Gregg M. Goldfarb, LLP


Firm Announcements, News and Videos

Posts in Automotive Accidents
New Modes of Transportation: The Liability Issues

Today, certainly in urban and suburban areas, everyone seems to have a new set of electric-powered wheels!  Scooters and bicycles in a variety of shapes and sizes. While adults can power along at 20 mph, more children are turning to foot-powered scooters and all this on top of traditional bicycles which are proliferating via bike-share programs.  Add to this the prospect of semi-autonomous and eventually self-driving vehicles plus drones and the specter of flying cars, getting around is becoming crowded and potentially somewhat out of control.

Injuries as a result of electric bikes and scooters are increasing with use and this is confirmed by studies in the Netherlands and Israel where there has been longer use.  There have also been some notable fatalities with autonomous vehicles.

How safe are these “vehicles” for public use?  Currently, there is no clear answer. Regulators, insurance companies, and bike/scooter rental companies and automobile manufacturers continue to work on the issues.  For the short to medium term, we will clearly be in a major transition stage for personal transportation. As an attorney, I am curious as to how it all will evolve. I wonder how much freedom and control the individual will have versus the autonomous vehicle? What will be the outcome of AI and machine learning when vested with critical decisions – some of which could be life or death? Will people be forced to use autonomous vehicles? How much choice will we have?

Currently, there are no fully autonomous vehicles operating in the U.S. but, several now have features that include lane and speed/distance control, a level of avoidance monitoring and parking assist.  As we pioneer these new forms of transportation some accidents are inevitable.  What is fascinating is that perhaps for the first time, the driver may not necessarily be at the center of the litigation. The software could be implicated, not just in terms of executing a move but, its role in the decision process by which it was determined. Suddenly the law will enter the deep world of AI where the machine begins to learn and modifies and autonomously modifies the original parameters set by the programmers. It may well be that a plaintiff will need to hire a lawyer and a philosopher!

Next month, I will be delving further into these issues in my blog and other social media platforms.

Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay for A Rental Car when Repairs Are Being Made to My Vehicle?

This is one of the most common questions I get presented with. It’s a question, the next time you go and get your auto insurance, that you should ask your insurance agent. This type of coverage is not automatic, and is not mandatory. Unless you obtain this type of coverage, you will not get rental car reimbursement when your car is being repaired.

Can a Private Individual Be Held Accountable if A Drunk Driver Leaves Their Home and Then Injures or Kills Someone?

The answer to that question depends upon the circumstances. Oftentimes a parent will allow their child to have a party at their house, even when the child maybe is in their late teens. If the parents are supplying the liquor or the alcohol or the drugs or they know that people are drinking excessively then they can be held responsible for any damage that the people at the party eventually cause.

Who Will Pay for My Rental Car Following My Florida Car Accident?

This will depend on whether you actually have coverage for this type of insurance. It is not required under Florida law, however, most insurance company’s policies do cover this type of insurance. Any time you get automobile insurance or any other insurance you should speak with your agent and go over every single type of coverage that’s available and every single type of coverage that you think you need.

What Should I Do if I Cannot Afford an Attorney for My Florida Auto Accident Case?

If you are not at fault or you are not primarily at fault, you should be able top find an attorney in Florida or most parts of the United States that will work on what’s called a contingency fee basis where they will take a percentage of the money that they recover for you if they make a recovery. If they do not make a recovery, then you will not have to pay any attorneys fees. That is most of the situations. However, if you do file a lawsuit and you lose, you might actually be responsible for the other driver’s attorneys fees.

What Is the First Thing I Should Do After a Florida Car Accident?

I strongly believe the best thing to do is for you to find a competent attorney and call them up immediately and ask them what you should do. Normally, at the scene of an accident, people have cell phones and they can document the cars, the damage to the cars, both of the vehicles. If you have any blood or if there is any other visible signs that you think support or defend your position, I would take photographs of those because once you leave the scene, it’s hard to go back and recreate what actually happened at the scene. However, if the accident is very, very serious, I would not hesitate to call an attorney from the scene, as most competent attorneys will acknowledge and recognize the severity of the accident and might actually go over to the accident scene themselves and do what’s necessary.

What Is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is a type of insurance that will cover you for any damages that you cause. Those damages might be injuries, medical bills, lost wages, or things of such nature. This is not a required insurance coverage in the state of Florida, however, I recommend that people obtain a certain amount of liability coverage so that, in the event that you cause an accident, you will not have to be responsible for paying out the damages.

What Happens if I Injured Someone in A Florida Car Accident and The Insurance Company Refused to Settle Within My Policy Limits Then a Jury Awards Damages in Excess of My Policy Limits?

Technically speaking you are responsible for any damages over the limits of your policy. However, many insurance companies, especially good insurance companies will basically take care of those damages as well. I would not rely on that, however, during the case oftentimes your insurance company might not want to settle within the policy limits. In that case, oftentimes they will tell you whether they will cover you for any excessive damages, those will be money that’s over and above what your policy limits are. However, you really need to pay attention to what is going on in the case and if you feel like your insurance company is not representing your best interest you might want to hire your own attorney to try to obtain the best result for you, in addition to the attorney that the insurance company has provided for you.