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Florida personal injury lawyers

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Motor Vehicle and Trucking Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes continue to take over 40,000 lives each year, due to factors such as an increasing number of vehicles on the road and the limited regulation of drivers and the trucking industry. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for drivers under the age of 34.

Large trucks present even greater dangers to the public. Fatigue is a major factor involving truck crashes, and even with governmental regulation there is still an economic incentive on the part of truckers to drive longer hours at greater speeds. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board estimates that driver fatigue as a probable factor in 20-40% of truck crashes.

Leighton Law has extensive experience with accident cases involving cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, trains, motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, bicycles and mopeds. Board certified trial lawyer John Elliott Leighton aggressively pursues the optimal recovery for our clients. Mr. Leighton has extensive experience with litigating and trying complex motor vehicle and trucking cases throughout Florida and around the country. He is the past Chairman of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Liability Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He frequently lectures and teaches other trial lawyers on techniques for handling such cases and maximizing damages at trial.

In a record setting recovery, Mr. Leighton obtained an $8 million award for the parents of a 19 year-old girl who was killed when the car in which she was a passenger struck a large commercial truck which had made an illegal u-turn on the Florida Turnpike. This was the only child of Mr. Leighton’s clients, and she had just completed high school and intended to join the military and go to college.

Just recently, Mr. Leighton won a $7.4 million verdict in Central Florida on behalf of a client who lost his leg when the tractor-trailer shown above was negligently operated and caused a multi vehicle crash. Erb v. Peninsula Logistics, Osceola County Circuit Court.

A family visiting from the United Kingdom was in a taxicab which violated the right of way of another car. The cab was hit, injuring this family who had just come to enjoy the attractions in Orlando. Mr. Leighton obtained a $1 million recovery on behalf of this family prior to trial.

Leighton successfully recovered more than the insurance policy limits against the trucking company who was responsible for the crash above. Their trucker changed lanes into our client, causing the car to run off the road and flip, striking a tree.  The client sustained serious brain injuries.

Among the many trucking crash cases he has handled in over 30 years, Mr. Leighton recovered for the family of a woman killed when the truck above lost part of its axle and two wheels went flying across traffic on an interstate highway.

Mr. Leighton has also recovered verdicts and settlements in motor vehicle and trucking crash cases of $5 million, $3,650,000, $3,500,000, 2,000,000 and many others in excess of $1 million.

When considering which lawyer to represent you in Florida, there are a number of things to consider before you make your decision. Is the lawyer board certified in civil trial law (the highest level of professional achievement available)? Most lawyers who claim to be personal injury attorneys are not board certified, so this is important to determine. Is the lawyer you are considering preeminent in his or her field? Has he or she written extensively, lectured, taught or been recognized as being at the top of the field in trial law? Does the lawyer regularly litigate and try cases of the type you have? If so, find out what kind of results that lawyer has had in court. Is the potential attorney a member of The Best Lawyers in America? Has he or she been selected for inclusion in Florida SuperLawyers, Florida Legal Elite and “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide? Does the lawyer hold an “A-V”  preeminent rating (highest possible rating for ability and ethics) by Martindale-Hubbell? Does the lawyer have a 10.0 rating by AVVO.com? These are a few things that you want to consider when selecting a personal injury lawyer in Florida.  Leighton Law’s John Elliott Leighton has all of these qualifications and often litigates and tries major personal injury cases throughout Florida, having obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts. Considered one of the best personal injury lawyers in Florida, John Leighton is the past Chairman of the Motor Vehicle, Highway and Premises Liability Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, which has thousands of members from around the world. He has extensive experience handling and trying complex motor vehicle and trucking cases which has resulted in record-breaking verdicts and settlements. Please see our “Verdicts & Settlements” section for more details about the past results obtained by Leighton Law for our clients.

DWD: Driving While Distracted

Driving While Distracted has become one of the leading causes of crashes and preventable deaths in the United States. On April 30, 2010, declared by Oprah Winfrey and the media as national “No Phone Zone Day,” John Leighton delivered a groundbreaking lecture on “DWD: Driving While Distracted – The New DUI” to the American Association for Justice at its annual Jazzfest Seminar: Litigating Auto Collision Cases in New Orleans. The speech capped a day in which the national media focused on the perils of driving while distracted, particularly the use of texting while driving.

Mr. Leighton has lectured and written on the serious problems of driving while distracted, including texting, emailing, web surfing, telephoning, use of electronics while driving (including GPS, audio/video equipment) and other distractions that drivers today face. He has spoken to national audiences about the effects on reaction time that these distractions have, even telephone conversations. The fact that over 600 billion text messages were sent last year highlights the problem. Drivers engaging in texting were 23 times more likely to have a crash than other drivers. Amazingly, drivers who text have twice the accident risk than a legally drunk driver. One reason is that texting drivers spend 400% more time with their eyes off the road. 26% of teens admit to driving while they text, and 48% admit they have been a passenger in a car when the driver was texting.

After years of ignoring this problem, in 2014 Florida’s Legislature finally made texting while driving against the law.  But the law has very little power and texting and other distracted driving continues to be the biggest threat to our on-road safety. The law is a secondary offense — meaning that the driver must first have committed a primary offense before they can be pulled over.

Mr. Leighton has represented many victims of distracted driving.  Unfortunately he will likely continue to do so since Americans have continued to drive with their faces in their phones, GPS devices and other electronics.  By not paying attention to the  roadway, or even taking a few seconds away from watching where they are going, drivers create a situation known as “inattention blindness.”  Just a second or two can result in hundreds of feet driven without any visibility of what is in front of this two ton machine.

In one case Mr. Leighton handled, the driver of a car was busy texting on a phone while speeding through a school zone during the time young children were crossing. Our client’s daughter, an honor student, was crossing the street when this woman took her life while busy on her phone.

Leighton Law will continue to fight for ways to prevent drivers from texting while driving and will continue to represent victims of careless drivers whose negligence, whether caused by distraction or inattention, cause injuries and death to members of the public. Mr. Leighton has also been a vocal proponent of treating texting drivers as drunk drivers for the purpose of obtaining punitive damages in order to punish and deter such behavior. In his latest article, he proposes ways to eliminate or reduce distracted driving since so far no other effort has worked to stop this hazardous lifestyle. (South Florida Legal Guide, Dec. 2015)

Trucking Crashes

Do you need help after you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Florida? Leighton Law has decades of experience helping people like you recover from trucking accidents, which can be devastating and life-changing. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or commercial vehicle and you need an accident lawyer who has experience handling truck and commercial vehicle injuries.

Get an Accident Lawyer  in Miami and Orlando who is Professional and Preserves Your Rights

It’s important to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your legal rights. These accidents are usually serious and typically require medical attention. You may be left in shock after the accident, and getting medical treatment is certainly your top priority. Still, it’s important to receive a medical evaluation even if you have no apparent injuries. Some injuries are not apparent at first or not visible to the naked eye, such as back injuries or brain trauma. Leighton Law has been handling serious truck crash cases for over 30 years and has the experience, skills and past success to maximize recoveries for injured victims and families of those who have been tragically killed.

After medical attention is received, the next step is reviewing the police report and gathering evidence. Notes should be taken about the weather conditions, time of day and any hazards on the road. If possible, pictures can be taken with a cell phone. Any witness information should also be gathered. Never discuss the cause of the accident or admit fault. Retaining an accident lawyer who is a skilled and experienced trial lawyer with a strong track record in these cases is the most important step to retaining your rights and ensuring you receive compensation for the accident.

The car and truck crash lawyers at Leighton Law are experienced in handling accident investigation.  Our team of traffic crash professionals will immediately begin the process of preserving crucial evidence that can disappear or become damaged even in a short time.  It is critical that you retain lawyers experienced in traffic crash evidence preservation to protect your case.  You can be sure the insurance company and corporation investigators and lawyers will try to influence witnesses and may not preserve evidence the way you will need it to prove your case.  Leighton Law aggressively pursues all evidence to protect our clients.

Recovering Damages after a Truck Accident

Once you contact Leighton Law to represent you after the accident, we will investigate the crash to determine liability and responsibility. This determines who is actually responsible for your property loss and injuries. Depending on the accident, damages may be collected from the driver of the truck, the trucking company that operates the vehicle, the government agency that maintains the roadway, the truck maintenance company, the truck manufacturer or the insurance carrier.

If you are not at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Compensation will cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and even your reduced earning capacity, if this applies. Depending on the truck driver’s conduct, you may even receive punitive damages.

Truck accidents are devastating and almost always serious. We have dealt with many clients over almost 30 years who have suffered loss after an accident with an 18-wheeler, semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle and we can help you too. If you or a loved one have been involved in a trucking accident and suffered injury, property damage or even loss of life, we will represent you to recover the compensation you’re entitled to.

Our experience in truck crashes is extensive.  Founding partner John Elliott Leighton has been litigating and trying truck accident cases since 1985.  His victories on behalf of truck crash victims have been significant, most recently resulting in a $7.35 million verdict in Osceola County against a truck driver and a trucking company. One of his first truck crash cases in the 1980’s resulted in a $2 million recovery for the family of a man killed in central Florida by a semi-tractor trailer.  Mr. Leighton’s commitment to victims of truck crashes continues today with recoveries for families throughout Florida.

Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle accidents are usually very serious. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, the accident attorneys at Leighton Law are here to help you. We have decades of experience helping victims like yourself get the compensation they deserve to cover out-of-pocket expenses, medical bills, lost wages and more. We work hard to remain the best accident lawyer Miami firm in the area and we won’t stop until you are taken care of.

Mr. Leighton has represented many motorcyclists who have been hurt by cars.  Very often there is not enough insurance to provide for the medical and financial needs of those who are injured or their families if they are killed in a motorcycle crash.  Mr. Leighton obtained $3.5 million for a man injured on a motorcycle even though there was only $50,000 in insurance coverage. He has recovered substantial amounts for others who were injured on motorcycles, including $1, 125,000 for a man on a motorcycle who was injured coming from Miami Beach.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

According to the NFTSA, the majority of motorcycle accidents are the result of a collision with a passenger car and many occur when other motorists fail to see a motorcyclist in time to avoid an accident. Amazingly, almost 70% occur when the other driver violates the right of way of the motorcyclist. Other causes of the crash may include:

Aggressive driving such as failing to yield, ignoring traffic signals and changing lanes too frequently
Impaired driving
Drowsy driving
Distracted driving
Weather conditions

If you have been injured in one of these accidents, it’s important to get in touch with an accident attorney Florida firm immediately to protect your rights and get you the help you need.

What to Do After an Accident

After you’ve been injured and received medical care, it’s important to contact us immediately. We will work with you to gather evidence of the crash, including the nature of your injuries, witnesses, weather conditions and insurance information. Depending on the situation, you may even be entitled to punitive damages if the driver was impaired or driving aggressively.

If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, give them no more than your contact information. Do not admit fault or provide details of your injuries. We will represent you and attempt to negotiate with the insurance company or decide if your case needs to be heard in court.

Why You Need an Accident Attorney in Miami and Orlando to Help You

After a motorcycle accident, you’re left with extensive damages, including out-of-pocket property damage expenses, medical bills, physical therapy and rehab and lost wages. You may even have lost earning potential if your injuries are serious. Unfortunately, most insurance settlements you are offered will rarely cover these expenses, let alone your pain and suffering.

At Leighton Law, we will investigate the accident fully and gather evidence to show the other driver was at fault. We will help you get the maximum monetary recovery in your case to get your bike fixed and cover your medical bills and other expenses. We will also help you get the money you deserve for your pain and suffering and lost earning potential.

It’s important to speak with us right away. The longer you wait, the harder it is to gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim. Everything must be documented, from the road conditions and details of the collision to your injuries. We aggressively pursue  and preserve critical evidence to prove our clients’ cases. When you need an accident lawyer Florida firm to represent you, look no farther than Leighton Law.

Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case as each case is unique. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that every case is different and each case must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.

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