Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 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.

    Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

    If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver you should speak with an experienced drunk driver injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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.

    Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

    If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver you should speak with an experienced drunk driver injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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.

    Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

    If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver you should speak with an experienced drunk driver injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are the Dangers of a Florida Underride or Override Truck Accident?

    Because commercial trucks are so much bigger than most of the other vehicles on the road, they can cause a significant amount of damage. Large commercial trucks are generally built to the same specifications, which means there are several common types of accidents that are caused by commercial trucks.

    Two of the most common and dangerous types of truck accidents are underride accidents and override accidents.

    How Underride Accidents Occur & The Dangers of Such a Crash

    An underride accident occurs when a smaller passenger vehicle drives underneath a commercial truck. This can happen by switching lanes while driving alongside a commercial truck, or while driving behind a truck, when the truck comes to a sudden or unexpected stop. These types of accidents cause substantial damage to the passenger vehicle because, often, the top of the vehicle can come off altogether, exposing the passengers to a myriad of dangers.

    How Override Accidents Occur

    An override accident is very similar to an underride accident, except that this occurs when a large commercial truck drives over a smaller vehicle, motorcycle, or pedestrian. The results of an override accident are very similar to those of an underride accident.

    If you have been injured in a truck accident because of an underride or override accident, you may be eligible for compensation for:

    • your medical expenses;
    • any physical pain that you have experienced, as well as any emotional suffering;
    • any wages that you have lost because of the inability to return to work; and
    • any wages that you may lose in the future, because of the inability to return to gainful employment.

    Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida motorcycle accident you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are the Florida Requirements for Driving a Moped, Scooter, or Other 2-3 Wheel Vehicle?

    There are specific requirements for driving a moped, scooter or other 2-3 wheel vehicle in Florida. These are different than the rules governing the operation of other motorized vehicles, including motorcycles.

    These Florida moped requirements can most easily be explained when examining 3 key topics: Licensing, Protection, and Insurance.

    Licensing Requirements for Operating a Moped in Florida

    Licensing requirements for these smaller vehicles are incredibly simple, provided you are not driving on a public street or roadway. Since a moped or scooter is not considered a motorcycle by legal definition, no specific license is required to operate one away from public roadways.

    On public streets and roadways, you must be 16 years of age or older and hold a regular operator or "motorcycle only" license. This is because mopeds, scooters and other 2-3 wheel vehicles are considered "motor vehicles" on public roadways, and thus require a license.

    Protection Requirements for Operating a Moped in Florida

    As long as your vehicle has an engine of 50 cc or less, 2 brake horsepower or less, and cannot go more than 30 miles per hour on level ground, you do not need to wear a helmet. Any passengers younger than 16 years old are required to wear a helmet.

    Insurance Requirements for a Moped in Florida

    Insurance is not required for moped, scooter or other 2-3 wheel vehicle operators in the state of Florida. In some cases, you may be required to purchase insurance if you cause a collision on your moped.

    Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is highly advised if you intend to drive your 2-3 wheel vehicle on public roadways. PIP could help tremendously in the event you are involved in a collision.

    You may be required to register a moped (but not a scooter) with the county tax collector's office. You will be charged a registration fee and will have to renew on an annual basis. Contact your local department of motor vehicles to ensure that you are following the specific requirements for your particular make and model of scooter, moped or similar vehicle.

    Have You Been Injured On A Scooter, Moped, Golf Cart Or ATV?

    You've been hurt in a vehicle accident you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.

  • When a Car Crashes into the Back End of the Car Ahead, is that Driver Automatically at Fault?

    The driver of a car who rear ends the car ahead is presumed to be at fault in Florida. However, the presumption of negligence is rebuttable, and can be overcome if the driver has evidence they were not at fault.

    Five Reasons Why the Driver Hitting the Car Ahead May Not Be at Fault

    1. The car ahead made an abrupt and arbitrary stop where it would not be expected or made an unexpected lane change;
    2. Sudden brake failure made the rear car hit the lead car;
    3. The brake lights weren’t working on the lead car;
    4. The lead car was illegally and unexpectedly stopped; or
    5. The lead car turned out onto the road in front of the rear car.

    This list is not exhaustive. Every accident involves a unique set of circumstances which requires careful analysis by an experienced attorney. At Jim Dodson Law, we understand the importance of every detail. 

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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).

     

    Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida motorcycle accident you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • 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;
    • seizures;
    • severe headaches;
    • vision deficiency; and
    • sleep disorders.

    Cognitively there May Be:

    • memory loss;
    • mood disorders;
    • personality shifts;
    • depression; and
    • anxiety.

    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.

    Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida motorcycle accident you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.