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December 2015 Archives

Florida Bar Resists Changes To Expert Testimony

More than two years after the Legislature passed a law that aimed at tightening standards for expert testimony in lawsuits, the Florida Bar is pushing back. The Florida Bar of Governors which oversees all of the lawyers licensed to practice in the state of Florida are asking the Florida Supreme Court to stick with the Frye Standard, which is what Florida has had for many years. The controversy started from the 2013 legislative law which required Florida courts to use the same standard that federal courts use in determining whether expert testimony will be admitted.

Safety Alert: Protect Your Family And Buckle Up This Holiday Season

According to WEAR Channel 3, two Milton residents were killed in a car crash recently in Santa Rosa County around 3:13 a.m. A 32-year-old female was driving a Ford Expedition east on Interstate 10 (Stare Road 8) east of mile marker 19 when the right side tires went off the pavement and onto the grass shoulder. Authorities say the driver over-corrected and drove across the eastbound lanes and overturned after crashing into a temporary concrete barrier wall. Both the driver and her 34-year-old passenger were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital and died from their injuries. According to the FHP, neither were wearing seat belts.

Distracted Driving: Texting And Driving Laws Under Review

There is talk that there will be changes in the text and driving laws. Florida still has some of the weaker laws pertaining to texting and now they are looking to strengthen those laws. It is hopeful that during the 2016 Legislative Session, a law will be passed where drivers could get pulled over and cited for texting and driving. Currently, Florida allows law enforcement to issue a citation for texting only if the driver was pulled over for another traffic offense. The new law would make texting a primary offense, allowing law enforcement to stop drivers and issue a citation even if they haven't committed another offense. The bill does not apply when a car is stopped or if drivers are using their phone to access their GPS or to receive safety-related messages, such as traffic and weather alerts. The Senator who is sponsoring the bill said he filed the bill with young drivers in mind because they are more likely to get into a car accident. Florida is one of a few states where texting and driving is a secondary offense and critics say that pre-empts law enforcement from cracking down on violators. More than 3,100 drivers have received citations for texting and driving in Florida from October 2013 to September, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Senator's bill keeps the current base fine, which is $30 for a first offense. Drivers pay up to $60 for a second offense while also getting three points added to their driving record. The final amount violators pay varies by county.

Compulsory Medical Exams: What You Need To Know

Many people involved in car accidents or other types of accidents rarely see what it is like to go through a lawsuit, because most of the personal injury claims today are settled well before a lawsuit is filed. In the event that a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, be prepared to submit to a Compulsory Medical Examination by the defendant (i.e. adverse driver, your own insurance company, etc.). That is right, in most circumstances, the defendant can demand that you be examined by "their" doctor. In Florida, the Defendant(s) in personal injury or products liability suit simply gives notice to the other side that it wishes to you to undergo a Compulsory Medical Examination or "CME". In some circumstances, the party must file a motion, but these are rarely refused by the Court.

Safety Alert: Drone Regulations Announced

Before the new year, all drone owners must register their devices before flying them. The new registration requirements were announced Monday. Officials hope they will encourage owners to operate the devices in a responsible manner. It would also make it easier for authorities to track down those involved in drone crashes or incidents. Drone owners will be responsible for registering devices.

Bicycle Accidents: Quick Facts

WKRG out of Panama City reports that a Massachusetts man was struck by a vehicle and thrown off his bicycle in Okaloosa County last Thursday morning just after 8:30 a.m. on U.S. Highway 90. FHP reported that a 28-year-old male was traveling east near McKenzie Road when 41-year-old male tried to pass him but failed to maintain a safe distance. The bicyclist was taken to North Okaloosa Medical Center with serious injuries. The 41-year-old male was charged in the accident.

Dangerous Intersection In Walton County

WJHG Channel 7 out of Panama City reports a Freeport man is dead after his motorcycle hit an SUV in Santa Rosa Beach this past weekend. The 58-year-old male was driving his motorcycle when a 69-year-old male pulled into his path. The Freeport male was reportedly unable to swerve in time and was killed in the impact. The crash occurred at the intersection of Highway 98 and County Road 83, soon after 3 p.m. Charges are pending in this case.

When Car Accidents Are Caused By Medical Emergencies

WEAR Channel 3 reports a medical emergency caused a driver to run a red light and hit another vehicle. On Saturday morning, a 45-year-old female was driving northbound on Palafox approaching Brent Lane when she suffered a medical emergency and ran a red light. Her 2010 Chevy Equinox hit a 53-year-old male's 2014 Chevy Equinox. The impact was so significant the 2014 Chevy Equinox rolled over on its right side and hit a highway and car wash signs. The female was taken to Baptist Hospital with serious injuries, however, her 16-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries. As of now, the 53-year-old male has reported only minor injuries.

9-1-1 Text Messaging Coming To Santa Rosa County

WEAR TV Channel 3 reports another Northwest Florida County is about to be able to text 9-1-1 besides Walton County. Residents in Santa Rosa will soon have the new tool at their disposal. They'll be able to text dispatchers directly. According to authorities, the service won't launch in Santa Rosa County until June 2016 but dispatchers are optimistic this new tool will help save lives. All fire and EMS calls are dispatched from the Emergency Operations Center in Milton except for land line calls made in Gulf Breeze. Dispatchers know they are an integral part of the puzzle and they play an important part in getting help to those in need. If it is easier for those in need to be able to text a dispatcher, it could make the job a little easier and more efficient. Ken Bass, 9-1-1 coordinator for Santa Rosa County, said over the last couple of years the county has made several upgrades in preparing for 9-1-1 text messaging.

Truck Accidents On The Interstate

There was a horrific accident that occurred here in Northwest Florida last Monday morning. The accident happened on Interstate 10 and involved a Hummer and four semitrailers. The positive - only three people suffered minor injuries. According to Northwest Florida Daily News, the accident occurred on a foggy stretch of I-10 at 5:08 a.m. in Walton County near mile marker 83.

Does Insurance Cover Street Racing?

WEAR Channel 3 reports a speeding driver lost control of the vehicle and caused a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate I-110. Five vehicles were traveling southbound on I-110 just north of Cervantes Street, according to the FHP. A 19-year-old male was clocked in his Mitsubishi Eclipse speeding at 117mph in a 55 mph zone with a group of other cars that were racing and driving recklessly. Other drivers were also racing prior to the crash. The report states the 19 year old lost control of his vehicle, hit a concrete barrier wall on the east shoulder of I-110 and hit the rear of another racer's vehicle, a Hyundai Genesis. The impact caused the Hyundai to hit the barrier wall, as well. The initiating racer drove back into the southbound lanes of I-110 where it collided with another racer's Mitsubishi Eclipse. The crash caused traffic to come to a sudden stop and caused a 33-year-old female's Hyundai Tiburon to collide with an unknown vehicle. That vehicle left the scene before authorities got there. The initiating vehicle's driver was arrested for causing the crash and charged with reckless driving resulting in property damage and racing on a highway. He also got a speeding ticket. The other two racers given court dates for racing on a highway. The FHP reports no one involved in the crash was seriously injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured in this accident and we have to ask - will there be insurance coverage for their injuries? According to my research, a standard auto or home policy won't cover any type of racing damage or liability. Common forms of amateur motorsports such as drag racing, autocross, rallies and track days are excluded from regular auto insurance policies. The fine print usually says something like this: "Liability arising from the sponsoring or taking part in any organized or agreed-upon racing or speed contest or demonstration in which your insured car has active participation, or in practice or preparation for any such contest." The sanctioning body for the type of racing you do may carry liability insurance. However, it will usually be bare bones coverage meant to protect those you injure. Most organizations aren't in the business of protecting drivers and repairing their vehicles. So, what's an amateur race car driver to do? If you are going to race at a sanctioned event, then some insurance companies will write policies for you. For example, a $30,000 track-day policy at Leland West (including coverage for damaged guardrails and wreckage removal) costs about $200. Other carriers to investigate include Lockton Motorsports and OnTrackInsurance. Policies are typically "agreed value" -- that is, you and the insurance company agree what your car is worth up front, and you pay a premium based on that amount. They typically cover only damage to the car, not any injuries the driver suffers or damage he may inflict on others. So what should we learn from this tragic incident? Take a pause before drag racing. More likely than not, drag racing is an auto exclusion that your car insurance company might write into your policy. In this case, your car insurance company would not cover you if you are injured while drag racing. Source: http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/car-racing-insurance.aspx

Self-Driving Cars More Prone To Accidents?

Are self-driving cars the wave of the future in terms of the safest cars there could be? Not so, says a new study. According to this, self-driving test cars are involved in crashes at five times the rate of conventional cars. According to USA Today who reported on the study, even when the figures take into account that many accidents involving conventional cars go unreported, the study from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute found that the rate is still twice as high. Notwithstanding this, the study makes the comparison from a tiny pool of autonomous test cars, about 50 of them in California, versus 269 million conventional cars as of 2013. The self-driving cars have logged about 1.2 million miles in total, while the conventionals cumulatively go trillions of miles a year. As a result, the total number of self-driving car accidents being used for comparison is the study is minuscule, 11. But that's five times the rate of the accident rate in conventional cars, and there's four times the injury rate, the study finds. The injuries, however, have all been minor. In almost every case, the accidents involving self-driving cars have involved other cars crashing into them. They are often traveling at slow speeds. No accidents have been reported from self-driving cars going haywire and a human is always on board in case something goes wrong. Eight of the 11 crashes occurred last year as more self-driving hit the road in California, where most of the testing is taking place. Despite limitations of the study, "A Preliminary Analysis of Real-World Crashes Involving Self-Driving Vehicles," it reached some real conclusions.

Father And Son Team Working Together To Serve Our Clients

Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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