Rider Seriously Injured in I-10 Motorcycle Accident

On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, a tractor-trailer travelling westbound on I-10 in Leon County experienced a tire blowout on one of the tires attached to the cab.  The blowout occurred near mile marker 211 in the outside lane.  Unfortunately, in that same lane, a motorcycle being driven by 66-year-old Lonnie Jennings of Tennessee was following behind.

Mr. Jennings attempted to avoid the tire debris as it shot out from underneath the truck and towards his motorcycle, but he was unable to steer around it or brake in time.  The motorcycle slid over up onto the north shoulder of the highway where it finally came to rest.  The truck came to a safe stop roughly a quarter of a mile from where the tire blowout occurred.  Mr. Jennings was transported via ambulance to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with severe injuries.

When riding a motorcycle, or driving a car for that matter, in close proximity to a tractor-trailer, always be aware of your surroundings and the possibility of a tire blowout.  Tractor-trailers are often fitted with retreaded tires that are more susceptible to blowing out and coming apart, leaving dangerous debris on the roadway.  That is why it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and be alert.  It is our position that liability exists for this accident.

For further discussion on this topic or any other, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com


Fort Lauderdale Residents Arrested for PIP Fraud Following Staged Accident

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud announced on Monday the arrests of Kendrick Callins and Lashaunda Gibbs of Fort Lauderdale.  The pair has been accused of staging an auto accident for the purposes of personal injury protection insurance fraud.

The investigation by the Dept. of Insurance Fraud, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other local law enforcement agencies, revealed that the two had allegedly organized and participated in a staged accident that occurred in September of 2012.

Callins and Gibbs are also thought to have recruited other participants, who intentionally drove a rented moving truck into a passenger vehicle owned by the pair.  Following the collision, fraudulent insurance claims were submitted to their respective insurers who paid the claims.  Both Callins and Gibbs each face a maximum sentence of 25 years for their part in the fraudulent activity.

PIP insurance, while extremely important and valuable to South Florida drivers, is also an area of insurance that has been hailed as potentially ripe for fraud.  While there has been some alleged fraud committed against insurance companies in the past regarding PIP coverage, it has been in significant decline over the last several years, which is great news for Florida residents.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com

Company Pays Truck Driver $14 Million for Negligence

An Alabama man who was paralyzed in a frightening tractor-trailer accident was originally awarded $18.79 million in a lawsuit against the company that had recently serviced his trucking equipment days earlier.

However, due to an agreement reached by lawyers prior to the jury’s decision, Mr. Lacy will receive $14 million.  Pursuant to the award, Empire Truck Sales agreed to pay at least $2 million and no more than $14 million, even if the jury ended up finding for the defense.  Lacy is due to receive the portion of the money being paid by Empire within thirty days.

Mr. Lacy spent over two months in the hospital.  His attorney, Greg Allen, said that his client will be wheelchair-bound for the remainder of his life.  Lacy’s girlfriend, who had been with him for only a couple of weeks prior to the accident, has remained by his side and helped care for him.  Mr. Allen said this settlement will allow Mr. Lacy to customize his home and provide him with income since the accident robbed him of his livelihood.

Mr. Lacy was driving his rig to a job site in Florida in July 2011, when he lost control of his truck west of Tallahassee.  When Mr. Lacy attempted to slow the vehicle, the anti-lock brake system failed.  According to allegations made by Mr. Lacy’s lawyers, Empire Truck Sales had serviced the vehicle the previous month but had left a lateral control rod detached.  Three days before the accident, Mr. Lacy noticed the truck vibrating and returned it to the dealership where the company failed to repair the defect.

Despite Alabama having joint and several liability laws in cases such as this, because the accident took place in Florida, its state law applied and jurors were instructed what portion of blame belonged to which parties.  Empire Truck Sales was found to be 80% liable of the accident.

Weston and Fort Lauderdale accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks carry with them added complexity.  It is important that if you find yourself in a collision with a tractor-trailer, be sure to consult an experienced and skillful Fort Lauderdale trucking accident personal injury attorney to make sure that your interests are competently represented.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com

“The Faces of Brain Injury” Exhibition Featured at Florida State Capitol

The Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc. (“BIAF”) survivors and their caregivers put on “The Faces of Brain Injury” exhibition at Florida’s State Capitol as one of the activities used to educate and heighten awareness of the needs of survivors of traumatic brain injuries during the month of March, which is National Brain Injury Awareness Month.

To read the full article click here.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com


Two Killed in Weston Rollover Accident

Two Naples residents were killed, and five others injured, when a 2004 Ford Expedition had its tire separate from the tread, causing the driver, St. Pierre Mellien, 63, to lose control of the vehicle on I-75 in Weston.

Mellien, who died in the accident, made his living driving people to various destinations, however, he was not certified to operate a vehicle-for-hire service in his home of Collier County.  Mellien, a father to seven children, was pronounced dead at the scene as first responders fought to reach him inside the vehicle.

Mellien, a Seventh-Day Adventist Church member began driving people in his native country of Haiti, helping them move or taking them to church.  When he came to South Florida, he continued this occupation, though sometimes, he would drive people without pay.

Collier County only regulates pick-up services in the county, meaning that a licensed or unlicensed taxi driver from another county who drives to Collier County to drop a passenger off does not have to abide by the local regulations.  In Collier County, any paid-for rides must be done through a certified vehicle-for-hire service.

Drivers must be certified by the county to make pick-ups within the county, they must have commercial drivers insurance and they must undergo background checks.  Though, in Collier County many drivers operate without being certified, usually charging cheaper fees.  It’s a service often used by people who cannot afford higher fares or are unable drive.

While the allure of cheaper fares for hired drivers can be attractive for those who utilize these services, it is important to inquire as to whether or not somebody who is performing a professional service, such as driving passengers, is properly licensed and insured.  Even companies like Uber, who are gaining popularity locally for their convenience and low prices, are technically operating illegally in many areas.  It is critical that before using these services you ensure that even if a service like this is operating outside of the bounds of the law that there will still be insurance coverage available to you in the event of an accident.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com.

Man Brings Body to Lawyer’s Office, Confesses to Killing

John Marshall drove his dead neighbor’s body to his attorney’s office, claiming he was forced to kill the neighbor in apparent self-defense.  Marshall transported his neighbor’s body from Bokeelia in the bed of his pickup truck, and spent the majority of Wednesday hiding out in the Harris Law Firm.

Suffering from injuries that allegedly were inflicted during the struggle, Marshall left his lawyer’s office wearing a black jacket over his head at around 10:30 p.m. and proceeded to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Marshall told Harris that he had wrestled the gun away from the other man and shot him during a fight earlier that day.  Marshall suffered a swollen lip, a missing tooth, another chipped tooth and two broken thumbs.  Marshall maintained that he had brought the man to the attorney’s office because he didn’t know who else he could trust.

The two men had allegedly been in some type of dispute over property work in Bokeelia.  Marshall had called his attorney days before the incident saying he feared for his safety.  The lawyers advised him to obtain a restraining order.  Harris opined that this was a clear-cut case of self-defense.

Marshall does have a pending assault charge.  Harris said that Marshall told him that he remembered little about the fight or the 30-mile drive to Harris’s law office.  The Lee County Sherriff’s Office said only that investigators were looking into the death and would not elaborate.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com

Florida Accident Kills 2-Year-Old, Injures 10, Driver Facing DUI Charge

A 24-year-old woman is now being charged with DUI manslaughter after allegedly causing a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 75.  According to Florida Highway Patrol, a 2-year-old passenger was killed and the driver and 10 other passengers, including eight children, were injured in the collision.

On Saturday, Shameka L. Jones was driving a Ford Expedition northbound on I-75 when she drove into the shoulder, went airborne, overturned several times and struck numerous trees.  Jones was in the vehicle with two other adults and nine children, ranging in age from 6 months to 10 years.

Jones, who was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, was listed in serious condition.  The 6-month-old was also listed in serious condition, while the other surviving children were treated for minor injuries.

FHP noted that Shameka Jones will be facing charges of DUI manslaughter, nine counts of DUI with injuries, and one count of DUI with serious injury.

Shameka Jones proves to be yet another cautionary tale in the risks of driving under the influence.  Aside from the knowledge that operating a vehicle under the influence is always dangerous, it is important to be aware of other drivers on the road who may not take this risk as seriously.  Stay alert and avoid being in close proximity with anyone you think may be under the influence, or who appears to be operating their vehicle in any type of erratic fashion.

Additionally, it is critical to be sure that your insurance coverage allows you to be cared for in the event that someone decides to take this risk.  Driving under the influence often voids coverage, so having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, in addition to your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, will allow you to have peace of mind in the event that another driver causes a collision.  This means that regardless of their coverage, you will have access to additional benefits for any medical costs you are forced to incur.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com



Apparent Abuse of Helpful Personal Injury Insurance

Three individuals were arrested by the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud for the operation of an unlicensed medical clinic that was an integral part of a wider personal injury protection (PIP) fraud scheme, according to officials.

Unity Pain and Injury Center was allegedly owned by Dr. Lherisson Domond of South Florida, from February to December 2012, but the clinic was operated by several unlicensed individuals who purportedly offered to pay Dr. Domond upwards of $1,500 a month for the use of his name.

The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud conducted the investigation which revealed that the clinic illegally provided medical treatment and other therapies to individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents.  The treatments were then billed to various insurance companies under the PIP coverage of each patient’s policy.

Domond has admitted to entering into the agreement to be paid for the use of his name in the scheme.  The investigation also revealed that Nesly Loute and Pierre Alex Herisse, hired clinic staff and managed its operations.

The three individuals face felony fraud charges, operating an unlicensed clinic and grand theft that could carry sentences up to 30 years.

Here again we see a well-publicized case regarding the prevalence of alleged PIP fraud in Florida.  As we have discussed before, however, PIP fraud has been an issue in decline, especially in South Florida, since the passage of new legislation in 2012.  It is important that those who are injured in a motor vehicle accident be cognizant of the treatment they seek from various medical providers.  These individuals are often shaken up and might miss some of the warning signs that may point to an allegedly unlicensed practitioner.

This is just one of many reasons why you should consult a personal injury attorney with integrity and experience in these matters, if you find yourself injured in a motor vehicle accident.  Not only will a skilled attorney be able to assist you in recovering the compensation you may rightfully be entitled to from the insurance companies involved, they can also provide counsel as to who may be well regarded sources of medical treatment, and at the very least, be a calming voice in a turbulent time.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the The Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com

Lead Lawyers Appointed in Class Action Lawsuit

In a recent Federal Court Order, lawyers from around the United States were chosen to lead numerous lawsuits involving alleged injuries from the drug Xarelto.

These lawsuits are filed against the manufacturer of Xarelto, Janssen Pharmaceutical, and the co-marketer, Bayer Healthcare.  According to the pleadings, these companies failed to warn patients and physicians about the increased risks of irreversible and fatal internal bleeding.  Plaintiffs allege that if these risks had been disclosed that doctors and patients alike would have opted to use the drug Warfarin, as an alternative.

Xarelto itself, is a blood-thinner that has been widely prescribed to prevent blood clotting resulting from certain blood, heart and other disorders.  The drug has generally prescribed as an alternative to Warfarin.

The potential side effect in question, severe internal bleeding, has no known antidote to reverse the bleeding.  Other potential injuries caused by Xarelto include blood clots; hematoma; peripheral edema; and difficulty breathing, among others.

If you are, or have, taken the drug Xarelto, it is critical that you attempt to avoid activities that could result in you being cut, bruised, or from bleeding in any way.  Further, make sure to inform all of your medical providers, including your dentist, of your use of Xarelto, especially prior to having any medical or dental procedures performed.

For further information or discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the The Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com

Time to Check Your Insurance Coverage – Hit-and-Run Accidents on the Rise in Florida

Law enforcement officials around the state of Florida are claiming that hit-and-run accidents are increasing rapidly, and it’s cause for alarm.  In response, a new campaign is being launched to let drivers know that leaving the scene of an accident can result in stiffer penalties.

Florida had more than 80,000 hit and run accidents last year and those including fatalities increased by almost 25% between 2013 and 2014.  Nearly half of the fatality victims over that time period were pedestrians, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  In response, the agency will be hosting press conferences throughout the state to help educate drivers on the consequences of leaving the scene of an accident.

Governor Scott signed a law in 2014 that toughens the penalties for leaving the scene, making it a second-degree felony and one that carries a mandatory four-year sentence for a driver convicted of fleeing a fatal crash and could result in the revocation of a person’s driving license for three years.

Law enforcement officials encourage all of those involved in an accident to call authorities, remain calm, get vehicle, witness and driver information, diagram the scene to assist officers in visualizing the collision and help any injured parties.

This documented increase in hit-and-run collisions is yet another reason to assess your insurance coverage to ensure that you have adequate protection.  If you find yourself involved in one of these situations, the reason for someone fleeing very likely could be that they lack insurance.  This is why it is critical to carry med-pay, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (stacked) on your policy (as well as an umbrella policy that has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage), to make certain that in addition to your PIP coverage, you will have additional monies to rely on, if you require medical treatment that exceeds your PIP limits.

If you or someone you care for has been involved in an accident, please consider contacting our experienced attorneys for a consultation.

The Schulman Law Group – (954) 349-3300 or at info@schulaw.com