answer is qualified a bit because resident of the State of Florida have different insurance requirements for vehicles than residents of other States; however, the legal rights of the victim and / or the victim’s family are the same whether a Florida resident or a non-Florida resident is injured in an automobile accident.