Monthly Archives: January 2011

Truck Accidents on Florida’s Roads

Large trucks are more numerous on the road today than in years past — and they’re traveling more miles than ever. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration reported a 49 percent increase in registered large trucks and a 76 percent increase in miles traveled by large truck from 1986 to 2006.

Large trucks are involved in thousands of accidents each year — many of them fatal. Florida had 4,566 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2007 and 288 involved large trucks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What is behind these truck accidents? National studies show many are caused by negligence on the part of the truck driver.

According to a 2007 federal study of fatal truck accidents, factors that are frequently found in truck crashes include driving too fast for conditions, fatigue, roadway problems, feeling under pressure from motor carriers, adverse weather and brake problems. Truck drivers were cited as driving too fast almost 50 percent more often than passenger vehicle drivers in the accidents. And brake problems were cited for almost 40 percent of the trucks involved, the Fleet Motor Carrier Administration study reported.

Truck Accidents and Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 413,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes in the United States in 2007. One out of nine traffic fatalities involved a truck. A total of 4,808 people died and an additional 101,000 were injured in those collisions.

One analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that almost half of all trucks involved in fatal U.S. crashes weighed more than 60,000 pounds at the time of the accident.

Given the massive weight of semi-trucks when compared to the average car, which weighs about 4,000 pounds, it’s no surprise that the injuries suffered in car-truck accidents can be more extensive than in other traffic accidents — and that often it’s the drivers and passengers in the smaller passenger vehicles that suffer the most severe injuries. Three-fourths of the fatalities and the injuries resulting from collisions involving a truck were the occupants of another vehicle. The dangers of a car-truck collision can be magnified if the truck is hauling hazardous or flammable cargo.

Get Legal Advice Quickly After a Truck Accident

Drivers who are involved in an accident with a truck should get legal advice as soon as possible — before you discuss the matter with an insurance adjuster or sign any paperwork. Insurance companies and trucking companies may try to reach a quick settlement to limit their financial responsibility. We urge you to contact one of our experienced Florida truck accident lawyers today to fight for your legal rights and ensure that you receive the full compensation that you deserve.

While the truck driver may be the most obvious person at fault in an accident, the driver may not be the only person or business entity legally responsible for the accident. Motor carrier companies, trailer owners, contractors and insurance companies may have a legal obligation to compensate you for your injuries. In some cases, the shipper of hazardous materials carried by the truck may also be liable.

Complex Area of Law

Truck accident claims can be very complex. Multiple insurance companies representing the driver and the trucking firm and in some cases the freight shipper may be involved. This can create complications and delays if each insurance company is insisting that another is responsible for paying your claim. It may take the threat of legal action to get the insurance companies to settle a claim.

Lawyers must be knowledgeable about fleet maintenance procedures and federal laws that dictate safety rules and regulations. Federal trucking regulations spell out the maximum number of hours a driver may be on the road with a break (known as Hours of Service Regulations) and require that drivers and trucking companies keep a detailed log. Federal laws also require drivers and trucking companies to keep maintenance records. The experienced Florida truck accident lawyers at Gilman Law LLP know how to use these records to our clients’ advantage in any legal action.

The experienced lawyers at Gilman Law LLP are skilled at evaluating the contributing factors to an accident and will help you identify all potential defendants to ensure fair and appropriate compensation for your injuries. Our lawyers will not be intimidated by trucking companies or their insurers into doing anything not in the best interest of our clients.

The Florida truck accident lawyers of Gilman Law LLP have helped hundreds of victims and their families recover after a collision with a truck. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Florida truck accident caused by the negligence of a driver or trucking company, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form, or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) to discuss your case with one of the experienced truck accident attorneys at our firm.

Motorcycle Accidents

The Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys of Gilman Law LLP are Here to Help You.

Motorcycles have seen a surge in popularity in recent years and there are favored routes for Florida enthusiasts, from the Daytona Beach loop to a Gulf Coast cruise to a trip to the Keys. However, because motorcycles are relatively small in size, they are less visible to other drivers on the road. As a consequence, even motorcyclists who carefully follow the traffic laws are more vulnerable to accidents than people traveling in cars and trucks — and each year, thousands of Florida motorcyclists are injured in collisions.

If you’ve been injured by the carelessness of another motorist, Gilman Law LLP can help. We are a Florida personal injury law firm with a team of experienced motorcycle accident lawyers, and we are committed to obtaining the best possible financial results for the victims of motorcycle crashes. We have achieved notable successes in winning large settlements to ensure our clients can fully recover after a serious personal injury. Fill out our online form or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) for your free case evaluation. Our motorcycle accident attorneys serve clients across Florida, including Naples, Fort Myers, Marco  Island, Cape Coral, Lee County, Collier County, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Bonita Springs and Sanibel.

The number of people injured and killed in motorcycle accidents in Florida has increased dramatically in the last decade.  Motorcycle crashes in Florida have more than doubled since 1999–and the number of motorcycle fatalities has tripled.

More than 8,500 people were injured and 540 people died in motorcycle accidents in Florida in 2008, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The number of fatalities represents an increase of more than 400 percent in 10 years. Nearly one in five traffic fatalities in Florida in 2008 was a motorcycle crash victim.

Motorcyclists obeying traffic laws and wearing protective helmets are still at a big disadvantage in a collision with a car or truck, and the injuries can be catastrophic. They can include brain damage, head injuries, broken bones and burns.

Even a seemingly small leg and foot injury can costs thousands of dollars in medical bills. Motorcyclists’ legs and feet are vulnerable in a wreck, and those injuries can be extremely costly. An August 2008 federal study found that motorcyclists with a single leg or foot injury had a median hospital charge of $20,745.  Motorcyclists who had a lower-extremity injury and other injuries had median hospital charges of $56,288.

Can you cover those kinds of hospital bills on your own? Gilman Law LLP represents injury victims in Ft. Myers, Naples and throughout the State of Florida. Our Florida lawyers focus on the needs of motorcycle accident victims and are skilled at analyzing the factors that contributed to an accident to ensure that justice is served on behalf of our clients.

While motorcyclists can be at fault in accidents, many times other drivers cause accidents involving motorcycles. Half of all motorcycle crashes are caused by the failure of other motorists to detect the motorcyclist. Federal studies show that in 50 percent of all motorcycle crashes, the primary contributing factor to the accident was human error on the part of the driver of the other vehicle.

There are multiple explanations for these accidents. Many drivers of passenger cars and trucks involved in crashes with motorcycles do not see motorcyclists because of the motorcycle’s relatively small size. Even if motorists check their mirrors before changing lanes or turning, they may not see a motorcycle in the car’s blind spot, and an accident may occur. Drivers often pull out in front of a motorcyclists simply because they not see them. Many accidents occur at intersections or when cars pull out from side roads.

The number of people injured in motorcycle accidents increased by 4 percent in 2008 in Florida, claiming 8,519 injury victims. About 60 percent of those injured were between the ages of 25 and 54, and more than 90 percent were males. Motorcycle accidents more than doubled from 4,451 in 1999 to 9,618 accidents in 2008.

Of the 540 motorcyclists and their passengers who died in Florida in 2008, a third were not wearing helmets. Head injury is a leading cause of deaths in motorcycle accidents.

Nationally, the number of people injured in motorcycle accidents has increased by 110 percent in the last decade, even as injuries in motor vehicle crashes has declined since 1999, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While injuries increased in every age category, the largest number of motorcyclists injured each year were ages 20-29.

Two-thirds of the motorcyclists injured were involved in crashes in daytime and about a third were injured during nighttime accidents. More than two-thirds of the motorcycle accidents causing injuries occurred from April through September, which is the high riding season for motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists have the same rights as any other person on the road, and they deserve an aggressive lawyer to fight for those rights.

While the Florida motorcycle accident lawyers in our firm recognize that no amount of money can compensate for the pain and suffering from a serious accident or loss of a loved one, a fair settlement will allow an accident victim and their family to have the financial security to maintain a good quality of life.

If you or someone you love has been injured on a motorcycle through the fault of others, we urge you to contact one of our Florida motorcycle accident lawyers to protect your rights. Gilman Law LLP is a Florida personal injury law firm here to help. Please fill out our online form, or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) to discuss your case with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys.

Bus Accidents

The Florida Bus Accident Attorneys of Gilman Law LLP are Here to Help You.

Accidents: Car Accidents | Truck Accidents | Motorcycle Accidents | Bus Accidents | Bicycle Injuries |Pedestrian Accidents

Millions of people rely on buses to carry them safely to work and to school. But because buses are often used in high-traffic and urban areas with other cars and trucks, accidents are inevitable. When bus accidents occur, dozens of passengers can be injured, as well as pedestrians and other motorists.

Legal issues involving bus accidents can become complicated when a bus is operated by a city or other government agency. Because of these complexities, obtaining compensation for injuries from a bus collision can require legal expertise beyond that required in a routine car accident.

The Florida bus accident lawyers of Gilman Law LLP have the expertise to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  If you or a loved one has suffered injury as a result of a bus accident, call Gilman Law LLP at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) for a free consultation or use our online form. We serve clients across Florida, including Naples, Fort Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral, Lee County, Collier County, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Bonita Springs and Sanibel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines a bus as a motor vehicle designed to car 11 passengers or more, including the driver. It defines a school bus as a bus sold for the purpose of carrying students to and from school and other events.

How common are accidents involving buses? They happen much more frequently than most people realize.

There were approximately 11,000 bus accidents in the United States in 2006. They caused 21,000 injuries and 331 fatalities, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

From 1997 to 2007, 1,541 people died in school bus-related crashes—an average of 140 fatalities per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Most people who lost their lives in those crashes were occupants of other vehicles. In fact, about 70 percent of bus accident victims are people driving or riding in other vehicles. Buses are bigger and heavier than most other vehicles on the highway, which is why accidents involving buses typically cause injury to others beyond just the passenger of the bus.

School buses are nearly eight times safer than passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even so, too many school-age students die each year in bus accidents. Of the buses involved in fatal crashes, school buses represented the largest category, with 116 school buses involved in fatal accidents and 136 fatalities.

Bus accidents occur for a number of reasons. Driver distraction and negligence, defective equipment, dangerous roads or weather conditions and inadequate bus maintenance can all play a part in causing a bus accident. Legally, a bus is considered a “common carrier,” and bus drivers must use great care when transporting passengers. When they fall short in their duties, bus drivers or bus companies can be held liable for the injuries that result.

The Florida bus accident attorneys at Gilman Law LLP understand the intricacies of this area of law and have helped people injured in bus accidents receive compensation to get their lives back in order.

The experienced bus accident lawyers at Gilman Law LLP are skilled at evaluating the factors of an accident and will help you identify all potential defendants to ensure fair and appropriate compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured in a bus accident caused by the negligence of another, we will work hard to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) to discuss your case with one of the experienced lawyers at our firm.

Bicycle Injuries

The Florida Bicycle Accident Attorneys of Gilman Law LLP are Here to Help You.

Accidents: Car Accidents | Truck Accidents | Motorcycle Accidents | Bus Accidents | Bicycle Injuries |Pedestrian Accidents

Bicycling is an enjoyable and healthy form of recreation, and cycling recently gained popularity in Florida as a form of commuter transportation when gasoline prices climbed to $4 or more. Yet bicycling can be dangerous because cyclists must share Florida’s roads with larger cars, trucks and buses. Many drivers do not look out for cyclists or recognize that they have a legal right to be on the roads.

Collisions between a bicycle and a car or truck can be devastating to bike riders, resulting in serious injuries, fractured bones, paralysis or death. Bicycle accident injuries are often serious, leaving people with substantial medical bills and lost time from work or school. In some cases, the victim may have permanent disabilities and be unable to work.

If you’ve been a victim of a Florida bicycling accident caused by another motorist, Gilman Law LLPcan help. We have represented hundreds of injury victims in Florida, and our lawyers have achieved success in winning large settlements to ensure our clients can put their lives back together after a serious accident. Please fill out our online form or call 1-800- LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) for a free consultation. Our bicycle accident attorneys serve clients across Florida, including Naples, Fort Myers, Marco  Island, Cape Coral, Lee County,Collier County, Everglades City, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Bonita Springs and Sanibel.

Sobering Statistics

Nearly 700 bicyclists were killed and more than 44,000 injured in traffic accidents in 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And more bicycle fatalities occurred in Florida than in any other state. If you’re one of the thousands of Florida bicyclists, you know just how dangerous our roads can be.

There were 4,847 bicycle accidents in Florida in 2007, resulting in 121 deaths and 4,403 injuries, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In 2007, Florida had by far the nation’s highest rate of bicycle fatalities in the nation—6.5 deaths per million people. Nationally, the fatality rate for all cyclists was 2.31

Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can occur due to roadway hazards, defective parts and mistakes made by the rider. Many injuries, however, involve a car or other motor vehicle.

Driver negligence or recklessness is often behind car-bicycle accidents. In some instances, drivers pull out of a parking space without checking for approaching bicyclists.  Increasingly, bicycle accidents take place while drivers are distracted by talking on cell phones or texting messages. Other common mistakes made by motorists that lead to collisions with bicycles include:

  • Turning in front of a bicycle;
  • Inattentiveness while passing a bicyclist;
  • Failure to yield right of way at an intersection or running a stop sign or red light;
  • Failure to look both ways at a stop sign;
  • Failure to signal;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Opening the door of a parked vehicle without looking for cyclists.

When motorists fail in their duty to keep a proper look out for bicyclists, they can be held liable for the damage and injuries that they cause. Even when a bicyclist’s actions contribute to the accident, a motorist has a responsibility to watch the road in front of them and obey traffic laws, such as speed limits, that are intended to protect other road users. Our lawyers who concentrate in bicycle accidents investigate each case to expose driver negligence, speeding and other factors that contributed to the accident.

If you have been injured while riding a bicycle due to the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical bills, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering.  Bicyclists have the same rights as any other person on the road and they deserve an aggressive lawyer to fight for those rights. Our Florida bicycle accident lawyers have helped hundreds of victims and their families recover from injuries in car, truck and bicycle accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a motorist in a bicycle accident, we urge you to contact one of our Florida bicycle accident lawyers to protect your rights. Gilman Law LLP is a Florida personal injury law firm here to help. Please fill out our online form, or call 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) to discuss your case with one of the experienced bicycle accident lawyers at our firm.

Pedestrian Knock Downs

The Florida Pedestrian Knock Down Accident Attorneys of Gilman Law LLP are Here to Help You

Accidents: Car Accidents Truck AccidentsMotorcycle AccidentsBus AccidentsBicycle Injuries |Pedestrian Accidents

Have you been injured in a Florida pedestrian knock down accident? There is no excuse for a driver to hit a pedestrian. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Florida pedestrian knock down accident, you are entitled to compensation. The Florida pedestrian knock down accident lawyers at our firm offer a free consultationto victims of these incidents.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, an estimated 6,000 people are killed and 90,000 are injured each year in pedestrian knock down accidents. The injuries sustained because of such accidents are often very serious, leaving victims with substantial medicals bills. They may also be permanently disabled and unable to work because of their injuries.

Pedestrian knock down accidents are almost always the fault of drivers. They are often the result of drivers who speed, run traffic signals or fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians. If you have been victimized by a driver in this way, we urge you to contact one of our Florida pedestrian knock down accident lawyers today to protect your legal rights.

Even when the behavior of a pedestrian contributes to an accident – for example, when a pedestrian has stepped out into traffic – drivers have a responsibility to watch the road in front of them and obey traffic laws. Our Florida pedestrian knock down accident lawyers investigate these incidents in order to expose driver negligence, speeding, distractions, and other factors that played a role in the accident.