Auto Accidents: May 2009 Archives

May 15, 2009

Drinking, Speeding, Early Hours And Sleep Deprivation Bad Combo

Broward County: A Coral Springs, Florida man who police said may have been speeding was killed early this morning when his car struck a tree in a one car collision. Whether sleep deprivation, drunk driving, or simply excessive speed contributed to another of a rash of deaths in Coral Springs this year has yet to be determined.

Florida was third in the country in 2006 in drunk driving deaths with 1,111. Nationwide, the number of deaths in 2007 was 15,387. Alcohol is a contributing factor in about 37% of traffic crashes occurring nationwide.

Falling asleep or drowsy driving is most common in age 16 to 29 age group. Although actual statistics are not kept, sleep deprivation and drowsy driving is the number three cause of crash deaths in the United States today. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that fatigue is a very common factor in car accident crash and death cases today.

The moral of the story: Be wary driving after midnight. They say: "Drive defensively"--this applies even more so after midnight. The number of people on the road being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or sleep deprived, or speeders, or a combination of the foregoing, increases immensely. Try to keep yourself and your children off the road between the hours of midnight and six a.m., the time when the likelihood of the incidents occurring, increases immensely. If you must drive, be ultra cautious.

If you or a family member are a victim, contact a lawyer for information. Various different areas to look for compensation for injuries include drivers and their family's insurance coverage, your own family's uninsured motorist coverage, and in rare occasions involving alcohol, whom the alcohol was purchased from and whether that involved underage drinking or serving someone who is known to be an alcoholic.

Additionally, any serious vehicle crash involving death or serious bodily injury should also be investigated from the prospective of whether something about the vehicle (perhaps a vehicle defect) contributed to the death or worsened the injury.

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May 12, 2009

Oakland Park, Florida Car Accident Kills Passenger

Aracely Mendoza of Miami was killed in an auto accident on I-95 in Broward County on March 27, 2009 after her car was struck by Davydson Soares of Pompano Beach, Florida in what ultimately constituted  a hit-and-run car crash.  Three other occupants of the vehicle Mendoza was traveling in were hospitalized and treated for their car accident related injuries.  Soares is now wanted for manslaughter while driving under the influence.  Police said that Soares's blood alcohol content was 0.16, twice the legal limit, approximately an hour and a half after the accident.  Unfortunately, Soares, who was not arrested at the scene because troopers needed to gather more evidence, is now nowhere to be found.

This case and other recent cases of hit and run accidents underscores the necessity of purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.  Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policies provide coverage to individuals that are injured in a car accident caused by another driver that either has no insurance at all or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the damage caused by the accident.  In Florida, hit-and-run drivers that are not identified are considered uninsured motorists.  Although in the above-mentioned car accident the driver has been identified and fled only after the accident investigation, there is still the possibility that he may be uninsured or underinsured.  In fact, our personal experiences demonstrate that a person who is driving under the influence is substantially more likely to be an uninsured or underinsured motorist than a driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, many of these impaired drivers do not even have a valid driver's license.

An uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy allows Florida drivers to protect against accident injuries that exceed the protection provided by personal injury protection (PIP) and irrespective of other drivers' insurance decisions to drive uninsured or with minimum coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimated that 23% of Florida motorists were uninsured in 2007.  Their estimates place Florida fifth highest in the nation for uninsured motorists.  However, our recent experiences with motor vehicle accidents reflects a much higher total of uninsured motorists, especially as the recession deepened and more and more people cut out many things except for what they considered to be absolute essentials of life.  Based upon our experiences, we would estimate that perhaps as many as 50% of Dade County and 1/3 of Broward County drivers are uninsured.  Many more are what would be termed underinsured, that is, they are driving around with the minimum $10,000.00 in insurance coverage that is usually inadequate to protect the average person injured in a car accident.

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May 5, 2009

Florida Insurance Companies Rated for Payouts on Car Accident Injury Claims

Periodically, we rate insurance companies doing business in Florida for fairness in paying out to claimants sums for injuries sustained in auto accidents. Since our practice is primarily dealing with crashes in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, we emphasize that our ratings are based upon the reasonableness of the payouts to vehicle accident claimants and pedestrians, including bicyclists or motorcycle accident victims, in South Florida.

Most insurance companies are similar in what they pay out for property damage, with some, of course, being better than the others. However, our emphasis is on what these insurance companies are paying out for pain and suffering type damages, that is, intangible damages, and what the total payout is for bodily injuries.

As of this date, here are our ratings. We use an A through F scale, with, of course, A being the best, F being the worst. When purchasing insurance coverage (whether homeowners or auto), of course, price is an issue, but ultimately, whether you are unnecessarily dragged into a lawsuit if your insurance company acts in bad faith may depend upon these ratings:

 
Chubb A

Crum & Forster A

Travelers B+

Zurich B+

American International (their subsidiaries) B

Amica B

Safeco B

Liberty Mutual B-

First Floridian C+

Nationwide C+

Hartford C+

State Farm Insurance Companies C to C+

Metropolitan C

GMAC Insurance C

USAA D+

Federated National Insurance (American Vehicle) D

Allstate Insurance Company D

Mercury D

Ocean Harbor D

Progressive Insurance Companies D

US Security Insurance D

United Automobile Insurance Company F

Geico F

 
At this time, GEICO is the worst paying MAJOR auto insurer in the State of Florida for bodily injury claims, followed by Progressive, and then Allstate.

Good luck when purchasing insurance or making claims for injuries, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

I hope that this information helps you in your insurance choices and selections.

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