car accident lawyer near Boca Raton Archives | Osborne & Francis

Hot Weather & Bad Drivers No Coincidence: Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

High heat brings out the worst in us, including tired, distracted drivers riding on older tires ready to blow says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Higher temperatures decrease mental and physical performance so it should be no surprise our driving abilities hit a low when we hit year round temperature highs in Southern Florida. With hot temperatures tire failures are also more likely and can cause additional accidents. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says when August temperatures get super steamy be super careful when driving.

Though rain, snow, fog, wind, hail and ice are often discussed as risks to safe driving, the impact of heat on increasing the chances of an accident get less attention. Though higher temps are long known to cut our ability to perform physically and mentally a 2013 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the relationship between high temperatures and traffic accident fatalities and injuries in the Catalonia section of Spain.

  • Researches stated there were a total of 118,489 vehicle crashes causing injuries or deaths that occurred between May 15 and October 15 each year from 2000 to 2011, an average of 64.1 crashes per day.
  • The chances of vehicle accidents significantly increased, by 2.9%, during heat waves and the connection was stronger when only accidents where driver performance issues were the problem, increasing the risk by 7.7%.
  • The risk injury causing fatal vehicle accidents increased by 1.1% for each 1°C increase in maximum temperature.
  • Overall the chances of a serious accident sharply increased during heat waves, especially when distractions, driver error, fatigue or sleepiness were to blame for the collisions.
  • While other issues are a far greater threat (drivers have a 300% greater risk of an accident if they’re using a cell phone and driving) heat related driver performance problems still add up to a large number of accidents over the years.

In addition to the sleepy, distracted drivers behind the wheel on hotter days the roadway and tires can be safety problems too. Worn, older, improperly inflated tires travelling at highway speeds on hot pavement baking in the Florida sun for hours can literally explode because the tire weakens over time and use and pressure built up inside them. If a driver is negligent in the care of his or her tires and a blowout causes an accident which results in injuries or deaths, that driver may be held accountable for his or her carelessness.

Tire failures resulting from aging are more common in the summer, during daylight and while the vehicle is operating at highway speeds, according to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, reports the Palm Beach Post. All tires breakdown with age and heat speeds up the aging process.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests drivers should perform a number of vehicle checks when the weather heats up, including tires.

  • They should be looked at when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for a while and be inflated to the air pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (not the pressure figure on the tire sidewall).
  • The manufacturer’s recommendations are normally found in the owner’s manual or on a tire information sticker on the driver’s door jamb.
  • Tire treads should be looked at for adequate depth and signs of uneven wear and sidewalls with cracks or bulges are signs of trouble.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted or fatigued driver in the heat of the summer or it’s the result of a tire blowout, 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.

Street Racers Kill and Injure Others Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Street racers may seek thrills and excitement but they may cause an accident resulting in serious injuries and deaths says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Street racing is illegal. It may look fun and exciting in movies and on television but the reality is that it recklessly endangers the health and lives of participants and any pedestrians or motorists who get in the way. Street racers can be held accountable for the deaths and injuries they cause says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Earlier this month a 24-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison because of his involvement in a street race in Hawthorne, California, last year that killed a popular elementary school music teacher, Benny Golbin, 36, reports the Los Angeles Times. Alfredo Perez Davila was sentenced after pleading no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter. He was originally charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and engaging in a speed contest, but plead no contest to the one charge as part of a plea bargain.

He and Anthony Leon Holley are accused of racing each other in January 2016 when the collision occurred. Police say Davila lost control of his car, swerved across several lanes of traffic, struck the center median and went airborne into traffic coming the opposite way. His car struck Golbin’s car, killing him instantly.

Golbin, who was an alto saxophonist, left his job at the Children of Promise Preparatory Academy in Inglewood and was on his way to teach a class in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District when the accident occurred. Davila was uninjured and was arrested at the scene. The other driver turned himself in to police and plead no contest to a felony hit-and-run charge as part of his own plea bargain deal and he is expected to be sentenced to probation.

At Davila’s sentencing hearing one of Golbin’s friends, Hugh Von Kleist, encouraged Davila to raise awareness of the dangers of street racing. “A car is a weapon,” he said. “It is very heavy. And it is very fast.”

Another innocent bystander was killed by street racers in January in Davie, Florida. Dominick Del Pozzo died after he was thrown from his minivan after a head-on collision with another car that was street racing, according to the Sun Sentinel. He pulled onto Davie Road southbound when he was struck by a Mercedes sedan speeding north while racing a silver Infiniti.

Del Pozzo owned Culinary Affairs Catering in Fort Lauderdale. He was from Naples, Italy, and grew up watching his father run the Monte Carlo restaurant in Queens, New York. He was leaving Restaurant Depot, a wholesale restaurant equipment store, just before the crash.

How popular is street racing? In 2012 state troopers received a tip about organized illegal street racing in Northwest Miami-Dade and they found more than a thousand cars lined up on Okeechobee Road near Northwest 137th Avenue. Some of their owners came to race, some to watch (which is also illegal in Florida), according to NBC Miami.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Nelvys Hernandez told the station the area was dangerous for the racers and anyone who gets near them. “This is a death valley when so many people gather out here,” Hernandez was quoted as saying. “It’s just horrendous to see so many vehicles coming in and out at a high rate of speed.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by street racing, 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.

Seizures by Drivers Rare But Dangerous Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Florida law limits those suffering seizures from driving but accidents involving serious injuries still occur says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

To be safe a driver must be fully alert and capable of mentally and physically functioning so there’s no danger posed to the driver, passengers and others on the road. Drivers who suffer seizures behind the wheel can cause car accidents that result in serious injuries or deaths. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says those who suffer seizures shouldn’t drive.

The chances of being struck by a driver suffering a seizure is low. An article in the journal Neurology states that based on certificates of drivers who died in car crashes from 1995 to 1997 very few people suffer seizures before fatal accidents. Of the roughly 44,027 drivers being killed annually in this time frame only 86 of the death certificates (or 0.2%) listed seizures or epilepsy as a contributing factor.

One of the reasons it’s so rare is that states, including Florida, have laws restricting those suffering seizures from driving. Under state law someone with epilepsy can get a license to drive with their doctor’s recommendation if they haven’t had any seizures for two years, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

Though it may not happen often, drivers suffering seizures can seriously injure or kill others.

  • In Bay County, Florida, an employee of the county’s road and bridges department was seriously injured in May in an accident caused by an Alabama driver believed to be suffering a seizure, according to WJHG. The Florida Highway Patrol states that the employee was next to an arrow board in a temporary lane closure when he was struck. The employee’s injuries were described as critical.
  • A car accident involving a driver suffering a seizure killed one and injured others in El Cajon, California, in 2015. The driver of an SUV was exiting an interstate when she apparently suffered a seizure. Her teenage daughter was a passenger and she tried to use the parking brake to slow the car down but the vehicle was travelling too fast. The Lexus rear-ended two cars on the off ramp, killing one of the drivers. A total of six vehicles were involved in the accident, according to NBC San Diego.

The issue of drivers with seizures got a lot of attention in 2012 when the then Secretary of Commerce John Bryson took a medical leave after he claimed a seizure caused him to hit two cars in California, according to ABC News.

Bryson was found unconscious in his car by police who cited him for leaving the scene of an accident after he rear-ended one car, left the scene then struck another. After the first collision Bryson got out of his car, spoke with the occupants then left. About five minutes later he hit another car. He took and passed a blood alcohol test.

According to medical experts interviewed in the story,

  • Seizures are a neurological disorder and there are different types of seizures.
  • They cause a temporary disturbance of behavior or consciousness and affect the non-dominant side of the brain, which is on the right for most people.
  • A complex partial seizure may result in the person appearing to be staring or fumbling, losing awareness of his or her surroundings. If this happens to someone driving they can lose control of their vehicle.
  • An epileptic seizure can cause a driver have an accident and possibly drive off in a confused state. The driver may have little or no memory of the incident.

If the driver never had a seizure and had no reason to expect one, such a person might not be negligent if he or she caused an accident. However if a person is violating the law or ignoring a doctor’s advice not to drive, drives anyway, has a seizure and causes an accident then a good argument the driver committed negligence could be made.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a car accident involving a driver suffering a seizure or other medical emergency, 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.

Wrong Way Driver Kills One in Georgia Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Wrong way drivers are a menace to those of us on the road and likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Drivers going the wrong way are especially dangerous. They may be intoxicated, asleep or for some other reason be so incapacitated they’re not fully in control of their vehicle. Those facing this danger need to act fast because the vehicles are heading directly towards each other. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says these accidents often cause serious injuries or deaths.  To learn more about the different causes of wrong way crashes watch Joe’s video on  YouTube.

Earlier this month a Fernandina Beach, Florida resident was killed when his vehicle was struck on Interstate 95 in Brunswick, Georgia, by a Federal Express semi-trailer that crossed a barrier and went the wrong way onto the northbound lanes on I-95. Two people in the truck were not injured, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Wrong way crashes cause 300 to 400 deaths annually on average, which is about 1% of all the traffic related fatalities that occur each year. Though the percentage is small, because these crashes involve head on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes at high speeds, they tend to be more severe than other types of crashes, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Staff from the FHWA and the Michigan Department of Transportation analyzed 110 wrong way crashes that occurred on the Michigan freeway system from 2005 to 2009. The results are that these crashes have a high chance of being “highly severe.”

  • 32%, or 35 accidents, caused at least one fatality or incapacitating injury.
  • 2% of all Michigan freeway crashes in the same time frame caused deaths or incapacitating injuries.
  • These 35 drivers going the wrong way caused 30 fatalities and 36 incapacitating injuries.

The severity of a crash was linked to how far the vehicle drove onto the highway, probably due to the speed of the vehicles involved. Only 6% of the accidents that occurred on an exit ramp resulted in a death or incapacitating injury while 42% of the crashes on the highway itself did the same.

Other findings were that,

  • There was a high level of driver impairment and accidents at night or early morning.
  • Of the 110 crashes, the impairment of nine of the drivers was unknown. For the remaining 101, wrong way drivers were under the influence of drugs in 60 accidents. Fifty-three of the drivers tested positive for alcohol or tested positive for drugs and
  • 57% of the crashes happened between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. while generally only 16% of the total Michigan freeway crashes occurred during a similar late night time period.
  • Of the 35 wrong way accidents researchers considered “serious,” 71% of the fatal and incapacitating wrong way crashes happened from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., compared 23% percent for other serious freeway crashes in Michigan.
  • 78% or 86 of the 110 crashes occurred under conditions of darkness, which may indicate that wrong way highway entry is the result of a confused driver and darkness may obscure many of the cues and signs that are more visible in the daytime.
  • Driver age was obtained for 104 of the wrong way drivers. There was a mostly equal distribution across the range of ages, with a slight increase towards younger drivers.
  • If impairment is factored in the age distribution changes. Of 41 unimpaired drivers 34% were age 65 or older and only 5% were under the age of 25. Generally drivers 65 or older are involved in less than 12% of the vehicle crashes in Michigan.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a vehicle accident involving a driver going the wrong way, 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.

Pulling Over Doesn’t Make You Safe Warns Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Pulling off the road may put you in danger if you’re not very cautious about where you are and what you do says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

If there’s something wrong with your vehicle and you feel it’s about to fail or become unsafe, you should pull over but find the best spot you possibly can. It’s better to damage your car by continuing to drive than stop in a dangerous spot and risk your life. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says getting to the side of the road may prevent one problem but cause another if you’re not extremely careful.

  • Anyone on the side of a highway is a potential victim. Sometimes it’s the “good Samaritan” trying to help a stranger who suffers. The Dallas Morning News reports in March Julia Zeman witnessed a vehicle crash in Frisco, Texas, and was struck and killed by another vehicle after pulling over to the side of the road and getting out of her car to help.
  • A Utah Highway Patrol Officer was seriously injured after pulling a car over in the left breakdown lane of an interstate, according to KSL. He was out of his patrol car when a driver, asleep at the wheel in an SUV with three children inside, crossed several lanes and slammed into the back of his car. It hit the car that was pulled over which lurched forward and struck the trooper.
  • Two drivers were seriously injured late last month in Hillsborough County in a three-car crash that started after a truck towing a boat pulled over on southbound I-75, according to the Tampa Bay Reporter. The truck and trailer were not in a safe place as they partially blocked the travel lane. The driver thought there was something wrong with the boat, pulled over, and started inspecting the trailer when a vehicle hit him and the trailer. That vehicle spun out of control and was later struck by a tractor-trailer.

Automotive Fleet has these suggestions if you have to pull over on a highway.

  • Get as far out of traffic as possible. Even if you’ve turned on your emergency flashers a driver may not pay attention and rear-end your vehicle.
  • Don’t try to repair your vehicle, even if you think it may be quick or easy to fix. Wait for professional help to arrive.
  • Exit your vehicle if it’s necessary or safe to do so. If possible raise the hood to alert others passing by that your vehicle is disabled and help is needed.
  • Patience is a virtue when you break down, particularly if you’re in a heavily trafficked metropolitan area. Highways are regularly patrolled by police and tow truck operators so help should arrive soon.

In these situations you need to be more concerned about your health and safety than whatever repairs are needed for your vehicle.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a vehicle accident after you pulled your car off the street or 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.

Incapacitated Drivers Threaten Others Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries | No Comments

Drivers who suddenly suffer medical emergencies may cause about 9000 accidents a year in Florida says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A driver facing a health crisis behind the wheel may only have partial control of the vehicle or none at all. Hopefully he or she will be able to safely pull over and get medical help. All too often it’s not the driver stopping the car, it stops because it hits an object or another vehicle. If such an accident occurs multiple people could be facing health crises due to injuries says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

This type of car accident is not uncommon.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied a sample of 5,471 accidents that occurred nationwide from July 2005 through December 2007. It found that 2.4% of the accidents were caused by drivers having heart attacks or other physical impairments while driving.

Though the dangers of people falling asleep behind the wheel are better known, NHTSA found they were only a slightly greater risk, causing 3.2% of the accidents. Other conditions and factors similarly related to accidents as an incapacitated driver include driving when it’s snowing or sleeting (2.7%), at dusk (2.6%), while changing lanes (2.1%), swerving to avoid another vehicle (3%) and poor road conditions (2%).

During that time frame there were 2,041,943 accidents across the country. NHTSA estimates 48,822 of them were caused by incapacitated drivers. In Florida in 2015 there were 374,342 traffic accidents. If NHTSA’s estimate of the share of accidents caused by incapacitated drivers is accurate, almost 9,000 of those accidents were related to drivers suddenly too ill to drive. That would mean about 25 accidents a day were caused by incapacitated drivers in Florida in 2015.

There are real people behind these numbers. Last month two men were killed in an accident in Palm Beach County that involved a driver possibly suddenly incapacitated by a health issue. It happened on the Florida Turnpike, according to the Miami Herald.

One driver pulled his pickup truck, with a trailer attached, onto the right shoulder of the northbound lanes. He got out of the vehicle and was next to the trailer when he was hit by a tractor trailer.

The Florida Highway Patrol believe the truck driver may have suffered a medical problem while driving, causing it to hit the victim and his pickup, then the truck continued and struck a chain link fence. The first driver was killed at the scene. The truck driver later died at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach.

In these types of situations the driver suddenly too ill to drive is not necessarily at fault when it comes to a legal action seeking compensation for injuries to victims. Under Florida law the driver may have a valid defense if,

  • The defendant suffered a loss of consciousness or capacity.
  • That loss occurred before the defendant’s allegedly negligent conduct (such as striking another vehicle).
  • The loss was sudden.
  • The loss was not foreseen by the driver nor could the driver have foreseen it.

This defense wouldn’t apply if the driver was aware of facts sufficient to cause a reasonably prudent person to anticipate that he or she might lose consciousness or become incapacitated while driving and that driving or operating a vehicle under the circumstances would likely result in an accident.

In such a case the driver’s medical history would be key to the case, including what the person may have been diagnosed with, his or her medications or treatments, and whether the person was warned he or she may suddenly lose control or consciousness or that it was unsafe to drive.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by a driver who suddenly became incapacitated, 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.