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Posts Tagged "bicycle"

Punitive Damages Appropriate For Drunk Driving Texting?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Motor vehicle accidents, Uncategorized

Punitive Damages Appropriate For Drunk Driving Texting?

As a frequent blogger on legal issues over the last several years, I spend a lot of time looking for stories and thinking of ways that I can can blog about topics that will be instructive to people (and particularly Floridians) who are in need of information relative to Florida personal injury law.  Along these lines, I read a harrowing article in the New York Times that seems like a perfect illustration of a case where punitive damages should be available, and should be sought in a personal injury case. In the case at issue, an avid bicyclist (who, ironically, was also an outspoken bicycle safety advocate) from the Baltimore, Maryland area, was hit and killed by a car being driven by a prominent Bishop in the Maryland Episcopal Diocese. According to police, the Bishop was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash, and was also texting.  In addition, the Bishop reportedly left the scene of the crash, and the bicyclist in the road, while she drove home and called one of her church colleagues to help her.  Needless to say, the Bishop made several outrageous errors in judgment that lead to the death of the bicyclist. It has been the law in Florida for a long time that punitive damages can be sought in any case involving drunk driving.  Courts have decided that drunk driving is such a scourge in society that anyone who does it and causes injuries needs to be punished over-and-above adequately compensating the injured victim. The law in Florida is a little less settled when it comes to punishing drivers who injure someone while they are texting, although recent trends suggest that texting while driving should be cause for punitive damages. However, when those two clearly dangerous and life-threatening driving behaviors are combined, it would seem appropriate to levy some kind of extra punitive damages — if such a thing were possible. There is nothing more dangerous that I can think of than for a drunk person to drive and text at the same time.  Catastrophic results are almost guaranteed to happen. (As an additional aggravating factor in the Baltimore case, it appears that the Bishop had recently been charged in another case with driving under the influence.  This, of course, suggests that the Bishop has a drinking problem and perhaps should not have been on the road.) I certainly do not know whether a civil claim for wrongful death was, or has been, brought against the Bishop on behalf of the Estate and survivors of the deceased bicyclist.  I certainly hope that one has, and that the Bishop’s insurance company has adequately compensated the family of the deceased.  For the sake of the surviving family, I also hope that the bicyclist carried plenty of Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage.  Many people do not realize that this type of coverage can be used to compensate...

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Parents Should Carefully Observe 8-Year Old After He Was Pinned Under Car In Palm Bay

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents, Recent News

Parents Should Carefully Observe 8-Year Old After He Was Pinned Under Car In Palm Bay

The image of an automobile stopped on top of a mangled child’s bicycle struck hit me hard enough to warrant some discussion on this blog. The accident involved an 8-year old who was riding with his brother to Discovery Elementary School in Palm Bay. Apparently, a woman pulling her car out of a side street saw the brother, but did not see the 8-year old. The aspect of the accident that I thought was most important was the reference in several of the media reports to the boy having suffered a “minor” head injury, and how lucky he was to bearing wearing a bicycle helmet.  While these things are, of course, true,  as an Orlando accident and brain injury attorney, and a father of four children, this kind of apparent discounting of the significance of a direct blow to a child’s head (even in a helmet) is very concerning. Brain injuries are often the most subtle injuries suffered in accidents. Most brain injuries do not feature fractured skulls or subdural hematomas. Nevertheless, even minor traumatic brain injuries can be incredibly disruptive to accident victims — and especially children. If I was the parent of this 8-year old, I would keep an eagle-eye on him for several weeks, and even months. I would be looking for any changes in his mood or outlook or temperament. I would look for changes in his academic performance, his memory, or his use of language. I think I would also try to educate myself on all of the other indicators that my child may have suffered a brain injury.  If I saw anything that seemed different, I would see the advice of a qualified physician or a neuropsychologist. If you have any questions regarding a Florida automobile or bicycle accident, or are concerned about a possible brain injury after a Florida accident, call Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Sneeze Seems Like Feeble Excuse In Flagler Wrongful Death Bicycle Crash

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

Sneeze Seems Like Feeble Excuse In Flagler Wrongful Death Bicycle Crash

As a lawyer who has handled Florida car accident cases for nearly 20 years, it is easy to think, “I’ve seen it all.” However, every time that I think I’ve heard of every possible excuse for why a driver has caused a car accident, an explanation comes along that surprises me. The latest excuse comes from a story on ClickOrlando.com and involves a Flagler County accident where a bicyclist was tragically killed after being hit by a car. Apparently Frederick Martinez was riding in his bike eastbound – in the bicycle lane – on Highway 100, near Old Kings Road. As Mr. Martinez rode his bike, a van driving in the same direction apparently veered into the bicycle lane and hit him. Mr. Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene. The attached photo shows that Highway 100 has a wide shoulder/bike lane, and more than enough room for a bicyclist to expect safe riding. Apparently, the driver of the van attributed his causing the wrongful death of Mr. Martinez to a sneeze. Although I do not have any statistics on how often drivers sneeze while operating their vehicles, it occurs to me that sneezes happen thousands and thousands of times each day without causing accidents. It also occurs to me that if the van driver had been giving Mr. Martinez the three feet of safe passing distance that is required of cars overtaking bicycles under Florida law, he might have had enough time to sneeze, recover, and still avoid causing the wrongful death of Mr. Martinez. I don’t know who the van driver is, or anything about him, but this sneeze explanation rings hollow to me. Our hearts go out to Mr. Martinez’ family, and we hope that the van driver accepts responsibility for the tragedy he has caused. If you have questions following a Florida automobile or bicycle accident, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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