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Tampa Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding the importance of distracted driving protections

While a number of states have penalties associated with distracted driving, Florida does not yet have any. There has been some concern that there is not enough political will to change the laws. One local news agency recently accepted a challenge from lawmakers who wanted to see more objective evidence that distracted driving laws actually improve traffic safety.

The numbers themselves are fairly convincing. In one study, the American Journal of Public Health reported that rates of hospitalization declined by 7 percent in states with texting and driving bans versus states without a texting and driving ban. In addition, states that enforced the texting while driving ban as a primary offense benefited, according to a study reviewing the years 2003 to 2010.

Drunk driver injures children and kills one in Florida

In a neighboring Florida community just south of Tampa, a recent drunk driving accident resulted in the death of one child and injuries to four others. Less than a month after completion of probation for driving drunk, a 37-year old drunk driver ran a stop sign and struck a vehicle full of children. A 3-year old child was killed in the drunk driving accident and four other children, including a newborn baby, were injured in the same accident. Two of the children, including the child who died, were ejected from the vehicle. Two of the surviving children were critically injured.

The drunk driver was facing multiple charges, including DUI manslaughter, following the accident and was being held in jail without bail. A breathalyzer test revealed that the driver had a blood alcohol content level of between 0.125 and 0.128; 0.08 is the legal limit in Florida. The driver has a history of problems related to driving and already settled a negligence claim with a woman who asserted she was seriously injured in a car accident. The driver's children were in the car with him during the most recent accident but were unharmed.

Tampa is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents are a serious concern for victims and their families. During the recession, fewer drivers resulted in fewer pedestrian accidents. As the economy improved, an increase in pedestrian accidents resulted in more pedestrian fatalities. According to a new study, 4,884 pedestrians were killed during 2014, which is the most recent year for which data is available. The number of pedestrian fatalities represents a 19 percent increase from 2009 and the highest number since 2005.

Unfortunately, minorities, the poor and elderly or more greatly impacted by the occurrence of pedestrian accidents than other groups. Of the 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians, 8 are in Florida and include Tampa. Part of the problem in Florida is that its post World War II boom resulted in city planning that prioritized cars over people. In addition, unlike in other cities in the country where walking may be viewed as a luxury, those walking in Florida cities are largely doing so out of necessity and may not have the same political capital to advocate for safer streets.

Drunk drivers can be liable for the harm suffered by victims

Drunk driving accidents can unexpectedly turn the lives of victims and their families upside down. For victims involved in a drunk driving accident, the consequences may be particularly serious and can result in injuries and, depending on the severity of the injuries suffered, a lifetime of challenges. In addition to the physical trauma suffered in a drunk driving accident, victims may also suffer emotional trauma.

Victims of drunk driving accidents may find their lives unexpectedly changed in an instant due to a drunk driver. In addition to the criminal charges a drunk driver may face, they may also face liability to compensate injured victims for the harm suffered. A drunk driver is ordinarily considered a negligent driver, which creates responsibility to compensate victims for any damages that result from a drunk driving accident.

Catastrophic injuries may necessitate legal action

Car accidents, motorcycle accidents and auto-pedestrian accidents can all result in catastrophic injuries. Car accidents can result in physical and mental harm such as disfiguring injuries, chronic pain and disability. Catastrophic injuries resulting from car accidents can have a lifelong impact on victims and threaten their quality of life and ability to earn a living.

The impact of catastrophic injuries extends to the families of accident victims. Catastrophic injuries include severe neck and back injuries, ranging from paralysis to loss of vision or hearing impairment; the loss of a limb; severe burns or scarring; brain damage and brain injuries, or chronic, and sometimes permanent, pain or other health conditions. The medical costs associated with the treatment of and caring for catastrophic injuries over a lifetime may require millions of dollars.

Commercial vehicle accidents are a real concern for victims

Commercial vehicle accidents, such as bus accidents, can be devastating for victims and their families. According to the United States Department of Transportation, during 2009, there were 9,000 bus accidents reported; during 2010, there were 12,000 bus accidents reported, and during 2011, there were 13,000 bus accidents reported. During 2009, 20,000 victims were injured in bus crashes, while 27,000 victims were injured in bush crashes during 2010 and 24,000 victims were injured in bush crashes during 2011.

Commercial vehicle accidents, including bus crashes, can be costly physically and financially. During 2009, the costs of commercial vehicle accidents resulting in injury totaled approximately $27 billion; approximately $30 billion in 2010, and approximately $32 billion in 2011. Victims who have been in a bus or commercial vehicle accident may suffer serious injuries requiring expensive medical care and treatment and preventing them from working while they recover.

When is an employer liable for the actions of its employee?

In many circumstances, an employer may be held liable for the negligence of its employee. If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, or similar accident, you may wonder in what circumstances an employer may be liable for the actions of its employee. When an employee has negligently caused harm such as in a commercial vehicle accident, including a taxi accident, van accident or bus accident, depending on the situation, the employer may also be liable for the harm suffered by the victim.

To determine if the employer is likely to be legally responsible for the negligence of its employee, it is necessary to determine the amount of control the employer had over the employee, the activities of the employee at the time the harm was caused and if those activities were work-related. If the actions of the employee at the time of the accident were related to employment, or closely related to employment, the employer may be liable for the harm suffered.

Drunk driver in Tampa critically injures three

A recent drunk driving accident in Tampa left three people critically injured. Authorities reported the accident occurred in the early morning hours and closed one of Tampa's busiest streets. According to authorities, a drunk driver ran a red light and struck two other vehicles. The drivers of the two vehicles that were struck in the drunk driving accident, a 48-year-old man and 64-year-old woman, were in serious condition following the accident. A third victim was in critical condition following the drunk driving accident.

Drunk driving accidents can unexpectedly and, in some circumstances, permanently alter the world of victims and their families. Drunk driving accidents can be significantly damaging for victims who can suffer serious injuries in a drunk driving accident requiring medical care and treatment. Victims may suffer medical expenses, lost earnings while they recover and pain and suffering damages associated with the trauma of the drunk driving accident and its aftermath.

Resources are available for victims of pedestrian accidents

Though there have been advances in safety in recent years, pedestrians remain uniquely vulnerable on roadways and in our communities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, greater than 75,000 victims are injured each year in auto-pedestrian accidents, and there are 5,000 fatal pedestrian accident victims each year. Pedestrians are injured, on average, every 7 minutes in pedestrian accidents.

Serious pedestrian accident injuries are common due to the obvious size disparity between pedestrians and cars and trucks that may strike them in a pedestrian accident. Pedestrian accident victims can suffer catastrophic injuries including crush injuries, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, internal injuries and broken bones.

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