Florida Scooter Accident Results in $6 Million Award


A jury in Brevard County has awarded a Florida scooter accident victim $6 million in damages after finding a driver negligently caused an accident that left him incapacitated.

The victim, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, reportedly lived by himself and worked as a handyman prior to the crash. Now, he resides in a nursing home and requires around-the-clock care to cover his most basic needs. The lawsuit was brought by his daughter, acting as his legal guardian.

As the victim has been left with incapacitating brain injuries, the monetary award was necessary to assist with his lifelong care needs.

According to media reports of the case, the crash happened around 7:30 a.m. one April day in 2011. Plaintiff’s father was on his scooter, making his way to a doctor’s appointment. Behind him was a woman who was transporting her children to school. She was reportedly distracted by her children, with her head turned to the back seat, when she rear-ended the victim. The impact sent the victim head-first into her windshield.

She would later tell investigators there was another car in front of her, but witness statements did not support this assertion.

The crash nearly killed the man. In all, he’s had to undergo eight separate surgeries on his brain. Doctors had to remove a portion of his skull to relieve the swelling in order to save his life. For a while, his family members were uncertain he would survive.

Though he did manage to pull through, they say he will never be the same.

After the victim’s daughter filed a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and her insurance company on her father’s behalf, the two sides were engaged in intensive settlement negotiations. However, those talks later broke down and the case went to trial.

Jurors deliberated the case for seven hours before concluding the rear driver was 75 percent to blame for the accident. It’s not yet clear whether she will appeal.

As our Naples scooter injury lawyers know, the incidence rate of scooter accidents has soared in recent years as sales have spiked. A 2011 study published in the journal Trauma revealed scooter sales have increased 60 percent in the course of two decades. Researchers discovered that between 2002 and 2008, there were 5,660 moped crashes in Florida. The risk factors identified in those cases suggest most of our traffic infrastructure doesn’t sufficiently accommodate the safety of moped and scooter drivers.

Scooters, for those unfamiliar, are two-wheeled motor vehicles that have a step-through frame, wheels less than 16 inches in diameter and an engine that is located in the rear compartment. Compared to motorcycles, they typically have poorer acceleration features and are difficult to handle at higher speeds. Still, they are road-worthy and some can operate at freeway speeds.

But similar to motorcycles, most drivers aren’t looking out for them.

Parents of young children, like the defendant in this case, have notoriously high distraction rates. A recent Australian study showed children are 12 times more distracting to drivers than talking on a cell phone. On average during a 16-minute trip, parents involved in the study tore their eyes away from the road an average of 3.5 minutes total.

If you have been injured in a Naples accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (561) 347-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.

Additional Resources:

Jury awards $6 million to badly injured Brevard man, Sept. 3, 2015, By J.D. Gallop, Florida Today

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Jones-Smith v. Safeway Insurance Company – Material Misrepresentation by Auto Insured, Sept. 4, 2015, Naples Injury Lawyer Blog