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Pedestrian Accidents: Florida Communities are Ranked Among the Most Dangerous

Posted on Friday, June 13, 2014
Auto Accident Injuries, Blog, Personal Injury

Each year, Smart Growth America releases a Dangerous by Design report which evaluates where pedestrian fatalities happen across the country and provides metropolitan rankings based on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). Released in May 2014, this report identifies the most dangerous regions as Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami. These Florida cities are the top 4 with Memphis completing the top 5. In Orlando, pedestrians are four times more likely to be killed than the national average. The study blames the fact that these cities were built with wide roads and high speed limits allowing cars to get where they are going quickly. Unfortunately, this design is not ideal for pedestrians.

In fact, speed has been shown to increase the probability of a pedestrian accident occurring as well as resulting in more serious injuries from the crash. In one third of all traffic fatalities, speeding is listed as a factor. A pedestrian hit by a car going 20 mph has a 94% chance of survival whereas one hit by a car going 45 mph has a 35% chance of survival. In addition, the report highlights that fatalities are more likely to occur on arterial roads and roads with speed limits of 40 mph or higher, which dominate the Southeast’s infrastructure.

This is not the first year that Florida cities have topped the report. As a result of the 2011 report, the Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative was created which focuses on engineering, education and enforcement methods to reduce fatalities. Walking friendly design standards have been implemented on new roads and those that undergo repairs. Improvements have been observed as a result of these efforts, but additional work is required. In fact, more than two-thirds of pedestrian deaths occur on federal roads requiring federal funding and federal guidance for upgrades, so local efforts will only go so far.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by a pedestrian accident you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you receive the compensation needed to aid in recovery.

What is No-Fault Insurance and How Does It Work?

Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2014
Auto Accident Injuries, Blog, Personal Injury

Florida is one of the few states with a no-fault insurance system. What this means is that auto insurance pays benefits to the insured driver following an accident, regardless of who was at fault in that accident. Florida drivers are required by law to have this insurance. No-fault insurance — also known as a personal injury protection policy (PIP) — was meant to streamline the process of receiving compensation after an accident and prevent many personal injury cases from tying up the court.

The benefit of PIP insurance is that it often pays very quickly, and it guarantees that you will receive compensation following an injury accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, there are a few drawbacks as well. With last year’s law changes, you now must act quickly to receive the maximum benefits from your policy. In addition, it’s harder in a no-fault system to sue an at-fault driver for damages, and the compensation provided for you in the system may not adequately cover your expenses.

In January, 2013, the state legislature revised its statutes in regard to PIP policies. The law now requires PIP policies to pay for 80 percent of medical bills and 60percent of lost wages up to $10,000 for the insured driver and passengers if there is an emergency medical condition that treatment is sought for within 14 days of the accident. The law also requires the policy to pay up to $5,000 in death benefits. Those injured in accidents only receive up to $2,500 of medical compensation if their injuries are not determined to be emergency medical conditions.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, there are not only time limitations but other potential challenges that arise from dealing with insurance companies. The attorneys at DDB Law have experience in dealing with no-fault insurance claims and would be glad to help you understand the process. Please contact us for more information.

Questions of Criminal Liability Follow the GM Ignition Switch Recall

Posted on Friday, May 16, 2014
Auto Accident Injuries, Blog, Personal Injury

Is General Motors criminally liable for failing to disclose problems with ignition switches in its vehicles? According to an article from Reuters, multiple government agencies, including the Florida Attorney Generals’ office, are trying to determine the answer to that question.

According to the company’s website, the GM ignition switch recall involves the following vehicles:

  • 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2007-2010 Saturn Sky

The recall is due to a risk, the company states, that the vehicles’ ignitions may slip out of the “run” position, causing a partial loss of electrical power, disabling the airbags and shutting off the engine. Additionally, some of the vehicles may have issues in which the key can come out of the ignition when the ignition is not in the “off” position, resulting in unintended vehicle motion and the potential for car crashes and injury to occupants and pedestrians. GM stated that the vehicles are safe to drive, provided drivers have no extra keys or weight on their key ring. It’s estimated that approximately 1.4 million cars contain this defect.

The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths, Reuters reported, and there were 55 class action lawsuits pending in the United States and another five in Canada. The agencies probing the problem and the recall include a group of state attorneys general, including Florida’s, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the U.S. Congress.

In April, the article noted, confidential documents were released that indicated that GM knew about the problem with the ignitions for quite some time and resisted previous opportunities to fix the problem. GM stated in its regulatory filing that it was cooperating with the investigations and faced potential civil and criminal fines. In the past, damages in personal injury lawsuits against automakers have included damages for mental anguish and physical pain, medical expenses, loss of earnings or earning capacity and – in the case of severe misconduct – punitive damages.

If you have been in an auto accident while driving one of the vehicles on the GM recall list that you believe was caused by a problem with the ignition switch, please contact us. There may be compensation available for you.

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