Blog posts of '2022' 'June'

The challenges of proving a reckless driving case

In Florida, drivers share the road every day with irresponsible drivers who tailgate, make frequent lane changes, speed, or engage in other reckless driving behaviors. Accidents that result from such driving habits can range from fender benders to cataclysmic injury or death.

Although it may appear obvious that the other driver’s habits or traffic violations caused the accident, it is not so easy to prove that their actions make them liable in a personal injury suit. For Miami residents who have suffered injury or loss due to another driver’s negligent behavior, it is important to know where to turn to receive compassionate legal advocacy as they pursue just compensation.

Proving liability, finding responsible parties

When the victim of a motor vehicle accident pursues a claim, it will be for financial compensation in civil court. The standard of proof for a successful civil claim is lower than for a criminal proceeding, as the plaintiff only has to prove the defendant’s negligence with a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In cases where the police report shows that the other driver broke the law, separate criminal charges may lead to a conviction, which would strengthen a civil claim. For this reason, it is often wise to await the outcome of the concurrent criminal case before filing a personal injury claim.

When reviewing the merits of a civil claim, attorneys will assess several factors in determining who will be the defendants and the amount of compensation the plaintiff will seek. The evidence needed to establish cause in a reckless driving case will include:

  • The details of the police report that may establish traffic violations such as speeding, driving on the shoulder, weaving through traffic, or driving while impaired.
  • The injured party’s statement.
  • The nature of the bodily damage to the vehicles, including the area of impact, the severity of damages, skid marks, broken glass and the distance of the impacted vehicle from the point of impact.
  • Witness testimony.
  • Extent of injuries to the victims.

Other responsible parties may share liability for the accident. For example, an employer whose driver was driving a company vehicle while working may share liability, and alcohol vendors may bear responsibility for allowing an intoxicated client to get behind the wheel.

Negligence laws in Florida

Under Florida law, the theory of comparative negligence applies in civil cases, in which the amount of responsibility that the injured party bears for causing the accident reduces the award they may claim by that same percentage. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is typically four years.

What are the greatest causes of road construction accidents?

As the new legislation to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure kicks in, travelers on our nation’s roadways will be seeing more construction work zones and experiencing more delays, lane changes and complicated signs. For road construction workers in Florida and elsewhere, this means even greater risk of severe injury or death that can occur in highway work zones.

With major roadway construction sites along I-95, the Intercoastal Waterway and other projects, Miami residents should use caution when entering a work zone along their commute. Road construction workers who have experienced severe injury or loss from a work-related accident need to know the next steps for receiving compensation.

What hazards do road construction workers face?

When construction workers are injured in work-related accidents, it is due to one of four primary causes, called the “fatal four”:

  • Falls
  • Struck-by accidents
  • Electrocution
  • Caught in-between

No matter the work environment, these events can occur from tripping on debris or falling from a hidden gap or hole, electrocution, being struck by equipment, crushed by falling material or caught in machinery.

Roadway work zones put construction workers at enhanced risk of severe injury and death because they not only face dangers from these hazards but also risk being struck by a negligent driver who is speeding, crashes through construction barriers, or causes a traffic accident with another vehicle.

As it turns out, work zone fatalities have been steadily rising in recent years, increasing during the lockdowns of 2020 when there were fewer drivers on the road. The pedestrian fatality rate went up by 21% that year over 2019, and 38% of these fatalities occurred to road construction workers.

More than half of all highway contractors reported work zone crashes in 2021, resulting in tragic loss, project delays, and motorist fatalities. Speeding is reportedly a common factor in such accidents.

Why women may be more at risk in a car accident

Most people would agree that the habits of drivers in Florida and elsewhere continue to get worse. Traffic fatalities have gone up dramatically across the country since 2020, and according to recent research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it is women who are more likely to experience serious injury or death than men.

The study found that, although there are more motor vehicle accident fatalities overall for men than women, women are up to 28% more at risk of deadly injury and as much as 73% more prone to serious injury than men in an accident. Moderate injuries that women are likely to suffer from a front or side crash include:

  • Broken bones
  • Leg injuries
  • Collapsed lung
  • Traumatic brain injury

As it turns out, women tend to choose smaller and lighter vehicles than men, which exposes them to more risk of injury in an accident. But women’s bodies also react differently from men’s to the impact of a collision. Choosing crash test dummies that more accurately reflect the size and proportions of a woman will go a long way toward modifying safety measures that will protect both women and men equally.

How Florida no-fault insurance laws factor into filing a claim

Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, all registered drivers must carry insurance that will pay for damages in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who was at fault. The minimums are:

  • Property damage liability (PDL), $10,000
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), $10,000

In addition, drivers may purchase bodily injury liability (BIL), which pays out to others who have suffered an injury. PDL covers damages to the other vehicle, and PIP pays up to 80% of medical expenses, lost income or survivor’s loss, and funeral expenses.

When filing a personal injury is the best option

Because Florida’s minimum insurance requirements are so low, many victims of a car crash that was due to a negligent driver cannot possibly receive the compensation they deserve under available no-fault insurance coverage. For this reason, it is possible for a negligence claim to move forward in civil court if the injuries to the plaintiff will exceed existing insurance limits.

Florida follows the theory of comparative negligence, which allows the injured party to receive compensation that is equivalent to the percentage of responsibility that they share with the other driver in causing the accident.

What you need to know about bedsores

If your loved one suffers any kind of injury in a nursing home, then you should start asking questions. This is especially true if your loved one develops bedsores. These injuries, sometimes referred to as pressure ulcers, develop when pressure is applied to the skin over an excessive period. In the nursing home context, bedsores are often present when nursing staff fails to move or reposition a resident who has limited mobility.

Where do bedsores form?

Bedsores can appear on any part of the body that is subjected to this excessive pressure. However, they are most commonly found on the following parts of the body:

  • Ankles
  • Heels
  • Tailbone
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Spine

So, be aware of your loved one’s condition and check these areas of their body to see if bedsores are developing. This is important because if caught early enough, bedsores can be successfully treated. If they’re left to fester and worsen, though, then they can lead to life-threatening complications.

Risk factors

A lack of mobility is the number one risk factor for bedsores. But other contributing factors may also be indicative of nursing home neglect. For example, malnutrition can cause the skin to lose its elasticity, thereby causing it to break more easily. So, as you’re assessing your loved one’s condition, make sure that you’re taking a comprehensive look at the care that he or she is receiving.

Holding negligent nursing homes accountable

Your loved one deserves nothing less than a level of care that keeps him or her safe. Yet, nursing home neglect and abuse are more common than most people realize. There are thousands of reports of abuse and neglect made each year. That’s why you should be diligent in ensuring that your loved one is protected.

If you suspect that your loved one has been harmed by negligent or abusive nursing home practices, then you can fight for accountability and compensation. To learn more about how to do that, consider discussing the matter with a legal team that you feel comfortable fighting on your loved one’s behalf.