It was a vehicle's emergency system that eventually turned in a lady who was involved in a hit and run last month in south Florida. As police received a call from a victim who said she had been struck from behind by a black vehicle that sped off, police dispatch got an automated call from a vehicle emergency system stating the owner of a Ford vehicle was involved in a crash and to press zero to speak with the occupants of the vehicle. The victim had to be taken to the hospital with back injuries.
Most of us that surf the internet, read a newspaper or watch television know that many different technology companies are developing self-driving cars. Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, Toyota and Uber are some of the technology companies developing and testing self-driving car technology. Google is the pioneer in autonomous driving technology. In 2005, Google established a team of engineers, led by Sebastian Thrun, who developed a robotic vehicle that won a contest sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Sine then, in November of 2015 Toyota announced over the next five years, it would spend $1 billion on research centers related to self-driving car at both MIT and Stanford. Apple, Google, Tesla and Uber have also committed to substantial research initiatives focusing on the testing and developing of autonomous vehicles. BMW, Audi and Daimler recently purchased Nokia's map business, including intellectual property focused on self-driving cars.
Last month, Allstate filed a brief with the Florida Supreme Court seeking the high court to overturn an August ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal. In the underlying appellate action, Allstate was in a dispute regarding No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection benefits. The case involved 32 consolidated cases and dealt with the question of whether the Allstate policies would reimburse the physicians under a fee schedule based on the Medicare reimbursement rates. The medical providers argued that the Allstate policies were "ambiguous". The 4th District Court of Appeal agreed and ruled in favor of the medical providers. In Allstate's brief filed with the Florida Supreme Court, Allstate points to a ruling out of the 1st District Court of Appeal (our district in the panhandle) that they believe entitles them to use the Medicare fee schedule as a basis for reimbursement.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the FHP is investigating a two-car crash which occurred Sunday night that left a Fort Walton Beach man hospitalized in critical condition. A 2010 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by a 26 year old female from Fort Walton Beach, was traveling northbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard and turning onto Hurlburt Road after the traffic light turned green when her vehicle was struck from behind by a 2010 Nissan Titan pickup driven by a 68-year-old male. According to the FHP release, the Nissan Titan failed to slow at the intersection when the crash occurred at 9:29 p.m. Sunday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.