Monday, September 29, 2014

How Speeding Can Put You In The Fast Lane To An Accident

Car accidents are called just that for a reason; they weren’t supposed to happen. However, there are a ton of obvious methods that we can apply to our every day driving styles to create an enormously safer driving environment. What was pounded in our heads during Driver’s Ed, robotically repeated by our parents when we first started driving, and what is most heavily enforced on our roads today? That’s right; speeding. Believe it or not, despite all of the valiant efforts in an attempt to prevent it, speeding makes up an enormous portion of reasons for car accidents, ranking in at around 30% of car accidents being caused by it. (Speeding Facts)
So why is it that even though it’s illegal, frowned upon, and extremely dangerous do we continue to do it on a regularly basis, and sometimes habitually? It’s late and pouring rain; the streets are slick and you’ve got a rapidly decreasing amount of time to get to the supermarket before it closes. You don’t have time for traffic lights, so you’ve got to be faster than them. You slowly push the pedal down, leveling it to the floor before you realize you’re going 30MPH over the speed limit. One knock of the steering wheel and it was a little touchier than you’re used to; the tires don’t grip to the wet road and you endure a sliding crash into a concrete barrier.            
 By the time you regain consciousness, the supermarket is closed and you’re surrounded by paramedics. No one wins in this situation, and all of it could have been avoided by smarter use of your gas pedal. That barrier could have been a person or another car. Someone could have been seriously injured or even worse, killed. For someone involved in a speeding accident looking for compensation, every case is different. There isn’t a general statement that can cover everyone’s situation, and with that said, a speeding citation being waived isn’t impossible with good reason. In the event that you had a real, honest, and morally more important reason to be speeding, some legal slack may be given. This outcome, however, is rare, and most states in the U.S. will strictly state that there is absolutely no reason to speed at any time.
As for the victim of a speeding crash, they can take many paths to defend themselves and get the result they want to out of a case. Some may choose to press charges; others may understand the situation and keep it on a personal level, simply taking it up with the insurance company; however, if you’re in a situation where you feel like you’re not getting the results you deserve as a victim of a speeding accident, you could be getting taken advantage of if you haven’t read up on your legal rights.
If you were in a crash recently and properly interacted with anyone involved, chances are you’ve already taken steps to resolve the accident and you are currently in a legal situation with them. If not, you may be missing out on an opportunity to be compensated for your losses. Let’s not forget that speeding is illegal, and being submissive will only make the problem grow. Dolman Law Group can help you learn your rights and get you the compensation that you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a speeding accident and you feel victim to unfair treatment or you don’t know where to begin on your case, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group for a free case evaluation and consultation. If this is the first step you’re taking towards settling your case, take it with us. Call us at 727-451-6900 or notify us via our Online Contact Form.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is the other Party Liable for Damages if I have a Pre-Existing Condition?

The simple answer is yes, another party may still be liable for an injury that occurred even if that injury aggravated a pre-existing condition or triggered an illness to happen sooner than it was likely going to happen on its own.  Additionally, someone may be still liable for injuring or causing an old injury to flare up again.  Just because someone is more fragile or likely to succumb to certain injuries, does not provide the tortfeasors immunity from negligent acts.  This is sometimes called the “Eggshell Skull” defense.  The idea is that even if someone may have a condition that makes them predisposed to injury, the other party is not off the hook for negligence when compromising that condition. 

 The “eggshell skull” rule commonly applies in the following circumstances:

·         triggering of a previously latent condition;
·         aggravation of a condition that was formerly under control;
·         exacerbation of a preexisting bodily or psychological disorder or disease; and
hurrying or speeding up of a disability or death.

In Silva v. Stein, a woman went to her local beauty salon for a perm. Silva v. Stein, 527 So. 2d 934 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1988). Ms. Stein told her stylist that she sometimes reacts strongly to chemical solutions. Even though Ms. Stein had high susceptibility to certain chemicals, the stylist decided to still give Ms. Stein the perm.  Shortly after her perm, Ms. had an extremely rare immunological reaction to the chemicals in the perm. Ms. Stein brought a negligent claim for her reaction to the chemicals.  The beautician argued that no one could have possibly foreseen this strange reaction to the perm, thus she could not be liable for damages.  The jury did not agree and awarded Ms. Stein damages for the unfortunate event. The stylist appealed and the jury verdict was once again upheld by Chief Judge Schwartz. The Judge reasoned that “the defendant is responsible for whatever adverse consequences the plaintiff suffers—whether they are ‘foreseeable’ or not. It is the familiar but accurate doctrine that ‘the tort feasor takes the plaintiff as he finds him’ which is instead controlling.”( Silva v. Stein, 527 So. 2d 934 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1988).   The judge in this case makes clear that even though you are more likely than others to be injured, the negligent party still must pay damages. 

This “eggshell” type of liability is not just applicable in unfortunate perms.   The exacerbation of preexisting conditions occurs in car accidents as well.  For example, Loras Benn was rear-ended while he was in the passenger seat of a car and suffered a bruised chest and a broken ankle. Benn v. Thomas, 512 N.W.2d 538 (Iowa 1994).  Loras Benn tragically died from a heart attack just days later. Mr. Benn’s estate sued the driver of the car who crash into him for money damages. Mr. Benn had a history of heart issues and would have possibly lived a shortened life due to his heart condition. The defendant contended that they should not be liable because a heart condition was present and it was just a matter of time before Mr. Benn would die due to his heart disease. The Iowa Supreme Court did not accept the plaintiff’s arguments and ruled in favor of Mr. Benn’s estate. The court reasoned that under the eggshell rule, a defendant could be responsible for all injuries resulting from the accident, even if the plaintiff suffers injuries more severe than what an average individual would have suffered in the same situation. When the negligent act results in injury to a person with a pre-existing ailment, it is the action, and not the disorder, that is the cause of the injury. This rule imposes liability irrespective of whether the precise injury suffered was foreseeable.
In Florida, juries are regularly told that they must rule in favor of someone who had a disorder aggravated due to the fault of someone else. 

If you find that the defendant caused a bodily injury, and that the injury resulted in an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect or activation of a latent disease or physical defect, you should attempt to decide what portion of claimant’s condition resulted from the aggravation or activation. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the aggravation or activation. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by claimant. 

This means that that even though a previous illness or condition might have been present, the jury needs to decide what part of the current injury is the wrongdoer’s fault.  Also, the jury may decide that the wrongdoer should be liable for the entire injury.  You should not feel discouraged from taking legal action if you aggravated an old injury due to the fault of someone else.    

If you, or someone you know, have aggravated or exacerbated a latent disease or defect, you should consult with a law firm with experience handling these types personal injury claims to ensure that you, the victim, receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, or future loss of income. The Dolman Law Group serves personal injury clients all over the state of Florida from their conveniently located Clearwater office. Call for a case evaluation today at 727-451-6900, and rest assured that our team is ready and willing to take the case as far as necessary to reach an appropriate resolution for your case.

800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Attorney Advertising: Ignore the Hype

Are attorneys who heavily advertise better than their counterparts?  Should I pick a lawyer solely off an advertisement?

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Will Less Auto Accidents Occur with Increased Vehicle Technology?

GM Announces Plans to Build Vehicles which can Detect Distracted Driving

A report has surfaced which indicates that General Motors plans to build vehicles which would be able to track and aid in the prevention of texting and driving. Reportedly, GM will be installing cameras and sensors in vehicles which will track drivers’ head and eye motions and “alert drivers to prolonged moments of distraction.” The systems would track head and eye movements through the use of cameras that can detect subtle signs of distraction, like “the rotation of the head or frequency of blinks.” There is currently no word on how this information will be used to prevent distracted driving and what measures will be put in place to protect distracted drivers from themselves.

However, this author is not certain that General Motors, after the summer that it has had to endure with regard to the seemingly endless factory recalls for its vehicles is perhaps the best automobile manufacturer to make the first foray into this particular vehicular improvement. One envisions a scenario where, a driver, armed with the knowledge that his vehicle will detect when he has gazed down at his cellular phone (or other implement of distraction) for too long, depends on the new distracted driving system that his new General Motors vehicle came equipped with to notify him that he needs to get his eyes back on the road. While this seems like a dangerous proposition in general (and could possibly ENCOURAGE distracted driving), when the company that might be pioneering this field of safety is the same company that has had what feels like every automobile they’ve ever made recalled at some point this summer for repairs and replacements of parts it does not put this author’s mind at ease.

As discussed previously in the Dolman Law blog, Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. The recent smart phone revolution has created so many other ways that drivers can become distracted, as most of society now carries a miniature computer in the palm of their hand. A computer with the capability to venture to the far reaches of the internet, and to which drivers have direct access while they are behind the wheel. Many different methods for neutralizing the distracted effect our phones can have on us as drivers currently seem to be in the table, but I am not sure that this particular one is the solution to this particular problem.

Distracted driving is dangerous and our Florida drivers should be aware that any activity that requires their attention to be on their cell phone or anything other than the road and the vehicles around them is equally if not more dangerous and should be absolutely avoided.  If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver you have rights under Florida Law.  Contact a licensed Florida Personal Injury Attorney for advice.  Dolman Law Group is able to provide zealous representation of injured parties that have been affected by the negligence of a distracted driver.  Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation by calling 727-451-6900.

800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900