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Distracted driver car accidents Archives | Osborne & Francis

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Drivers Must Take Adverse Weather Conditions into Account Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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The end of summer and beginning of fall are prime time for hurricanes in Florida. With wind and rain, flooding, and hazardous road conditions, it’s sometimes best to stay off of the roadways completely. Of course, that isn’t always possible. But, when drivers must be on the road when adverse weather conditions exist, it’s important to take those conditions into account says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Florida roadways can be very dangerous during and following adverse weather conditions. When drivers operate their vehicles at highway speed limits while it is still windy and wet, it is easy to lose control of their cars, hydroplane, and crash into other vehicles. In fact, most adverse weather accidents happen when drivers are in a hurry and they don’t drive in a manner that is reasonable based on the road conditions, and they fail to use good common sense.

When someone is injured in a car accident that occurs during bad weather and another driver’s negligence contributed to the wreck, they may be entitled to receive damages per Florida law.

What Are Common Causes of Adverse Weather Accidents?

When bad weather is paired with negligent or reckless driving, it creates the perfect environment for serious accidents. Some of the common causes of adverse weather accidents in Florida are:

 Distracted driving

  Driving at speeds too high for the weather conditions

  Hydroplaning

  Operating a vehicle with low, defective, or balding tires

  Speeding in low lying areas where water has puddled

  Negligent or inattentive driving

When you are driving in bad weather, it is imperative that you pay attention and drive cautiously, obeying all traffic signs. However, sometimes no matter how carefully you drive, accidents will still happen in adverse weather conditions.

When Others Drive Negligently in Adverse Weather Conditions

Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a position where someone else’s negligence during bad weather causes you to be involved in an accident on the roadway. If that happens, and you are injured, in order to recover damages for your injuries and property damage, you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent. More specifically, you will have to prove that the other driver breached his or her duty to act reasonably under the circumstances and that his or her breach of that duty resulted in your injuries and damages.

Further, to prove damages in an adverse weather car accident, you have to show causation – that the accident caused your injuries or exacerbated a preexisting condition that you had. If you are able to prove that, you may be able to recover damages for the following:

     All accident-related medical expenses

    Compensation for lost wages for missing work due to injuries

    Pain and suffering

    Mental anguish and emotional distress

    Loss of earning capacity if there is a permanent disability

    Compensation for permanent damages and injuries

    Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life

   Compensation for loss of consortium

  Wrongful death (when the accident resulted in a death)

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an adverse weather car accident, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries and property damages. Vehicle accident cases often require both legal and medical expertise in order to have positive outcomes. It’s important that you contact an experienced attorney to help you with your case.

Call Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or complete the online contact form to discuss your case and how best to proceed.

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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.

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.

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.

Drivers Backing Up Need to Use Caution Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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A driver going in reverse can be responsible for injuries or deaths caused by an accident if negligence can be shown says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A vehicle going in reverse is potentially very dangerous because it may cause an accident with another vehicle or strike a pedestrian. Vehicles are built to go forward and visibility out the back may not be good and passengers or cargo may block the view. We also go into reverse in potentially dangerous situations: crowded parking lots and out of driveways (possibly crossing sidewalks) into streets. No matter which direction a vehicle is moving the driver has a responsibility to drive safely says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 2002 and 2006 there were 48,000 injuries nationwide due to accidents involving all types of vehicles backing up on public roads and private property such as driveways and parking lots. These accidents also caused an estimated 463 deaths.

There are all too many instances of serious injuries and deaths involving vehicles going in reverse.

  • A two year old boy was killed in July after he was struck by an SUV driven by his grandmother who was backing out of a driveway in Fontana, California, reports the Los Angeles Times. A police officer at the scene told the Times, “It’s one of the worst calls you can go to.” Police report the child went behind the vehicle without anyone seeing him. A neighbor who works as a nurse tried to use CPR to revive the child but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Another two year old boy was killed in June in Jacksonville after being struck by a vehicle backing up, driven by his mother, according to WJXT, in an apartment complex parking lot. He survived the collision but died hours later at a hospital. The boy’s mother was visiting his grandmother and asked her to watch her two small children while she went to the store. The two year old left the apartment without his grandmother realizing it and was behind the vehicle when his mother backed out of a parking spot.
  • A Virginia volunteer firefighter was killed when he was struck by a firetruck going in reverse at the scene of a vehicle accident in May, reports WSLS.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol stated that a 59 year old Panama City resident and Bay County Road and Bridges worker was killed in a worksite accident in Fountain in February. He was part of a work crew doing street maintenance when he was struck and killed by a dump truck that was backing up, according to WJHG. The worker was taken to a local hospital where he died.

Under Florida statute, “The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.” Violation of the law is considered a moving violation and you may be ticketed if law enforcement finds you were going in reverse in a dangerous manner. In a personal injury case if the driver is cited for violating this law it can be used as evidence of negligence and can greatly help the case.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or as a pedestrian by a vehicle going in reverse, 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.

14 Year Old Killed by Distracted Sister Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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A 14 year old girl is dead and her 18 year old sister is accused of live streaming the accident and drunk driving says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

There are many dangers we face on Florida’s roads including distracted and drunk drivers. A fourteen year old California girl is dead after a car accident. Her eighteen year old sister was behind the wheel, videoing her driving when the accident occurred in July. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says this kind of thoughtless driving endangers everyone on the road.

Obdulia Sanchez was driving a car in Merced, California, and live streaming on Instagram when she veered onto the shoulder and over corrected. The car left the road and went into a field where it flipped over, ejecting her sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, who was killed, reports the Arizona Republic. Another fourteen year old was in the back seat of the car. He survived the crash with a leg injury. The driver was using a seat belt but not the passengers in the car.

The day after the accident Sanchez was arraigned on six felony charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving resulting in injuries. Police report that Sanchez called first responders who came to the scene racial slurs and spit on them. She is accused of kicking a paramedic in the face and she was later strapped to a gurney. Sanchez also refused an alcohol screening test at the scene. Officers state she smelled strongly of liquor and hospital records show she was legally drunk.

The video shows what happened before the accident, including Sanchez removing her hands from the steering wheel and singing, as well as the aftermath. After a gap in the video, she is visible over her sister’s body, shaking her and telling her she was sorry. “Wake up baby, I’m [expletive] sorry, baby, I did not mean to kill you, sweetie,” Sanchez said.

Drivers like Obdulia Sanchez are not only found in California.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3,477 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2015.
  • EverQuote Inc., an online insurance firm, released a study in April showing Florida ranks second only to Louisiana for distracted drivers, reports the Sun Sentinel. Drivers were given scores based on a motion sensing smartphone app. The state’s drivers got the second worst score for driving while distracted. The EverDrive app logged 2.7 million vehicle trips and 230 million miles.
  • An estimated ten percent of high school students drink and drive, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They report drivers aged sixteen to twenty are 17 times more likely to be killed in an accident if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% compared to if they have not been drinking. Though the percentage of high school teens who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991, it’s estimated that nearly a million teens got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol in 2011.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted or drunk driver, 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.

Don’t Let Bugs Bug You Says Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Don’t let insects or spiders in your car distract you so much you cause an accident warns Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

It’s summer in Florida and along with the tourists insects and spiders seem to be coming out of the woodwork. By one estimate there are more than 400 types of insects in Florida and some of them may hitch a ride with you in your car. All types of insects look for a safe and dry refuge during the summer rainy season and cars are the perfect place to nest. If you find yourself in a vehicle with an insect or spider, even one that may really freak you out, don’t freak out behind the wheel says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Drivers being distracted by spiders is a documented cause of car accidents.

  • The Broward Sheriff’s Office announced that a June car crash in Cooper City happened after the driver saw a spider in the car. The car hit a light pole, knocking it onto the street, reports the Associated Press.
  • A driver panicked and crashed his car in May in Ephrata Township, Pennsylvania, because he thought there was a spider in his lap. Lancaster Online states the driver reported to police he lost control of the vehicle which struck a utility pole. The driver wasn’t injured but the car had to be towed from the scene.
  • A spider dropping down from the rearview mirror caused a driver to lose control of her car, which went off the road and rolled over in Portland, Oregon, in September, according to CNN. The driver suffered minor injuries but the car was severely damaged.

United Kingdom auto insurer Esure released a survey of a thousand motorists in 2007 which spelled out how drivers are distracted by bugs and respond in ways that may cause accidents, according to Automotportal.

  • 75% of those surveyed stated that bugs drove them to distraction,
  • 4% admitted to slamming on the brakes when an insect flew into their car,
  • 21% stated they took their hands off the wheel to swat at an unwanted bug,
  • Women were more distracted by insects while driving (78%) than men (70%) but men admitted to more insect-related accidents than women, and
  • 51% of respondents stated they had never been stung before or haven’t been stung in the last ten years and the fear of a serious allergic reaction caused them to get so distracted.

Many of us have phobias about insects and spiders and our reaction to them can be much worse when we’re in a car. Our fears and anxieties can intensify because we’re in an enclosed space, possibly causing a severe response and panic, resulting in being distracted and losing control of the car.

Esure suggests that if you find an insect in your car while driving,

  • Focus on driving, not the bug,
  • Open the windows so it can get out of the car on its own accord or safely pull over and open the windows, and
  • Try not to panic and swat at the insect to try to force the insect away. It will distract you from driving, make you feel more frantic, may irritate the insect and increase the chances of being stung.

We all need to be as rational as possible when we’re driving, even if a spider appears on the dashboard, your kids are screaming at each other in the back seat or another driver cuts you off. Distraction causes accidents which can result in serious injuries or deaths. That accident you cause may inflict far more harm than a bug bite.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by a distracted driver, 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.