Florida Legal Topics

DeBary Legal News - Accident

The Law Office of Paul Bernardini

Truck Accidents and Fatalities

Trucks seem to rule the road these days, and, due in part to the Florida tourist industry, our roads have a higher number of trucks than other states. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida has the third highest fatal truck accident record in the nation, behind Texas and California. Trucks have many rules and regulations to adhere to regarding training, time off, background checks, legal and illegal substance use, maintenance, licenses, and much more. Therefore, confronting these giants requires a specialized knowledge of the industry, unlike an accident caused by a personal vehicle.

According to the latest report for 2013 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics, there were an estimated 327,000 crashes involving trucks (here defined as over 10,000 lbs); 3,541 of them with one or more fatalities.

Because a loss can represent tens of millions of dollars for trucking companies, large insurance companies are in their employ to fight a lawsuit. The adjusters and attorneys have negotiated hundreds of truck accident cases and work only in their employer’s interest, no matter how sincere they sound about yours.

After seeking immediate medical attention, the first thing you must do is consult an experienced truck accident attorney. At Bernardini Law, we’ve spent years fighting these cases. You’ll have a dedicated team that will protect your rights and look out for your best interests.

Frequently, an action can be brought against both the driver and the insurance company. In the meantime, never – under any circumstances – discuss matters concerning your injuries or your loved one’s death with the at-fault driver, trucking company, or insurance company. Never give them anything in writing or sign anything before contacting us at 386-258-3453. Your consultation is always free.

Automobile Accidents - Evidence

The defendant's misconduct is sometimes not known to the jury.

In an automobile accident case involving the use of drugs by the defendant, the Second District ruled on December 20, 2013, that evidence of the drug use was not admissible where the defendant admitted that the defendant was liable for both compensatory and punitive damages and that the defendant had acted with gross negligence which was the proximate cause of the wrongful death of the decedent. Swanson v. Robles, 39 FLW D13 (2nd DCA, December 20, 2013).

Torts - Automobile Accident - Evidence of Previous Lawsuit

Generally speaking, it is not proper to introduce evidence of previous lawsuits showing a previous litigiousness is prejudicial and inadmissible, according to the 1969 case of Zabner v. Howard Johnson’s Inc. of Florida, 227 So. 2d 543, 546 (Fla. 4th DCA 1969). This holding was reaffirmed in Jackson v. Progressive Express Insurance Company, 38 FLW D1584, Fourth District Court of Appeal, July 24, 2013.

Wrongful death: title holder held not responsible

In a case involving a wrongful death, the Fifth District held that even though the Defendant's name was on the title to the motor vehicle, he was not responsible because he did not possess any beneficial ownership in the vehicle that was driven by another person at the time of the accident. The entire case turned on who had beneficial ownership of the vehicle. Of course, the safest thing to always do is to have your name removed from the title.