sudden unintended acceleration

Sudden Unintended Acceleration – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

A tragic crash in Delray Beach on April 29th killed four people and apparently involved a pickup truck crashing into the rear of a minivan, which was stopped at a traffic light. The investigation is going to be extensive and details are sketchy, but one local news report said the driver reported the “pickup suddenly lurched into high speed.”

We cannot imagine anything more horrifying than driving down the road when suddenly your car accelerates even though you do not have your foot on the accelerator. What do you do?

Sudden Unintended Acceleration

First, a history of the problem, because it has happened many times and is sometimes caused by vehicle defects. Here are a few situations involving large numbers of cars:

• 1987: The 1982-1987 Audi 5000s sales in the United States fell after recalls linked to sudden unintended acceleration. There were 700 accidents and 6 deaths.
• 2006: The 2004 model year Ford Mustang Cobra was recalled by Ford for accelerator pedals that failed to return to idle after being fully pressed.
• 2009-2011: Several vehicle models were recalled in the 2009–2011 Toyota vehicle recalls, which resulted in suspension of production and sales of many of Toyota’s most popular models, including the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Toyota Tacoma pickups, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, and more.

Now, what do you do if your car or truck suddenly accelerates forward while you’re driving? Popular Mechanics Magazine offers these suggestions:

Step 1 /// Press the Brake Pedal, Hard
The first thing to do–immediately–is press as hard as possible on the brake pedal. Do not pump the pedal, but simply keep steady, hard pressure. Use all the strength your leg can muster. The brakes will require significantly more force than normal because when the engine throttle is wide open, there’s no engine vacuum to power the brake booster. The car won’t slow as quickly as normal, either, but it will reduce speed. In every car, the brakes are more powerful than the engine, so eventually the brakes will win.

Step 2 /// Get Into Neutral
The next step is to shift the transmission into neutral. If the throttle is stuck wide open, the engine will rev alarmingly high. Do not worry about hurting the motor, there’s an electronic rev limiter that will automatically keep the engine spinning high enough to kill it. With the engine power now disengaged from the drive wheels, the brakes will have a much easier job.

Step 3 /// Turn Off the Car
You’re well under control now, but just to be safe, shut off the engine. Since some modern cars have push-button starters, like many Lexus models, you may have to hold the button for three seconds to cut the engine. And you should be aware that the brake-pedal pressure may increase when the motor stops running. As safely as possible, pull the car off the road and call a tow truck. There’s no sense driving the car again until the mechanical problem is found and fixed.

As strange as this may sound, they also say it’s a good idea to practice these three steps.

Performing well in any panic situation comes down to being prepared. So find an empty parking lot and practice these techniques. To simulate a stuck throttle, you’ll have to keep the throttle pinned with your right foot and use your left foot to work the brakes. After a few go-arounds, you’ll get the idea.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has worked with victims of car, truck, and motorcycle accidents where there were issues with auto manufacturer and repair defects involved. We are very experienced investigating the reasons for vehicle crashes and we are fully capable of dealing with manufacturers, dealerships, and auto repair shops in order to get the facts.

If you believe an accident you have been involved in was due to a defect in design, manufacture, or repair, we can help. Call us at 954-356-0006 and we’ll arrange a confidential consultation at your convenience.

There is a Lot Riding on Your Tires – Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer

Fort Lauderdale Accident LawyerWhen we look at our cars today we are amazed at all the technology! GPS, music coming in through wi-fi and satellite, back-up cameras, airbags, and now cars that drive themselves. Definitely not you father’s ’57 Chevy.

Sometimes when people get comfortable cruising along in a large comfortable car or SUV they forget there are physical forces involved and one is called inertia. It controls the way your car moves, and you need to respect it.

Inertia: a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

As your car travels it wants to keep going the way it’s going, and when you turn the wheel it’s the tires that need to “grip” the road and effect a change in direction or you’re not going to turn. Tires that are worn or improperly inflated won’t be able to alter the direction of your car and on a wet road for example, you’ll go where you don’t want to go.

From a University of Southern California Engineering website: Most drivers do not know that the most important parts of any car are its tires. The tires have an enormous influence on the safety and performance of an automobile.

The National Transportation Safety Board says over 19,000 people are injured every year in crashes caused by faulty, worn, or improperly inflated tires. When tires cause accidents for these reasons the fault usually rests with the owner of the car, but there are many times when the tire itself has a defect or there was an error in installation and then it’s a different situation.

Fort Lauderdale Accident LawyerThe most common reasons for tire-related accidents not related to owner negligence are:

  1. Tread belt separations – most common in steel-belted radial tires, this occurs when the steel outer belt edge is has a defect and progresses to the center of the tire. In SUVs and other van-style vehicles this can cause rollover accidents.
  2. Installation errors – including improper lubrication, improper positioning and over inflation.
  3. Belt to belt separation – this can occur when moisture is introduced during the manufacturing of a tire.

If you are in an accident and there is a possibility a faulty tire contributed to the incident, you should contact a qualified accident attorney immediately. The tire itself may be evidence and should be preserved. There may have been a recall involving your tire and that would need to be looked into. Many other factors are involved in any accident where a structural or design defect may be involved and you should protect yourself by consulting with an attorney.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping people injured in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents for over 20 years, including many serious accidents caused by tire issues. Please contact us if you have questions about any accident, and we’ll be happy to get you answers. Our phone number is 954-356-0006 and we answer and/or monitor incoming calls and messages 7 days a week.

 

 

 

 

Choosing a South Florida Auto Accident Lawyer

A hypothetical situation: You’re driving to Publix on a sunny Saturday morning and you’re stopped at a red light. Suddenly you’re hit from South Florida Accident Attorneybehind and your car is pushed forward! “What the heck was that?” you say as you look in your rear view mirror. There’s someone back there waving at you and they motion to pull over into a parking lot. So you move your car off the road and get out to look at your rear bumper as the other driver apologizes profusely. There’s only minor damage, but you’re a little shook up and confused about what to do. Most people have a tendency to want to be nice and so if the other driver urges you to write down his insurance company information and says “it’s minor, let’s not make a big issue about it,” you may be tempted to let it go. That might be a bad decision and here is why:

A couple days later you wake up in the morning and feel like your neck was judo chopped and you can barely get out of bed. What happened? It is quite possibly a delayed onset of whiplash, caused by an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking motion of the head, often as a result of a car accident. It is not unusual at all to feel fine for 24-48 hours after the actual trauma and then feel severe pain.

Some symptoms of whiplash:

  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Headaches.
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.
  • Low back pain.
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand.
  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering.
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue.

Continuing with our hypothetical situation, you call the insurance company provided by the driver who hit you and they never heard of him. Strange, you think, he seemed like such a nice guy!

We’re going to go back to some issues we write about often because they’re important. When you are involved in an accident here are some dos and don’ts:

  • Do try to have a police report filled on scene, especially if you are certain the other driver is at fault.
  • Do not admit any guilt or even speak to others involved in the accident except to render aid.
  • Do take pictures of damage, insurance papers, license plates, the surroundings, traffic signs or anything that might be relevant to proving your point of view about what happened.
  • Do try to get the names and contact information for any witnesses who might help prove your side of the story about the accident.
  • Do not post anything on social media about the accident.
  • Do call a personal injury lawyer who specializes in accidents. Even if you think you are fine, you may have hidden injuries and the time to be screened for them is right away.

How do you choose an attorney?

  • Experience: Hiring one with experience in handling similar cases like yours.
  • Focus: Find one who is focused on your case and not juggling multiple cases at once.
  • Reputation: Reputation of the attorney in negotiating with insurance companies can play a major key in the amount of damages you receive.
  • Personality: Choose an attorney that you can get along with and also trust through the process.

There is never any obligation when you reach out to us at Lazarus and Lazarus to ask questions. Making the right decision about who will look out for your rights when you are injured in an accident is extremely important and we want you to take your time and make the choice that’s right for you. Call us at 954-356-0006 any time for a completely confidential consultation.

 

 

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Carrying a Firearm in Your Car – Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Attorneys

This article contains information about where to find details about Florida’s firearms laws and is not intended to be legal advice.

The issue of firearms owned and carried by private citizens is being debated in Florida from the panhandle to the Keys, and we hope something is done to make living in Florida safer for everyone. Because we deal with safety on Florida’s roadways we are sometimes asked about the legality of carrying weapons in a vehicle, and we find there is a lot of uncertainty about what is and is not permitted.

Florida is one state that permits people to carry a concealed weapon and it is Florida Statute 790.06  “License to carry concealed weapon or firearm” that covers that permitting. The Chapter that covers everything you could ever want to know about firearms in Florida is Chapter 790: Weapons and Firearms – and it’s a very, very long and complicated set of definitions, descriptions, laws, and penalties. If you’re going to be a firearm owner in Florida and you want to remain on the right side of the law we suggest you become very familiar with this chapter. A nationwide survey of firearms instructors found that many of them do not understand the firearm laws in their own state. As of 2017 there have been 16.3 million concealed weapon permits issued in the United States.

Click here to read Chapter 790, Florida Statutes.

Most people don’t know that in Florida, carrying pepper spray in more than a specified volume (2 oz.) of chemical requires a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permit, whereas anyone may legally carry a smaller, “self-defense chemical spray” device hidden on their person without a CCW permit.

Regarding carrying a weapon in your vehicle, this is a question commonly asked, but rarely able to be answered. You may keep, with or without a license, a firearm in your “private conveyance”, otherwise known as a vehicle if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use,” and as you can imagine the terms “securely encased” and “readily accessible” are subject to interpretation.

We do know that carrying a weapon in a vehicle sometimes leads to road rage incidents escalating to very dangerous levels, as in these two recent Florida situations:

Police: Florida man pointed 2 guns during road rage incident.

Gun-wielding, drunk 76-year-old driver arrested after road rage incident, deputies say.

We don’t give legal advice on our website, we just want Florida drivers to exercise good judgement and common sense when it comes to carrying weapons. Read and understand the law, because ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense. Never mix weapons or driving with alcohol or drugs.

We work with victims of serious car crashes every day and our goal is to see that every client receives the maximum compensation for their injuries and damages as permitted by law. If you have been involved in an accident, please feel free to call us at 954-356-0006 if you have any questions about how to proceed. We will be happy to set up a confidential consultation and discuss your options.

 

 

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Never Multitask While Driving – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Fort Lauderdale Accident AttorneysWhere did the term multitask originate? Humans have been doing many things at the same time for centuries, but it was just called “doing many things at the same time.” Like many words, terms, and phrases we use today, multitasking originated when computers became a normal part of life. Many believe it was the invention of Windows by Microsoft that enabled us to do many things at the same time on a single computer. After Windows we could talk on the phone, watch TV, eat a Hot Pocket, and do 5 things on the computer at the same time. Multitask.

Today we have no choice but to multitask. In order to keep a job with most companies multitasking is skill requirement number one, and at home we cook, text, read email and talk to Alexa while we load the dishwasher.

It all seems quite normal until you hear this, from Psychology Today Magazine: “Multitasking compromises our visual awareness, divides our attention, distracts us, reduces our job satisfaction, stunts our memory, impairs cognitive function, and sabotages our performance. With that being said, do you really want to multitask in the car? While you’re driving?

Several studies show that if you talk on the phone while driving, even hands-free, you are 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident. If you text while driving you are twenty times more likely to be in an accident.

Fort Lauderdale Accident AttorneysFlorida has not yet enacted strict laws about texting and driving like many other states, so while you may not be heavily fined like you would in New York (up to $450.00) you do have the potential of injuring yourself or your fiends and family by multitasking in the car. We urge everyone to turn off the ringer and put their phones away while driving. There is nothing that is so important to risk an accident, please deal with calls and messages later, after you arrive at your destination.

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

As Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys, we have seen victims of very serious accidents try to deal with serious injuries caused because of someone multitasking while they drive. If you have been involved in an accident please feel free to give us a call at 954-356-0006 and we’ll answer your questions about how to deal with your situation.

 

 

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

How to Deal With Road-Rageous Drivers – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Road rage is a serious problem, and in south Florida it can be very hazardous to your health. This week an incident in Broward County started with one driver cutting off another and concluded with one driver getting hit in the head with baseball bats. Miami Herald story – click here.

The victim in this case apparently got out of her vehicle to go face-to-face with the other driver, and what we will say about this response is don’t do that. Ever. We all pay taxes for police protection, so call the police. The driver who was beaten has serious head injuries, a broken nose, and will possibly require long-term medical care. News reports say she stepped out of her vehicle to record the incident on her cell phone, and once again our advice is don’t do that. Stay in your car and call police. You never know what weapon another driver might have, a bat, a knife, or a gun.

If you see a problem developing with another driver on the road and you feel he or she may confront you, try to diffuse the situation. Nod, smile, say you’re sorry. Even if you aren’t and it wasn’t your fault. It’s better to swallow some pride than to end up in the hospital.

“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” Albert Einstein

Because Albert was just about the smartest person to have ever lived, it’s a good idea to model our advice on road rage after that quote. How do you avoid road rage, including your own?

Here are a few tips from the Progressive Insurance Company:

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys - Road RageProtect yourself.
If you are dealing with an aggressive driver, make sure your doors are locked. If you’re stopped in traffic, leave enough room to pull out from behind the car you’re following. If an aggressive driver confronts you, dial 911 or go to the nearest police station.

Don’t take it personally.
Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t. Avoid any conflict, if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way! Never underestimate the other driver’s capacity for causing mayhem.

Reduce your own stress.
Allow plenty of time for a trip and listen to soothing music when you drive. Make sure your seat position and climate are both comfortable for you. And mostly understand that you cannot control traffic, only your reaction to it. In the end, you may find that personal frustration, anger and impatience are the real danger zones on the highway.

Report aggressive drivers.
Some states have a phone number that you can use to report dangerous driving to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Keep the number handy on your cell phone. If you make a call, be sure you give a vehicle description, license number, and the location and travel direction. You could prevent a tragedy.

Be a courteous driver.
You can set the example, which can help make our roads safer.

Control your anger.
Don’t take traffic problems personally.
Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.
Don’t make obscene gestures.
Don’t tailgate.
Use your horn sparingly — even a polite honk can be misinterpreted.
Don’t block the passing lane.
Don’t block the right turn lane.

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

The attorneys at Lazarus and Lazarus are here to answer questions if you have been involved in an accident or a road rage incident. Our primary duty is to our client and we work very hard to make sure your rights are protected. Call us at 954-356-0006 if you have an issue you would like to discuss with us.

What Happens After a Judgment? Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury AttorneysIn almost any accident-related injury situation, there is usually someone or something that is at fault. It may be a car accident where one driver failed to obey a traffic device or it may be a slip-and-fall accident where a business was negligent by not maintaining a safe environment for customers. Whatever the cause, we are fortunate in this country to have the ability to pursue and then recover damages.

But, just because a court awards a judgement to someone doesn’t mean they will be able to recover. Let’s go to the beginning of the whole process.

1 – A person checks into a hotel and steps into the tub to take a shower. The tub is slippery from a spill of one of the bottles of shampoo, and the guest slips and falls, hitting their head on the hard tile and is seriously injured. The hotel is uncooperative about admitting their contributory negligence, and the victim files a lawsuit.

Before anything happens, there will be a pre-trial phase where motions will be made and a judge will decide if they have merit. These motions will usually involve evidence which may be witness testimony, photographs, or actual pieces of evidence. This information is reviewed so cases with little chance of winning do not clog up the courts.

Note: There have been thousands of incidents like the one described above, and many have failed to go forward due to lack of evidence. If you are ever injured because of someone else’s negligence, it is very important to document what happened the best you can. Take pictures, save evidence, and ask for the names and phone numbers of witnesses. It all helps to build your case.

Once the pre-trial phase is complete and a case moves forward, a trial by judge or jury will be scheduled and if a judgement in favor of the plaintiff (victim) is granted, what happens then?

Personal Injury AttorneysA very important concept to understand is that a judgement has value to a victim if it is collectible. If the defendant has the assets to pay, there is usually not too many problems, but if they don’t it might present a delay. Some defendants may attempt to hide assets and finding them can be difficult.

Interviewing attorneys about their credentials, ability to win cases, and collect judgments is very important when making a decision to hire an attorney who will be able to represent you and fight for your rights.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has earned a sterling reputation for gathering evidence into a clear and convincing cases, and then following through with doing whatever it takes to get clients the help they need. Please call us if you have any questions about how to help if you’ve been hurt in any kind of accident. Our number is 954-356-0006.

Are Self-Driving Cars a Danger to Motorcycles and Pedestrians? Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Who is Responsible When There is no Human Driver?

A near-miss between a self-driving Tesla and a Phoenix motorcycle police officer last year raised eyebrows in the motorcycle community even though there were no damages or injuries.

According to USA Today: The officer, who was in front of the Tesla, stopped for a traffic signal, police said. After also stopping briefly, the Tesla began creeping forward, prompting the officer to jump off his motorcycle and move away. The officer later estimated the car was moving at about three miles per hour, police said. There were no injuries or damage.

Recently The Mercury News reported: General Motors is in a race to be the first company to mass produce self-driving cars, but a recent crash with a San Francisco motorcyclist has illustrated the tricky challenge of assigning blame when an autonomous vehicle gets in an accident.

There are several other incidents in the news, some involving very serious injuries.

Self-driving cars operate using sensors and those sensors are calibrated to “see” cars, trucks, and trees. Obviously they won’t tell the car to slam on the brakes if a pigeon crosses the road, but somewhere between a large truck and a bird is a motorcycle. Are these cars going to be able to detect a motorcycle when one is riding alongside on the highway? Can they detect a dog that may run out in the road?

There have been many reports about hackers that have a ability to break into a driver-less car’s navigation system and remotely disable it. We can’t imagine the panic a person would feel if their car suddenly accelerated on its own as it approached a red light, nor the damage that could be done to people and property.

Floridians have a right to know if these new vehicles are a danger to motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and everyone, and what protection we have if they cause an accident with injuries or worse.

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Self-driving cars may be the future of travel and they may someday be perfected. In the meantime, we will work diligently to help people who are injured in accidents with these vehicles. If you have questions, please contact us at 954-356-0006 and thank you.

Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Why Don’t Drivers See Motorcycles? Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcycle Accident AttorneyIf you speak with a police officer who has investigated a lot of car vs. motorcycle accidents, they will tell you that 90% of the automobile drivers say the same thing about what happened: “I didn’t see him.”

Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Why don’t people see motorcycles? There are several reasons, but first let’s look at the most common types of accidents:

The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Other types are

Unsafe Lane Changes by Cars
Sudden Stops by Cars
Cars and Trucks Running into the Rear of a Motorcycle

What is the most common reason for the above types of accidents?

We opened with this: The single most common reason given by drivers is “I didn’t see the motorcycle.”

Do these drivers have vision problems? Are they careless? Are they distracted? Are they impaired? It could be any or all of these, but a very interesting article in Road and Track magazine says:

The first thing to understand is that our eyes don’t see very much. We tend to think of eyes as cameras, but in reality they are biological devices with considerable limitations. If you could see a raw feed of the image sent to your brain by your eye at any given time, you’d be horrified. It’s mostly blurry, it has a blind spot near the middle, and it’s upside down.

Luckily for us, our eyes are constantly in motion, even when we think we are looking straight ahead. They send several pictures every second to the brain, which then assembles the best and sharpest parts from each picture into a mental image. That’s what we see. When you read the print on this page or screen, your eyes are flicking all over that page or screen, assembling a complete picture that you can then read.

Think of an old-school radar screen. There’s a bright green line that tells you what the radar is seeing at that very moment, and it sweeps in a circle, continually refreshing the screen. Compared with the human eye, the line is the small area it can focus and see at any given time, and the whole screen is the image we have in our minds.

Many motorcyclists think they can stay safe by avoiding the other driver’s “blind spots” and that is a common philosophy, but now that we understand the way the human eye works, combined with the issues of distraction, carelessness, and drunk drivers, isn’t it better to assume everything is the other driver’s blind spot? Isn’t it better to assume you are invisible to every driver?

Rather than being surprised when a driver makes a totally bone-headed move, isn’t it better to expect it? To be prepared for it? Drive like you’re invisible because in reality, you are. We will always promote the “Look Twice, Save a Life” campaigns and we hope they make a difference but all motorcyclists must take the initiative to ride safe.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a motorcycle, please fell free to reach out and ask us questions. Motorcycle accident cases require a special expertise when it comes to understanding the causes and how to pursue compensation for victims. Please call us at 954-356-0006 for a free consultation.

 

 

Can Self-Driving Cars See You on Your Motorcycle? Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Who is Liable for Damages When There is no Human Driver?

Self driving cars are being developed, tested, and put on the road right now and many wonder if they are safe. Can they adequately “see” other cars? And what about bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians? A near-miss between a self-driving Tesla and a Phoenix motorcycle police officer last year raised eyebrows in the motorcycle community even Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyersthough there were no serious injuries.

According to USA Today: The officer, who was in front of the Tesla, stopped for a traffic signal, police said. After also stopping briefly, the Tesla began creeping forward, prompting the officer to jump off his motorcycle and move away. The officer later estimated the car was moving at about three miles per hour, police said. There were no injuries or damage.

Recently The Mercury News reported: General Motors is in a race to be the first company to mass produce self-driving cars, but a recent crash with a San Francisco motorcyclist has illustrated the tricky challenge of assigning blame when an autonomous vehicle gets in an accident.

Self-driving cars operate using sensors and those sensors are calibrated to “see” cars, trucks, and trees. Obviously they should not tell the car to slam on the brakes if a pigeon crosses the road, but somewhere between a car or truck and a bird are motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Are these cars going to be able to detect a motorcycle when one is riding alongside on the highway? Will the sensors detect a child stepping into the street? These are very serious questions and people need to know the answers.

Floridians have a right to know what their rights are if they are involved in an accident with one of these self-driving vehicle.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been working with automobile drivers, truck drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are seriously injured on Florida roads for 25 years. We will do everything possible to make sure you are compensated for injuries and damages when we are on your side. Please call us at 954-356-0006 if you have any questions.