Wrongful Death Accidents in Florida: Who Is At Fault If I Lend My Car?

The tragically sad wrongful death of a young Devon Leigh Richbell occurred when the drivers of two cars attempted to pass a tractor trailer on a two-lane road in Florida. We extend our condolences to the Richbells for their loss. Our Miami personal injury lawyers did not represent the Richbell family; however, according to the court’s records, the cars started their attempted pass in a legal passing zone, but were unable to completely overtake the tractor trailer before entering a no-passing zone. While aborting the pass, the cars encountered another vehicle that had stopped and was attempting to make a left turn. The first driver, Ms. Richbell, managed to stop, but she was rear-ended by the second vehicle and forced into oncoming traffic and a head-on collision with an oncoming truck. It is undisputed that the second vehicle was not driven by its owner, but rather that the owner had “lent” it to the driver at the time of the accident and was asleep in the passenger seat. Jury Verdict on Florida Car Accident Case Ms. Richbell died as a result of the impact, and her parents sued the driver and owner of the car that rear-ended her and the driver and owner of the truck and trailer that ultimately collided with her. The legal theory against the truck driver in the second collision is that he negligently failed to avoid the accident, part because of his age and physical condition, which the plaintiffs alleged caused him to react more slowly. This allegation was based upon the opinion of an accident-reconstruction expert, without having reviewed the truck driver’s medical...

Filing a Claim For a Rental Car Accident in Florida: Lawsuit Against Hertz

Florida has very specific laws dealing with the legal responsibilities of rental car companies and car renters when their rented vehicles are driven by people other than the renters specified on the agreements. Our Miami car accident lawyers have long advised people never to drive a rental car for which they have not been specifically listed on the contract as a driver–and never to allow another person to drive a vehicle they have rented unless that person is noted on the rental agreement.    Recently a Broward County jury was asked to decide whether or not Hertz, the rental car company, and Delana Wynn, who rented a car from Hertz, would be legally responsible for an accident caused by Nathaniel Phillips, who happened upon her keys while visiting her house, took the car, and caused a serious accident.1 CLYDE STOKES, LARCESTA STOKES, CANESHA STOKES and CALEB STOKES, Appellants, v. DELANA WYNN, THE HERTZ CORPORATION and NATHANIEL PHILLIPS, Appellees. 4th District. Case No. 4D15-0873. June 7, 2017. Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Marina Garcia-Wood, Judge; L.T. Case No. 11-016314CACE18.   The evidence in the case file reveals that Ms. Wynn was living in a home with 10 other people who shared some familiar relationship and almost all of whom had parked various vehicles at the house. While her car was in the shop for an extended period, Ms. Wynn rented a car from Hertz. The members of the household would commonly place all the keys in a bowl in the kitchen to make it easier for people to move other cars in an...

Florida Car Accident Claims: Today’s Young Drivers Still Don’t Buckle Up

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for people up to 54 years of age.2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2015. With that fact in mind, everyone should know or at least have heard that seat belts save lives, yet according to statistics, millions of people fail to buckle up every year, particularly teens and young adults. For example, in 2015, 22,441 people died in car accidents; more than half of those were teens (ages 13-19) and adults aged 20-44, who were unrestrained at the time of the crash.3National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts: 2015 Data – Occupant Protection. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; 2017. Publication no. DOT-HS-812-374. In Florida, however, our statistics are slightly above the national average in every category; for example, in the United States 86% of drivers and front-seat passengers who were involved in accidents were wearing seatbelts compared to 87% of Florida car accident victims. Florida has very specific laws that require all front-seat passengers to wear seat belts when driving any car built since 1968. In addition, all passengers under 18 years of age must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat. Moreover, in Florida it is against the law to operate a vehicle if passengers are not properly buckled up.42016 Florida Statutes (Title XXIII) MOTOR VEHICLES Chapter 316.614. What happens if you are injured in a car accident but were not wearing your seatbelt? You still...

The Costliest Mistake Claimants Make in a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit

Anyone who gets injured in Florida in a bicycle, car, truck, or motorcycle accident–or a slip and fall at a Publix, Costco, or other retailer–and then hires an accident lawyer to sue the defendant ought to read this blog because the number-one mistake that plaintiffs can and often do make in pursuing a claim in a Florida personal injury lawsuit is lying under oath. Take for example the case of Sheila and Curtis Bryant.1SHEILA BRYANT and CURTIS BRYANT, Appellants, v. RAYMOND MEZO, Appellee. 4th District. Case No. 4D16-386. May 17, 2017. Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Indian River County; Paul B. Kanarek, Judge; L.T. Case No. 312014CA001017. They were represented by another PI law firm in a car accident claim against Raymond Mezo. According to court records Mrs. Bryant was not transported from the scene of the accident, but returned to work. Several weeks later, she began treatment with a chiropractor, complaining of neck and back pain. Several months after that, she underwent neck surgery.    She sued Mr. Mezo, whose lawyers sent her interrogatories, a written questionnaire each plaintiff must fill out and sign under oath in virtually every case. The questions range from providing past residences and employment to giving a detailed history of prior medical care and legal claims, to listing the names of all healthcare providers the plaintiff may have been treated by over a period of times–sometimes up to a decade before the accident in question. In this case, Mrs. Bryant identified a prior worker’s compensation claim in 1987 or 1988, in which she injured her left arm. However,...

Florida Auto Accidents: Why Full Coverage Auto Plans Are a Myth

  One of the biggest myths about Florida automobile insurance is that the “full-coverage” policies available from all major insurance providers in the state will cover all the costs and expenses related to a motor vehicle accident. As it turns out, the name of these auto insurance plans is a misnomer, as they are full-coverage in name but not in actuality. However, many Florida drivers remain unaware of the gaps in their coverage until an accident abruptly brings the deficit to their attention. By that time, it could be too late. One of the biggest misconceptions held by Florida drivers is that full-coverage insurance, or comprehensive insurance, extends to accidents involving uninsured drivers. This is not true, and attorneys familiar with Florida auto accidents and their aftermath commonly recommend purchasing additional insurance. Here’s why. Number of Uninsured Drivers in Florida It is estimated that nearly one in five drivers in the State of Florida is wheeling around the roads without insurance. The average for the United State is one in seven. This means that Florida has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers of any state in the U.S. While it is illegal to drive without insurance, and those who violate the law can face monetary penalties or suspension of their drivers’ licenses, the real effects of uninsured drivers are often felt by other motorists. When You Collide with an Uninsured Driver The reason other motorists end up paying the negative costs of an uninsured driver has a lot to do with the structure of Florida insurance coverage. There are actually two types of motor vehicle insurance in Florida. The...

5 Most Common Questions after a Florida Car Accident

Following a car accident in Florida, you are sure to have a number of questions. The topics of these queries can range from medical attention and costs, to interactions with your insurance provider. However, after the initial conversations with law enforcement and emergency medical attention is obtained, most Floridians ask questions about recovering expenses and losses related to the accident. As a law firm that regularly represents individuals in the civil suits after a Florida car accident, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers are asked five common questions. These questions and their answers are only a starting point for recovering costs after a car accident, and we encourage you to contact our office for any legal advice or representation. 1. Why do I have to pay for my medical bills when another driver was at fault for a Florida car accident? Florida law requires drivers to carry personal injury insurance. This insurance is provided on a no-fault basis, meaning it covers a percentage of medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault or the reason for the reason for the accident. In Florida, it is common for 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000 to fall under these insurance policies. Of the remaining amounts, the at-fault driver’s insurance may cover some amounts related to personal injury or eventually repay these amounts. Reading your insurance policy carefully can clear up uncertainties regarding what your policy will cover after a Florida car accident. 2. Why do I have to cover the costs when my car is held in a storage facility? After an accident, it is...
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