Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a decision in the case of Arnold v. Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company, discussing a circumstance under which an insurance company attempted to avoid extending uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage based upon some dubious paperwork. Our Miami car accident lawyers have extensive knowledge on this topic.

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In the Arnold case, the plaintiff, Timothy Arnold filed a claim with Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company, for uninsured motorist coverage after Arnold was involved in a car accident while working for his employer, RJA. At the time of the accident, RJA held an insurance policy with Wausau, however, a dispute arose as to the terms of that policy.

Specifically, Arnold claimed that the policy provided $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  Wausau, on the other hand, contended that RJA had agreed to modify the policy two months after it was executed, and executed a form declining all Florida uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Based on the alleged modification, Wausau denied Arnold uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for the accident.

Arnold sued Wausau in federal court, alleging that Wausau had breached its contract with RJA by failing to extend coverage for Arnold’s accident. Both Arnold and Wausau moved the District Court to grant judgment in their favor prior to trial.  The Court denied both parties’ motions and ordered the case proceed to trial.

In rejecting both Arnold and Wausau’s claims, the District Court noted that the form allegedly executed by RJA declining uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage paperwork wasn’t signed or dated, and the policy wasn’t endorsed until six months after the accident. Therefore, the Court could not conclude, with any certainty, whether RJA had actually rejected the additional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The Court went on to state that, under Section 627.727(1) of the Florida Statutes, an insurer must provide uninsured motor vehicle coverage unless the insured rejects such coverage in writing. The Court opined, “The facts that the rejection form was neither signed nor dated, that Wausau did not endorse the Policy until after the accident, and did not refund the premiums until after this litigation ensued create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a knowing or informed rejection of uninsured motorists coverage occurred, and, if it did, as to when the rejection took place.”

Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which insurance companies attempt to avoid extending coverage to their insured. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor accident, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. It is imperative that it your claim be evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your right to compensation.

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The Miami accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car accidents and have to deal with insurance companies. If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of another, contact the Miami car accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.
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Last month, this blog discussed the newly-passed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service (“HOS”) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers, limiting the number of hours a truck driver is permitted to operate his or her vehicle during any given period of time. Since then, our Miami truck accident lawyers have been keeping an eye out for new developments related to this issue.

Semi Truck

Last year, the FMCSA, launched the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program (“Program”) which scores the safety of trucking carriers and is designed to increase accountability for carriers that continually violate safety regulations. Carriers that receive poor safety scores under the Program often suffer negative consequences such as loss of business from customers that don’t want to work with a carrier that has a poor safety record, greater insurance rates, and additional scrutiny from law enforcement and inspectors.

Although the Program appears, on its face, to be a step in the right direction towards increasing trucking safety standards, recent reports by not one, but two, government agencies have concluded that the Program may suffer from some problems affecting its accuracy. Both the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) and the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) have issued results of their audits of the Program, concluding that it suffers from several problems stemming from poor data quality.

The GAO study found that the scores received by some carriers didn’t accurately reflect potential danger, reducing the Program’s chances of identifying carriers that pose the most risk. Because of the data problems, a small carrier with no accidents could receive a lower score than another larger carrier with numerous collisions.  The study further concluded that:

  • Data used to score each carrier was unreliable because enforcement and inspection authorities operated differently in each state.

  • A portion of the data was self-reported and could be misleading or inaccurate.

  • A portion of the scored violations didn’t occur often enough to associate them with an increased risk of crashing (almost 600 out of 750 rules studied were violated by less than 1 percent of all carriers).

The OIG report, entitled, “Actions Are Needed to Strengthen FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability Program”, found that, although the FMCSA has improved the quality of its data, a number of planned improvements to the Program designed to improve the accuracy of its data had yet to be implemented. The report also concluded that only ten percent of states had fully executed the enforcement the Program.

Due to the immense weight and considerable size commercial trucks, proper operation of these vehicles is of particular importance. Negligence behind the wheel of such a vehicle can easily result in catastrophe and severe injuries or death.

The Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact a Miami trucking accident attorney at Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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Late last year, our Miami bicycle accident attorneys kept a close watch on the development of new legislation, entitled the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” that, if passed, would increase the minimum jail sentences for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Specifically, the measure would allow prison sentences of up to three years for an accident resulting in injury, seven years for serious bodily injury, and ten years for a hit-and-run resulting in death.

Bicycle

A recent brutal hit and run accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has emphasized the continuing need for such harsher penalties. In December, motorist Axel Inostroza, struck 53-year-old bicyclist Craig Camlin near the 5200 block of Northeast 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. The force of collision caused Camlin to become wedged on the rear window of the vehicle, as Inostroza drove on for two more miles. Eventually, Inostroza dumped Camlin’s body behind a trash bin near his home in Pompano Beach.

Several hours after the accident, a landscaping crew discovered Camlin, who was rushed to a local hospital and listed in critical condition with a broken spine and other injuries. As for Inostroza, he took his car to a local body shop and then went home to take a nap. Inostroza later admitted to investigators to his involvement in the crash and confessed that he had been drinking before the accident.

Under current Florida law, there is no minimum sentence for leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Florida law requires anyone involved in a car accident to remain at the scene and render aid and provide information. According to Florida Statutes Title XXII Section 316.027, “the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash…that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle…and remain at the scene.”

According to a 2010 report issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, of the 2,563 traffic-related fatalities occurring in Florida in 2009, 100 were bicyclists. Although these numbers represent a 15% decrease in bicycle fatalities from 2008, overall, there has been an increase of fatal hit and run car accidents in Florida over recent years, as the total number of hit and run crashes that resulted in fatalities increased from 162 to 168 between 2011 and 2012.

This blog has recently discussed several unfortunate incidents involving hit-and-run drivers. In March, 43 year-old Melita Jaric was struck by car and killed while crossing the street in Miami. In September, 24-year-old Jacob Landis, of Annapolis, Maryland, was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip in Polk County, Florida.

It is crucial that, following a car accident, the involved parties immediately contact the police and obtain the contact information of witnesses. This is especially important when the accident is a hit-and-run, as the responsible party can be difficult to locate. The Miami car accident lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by in motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the Miami accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.

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In June, this blog discussed newly-passed regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) revising the hours-of-service (“HOS”) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers. HOS regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver is permitted to operate his or her vehicle during any given period of time. Since then, our Miami truck accident lawyers have been keeping an eye out for new developments related to this issue.

Semi Truck

The new HOS requirements became effective on July 1, 2013, and are designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue and act as a cost-cutting measure due to fewer truck crashes and improved driver health. Some of the new regulations:

  1. Cut the maximum number of hours a trucker can drive in a given week from 82 down to 70.

  1. Drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes for every eight hours driven.

  1. Drivers that “max out” the permissible number of weekly hours must rest a minimum of two nights per week from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., as part of the”34-hour restart” program requiring truckers to have at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty to reset the clock on their work week.

In order to ensure compliance with the new regulations, the FMCSA instituted harsher penalties for violations of the rules. Trucking companies now face civil penalties of up to $11,000 and drivers $2,750 for “egregious” violations of the regulations. An egregious violation means driving more than 3 hours beyond the established time limits.

In January, U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) released the results of a study conducted by the Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and Philadelphia-based Pulsar Informatics, Inc. to determine the impact of the new HOS regulations. According to the study, drivers who began their work cycle with one nighttime period of rest, as compared to the two nights in the updated 34-hour restart break experienced:

  • Exhibited more lapses of attention, especially at night;

  • Reported greater sleepiness, especially toward the end of their duty periods; and

  • Showed increased lane deviation in the morning, afternoon and at night.

One of the largest studies ever conducted with commercial motor vehicle drivers, the study followed 106 truckers for 1,260 days of data and almost 415,000 miles of driving. The study ultimately estimates that the 34-hour restart rule will prevent approximately 1,400 crashes, 560 injuries, and 19 accident deaths annually.

According to FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro, the study confirmed the science used to make the HOS regulations more effective at preventing crashes. Ferro commented, “For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road.”

Due to the immense weight and considerable size commercial trucks, proper operation of these vehicles is of particular importance. Negligence behind the wheel of such a vehicle can easily result in catastrophe and severe injuries or death.

The Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact a Miami injury attorney at Gerson and Schwartz.

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Last month, our Miami personal injury attorneys saw that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued a decision in the case of Cabrera v. MGA, discussing legal and factual basis upon which an insured can establish a claim against his or her insurer for a claim of bad faith.

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A claim that an insurance company acted in “bad faith” is based upon the legal premise that an insurance policy constitutes a contract between the insured and insurance company, which includes an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This means that the insurer must deal with the insured party honestly, fairly, and in good faith, to ensure that the insured receives the benefits of the contract to which he or she is legally entitled.

An insurance is considered to have acted in “bad faith” when it unreasonably withholds the benefits of the policy from the insured. The most common ways in which insurance companies act in bad faith are: intentionally delaying payment on a claim; denying benefits to a claim without reason; failing to investigate a claim; refusing to settle a claim; and/or refusing to fully compensate an insured for his or her losses.

In Cabrera, the plaintiffs were injured in a 2003 car accident with Helena Jimmie, and subsequently filed a claim with MGA, Jimmie’s insurance company. MGA denied the claim, stating that Jimmie’s auto insurance policy was void because she provided false information in her application. The plaintiffs sued Jimmie and were awarded over $500,000 in damages. Jimmie assigned her rights under the insurance policy to the plaintiffs, who then sued MGA, claiming that MGA had acted in bad faith by denying the claim.

The Middle District Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint, finding that they had failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that they were entitled to recovery against MGA. In so holding, the Court opined that, under Florida law, before it could make a decision as to the bad faith claim, it was first required to determine whether the plaintiffs would have been entitled to coverage under Jimmie’s policy.

However, because the plaintiffs did not first ask the Court to make such a conclusion in their complaint, the Court could not determine whether MGA had acted in bad faith. The Court concluded, “the amended complaint is not sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss regarding the issue of bad faith because the case law is clear that coverage disputes must be resolved before a bad faith action accrues.”

Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which insurance companies attempt to avoid extending coverage to their insured. Further, as demonstrated by the Cabrera case, these efforts often are successful, leaving injured individuals under or uncompensated.

The Miami personal injury lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car accidents and are forced to deal with insurance companies. If you or someone you know feel your insurance company is not acting in good faith to resolve a claim, contact the Miami car accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation.

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Recently, our Miami personal injury attorneys read a case in which the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision in Friedrich v. Fetterman & Associates, PA, reinstating a jury verdict for a plaintiff  injured in a law office chair while visiting a law firm to consult about an unrelated personal injury claim.

Office Chair

In Friedrich, the plaintiff, Robert Friedrich, was injured in a 2010 car accident. Following the accident, Friedrich visited the offices of the defendant law firm for a consultation about his personal injury claim. While meeting with one of the firm’s attorneys, the office chair in which Friedrich was sitting collapsed, causing him to fall and strike his head. Following the incident, Friedrich’s medical problems from the automobile accident worsened, and he ended up having surgery.

Friedrich file a law suit against the law firm he consulted. In his suit, he claimed the law firm had been negligent in failing to inspect the chair, or warn him of the dangerous condition posed by the office chair. At trial, Friedrich presented an expert to testify that the firm should have performed a “hands-on inspection” of its chairs every six months. The expert claimed that such an inspection would have revealed the defect which caused the chair to collapse. Fetterman’s expert testified that the best inspection or test for a chair is for someone to sit on it, and that any inspection, including a flex test, would not have revealed the defect.

At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case the defense moved  for a directed verdict. A directed verdict can be entered by a judge if based on the evidence that he or she finds that no reasonable jury could reach a decision to the contrary, essentially taking away the jury’s authority to decide a case. The trial court denied Fetterman’s motion for a directed verdict. The case proceeded to the the jury and awarded Friedrich damages.

The defendant appealed. On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, opining, “Even if the jury concluded that due care required Fetterman to inspect its chairs at regular six-month intervals, the jury had no basis from which to conclude that Fetterman would have discovered the defect in the chair…”

Friedrich then appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court reversed the Fourth District decision by a 5-2 vote reinstating the jury verdict. The Florida Supreme Court held that the issuance of a directed verdict is inappropriate when there is conflicting evidence regarding liability, or the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries exists. The Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth District improperly “substituted it’s judgment concerning the credibility of the witnesses for that of the trier of fact.”

If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition of another’s premises, it is important that you discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine the merits and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any evidence favorable to your claim.

Our qualified Miami injury attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligent actions or omissions of property owners and business operators. If you or a loved one have been injured on the premises of another, or due a negligence or careless act, contact the Miami personal injury law firm of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

Last fall, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued a decision in the case of Brannan v. Geico that discussing the issue of “stacking” limits in auto insurance policies and how such provisions can limit an insured’s recovery in the he or she is injured in a motor vehicle accident. Our Miami car accident lawyers have extensive knowledge on this topic.

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“Stacking” insurance is a way in which an insured can increase the payment limits of his or her auto insurance by combining the underinsured and uninsured injury coverage for multiple vehicles. For example, if a motorist had $50,000 underinsured/$100,000 uninsured coverage on two vehicles, the stacked coverage for both cars would be $100,000/$200,000.

In the event the motorist was involved in an accident with an underinsured/uninsured driver, he or she could receive compensation up to the stacked policy limits of $100,000/$200,000. Stacked insurance coverage generally costs significantly more than non-stacked coverage, sometimes even more than twice as much.

The stacking provisions of Florida Statutes 627.727 provides that “[u]ninsured motorist protection does not inure to a particular motor vehicle, but instead protects the named insured or insured members of his family against bodily injury inflicted by the negligence of any uninsured motorist under whatever conditions, locations, or circumstances any of such insureds happen to be in at the time.”

In Brannan, the plaintiff, James Brannan, was injured in a motorcycle accident in October of 2010, with an uninsured driver. At the time of the accident, Brannan had two insurance policies with Geico, a motorcycle insurance policy, and an automobile insurance policy for three cars. Geico offered to pay Brannan the policy limit of $10,000 under the motorcycle policy, but Brannan maintained that he was entitled to stack his coverage under the automobile policy, thereby raising the limit to $300,000.

Brannan sued Geico, claiming he was entitled to the stacked coverage. In response, Geico argued that the provisions of the auto policy excluded coverage for the motorcycle.  In agreeing with Geico’s position, the District Court opined that the language of the auto policy was clear, and the court would not extend “the coverage afforded beyond that plainly set forth in the insurance contract.”

The Court explained that, although uninsured motorist policies normally automatically stack for each premium under Florida law, Brannan executed a “non-stacking” agreement in exchange for a lower premium. Brannan specifically agreed that his coverage would be limited to the vehicle he was driving in the event of an accident.

Brannan further argued that Geico negligently failed to advise him regarding the non-stacking provision under the motorcycle policy. The Court rejected this argument, citing Fla. Stat. § 627.727(1), which establishes a presumption that an insured’s acceptance of a non-stacking provision is informed, knowing in the event the insured signs a written acknowledgement of the limitation.

The Miami accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car accidents.  If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of another, contact the Miami car accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.

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Tragedy struck in North Miami Beach late last month, as a fiery crash claimed the lives of several residents, including a 6-year old girl. According to a CBS Local report, three family members (including the girl and her father) were riding southbound on Okeechobee Road when another vehicle came toward them in the opposite direction. Local authorities report that the vehicle going north was speeding, and the driver eventually lost control. The car careered across the median and hit the family’s vehicle head on. All four people involved in the accident were killed. Our Miami car accident attorneys are prepared to assist the loved ones of anyone that may find themselves in a similar situation.

 Judge and Gavel

Damages in Florida Lawsuits: Compensatory or Exemplary

Following tragic Miami car accidents like this one, it is common for civil lawsuits to be filed. These suits seek to hold wrongdoers accountable for the consequences of their actions. In most cases, insurance companies are involved. Miami car accident attorneys often work on behalf of those hurt in their negotiations with those insurance companies, potentially taking the case all the way to a trial if necessary.

Both in negotiations and at trial, a crucial issue is the determination of a reasonable amount of compensation. In fact, in many cases the only issue of dispute is the amount of damages. That is because liability is sometimes obvious, as in cases where one vehicle clearly causes an accident involving others.

Florida laws regarding damages are quite complex, and it is always important to receive tailored advice from an attorney about your case. However, as a general matter, there are two basic types of damages to understand: compensatory damages and punitive (exemplary) damages.

 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are those most familiar to Florida residents. As the name implies, the purpose of this award is to “compensate” the injured party for the losses suffered by the negligence. Therefore, when calculating the total award quantity, advocates will tally up many costs, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. In addition, even losses that do not necessarily have a clear quantifiable figure attached to them are considered compensatory damages. This even includes intangibles like “pain and suffering.”

Make no mistake: calculating the appropriate level of compensatory damages in any given case is often an art, requiring the aid of an experience lawyer to advocate for your rights. Insurance companies are in the business of paying out as little an award for these damages as possible, and you should never believe that these companies or their representatives are pursuing your best interests.

 

Punitive Damages

The other major type of damages are not intended to compensate the victim, but instead to punish the wrongdoer. Appropriate only in very specific cases, punitive damages are generally given in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.

Punitive damage are the exception rather than the rule in civil lawsuits. In fact, Florida law is  very clear in delineating  the situations where these damages can be awarded and limiting how much can be ordered. Specifically, the law allows punitive damages only in cases of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

The Miami car accident attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have years of experience working with local residents hurt in any manner of motor vehicle accidents.   If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the Miami motor vehicle accident lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.

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Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued a decision in the case of Worley v. State Farm that addressed two incredibly important legal concepts in car accident cases. The first of these two concepts was the presumption of negligence that applies in rear end car collisions, and the second is the principle of comparative negligence. Our Miami car accident attorneys are following the effects closely.

Stop Sign

In Worley, the plaintiff was injured in a 2010 car accident when a vehicle driven by the uninsured defendant rear ended her.  The plaintiff claimed that she was stopped at a yield sign when the other driver struck her. The defendant testified, however, that the plaintiff had begun to drive through the intersection when she suddenly stopped, thereby causing the collision.

The plaintiff’s auto insurance provider, State Farm, declined her coverage after determining that the plaintiff was at least partly responsible for the accident.  The plaintiff sued in federal district court and moved for summary judgment, arguing that, under Florida law, she was entitled to a presumption that the defendant driver was negligent in rear-ending her. Florida has adopted a rebuttable presumption that a rear driver’s actions are the sole proximate cause of an accident and any resulting injuries.

The District Court acknowledged that the plaintiff was entitled to the presumption of negligence, and it also pointed out that the presumption is “rebuttable.”  The Court opined that, because the defendant testified that the plaintiff was at least partly responsible for the accident, there was a factual issue precluding summary judgment.

The Court further recognized that, because Florida uses a comparative negligence doctrine, the extent which the plaintiff was responsible for the accident was an issue to be decided by a jury.  Under the comparative negligence doctrine, an injured party may recover damages to the extent for which the other party was to blame.  For example, a plaintiff who was 90 percent to blame for an accident could recover 10 percent of his losses.

In reaching its conclusions, the Court relied on the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Eppler v. Tarmac America.  In Eppler, the rear driver testified that the front driver had caused the accident by stopping suddenly.  The Florida Supreme Court held that the dispute was sufficient to rebut the presumption of the rear driver’s negligence, therefore making it necessary for a jury to decide each party’s amount of liability.

Unfortunately, rear-end collisions are some of the most  common types car accidents that occur on Florida’s roadways and can result in serious injuries, even at low rates of speed.  Further, as demonstrated by the Arce case, liability is not always as clear cut as it might initially appear.

Liability if often one of the most contentious issues that can arise with regard to a motor vehicle accident.  The attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in car accidents.  If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of another, contact the Miami personal injury lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.

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According to a recent article published by the Huffington Post, the Florida Legislature is now considering a new piece of legislation, entitled the “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” named for a bicyclist that was killed on the Rickenbacker Causeway in 2012, that would increase the minimum jail sentences for leaving the scene of an accident to three years for an accident resulting in injury, seven years for serious bodily injury, and ten years for a hit-and-run resulting in death. The proposed legislation would also require a convicted offender’s license to be suspended for a minimum of three years. Our Miami hit-and-run accident attorneys will be paying close attention to any possible outcomes.

Cop Car

Under current Florida law, there is no minimum sentence for leaving the scene of a deadly accident. Florida law requires anyone involved in a car accident to remain at the scene and render aid and provide information. According to Florida Statutes Title XXII Section 316.027, “the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash…that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle…and remain at the scene.”

Leaving the scene of an accident where there is property damage is a misdemeanor of the second degree and carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries is a felony of the third degree and can result in a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Leaving the scene of an accident in which someone dies is a felony of the first degree carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there has been an increase of fatal hit and run car accidents in Florida over recent years. The total number of hit and run accidents occurring in Florida in 2012 was 69,994. Between 2011 and 2012, hit and run crashes that resulted in fatalities increased from 162 to 168, and three out five of the 2012 fatalities were pedestrians.

This blog has recently discussed several unfortunate incident involving hit-and-run drivers. In March, forty-three year-old Melita Jaric was struck by car and killed while crossing the street in Miami. In September, 24-year-old Jacob Landis, of Annapolis, Maryland, was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip in Polk County, Florida.

With ever-increasing traffic congestion and the tendency of Florida residents to ride bicycles or walk where they need to go, bicyclists are at greater risk than ever for being injured or killed in a traffic accident. If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation.

The Miami car accident lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by in motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in automobile accident, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today.

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