Frequently Asked Questions
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A Cyclist in a Group Ride Caused Me to Fall Do I Have an Injury Claim?
This is a pretty common question asked either by the injured cyclist or by their spouse calling on their behalf. Legally, there’s usually not a clear yes or no answer. But here are some of the considerations that will come into play.
First, if you are a member of an organized cycling club and completed their club application, there may be language in the application which waives or gives up the right for you to bring a negligence claim against the club or ride participants during a club event. This applies even if there was clear negligence or fault by the club or the rider. You have to go back and carefully look at the application you filled out with club. This is pretty common language in most club applications for membership.
Second, there must be some basis to argue the cyclist who caused you to fall was at fault by doing something which was negligent or careless. This could include needlessly aggressive riding, carelessly running into someone, and careless inattention to the location of cyclists around them or some other similar argument. Each cycling accident is unique. The facts of how they occur are unique. The facts will determine if there is an argument which would support a case of negligence.
Third, there must be someone from whom to collect financial recovery for the injuries or losses you suffered. Typically, that means insurance since it is extremely difficult to collect money from a private individual in Florida. A cyclist who owns a home and has homeowners insurance should be covered under their Homeowner’s Policy for any careless or negligent act while riding their bike. Most people don’t realize they are covered by their homeowners insurance for many activities away from their home such as cycling or as a pedestrian, for example.
Finally, there is the question of whether this is a claim that should be brought even if all the elements are present to allow bringing the case. That will be an individual decision, not only for the injured cyclist, but for the lawyer. It comes down to whether it’s the right thing to do in the eyes of most people.
Get a free copy of the Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook to learn more about safe cycling and the steps you should take if you are involved in a cycling accident.
Driver Hit the Gas Instead of the Brake, Do I Have a Case?
A driver who hits the gas pedal instead of the brake is responsible and could be at fault if they injure someone. The injured person may bring a claim against the driver’s insurance company. In the event the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance or not enough of the right kind, the person who was hurt would look to the Uninsured Motorist coverage on their own car insurance policy.
These accidents are sometimes called gas pedal accidents or wrong pedal accidents. They frequently occur in a parking lot. A recent study by the National Traffic Safety Administration found women were responsible for about 60% of gas pedal accidents.
When a driver hits the wrong pedal the injuries suffered by someone who was run over can be quite serious. When the pedal mix up occurs the driver believes in their mind they are putting on the brakes, but the car suddenly takes off in drive or in reverse. The natural tendency then is to press harder, thinking the car should be slowing. As a result, the car accelerates rapidly. This results in cars being driven into buildings or over long distances before crashing into something that stops them. In a recent pedal mix-up case in Florida, three innocent people were killed when a woman hit the gas instead of the brake in a parking lot.
How Do I Spot a Drunk Driver & What Should I Do if I Spot One?
We have all watched the show “COPS” and think we can spot a drunk driver. The obvious way to tell is when a car swerves off the road and is driving too fast or too slowly. Those are just a couple of the many actions that can tip us off and let us know we are behind a driver who is intoxicated. Other actions include using improper turn signals, a car stopped in the middle of the road, tailgating, hugging one side of the road, quickly accelerating or decelerating, almost striking an object, not driving with lights on, braking erratically, and driving in the wrong lane.
The Logical Question That Follows Is, What Do I Do When I Spot a Drunk Driver?
When you see a car that appears to be driven by a drunken driver remember to stay away from the car. Do not pass or drive too closely to the car, because we know drunk drivers stop abruptly and swerve out of their lane. To make sure other people on the road are safe, it’s important to get the description of the car and a license plate number, if you can do it safely.
Call the police and report the drunk driver. You should tell the officers why you think the driver is drunk, give a description of the car, and let them know what direction the car is heading. Remember before you call, you should pull over to a safe location and stop your vehicle before using your cell phone. The road does not need a drunk driver and a driver on a cell phone all at the same time. It is important to solve the problem and not add to it by talking on your cell phone while you drive.
How Many Traffic Deaths in Florida are Caused By Drunk Dirvers?
According to MADD, there were 716 people who lost their lives to drunk drivers in 2011 in Florida alone. That means thousands of people lost loved ones they can never see again as a result of people choosing to drink too much and get behind the wheel. Thirty percent of all traffic deaths in Florida were a result of a drunk driver. These are senseless deaths that are completely avoidable.
In 1995, there were 717 fatalities due to drunk drivers. After years of raising awareness with public service announcements people still continue to drink, drive, and kill innocent people. Some people look at these statistics as mere numbers, but the numbers represent people. The people who are killed are survived by parents, spouses, and children. Losing a loved one can cause devastating emotional and financial harm. Never being able to say goodbye affects people in work, school, and every day activities. Lives are changed by the financial burdens of burial cost, loss of a bread winner, and unpaid medical bills.
We hear the cliché that “buzzed driving is drunk driving”, but it is much more than a cliché. If you feel anything other than normal after drinking you are impaired. It’s not worth killing someone and having to live with yourself knowing that you took a life. We have already addressed the problem, and it is time for individuals to finally drink responsibly.
Is it Illegal to Drive Under the Influence of Pills or Medication?
Everyone understands it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. However, there is a common misconception it is fine to drive while taking your own prescription medicines. Most people fail to understand driving under the influence of pills is illegal if they impair you. It doesn’t matter if the pills are lawfully prescribed to the driver by their doctor.
The law in Florida says that it is illegal to drive a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances that includes prescription pills that impair a person. So remember before you drive your car, check your pill bottle to see if it tells you not to operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery. If you are hit by someone you believe is under the influence of alcohol or prescription pills, tell the police officers when they show up after an accident.
Even though a person may not “blow over the limit” after hitting you, officers can determine if they are under the influence of a controlled substance after administering a field sobriety test. Many people commonly know the field sobriety test as the “finger to nose” and “walking the line” test. Officers test a person’s balance, eye movements, and ability to follow directions.
For the purpose of driving under the influence, impairment may be established by an officer describing a person’s demeanor and conduct. This means the field sobriety test is enough evidence for a person to get convicted of a DUI including prescription medication. When a person hits you with their car and is found to be driving under the influence, you can hold them financially responsible.
Who is Considered a Vulnerable Road User (VRU) in Florida?
A vulnerable road user (VRU) is anyone who is on or alongside a roadway without the protective hard covering of a metal automobile. The term includes bicycle riders, pedestrians, motorcyclists, people in wheelchairs, police, first responders, roadway workers and other users like a person on a skateboard or scooter. It is meant to include people who are especially at risk of serious bodily harm if hit by a car, SUV or truck.
The term is commonly used in relation to the argument state laws need to give sentencing judges more ability to up the punishment imposed on a driver who injures a vulnerable road user. Florida currently has no such law. It is very common for a driver who kills or seriously injures a VRU to just be given a ticket for careless driving. In recent years, there have been several well publicized accidents in the Tampa Bay area and other Florida cities involving a distracted driver striking and killing a pedestrian or cyclist. Some of these horrible crashes, resulted in the driver simply getting a small fine. Judges have complained the law gives them no ability to impose a greater punishment when the driver was not also convicted of a crime such as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident with injury or reckless driving.
Many groups are working to have the Legislature pass a Vulnerable Road User law to give Florida judges the ability to impose jail time and increased fines in these cases where they are cited with only a moving violation. One of the best known laws is the one enacted in Oregon. Many consider it a model for other states.
Finding the right lawyer to handle your Florida injury case is a very important decision. For a complimentary review of the facts of your case and to learn how we can assist you, call Jim Dodson Law at 727-446-0840.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Auto Accident Claim in Florida?
The amount of time it takes to settle an auto accident claim in Florida will depend on a variety of factors. A lawyer will evaluate your case to determine who was negligent, what the extent of your injuries are and what types of compensation (money) you may be entitled to pursue as well as what insurance is available. All of these factors, plus others will impact how long your case may take to resolve.
It’s not uncommon to be concerned about how long it will take to settle an auto accident claim in Florida, especially if you have suffered serious injuries. You may be out of work and facing a lot of expenses which require immediate financial help.
Florida personal injury claims can be very complex. Although many are resolved within a year, cases that require a lawsuit or cases that are complex will take longer to resolve. The process can be made even more complicated where there are devastating injuries requiring prolonged treatment.
Factors to Consider When Determining How Long it May Take to Settle an Auto Accident Claim
- whether fault is admitted by the other driver’s insurance company or when they dispute their driver caused the accident and a lawsuit is required to decide the issue.
- how long it takes to complete medical treatment required for your injuries.
- whether a settlement amount can be agreed upon or the insurance company refuses to pay a fair amount to settle and
- whether your attorney has the experience to make sure your case is not being delayed.
Choosing the right attorney is one of the most important things you can do when pursuing a Florida injury claim. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us today at 727-446-0840 for a no-cost evaluation of your case.
What are the Short and Long-Term Medical and Financial Implications of a Spinal Cord Injury Suffered During a Motorcycle Crash?
A motorcycle crash can leave you with severe spinal cord injuries. A lawyer can help review your case to determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
Medical Implications of a Spinal Cord Injury
The short-term medical action starts at the scene of your motorcycle crash and in the emergency room. Doctors and medics will immobilize your neck and back right away to prevent any further damage and stabilize your breathing. Once you are stable you will be cared for in the intensive care unit for further treatment which may include medication, metal braces for stabilization, surgery or experimental treatment in some cases.
In the long-term you may suffer paralysis and permanent damages including complications with:
- bladder control,
- bowel control,
- impaired skin sensation,
- circulatory control,
- respiratory issues and/or
- sexual health issues.
Financial Implications of a Spinal Cord Injury
Short-term and long-term financial costs of a spinal cord injury from an accident will include:
- emergency room/hospitalization bills,
- medication/treatment costs and
- lost wages (if you are able to return to work).
- extended physical therapy,
- emotional counseling,
- technology purchases for coping (wheelchair or electronic aids) and
- lost wages (if you are unable to return to work at all).
Consult with an experienced attorney who has dealt with motorcycle cases to see if taking legal action and filing a personal injury claim is right for you. If you do file a claim lawyers can help ease some of the stress of the process from you and your loved ones. Call our office any time at 888-207-0905.
What are the Short and Long-Term Implications of a Head Injury Suffered During a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident has great potential to end in severe injury; in many cases there may be intense brain trauma. There are many brain injuries, but regardless of what type of head injury has been sustained, legal representation and assistance is necessary. If you have been involved in a a serious motorcycle accident contact a lawyer for a consultation.
The effects of traumatic brain injury typically involve cognitive function, emotional function and overall behavioral function. These are all very serious problems that can alter and disrupt the victim's entire life and interfere with daily activities.
Short-term implications can include neurological symptoms such as decreased sensory and motor function. These will become apparent within the first few days and their severity depends on the extent of damage. Victims may also have difficulty concentrating and trouble with problem solving and communication skills.
Long-Term Implications of Brain Injury
- movement disorders;
- severe headaches;
- vision deficiency; and
- sleep disorders.
Cognitively there May Be:
- memory loss;
- mood disorders;
- personality shifts;
- depression; and
If a child is injured in a motorcycle accident, separate difficulties may present themselves. Children may have trouble learning new skills, lack of an ability to comprehend social cues and some issues may not show up until later in the child's development.
Hiring a lawyer who has experience with brain injuries is your best course of action. Motorcycle accidents can result in extremely traumatic injuries that could change your life forever.
What are Some of the Most Common Accident Injuries in a Motorcycle Crash and will a Lawyer Help Me to Seek Damages for All of My Injuries?
Because a motorcycle offers less protection than a passenger vehicle, the chances of injuries during an accident are increased.
Most Common Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Crash
- brain damage
- joint damage
- spine damage
- soft tissue damage
- facial disfigurement
- internal bleeding
Motorcyclists are also susceptible to a condition known as "biker's arm." This occurs in a motorcycle crash when the motorcyclist's upper arm nerves are damaged, resulting in permanent paralysis of the arm.
If you are injured in a motorcycle crash, an injury lawyer will work with you to seek damages for all of your injuries, including long-term treatment. Some injuries, such as fractures and spine damage, may require physical therapy, while plastic surgery may be necessary in the case of facial disfigurement. Your injury lawyer will account for these expenses in your personal injury claim.
Your injury lawyer will work with the liable party's insurer in order to seek a settlement for the injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. If a settlement can't be reached to cover your medical expenses and long-term care, your injury lawyer may take your claim to trial in order to recover damages for your injuries.
Because so much is at stake, you should contact an attorney who has experience with these types of cases, and a successful track record of winning his or her clients' cases. Contact us today for a free consultation at 888-207-0905.