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Posts made in March, 2013

Was Big Rig Truck Driver Distracted In Fatal Sand Lake Road Crash?

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

Was Big Rig Truck Driver Distracted In Fatal Sand Lake Road Crash?

Was distracted driving the reason for a four-vehicle crash Saturday night that left one person tragically dead, and six others injured?  The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a tractor-trailer rig driven by Billie Valerie Dolezal, rear-ended a Jeep, and that this impact caused a chain reaction of collisions with two other vehicles. The crash occurred at the intersection of Sand Lake Road and John Young Parkway in Orlando. The impact was so severe that the tractor and the Jeep both caught fire. The driver of the Jeep, Edgardo Muniz, of Kissimee, was tragically killed. His Jeep was pushed into a Nissan driven by an Orlando man who was injured, and the Nissan was pushed into a Honda, causing injuries to its four occupants. Local Orlando residents know that both Sand Lake Road and John Young Parkway are busy, commercial roads, with businesses on both sides. The intersection in question is very large and controlled by traffic signals, with multiple lanes in all directions, turn lanes, etc.  Anyone approaching such a large intersection should easily realize that there is likely to be other vehicles there – especially a professional truck driver with a special, commercial driver’s license, and presumably, many hours of experience behind the wheel of a truck. Having handled our fair share of Orlando car accident cases, and representing the families of people killed in those accidents and people injured in those accidents, it appears likely that the truck driver was somehow distracted as she approached the intersection. Maybe she was talking on her cell phone, or texting, or maybe referring to her phone for directions. Otherwise, I cannot understand how an experienced truck driver could fail to appreciate an intersection seemingly full of cars, and fail to stop her vehicle in time. If you have any questions following an Orlando truck accident, or wrongful death, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Leaders Should Lead — Not Cover Up Child Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Leaders Should Lead — Not Cover Up Child Sexual Abuse

Four men – haunted for years by child sexual abuse – received some measure of justice today in Los Angeles, California. After several years of civil litigation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles finally agreed to pay four victims of sexual molestation by one of that area’s most infamous priest pedophiles. The settlement came on the heels of the release of 12,000 pages of internal church documents that had been collected in a similar, criminal case. The priest (now, a former priest) at issue is Michael Baker. Father Baker has been accused of sexually abusing at least 23 boys over 30 years of service to the Catholic Church. Father Baker was convicted in 2007 of molesting two boys and spent four years in prison. Much of the substance of the four cases settled this week centered on the negligent supervision of Father Baker by the church, and particularly Cardinal Roger Mahony. Evidence in the case revealed that Father Baker had previously admitted to Cardinal Mahony that he had molested more than one boy, but that Cardinal Mahony only briefly removed Father Baker from contact with children. Once Father Baker was returned to a regular parish, he began molesting boys just as he had before. Apparently, many of the 12,000 pages of documents recently produced detailed Cardinal Mahony’s dealings (or absence of dealings) with Father Baker. As one of the settling Plaintiff’s attorneys said, “Cardinal Mahony’s fingerprints were all over the case.” As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, the lack of leadership in cases like this never ceases to amaze me. What kind of “leader” allows children to be placed at risk, and to be abused, simply to protect one of his employees or his organization? After all, what kind of institution is there to protect if it is totally devoid of morals, ethics, or integrity? Another thing struck me about this story, as reported by the L.A. Times. The attorney for the Archdiocese said, “We’ve taken responsibility for Michael Baker, whatever he did.” I am left to wonder if that would have been true if the 12,000 pages of documents had not been produced… If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Motorcycle UM Coverage Just As Important (Or More) Than Automobile UM

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle UM Coverage Just As Important (Or More) Than Automobile UM

It almost goes without saying that when we get involved in Florida motorcycle accident cases, the injuries to the rider are almost always life-changing.  More often than we would like, the injuries are life-ending. This is why I was particularly struck by a story that I saw on WESH.com involving a hit-and-run motorcycle crash on Interstate 4 in Lake Mary.  Apparently, Keenan Huff, of Brightwood, Virginia, was riding his motorcycle westbound toward Daytona Beach when he was hit by a Saturn automobile, causing him to be ejected and tragically killed. According to the report, the Saturn stopped momentarily, then fled the scene.  The vehicle was later found by law enforcement abandoned.  The owner is apparently from Seffner, Florida, but authorities do not know for sure who was driving at the time of the accident. Based upon my experience handling hundreds of Florida car accident cases where negligent drivers have fled the scene, I am going to predict that there will be no insurance available for the driver or owner Saturn (whoever they are).  If my prediction is accurate, this means that Mr. Huff’s family’s only hope of receiving any kind of damages for the loss of his life will be through Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage. I am very hopeful that Mr. Huff elected to carry motorcycle Uninsured Motorist coverage on his bike.  If he owned cars as well, it would be interesting to determine whether Virginia automobile insurance policies extend Uninsured Motorist coverage to motorcycles.  Either way, the Huff family would likely benefit from speaking with experienced personal injury attorneys in Florida and/or Virginia. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident involving an uninsured motorist, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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