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
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
According to a recent Sun-Sentinel report, an Atlantic High School senior and star football player from Delray Beach was recently killed when his dirt bike crashed into an SUV in nearby Greenacres. The accident occurred when the dirt bike, which did not have headlights, and a Chevrolet Equinox crashed on a dark stretch of road. As the Chevrolet SUV was turning onto the road, the dirt bike slammed into its front passenger door. The dirt bike’s driver was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead a week later from his injuries. The dirt bike’s driver was a starter and star player on last year’s Atlantic High School football team, which finished as the Florida Class 8A state runners-up. He had already received multiple scholarship offers from Division I football programs. This was a tragedy of a young football career cut short by the decision to drive on an off-road vehicle.
Dirt Bikes, ATV’s, Off-Road Vehicles and the Dangers They Can Pose
Riding in or driving a dirt bike, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or other type of off-road vehicle can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, many people get behind the wheel of such vehicles and sometimes engage in reckless behavior by driving at breakneck speeds, taking sharp turns without braking, and other dangerous behaviors. This coupled with the fact that many off-road vehicles lack even basic safety features like headlights or seat belts, can make the incidence of death or serious injury extremely high. This can spell danger for motor vehicle drivers in the vicinity or even passengers in the ATV, who can be thrown from the vehicle and suffer serious injuries or even death. In addition, if a dirt bike or ATV is driven in the vicinity of motor vehicles, accidents can often be fatal for off-road vehicle drivers and passengers, as many do not wear helmets or other protective gear despite the lack of safety features on such vehicles.
Damages Recoverable in an Accident Involving an Off-Road Vehicle
In a dirt bike or other off-road vehicle accident like the recent incident in Greenacres, the same damages apply as in any other personal injury lawsuit in Florida. These include the costs of any repairs to a vehicle or other property that is damaged as a result of someone else’s negligence, any medical treatment for injuries caused in the accident, as well as pain and suffering for any injuries associated with an accident caused by one party’s negligence. Therefore, in the accident above, if the high school football player on the dirt bike was determined by a jury to be at fault in the accident, his estate could be sued for each of these damages by the driver and passengers in the Equinox.
The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of Lytal Reiter Are Here to Assist Victims of Dirt Bike, ATV or Other Off-Road Vehicle Accidents in Florida
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrathour experienced personal injury attorneys have decades of combined legal experience representing victims of dirt bike and other ATV accidents. We have successfully represented individuals who have been injured in accidents involving off-road vehicles in the past. Therefore, if you have been involved in an accident involving a dirt bike, all-terrain vehicle or other off-road vehicle in Florida and have been injured by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, please call us today for a free consultation at (561) 655-1990 for a free consultation regarding your situation today.
Protecting Your Rights
Most people do not spend much time thinking about what they would or should do if they are in an automobile accident. But a little forethought about what actions you could take if you survive an automobile accident may help to…
- Minimize injuries.
- Preserve your legal rights to compensation.
- Protect against fraudulent claims from others.
- Make the claims process easier.
Recent studies indicate a possible and surprising reason for an increase in traffic fatalities. According to a “2017 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws” report that rank effectiveness of roadway laws nationwide, unenforced or inadequate safety regulations may be directly related to the rising number of motor vehicular accidents and deaths. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 28,000 people died in traffic accidents in the first nine months of 2016. This represents an 8% increase from 2015 and the greatest surge in vehicular deaths in at least fifty years. Read more
Millions of people are injured every year in vehicles that sustain zero or minimal property damage. That means there is little or no “visible” damage to the vehicle. A common trend by insurance companies is to dispute or undermine injuries sustained in these low impact collisions. As a result, most accident victims are usually marginally compensated or receive no reimbursement for medical bills, care services or lost wages resulting from these injuries. Read more
Unless electro-mechanical engineers design a “whiplash” proof vehicle soon, the role of the chiropractor in the personal injury litigation process may be static for some time. Despite the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) focus on mitigating whiplash and related injuries, the number of cases continue to rise. In fact, studies have shown whiplash to be the most common injury sustained from an auto accident. Residual pain associated with this type of injury also rank as the top reason people head to the chiropractor after being checked out at a hospital following a car wreck. Read more
Most motor vehicle accident victims do not know going into a lawsuit that often the most important factor in most motor vehicle accident lawsuits is the negligent motorist’s policy limits. This is why a motorist injured in a motor vehicle accident may be forced to accept less than the full amount of his or her damages if the other driver is underinsured. Therefore, it is imperative that Florida car accident victims hire an aggressive attorney who will not only pursue the negligent driver’s insurer, but also the negligent driver, for the victim’s injuries. An aggressive attorney can recover something from the negligent driver, even if not the full amount awarded.
A Concrete Example of How Insurance Policy Limits Can Dictate a Lawsuit’s Outcome
Imagine a driver is driving home on the Florida Turnpike in Palm Beach County and is plowed into from behind by a driver who is texting and not paying attention. If the negligent driver has an auto policy with a limit of $100,000, for instance, the insurer is on the hook for $100,000. This is true if the case goes to a trial and the jury returns a verdict against the driver and his or her insurer for $1,000,000. Of that $1,000,000, the the driver would be on the hook for the remaining $900,000. Given that very few people have assets of that amount, many attorneys will not even bother to attempt to collect anything from the driver and will simply be content with pursuing the negligent driver’s insurer for whatever insurance money is available. Nonetheless, it often is possible (although sometimes difficult) to also obtain additional compensation from the negligent driver him or herself.
What Can My Lawyers Do if the Jury Awards Me More than the Other Driver’s Policy Limits in Damages?
A jury verdict, and the resulting judgment against the negligent driver, is just a piece of paper. Although the injured person might have a judgment stating that the motorist owes you $900,000, it is up to your attorneys to collect dollar amount of that $900,000 they can from that driver. This will usually be less than a dollar for dollar recovery because both Florida state law as well as federal law provide protections for certain assets from collection to satisfy a judgment obtained in a lawsuit, like a home jointly owned with a spouse, any retirement accounts, or a portion of the negligent motorist’s paycheck. However, it is a process that takes meticulous research in locating the negligent motorist’s assets and then using legal remedies to recover whatever money an attorney can for his or her injured client.
Contact Lytal Reiter if You Have Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our auto accident attorneys have extensive experience litigating on behalf of auto accident victims. Since our firm was founded in 1985, a large percentage of the cases our firm handles involve auto accidents. Although some attorneys will simply take whatever the negligent motorist’s insurance policy limits are, we will fight to get every cent for our clients that we can, including pursuing the negligent driver. If you or your loved ones have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, contact the West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today.
Walk around the downtown of any city and you will see pedestrians glued to their smartphones. However, even as smart phones have improved our ability to connect, they have also made walking more hazardous for both pedestrians and motorists alike. Distracted pedestrians are increasingly causing accidents. The phenomenon has become so common that some cities are now fighting the problem through fining pedestrians for the use of smartphones while walking.
Honolulu Becomes First Major U.S. City to Ban Texting and Walking
According to a recent New York Times report, Honolulu recently became the first major U.S. city to extend the ban to pedestrians in July. Under that law, any pedestrian crossing a street while “viewing” a cellphone can be fined between $15 and $35. The Times article further notes that a 2015 study in the Journal of Safety Studies found that, between 2000 and 2007, fewer than 400 pedestrians were injured in the U.S. each year due to accidents caused by pedestrians distracted by their phones. However, after the introduction of Apple’s original iPhone in 2007 kicked off the smartphone revolution, an estimated 1,300 pedestrians were injured in 2012 while absorbed in their cell phones.
Pedestrian Duties When Interacting with Motor Vehicles under Florida Law
Pedestrians, just like drivers, have duties under Florida law. For instance, pedestrians have a general duty under Florida law to exercise reasonable caution when crossing roads or interacting with cars and other motor vehicles. In addition, under Florida Statutes Section 316.130, pedestrians have specified laws they must obey. First, pedestrians must obey all laws applicable to non-vehicles. For example, a pedestrian is required to obey any traffic device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer. Pedestrians are also required to obey all traffic control signals at intersections. Therefore, a pedestrian crossing against the light is violating the law in Florida.
Contact Lytal Reiter if You Are Involved in An Accident with a Pedestrian Who is Ignoring His or Her Duties Under Florida Law
There are traffic laws in Florida that apply to pedestrians just like there are laws that apply to motorists. If a pedestrian is not following these laws requiring because the pedestrian is glued to his or her smartphone, the pedestrian may be at fault if he or she causes an accident in which a motorist is injured. If you have been injured in Florida due to the carelessness of a pedestrian glued to his or her smartphone, then contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Lytal Reiter Smith Ivey & Fronrath today at (561) 655-1990 for a free consultation regarding your legal rights. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have represented clients who have been seriously injured in many different scenarios, including pedestrian-caused accidents.