What to Do After a Car Accident

Car accidents are potentially life-changing events that can do far more the physically cripple victims. Under many circumstances, car accidents also can bankrupt victims when the medical costs greatly exceed any insurance coverage amounts. The following tips should help to ensure maximum payouts when involved in a car accident.

Almost everyone has a cellphone that can take photographs and record audio and video. The smart watches gaining popularity across the nation also provide similar data-gathering tools. Those tools work great for photographing the accident scene. They also help to show road and weather conditions, traffic flow, and even can aid in collecting witness statements. They can also store the contact information of any witnesses.

Another critically important thing to do is obtain medical treatment. Car accidents can cause injuries that do not make themselves apparent until some time afterward. That includes neck and back injuries that often go unnoticed. Adrenaline and other physiological factors can mask moderate or even serious injuries, and obtaining medical treatment right away is the best way to affirm the car accident caused the injuries.

Whenever suffering financial losses due to medical costs or property damage after an accident, retaining an experienced car accident attorney helps to keep insurance adjusters at bay. The insurance companies will contact accident victims right away and try to get them to make statements that work against them. That includes trying to get victims to admit some sort of fault or agree to a premature settlement amount. An attorney ensures maximum compensation for injuries and property damages. For more information on what to do after a car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Joyce & Reyes.

Uber, Lyft are driving accident fatalities

In large cities, ride-hailing services provide an affordable alternative to taxi cabs, without the hassle of mass public transportation systems. Uber is the king of ride-hailing services, with Lyft a slightly distant second across the nation. Since their sudden rise starting in 2011, a new study suggests they have increased traffic fatalities in large cities by up to 3 percent. That adds up to about 1,100 additional roadway deaths each year, mostly on congested city streets.

There are two ways the general public will be involved in an accident with Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing services drivers. The first and most likely is as the driver or passenger of another vehicle. That provides some measure of insurance protection for financial losses due to the liability limits on either vehicle. If costs exceed insurance coverage limits, though, accident victims could wind up filing for bankruptcy.

The second way someone might be in an accident involving a driver for Uber, Lyft or other ride-hailing service as a passenger. Such accidents get more complicated due to the nature of car insurance coverage. Most Uber and other ride-hailing drivers use their own cars with their own insurance policies.

Personal car insurance, though, does not cover commercial activities. Instead, the driver must have a commercial car insurance plan in place to provide coverage for injuries and property damage. The additional complications of insurance coverage for ride-hailing service providers makes it important to have an experienced Uber accident attorney to protect accident victims. The personal injury attorneys at Joyce & Reyes can help.

Serious injuries caused by dump truck accident in Hillsborough County, Florida

On August 22, 2018, three children and one adult were seriously injured when a dump truck hit their vehicle head-on. The crash occurred on US 309 in Hillsborough County, Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the dump truck driver failed to see stopped traffic in front of him and swerved into the opposite lane and oncoming traffic. It was at this point that the dump truck struck a Ford Explorer head-on, causing serious injuries to the 40-year-old driver of the Explorer and three children who were passengers.

The driver and the children were transported to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries. It was reported that a 6-year-old boy was in critical condition.

Being involved in an accident with a large truck can be devastating to a family. Due to the size of the truck involved, the impact of the crash can cause very serious injuries or death. Some semi-trucks and tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.

The number of large trucks on Florida’s roads and highways is increasing. Nationwide, crashes involving large trucks have increased every year since 2009. The percentage of fatal truck accidents has increased 42 percent between 2009 and 2017, the latest year this data is available.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a large truck or tractor-trailer, contact the truck accident lawyers at Joyce & Reyes at (813) 251-2007. The initial consultation is free.

What to do after a car crash

An automobile accident can be traumatic. Car crashes are jarring and disorienting experiences, especially if you have been injured. However, there are things you should do, right after a car accident.

  1. Call 911. The most important thing to do is to call for help. Call 911 as quickly as possible. Even if you are not hurt, call immediately because other people might be injured. Also, the police can investigate the accident and interview witnesses right away.
  2. Collect insurance information. If the other driver has insurance, get their information, this includes: insurance company name, address, policy number and phone number of the company. If an insurance card is given to you, also note if the insurance policy is still in effect and not expired. If the cause of the crash was the fault of the other driver you will want insurance information so that your property damage can get fixed. Also, if you were injured in the accident, your lawyer will want the information in order to file a claim for personal injury damages, if possible.
  3. Document what happened. Take pictures of the crash site. Also, write up your own statement of what happened, what was said and who was there. Get names and addresses and phone numbers of all of the possible witnesses.
  4. Get treatment. If you believe you were injured, seek medical help as soon as possible. Seeking medical treatment immediately after an automobile accident will help establish your injury, if you have one.
  5. Contact an experienced car accident attorney. Do not try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. Contact an experienced attorney who knows the value of cases and can help you walk through the mind-field of personal injury litigation.

If you have been injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to contact the car accident lawyers at Joyce & Reyes at (813) 251-2007. The initial consultation is free.

FHP trooper hit by drunk driver while investigating previous accident

Late last year, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, Daniel Cruz, was investigating an earlier accident scene when he was hit by a drunk driver.

At around 1 a.m. on Okeechobee Road, John Bencosme, 26, of Miami, was driving his Hyundai Velastar while intoxicated. He crashed into the cars from the previous accident, which made a Hyundai Elantra turn and hit Cruz. The trooper was thrown several feet through the air.

Accordire scared to be hit by a car than to be shot out there while they are performing their duties.” ng to troopers Bencosme’s breath smelled of alcohol prompting them to conduct field sobriety tests. Bencosme’s blood alcohol level was .201, which is twice the legal driving limit. On top of facing a charge of driving under the influence, Bencosme has been charged with causing serious personal injury.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez said, “Our roads have gotten to the point where troopers are mo

According to Troopers, Cruz suffered from injured leg ligaments as well as a small broken back bone. After the accident he was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he was in critical but stable condition.

Florida drivers second worst in country for distracted driving

Researchers ranked Florida’s distracted drivers the second worst in the nation.

EverQuote, an online insurance marketplace, collected data from 2.7 million car trips over 230 million miles, through its EverDrive app, which promotes safe driving habits. The app helps users monitor their own speeding and cell phone use while driving. Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents.

The company said that users of the app use their phones on 38 percent of trips, and exceed the speed limit on 36 percent of them. These numbers may underreport the actual rates of distracted driving and speeding, because people who use the app may be more safety conscious, and they know their speed and cell phone use are being tracked.

The study found that Northeastern drivers speed the most, Midwesterners are the safest drivers overall, and Southern drivers use their cell phones the most while driving. Florida drivers used cell phones on a higher percentage of car trips than in any other state except Louisiana. Drivers in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina also used their phones while driving more often than drivers in the rest of the country.

Some of the regional differences may be due to variation in laws regarding cell phone use while driving. Few Southern states have an outright ban on the use of handheld devices while driving. In Florida, texting while driving is prohibited, but it is a secondary offense, which means that an officer must observe drivers break some other law, such as exceeding the speed limit, before they can stop them for texting while driving.

Overall, EverQuote found that 92 percent of U.S. drivers use cell phones while behind the wheel at least some of the time.

More Florida car accidents caused by road debris

An analysis of Florida crash data shows that car accidents caused by road debris are on the rise.

Car accidents have resulted from drivers hitting objects in the road or swerving to avoid them. In some cases, cars have been hit by debris from trucks with unsecured loads.

In 1998, a 13-year-old girl survived a life-threatening car accident involving road debris. The girl was riding in the passenger seat of her mother’s minivan on a Florida highway when a metal construction rod pierced the windshield and pierced her body three centimeters from her heart. Investigators said they believed the rod fell off a truck.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they decided to drive the van to the hospital with the girl’s body still pierced by the rod. At the hospital, the rod was cut in half so that the teenager could be taken into the emergency room and it could be removed.

After the accident, community leaders worked with legislators to make driving conditions safer. State laws were changed to create road rangers, the *FHP phone line for reporting debris and easier tracing of 911 calls from cell phones.

Road debris, however, continues to be a dangerous problem. An investigation of crash data in two counties in Florida, by NBC 6, found a 60 percent increase in accidents caused by road debris between 2011 and 2015.

When accidents caused by debris, are the result of negligence, injured drivers may be able to obtain compensation from the parties responsible.

Fatal Florida car accident raises concerns about safety in autonomous vehicles

The rapidly developing technology of self-driving cars holds the promise of an enormously positive impact on public safety, with many experts claiming that over 90 percent of car accident fatalities could be eliminated if autonomous vehicles become widespread. However, that claim was called into question recently, when it was revealed that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan died in an accident in Florida May 7, while the vehicle was in its autonomous operating mode.

Joshua Brown, 40, was killed in Williston, Florida, when his car collided with a tractor-trailer that was turning left in front of him. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the Tesla was in self-driving mode, and preliminary information indicated that neither the driver nor the self-driving system applied the brakes. Tesla said in a news release that the autopilot system did not detect the white side of the truck against the bright sky.

The NHTSA has opened an investigation into the accident, but the agency cautioned that the initiation of the inquiry did not necessarily mean that there was a defect in the vehicle. Mark Rosekind, the head of the agency, said recently that self-driving cars need to be at least twice as safe as human drivers.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is often hailed as a visionary, but he was criticized for Tesla’s response to the accident. The company said that the death was the first in 130 million miles, and was a “statistical inevitability.” Musk pointed out that 1.3 million people die worldwide in traffic accidents each year.

Sources

  • http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/07/how-the-media-screwed-up-the-fatal-tesla-accident
  • https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/07/tesla-elon-musk-autopilot-death-crisis-management

Florida traffic deaths on the rise

In 2012, government agencies set a goal of reducing deaths from Florida car accidents by 5 percent per year. That effort has now officially crashed.

According to preliminary numbers from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 2,939 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2015, a 17.8 percent rise over the 2014 total of 2,494.

Not only did highway deaths increase over last year, but the state failed to meet its projected decrease for the third year in a row. In 2012, Florida began its safety initiative with a baseline of 2,431 traffic fatalities, an average of the totals from 2006 to 2010. In 2013, the state had 100 more traffic fatalities than the 5 percent reduction projected, and in 2014 the total was 300 deaths over the reduction goal.

In 2015, if the 5 percent per year projection had held true, there would have been 2,084 deaths on Florida’s roads, but there were 855 more than that, so the state missed its goal by more than 40 percent.

It was no year-end surprise that traffic fatalities in Florida have been accelerating in the wrong direction. Last summer, the National Safety Council conducted an analysis that showed that there was a 29 percent increase in highway deaths in Florida, and a 14 percent increase nationally, in the first half of 2015, compared to the same six-month period in 2014.

Safety experts lay the blame on poorly-designed roads, a lack of focus on traffic safety on the part of state officials, and driver negligence.

Bill in Senate would make auto safety cover-ups a crime

Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would make it a crime for an officer of a corporation to conceal information about a dangerously defective product.

U.S. Senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that the recent settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and General Motors (GM) showed that stronger legislation is needed. After it was revealed that GM covered up a deadly ignition switch defect, the company agreed to pay $900 million and offer settlements to nearly 300 people who were injured and the families of 124 people who were killed as a result of the faulty switches, which caused vehicles to lose power while in motion. No criminal charges were brought against any GM employees.

The proposed legislation would make it a crime for an officer of a corporation to knowingly conceal information about an action or product that could put workers or the public a risk of serious injury or death. Under the proposed law, violators would face fines and up to five years in prison.

Sen. Blumenthal said that current law does not go far enough in holding corporate officials accountable when they are complicit in cover-ups that cause preventable tragedies. The bill, called the Hide No Harm Act, would also apply to other products, such as defective cribs and body armor, that have caused injuries.