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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Car collision claims life at dangerous Inverness intersection

When people are killed or seriously injured in car accidents in Miami, one of the first things that family and friends want to know is who was at fault. Most will look to one of the drivers involved in the accident, yet oftentimes, it is impossible to lay the blame at the feet of anyone in particular. That is because in such cases, it is not the drivers who caused the accidents, but rather the conditions. Whether dangerous road conditions are temporary (such as icy roads due to snow) or permanent (streets with blind curves that offer poor visibility), they can still both produce tragic results.

Such was the scene that recently played out outside of a gated community in Inverness. A teenage girl was killed when her car collided with an approaching truck outside of the subdivision. The driver of the truck as well as his passenger did not sustain any serious injuries. Law enforcement officials investigating the accident recognized the conditions at the intersection where it occurred to be dangerous. Trees, bushes, and the subdivision’s sign all serve to obstruct the view of exiting drivers. There is also no light at the intersection to slow oncoming traffic. The girl also had only had her license since the end of August, and investigators cited that fact as possibly having contributed to the crash.

Bullying as the basis for wrongful death lawsuits

The problem of bullying is nothing new to Miami or the rest of the U.S. However, it seems that only recently have people begun to cite it as a reason for civil action. While no concrete data may exist as to the number of lawsuits filed specifically because of bullying, many within the legal community agree that they are on the rise.

A majority of the legal cases involving bullying that have been reported involve children and teens. Indeed, information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 12.3 percent of Florida youth say that they have been bulled online, while 15.7 percent report being bullied at school. Sadly, some of these cases end with victims taking their own lives. This raises the question of whether or not families can sue for wrongful death if their children’s suicides were the result of bullying.

Recovering damages due to emotional distress

Many of those Miami clients with whom we at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer have worked following auto-pedestrian accidents suffer at least some form of mental trauma. If you are experiencing such anguish, you may find that this is the most difficult aspect of yours or your loved one’s accident to get over. You may also be wondering whether or not you can seek compensation for such distress. Proving emotional anguish may be difficult. However, Florida law does offer a way to do so.

According to The Florida Bar Journal, the state follows a philosophy known as “the impact rule.” It states that in order for you to recover damages for emotional distress, you must prove that distress to be the result of physical injuries that you suffered in an impact accident. In the case of an auto-pedestrian collision, that typically is not very difficult to prove.

Who pays your bicycle accident expenses?

If you are in a car accident in Miami, then you no doubt have confidence that either your auto insurance of the insurance of the other driver will cover all of your accident expenses. Yet what happens if you are hit while riding your bike? Who pays then? Remember that you are afforded much less protection on a bicycle than in a car. Therefore, while your vehicle repair costs may be lower, your medical expenses are likely to be much higher. Indeed, a study done for the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine showed that the average cost per case of bicycle-vehicle collisions resulting in severe injuries was close to $500,000.

If you are struck by a car while on your bike, and the other driver was at fault, then your compensation works much the same as it would if you had been in a car. The driver would be responsible for covering the costs of your accident expenses (likely through his or her auto insurance policy). Any remaining amount after the money made available through his or her insurance is exhausted would then be paid for by your auto insurance company (provided you carry such coverage).

Proving that a parking lot was poorly lit

Sadly, some of the Miami residents with whom we work with here at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer have been the victims of clandestine assaults. One of the more common places for attackers to lie in wait for victims is a parking lot. If you’ve been the victim of an attack in a parking lot, you may be wondering if better visibility may have led to your spotting your attacker before he or she ever had the chance to assault you. Maintaining adequate visibility in parking lots is the responsibility of the lot owner. If you believe that poor lighting contributed to an attacker’s ability to sneak up on you, then you could potentially make a case for negligence on the part of the lot owner.

Your ability to do so hinges on the lighting requirements mandated by state law. Title XLVI of the Florida State Statutes states that all convenience businesses must maintain a parking lot with an illumination intensity of at least 2 foot-candles per square foot at 18 inches above the ground when lit. If you are like most, then a “foot-candle” is not a unit of measurement that you are familiar with. How bright is this? It is roughly right above what you would expect it to be during the twilight or early evening hours.

Reviewing the dangers of drowsy driving

In many car accidents in Miami and across the rest of the United States, driver impairment is a contributing factor. Many times, however, it’ is not the kind of impairment that most may think. Rather than being drunk, the drivers that caused these accidents were drowsy. Fatigued or drowsy driving is a very real danger facing motorists today, simply because many of those who do it do not think that they are doing anything wrong.

Information shared by the Florida Department of Transportation shows that nearly 30 percent of Americans have admitted to having fallen asleep while driving. Yet while many drivers take precautions to avoid drunk driving, few rarely think about whether or not they are too fatigued to drive. That’s likely because most assume that they know their own limitations, and that if they have never fallen asleep behind the wheel before, they are not in danger of doing it the future. They may believe even further that they only present a danger if they actually fall asleep.

Qualifying a medical expert witness

For those clients that we assist with wrongful death cases due to medical malpractice here at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer, their greatest obstacle in earning compensation is challenging the clinical expertise of the health care providers involved in their cases. Your ability to present a solid medical malpractice case may depend largely on who you are able to get to testify as an expert on your behalf. Therefore, it is important that you understand the requirements put in place by the State to qualify one as an expert witness.

According to Florida law, if your complaint is against a hospital or other type of medical facility for the alleged violation of administrative or non-clinical policies, then you don’t necessarily need a clinician to testify in support of your case. Any person whose knowledge, experience, or expertise is in the accepted standard of care for such facilities may qualify as an expert.

Hit-and-run accidents in Florida

The immediate aftermath of an auto-pedestrian accident in Miami is often the most vital time for action. Care must be rendered to victims, and accident information must be collected by law enforcement. All of that becomes much more difficult to do if the driver of the vehicle involved flees the scene. While most might assume that drivers will take the responsible step of staying at an accident scene, research may suggest otherwise. Study data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and shared by USA Today shows that 1,449 fatal hit-and-run accidents occurred in 2011, an increase of 13 percent over the previous two years.

Florida law makes it a felony crime for a driver to leave scene of accident that he or she causes, with penalties ranging from a third degree all the way up to a first degree charge. Specifically regarding accidents involving pedestrians, the law lists the following types of travelers as being covered by its hit-and-run statute:

  •          People walking through crosswalks or legally along the shoulder of the road.
  •          Skateboarders and in-line or roller skaters.
  •          People in wheelchairs or other devices designed to assist mobility.
  •          People traveling by animal or horse-drawn carriage.
  •          People operating tractors or other farming equipment.
  •          Construction and emergency service workers.

Proving a person was texting while driving

Car accidents can have a devastating effect on the lives of Miami residents. They can be even more so if simple distractions, like someone sending or reading a text message while driving, are discovered to be the cause of them. Victims can end up facing enormous expenses from medical bills, damages to their vehicles, and the impact their accidents had on their quality of life. Often, they’re left with little choice but to seek compensation from the drivers whose carelessness may have led to the issues they now face.

 The difficulty in pursuing a case for compensation based upon the belief that another was texting while driving is being able to prove that such a scenario actually occurred. Many may immediately assume this to be the case when teenage drivers are involved. However, recent studies of car accident reports done by the Pew Research Center seem to suggest otherwise. Their information shows that adults are actually more likely to text while driving than teens. However, there are certain demographics that have demonstrated a higher tendency to text while drive. The same Pew report showed that nearly 60 percent of drivers between the ages of 18-33 admitted to texting while driving, and 75 percent said that they had been passengers in cars driven by drivers doing the same.

8-year old boy breaks leg in Coral Gables bike accident

A good number of bicycle accidents that make the news in Miami involve adult cyclists. However, one of the largest segments of the bicycling population is kids. While some may assume that since children are likely less acquainted with Florida bicycling laws than adults, they are more likely to be involved in accidents, the opposite is often true. Where adults are more likely to ride in the road, their chances of colliding with cars are increased. Kids, on the other hand, tend to stick to the sides of the road or the sidewalks. Thus, if and when they are struck by a car, is more likely to be the motorist’s fault.

Such was the case in a hit-and-run accident that recently occurred in Coral Gables. An 8-year old boy had stopped to look at a sign during a bike ride with his father when he was struck by a car. The driver of the car then fled the scene, only to be arrested after a neighbor reported him to the authorities. He admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel before striking the boy. He also confessed to leaving the scene out of fear of the boy’s father.

Office Location

Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer
16211 NE 18th Avenue
North Miami Beach, FL 33162

Phone: 305-940-0007
Toll Free: 800-639-8084
Fax: 305-354-8895
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