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Posts Tagged "negligence"

Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Motor vehicle accidents, Recent News

Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

The family of a man and baby who were killed, and a young woman who was injured in an October 2015 car crash at the intersection of State Road 436 and State Road 434 are understandably upset to learn that the Seminole County State Attorney’s office has chosen not to prosecute the 75-year old woman who caused the fatal and tragic crash. However, justice can still be done for this family. The prosecutor’s decision highlights the difference between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system, and the differing legal standards and standards of proof that apply to each. According to an article on the ClickOrlando.com website, Seminole County State Attorney Phil Archer has elected not to press charges against Cynthia Guthrie because he does not believe his office can prove – beyond a reasonable doubt (the criminal law standard of proof) – that Ms. Guthrie is guilty of willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, or that she acted with reckless disregard. Because the State Attorney is not prosecuting Ms. Guthrie, it means that she does not risk jail time or probation. However, this does not mean that Ms. Guthrie will avoid all responsibility for the crash. Under our civil justice system, Ms. Guthrie can still face liability for causing the accident. However, her liability under the civil system is financial (i.e. paying money damages), not the loss of her physical freedom. In a civil case arising from a car crash, an injured party, or the surviving family member of someone who has been tragically killed, only needs to prove that the driver was negligent in order to win. Not only that, but the injured party does not need to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the injured party only has to prove that it is more likely than not that the driver was negligent or careless. Obviously, it is much easier to prove a civil case for negligence than a criminal case. This is good because it gives accident victims an effective way of holding negligent or careless drivers accountable – even when the criminal justice system won’t. We do this all of the time for our clients. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, call Winter Park car accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit our main website by clicking here. We are a small, boutique law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. All consultations are free and without...

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Huge Palm Coast Crash, Multiple Kids Injured. Who Will Pay For Damages?

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Motor vehicle accidents

Huge Palm Coast Crash, Multiple Kids Injured.  Who Will Pay For Damages?

Approximately twenty-five people were injured in a major T-bone collision that occurred on Whiteview Parkway at Ravenwood Drive in Palm Coast.  According to the clickorlando.com website, a Flagler County school bus carrying 42 students was headed to Buddy Taylor Middle School when a Mazda automobile suddenly showed up directly in front of the bus.  Apparently, the Mazda has been sitting at a stop sign when it was rear-ended by a Subaru at a high rate of speed.  The force of the impact was enough to propel the Mazda across the intersection and directly into the path of the bus. The impact was significant.  The bus driver was reported to initially be trapped in bus.  Several people, including some students and the drivers of both automobiles were taken by ambulance to the hospital.  The remainder of the injured were transported by another school bus to the hospital.  Most of the students were treated and released, however several students, and all three adults remained in the hospital through the following day – at least one in critical condition. It seems clear that the majority, if not all, of the fault for this accident lies with the driver of the Subaru who forced the Mazda into the intersection.  However, based upon the number of victims involved — somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 — and that nature of some of the reported injuries, it is unlikely that the driver of the Subaru will have adequate liability insurance to properly respond to all of the claims for damages that may be presented as the result of this negligence.  Unless the owner of the Subaru is independently wealthy, or just won the lottery, it is unlikely that anyone injured in this crash would benefit from pursuing the driver of the Subaru personally. This unfortunate incident is a perfect example of why everyone who drives or owns a vehicle in Florida should carry as much Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage as part of their automobile insurance package.  In this Palm Coast accident, each of the children who were injured in this crash, and lived with a relative who carried Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, would have access to UM benefits if their injuries are considered permanent.  Without Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage it is unlikely that any of the children will receive any kind of fair compensation for their injuries. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is designed to be a substitute for the liability coverage that the negligent driver should have carried. Of course, it is our hope that all 25 people injured in the crash make speedy recoveries, and never need to access UM coverage.  However, it is great to have it just-in-case. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident, or how Florida Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage works, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.  Consultations are always...

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Walmart Litigation Tactics In Tracy Morgan Case: Unfortunately Typical In Florida

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Motor vehicle accidents

Walmart Litigation Tactics In Tracy Morgan Case: Unfortunately Typical In Florida

I saw an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times a couple of days ago that I thought what was worthy of mentioning on this blog. Many readers of this blog may be familiar with a fatal semi tractor-trailer accident in New Jersey several months ago involving TV star/comedian Tracy Morgan. The crash occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike and involved a semi tractor-trailer owned by Walmart and driven by a Walmart employee that smashed at a high-speed into the rear end of a van that Mr. Morgan and several other entertainers were traveling in. One man was killed.  Mr. Morgan and the other passengers were seriously injured. Suit was filed against Walmart several weeks ago on behalf of Mr. Morgan and the others.  The lawsuit included allegations that Walmart’s driver had violated federal traffic safety laws by driving without the proper amount of sleep or rest.   (I have blogged about tired driving on a couple of occasions recently, as his is a growing problem:  here and here.) Walmart has now responded to Mr. Morgan’s lawsuit by alleging that Mr. Morgan was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and therefore is somehow responsible for causing his own injuries.  Setting aside for a moment whether a rear seat van passenger is legally required to wear a seat belt, the fact of Walmart’s raising this defense, and this making it into the national news, struck me. After all, this is a defense that we see in almost every single automobile or truck accident case that we file a lawsuit on — whether it is applicable or not.  (In fact it is such a boilerplate part of defense filings, that we often see it raised as a defense in slip and fall and other non-automobile cases.)  It is part of the typical defense strategy in any kind of motor vehicle accident case to do everything possible to try to blame the accident victim for causing the crash or causing his injuries.  It is almost unheard-of for a Defendant to ever admit that they were wrong and simply face the consequences of the full damages or injuries that they have caused. It occurs to me that this is the exact opposite of how we teach our children.  As a parent, I am constantly trying to teach my kids about the value of being a responsible person and accepting responsibility when you have made a mistake or done something wrong.  Apparently, insurance companies and corporate Defendants never received this kind of lesson… Anyway, I suspect that the seat belt offense will eventually be dropped in Tracy Morgan’s case, as there has been a pretty decent amount of outrage in the media over these kinds of tactics.  Unfortunately, I don’t think our non-celebrity clients are going to get the same decent treatment anytime soon.. If you have any questions regarding...

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