Car Accident

What to Do If You Are in an Accident While Ridesharing with Uber or Lyft

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In a paper titled “The cost of convenience”, a researcher at the University of Chicago was able to conclude that there was a rise in accidents in around 1100 locations whose data was analyzed, and in these areas, Rideshare, Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services were available. This rise in accidents can be attributed to these ridesharing services, and roughly cost over $10 billion in losses to the economies annually.

The common assumption was that with the ride-hailing services present, there would be a decrease in car accidents since there would be less drunk driving, driving while tired or any other form of distracted driving. However, in the areas surveyed, an increase of 2-4% in car accidents was observed. The reason for this increase in car accidents is that there is a vast number of vehicles on the roads.

The ride-hailing services require many vehicles so as to satisfy the demand of customers traversing the territories, which in itself increases the chances of accident occurrence. Although there are merits to having ridesharing services, these advantages are canceled out by the disadvantages of having many vehicles on the road.

Rideshare & Safety

Further, the ridesharing services are not entirely safe; the drivers rely on GPS and mobile phone applications so as to operate, which involves taking their eyes off the road every now and then. These drivers are always on the rush to their next destination, and also stop abruptly on roads to pick and drop off passengers, and this may also contribute to the occurrence of the increased accidents.

Around the United States, there have been many accidents that involve ride share, Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services. For instance, a woman was struck and killed by an Uber driver in North Philadelphia in the wee hours of the morning.  In another incident in Florida, an Uber passenger was killed when the car he was riding in ran a red light and struck a police car that was speeding through the intersection. In an accident involving a Lyft vehicle, a passenger was killed in Sacramento, California, after the vehicle veered off the road and hitting a tree.

With the incidence of accident on the rise, it is therefore important for passengers, pedestrians and other road users to know what to do in the event they are involved in an accident. The Rideshare, Uber and Lyft apps do not explicitly give instructions on what passengers should do when an accident occurs, other than giving the basics to their drivers; calling 911 and ensuring that the passengers are okay.

Rideshare Companies And You as a Passenger

As a passenger, it is important to gather as much information about the crash as possible. First, it is important to get the Rideshare, Lyft or Uber driver’s name, their address and phone number, which may already be available on the app. Second, it is important to get the other driver’s name, address, and phone number as well. Third, one should collect insurance information from both drivers, and their vehicle information-car license plate numbers, car make, color and so forth. It is also important to collect the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses.

If possible, the passenger should take pictures and notes regarding any car damage, injuries and any other relevant aspect of the accident. Having this information goes a long way in resolving the accident and ensuring that adequate compensation is received.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you are injured in an accident. Then contact Vanguard Attorneys to ensure that all your rights and options are protected moving forward. Vanguard Attorneys is a local Tampa, FL law firm that has been serving the community for years. Call now for your free consultation with an attorney.

view of bayshore drive in tampa florida at dusk

Traffic Safety Measures on Tampa’s Bayshore Blvd

By | Automotive Safety, Car Accident, Pedestrian Accidents, Traffic Law | No Comments

In May 2018, a mother and toddler were tragically hit and killed by a speeding motorist along Tampa’s scenic Bayshore Boulevard. This senseless and unspeakable loss of life inspired cries for a more pedestrian-friendly roadway. These concerns were recently heard at a city council meeting where Bayshore Boulevard was discussed. The popular roadway, favored by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike, has been under the microscope after the terrible incident on May 23rd. While it seems like changes can’t come soon enough, fortunately, the city has elected to make multiple changes in a 3 phase project, with efforts aimed at making this busy boulevard a safer place for the community.
Bayshoure Boulevard

Speed Is an Issue

Bayshore Boulevard is a scenic stretch of roadway that runs along Hillsborough Bay in Tampa, Florida. It’s a popular choice for commuters and pedestrians because of its proximity to the water and its long – and mostly straight – stretches of road. The speed limit was recently lowered from 40 miles per hour to 35 in an effort to reduce dangerous speeding. In addition to the speed reduction, the city has also replaced the signage with new, more visible markers in addition to painting the new speed limits onto the roadway itself.

This certainly isn’t enough to deter people from racing along the roadway, which was the cause of the accident that took place in May. A mother was pushing her 2-year-old daughter along in a stroller when the incident happened. Three people were arrested after the collision, being charged with street racing, reaching speeds of 102 miles per hour. In an effort to reduce these kinds of reckless driving events, the city is also going to be narrowing the lanes, creating a wider, more buffered bike path. As the roadway narrows and the bike path is widened, traffic should naturally slow. At least that is the intended result. Both lowering the speed limits and narrowing the roadways should improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians that continue to take in the beautiful scenery offered by the boulevards alternative travel methods.

Lighted Crosswalks

Lighted Crosswalks

Expected to be finished in October, the city is also installing several lighted, pedestrian-activated crosswalks, something many community members feel has been sorely missing and long overdue. Adding several more crosswalks is still under consideration as these improvements continue their development.

Other Improvements

Conspicuity plaques, or signs that inform motorists of road rules, are also being placed along the roadway to promote safety awareness. The city is also working to fix the sidewalk gaps that exist on the west side of Bayshore Boulevard, increasing the pedestrian safety along the walkway. As part of the 3 phase implementation of this project, the city is planning to add more bike lanes south to Gandy Boulevard, providing cyclists more commuting options.

More Work Still To Be Done

Bayshore Boulevard is hardly the only dangerous roadway in Tampa, as many citizens pointed out at the recent city council meeting. Bay to Bay Boulevard is yet another dangerous and crowded route. In any case, the city is taking action and considering more alternatives as a way to make the city safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. As Tampa continues to grow, the safety of the people that inhabit the city becomes ever more crucial, especially on the roadways which are increasingly dangerous. What’s clear is that it shouldn’t take a tragic loss of life for the city to take action. Bayshore Boulevard has long been dangerous to those that travel on it. It remains to be seen if these new changes will reduce accidents, but it’s a start for a roadway that has long needed more safety improvements.

SUV sitting on a road with sunset in the background

Tampa Car Accident Attorney

By | Car Accident, Traffic Law | No Comments

Have you recently been injured in an auto accident in the state of Florida? Are you searching for a Tampa personal injury attorney? This article will help you determine whether you should hire a lawyer to represent you, what you should look for when considering an attorney, and what your expectations for your representation should be.

At The Scene Of The Accident

If you’ve just been in a collision, take a deep breath and do the following before anything else:

  • Move To Safety – If the incident is of minor damage and your vehicle is near traffic, move the vehicle out of harm’s way and turn on your flashers.
  • Call For Help – Dial 911 and wait for help.
  • Gather Information – Take down the other driver’s information, including license plate and telephone numbers, registration, and insurance documentation. Take lots of photos, both of damage to the vehicle and to the surrounding scene.
  • Do Not Admit Fault – Be mindful of what you say immediately after an accident, and do not apologize. An apology can be taken as an admission of fault and will be used against you during litigation.

Do You Need Representation?

If the extent of the damages are minimal and you’re able to settle the dispute on your own, the answer is usually no. If, however, there is serious personal injury and you fear the insurance claim from the other driver may not cover the extent of the damages, you should consider hiring an attorney. When in doubt, it’s always wise to consult with an attorney and begin inquiring about the details of your insurance claim. In any case, be sure to keep detailed records of hospital visits, bills and any other conditions that are a direct result of your accident.

Services A Lawyer Will Provide

During the challenging time that follows being involved in an accident, the last thing you may want to do is arrange documents and investigate the details of your accident. By hiring an attorney, you can expect that they will handle keeping your information organized while you recover. Consider that a lawyer will investigate your case, attaining the following documents to build a successful personal injury case on your behalf. Police reports, traffic video or photo, the 911 call recording, witness statements, physical injuries, medical records and driver history, both yours and the other party’s records, will all be collected and organized. Once the comprehensive information from your case is compiled your attorney will use the information to draft a demand letter addressed to the defendant, which will claim the financial total of the damages owed. Your lawyer will then negotiate on your behalf in order to get you the largest settlement possible.

Types Of Damages

The types of damages you will claim typically fall into two categories:

  • Special – These types of damages are usually economical ones. For example, medical bills, lost wages and property damage are all special damage claims.
  • General – These damages are referred to as non- economic suffering. Mental anguish, physical pain, emotional damage, and loss of companion are all considered general damages.

In the case of a special damage claim, documents can be assembled to substantiate your claim. A general damages claim, however, can be more difficult to prove so it is important to have a conversation about this with your attorney at the beginning stages of working together.

What To Consider

When looking for a personal injury attorney, the following qualities are of utmost importance:

  • Licensed to practice in your state
  • Specializes in personal injury law
  • Has experience negotiating
  • Has trial experience

Personal injuries suffered in an auto accident can have permanent effects that are costly and, in some cases, debilitating. Insurance companies by nature will want to pay as little as possible. Hiring an attorney to defend you and get you the compensation you deserve will have a lasting effect, allowing you to move on and put a terrible incident behind you.

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Seat Belt Malfunctions Cause Thousands of Fatalities Each Year

By | Car Accident, Personal Injury | No Comments

Seat belts save thousands of lives each year, but only when they function properly. For as many people as they save, there are still thousands of people who are injured or lose their lives as a result of a seat belt malfunction. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that approximately three million people are injured each year due to seat belt failures, and 40,000 people lose their lives. Experts have found that seat belt failure is one of the leading cases of serious injury in rollover accidents.

Seat belt defects may include the following:

  • Lap-only designs
  • Door mounted belts
  • Seat belt retractor failure
  • Material or weaving defects
  • Poor design
  • False latching
  • Inertial unlatching

The following are signs that a seat belt is defective:

  • A seat belt is torn or damaged after an accident
  • A passenger wearing a seat belt suffers injuries in an accident with little damage to the vehicle
  • A passenger wearing a seat belt hits the windshield or is ejected from the vehicle during an accident
  • An injured passenger is unbelted during an accident when they were belted prior to the collision
  • More than one seat belted passenger suffers serious injury in an accident

Vanguard Attorneys Specializes in Seat Belt Failure Cases

The Tampa personal injury lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys specialize in handling car accident cases involving seat belt malfunctions. When handling car accident cases, we utilize the testimony of expert witnesses in order to prove your case. With more than 50 years of combined experience and a history of satisfactory results, we know what it takes to prove even the most complex cases. By utilizing efficient and cutting-edge legal strategies, we are able to maximize our clients’ recoveries and secure favorable results both outside and inside of court. If you’ve been hurt, now is the time to give us a call. Don’t put just any accident attorney on your side – turn to a team you can trust!

To get in touch with a member of the team at Vanguard Attorneys, please contact us at (813) 471-4444.

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Attorney Elizabeth Munro Presents at the Senior Summit at Big Country Preps

By | Car Accident, Drunk Driving | No Comments

Recently, our team of Tampa personal injury lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys participated in Big County Preps’ inaugural Senior Summit in Ybor City. During this seminar, high school seniors and their parents attended in order to gain knowledge from four experts regarding state laws, financial management, media, and NCAA compliances. For each category, the speaker with expertise in that particular field provided specific information and answered a variety of questions asked by the students and their parents.

Our very own Attorney Elizabeth Munro led the discussion regarding state laws. During her speech, she discussed why it is important for young persons to abide by the laws put in place by the state. In addition, she shed light on the lifelong consequences that can occur when young persons do not follow laws put in place to protect individuals. She focused much of her presentation on DUI related matters and used images of DUI collisions involving University of South Florida students to depict the severity of such accidents.

In addition, Ms. Munro explained that any students wishing to pursue an education in pre-law risk their educations and potential careers when making poor decisions such as getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. She stated that these types of decisions may not only lead to arrests and heavy fines, but they can cause haunting effects as well.

Vanguard Attorneys Is Here to Protect Our Community

At Vanguard Attorneys, our Tampa legal team is dedicated to standing by the sides of those injured in serious accidents. That is why our team takes every opportunity to spread awareness about harmful choices, such as drunk driving, and the lasting effects these decisions can have on a person’s life. Because we are truly passionate about protecting the rights of accident victims, our Tampa personal injury lawyers work diligently to ensure we have the resources, skills, and knowledge it takes to obtain successful results on behalf of our clients.

If you or someone you love is involved in an accident, get in touch with a Tampa personal injury attorney from Vanguard Attorneys right away. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients!

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Head-on collision leaves Zephyrhills woman dead

By | Car Accident | No Comments

On Friday, September 20th, an early North Tampa car accident held up morning commuters and resulted in a single fatality. Two cars collided head-on at Morris Bridge Road and Pictoral Park Drive.

According to information provided by detectives, the head-on collision took place early in the morning around 4:00am. A Honda Accord headed northbound on Morris Bridge Road when it drifted off the road, crossed the safe zone median, and entered oncoming southbound lanes. The Honda struck a southbound Ford Explorer head-on.

Hillsborough County Fire Heavy Rescue Unit crews worked to cut the driver out of the wreckage. The vehicle’s sole occupant, Rita Marie Sutliff of Zephyrhills, was pronounced dead on the scene by emergency responders.

The driver of the Ford Explorer, Kunjummen Arun Babu, was taken by paramedics to a nearby hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. As Hillsborough County detectives worked to sort through the accident scene details, Pasco County deputies arrived to help control Friday morning traffic.

County detectives told reporters that both drivers had been wearing their seat belts and that each car was travelling at about 50 miles per hour. According to accident report details, authorities had ruled out any impairment from drugs or alcohol and determined they were not a contributing factor in the crash.

Authorities were unable to determine whether the deceased driver fell asleep at the wheel or experienced any health complications in the seconds leading up to the collision. The cause of the crash is pending further investigation.


WFLA Tampa

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Kia recalls around 209,000 cars in the US due to accelerator issue

By | Car Accident | No Comments

Faulty accelerator pedals have recently forced Kia Motors to recall approximately 209,000 cars in the United States. The cars recalled are solely Soul compact cars, whose accelerator pedals have been reported to break or bend with increased pressure over time.

A correspondent closely linked with Hyundai Motors, the proprietor of Kia Motors, reported that the 209,000 cars recalled were from the 2014 and 2015 electric and gasoline lines of the Kia Soul. Due to the lack of support that the specific cars have received involving the malfunctioning accelerator pedals, Kia issued a recall. According to the U.S. national Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the pedals caused drivers problems with acceleration of the vehicle and maintaining speed. The problem undoubtedly increases the likelihood of a car accident.

“If the vehicle has a bent or broken accelerator pedal, the driver may have difficulty accelerating the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash,” said NHTSA in a summary of the recall.

Twelve different claims had been reported to Kia as of February 24th, but even sooner had Kia already sent some of the fractured pedals to South Korea for evaluation. Although no accidents due the malfunctioning pedal have yet been reported, the tests concluded that the pedals needed proper adjustments. Kia plans to add a supporting rubber beneath the accelerator pedal at no costs, which can be taken care of at local Kia dealerships.

The recall officially began on March 24th. So if you or anyone you know happens to own a Kia Soul manufactured within the last two years, please make a scheduled appointment with the Kia dealership. Any other information regarding the recall or Kia specific can be taken care of by contacting Kia’s customer service line at 1-800-333-4542.


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Community of Spoto Rallies Behind Girl Who Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury

By | Brain Injuries, Car Accident | No Comments

When the people of Spoto found out about the unforeseen car accident on Lee Roy Selmon Expressway that left Tyra Janelle Brown, 18, fighting for her life, they came together for the cause. Brown suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her in a catatonic state, as her parked car, according to Florida Highway Patrol, was struck by another vehicle. She rode with Makayla Anne Harrell and Brittany O. Jackson early on January 11, when the car needed to be curbed due to a flat tire. As they waited for AAA, alongside the interstate, a driver lost control of his car and hit the girls. Although all three of the girls were injured in the accident, only Tyra Brown’s injuries were life threatening.

By word of mouth of Brown’s harrowing condition, three-quarters of the 1,400 students that make up Spoto High School gathered around the school’s flagpole on a solemn Monday morning last month in her honor. After the short ceremonial pause, the students made their way back to class.

“Not one student was late to class,” said Spoto math teacher Wendy Smith, fighting back tears. “I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve taught since 1980.”

“Tyra is a wonderful, wonderful student,” said Smith, who has taught Brown for three years and spoke on behalf of her family. “She’s a wonderful girl, a wonderful role model. She’s just great. The kids all like her.”

Through her rather prolific high school career, Brown captained the cheerleading squad, served in student government, and became a member of the National Honor Society. In her sparse free time, she even visited with some of the students affected by autism, at times dancing with them. By the time of her accident, she had gained admission to the University of South Florida and University of Central Florida, planning to eventually become a pediatric nurse.

The incident has undoubtedly affected the school, but most importantly, it has brought strain to her family. Her single mother, Cynthia Leeks, Frost Elementary School teacher, has already used all her sick days sitting at her daughter’s bed. Teachers at Spoto and Frost are trying to give their sick days to Cynthia. Now, Tyra has been moved to Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a hospital that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries. Unfortunately, the hospital can only provide Cynthia an apartment for thirty days. So, in accordance to the altruistic nature at Spoto High School, the students have organized spirit nights at local restaurants and a 5k run to raise money.

“They don’t know what to do but they want to do something, anything,” Smith said. “They’re special kids. They don’t understand why this has happened.”

Source: Tampa Bay Times

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How much is a personal injury case really worth?

By | Car Accident | No Comments

To fully evaluate how much a personal injury case is worth, whether suffered through a car accident or some other injury, one must consider the significance of the damages due to the injury. These damages relate to the amount of money, whether monetarily, physically, or mentally, the victim loses or will lose because of the injury. In most injury cases, the victim, or plaintiff, receives compensation by those found legally responsible for the accident. Usually, a damage reward is agreed upon after negotiations between the insurance companies and attorneys, or is ordered by a judge after a court trial.

Because most personal injury lawsuits are classified as “compensatory”, which implies that the injured plaintiff will be compensated monetarily for the injury, most of the time is spent looking for a nominal amount to partially rectify the damage. Although some of the components are easily quantifiable, such as bills for property damage or medical treatment, others such as mental anguish or physical limitations are difficult to define in money.

There are different types of compensatory damages that are common in these cases. The first, medical treatment contains all the medical care costs associated with the injury, whether it is treatment you have already received or treatment you will receive. Another deals with the amount of income the victim will lose because of his or her inability to work due to the injury. Property lose also come into play during a personal injury case. Vehicles, clothing, or other items irreparably damaged during an accident will likely be compensated. Although there are a myriad of other potential damages, the last major factor deals with emotional suffering ranging from loss of enjoyment to emotion distress. The ability to calculate in dollars the fear, anxiety, and depression correlated with personal injuries can be understandably difficult. The degree of damage is taken into consideration, and luckily, the array of details is carefully factored into the equation when considering the extensive damage done to a victim’s life.

Lastly, there are extenuating circumstances such as punitive damage or the plaintiff’s actions that could further the case’s compensation. When the defendant’s conduct during the accident seems apparently egregious or offensive, the plaintiff may be awarded more money. This is done to act as a type of deterrent to the defendant, who should be punished so the same accident won’t happen again. The victim’s actions during the accident must also be taken into consideration. If instances such as comparative or contributory negligence have been awarded against the plaintiff, then the final compensation will undoubtedly reflect that award. Also, if the victim purposefully neglects any potential steps to mitigate the cost of damage then his final award will be reduced.


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Injured Motorists’ Rights

By | Car Accident, Personal Injury | No Comments

In cases where an injured motorist misses work due to hospitalization or if the injuries simply prevent that individual from being able to perform his/her normal work duties, that motorist has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover all costs and lost income caused by the accident – particularly when another party was negligent or otherwise at-fault.

Certain types of injuries are commonly caused by auto accidents and they can range from mild to catastrophic. Some of the worst traffic accident injuries result from drivers who are distracted, drunk or drowsy. If another driver was at fault, an injured motorist may file a civil claim against that driver and the insurance company for compensation. With respect to injuries and costs of medical care, a personal injury claim can help an injured motorist recover the costs of:

  • Emergency Room Visits
  • Surgeries
  • Acute Care / Hospitalization
  • Rehabilitation
  • Missed Time at Work
  • Follow Up Doctor’s Visits and Therapy
  • Medications

Following a car accident, retaining a personal injury attorney early in the process can benefit an injured motorist tremendously. The earlier an attorney is hired and involved in an automobile accident claim, the more time he/she has to gather supporting evidence and build a case. An experienced automobile accident lawyer will know exactly what information is needed in order to get a fair and reasonable settlement offer from an at-fault driver’s insurance company. If necessary, a good attorney will also organize the right information and be prepared to take a case to trial in the event that a fair settlement cannot be reached otherwise.

If you or someone you know is injured in an automobile accident and you feel the other driver was to blame, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Even if your injuries did not require hospitalization, an experienced auto accident attorney can help to recover the costs of medical treatment including any future doctor’s visits and prescriptions.

Automobile Accident Statistics

  • In addition to fatalities, auto accidents injure or disable 2.35 million people each year.
  • Most accidents and related fatalities occur on Friday or Saturday, with the majority of collisions occurring between 3-5:AM
  • Nearly 37,000 traffic accident fatalities occur in the US each year
  • Nearly 51% of fatalities in Florida and the US could be prevented by wearing a seat belt
  • One in five drivers admits to having browsed the internet via smartphone while driving
  • The #1 cause of all traffic accidents in Florida and the US is careless driving, which includes distracted driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving
  • The second leading cause of car accidents is a failure to yield the right of way



Association for Safe Int’l Road Travel

Florida DMV