Noteworthy Facts about Collision Involving Several Vehicles

Frequently, drivers refer to such multi-car accidents as a pile-up.  Whatever name gets used for such an event, that same event has been linked to some specific features.

Conditions that favor the creation of a pile-up.

Most take place on a highway, where vehicles travel side-by-side and move at a high rate of speed. Poor visibility can make a multi-car crash more likely to happen. That is because drivers struggle to see when traveling in fog or rain.

High winds can increase the chances of a multi-vehicle accident, especially if the wind-hit vehicles happen to be speeding down a highway.

Listing of features that have become associated with a pile-up

Skidding: The drivers do not have time to make a decision. Consequently, each of them tries to make a last-minute move.  

Swerving into another lane: That new lane could be one that carried oncoming traffic.

Questions of liability that could arise, following a multi-car accident, might be resolved in a courtroom.

The factors that could contribute to the formation of an answer receive a more intensive investigation when questions related to a given case get decided in court. Litigation provides the disputing parties with better access to minds that can offer guidance and a possible judgment. A judge and jury could suggest an appropriate compensation for the plaintiff.

All courts must follow the rules of the state, where the courthouse is located.

Most states have a no-fault rule for multi-car accidents. Still, victims with severe injuries should consult with a lawyer, regarding the wisdom behind suing the other driver.

The amount compensated to an injured party would reflect the elements of the situation, the one in which the driver has been injured.

-If the state has adopted the principle of contributory negligence, no one that has helped to trigger the accident’s occurrence has a right to seek compensation.

-If the state follows the principle of comparative negligence, the proportion of each party’s contribution to the factors causing the crash determines the size of the same party’s compensation.

-If the state follows the principle of modified comparative negligence, compensation goes only to those parties that did not contribute to 50% of more of the factors that caused the pile-up. The size of the compensation reflects the extent of the given party’s contribution to the accident’s occurrence.

Situation not covered by online information about multi-vehicle collisions

In each state, the rules that apply to such a collision focus on the driver’s condition. The posted rules do not include details on how a driver would be compensated if he or she were carrying a passenger, and that passenger was injured. In such a situation, the case would almost certainly get decided in court. Still, the involved drivers could use guidance.

To get legal assistance, call on Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group at 772.247.5306. We are here to help you.

How Defective Tires Might Endanger Driver and Car’s Occupants?

Some of the defective parts that are found on automobiles can cause serious injury. True, it does not require the presence of 4 defective tires to produce a decided risk. Still, a defect in even one tire could prove capable of causing a serious accident.

The danger introduced by an underfilled tire:  In the absence of sufficient air, there could be too much pressure on that rubber part that surrounds the wheel. When subjected to that excessive pressure, the same part fails to function properly.

The danger associated with an overfilled tire:

The chances for a blowout increase, if there is too much air pressure on the rubber that surrounds any one of the car’s wheels.

Dangers introduced by tires made from old rubber:

Sometimes that old rubber starts to dry out. That dried-out material does not demonstrate all the qualities of a wheel part that has just come from the manufacturing plant.

At other times, that old, rubbery material tends to develop cracks. The presence of cracks reduces the tire’s ability to hold up under the pressure from the air that is inside it. In other words, the cracks can increase the chances of a blowout.

What could happen if a tire’s tread has evidence of separation?

A driver might go for several miles before the presence of tread separation. However, that would only be true, if the same motorist chose to travel at a modest rate of speed. Once, though, the tires had been forced to turn at a faster rate, the tread would have more frequent contact with the road. Consequently, the higher speeds would encourage the development of more tire-related problems.

The degree of risk that has been created, if a tire’s materials are defective:

Any road changes over time. It becomes quite hot in the summer. It could get covered in ice during the winter months. An older road could be full of ruts. A top-grade material should allow a tire to withstand its exposure to the elements. Rubber that contains a defective substance would not be capable of withstanding that sort of exposure.

It helps to learn the nof for a given tire’s manufacturer. In that way, the consumer that has gone shopping for tires should have the ability to seek out testimony, regarding the performance of parts that have come from that particular manufacturing plant.

Understand what resources create defective materials. Those are poor-quality chemicals, which could get used during the manufacturing process. Seek out facts about the chemicals that have been used during the production of any purchased item, including those that could get placed on a car’s wheels.

At Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, we have helped innumerable accident victims get justice and the entitled compensation, over the years. Call us 24/7 at 772.247.5306 and let our experienced lawyers be of assistance to resolve your accident claim.

How to Determine Who Is Responsible for a Car Accident?

An injured victim that has filed a personal injury claim does not have to present a perfect argument. He or she only has to put together a reasonable argument, one that should be included in a demand letter.

Factors that could aid the composition of such a letter

A claimant’s familiarity with driving rules should make it easier to prepare that written demand. If the defendant has broken any of those rules, then he or she is at least partly responsible for the accident.

If a driver were to disobey any rule-of-the-road, then that could be pointed to as evidence of the same driver’s negligence. No claimant could win a personal injury claim without producing proof of the defendant’s negligence. Yet no court would label a defendant as negligent in the absence of all the required elements.

What are the elements of negligence?

  • Evidence that the defendant had a duty of care towards the plaintiff
  • Proof that the defendant had breached that duty of care
  • Proof that the defendant’s breach had caused the event that resulted in physical harm to the plaintiff
  • Evidence to support the claim that the plaintiff had suffered measurable losses, as a result of the accident.

What would happen if the victim were found partly to blame for the accident?

The way that such a decision would affect the size of the victim’s compensation would depend on the accident’s location. Most states adhere to the principle of comparative negligence. Some use the traditional principle, while others have chosen to adopt the modified principle.

According to the traditional principle, the amount of the victim’s compensation should correspond inversely to the percent of the same victim’s contribution to the accident. In the modified version, no victim can be compensated, if he or she has contributed to more than 51% of the factors that caused the accident.

What is the rule in a system that follows the principle of contributory negligence? In that system, a victim has no right to seek compensation for accident-related injuries, if he or she made even the smallest contribution to the factors that triggered the accident’s occurrence.

That seems like a rather harsh system? Yes, it is. That is why only a few states have chosen to adhere to the principle of contributory negligence. As a rule, the legal system always strives to be fair to both sides, during any effort to resolve a legal dispute.

Lawyers recognize that fact and try to use it when advocating for a specific client. Judges, too, try to be fair, when asked to issue a decision. Still, every judge must follow any of the relevant rules in a given state’s legal code.

At Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, we understand that you are frustrated with your injuries and looking to settle quickly. Call 772.247.5306 today and let us help you.

Guidelines for Negotiating with Insurance Company

Once the injured victim of an accident has filed an injury claim, he or she should expect to get a call from the insurance adjuster. Claimants that are prepared for that same call should find it easier to steer those negotiations towards the desired goal—that of obtaining a fair settlement.

Steps to include in preparation

Get some paper and a pen or pencil; put those close to the phone. Use that pen and paper to obtain noteworthy information, after answering the expected call

  • Takedown the name of the person at the other end of the line.
  • Takedown the name of the company that has employed the person at the other end of the line.

Guidelines to follow when speaking with the adjuster

Limit the number of facts that are shared with the adjuster; promise to provide more information in a demand letter. Do not accept the first offer.

Insist that the number of future contacts is limited; carry out that step in a manner that could be described as polite and calm. Take notes; write down any of the adjuster’s requests. Record what information was given to the caller.

Tips on the  creation of demand letter

Collect the available evidence. Gain insight into how the adjuster will arrive at the value of his or her initial offer; adjusters usually use a multiplier, a figure between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the reported injuries.

Try to form in your mind the number that should represent the lowest acceptable offer once the negotiations have started.

Working with a lawyer, compose the demand letter. The amount demanded should be more than the lowest acceptable offer.

Use caution, if presented with improper comments at any point during the negotiations

If you have received a payment from a health insurance provider, the adjuster should not tell you that you have no reason for demanding reimbursement of the money that was used to cover your medical expenses. If you have hired a lawyer, then that same attorney should arrange for repayment of the health insurance provider, once you have received your compensation.

If your employer has granted you paid medical leave or paid vacation time, that fact should not become a “green light” to the insurance company. That fact cannot be used as a reason for refusing to consider a demand for compensation for lost wages. All victims deserve such compensation because their injury has kept them from going to their workplace and earning a salary.

Hire a Professional

Instead of dealing with negotiating yourself. Hire a professional attorney at Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group by calling 772.247.5306. We are available 24/7 and offer a FREE Consultation.

What Exactly is “Pain and Suffering” in a Personal Injury Case?

According to personal injury law, “pain and suffering” is a specific type of damages that the injury victim or plaintiff can seek compensation for.  The at-fault party that caused the plaintiff’s injuries or their insurer is responsible for compensating them.  The legal purpose behind claiming pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case is to compensate the injury victim for enduring difficulties that result from their injuries.

Florida Standard Jury Instructions

According to Florida Standard Jury Instructions (FSJI 501.2), an injury victim can claim compensation for “pain and suffering, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future.”  Pain and suffering is an example of non-economic or non-monetary damages that cover less tangible losses and have little to do with the injury victim’s (plaintiff’s) financial losses.

Non-Economic or Non-Monetary Damages

How much would it be worth to you if you were unable to pick up and hold your son or daughter because you were in too much pain? What amount of compensation would pay for your inability to go jogging or swimming without feeling any pain? Examples of non-economic or non-monetary damages include:

  • decreased quality of life
  • emotional distress or mental anguish
  • impairments and injuries
  • loss of companionship, consortium, or relationship (as in a wrongful death case)
  • pain and suffering

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident that was caused by another person’s careless behavior, you have the right to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation.  A personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and determine how much you should be compensated for your pain and suffering.

Proving Your Pain and Suffering

Your attorney can assist you in gathering the evidence and relevant documents needed to prove your pain and suffering such as:

  • Documented judgment of an expert that testifies to the pain and suffering experienced by other individuals with similar injuries
  • Records of medications that were prescribed for your physical or mental conditions
  • Written opinion of a mental healthcare professional regarding your psychological state as well as your mental pain and suffering
  • Written opinion of medical professionals that testify to and verify your physical pain
  • Your testimony that details your pain and suffering (juries are often moved by how your injuries have impacted your quality of life

We are here to help you get compensated for your injuries, so get your case evaluated by our lawyers. For more information about pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case, call the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155.

How Much Compensation Can I Expect in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

You may be wondering how much compensation you can expect to receive in a motor vehicle accident settlement.  Unfortunately, there’s no exact science or formula for determining this with absolute confidence.  Some claims are only worth a few thousand dollars while those involving victims with catastrophic injuries can be worth millions.  It is important to get your case evaluated by legal experts before filing a claim. As a result, several factors can influence the value of a claim including:

  • Lost income – your injuries may hinder your ability to return to work. While some injury victims may only miss a few days on the job, others may never be able to work again.  Lost income and loss of future earnings potential are economic damages that can result when you’ve suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident.  The bottom line is that you deserve fair and reasonable compensation for any income that you lose while recovering from the accident as well as your diminished earning capacity.
  • Negligence – your injury settlement may also be affected by Florida’s “comparative negligence” This law applies when the victim’s actions contribute to their accident and/or injuries.  For example, let’s say you’re seeking $10,000 in damages after getting into an accident with a distracted driver, but you were driving 10 mph over the posted speed limit.  An insurer or jury might consider that you were 20% responsible for the accident and deduct 20% from the amount you’re seeking.  Consequently, you would only be entitled to $8,000 for your claim.
  • Non-economic damages – as opposed to economic damages (lost income, medical expenses, property damage, etc.), non-economic damages are not about the victim’s financial losses. These relate to less tangible losses such as emotional distress, loss of companionship, pain, and suffering, and so on.  Non-economic damages differ from economic damages since they cover those losses that are difficult to calculate but still need to be compensated.
  • Your injuries – your primary goal after getting injured in a motor vehicle accident and getting treated for your injuries is to collect compensation from the at-fault party. A motor vehicle accident can leave the victim with mounting medical expenses.  Based on the nature and extent of those injuries, they may need medical treatment and possibly rehabilitative therapy in the future.  The right personal injury attorney can improve your chances of reaching a settlement and getting the compensation you deserve.

For more information about compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, contact the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group at (772) 569-8155 today. We have helped innumerable accident victims get compensated and can help you.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney if I’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

Compared to other states, Florida has one of the highest motorcycle fatality rates in the US.  Unfortunately, even the most responsible motorcyclist can get injured in these types of accidents.  Furthermore, there is a higher risk of catastrophic accidents and injuries for motorcyclists than there is for other motor vehicle drivers.  Consequently, the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents could require costly medical treatment and even long-term recovery care.

Florida is a No-Fault State

Where motor vehicle insurance is concerned, Florida is a “no-fault” state.  This means passenger vehicle motorists can rely on their Personal Injury Protection when seeking compensation for damages and injuries after an accident – regardless of who is at fault.  Depending on the type of policy you have, it could also mean that an insurer might not be responsible for those damages and injuries after getting into a motorcycle accident.  Fortunately, you can seek compensation with the help of a personal injury attorney. As they charge on a contingency basis, you don’t have to pay an upfront fee but a small percentage of the compensation that was pre-decided.

How can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Motorcycle Accident Victims?

If you decide to file an injury lawsuit against the insurer of a negligent driver, you must prove that your damages and injuries meet specific criteria.  Additionally, you have to prove that your injuries resulted from the other party’s negligent actions or conduct.  A personal injury attorney can help with this and provide grounds for filing a lawsuit against their insurer.  They can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and gather evidence that proves negligence was a factor.

However, you can still benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney, even if you decide not to file a claim against the negligent party’s insurer.  You have to remember that even your own insurance company is more focused on protecting their bottom line than protecting you.  Unfortunately, most insurers are not inclined to offer their clients the full amount of compensation they’re deserving of.

While a personal injury attorney cannot promise that you’ll recover a specific amount, they are qualified for negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement on your behalf.  Plus, their assistance helps to maximize your chances of getting the compensation that you deserve.  A personal injury attorney can also take care of such tasks as coordinating with doctors, corresponding with claims adjusters, and building a strong case for a claim or lawsuit.  This gives you time to focus on what’s most important – your recovery.

For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation, call Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155.


5 Reasons a Personal Injury Attorney May Refuse to Represent You

In most cases, when a personal injury attorney refuses to represent you, it has nothing to do with the client personally.  He or she may have ethical conflicts that prevent them from taking you on as a client or it may not make financial sense to do so.  In other cases, the attorney may not have enough evidence or legal reasons to pursue the case.  The following is a list of the 5 main reasons that a personal injury attorney may decline to represent you and your case:

  • Estimated amount of recovery is too low – if you suffered only slight damages, a personal injury attorney might decline to represent you. Damages typically include lost income, medical expenses, pain, and suffering, etc.  If your injuries were minor and you’ve fully recovered from them, they may not be sufficient enough to be economically feasible for the attorney to represent you.
  • Statute of Limitations has expired – the statute of limitations in personal injury cases establishes the deadline for filing a claim or lawsuit.
  • There is a conflict of interest – conflict of interest rules were instituted to ensure that an attorney will fully represent you and your best interests. Consequently, any conflict of interest may divide their loyalties.  If this occurs, the ethical rules will bar that attorney from providing legal representation.  For example, if the attorney’s cousin owns the property where your slip and fall accident occurred, the attorney could potentially have a conflict of interest if they represented you.
  • You contributed too much to the fault – in the state of Florida, your ability to recover compensation for damages and injuries is directly related to the role you played in the accident. If you contributed to the fault of the accident in any way, it will reduce the amount of compensation you ultimately receive.
  • Your case is outside the attorney’s expertise – not all attorneys represent all types of personal injury claims and lawsuits. Some attorneys will avoid certain practice areas such as medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, or workplace accidents while others may dedicate their entire practice to only one or two areas such as mass torts or product liability cases.

If you are confused about the state of your case and are looking to claim damages, we are here to help you. To learn if you have a valid personal injury claim, call the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155 for a FREE consultation.

Understanding Florida’s Product Liability Laws

Whenever we purchase an appliance, food, a vehicle, or any other consumer product, we expect and trust that it will be safe for us to use.  Unfortunately, defective products often manage to get into the consumer’s hands and cause personal injury or property damage.  If you recently suffered injury from using a defective product, you may be eligible to file a product liability lawsuit and recover compensation for the harm that was done to you and the financial losses that resulted from your injuries.

Every year, there are incidents in the state of Florida that give rise to product liability claims.  However, these claims are subject to the laws and requirements governing product liability cases and lawsuits.  Product liability cases are often complex so plaintiffs must understand what the details surrounding their case entail and what is involved in filing a product liability lawsuit. Personal injury lawyers manage to win such cases with considerable experience and ensure that their clients win the requisite damages.

Elements of a Product Liability Lawsuit

If you or a loved one were injured because of using a defective product, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim and product liability lawsuit.  A personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and familiarize you with what is required by law to win your case.  Product liability laws require that you prove the following elements:

  • You were injured when using a specific product and suffered losses in the process
  • The product you were using was defective
  • The defect caused your injury
  • You were using the product according to the instructions

Additionally, injury victims must adhere to Florida’s statute of limitations where product liability claims are concerned, which is 4 years for a personal injury and 2 years for wrongful death.  The discovery rule also applies in Florida product liability cases.  This means that the clock starts ticking the day the individual discovered or should’ve discovered the cause of the injury that gave rise to their case.

Pure Comparative Negligence Rule

Florida follows what is known as the “pure comparative negligence rule” which means that should the consumer be partially at fault for their injuries, the compensation they’re awarded will be a decrease in proportion to the percentage of the fault that is theirs.  For example, if the injury you suffered by using a defective product caused $150,000 in damages, but 30% of the fault was yours, the compensation you’re awarded will be reduced by $45,000.

To learn more about filing a product liability claim, call the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155.

Slip and Fall Accidents While on the Job

Whether you’re a nurse, a teacher, or work construction, Worker’s Compensation may be your only source of monetary recovery if you suffer injury by slipping and falling while on the job.  However, Worker’s Compensation claims often fall short of covering all damages such as loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, etc..  These would normally be recovered in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Additionally, Worker’s Compensation makes it nearly impossible to sue your employer and win a personal injury lawsuit against them.  Our slip and fall lawyers would focus on potential liabilities of a 3rd party property manager, owner or other liable party and not your direct employer. Premises Liability Under personal injury law, slip and fall accident cases are a form of premises liability, a legal concept that refers to any injury that is caused by a defective or unsafe condition on another person’s property.  To win this type of personal injury case, the injured party or plaintiff must prove there was a failure to exercise reasonable care or negligence on behalf of the individual or entity that maintained or owned the property. The injury lawyers deal with such aspects regularly and represent clients with varying levels of injuries. However, the existence of a dangerous condition or the occurrence of an injury doesn’t automatically mean that the owner of the property was negligent.  In most cases, you’re required to prove that the property owner knew or should have known that an unsafe condition existed but failed to address or correct the issue.  (The burden of proof for a slip and fall injury is found in F.S. 768.0755.) Determining Liability / Proving Negligence For a property manager or owner to be liable for the injuries you suffered by slipping and falling on their property, you must prove one of the following:
  • The property owner or one of their employees caused the dangerous or slippery area, the spill, or the torn or worn spot, or an item to be underfoot.
  • The property owner or one of their employees knew about the dangerous surface but failed to do anything about it.
  • The property owner or one of their employees should have known about the dangerous surface because a reasonable individual would have discovered it and either removed the item or repaired the spot.
Although the third scenario above is the most common, it is less clear-cut than the other two because of the phrase “should have known.”  For more information about slip and fall injuries that occur on the job, call the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group at (772) 569-8155 today.