But what if a Fort Lauderdale driver crashed as a result of either striking the debris in the roadway or while attempting to avoid it? Who could be responsible?
Well, one could argue that whoever lost the debris in the roadway was careless in the operation of their vehicle and therefore should be liable for the ensuing accident. One could also argue that if the identity of the owner of the product that was in the Fort Lauderdale Broward County roadway or the driver and owner of the vehicle transporting the product that ended up in the roadway could not be discovered then the accident victim should be entitled to seek benefits under his uninsured motorist coverage of his own policy. This would be predicated upon the sensible argument that the loss of product coming off a Fort Lauderdale vehicle is by definition, the careless operation of a vehicle; and if the identity of the wrongdoer cannot be discerned, Florida law permits a claim for uninsured motorist benefits against an unknown or “phantom” wrongdoer.
This Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Law Firm represented the victim of just such a set of facts, which went to trial in 1992. In that case our client was driving northbound on I-95 in Broward County, Florida and suddenly discovered a large furniture box blocking his path just over the crest in the roadway. While he predictably swerved to avoid striking the box not knowing what might lay inside and how much damage it could have done, he lost control of the vehicle and struck the retaining wall as well as guardrail suffering knee and back injuries which required surgery. Allstate Insurance Company denied his claim for uninsured motorist benefits from his policy for the damages caused by a phantom vehicle, stating that his accident did not fall under the definition of an uninsured accident because there was no other vehicle involved and therefore, he was not involved in an automobile accident; but a Broward County Circuit Court jury of his peers ruled otherwise on the issue of coverage. In fact, the Court was obliged to award Attorney’s fees against Allstate pursuant to F.S.627.428, because of Allstate’s wrongful denial of insurance benefits.
To learn more about this and other unusual ways of “rightfully” obtaining compensation for injuries as a result of Florida automobile and trucking accidents please feel free to contact the Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys at The Schulman Law Group.