Blogs By K Ryan

Motorist gets into rear-end accident with uninsured driver.

What happens if an uninsured driver hits you?

If you have been injured in a car accident, you can seek damages from the other driver’s insurance company. However, if the driver who hit you was uninsured, it becomes more complicated to seek compensation.

A Florida car accident attorney can provide answers. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath know how debilitating car accidents can be. That’s why we help all of our clients collect the maximum compensation, even if the other driver did not have insurance.

Contact us today for a free assessment of your case.

Steps to Take After You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver

Whether the driver who hit you had insurance or not, it’s important to take steps to protect your health and your rights at the scene of the accident. Follow these steps before you leave the scene of the car accident.

1. File a police report.

Call the police and file an official report. The police will investigate the scene and make a determination of fault that can benefit your case.

2. Do not accept liability.

Never admit fault at the scene of the accident. Even an accidental admission can mean issues down the line.

3. Do not accept cash.

Uninsured drivers may try to buy you off. However, the amount they offer will never be as high as the amount you can get once you know the extent of your injuries. In many cases, it won’t even cover your initial medical assessment.

4. Seek medical attention.

Always seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel injured.

5. Call your insurance.

In Florida, you need to file with your insurance company first before you can possibly pursue damages from the other driver.

6. Call a car accident attorney.

Call Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath for assistance with your claim.

Were you hit by an uninsured driver in a no-fault state?

A no-fault state means that no matter who was at fault for your accident, your own insurance provider will be paying some or all of your medical bills. This makes things slightly easier in the case of a collision with an uninsured driver as it means that you will be covered regardless of the other person’s ability to pay.

However, in many cases, individuals need to claim damages from the at-fault driver to cover property damage, additional medical bills exceeding their coverage, and to recover the amount paid by their insurance.

This is when you will need to speak with a car accident attorney for assistance handling the case going forward.

What happens if an uninsured driver hits you?

Uninsured drivers typically cannot afford to pay for damages. This means that when they are required to pay for your medical care and property damage, they often default on their payments.

To ensure you actually recover damages so you are not financially crippled by the accident, you can use one of the following methods of recovering compensation:

Personal Injury Protection

Personal Injury Protection is included in most car insurance packages. In Florida, it is required that drivers have some form of personal injury protection insurance so they can cover their medical bills.

In Florida, every driver must have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection in their car insurance. However, many medical bills will exceed this amount for car accident injuries.

This form of insurance is beneficial but is not a complete answer to seeking compensation for your injuries.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is optional coverage available with most car insurance plans. It will cover property damage to your vehicle as well as some level of compensation for your injuries if you have been in a collision with an uninsured motorist.

Uninsured motorist coverage is beneficial to ensure you can repair damage to your vehicle. However, it is often limited. Insurance companies will not give you a larger amount of uninsured motorist coverage than you have for liability insurance overall.

Speak with your insurance company to determine what level of uninsured motorist coverage you require when you purchase your policy.

Other Ways to Collect Damages

If you cannot collect damages from your insurance company there are still alternatives. These vary in effectiveness and can be more complicated. To improve your chances of success, it is advised that you consult with a car accident attorney before filing a claim. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will review your case and help you determine how best to seek damages.

If you suffered significant injuries, your health insurance provider may cover your medical expenses. You need to contact your health insurance provider as soon as possible to discuss your injuries and inform them that they were caused by an uninsured motorist.

Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. If they do not have the funds to pay you, your car accident attorney can negotiate a payment plan to ensure you get your compensation in full over time.

Another party may be liable for your accident. Manufacturers, vehicle owners, and mechanics can all be found at fault for a car accident, even if they were not on the scene.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Florida

It’s unfortunate, but it happens. When an uninsured driver hits you, you’re tasked with not only focusing on your physical recovery but tracking down the money you are rightfully owed. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath are compassionate car accident attorneys. Our team has helped thousands of victims like you recover damages so they can get back to living their lives.

Let us help you today. Call (561) 655-1990 to schedule a free consultation.

defective tires

Can I sue for defective tires causing an accident?

When you’re injured in a car accident caused by defective tires, can you hold someone else responsible for your pain and suffering? Yes, with a defective product liability lawsuit.

For many, this answer leads to more questions. What is product liability and who can you sue when a defective tire causes an accident? 

Under Florida law, those involved in the tire’s manufacture, design, formulation, installation, and so on may be held liable if negligence or subpar safety standard adherence led to your injury. 

Product liability claims can lead to compensation for lost income, medical expenses, mental anguish, and more.

 

Product Liability and Defective Tires

Filing a product liability lawsuit for defective tires will require proof that the defect in question directly led to your injury. There are few other conditions that need to be met to file a successful defective product liability lawsuit. 

That’s why you must work with an experienced Florida defective product attorney who knows how to build the strongest case possible.

 

Common Types of Defective Product Liability Lawsuits 

  • Defective design
  • Defective manufacturing
  • Failure to provide instructions for proper product use
  • Failure to warn about product risk

Defects can happen throughout a product’s supply chain and manifest in various ways, such as tread separation or tire blowouts. Tire blowouts happen when your tire suddenly pops, losing air and forcing your car to swerve. They can be caused by tread separation, which is when the tire’s tread separates from the belt that lies underneath it.

In cases in which there are multiple instances of negligence or faulty actions throughout the supply chain, you may be able to sue multiple parties. Florida law allows total liability to be split into specific percentages of fault based on each party’s contribution to the defect and your injuries.

You may also file a product liability claim if a defect worsened the injuries sustained in a crash or similar circumstance. For example, if you were in a crash caused by defective tires, you may have suffered injuries specifically due to the tires. However, those injuries may be exacerbated by the presence of other defects, such as a faulty seatbelt.

 

What if the tire defect was caused during installation?

When your tire is installed by professionals, they might mistakenly damage it or even install it incorrectly. In such cases, you may be able to sue the organization or business responsible for installing your tires. 

While this defect may not have occurred in the traditional supply chain, it still was caused by professional negligence. An experienced attorney will know what options are available to you.

 

What should I do if I was hurt in a car accident caused by defective tires?

Contact a Florida defective tire accident attorney today.

According to Florida law, you have up to four years from the date of an accident to file a liability lawsuit. 

Car accidents are scary, traumatic, and exhausting events that may leave you feeling overwhelmed at the thought of adding more to your plate by pursuing legal action. 

However, a defective tires liability lawsuit can help you get the compensation you need to pay for medical bills, loss of income, and other damages, such as car repair costs. In addition, your defective tires claim can help force the repair of the defect so others don’t share your fate.

Working with an expert Florida defective product attorney will allow you to focus on your recovery while still fighting for your rights. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we help you get the compensation you need when you need it. 

Contact us today for a free defective tires liability claim consultation. Schedule your no-risk defective tires liability lawsuit consultation by calling (561) 655-1990.

 

at Fault for a Right-Turn Crash

What You Need to Know About Right-Turn Crashes

Florida drivers are no strangers to the dreaded right turn onto high-traffic roadways or crosswalks that seem to magically fill with pedestrians as soon as you look away. Despite the caution exercised by drivers, right-turn crashes still happen. That makes it important to know who’s at fault for a right-turn crash.

Florida law requires drivers who are making a right turn to turn as close as possible to the right edge or curb of the roadway. This ensures that you stay in the appropriate lane when you merge onto the target street or highway. 

 

Who has the right of way?

One of the most important things to remember when making a right turn is that through traffic has the right of way; That means you have to yield to oncoming traffic, regardless of how long you’ve been waiting at the intersection.

Arguably the most important right-of-way rule is the right-turn drivers must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians. Whether you are turning right at a green, yellow, or red light, all drivers must yield to those using a crosswalk. In instances of jaywalking, the turning car must still yield. 

 

Who is at fault for a right-turn crash?

In many right-turn crash cases, the driver who made the right turn is found to be at fault. According to Florida law, a driver must slow or, if required, stop at an intersection before making any turn. 

As such, the law states that any driver involved in a crash with a pedestrian or bicyclist is considered to be at fault for failing to yield unless there is evidence proving otherwise.

Right-turn crashes can be caused by the turning driver:

  • Misjudging the distance between oncoming cars
  • Not entering the flow of traffic at the required speed
  • Not staying in the proper lane when turning
  • Not yielding to pedestrians or bicyclists
  • Not completely stopping at an intersection before making the right turn

However, the turning driver is not always found to be at fault, such as in cases in which the turning driver was hit by a through driver running a red light.

With Florida law often assuming drivers are at fault for a right-turn crash, you must work with an experienced Florida traffic crash lawyer who can successfully challenge that assumption in court.

 

What do I do if I’ve been in a right-turn crash?

While at the Crash Scene

Take stock of the situation and check yourself and passengers for injuries. If you need emergency medical attention, stay where you are and call 911. Emergency authorities will provide further instruction.

Consult with the other person(s) involved in the crash and then move your vehicle(s) out of the path of moving traffic; Florida law requires you to do your best to clear the roadway for oncoming vehicles. Make sure to call authorities to get an official accident report, which can be used when filing an insurance claim and in any related right-turn crash lawsuit.

 

After Leaving the Crash Scene

Once that’s complete, contact a seasoned Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Car crashes can cause serious injury and death. A right-turn crash lawsuit can help you pay for car repairs or a replacement vehicle, medical expenses, loss of income, and other costs that start to add up as soon as one car touches another.

It’s essential that you have a Florida car accident lawyer who will help you to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t let an auto insurance company — yours or the other driver’s — force you to settle for less. 

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, & Fronrath today for a free right-turn crash case consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.

 

Disabled vehicle sits on grassy shoulder of Florida expressway

What to Do: Vehicles On the Shoulder

It’s nearly impossible to travel about Florida without using one of the state’s many expressways. These high-speed roadways usually have multiple lanes used by locals and tourists alike. It’s more than likely that you’ll have to deal with car trouble on an expressway at some point, and hopefully not at the dreaded crossover between Interstate 4 and State Road 408.

If your vehicle becomes disabled on an expressway, there are a few things you should do.

Move Your Car

Turn on your hazard lights, and, if possible, get your car to the shoulder of the expressway or at least out of traffic.

A stopped car in the middle of an expressway is extremely dangerous. Drivers may not notice that your car isn’t moving until it’s too late to avoid a collision. If your vehicle becomes disabled on an expressway you should keep your hazard or emergency lights on to help alert other motorists to your presence.

In addition to the safety risks posed by staying put in the roadway, Florida law requires drivers to move disabled vehicles so they don’t obstruct the regular flow of traffic.

What if my car isn’t running at all?

If you cannot drive or push your car to the side of the road due to mechanical or safety issues, Florida law requires you to get help and make every reasonable effort to move your vehicle. You can always try waving down fellow drivers and asking for help pushing your vehicle, but your best bet is contacting roadside assistance.

You may have roadside assistance through your auto insurance, car dealership, or a third-party service like AAA or OnStar. If you do not have roadside assistance, contact the Florida Highway Patrol Road Ranger Service Patrol. The Road Ranger Service Patrol is sponsored by State Farm and provides stranded drivers with limited roadside assistance for free. You can contact them by dialing *347.

If all else fails, you can call your local police department or sheriff’s office non-emergency line to request guidance and assistance or reach out to a towing service. Depending on your situation, if you do not know local law enforcement’s non-emergency line, contact 911 and they will patch you through.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Once your vehicle becomes disabled on an expressway, take a few minutes to analyze the flow of traffic and your situation. Is your car visible to others? Did your disabled vehicle cause a backup in traffic that’s now speeding to clear the area?

The side of the road or shoulder of the expressway is as dangerous as it feels. Even Florida drivers who pull their disabled vehicle as far from an expressway as possible, maybe into a nearby patch of grass, aren’t totally safe. In February, a Florida man was driving near Interstate 75 and U.S. 301 when he got a flat tire. He pulled off to the side of the road to change the tire and was fatally hit by a passing car.

Florida does have a law that requires drivers to slow down or change lanes when near stopped vehicles, but that law only applies to emergency vehicles, law enforcement, or similar entities.

What if I can fix my disabled car?

If your vehicle becomes disabled on an expressway, prepare to stay put. Law enforcement says that once your vehicle is off the roadway, you should stay in or near your vehicle until help arrives.

Authorities recommend having an emergency repair kit in your vehicle. Kits vary, but yours may include a help flag and reflectors. Both can help passing motorists realize that your car is disabled and not moving.

If you don’t happen to have a flag on hand, Florida Highway Patrol says you can pop your hood or tie a white cloth to your driver’s side window to alert passersby to your predicament. The aforementioned Road Rangers do patrol the state’s highways in search of stranded motorists, so they may spot you sooner than you expect.

Depending on where your car broke down, you may be near a Florida Highway Patrol alert button, which can be used to contact and request help from the nearest FHP station.

Think your car broke down due to product liability or damage suffered in a recent accident?

If your breakdown was due to someone else’s negligence, it may not be too late to get compensation. Contact the attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free case evaluation.

What if your pet is injured in a car accident?

pet injured in car accidentMany Florida drivers love to see a dog peeking out of a nearby car. However, some become anxious at the thought of their dog roaming their car without any safety restraints near an open window. 

A survey co-sponsored by AAA found that 840 out of 1,000 drivers have taken their pets on a drive. Of the survey respondents, 64% had engaged in distracted driving behaviors including playing with their pets, giving their pets food or water, or driving while letting their pet sit on their laps. And any of those behaviors increase the risk of getting into a car accident.

Unfortunately, beloved pets cannot escape the horrors of a car accident and are subject to the same risks as Florida drivers. And what happens if your pet is injured in a car accident?

Are pets covered by personal injury insurance?

As cruel as it sounds, pets are often not covered by personal injury insurance as they’re considered property. That means your pet’s injuries are more likely to be covered under property damage insurance than auto insurance. However, some insurance providers do include pet injuries in collision coverage, so you must review your specific policy and ask your provider to clarify any coverage confusion. 

If you do have pet injury or special injury protection under your collision insurance, it may be usable regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Similar to personal injury protection, these policies likely will have an expense cap.

If your pet isn’t covered by your auto insurance policy and the other driver was determined to be at fault, you likely can get your pet’s treatment expenses totally or partially covered by the other driver’s insurance provider as part of a compensation claim. Your claim will be affected if you were found to be at fault. 

A Florida car accident lawyer will guide you through the nuances of what you can legally do if your pet is injured in a car accident.

Unfortunately, insurance providers will take time to investigate any claims and will do whatever they can to argue that you deserve less compensation. Depending on your pet’s injuries, you may not be able to wait for the insurance provider to complete their investigation. An experienced Florida car accident lawyer will know what options are available to you.

 

What if I have pet insurance?

Standard pet insurance covers routine vet costs and medications. It likely doesn’t extend to car accident injuries but there’s no harm in checking to be sure. When your pet’s life is at stake, it’s best to check all possible avenues to afford the care they need. 

 

What if my pet was a service animal?

If your pet is considered a service or show animal, you may be entitled to more compensation as the loss or injury of your pet can affect your lifestyle, agency, and income. A seasoned Florida car accident lawyer knows how to handle such claims to build the strongest case possible for the compensation you and your pet need.

 

What to do at the scene of the car accident?

While at the scene of the wreck, check yourself and your pet to see if either of you sustained severe injuries. If you’re severely injured, call 911 and await further instruction from emergency medical personnel. 

If your pet is severely injured, call the nearest emergency veterinarian practice or surgery center to alert them that you’re on your way. Do what you can to avoid moving your injured pet. 

If your pet doesn’t seem severely injured, contact your vet and set an appointment for an immediate check-up. Your pet may be more injured than they appear externally, and some animals will attempt to hide any pain or suffering from you.

Once you’ve assured your pet’s safety, then you can move on to how to handle the other challenges of your pet being injured in a car accident. When it comes to what to do at the scene of a car accident, there are several steps you can take to strengthen your car accident lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.

 

Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer 

Seeing your pet suffer is an emotionally exhausting and heartbreaking ordeal. Let a Florida car accident lawyer help so you can focus on your furry companion. 

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free car accident pet injury case evaluation.

Shocking Florida Car Accident Statistics

car accident lawyerThe sad reality is that too many motorists fail to drive as carefully as they should. Despite how safely you and your loved ones drive, you can still end up in a car accident due to someone else’s actions. 

Florida experiences higher rates of accidents than many other states. To gain a better idea of how frequently car accidents in Florida occur, take a look at these Florida car accident statistics. They also serve as a cautionary reminder to stay alert while out on the roads. 

 

How many accidents happen in Florida every year? 

Every year in the United States, millions of people are involved in car crashes. Several state and federal agencies carefully track and analyze accident statistics to gain a better understanding of where the accidents occur and what caused them. 

With so many accidents to track and analyze, agencies typically cannot publish their reports for a couple of years. While we don’t yet have the 2020 data, we can take a look at statistics from 2019.

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles annual report in 2019, Florida alone accounted for 401,867 total crashes. While there was a slight drop in accidents from 2018 to 2019 (-0.44%), this is still a staggering number of accidents to occur in one state. Florida averaged over 1,100 accidents per day in 2019.

 

2019 Florida Car Accident Fatalities 

In 2019, 3,185 people lost their lives to crashes in Florida. Like any tragic passing, these accidents not only affected the deceased but their family, friends, and other loved ones.

What makes these deaths even harder for loved ones is that these accidents were often preventable. It’s not only motorists affected by crashes; take a look at these key car accident fatalities from 2019:

  • 521 motorcyclist fatalities
  • 734 pedestrian fatalities 
  • 156 bicyclist fatalities 
  • 19 other non-motorist fatalities 

Sadly, there was an increase in car accident fatalities in Florida from 2018 to 2019. Florida has one of the leading traffic fatality rates in the whole country at 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people. 

  

Key Florida Car Accident Statistics from 2019

Florida car accident statistics reveal a frightening scene of just how often crashes occur in the state:

  • Out of 401,867 total crashes, 2,951 were fatal
  • 59% of crashes resulted in an injury
  • 7.6% of injuries incapacitated the victim 
  • 21% of fatal crashes involved confirmed driver usage of alcohol or drugs 
  • Nearly 46% of all accident fatalities were suffered by vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists
  • 354 fatalities of drivers and passengers who were not wearing any type of seat belt. 
  • Drivers aged 21 to 24 were involved in 62,729 crashes

 

What You Can Do to Prevent Car Crashes

These statistics serve as a grim reminder of the importance of driving cautiously and defensively year-round. To help lower the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities, every Florida driver can do their part by doing the following:

  • Never text and drive 
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Ensure you’ve had enough rest before driving
  • Limit distractions in the vehicle
  • Follow posted speed limits and road rules 
  • Drive defensively
  • Maintain a proper distance from other motorists
  • Avoid driving through the night if possible 

These safety tips may seem like basic knowledge. However, they can go a long way in preventing future car accidents, injuries, and fatalities. 

 

Know Your Rights as a Car Accident Victim

If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, it can be an incredibly frustrating and stressful experience. On top of dealing with the aftermath of the crash including injuries, recovery, and dealing with insurance agencies, you may also have a mountain of medical bills waiting for you.

Rather than leaving your possibility of recovering compensation to chance, turn to a trusted and experienced Florida auto accident lawyer. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath, our goal is to fight for justice on behalf of car accident victims and ensure they receive just compensation for their injuries. 

Get help now by scheduling a risk-free case evaluation. Call us at (561) 655-1990. We look forward to assisting you. 

What To Do at the Scene of a Car Accident

what to do at the scene of a car accidentEvery year, millions of car accidents take place. While most result in property damage, around one-third result in injury to the drivers or passengers of the vehicle. Although you might believe that you know what to do at the scene of a car accident, your emotions may take over during such a traumatic experience. 

These helpful tips will help you remain safe and guarantee that you have everything you need to file an accurate car insurance claim. You will also discover why it is beneficial to work with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney.

Seek Medical Treatment 

One-third of vehicular accidents lead to injuries and nearly one in five are fatal. If you or another party needs immediate medical attention, call 911 and request an ambulance. Although it is generally a best practice to stay at the scene so that you can document the events, this is not possible if you are seriously injured.

Make the Scene Safe

In addition to taking care of your injuries and those of your passengers, help protect other drivers. You can do this by setting up lights or flares around the accident. Next, you should turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights if they are still functioning. After that, put as much space as you can between yourself and traffic. You can do this by sitting in your vehicle if it is in a safe location. 

If your car is too damaged, then situate yourself at the side of the road. This will help you protect yourself and others from further accidents.

Document the Scene

Once you have done what is necessary to protect the health of those involved in the accident, investigate the crash. This includes getting the name, address, and driver’s license number of those involved, as well as:

  • Taking photos of the scene, including the resulting damage, injuries, and weather.
  • Asking for witness accounts of the accident and receiving their contact information.
  • Searching for cameras in the area that may have captured a video of the incident.
  • Making sure the police are called to the scene to begin developing a police report.

Documenting the scene is an important part of the process for making an insurance claim. These initial details will also help should you go to court for this accident. By documenting the scene, you will be ready to provide evidence to your insurance company or your attorney. You will also have a better understanding of the events that occurred and why.

Start the Claim Process with Your Insurance Company

After documenting the scene, it is time to contact your insurance company. Your insurance representative will want to know where the accident occurred. They will also ask for details about the other drivers and passengers in the vehicles. Starting a claim is the first step to getting back on the road. The insurance agents will also conduct their own investigation and communicate with the other driver’s insurance company.

One important detail to note is that the other person’s insurance company will likely contact you after an accident. They may request a statement or ask you to sign a release form. Neither of these actions are in your best interest. 

Before you speak to the other party’s insurance company, it is always best to consult your car accident attorney. This will help you from paying too much if you are found at fault and can also maximize the amount you receive in damages for the accident.

Discuss the Accident with An Attorney

There are several things you should do outside of the scene of your accident. This can include beginning an investigation with an attorney to take legal action. It can also involve settling or filing a lawsuit. Both steps require adequate legal counsel. 

Contact law firm Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. Our experienced lawyers understand how to protect you after an accident and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Distracted Driving in Florida: On the Rise and Unlikely to Change Any Time Soon

Distracted Driving in Florida:

In honor of Distracted Driving Month in April, recently released statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) showed that 2017 was the worst year on record for accidents involving distracted drivers in Florida.

In addition, even though more than 50,000 accidents occurred in 2017 that were attributed to driver inattention, the recent failure of proposed legislation in the Florida Senate that would have made texting a primary offense for which police officers could pull over and ticket drivers will mean this trend will not show any signs of slowing. Read more

Drowsy Driving Accidents and the Holidays

Fatigue presents a serious safety issue for motorist during any season.  But much like drunk driving, driving accidents caused by drowsy drivers tend to spike around the time of major holidays. This is partially attributed to the fact that during the holiday season, more people travel longer distances or spend more time on local roads. In fact, Christmas and New Year’s following the Thanksgiving holidays are the top travel times for Americans. The average trip miles during Christmas and New Year’s is estimated at 275 compared with a national average of 261 miles for trips taken during the rest of the year. Read more