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Ocala, Florida, Legal Blog

Drunk driving is still a very deadly threat on the highways

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) raises the issue of drugged driving supplanting drunk driving as a threat on the highway. The issued the report with the concern that most people are not aware of the magnitude of the problem of drugged driving. Nevertheless, it is important to note that while the report indicates that drugs are often present in those who die in fatal car accidents that are not the same thing as showing the drugs caused the accident.

Safety advocates, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), responded to this report to point out that drunk driving is still the single largest cause of fatal crashes. This is in spite of decades of public safety campaigns and a significant increase in the penalties for drunk driving in Florida and elsewhere. If you are injured in a crash in Ocala, it is essential that your attorney investigates whether the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Trucking safety advancements face technological challenges

Self-driving or autonomous vehicles are seen as the holy grail of highway safety. The vast majority of crashes, injuries, and fatalities that occur on the roads of Florida are caused by human drivers' negligence. Drivers operate their vehicles when they are intoxicated by alcohol, high on drugs, impaired by fatigue, distracted by texting or simply daydreaming and not watching the road or traffic around them.

This leads to the staggeringly death toll, which last year topped 40,000 nationwide and 3,157 in Florida. In addition, there were a quarter of a million people who suffered injuries in this state just last year. Autonomous technology is hoped to become available that will eliminate the human component to vehicle control and, it is hoped, the human tendency towards negligence in that control.

Everyone must share the road safely

Driving is a cooperative venture. Think about it: How often when you are driving around Ocala do you find yourself utterly alone on a street or highway? Even if you drive the roads at 3:00 AM, you likely will encounter a few vehicles keeping your company on the road. Whether you drive a car, a truck, a motorcycle or a bicycle, you must behave responsibly on the road, because your life and the lives of others depend on it.

While motorcycles and bicycles are more vulnerable than the average car, no one is immune to potentially deadly situations on the streets and highways of Florida. Even 80,000 lb semi-trucks, which can cause catastrophic injuries or death to those in a passenger car, are at risk if they strike another truck or static objects like bridge supports, utility poles or large trees.

Do you have a case for undue influence?

If you have been cut out of a will without any explanation, you might be wondering if someone exerted undue influence on the person who wrote the will. Probate disputes are very common in Florida, but it can be challenging to win one of these complex cases. 

Florida Statute 733.107 asserts that the person or people challenging the will have the burden of proof that undue influence was exerted over the person writing the will. Most often such challenges occur when the will writer is deceased and therefore not able to defend himself. 

Plan on seeing a lot of motorcycles this weekend in Ocala

Riding a motorcycle in Florida is risky. The statistics from last year testify to that fact, as the state is number one in fatal crashes involving motorcycles. This weekend, all drivers should strive to avoid adding to those numbers, as "Bikefest" arrives just down the road from Ocala in Leesburg.

The gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world is expected to attract 250,000 motorcyclists. This means the roads in the Ocala area are like to be crowded with far more cycles that during an average weekend. All drivers need to exercise additional caution and use the extra care necessary to prevent crashes and to ensure everyone arrives home safely and alive.

One way to avoid probate litigation

Create a valid estate plan. Sounds simple. With the help of an attorney in Florida, it can be. The greatest hurdle may be the psychological impediments to actually sitting down with an attorney and drafting a will, a trust or trusts, and advance healthcare directives or powers of attorney. Without a will and other necessary documents, your property will be distributed according to Florida's intestate succession law.

Intestate laws guess at what most people would desire when it comes to distributing their assets. But it is only a guess, and it may not match your personal wishes. If you did not create a will, the court has no choice but using these laws, as there is no valid evidence of your intentions.

Rear-end truck collision kills driver in car on I-95

A truck crash occurred on I-95 this week near Jacksonville and killing a woman driving a passenger car. Sadly, there is little remarkable in that statement. It could have been I-4 as it passed through Ocala, or it could have been any one of a hundred roads throughout Florida.

The cause of the crash was traffic slowing. The news report did not explain why traffic slowed, but it really does not matter. It could have been due to the seemingly random congestion slowdowns that happen every day on interstates throughout the state. Sometimes they are due to construction, a car on the side of the road, or even another accident.

The importance of avoiding distractions at the wheel

This month presents an opportunity for drivers to refresh themselves on how important staying distraction-free is when at the wheel. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

There are many different distractions a person may have the temptation to engage in when driving. Examples include: texting, talking on the phone, checking social media, surfing the web, using apps, checking a GPS system, eating, attending to passengers and letting one’s mind wander.

3 steps to make applying for SSD easier

Applying for Social Security Disability can be difficult yet necessary. Even after you get over the psychological hurdle of deciding to apply, the process demands a lot of patience, attention to detail and the ability to comply with complex requirements. Additionally, you must do all this while dealing with a disability that likely impairs the functions you need to handle a claim successfully. Follow these steps to make the process easier.

1. Begin early

Understanding when probate litigation may prove necessary

When properly executed, a will can accomplish far more than people might realize. In addition to enabling you, rather than the state, to decide how you want your hard-earned assets to be divided upon your demise, it also facilitates the giving of charitable gifts, permits tax planning decisions and allows you to appoint a guardian for any minor children -- to name just a few of the many benefits.

It's important to understand, however, that in order to derive any of these benefits, the individual executing the will -- referred to as the testator -- must meet certain qualifying criteria, while the will itself must be executed in accordance with certain formalities outlined in Florida law. Indeed, the failure to do so can result in a legal action challenging the validity of the will being brought by an interested party.

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