Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

Florida Drivers: If You Have a Restless Night, Should You Drive?

In June 2018, a horrific crash was caught on camera near Orlando. In this very dramatic footage, the vehicle is seen drifting into a concrete barrier at the toll plaza on the Florida Turnpike near St. Cloud. The impact ejects one of the four passengers onboard out through the windshield and sends him flying for about 20 feet.

Miraculously, the driver and all four passengers – including the one who was thrown out – and the driver survived the accident without serious injuries.

Reports released by the police showed that the 23-year-old man behind the wheel at the time of this crash was fatigued. Consequently, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles later tweeted a statement warning people that driving while drowsy and tired is dangerous and can have deadly consequences.

The agency could not have put it better – drowsy driving can indeed be deadly.

How bad is it?

Drowsy Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

That’s right. Fatigued drivers can be just as deadly as drivers who drink and drive.

Information from the CDC shows that:

  • If you stayed awake for 18 hours, your driving would be impaired in the same way it would if your BAC (blood alcohol content) was 0.05%.
  • If you stayed awake for 24 hours, your driving would be impaired in the same way it would if your BAC was 0.10% (the legal BAC limit is 0.08%).

In short, being sleep-deprived mirrors the dangerous effects of even the lowest amounts of alcohol and increases your chances of getting into an accident.

Why a Sleep-Deprived Driver Is A Dangerous Driver

A person who gets behind the wheel while fatigued, sleep-deprived, or drowsy usually has trouble staying alert. Such a person inadvertently becomes a dangerous driver because:

Their Reaction Time Is Slowed

Being sleep-deprived, fatigued, or drowsy gives you a sense of heaviness – particularly around your wrists and ankles. This feeling reduces the driver’s ability to react fast and appropriately to sudden situations on the road.

Sleep Deprivation Occasionally Sends Your Brain to Sleep

A fatigued or sleep-deprived driver may drift in and out of microsleep episodes while at the wheel. These micro-naps last just a few seconds and may even happen with the driver’s eyes open. This is the brain’s way of trying to get some rest, and it’s terrifying for anyone who has ever driven while tired, which is probably just about all of us.

Sleep Deprivation Denies You Control Over Your Vehicle

It’s not just your brain that “turns off” for some rest when you’re sleep deprived – most of your other sensory and motor senses may doze off too. This makes drowsy driving just as bad as – if not worse than – distracted driving.

When you fall asleep – even just “microsleep” – you give up control of the vehicle. Typically, these black outs only last a few seconds, but a lot of bad things can happen during that time if you’re driving.

Don’t Drive If You Are Sleep Deprived in Florida

The bottom line is that getting behind the wheel while drowsy, fatigued, or sleep-deprived, increases the risk of you being in or causing an accident. People who drive tired are a safety risk to their passengers, themselves, and every other person on the road.

Don’t Drive If You Are Sleep Deprived in Florida

It’s not always easy, but always strive to get enough sleep, and try to avoid late car rides. Additionally, if you believe you might be suffering from a sleep disorders, seeking help could save your life. Remember – sleep is as important for your health and wellbeing as it is to your safety on the road.

 

About the Author: 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Chain-Reaction Crashes in Florida: How Fault Is Determined

Chain-Reaction Crashes in Florida: How Fault Is Determined

Chain-Reaction Crashes in Florida: How Fault Is Determined

Car accidents can result in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. How is it decided who will have to pay for these damages and bills?

In Florida, it usually starts with personal injury protection (PIP). If you experience damages that add up to less than $10,000, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. Florida car insurance will cover that amount and you won’t have to bring your case to court.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in chain-reaction crashes. Damages can stay relatively low if only one or two cars are involved. However, when three or four cars are in a crash, there is little chance that that the bills will stay under $10,000.

So, how does Florida determine who is at fault for a chain-reaction crash? They look to see what negligent behavior caused the auto accident.

Negligent Driving Behavior in Florida

It only takes a second for a driver to commit a negligent behavior and put themselves (and others) in danger. What does “negligent behavior” mean in terms of driving, though?

Drivers have a duty to follow certain rules of the road and practice safe driving. If they neglect to stick by these rules, they could have to front the bill for a serious accident.

Negligent behaviors on the road include:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving in and out of lanes without using a turn signal or looking for other drivers
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving without lights on at night
  • Texting or talking on the phone while driving
  • Any form of distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Driving a car that has not been inspected

This type of driving may also be called “reckless driving” or “careless driving.”

Negligent behavior only goes so far if it directly causes a car accident. Let’s see how this might play out in a case involving a chain-reaction crash.

Pretend you are Driver A. Driver B is behind you, and Driver C behind them.

Driver C rear-ends Driver B, causing them to rear-end you. The chain reaction crash racks up $150,000 worth of damage and medical bills combined for all three drivers.

In court, it turns out that Driver C was texting when they hit Driver B. Due to Driver C’s negligence, they will have to pay for all of the damages.

Of course, as any experienced Florida injury lawyer can tell you, it doesn’t always work out this way.

Comparative Negligence Could Prevent You from Getting Your Full Amount in Florida

Let’s stick to this example. If Driver C is the only negligent driver, then they will have to foot the bill and cover the damages.

However, what happens if Driver B rear-ended Driver A because they were also negligent? Does Driver C still have to cover their damages?

Not under Florida’s comparative negligence laws. If drivers file a lawsuit for damages, but partially contributed to those damages, they will only receive a portion of the compensation they asked for. For example, if a judge determines that Driver B and Driver C both equally contributed to the damages in the chain-reaction crash, they will most likely have to pay equal amounts of damages to the victims.

Collect All Information Before You Go to Court

South Florida Car Accident Attorneys

Florida’s comparative negligence laws often encourage drivers to point fingers at each other in a crash and try to spread the blame around.

If you are involved in a chain-reaction crash, prepare for this type of finger-pointing and collect as much information as you can to defend yourself. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can get the compensation you deserve for any type of Florida car crash.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Top Reasons Not to Drive on New Year’s Eve in Florida

Top Reasons Not to Drive on New Year’s Eve in Florida

Top Reasons Not to Drive on New Year’s Eve in Florida

You’ve probably heard the old superstition, “What you do at New Year’s is what you’ll be doing all year.”

Well, a recent study by SmartAsset (a financial website) finds Florida drivers rank among the worst. Factors contributing to the rank included insured driver statistics, DUI data, and average fatalities per miles driven. SafeAuto.com also reported that there are typically 71% more alcohol and drug-related crashes between 6p.m. and 6 a.m. over the New Year’s holiday than an average weekend night.

In other words, we’re experiencing more crashes among the worst drivers in the country on the night that – supposedly – sets the tone for the whole year. Yes, it’s superstition, but still…

It sounds like going out for New Year’s is more likely to land you more time in a South Florida auto accident attorney’s offices than you would probably like to spend.

In all seriousness, if that isn’t reason enough to stay off Florida roadways, here are five more great reasons not to drive on New Year’s Eve.

Reason 1: No Chance of Spending Your Money & Time on a DUI

If you are charged with a DUI under Florida law, even a first conviction could cost you up to $2,000 (or more in certain circumstances). You would have a far better experience using that money to treat yourself and that special someone to a night at a five-star hotel. As this article is being written, a King guest room at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale with a balcony overlooking the ocean will only set you back about half that max fine!

Besides fines, Florida DUI convictions carry a mandatory sentence of 50 hours community service, and probation for up to one year. Additionally, actual imprisonment and/or participation in a treatment program is not uncommon and left to the court’s discretion.

Your license will also be revoked for all of 2019. Something that will definitely put a damper on your New Year’s resolutions. 

Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer

Reason 2: No Such Thing as Gridlock in Your Driveway

With multiple street closures, elevated foot traffic, impaired drivers, and the overall increase in activity and excitement, expect your drive time to and from the Downtown Countdown in Fort Lauderdale to crawl. If doesn’t matter if you volunteered to be designated driver or you have lined up a rideshare for a safe way home, either – your time in traffic will be virtually the same.

However, you can skip the hours in creeping traffic, the increased risk of involvement in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, and encounters with drunk drivers on the roadways outside of downtown altogether by keeping your car parked in your driveway.

Reason 3: Spending More Time with People You Really Care About

Let’s be honest – when you commit to a drive downtown for the New Year’s countdown, you know spending the evening with a few thousand strangers, being barely able to have a conversation with the people you came with, and drinking over-priced well drinks until midnight is part of the deal.

You are also probably well aware that your chances of spending the weeks following that celebration working with a Florida personal injury lawyer because of some unexpected fiasco or another are exponentially higher than if you’d only decided to host a house party with some of your favorite people.

Reason 4: You Create Way Better Drinks at Home Anyway

The average price of a cocktail – and not necessarily top shelf – is reported to be $11 in Ft. Lauderdale. On New Year’s Eve you can expect that to double to $22/glass. And the price of that champagne toast is a whole other story in itself.

On the flipside, your hand-crafted cocktails at home are certain to cost far less, have better quality ingredients, and likely have a better spirit/mix ratio. Additionally, if you are so inclined, you’re free to have more than one without worrying about breaking the bank or the law by driving under the influence.

Boca Raton DUI Accident Attorney

Reason 5: You Can Make the Evening (and the New Year) Exactly What You Want

When you decide not to drive on New Year’s Eve, you are shifting control away from outside influences and back into your own hands. There is no better way to ring in the new year than being worry-free and enjoying the last few hours of 2018 with your closest compadres for great conversation, top-shelf drinks, and more money in your pocket.

So, heed that old family adage, and consider playing it safe at the start of a brand-new year. Otherwise, one night of fun could cost you more than a hangover on New Year’s Day.

 

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

What Florida Drivers Need to Know about Parking Lot Crashes

What Florida Drivers Need to Know about Parking Lot Crashes

What Florida Drivers Need to Know about Parking Lot Crashes

Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them.

Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved.

Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto accidents happen, and how fault is determined. If you have been involved in a parking lot crash and are concerned about recovering damages for your car or personal injuries, we recommend consulting with a Florida personal injury attorney.

How Do Florida Parking Lot Crashes Happen?

In parking lots, a lot of activity is occurring in a relatively small space. Further, traffic patterns vary in different parking lots, and many pedestrians are present. Together, these factors make parking lot accidents very common.

There are five common types of parking lot accidents:

  • Two drivers back into one another. This happens when both cars are in reverse and back into each other.
  • A driver pulls forward out of a space and into the lane or traffic. This happens when a driver pulls forward out of a space, and into oncoming traffic. Generally, the oncoming car collides with the front or side of the car pulling out.
  • A driver backs out of a space and into an oncoming car. This occurs when a driver backs out of a parking space and into oncoming traffic. The backing car may collide with oncoming traffic, or the oncoming car may hit the side of the car backing out.
  • Two cars pulling into the same space collide. This happens when two cars are rushing to get a parking space, and they collide.
  • One car rear-ends another at a stop sign. This occurs when one car is stopped at a stop sign or exit, and a moving car rear-ends the stopped car.

How Is Fault Determined in Florida Parking Lot Crashes?

If a parking lot crash involves serious personal injury, it will be important to determine who is at fault. Even though Florida is a no-fault state, responsibility comes into play when accidents result in serious injuries that exceed PIP coverage.

Let’s review who is generally at fault for the five common types of accidents:

  • Two drivers backing into one another. In this case, both cars are moving, and neither driver has the right of way. Further, both drivers are responsible for looking prior to backing up. Therefore, it is likely that fault will be shared for this type of accident unless you can show clear and specific negligence on the part of the other driver.
  • A driver pulling forward into traffic. In this case, both cars are moving, but the driver in the lane of traffic has the right of way. It is therefore likely that the driver pulling out of the space will be at majority fault for the accident.
  • A driver backing into an oncoming car. In this type of accident, both cars are moving, but the driver in the traffic lane has the right of way. Further, the driver backing out is required to wait until it is safe to back out. Therefore, the car backing out will likely be at majority fault.
  • Two cars pulling into the same space. In this case, both cars are moving, and both drivers are likely to be held at some fault. However, the important factor in determining fault here is who had the right-of-way. Similar to a roadway, a driver making a turn into oncoming traffic must yield to oncoming cars. Therefore, the driver turning left will likely be held at majority fault for the accident. However, this can vary. For example, if the car turning right made a wide right turn into oncoming traffic.
  • A car rear-ending another at a stop sign. In this case, only one car is moving, so the driver who rear-ends the other car is almost always at fault.

Because of the preconceived notions around fault in these types of accidents, it becomes even more important to provide clear evidence of negligence if you were harmed by the improper behavior of another.

South Florida Car Accident Lawyers

The bottom line is that most parking lot accidents are preventable if you remain alert, buy yourself time to act, expect pedestrians to do things such as dart in front of cars, and distance yourself from other vehicles in the parking lot.

Because police reports are rarely filed in a parking lot accident, it will be of paramount importance to know what to do after an accident. You should always get the other driver’s contact and insurance information. We also recommend collecting the contact information of any witnesses so that negligence can be proven if necessary.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Important Lessons from Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Though Distracted Driving Awareness Month is drawing to a close, the campaign’s message holds true any month of the year.

 

As the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) reminded us during their distracted driving awareness campaign this month, distracted driving is incredibly dangerous.

 

In Florida, distracted driving is a leading cause of auto accidents. According to recent reports, distracted driving accidents in Florida have risen 25 percent in the last three years. Studies have found that teens are responsible for an average of 12 percent of accidents, while drivers aged 20 – 29 account for an average of 31 percent of distracted driving accidents in Florida.

 

As director of Florida Highway Patrol Col. David Brierton explained in a press release from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “If you are not 100 percent focused, then you’re not 100 percent driving.”

 

Driving distractions come in many forms, including visual, manual, and cognitive. Common examples of distracted driving include texting, operating a GPS system, and daydreaming.

 

To help fight distracted driving in Florida this April and beyond, we’ve compiled a list of rules for avoiding distracted driving practices. Even though Distracted Driving Awareness Month is ending, these rules should be diligently adhered to throughout the year.

 

Switch off your phone. For many drivers, the buzz of a message or the hum of a call sparks an irresistible urge to check their phone. But in the seconds it takes to remove your eyes from the road and glance at a message, road signs, approaching cars, and other obstacles can be missed. When this happens, dangerous accidents occur.

 

Plan ahead. If you know you are going to need to use a GPS navigation system during your trip, be sure to plug in coordinates ahead of time. Set the air-conditioning or heat controls on a comfortable level, and pick a playlists or a CD before starting to drive.

 

Pull over. Sometimes during drives, you may need to answer an important phone call or find directions for a new location. When this happens, find a safe parking space or lot and pull over. The brief moment it takes to pull over can end up saving you from causing a crash.

 

Save the snacks and drinks for later. With so many fast food restaurants offering drive-through windows in Florida, it often feels like we are being encouraged to eat in our car. But eating or drinking while driving can be incredibly distracting. When you pause to unwrap a granola bar, take a sip of coffee, or clean up a spill, your attention is not where it should be—on the road and the drivers around you.

 

South Florida Distracted Driving Lawyer

Be mindful of passenger distractions. Studies have found that many distracted driving accidents occur when there are passengers in the car. Young children, unrestrained pets, and chatty passengers can be very distracting to drivers—be mindful of this, and don’t be afraid to politely request to postpone conversations for after the drive.

 

Hold distracted drivers accountable. You can help raise public awareness of Florida’s serious distracted driving problem by holding distracted drivers accountable. After falling victim to a distracted driving accident, contact a Florida auto accident attorney. An experienced attorney can explain your options, assist you in filing a claim, and ensure your voice is heard. If it becomes necessary to go to court, your attorney can help you defend your right to just compensation and speak out against distracted driving in our community.

 

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

Poorly Designed Roadways in Florida Common Cause of Auto Accidents

From drunk drivers to speeding to neglecting to use seat belts, there are plenty of hazards that can cause car accident injuries and fatalities.

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”Studies found that poorly designed highways and road conditions contribute to more deaths than any other factor” quote=”But studies found that poorly designed highways and dangerous road conditions may contribute to more deaths than any of these factors, accounting for more than half of fatal crashes in the US.”]

 

Every year, poor road design and dangerous conditions causes thousands of fatal auto accidents in Florida and across the country. Examples of poor design and dangerous conditions include:

 

Ineffective exit ramps. When on- and off-ramps are improperly placed or too short, they do not allow for safe merging. When drivers cannot merge safely, collisions and other severe accidents may occur.

 

Improper shoulder design. The shoulder of a road should have adequate space to allow drivers to exit their car safely without being struck by passing vehicles. In addition, the slope of a road shoulder should be as level as possible to reduce the chance of rollover.

 

Street edge drop-offs. Street drop-offs, such as ravines or cliffs, should have safety guards and other measures to prevent drivers from accidently swerving over the edge.

 

Improperly situated median barriers.  When median barriers are not situated appropriately, this can lead to fatal head-on collisions with other motor vehicles.

 

Dangerous intersections. Conditions such as narrow roads, sharp roads, and confusing traffic signals can make it even more difficult for drivers to navigate through already-tricky intersections.

 

Road hazards. Government agencies that are responsible for the road have a duty to keep road services clear of dangerous obstacles, such as trees and other vegetation. Road surfaces should also be kept clear of dangers, such as pot-holes, which can damage vehicles.

 

Inadequate signage. When warning and instructional signs are absent, defective, improper, or allowed to deteriorate or be removed, this can cause confusion among drivers, leading to fatal accident. The same is true for traffic signals—if they are poorly placed or allowed to malfunction, this can create disorder and cause accidents on the roads.

 

Florida Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Inadequate pedestrian safety measures. Roadways without appropriate crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and other pedestrian accommodations can cause serious pedestrian accidents. These types of accidents are often fatal, since cars are much larger and moving faster than pedestrians.

 

Inadequate lighting. When there is insufficient lighting on roadways at night, this can severely hinder visibility for drivers, making them more likely to hit an obstacle, pedestrian, cyclist, or other driver.

 

Dangerous road surfaces. Road surfaces become dangerous when pavement does not have adequate skid resistance, or when improper drainage causes ponding or hydroplaning.

 

Poor construction. When road builders fail to follow approved plans, use shoddy materials, or make careless errors when building roadways, roads and highways can deteriorate, collapse, and otherwise fail to provide safe driving conditions.

 

Failure to adapt. The agencies responsible for maintaining roads have a responsible to maintain and adapt roads when it becomes necessary to ensure driver safety. This includes addressing road cave-ins and sinking, changing use patterns by vehicles and pedestrians, and noting and resolving causes of reoccurring accidents.

 

Unsafe parking policies. Parking policies that limit visibility of a dangerous intersection can result in accidents for pedestrians, bikers, and motor vehicle drivers alike.

 

Inadequate bike safety measures. Similarly, bike accidents are also often fatal, and are often caused by an absence of bike lanes or lanes with unsafe design.

 

If You or a Loved One Was Injured in a Poor Road Design Accident

Poor road design and dangerous conditions can cause many kinds of serious accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bike accidents. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident that you suspect may have been caused by poor road design, it’s critical to contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.

 

It can be difficult to determine and prove whether poor road design caused your accident, often requiring a thorough investigation and evaluation by accident reconstruction specialists and engineers. An attorney can help you gather evidence, locate witnesses, and consult with the necessary experts.

 

A lawyer can also help you identify the party responsible for your accident. This is often a challenging task, since multiple parties may be involved. Through research and investigation, your attorney can help you determine whether the dangerous roadway as the responsibility of a private contracting firm, the local government, or the federal government.

 

Florida Car Accident Attorney

Regardless of who or what caused your accident, the consequences of an auto accident can be devastating for you and your family. By filing a claim against the responsible party, you can secure much needed compensation for medical bills, repairs, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. You will also bring attention to a dangerous roadway, which can prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Boca Raton Auto Accidents

Florida is the Worst State to Get Into a Car Accident

Boca Raton Auto Accidents
Recently, Florida has been ramping up efforts to make our roads safer. From installing new, easier SunPass payment systems across the state to passing harsher distracted driving laws, the Florida justice system has noticeably been trying to lessen the number of automobile accidents that occur statewide.

 

Unfortunately, these efforts do not seem to be coming fast enough. Florida has been dubbed one of the top 10 states with the worst drivers, and our crash statistics are nothing to be proud of. Now, despite Florida’s best efforts to turn over a new leaf of traffic safety, a recent study from WalletHub has found one more defect in Florida’s approach to road safety.

 

According to the study, Florida is the worst state in the country to get into an automobile accident.

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”Despite the fact that it is illegal in Florida to drive without insurance, 23.8% of Florida drivers are uninsured.” quote=”Despite the fact that it is illegal in Florida to drive without insurance, the study found that 23.8% of Florida drivers are uninsured.”]

 

Additionally, Florida has a very lax minimum liability coverage requirement. This not only makes matters worse for drivers responsible for accidents, but even more so for the innocent drivers that they hit.

 

The Insurance Debacle

 

Auto Accident Attorney Boca Raton

 

One of the most important revelations from WalletHub’s study is a problem that Floridians have been avoiding for too long—the problem of minimum liability coverage. Unlike many states, Florida does not require most of its drivers to have bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage (that is, insurance coverage that protects other drivers in the event that you cause an accident).

 

The exception here is that certain drivers can be ordered to have BIL coverage, particularly if they have been involved in accidents before. But even in those cases where BIL coverage is mandated, Florida only requires a minimum coverage of 10/20. This means that if you cause an auto accident, your insurance company will only be required to pay $10,000 for each person whose injuries you caused, and no more than $20,000 total.

 

For reference, compare these numbers to Alaska, which is one of the highest-ranking states in the nation according to the WalletHub study. Alaska’s BIL coverage is 50/100, meaning that in the event of an accident, an insurance company will pay up to $50,000 for each individual, not exceeding $100,000. Comparatively, Florida’s requirements barely even register.

 

To be fair, Florida does encourage drivers to include BIL coverage in their insurance packages. Since it is optional, though, many drivers will opt out of including BIL coverage in the interest of saving themselves some money.

 

The Risks of Lax Insurance Coverage

 

By allowing drivers to get on the road with such low insurance coverage, the state of Florida is essentially letting drivers shirk their responsibilities to themselves and other innocent people on the road, including cyclists and pedestrians. In bad accidents that result in serious bodily injury to others, Florida’s mandated minimal coverage will not be nearly enough to cover the costs of medical bills and other associated expenses.

 

This means that the other person, the driver who had nothing to do with the accident but who merely suffered the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, has to foot the rest of the bill. It also means that everyone else—that is, all citizens of Florida who actually pay for insurance—will have to pay more.

 

Insurance supplements like bodily insurance liability benefits may seem unnecessary to drivers, but car insurance is something that works on a large scale. In order for all citizens to benefit, all citizens must pay into it. Unfortunately, as long as adding BIL coverage will mean higher monthly payments for drivers, plenty of people will continue to opt out of it if given the choice. This means that many people, if they are struck by an uninsured driver in Florida, are simply out of luck.

 

What This Means For You

 

West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorney

Florida’s low insurance coverage requirements may seem great for drivers who do not want to pay too much for insurance, but it can be devastating for other men and women they share the road with.

 

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be experiencing the effects of Florida’s lax insurance policies first hand. But do not let another person’s negligence cost you. If you have been in an accident and have suffered at the hands of a driver who did not have adequate insurance coverage, you should still be entitled to compensation.

 

Do not allow yourself to be a victim of Florida’s lax liability insurance laws. Fight back with a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to make sure you get the fair and just compensation that you deserve. Contact our law offices today to set up a free consultation and start getting your life back on track.

 

 

Will Florida's Recent Hit-and-Run Ruling Impact Injury Cases

Will Florida’s Recent Hit-and-Run Ruling Impact Injury Cases?

Will Florida's Recent Hit-and-Run Ruling Impact Injury Cases

A recent ruling in Florida might make it a whole lot harder for victims of hit-and-run crashes to get the justice that they deserve. The ruling states that drivers who are responsible for hit-and-run crashes cannot be prosecuted unless there is definite proof that they knew they had been involved in a crash.

 

This decision comes following the appeal of a case in which a Florida driver was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison after hitting a 22-year-old skateboarder with his truck. The teenager was dragged nearly 90 feet and was in a coma for weeks as a result.

 

Now, Florida’s Supreme Court has sided with the appeals court, which stated that the driver in this case may not have known that he hit the boy. The Supreme Court reasoned that in order for a felony conviction to be made in any case, the prosecution must be able to prove that the offender knew what he was doing and chose to willfully disobey the law.

 

What Does This Mean For You?

 

Florida is well known for a lot of things, but unfortunately road safety is not one of them. Each year, Florida sees 200,000 automobile accidents, thousands of which involve pedestrians. Worse still, the rate of hit-and-run accidents in Florida has been on the rise. In 2014, hit-and-run accidents were up by 23%.

 

Unfortunately, this recent ruling is a step backwards for Florida’s ongoing journey to make the roads safer for drivers and pedestrians. Although intended to protect the rights of drivers, the new ruling seems destined to backfire and could wind up leaving countless hit-and-run victims in the dust.

 

Do Not Be Discouraged—Your Case Matters

 

This new ruling may send the wrong message to Florida citizens: that hit-and-run drivers can be excused. The lawyers at The South Florida Injury Law Firm know that that is not true. This ruling will likely change the way that hit and run cases are handled in court. However, it does not mean that it is now impossible for hit-and-run victims to receive compensation for their resulting injuries and trauma.

 

Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer

On the contrary, it just means that your lawyer may have to do a little more investigative work. Maybe the driver responsible for the hit-and-run truly did not notice that he had been involved in an accident, but how could he have missed it? Was he distracted? Was he texting, toying with the radio, smoking, or talking on his phone while driving? Was he looking away from the road at the time? Maybe he was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, or maybe he was driving without insurance and so chose to flee the scene before cops could arrive. Whatever the scenario, you deserve a lawyer who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

 

Even though it may seem that the state of Florida is turning its back on victims of hit-and-run accidents following this, the lawyers at The South Florida Injury Law Firm will stand beside you and see to it that responsible parties are held accountable. If you have suffered personal injury as a result of a hit-and-run, do not let this new ruling prevent you from seeking the justice that you deserve and the compensation that you need to fully recover and get back to your normal life. Contact us today.

 

Protecting Yourself from Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers

Protecting Yourself from Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers

Protecting Yourself from Road Rage and Aggressive Drivers
There’s no denying that driving can be stressful. Even the best of us have found ourselves yelling at another driver or cursing under our breath when we are stuck in particularly bad traffic, running late to work, or just having a bad day.

 

Feeling stressed or irritated during undesirable driving situations is normal, but a problem arises when these feelings escalate into road rage or aggressive driving.

 

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Most drivers know how to control feelings of frustration and anger on the road before they escalate into violent or aggressive behaviors, whether by taking deep breaths, putting on soothing music, or simply letting the feeling go. But how do you deal with road rage or aggressive driving from the driver in the car behind you?

 

When you are sharing the road with an aggressive driver, it can be a frightening and perilous situation. Here are some tips on handling aggressive drivers, and protecting you and your family from acts of road rage:

 

Keep calm. Even if another driver is acting angrily or aggressively, it’s important to keep your own behavior calm and courteous. If another driver acts aggressively by cutting you off or tailgating, your reaction to his or her behavior will determine what happens next in the situation. Whenever possible, try to avoid conflict. If he or she attempts to engage you in an argument, ignore them and drive away.

 

Avoid eye contact. Even if it is not your intention, eye contact can be perceived as a challenge. Since many aggressive drivers are driven by personal insecurities and frustrations, they can be set off by something as simple as a raised eyebrow or smirk.

 

Refrain from using inflammatory gestures. It can be tempting to honk, swear, or make inflammatory hand gestures if someone is driving poorly or aggressively, but doing so can inflame a driver’s temper. Instead of releasing frustration or anger in this way, wait until you’re off the road to vent by sharing the story with a friend.

 

Leave some room. It can be tempting to scoot your car up into open space when there’s a lot of traffic around you, but this can cause some drivers to feel anxious and irritated. Try to leave a few feet behind the car in front of you to avoid agitating a fellow driver and to allow yourself space to make a speedy exit if the situation calls for it.

 

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Stay out of the left lane. If a driver is trying to bully you into speeding up, move out of the right lane to let him or her pass. Put on your blinker to let the driver know you are planning to let them pass, and switch lanes when it’s safe to do so.

 

Follow traffic laws. A somewhat obvious but no less important way of preventing road rage is to follow local traffic laws as closely as you can. Always use directional lights to indicate a lane change and follow cars at a safe distance. Remain in one lane whenever possible and drive within the speed limits. Avoid texting or using your phone while driving. Use your horn only when absolutely necessary.

 

Find another parking space. It can be frustrating when another driver swipes the parking space you’ve been waiting for, but it’s not the end of the world. Instead of getting angry and trying to start an argument, assume that the driver may not have seen you and seek another space.

 

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Stay safe. If a driver is acting aggressively, lock your doors and leave enough space in front of you to pull out. Call 911 if an angry driver approaches your car.

 

Report road rage and aggressive driving. It’s advisable to report incidents of aggressive driving or road rage to Florida law enforcement. Be sure to include details such as license plate number, make and model, and direction of travel.

 

When driving, it’s a good idea to be tolerant of non-conforming traffic behaviors to a reasonable degree. But if another driver’s road rage or aggressive driving behavior causes you to get in a car accident, that’s when tolerance should end.

 

If you have been involved in an accident due to another’s angry or aggressive behaviors despite your own efforts to practice safe driving, contact a knowledgeable accident attorney as soon as possible.  A skilled lawyer can help you hold dangerous drivers accountable for their actions and prevent them from causing similar accidents in the future. Not only will you be able to help keep aggressive driving off the road, you may be able to recover compensation for repairs, medical bills, and overall pain and suffering.

 

 

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Is the Personal Injury Stigma Stopping You from Fighting?

Boca Raton Personal Injury Laweyer
Does seeing a personal injury ad on TV make you suspicious? Maybe the face of a lawyer on a billboard makes you cringe. If you’re hesitant to trust personal injury attorneys, it’s okay—you’re not the only one. Unfortunately, personal injury law is often one of the most stigmatized areas of legal practice, and personal injury attorneys are sometimes considered conniving thieves who only have their own best interests in mind.

 

But as anyone who has been injured in a personal injury case can attest, personal injury is a legitimate and very serious area of law that requires finesse and capability, and personal injury lawyers—as hard as it might be to believe—really do have the public’s best interest at heart.

 

What is Personal Injury Law?

 

Personal injury law refers to the legal disputes that arise after somebody suffers an injury as a result of someone else’s misconduct. Personal injury cases are some of the more common cases that people see or hear about, but this is simply because there are so many opportunities for individuals to be injured at the hands of others. Some injuries that may be eligible for personal injury lawsuits include those that result from:

 

 

The specific damages that qualify as “personal injuries” are just as numerous. In fact, personal injury damages can include such a wide array of grievances that it’s almost impossible to list them all. Some of the more common injuries include:

 

 

It is important to understand that the prevalence of personal injury cases in no way detracts from their severity. Personal injury cases are serious and require the utmost respect and professionalism when dealing with them.

 

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The Secret Lives of Personal Injury Lawyers

 

Sure, there is a lot of negative propaganda out there about personal injury layers. But the fact is that lawyers like myself and others do a lot of good that the public does not always see.

 

As BizJournals recently pointed out, it was a personal injury lawsuit that is credited with exposing the ignition switch issue that resulted in the major GM automobile recall in 2014. Had it not been for that one personal injury case that was held following the death of a victim, the issue might not have been brought to light at all and many more deaths may have resulted.

 

In fact, personal injury lawyers are often to thank for major recalls like this, and we contribute to consumer safety in a number of other ways as well.

 

  • Providing a system of checks and balances for major (and not-so-major) corporations.
  • Giving companies an extra incentive to move forward with product improvements such as better-quality safety belts and airbags in cars and the placement of warning labels on potentially dangerous products.

 

It would be nice if businesses did these things out of the kindness of their hearts, but it’s just not true. Most of the time, these changes only come about following successful legal proceedings in which lawyers fight tirelessly to defend their clients.

 

In cases like these, when personal injury lawyers are going up against huge corporations with mammoth legal teams on their sides, they need to fight vigorously and often to the point of exhaustion. However, the lawyers’ determination and belief in their clients’ claims push them forward. Personal injury lawyers put it all on the line not only so that their own clients receive the compensation and recognition that they deserve, but also so that major corporations must make necessary changes to make their products safer for everybody. Without these lawyers’ resolve, major corporations may never be held accountable.

 

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Don’t Hold Yourself Back

 

Do not let other people’s negative portrayals of personal injury lawyers stop you from getting the defense that you deserve. The truth is that personal injury lawyers are here to protect you and will do everything it takes to make sure that your voice is heard and your suffering does not go unnoticed.

 

By failing to equip yourself with a smart attorney, you are allowing a negligent individual (or company) to evade responsibility for something that they should not be allowed to get away with. Responsible persons should be held accountable for their mistakes, especially if those mistakes cost you your or your family your peace of mind.

 

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, defend yourself. Don’t let negative media portrayal of personal injury lawyers prevent you from fighting for what you deserve. Contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer today.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.