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Boca Car accident lawyer Archives | Osborne & Francis

Can an Insurance Company Determine Fault when the Police Say No One Was to Blame?

Can an Insurance Company Determine Fault when the Police Say No One Was to Blame?

By | Auto Accident, Car Accidents | No Comments

Determining fault is at the heart of any car accident that involves injuries and property damage. It’s typically the first question that is asked after a vehicle collision. The answer that is determined can have a dramatic effect on the parties involved in the accident, including whose insurance will cover damages and repairs, and whether there is someone who is subject to citations, fines, or even criminal liability. So, what happens when the police who respond to an accident don’t issue any tickets, and they don’t assign fault to a specific driver?

How Police Determine Fault of a Car Accident

When the police respond to the scene of a car accident, they are responsible for creating a report about what occurred. They will interview the parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses who saw it happen, to attempt to piece together how the accident occurred. When they have determined that they have enough information, they will turn the report in to their department.

The report that the police file may contain a statement about who is at fault for the accident based on their professional opinion. But, many police reports detailing car accidents do not include a determination of who is at fault. It’s also important to keep in mind that even when they do state who they believe caused the accident, it doesn’t mean that driver will automatically be held legally responsible for the damages in a claim.

The police who respond to an accident may or may not issue citations to one or more of the drivers involved. While this holds those who are given citations to the responsibility of appearing in traffic court, it doesn’t necessarily prove who will be found liable in a car accident lawsuit. However, citations that are issued may be used as evidence that the driver was negligent, and they may play a part in the insurance company’s determination of fault.

How Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

Ultimately, the insurance companies of the parties involved in the accident will make a determination of fault. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to the claim, and will oversee an investigation into how the accident happened. There is usually more than one adjuster involved, as each insurance company has their own. They research the accident, talk to witnesses, review any medical reports, assess vehicle damage, verify coverage, and come to a conclusion about who was at fault.

At this point, there is sometimes an agreement that is made between the insurance companies to assign partial fault to each driver. Otherwise, one is determined responsible and their insurer will make a settlement offer to the other affected parties.

The problem is, insurance companies are not always right, and they are always looking out for the best interests of their company over the best interests of the insured. That is why consulting an auto accident attorney for any accident is important. Your attorney will perform an independent investigation of your accident and determine how best to proceed with your case.

Get Help from an Auto Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Insurance companies will not always provide you with the best representation, which is why you need to find the right car accident lawyer to handle your case. Contact Boca Raton car accident attorney Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to get the ball rolling on your claim.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

What Should Florida Car Accident lawyers – DO’S AND DON’TS ?

By | Auto Accident, Car Accidents | No Comments

Boca Raton car accident attorney discusses what drivers should and shouldn’t do following a car accident.

Boca car accident lawyer, Joe Osborne, recently shared advice about what drivers should and shouldn’t do when they have been involved in a car accident.recently shared advice about what drivers should and shouldn’t do when they have been involved in a car accident. To Learn  More about Car Accident Check Full Article Here

Car Color Impacts Risk of an Accident Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Drivers in cars whose colors stand out against the background may have a lower risk of an accident says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Many cyclists, motorcyclists and construction workers on the nation’s roads wear bright, lime green jackets or shirts. Why? It makes them more visible and reduces the chances a driver may not notice them and collide into them. An Australian study shows that if the color of a vehicle makes it more difficult to see the chances of an accident increases. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says being more or less visible may be the difference between an accident and a near miss.

Black cars are up to 47% more likely to be involved in vehicle accidents, according to researchers at Australia’s Monash University reports the Daily Mail. They looked at police data covering 850,000 accidents over twenty years which covered the cars involved, when the accidents happened and the type of accident. Commercial vehicles, taxis and white vans were excluded from the study which was published in the journal Safety Science in 2010.

White, gold and yellow vehicles were found to be the safest. Black, grey, silver, red and blue colors were found to be less safe because they don’t stand out as much against the background of the road, scenery and other traffic. Researchers tried to take into account some drivers may be more likely to take risks and prefer driving cars of a certain color.

Black cars, during the daytime, were up to 12% more likely to be involved in an accident than white vehicles. At dawn and dusk black cars had a 47% greater risk of a collision. Results suggested orange cars may be the safest, but the data wasn’t conclusive.

If everyone started buying white and orange cars their safety advantage may disappear, researchers claim. If a car owner switched from a black car, he or she might be safer but if the majority of vehicles became white and orange there would be less contrast and accidents involving them would increase. Researcher found that although vehicle color could impact crash risk, bad driver habits like speeding and drunk driving have a far greater impact.

In 2013, white was the world’s most popular car color, followed by black, silver and gray, according to reports from PPG Industries and Axalta Coating Systems, reports Edmunds. White was the most popular car color in North America since 2006 and its popularity has spread around the world. Jim Parker, head of exterior color and trim for the Chrysler Group, is quoted as saying color choice normally boils down to one of two things, “It’s either what they feel about themselves or what they think they would like to feel about themselves.” Whether or not white or orange is your style, if safety is a priority you may want to consider colors that stand out.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident , contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Most Accidents are at Intersections Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Intersections are where accidents are most likely to happen, says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne, and most of them are caused by driver error.

You may fear an accident on the highway because of the speed and possible harm that could happen but statistically you’re most likely to get in an accident at an intersection, whether that’s around the block from your home or across the country while you’re on vacation. If you’re going through an intersection you should be especially alert says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

There were an estimated 2,307,000 vehicle accidents at intersections across the country in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They accounted for about 40% of the 5,811,000 crashes that occurred in the United States that year. An estimated 7,421 fatalities occurred at these accidents and in 733,000 crashes one or more vehicle occupants suffered injuries.

There are many potential dangers when two roads join together where pedestrians may try to cross. Actions by other drivers are the dangers you need to be most concerned about. NHTSA looked at intersection accident causes, what they called “critical reasons.” Of the 787,236 accidents in or near intersections in 2008, about 96% had critical reasons attributed to drivers, while vehicle or environment related critical reasons were to blame for less than 3% of accidents.

When a critical reason was a driver error,

  • About 41% of the critical reasons were recognition errors (due to not paying attention, internal and external distractions or not seeing something)
  • About 34% of the accident causes were decision errors by the driver (driving aggressively or too fast), and
  • 10% were performance errors (overcompensation, improper control).

One of those errors can be deciding to run a red light or driving too fast to stop in time to avoid going through the intersection on a red light. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) states that in 2014,

  • There were a total of 32,675 traffic accident related fatalities with 8,661 of them happening at intersections. An estimated 2,675 of those intersections had traffic lights.
  • There were 710 fatalities caused by a vehicle going through a red light at these intersections, 44 of them were pedestrians or bicyclists.

The FHA suggests that when you approach an intersection you,

  • Reduce speed,
  • Put your right foot over the brake to improve reaction time,
  • Look across and around the intersection ahead of you so can become aware of the surroundings,
  • Know where you want to go and which lane to use,
  • Look left, right and left again to check for oncoming traffic before crossing an intersection,
  • Use turn signals to show others where you’re going, and
  • Leave enough room in front of you so you won’t block the intersection if traffic stops.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident at or near an intersection, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Third Shift Drivers Are Dangerously Drowsy Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer

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Those driving home after the third shift may be too fatigued and drowsy to safely operate their vehicles says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Your morning commute is a dangerous time to drive. The biggest reason is the fact there are simply more vehicles on the road, more drivers and a greater chance someone will make a mistake. Another danger is drowsy drivers. In addition to drivers not getting enough sleep the night before there are those who didn’t sleep at all because they worked third shift. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne warns that many of those homeward bound in the morning should not be behind the wheel.

While most of us sleep others are performing critical functions that keep society going. They work in hospitals, law enforcement, at airports, utilities and road maintenance and construction. While we need this work to be done we don’t need more dangerous drivers on the road.

Sixteen third shift workers were accompanied on a test track by researchers to measure what problems, if any, they had safely driving both after getting some sleep at night and being deprived of sleep when they worked overnight. When necessary the observers intervened to avoid a collision. The study’s report, published last January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States of America, states,

  • Night shift workers have a high risk of drowsiness related motor vehicle accidents because their sleep is interrupted and restricted,
  • It’s been estimated a drowsy driver was involved in about 21% of fatal accidents and 13% of accidents resulting in severe injury from 2009 to 2013 in the U.S., and
  • Most drivers admit they drove while feeling drowsy and 28% reported falling asleep while driving within the past year.

The research findings include,

  • “We found a high risk of dangerous driving and near-crash events during actual driving by night-shift workers following overnight work, when physiological markers of drowsiness were significantly increased.”
  • These dangers increased as the drive got longer.
  • After a night shift drivers were more likely to drift out of their lane.
  • All of the near crashes (when observers intervened to stop the vehicle) and occasions when drivers had to pull over happened during the night shift drive home. None happened during the post sleep drives.
  • More than a third (37.5%) of those working overnight required an observer to stop or slow down the vehicle to avoid a crash to keep the participants and researchers safe, compared with no interventions for the post-sleep drivers.
  • Seven of the 16 third shift drives were stopped because the driver couldn’t maintain adequate control of the vehicle, compared with none of the drives by those who had slept.
  • “…(P)ostnight-shift drivers were much sleepier, and noticed increasing difficulty keeping their eyes open and maintaining lane position, particularly when driving for more than 15–30 min, which has been related to…lane drifting and severe driving impairment during simulated driving, and increased crash risk…”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver or one asleep at the wheel, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

The Most Dangerous Highways are in FL Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Two Florida highways are the most dangerous in the country according to federal statistics says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

You may drive on at least one of them frequently and according to the Auto Insurance Center, sponsored by a group of insurance companies, they are the most dangerous in the country: I-95 and I-10. I-95’s southern end starts in Miami and ends on the Canadian border in Maine while I-10 starts in Jacksonville and goes all the way to Santa Monica, California. They stretch across the country, says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne, but locally they can be very dangerous.

The Auto Insurance Center (AIC) looked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics and found that in 2014 I-10 was the scene of 278 deaths and I-95 was where 204 people died.

  • Florida’s 382-mile stretch of I-95 was the most dangerous road in the country, with the worst rate of fatal accidents, from 2004 to 2008 according to NHTSA reports the Sun Sentinel. Aggressive and distracted drivers along with heavy traffic congestion may have been to blame.
  • One of the problems with I-10 is that there are long stretches without barriers between those going in opposite directions. If a driver loses control of a vehicle and heads toward those coming the other way there’s nothing to prevent it.

Florida is not listed as one of the most dangerous or safest five states when it comes to fatal traffic accidents. Wyoming is listed as the worst with 25.7 traffic deaths per 100,000 population and New Jersey is the best at 6.2.

The AIC also has a number of other facts,

  • Motor vehicle crashes killed 32,675 people in the U.S. in 2014, which averages out to a fatality about every 16 minutes.
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol was a factor in at least 31% of the fatal crashes. The most frequent blood alcohol level was .22%, about 2.5 times higher than the legal limit in most states. Young drivers have the highest risk of being involved in an alcohol related fatality. For those people involved in fatal accidents in 2014, 30% of drivers with blood alcohol content levels of 0.08% or above were 21 to 24 years old.
  • More than 1,900 (or 6%) of traffic deaths involved drug use. When lab tests were done on drivers killed in accidents marijuana was present in 900 fatal vehicle crashes, almost half of the total. Other drugs found included cocaine (a factor in 241 fatalities), amphetamines (224 fatalities) and methamphetamine (212 fatalities).
  • Based on five years’ worth of data the most dangerous days of the year to drive are July 4, January 1, September 18, August 4 and August 27. Traffic accident deaths on those days are about five times the average.
  • The most dangerous time of day to drive is during the afternoon rush hour, between 5:00 and 6:00. Despite this the most dangerous day of the week happens when most of us don’t work, Saturday, with 5,317 deaths, followed by Friday with 4,658.
  • July and August are the most dangerous months each with more than 2,700 deaths. The month with the least fatalities is February with 1,917.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident on Florida’s highway system, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Opioid Use Causing More Fatal Crashes Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Many opioid users are too impaired to drive safely and are endangering themselves and others when they’re on the road says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Use of legal and illegal narcotics and opioid use has risen dramatically. Given this increase in use it should come as no surprise that drivers impaired by opioid use are causing more fatal traffic accidents says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Gov. Scott declared opioid use a public health emergency in May, reports NBC News.

  • Use of heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone caused the deaths of 3,896 Floridians in 2015, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics.
  • Palm Beach County morgues were filled to capacity with 525 fatal opioid overdoses last year.
  • Use of heroin combined with fentanyl or carfentanil caused 220 deaths in Miami-Dade County in 2016 and 90% of Broward County’s fatal drug overdoses involved heroin, fentanyl or other opioids.

About 92 million adults in the U.S. used prescription opioids in 2015 according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August, reports USA Today.

  • Ninety-two million people is about the same as the population of Florida, New York, California and Illinois combined.
  • An estimated 12 million people (or about the same number as 60% of Florida’s population) misused prescription opioids by using them without a prescription, taking them more often than prescribed or for reasons other than what was intended by their physicians.
  • About two million Americans have an opioid use disorder. That’s defined as being unable to control or reduce opioid use, having social problems or being unable to fulfill family, work or school obligations because of opioid use.

For some opioid users it’s not the drug that’s the direct cause of their deaths, it’s the fatal injuries they suffer in vehicle accidents when they drive while impaired. Columbia University researchers reviewed drug testing results for 36,729 drivers in six states who died within an hour of being in a vehicle accident.

The percentage of drivers with prescription opioids found in their systems when they died increased from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015, according to a study published in July in the American Journal of Public Health.

  • The most common opioids were oxycodone, morphine and codeine.
  • Close to 70% of drivers testing positive for prescription opioids also tested positive for other drugs and 30% showed signs they were also drinking alcohol.

No matter what impairs a driver, whether that’s drug or alcohol use or fatigue, that driver is a hazard to him or herself and everyone else on the road. Driving while impaired increases the chances of an accident because drivers aren’t fully aware of what’s going on and their ability to make safe decisions decreases.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a driver impaired by drug use, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Merge Onto the Highway With Caution Urges Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Merge with care onto a highway to avoid a potentially serious accident says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s one of the most dangerous times on the highway. Someone is coming onto the highway from an on ramp but there are vehicles in the far right lane. Someone has to give or there will be a car accident. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says both those on the highway and those getting on it need to follow the laws, be courteous and be safe.

Lane changing and merging collisions were about 4% of all police-reported collisions in 1991 and were about 0.5% of all vehicle accident fatalities that year, according to a study by researchers from the Rutgers Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that 19,000 accidents happened when vehicles merged onto highways that year.

A merging vehicle must change lanes on a limited stretch of roadway while traveling close to or at highway speed. The driver must time the merge correctly so it can resolve an unsafe conflict with oncoming vehicles or there will be a collision.

Technically speaking Florida law doesn’t state which vehicle has the right of way though it states when one vehicle needs to yield to another. Those entering a highway from a secondary road need to yield to vehicles in the travel lanes.

Here are some suggestions on safe merging from AARP,

  • Prepare for merging while traveling on the on ramp. As you approach the highway look around you, in front of you (someone may be traveling at a slow speed or stopped in front of you), behind and to your right.
  • Do your best to check your blind spots to make sure you won’t be cutting someone off or colliding into them.
  • Be wary of motorcycles and take extra caution at night and in bad weather.
  • Use your turn signal to remind other drivers you want to get onto the highway.
  • Identify a safe gap that you can merge into.
  • Speed up to match the speeds of the other vehicles.
  • Don’t stop before merging unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Yield to highway traffic and move over when it’s safe to do so.
  • If you need to cross several highway lanes do so one at a time while using your turn signal.
  • Be aware of the length of the merge lane which can vary greatly.

Once you’re on the highway try to be courteous to drivers entering the highway by moving over if it’s safe to do so. This will make it easier for the other driver and reduce the risk of a collision with you.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident on the highway, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

School is Back in Session Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Accidents involving students are rare but they can change their lives and those of their families says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year if you’re a parent. The kids are finally out of the house and going to school. They will be getting there on foot, in a school bus or driving them there will become part of your morning routine again. No matter how they get there, they need to get to school and come home safely says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

School bus accidents are rare, according to USA Today, but they happen. It’s estimated that from 2004 to 2013 there were a total of 340,039 fatal vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those accidents 1,214, involved school transportation vehicles bringing students to or from school or some school related activity.

NHTSA states about 134 people are killed in school vehicle related accidents annually. About 8% are riding in the vehicles and pedestrians, bicyclists and others outside them count for about 21% of fatalities. Most of those killed are in other vehicles. NHTSA estimates that students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely riding in a school bus than in a passenger vehicle.

Like anyone else travelling on Florida’s roads students can be injured or killed by negligent drivers,

  • In Miami earlier this month several children were taken to a hospital after their school van rolled over after a collision, reports CBS Miami. They were coming home after their first day of school at Terra Environmental Research Institute, a school in Kendall. Police report the van was heading eastbound on 182nd Street when it was struck by a car going southbound on SW 105th Avenue. Six students and the car’s driver went to the hospital.
  • An accident involving a Sarasota County school bus and two other vehicles injured 16 people with eleven of them going to the hospital, according to WTSP. The bus carried a dozen students, an aide and the driver. Another vehicle tried to take a left turn and went into the path of the bus, hitting the front right side of the bus, pushing it into a traffic signal pole. The students were from a school for those with special needs. Of the eleven sent to the hospital, seven were students and four were adults. The driver of the car was cited by the Florida Highway Patrol for failing to yield the right of way according to WWSB.
  • A 12 year old boy was struck by a car while he was walking to school in Jacksonville in March, reports Action News Jax. He later died at a local hospital. Hunter Cope was one of three students crossing an intersection. The police report states Cope was in the crosswalk when the car went through the intersection on a yellow light. Police report they believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time. News4Jax reports the driver had ten citations on her driving record including five for speeding.

As important as it is to learn in school, it’s more important that children get to and from school safely. If your child has been injured in a car accident or as a pedestrian going to or coming home from school, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Insurance & Accident Cases Go Together Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Auto insurance pays for the harm done by an accident, including damage to a car or injuries to the people involved says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

If you’re injured in a car accident and file a lawsuit though the defendant is the other driver, it’s actually an insurance company who’s paying for the defense attorney and it would pay a settlement or court award. Personal injury law and insurance law are two sides of the same coin. In most of our cases the defendant has at least one insurance policy covering the accident.

Auto insurance covers the harm done in an accident. That harm can be to vehicles and property and also the harm done to people by injuries.

  • Collision coverage is for damage to your vehicle if you are at fault in an accident. This can be caused by hitting another vehicle or an object.
  • Property damage liability coverage pays for physical damage caused by at fault drivers to other vehicles and property due to accidents.
  • Comprehensive coverage is to pay you in case of theft or damage to an insured’s vehicles that happen because of something other than a vehicle accident.
  • Insurance coverage to pay for injuries caused by an accident varies from state to state. Florida has a no-fault insurance system so crash injury costs are paid under the injured person’s first party personal injury protection coverage (PIP) no matter who’s at fault. There are limits in the policy based an amount of money or injury severity. Costs that go over the limits could be covered by an at fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage.

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays up to a set amount for injuries no matter who caused an accident. The minimum amount varies from state to state (Florida’s minimum is $10,000). That amount needs to be exceeded before someone who’s injured can sue an at fault party for additional costs.

  • PIP coverage pays 80% of all reasonable and medically necessary medical treatment and services, 60% of lost wages and funeral expenses, subject to certain defenses and exceptions.
  • Florida vehicle owners should purchase more PIP coverage, known as “extended PIP,” when possible. Unless injuries are relatively minor it’s very easy for medical costs of treatment of an accident injury plus lost wages to be more than $10,000.
  • If you’re in a single vehicle accident, involved in a hit and run and the other driver isn’t found or he or she lacks insurance, if you just have the minimum PIP coverage $10,000 is all you will get from your insurer to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. It’s wise to pay for as much PIP coverage as you can afford.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.