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Seeking Financial Compensation After a Weather-Related Auto Accident in the Florida Panhandle

With the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season bringing an “above-normal” level of storm activity to the Gulf region, drivers in northwest Florida need to be prepared for the worst. Heavy rains and strong winds can create treacherous conditions, and reckless driving and careless mistakes can easily have severe consequences in bad weather.

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New Florida Law Enhances Insurance Requirements for Uber and Lyft Drivers

On May 9, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new law that requires ridesharing drivers to carry insurance above and beyond the state’s standard minimum requirements, and that requires ridesharing companies to perform background checks on drivers operating in the state. Known as the “Uber / Lyft Bill,” the law also requires ridesharing companies to adopt “zero-tolerance” policies on drug and alcohol use, and to promptly suspend any drivers suspected of driving under the influence pending an investigation.

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Summer Driving Risks and Accident Liability in the Florida Panhandle

While car accidents are a risk year-round, summer presents certain additional risk factors for drivers and passengers in the Florida Panhandle. From out-of-state vacationers to drunk partiers and even late-evening sun glare, there are a variety of summer-related issues that increase local residents’ and visitors’ risk of being seriously injured in a vehicle collision.

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5 Important Considerations for Settling an Auto Accident Claim

When is it time to settle? This is an important question, and one that is not nearly as straightforward as it initially seems. Protecting your rights after an auto accident can be challenging, especially if you have suffered a serious injury; and, while it is natural to want to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, it is critical not to overlook the fact that securing just compensation may be critical to your financial stability and long-term recovery.

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Spring Break Means Increased Risk for Auto Accidents

A couple of years ago, Time magazine reported the results of a study which found that traffic accidents – and fatal traffic accidents in particular – increase significantly in “spring break hot spots” between February and April. The authors of the study also concluded that, “there was no increase in traffic fatalities in non-spring break destinations,” and that fatality rates in spring break destinations (including various parts of Florida) were particularly high among out-of-state drivers under the age of 25.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The National Safety Council (NSC) has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Each April for the past several years, the NSC, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and other agencies around the country have used Distracted Driving Awareness Month as an opportunity to further publicize the risks of texting, using social media and other distractions behind the wheel.

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What Types of Evidence are Available in Car Accident Injury Claims?

When seeking compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident, you need evidence in order to win your case. Legally speaking, as the plaintiff, you need to prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that, if you case went to trial, you would need to convince the judge or jury that it is “more likely than not” that the other driver (or some other third party) was at fault in the accident.

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Third-Party Liability in Single-Vehicle Accidents

When you get injured in a single-vehicle accident, what are your options? You can file a claim for personal injury protection (PIP); but, if your injuries are severe, your medical expenses alone will far exceed the $10,000 minimum coverage limit. If you are like most people, you simply cannot afford to incur a mountain of bills while you miss time from work. You need to find out if other sources of compensation may be available.

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Motorcycle Accidents: What if the Driver Who Hit You Was Uninsured?

Despite the fact that Florida law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, statistics show that Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation. Florida also has one of the highest rates of motorcycle accidents, and this means that far too many riders are finding themselves injured and with limited options for seeking financial compensation.

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Florida Legislators Seeking to Crack Down on Texting-and-Driving

In Florida, texting behind the wheel is what is known as a “secondary offense.” This means that the police cannot pull a driver over because he or she is texting. If a driver is committing another offense (such as speeding) while texting, then the police can issue tickets for both offenses. However, texting alone currently is not enough to get a dangerous driver to the side of the road.

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Can I Seek Compensation if I Was Speeding When My Accident Occurred?

When you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to seek financial compensation for your losses. This is the general rule in Florida and other states around the country. Drinking and driving, texting behind the wheel, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding – these are all examples of negligent driving that can support claims for just compensation.

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Auto Accident Trends in Okaloosa County, FL

Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of auto accidents in Florida. These accidents lead to hundreds of thousands of injuries, and they kill thousands of drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

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Florida Ranks Highest in Nation in Motorcycle Fatalities

According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida leads the nation in motorcycle accident fatalities. With 467 deaths in 2013 (the most recent year for which data are available), Florida was one of only three states with more than 200 fatalities resulting from motorcycle collisions.

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2016 Florida Vehicle, Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Statistics

Florida sees more than its fair share of auto accidents. For many years, the Sunshine State has held the distinction of having one of the highest car crash rates in the nation, and since 2014 Florida has seen the steepest increase in accident-related fatalities of any state nationwide. While the National Safety Council estimates that fatal accident rates have increased 18 percent nationwide over the last two years, Florida’s rate has increased by an almost unbelievable 43 percent.

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Common Types of Car Accidents Involving Driver Negligence

Most car accidents involving multiple vehicles are the result of driver negligence. From texting and driving to being drunk behind the wheel, all types of mistakes can lead to all types of dangerous collisions.

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Florida Police Use Cellphone Data to Track Hit-and-Run Driver

When seeking to establish liability in a vehicle collision, a key source of evidence will often be the at-fault driver’s cellphone records. A tragic hit-and-run accident case in Florida demonstrates how the police regularly use cellphone data in criminal cases – and how victims’ attorneys can make use of similar evidence in personal injury cases as well.

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Motorcycle Safety Can Reduce (But Not Eliminate) Risk of Injury

As a motorcycle rider, you are likely familiar with many of the popular misconceptions about motorcycles and their owners: Motorcycles are dangerous. Motorcycle riders take risks with their (and others’) lives. If a motorcycle rider was injured in an accident, he or she must have been to blame.

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Florida Car Accident FAQs

Following a car accident, you need to make smart decisions about protecting your legal rights. To help you get started, our attorneys have provided answers to a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs). For legal advice about your situation, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Driver Fatigue is a Common Cause of Truck Accidents

Federal regulations permit commercial truck drivers to spend up to 11 consecutive hours behind the wheel and up to 70 hours driving over the course of an 8-day period. That is a lot of driving, much of which is done at night and on long, monotonous stretches of highway. Furthermore, research has shown that many truck drivers exceed the federal “hours of service” limitations, spending even more time behind the wheel.

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The Dangers of Texting Behind the Wheel

Texting behind the wheel is a major problem in Florida and around the country. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), on average, distracted drivers injure more than 1,000 people every single day, and texting is widely recognized as one of the most prevalent forms of distracted driving.

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Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida

When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, in many ways, the odds are stacked against you. As a result, to make sure you are able to collect the compensation you deserve, you need to protect yourself as much as possible.

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Three Reasons Not to Deal with the Insurance Companies on Your Own

If you have been injured in a car accident, you are not alone in wondering, “Should I hire an attorney to represent me?” or “Should I just try to deal with the insurance companies on my own?”

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Will We Soon Be Seeing Driverless 18-Wheelers?

As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, a new Silicon Valley startup led by one of the founders of Google’s self-driving car program is aiming to retrofit existing 18-wheelers with autonomous driving technology. Other companies are already in the process of developing the technology to role new self-driving heavy trucks off of the assembly line.

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Your Rights as the Victim of a Drunk Driver

Each year, drunk drivers kill hundreds of innocent drivers and passengers in Florida and they leave thousands more victims suffering from serious, and often life-changing, injuries. As someone who has been injured in a drunk driving accident or who has lost a loved one to the negligence of a drunk driver, you have rights, and it is important for both you and the community as a whole that you stand up for those rights in court.

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Victims’ Rights in Collisions Involving Commercial Vehicles

In most car accidents, victims recover their losses through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The at-fault driver’s auto insurance coverage will often be sufficient to provide full compensation (provided that the insurance company agrees to pay what the victim is owed); but, in some cases, a victim’s losses will exceed the amount covered by the at-fault driver’s policy.

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What Are My Rights if I Was Partially at Fault in a Collision

When you are injured in an accident that is clearly 100 percent someone else’s fault, as long as you don’t delay or make other mistakes that could jeopardize your claim, the law entitles you to recover financial compensation for your accident-related losses. But, what if you were 10 percent at fault, or 50 percent, or even 90 percent? How do you even know how much blame to assign to each person involved in the accident?  

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Can You Seek Financial Compensation for Whiplash?

Whiplash is a serious and potentially long-term injury that is common in car accidents and other types of vehicle collisions. If you have experienced symptoms of whiplash after an accident in which someone else was to blame, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.  

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Were You Injured in an Accident During Bike Week?

This year, Bike Week was March 4 through March 13 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Each year, thousands of motorcycle riders from across the country congregate at the beach for a week of camaraderie and riding under the Florida sun. With this year being Bike Week’s 75th anniversary and with gas prices still relatively low, officials reported a larger turnout than normal.

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Are You Entitled to Compensation? 10 Common Car Accident Claims

If you have been injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to know whether you are entitled to compensation for your losses. In many cases, figuring out exactly what happened can be a challenge, and getting a clear picture of your legal rights may require a thorough investigation.

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What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Florida

Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are a persistent problem in Florida. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that there were more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida in 2015, with 186 of these accidents resulting in fatalities. This means that hit-and-run drivers in Florida killed someone roughly every other day.

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Research Finds Increased Risk of Accidents After “Springing Forward” for Daylight Saving Time

For many people, the start of Daylight Saving Time signals the unofficial start of Spring. This year, Daylight Saving Time started on March 13, 2016, and here in the Florida Panhandle we experienced Spring-like temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

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I Was Injured in an Accident. What Now?

It happened. You were injured in an accident. Maybe someone rear-ended you, you fell on a slippery floor, or your neighbor’s dog attacked you. Whatever happened, it happened, and now you are left to deal with the consequences. So, what do you do? How do you recover your medical expenses (and other losses) and protect your legal rights?

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Distracted Driving May Be Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

We all know that distracted driving is extremely dangerous. In the time that it takes the average person to read a text message or dial a phone number, a vehicle traveling at highway speeds can more than cover the distance of an entire football field. With researchers estimating that roughly 660,000 drivers are using their phones while behind the wheel at any given moment in time during the day, this means that distracted drivers are covering thousands upon thousands of miles without paying attention to the road.

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Getting Your Bike Back: Property Damage in Motorcycle Accidents

If your motorcycle was damaged in an accident, it is important to understand the options that are available for recovering the costs to repair or replace your bike. As with claims for personal injuries, most property damage claims are resolved through insurance. However, different rules apply to property claims, and will you need to know which insurance company (or companies) to work with in order to secure maximum compensation.

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2016 is Off to a Rough Start for Florida Drivers

By many accounts, 2015 is expected to have been one of the deadliest years in recent memory for drivers and passengers in Florida and throughout the country. By the middle of the year, the number of traffic-related fatalities was on pace to set the highest annual mark since 2007. While we are still awaiting the final national data, we now know that there were 2,604 fatal accidents in Florida in 2015. This is higher than the number each year from 2011 through 2014.

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Product Liability: Can Your Car Cause an Accident?

In most cases, car accidents result from driver negligence. Whether speeding, drinking and driving, or texting behind the wheel, failure to meet the standard of care that all motorists owe to one another can have serious consequences – including life-changing and sometimes fatal injuries. When this happens, injured drivers and passengers can seek compensation for their losses by filing a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.

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Bad Faith: When Your Insurer Won’t Pay for Your Personal Injury

If you have suffered injuries that are covered under your insurance policy, your insurance company has a legal duty to pay you according to the terms of your policy. Your policy is a legally-binding contract, and under Florida law, your insurance company must meet its contractual obligations in good faith.

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Non-Economic Damages: Pain and Suffering After a Motorcycle Accident

When you suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, your financial losses will typically include property damage, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and maybe even the cost of paying someone to do things (like mow your lawn) that you would ordinarily be able to do on your own. However, in addition to these financial losses, you may also suffer what is known in legal terms as “pain and suffering.”

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When Big Trucks Cause Car Accidents: Going Up Against Commercial Lawyers

In a typical car accident case, if the other driver was negligent in causing your injuries, your attorney will file a claim against his or her insurance company. There are other possibilities – such as when a vehicle defect contributes to the accident – but in most cases auto accident claims are resolved through a settlement or litigation with the negligent driver’s insurer.

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Overcoming Bias: Standing Up for Motorcycle Accident Victims

If you are a motorcycle rider, do you: Often sit in other drivers’ blind spots? Regularly weave in and out of traffic? Speed everywhere you go? 

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The Owner’s Fault: Strict Rules About Florida Dog Bites

If you are injured in a dog attack, do you know your legal rights? Florida’s dog bite law is more favorable to victims than similar laws in other states, and as a result dog bite victims were able to recover $5.6 million in financial compensation in 2014 alone.

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Hurt on The Job: Your Employer’s Responsibilities

You go to work to earn a living and, in most cases, do your best to take care of your bills, family and goals. Nobody goes to work intending to get hurt, but sometimes accidents occur and you find yourself hurt on the job. When this happens, the process of resolving the issues can bevery confusing and stressful.

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Determining the Costs Associated With Car Accident Injuries

When you’ve been in a car accident, you may find that the costs associated with the accident far exceed what you expected. When you consider your medical bills, lost time at work and damage to your car, you notice that the numbers just keep rising. It is at this point you may be considering filing a personal injury claim with an experienced lawyer on your side. 

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Slip and Fall: Who Is Responsible for Your Injury?

A nasty fall can be a devastating life event. Suddenly, you may find yourself with mounting medical bills, physical rehabilitation, a great deal of pain and no ability to work to help you make ends meet. When a fall happens under certain circumstances, it may not be your fault --it may be the fault of the person who owns the property where you were hurt. 

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Auto Accidents: When The Other Driver Claims You Contributed

If you are involved in an auto accident, you may quickly find yourself in a debate with the other party when it comes to determining fault. Even if those involved were fairly civil at the accident scene, once the time comes for people to pay for the damage they’ve caused, you might face some reluctance. 

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Distracted Driving: When Texting Causes a Car Accident

Driving is a serious responsibility; yet, car accidents happen throughout Florida all the time. Many of these accidents are the result of distracted driving or when a driver is paying attention to something besides the road — like a text message on a cell phone. 

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What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident: Tips for Your Claim

Motorcyclists face serious harm when involved in an accident. Exposure to the road and other vehicles, combined with a smaller profile than cars, can lead to serious injuries and property damage. If you or a loved one is in a wreck, contact a Niceville motorcycle accident lawyer at Powell, Powell & Powell for help with your claim. 

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Going After Drunk Drivers: How Car Accident Lawyers Help

Drinking and driving is never an acceptable situation, but the truth is it happens all over Florida every day. Many of these drunk drivers cause accidents that are not just costly in terms of property damages, but are also costly — or deadly — in terms of physical injuries. 

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Strict Liability: How Florida Personal Injury Law Protects Victims

Florida law provides a variety of rules for how the courts approach personal injuries. However, certain injuries are considered "cut-and-dried." The responsibility for such injuries is placed solely on one party under the doctrine of strict liability. These cases usually include injuries incurred from a dog bite or product defect.

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Wrongful Death Claims: When a Motorcycle Accident Kills a Loved One

If your loved one was involved in a motorcycle crash that resulted in his or her death, you may find yourself on the verge of collapse. The shock, grief and other emotions may cause you to shut down mentally, but it’s crucial to begin working with an attorney immediately. At Powell, Powell & Powell, we offer our condolences for your loss and invite you to contact a Destin motorcycle accident lawyer at our firm.

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