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“IT WAS THEIR FAULT!” BUT…IS IT REALLY THAT SIMPLE?

“IT WAS THEIR FAULT!” BUT…IS IT REALLY THAT SIMPLE?

By: Roman Diveev

            Imagine a car accident where it was not clear as to whether one person or the other was at fault. Each party says “it was their fault.” How does the law try to figure out who is to blame and by how much?

            There exists several different ways in which blame is allocated. Florida follows the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule establishes that a Plaintiff can recover only that percentage of his or her damages that can attributed to the Defendant. In other words, if the Plaintiff seeks $100,000 in damages, Plaintiff is 50% at fault, and the Defendant is 50% at fault, the plaintiff could potentially only recover $50,000. A few more examples are illustrated below.

Damages Sought by PlaintiffPlaintiff’s FaultDefendant’s FaultDamages Recovered by Plaintiff
100,0000%100%100,000
100,00020%80%80,000
100,00050%50%50,000
100,00080%20%20,000

 

            Be warned, however, that there are states which follow different rules. States such Georgia and West Virginia follow a modified comparative negligence rule in which a Plaintiff can only recover damages if the Plaintiff is 49% or less at fault. In other words, if the Plaintiff is equally liable or more liable than the Defendant, the Plaintiff is barred from recovering any damages. For Plaintiffs who are 49% or less liable, recovery is reduced proportionally.

            There exists another variation on the modified comparative negligence rule. States such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey follow a 51% rule. This is a slight difference in that if the Plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover damages at all. Like the previous modified rule, any fault at 50% or less is reduced proportionally.

            A handful of states such as Virginia and North Carolina follow a pure contributory negligence rule. This rule states that if the Plaintiff contributes in any way, be it 50% or 1%, then that Plaintiff is barred from recovering. This particular rule is the most extreme one compared to the others. Less states have chosen to follow this rule because it has the harshest consequences.

            Proving degrees of fault is a rather difficult task. In the end, if a case gets to trial, the jury will have to apportion a percentage of fault to each party. The jury will have to weigh evidence and testimony presented during trial. It is one of the reasons that selecting a good attorney and firm is important. The attorneys at Rue & Ziffra have been handling personal injury cases for 40 years.  If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, call 386-788-7700.  For more information, please visit:   http://www.rueziffra.com/automobile-accidents

Author: Cassandra / Number of views (21) / Comments (0)
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Road Rage

road-rage

Many factors can come into play in the events that lead up to a nasty, if not fatal, auto accident: carelessness, distractions, failing to check your blind spots. Even when you’re focused and doing everything a good driver should, making the common mistake of assuming that the other drivers around you are paying just as much attention to the road as you are, can end up being an unfortunate mistake. Yet, there is one factor that we all sometimes hear about in the news. Though, let’s be honest, we never truly think it will ever happen to us: road rage.

Road rage is a real danger, and it does happen. In large, tourist-filled cities such as nearby Daytona and Orlando, road rage is a growing concern. During a morning and evening commute to and from work, a driver’s stress level can escalate without he or she being aware of it. Whether you have that meeting you’ve been dreading, your child was sick last night, or you had a particularly difficult fight with your spouse, all these factors can have an emotional effect on you. The stresses of your day that may lie dormant as you’re focused on work, can end up manifesting themselves in ways that you may not realize, culminating during a time when your stress level reaches a climax: when you’re behind the wheel.

More often than not, altercations between drivers have nothing to do with personal vendettas against one another, but rather, personal stress often often lies at the heart of the quarrel. This is why we see so many “crimes of passion” in the news, where adults who had no prior knowledge of one another, have been injured or even killed for seemingly senseless reasons. Acknowledging your emotional state and recognizing its cause is the first step to dealing with your stress in a healthy way, before you run the risk of putting others in danger. At Rue & Ziffra, we are in your community, and on your side. Together, let’s help keep our community safe.

Author: Webmaster / Number of views (25) / Comments (0)

Nursing Home Neglect

nursing-home

Our loving, caring, grandmother, grandfather, or even elderly mother or father, lying on a hospital bed, alone and neglected by those in whose care she has been entrusted. It’s not a thought anyone of us wants to have. In fact, our loved ones being left to fend for themselves against negligent doctors or nurses would make anyone cringe or redden with anger. But the reality of the matter is, that neglect in nursing homes happens all too often, and what a tragic and devastating reality it is.

Whether or not a nurse or doctor puts his or her hands on a patient, nursing home neglect can have similar emotionally traumatizing effects for the patient as being physically abused. However, the harm that comes to the patient when he or she is physically abused is intentional, whereas nursing home neglect can happen without the intent of the nurse or doctor in charge. The neglect must, however, involve a breach of duty with foreseeable consequences.

At Rue and Ziffra, we care about you and your family, and that includes those loved ones who cannot care for or fend for themselves. That’s where we come in. We will defend you and your family when you are unable to do so yourself. We will be the voice for those who have lost theirs. When you need help, and you call our offices, you will talk to an actual member of our team, not a call center. When you contact Rue and Ziffra, we are here for you, and you can reach us anytime, day or night. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, let us be your voice. Give us a call today.

Author: Webmaster / Number of views (1) / Comments (0)

Medical Malpractice Cases in the News

medical-malpractice

These days, medical malpractice is becoming an all too-common occurrence. Too often we read in our newspapers or watch on our television sets, stories about doctors and nurses, who should be caring for the sick and the elderly, are being sued due to breach of duty and medical negligence. As recently as this month, a 71 year old woman by the name of Annabelle Glasgow was awarded a whopping settlement of $4.7 million dollars against Dr. Easwaran Balasubramanian. Doctors were forced to amputate poor Ms. Glasgow’s severely infected leg after an incision site from knee surgery performed by Dr. Balasubramanian had festered. Dr. Balasubramanian had ordered Ms. Glasgow released from the hospital after her surgery, despite her complaints of pain, and ignored further complaints from Ms. Glasgow when she went for her follow-up visits. The resulting amputation was devastating to Ms. Glasgow, but unfortunately, many other victims of medical malpractice do not find themselves so lucky as to undergo surgery and live to tell the tale.

There are many cases in the news of medical malpractice, and the accumulating stories often result in the unfortunate and unnecessary death of a loved one. If you find that you or a loved one has been the victim of a doctor or nurse’s breach of duty, and resulting medical practice, give our offices a call today. Here at Rue and Ziffra, we care for those who cannot care for themselves. We are in your community, and on your side, and we make it our duty to speak up and fight for victims of medical malpractice. We strive to make ourselves available to you 24/7.

Author: Webmaster / Number of views (20) / Comments (0)

October Newsletter – Road Debris Hazards

road

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, there is an abundance of debris on the roadsides and roadways. Motorists need to be aware of the hazards road debris can present.

The most common ways that road debris may contribute to accidents is by either:

• Causing a driver to lose control of his vehicle; or

• Being launched by the tires of a car into the windshield of another vehicle.

If an item in the roadway is particularly large, it may also necessitate sudden braking by an approaching driver or require drivers to change lanes, increasing the risk of a collision.

Most drivers have personal experience with having a stone or object strike their windshield, an event that can be very surprising and distracting. In some cases the object will go through the car window, and even strike the driver or another occupant.
A Florida woman lost control of her SUV when she swerved to avoid hitting a tire tread in the middle of the interstate. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, when the woman over-compensated, the SUV overturned before stopping in an upright position. The driver was killed; two passengers were flown to an area hospital in serious condition.
Many causes of auto accidents are due to road debris which can include tree branches, shredded tires, lumber, small objects that fly off other vehicles, and much more. Each can be deadly if encountered on a roadway by a vehicle. The latest report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that not only is road debris a serious and deadly problem, it’s one that is increasing in prevalence.
Swerving to avoid the debris is a common reaction, but it can also be more devastating than hitting the object. Even though hitting the debris may cause damage to your vehicle or injuries to you, swerving into another lane or off the road can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and strike another vehicle or object such as a guardrail.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
What should you do if you are injured in a motor vehicle crash as a result of road debris?

• First, call the police and seek emergency medical care if necessary.

• Second, if you are able to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle carrying the items that became road debris, report the license plate number to the police. Third, photograph the actual debris that caused the accident and the damage to your vehicle.

• Last, contact an attorney and report the accident to your car insurance company. Even if you are unable to identify the vehicle that created the road debris that caused the crash, you may have car insurance that provides coverage for the injuries you sustained.

Beware on Construction Debris on I-4

In a recent report on airing on local television station, WFTV Channel 9, dozens of drivers are claiming the construction work on the I-4 Ultimate project has left them with big repair bills.

More than 60 car owners claim their car was damaged because of something they drove over or hit in the 21-mile work zone. Wheel alignments, and damaged struts and tires are among the repairs cited.

A repair shop employee told Channel 9, customers driving off I-4 are frustrated with the traffic and the damage they said it’s doing to their cars.
“Lots of times it’s uneven pavement that they’ve hit, the wear and tear of the road the way it is,” the employee said.
Based on the list Channel 9 obtained from the Florida Department of Transportation, more than 60 drivers have tried to get the contractor to foot the bill.
A majority of the claims were for damage from potholes, nails or road debris, but only a quarter of the claims were reimbursed.
So far, more than $11,000 has been paid out.
Saying your car was damaged on I-4 is one thing, but proving it is another.
The I-4 Ultimate website shows drivers need documents, such as photos, police reports, witness statements and patrol logs, if a road ranger helped the driver.
According to the employee, they didn’t know drivers could get money if they could prove the damage was caused on I-4, and they plan to tell drivers who come through their shop about it.
The employee said, “It’s good business for us, but bad for the customer who has to deal with that.”
I-4 Ultimate officials said the contractor is required to patrol and repair the roadway when potholes open.

Author: Webmaster / Number of views (9) / Comments (0)
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