January 23

Right Turn on Red vs. U-Turn – Who has the Right of Way?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

I continue to notice a problem in St. Petersburg that concerns me. At fully controlled intersections, that is to say that all directions of traffic are controlled by traffic signals, I see many near misses between a driver executing a legal u-turn on the green light and a driver attempting to turn right on red. Who has the right of way is the five dollar question. My driving experience in St. Petersburg says that most people believe that the person turning right on red has the right of way. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Florida Statute 316.075 vehicles may execute a u-turn on a green signal as long as there is not signage prohibiting a u-turn at the intersection. The driver executing the u-turn must yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles which are lawfully in the intersection. Likewise, Florida Statute 316.075 permits a driver to make right turn of red if it can be safely accomplished. Essentially, a driver attempting execute a right turn on red must yield to everyone else lawfully within in the intersection. Therefore, screaming, honking and obscene gestures aside, the driver executing a lawful u-turn has the right of way.

There are numerous derivations of the same situation. If there is no signal or sign for the driver making the u-turn, but a stop sign facing the driver attempting to make a right turn, the driver making a legal u-turn still has the right of way. As a general rule, the driver attempting to execute a right turn on red will be at fault for accidents which occur at the intersection involving the right on red driver. The driver attempting to execute a right on red has a duty to make sure that the intersection is free of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and other cars lawfully in the intersection. I know people will complain because it is impossible to discern whether cars in the left turn lane will execute a u-turn or simply make a left turn. It is a good practice when turning right on red to check the traffic approaching from the left, both crosswalks and the left hand turn lane so that you are certain it is safe to proceed with the right turn.

The results of an inattentive driver turning right on red can be devastating. The only logical excuse for accidents caused in this manner is driver impatience. The best result of such an accident is usually a collision with a car making a u-turn. Car accidents with other cars or motorcycles approaching the intersection at full speed can have fatal consequences when the driver executing a right on red failed to do so properly. Collisions with bicycle riders or pedestrians lawfully in the crosswalk will also cause significant and serious injuries to the riders and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, the results of this type of car accident can be devastating and include:

1. Death;
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
4. Disfigurement;
5. Fractured or broken bones; and
6. Neck and back injuries.

Have you been involved in an accident caused by a driver attempting to turn right on red failed to properly yield the right of way? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. It should be a personal decision based upon research and a comfort level with your attorney that is only reached after a face to face meeting with the attorney that will handling your case. Experience the personalized service that you will receive at Jones Law Group.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or operating car or motorcycle and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 22

Texting While Driving – Is it a Bigger Problem than Drinking and Driving?

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

It is illegal to text and drive in Florida. The Pinellas County Sheriff or the St. Petersburg Police are perfectly willing to give tickets, but thus it seems that more people have caused an accident by texting than ticketed prior to an accident. In my opinion, the law is deficient because it allows for too many exceptions of when a driver may text, surf the web, email or use the navigation device. Essentially, drivers can do anything while the car is stopped. Presumably, this would include being stopped at a traffic signal or stop sign. Using your cell phone for navigational purposes while driving is also permitted pursuant to the law.

The leading cause of deaths among teenagers is texting while driving. More teens are killed due to distracted drivers texting than teens are killed by drunk drivers each year. Despite the alarming statistics 50% of teen admit to texting while driving. 75% of teens actually admit to watching video while driving. Studies show that you are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident if you are texting while driving.

Teenagers are not the only distracted drivers on the road. More than 80% of adults admit to texting while driving and nearly half admit to texting and driving regularly. Studies indicate that receiving or sending a text takes, on average, 4.6 seconds. During this time your car can travel the length of a football field or more. Drivers have been trained for years to follow other cars on the road observing the “2 Second Rule.” Drivers, who are following this rule, tend to maintain a 2 second gap between themselves and the next car. Obviously, if the driver of the trailing car is texting while driving that driver may not ever even apply the brakes before causing a traffic accident. Motorcycles, pedestrians and bicyclists have even a greater risk to be struck by a vehicle driven by a distracted driver sending or receiving a text.

Have you been involved in a car or motorcycle accident which you believe you believe may have been caused by a driver texting while driving? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. Would you hire your doctor based upon a TV or Radio Ad? An experienced and qualified personal injury attorney is every bit as important. Hire someone that understands your injuries and will provide you the customer service to which you are entitled.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or operating car or motorcycle and have been victim of distracted driver texting while driving, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 21

Bicycle Accidents and Injuries – Florida is the Most Dangerous State for Cyclists

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

Car vs. Bicycle, the outcome is easy to predict. The cyclist will lose every time in that accident and unfortunately the injuries can be severe. Bicycling in Florida is more dangerous than any other state. In fact, bicyclists in Florida are almost twice as likely to be involved in a fatal bicycle accident as the next most dangerous state for riders.

Pinellas County and St. Petersburg present special challenges to bicyclists. With an average of 361 sunny days per year, almost every day is good for bike riding in St. Petersburg. Pinellas County is also the most densely populated county in Florida, but only has 50 miles of trails available to cyclists to use. Those of us that drive around St. Pete know that most roads do not have bike lanes and those that do have bicycle lanes typically allow on the street parking, right next to the bike lane. While there are many accidents in which a car or truck collides with a bicycle due to a distracted driver or simply failing to notice the cyclist, parked cars present a unique challenge to cyclists who attempt to use the bicycle lane. This hazard is known as “being doored” or “dooring.”

When a cyclist is utilizing the bike lane and a person exits a parked or stopped car without looking for, or noticing the approaching rider, often times the bicycle rider is unable to avoid running into the open door. This is called being doored. There are numerous videos of cyclists being doored and how quickly it can occur. Bicycle accidents also commonly occur when cars drive too close to bicyclists. The injuries suffered by bicyclists can be severe and include:

1. Death;
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
4. Disfigurement;
5. Fractured or broken bones;
6. Nerve damage;
7. Lacerations, contusions and road rash; and
8. Neck and back injuries.

Have you or a loved one been injured in bicycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. Make an appointment today to come in for a free consultation. If you have been involved in bicycle accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

January 20

Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Why You Should Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

By: Heath C. MurphyPersonal Injury

Has anyone told you not to get uninsured motorist coverage on an automobile insurance policy? It is advice that I will convince you is dead wrong by the end of this article. Florida requires that drivers maintain automobile insurance in the amount of $10,000.00 in PIP coverage and $10,000.00 in property damage coverage. That is it. If you are thinking what if someone gets hurt in the accident, the answer is there is no insurance to pay for their injuries. Now imagine that you are driving down 4th Street in St. Pete and as you cross 38th Avenue, a man with the insurance coverage I just described runs the red light and t-bones your car on the driver’s side door. You suffer cuts, bruises, a broken collar bone and a concussion. You are transported to the hospital where you are held overnight for treatment and observation. What is the likely outcome?

First, it is very likely that your bills from the hospital, alone, will exceed $25,000.00. The PIP coverage on your policy will pay 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to a maximum amount of $10,000.00. The at-fault driver’s insurance will not pay for any of your medical bills. Remember he did not purchase bodily injury coverage on his policy. Likewise, it will not pay for pain and suffering or lost wages. Using my example, PIP will pay out $10,000.00, but you will be left holding the bag for the remaining money owed for your medical treatment. Even if you have good health insurance, this bill can quickly run into the thousands of dollars. Without good health insurance, it can force hardworking people into bankruptcy through no fault of their own. This is the result if you rejected the uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on your policy.

If you purchased the uninsured motorist coverage, then your medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages will be paid up the amount of the policy. Your uninsured motorist policy or UM policy will also kick in if the at-fault driver has insurance but is underinsured. At that point, your UM policy will pay the difference between the amount paid by the at-fault driver and your damages, up to the policy limits.

The big decision is how much automobile coverage should I purchase? I recommend maintaining coverage in an amount at least equal to your assets. Dave Ramsey recommends a policy of at least $500,000.00, regardless of your assets. If you maintain that level of insurance for your bodily injury policy that will care for the injuries suffered by others, you should maintain the same for yourself and purchase UM coverage in the same amount. Contrary to popular opinion, adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy is not an extravagance and will not break the bank.

Have you been injured in a car or motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. Your consultation is free and we will drive to meet you anywhere convenient for you.

If you have been involved in motorcycle or car accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

http://jlgtampabay.com/personal-injury/

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