Articles Tagged with Miami car accident lawyer

In many cases, being on the top of a best or worst-of list, can be bad news. That’s the case for Florida, which was recently ranked in a study as being the worst state in which to get into a car accident. That’s right, including Washington D.C., Florida was 51 of 51.


Study Evaluates Insurance Issues

The study was based on both the kinds of insurance required by a state, and the percentage of drivers that were driving, illegally or not, without any insurance. The study also took into consideration what kinds and what limits of insurance are required by drivers to be carried. Many states have no insurance requirements at all.

If you are involved in a car accident, piecing what happened together can be difficult where there are disputed versions of how the accident occurred. Common sense may tell you that one crucial piece of evidence or testimony comes from the actual police officer that investigated the accident, especially if that officer gave a ticket and has an opinion about who was responsible for causing the accident.

But Florida law greatly restricts how and when information from a police officer can be used, and you may be surprised to learn that many aspects of an officer’s investigation may not be able to be used at trial at all.

Using Police Officer Testimony

Late last month, our Miami car accident attorneys discussed another unfortunate accident in which thirty-six year-old woman Keythe Perez was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers, Florida. The incident marked the sixth pedestrian killed in Lee County since the beginning of the year, and the fifth in a little more than a month.

In response to the growing number of traffic accidents involving pedestrians, Smart Growth America, a national organization dedicated to researching ways in which to improve America’s neighborhoods, commissioned a study, entitled “Dangerous by Design,” to look at where pedestrian fatalities happen and who’s most at risk in every U.S. county, metro area, and state.

According to the report, in the decade from 2003 through 2012, 47,025 people died while walking on our streets, representing 12.3 percent of total traffic deaths. During the same period, 676,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, or one every approximately eight minutes.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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