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Child Hit By Car – Florida Car Accidents Question

December 12, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Question: In June my daughter got off of the public bus and crossed the street as a pedestrian and was hit by a vehicle that went around the bus. My daughter went to the hospital for observation and suffered bruises, rib fracture and she did recover in a week. The lady who was driving the car’s insurance company has just gotten back in touch with me and said that my daughters bodily injury claim is being denied due to she ran out in front of the bus (which is not true, the bus driver told her to cross). I feel that they are being very unjustified in not compensating my daughter. Is it too late to hire an attorney? I never hired one originally because I was only trying to be fair and was happy that my daughter was not very badly hurt, however I do not feel that they should not offer her any compensaton for her injury and it was my auto insurance who paid her medical bills. Basically the driver who hit my daughter got off free and I do not feel this is justified. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My daughter still has permanent marks on her left side. I feel the insurance company rendered this decision because we did not obtain an attorney.

Answer:
You are probably right.  Insurance companies know that most people that are not accident lawyers will not file a lawsuit, or know how to file a lawsuit, if their claim is denied.  The insurance company will either offer a very small settlement, or no settlement offer at all.

Your email does not say in what state the accident happened.  I am a Florida accident injury lawyer specializing in Florida car accidents, slip and falls, and work accidents.  Laws vary from state to state, so you should speak to an accident injury lawyer in your state to find out what laws may apply.

Your first concern should be the Statute of Limitations in your state.  A statute of limitations is a statutory time limit in which any claim arising out of a car accident has to be filed.  If the claim is not filed in that time period, your claim may be barred.  In the case of Florida car accidents, the Statute of Limitations for a car accident is four years from the date of accident.

If the Statute of Limitations has not run on your daughters claim, you can definitely still bring a claim against the driver, but you will most likely need an accident injury lawyer to do it.  The insurance company is disputing that their driver was at fault, and you will probably need to file a lawsuit, conduct discovery (depositions, interrogatories, document requests), through which the issue of who was at fault for the accident may become more clear.  You or your accident attorney will want to find out if there were any independent witnesses, maybe video surveillance from the bus or intersection, or any other evidence which may show the driver of the car was at fault.

One other issue to consider is whether the bus driver was at fault.  I handled a very similar accident in which a boy tried to cross a very busy 6 lane road after being dropped off by a school bus.  He was struck by a car and badly injured.  We filed suit not only against the driver of the car that hit him, but also against the School Board as the bus driver was not supposed to drop the child where he did on the date of the accident.  The actual bus stop was around the corner on a much quieter, and less traveled, street.  However, through discovery, we learned that the bus driver regularly dropped students at bus stops that were not the actual scheduled stops for that school bus.

Finally, in the case of Florida car accidents, when a school bus has stopped, it automatically extends red signs from both sides of the bus which alert traffic behind and alongside it, to stop.  If a driver goes around the bus while it is stopped dropping off children, the driver can be cited for a traffic infraction. Your email does not give all the facts surrounding the accident, but if the driver went around the bus while the signs were extended, the insurance company is going to have a difficult time denying liability for its driver.

If your daughter still has scarring from the accident, or is feeling any residual effects, you should definitely pursue the claim further.  I file lawsuits on claims all the time where the insurance company, or at fault party, takes the position that they are not responsible.

If your daughter’s accident occurred in Florida, please give me a call.  I would be interested in speaking to you further about the claim.

For more information about your rights if you are involved in any Florida car accidents, contact the Florida auto accident lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529 or email them today.

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