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Posts Tagged "dangerous"

Did Defective Road Contribute To Tragic Car Crash In Bithlo/Christmas?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in Motor vehicle accidents, Wrongful Death Claims

Did Defective Road Contribute To Tragic Car Crash In Bithlo/Christmas?

Many of us here in Winter Park — and especially those of us who are parents of recent and current Winter Park High School students — were shocked and saddened to learn of a tragic car accident that happened a couple of nights ago out in the Bithlo/ Christmas area. The one-car crash killed Thomas Stutts and Justin Vail, and injured Omokolap Hunpatin, after the SUV they were traveling in left the roadway of Fort Christmas Road, crashed through a fence, and into a tree. The coverage that I saw was from the good folks at WESH.com (who I think always do a great job on local reporting.) As an attorney who has handled car accident and wrongful death cases for a long time, a couple of things struck me about the story. First, I was shocked at the destruction to the SUV that these young men had been driving in. I was, frankly, surprised that anyone could have survived this crash. I was not surprised to hear from the Florida Highway Patrol that speed may have been a factor in the crash. However, my interest really perked up when the WESH reporter started interviewing neighbors, who reported that horrible accidents (many of them involving fatalities) happen along that seemingly quiet road all the time. Video captured for the story showed multiple crosses and other memorials laid out beside Fort Christmas Road where other fatal crashes have presumably occurred. Normally, a governmental entity cannot be held responsible for planning-level decisions — such the decision to build a road, or where the road will travel, or where to put a stop sign. However, when it becomes apparent that something about the design of the road contains some kind of defect or makes for a dangerous condition, then a governmental entity can be held responsible for damages for personal injuries or wrongful death. When I hear about multiple deaths on the same stretch of road over a period of time, I start to wonder whether we have a defective road.  I become suspicious that perhaps the County, or State, or whichever entity built that road, could have done more to make it safer – like perhaps installed barriers on the edge of the roadway, or speed humps, or some other similar seemingly simple remedy that might have saved these young men’s precious lives. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 for a free, no obligation strategy session, or download their free, information-packed Florida car accident guide by clicking...

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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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Orange Jury Awards Multi-Million Dollar Award Against Tired Truck Driver

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Motor vehicle accidents

Orange Jury Awards Multi-Million Dollar Award Against Tired Truck Driver

People who pay attention to our firm and the material that we share online — both blog posts, and videos — know that we are serious about generating public awareness about the dangers of tired driving.  Despite our reminding, preaching, and cajoling, drivers still get behind the wheels of their vehicles too tired to safely drive. One thing we know from handling car accident cases over the last twenty years is that sometimes the only way to get someone to change their behavior is to hit them in their pocketbook or wallet. I am guessing (hoping) that the truck driver discussed in the video below will never drive without proper rest again: $14 million is a lot of money. Juries typically do not award this kind of money unless they become irritated by some aspect of the evidence in a case. In this case, it was probably the truck driver’s doctored or missing log books that were supposed to guarantee that he was receiving enough rest. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car or truck accident, and especially one that might have involved a tired driver, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or order a FREE copy of their book, Asleep At The Wheel: 13 Mistakes The Insurance Company Desperately Hopes You’ll Make After A Florida Car Accident by clicking...

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