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Federal regulators are seeking to forcibly lower the speeds of semi-trucks, buses and other large vehicles by installed devices that would cap their top speed. The measure has been proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It would set the maximum speed for these large vehicles at either 60 mph, 65 mph or 68 mph, depending on the feedback they receive from the public. truckoverbridge

Top NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind called the theory behind the proposal, “Basic physics.” That is, the faster a vehicle travels, the greater force the impact is going to be. When we’re talking about vehicles this large, the potential for damage is astronomical. In fact, regulators say that if this proposal is adopted, it has the potential to save somewhere between 162 to 500 lives every year. That could mean as many as half of the 1,000 people who die every year in accidents caused by speeding large trucks. What’s more, it could reduce the number of serious injuries by 550 or so while slashing the number of minor injuries by as much as 10,300 a year. Not only that, but the agency estimates it could means fuel savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would total nearly $850 million a  year.

Unsurprisingly, some in the trucking industry is not enthused. There has been grumbling about the fact that truckers would need to be on the road longer and this will mean not just reduced profits for trucking firms, but also lower efficiency in many other economic sectors.  Continue reading →

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When someone suffers a work-related injury, typically the only remedy they have against the employer is a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the exclusivity provision of workers’ compensation law does not prohibit injured workers or their families from seeking compensation from negligent third parties. In some cases, that could include the owner of the property where the work was being conducted. propane

One such case was recently weighed by an appellate court in California. In Regalado v. Callaghan, justices were asked to consider whether the trial court made any mistakes that resulted in a finding that a homeowner was liable for the injuries suffered by an employee of a pool contractor. Jurors at trial had found the homeowner 40 percent liable for the worker’s injuries based on theories of negligence and premises liability and ordered him to pay $3 million in damages.

According to court records, the homeowner was a licensed subcontractor who wanted to build a “dream house” for his wife in the Coachella Valley. He acted as an owner-builder for his home project, meaning he obtained the permits for construction and served as the person responsible for overseeing the construction – similar to the role a general contractor would take on. Continue reading →

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A mother in Texas has filed a lawsuit against a flea market where her child was run over by a motor vehicle last year. At the time of the accident, the girl was just 18-months-old. Now age 2, her mother says she is still “struggling to live a normal life.” fleamarket

She has filed a premises liability lawsuit against the flea market, as well as a general negligence lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle. Plaintiff raises questions about the safety of the property where pedestrians were so close to motor vehicle traffic.

Flea markets – both indoor and open air – are popular in Florida (including Fort Lauderdale) as well as other southern states. Questions of liability can be tricky, however, because you’re dealing with a host of different businesses. You have the vendors, then the operator of the facility and, often, a separate owner of the land. There may be other companies contracted to provide traffic control or security. There is potential in these types of cases to name numerous defendants, but it’s important to conduct a thorough investigation so that all parties can be properly identified and the narrative fully formed by the time negotiations begin or litigation is filed.  Continue reading →

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It’s been seven years since a New Jersey girl was shot accidentally in her head with an metal arrow by a young boy, causing her to suffer a massive stroke and aneurysm that almost killed her. Now, according to NJ.com, a judge has allowed that discovery for her claim for product liability – including punitive damages – against the distributor of that arrow set may proceed. However, the judge denied discovery in the claim against the boy’s father, leaving the sporting goods store as the only defendant. bowarrow

According to news reports of the case, the girl and her twin sister were at a friend’s house one day in July 2010 when she wandered in front of a 9-year-old boy who was practicing archery with a compound bow in the same yard. The arrow, which can only be purchased by an adult with a hunting license, struck the girl between her nose and right eye. It tore through her cerebral artery, lodging into the left temporal lobe in the middle of her brain.

The arrow was reportedly purchased by the boy’s father at a sporting goods store in New Jersey. Under state law, it’s illegal to shoot any metal-tipped arrow without a hunting license – and those are only available in that state when a child turns 10. Further, anyone who sells youth-sized or metal-tipped arrows is supposed to inquire as to whether the user has a child’s hunting license. Continue reading →

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When a person is injured as a result of the negligence of another who owed them a duty of care, that individual usually has the right to pursue compensation under Florida law. That part is pretty well-known. What is less understood is that certain loved ones of the person injured may also pursue their own claim for damages under a type of compensation called “loss of consortium.” hug

A claim for loss of consortium alleges damages suffered by a loved one of a person who has been injured or killed as a result of a defendant’s negligent, intentional or otherwise wrongful act. Loss of consortium claims vary widely from state-to-state, with some imposing strict limitations on who has the right to a loss of consortium claim. Typically, it’s filed by one’s spouse, and asserts the loss of “normal marital relations,” which can be a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but also for loss of companionship. The exact measure of this kind of loss is speculative, which is why only an experienced injury attorney should handle such claims. Proving damages often requires delving into the strength of the bond and the closeness of the relationship.

In Florida, unlike in some other states, the law allows for claims of loss of consortium brought by others besides one’s spouse. Specifically, parents may sue for loss of consortium of a child and children may sue for loss of consortium of a parent. Rights to these claims are found in several statutes, including F.S. 768.21Continue reading →

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A federal appeals court ruled recently that a boating company didn’t have a responsibility to keep an eye on the weather and offer an updated forecast to six vacationers from Florida whose rental boat sank seven years ago, leading to four deaths. But the 3-0 ruling in the case of In re: Aramark Sports wasn’t a total win for the boating company. That’s because justices remanded the case on the question of whether the firm was negligent in its failure to warn the boat renters of the wind speed limitations  of the rented vessel’s design.

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The boat, a Baja 202 Islander, was a 20-foot vessel that had the capacity to carry eight people. Court records indicate the manual for that boat revealed it was able to withstand maximum wind speeds of just 31 mph. That manual also stipulates that the maximum noted wave height and wind speed for that category doesn’t necessarily mean the boat is safe at that speed or that passengers will survive if the vessel encounters those conditions. In fact, the manual indicates that only highly experienced boaters will have the ability to operate safely the boat in those conditions.

But this was not information that was passed on to the vacationers – three retired police officers from St. Petersburg, FL and their wives – in Utah. When they met with steady winds of 35 mph. At times, gusts hurled past them at 55 mph. Their boat began taking on water. They issued a mayday as the boat sank in Lake Powell. One couple made it to some jagged rocks, where they clung until rescuers found them. However, the other two couples perished in the sudden storm.  Continue reading →

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The family of a teen foreign exchange student who was fatally shot outside of a nightclub in Portland, Ore. will be allowed to continue pursuit of their premises liability lawsuit following a new ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court.nightclub1

Peruvian Martha Paz de Noboa Delgado was killed in 2009 as she waited outside of a teen nightclub with a group of other foreign exchange students. She had been dropped off at the location, reportedly in a rough part of town, by her host family. She was just 17-years-old. It was later revealed the 24-year-old gunman suffered from schizophrenia. He opened fire on the group of students, wounding seven and killing two before turning the gun on himself.

Delgado’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit, Piazza v. Kellim, against the nightclub and related companies, as well as against the foreign exchange organization. The $1.8 million claim argues that the owners of the club and related firms failed to take reasonable measures to protect customers. Namely, they forced young patrons to wait outside in what they knew was a high-crime area. The club and others nearby had a long history of problems with crime, and yet did not allow customers to wait inside for entry. The lawsuit further asserts the club did not have sufficient security. Against the student foreign exchange program, plaintiffs asserted a failure to provide adequate training to the host family.  Continue reading →

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Florida bicycle accidents that result in serious injuries are often caused by collisions with motor vehicles. However, there are some bike accidents that are the result of defective bicycles. bicycle

In those situations, depending on the circumstances, there are a number of entities that may be held responsible. Those include:

  • Designers
  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Retailers

However, in order to hold any one of these entities accountable, plaintiffs need to prove there was a defect in the bike and that this defect was the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.  Continue reading →

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Many auto insurance policies contain anti-stacking provisions that are intended to avoid applying multiple sets of deductibles or multiple sets of limits to cover a single car accident. It’s important that Florida car accident victims understand whether their policy allows for stacked coverage because it can significantly impact the amount of damages to which you are entitled.

The allowance of these provisions with respect to uninsured motorist (UM)/ underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage varies significantly from state-to-state.

Recently, the Idaho Supreme Court considered whether the UIM anti-stacking language in two separate policies that covered a young man seriously injured in an auto accident was valid. In Gearhart v. Mutual of Enumclaw Ins Co., the divorced parents of a young man seriously injured in a crash both sought UIM benefits under separate auto insurance policies that both covered him in the event of a crash. Now, following the court’s ruling, they’ll be able to collect on those benefits, which will go toward helping their son recover. Continue reading →

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In most trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall lawsuits, injured persons hoping to prevail have to prove actual or constructive knowledge. That is, they have to show the property owner/ manager knew or should have known about the hazard, either because:

  • They created it;
  • They were informed of it;
  • It existed for such a length of time, it should have been discovered in the course of reasonable care. gravel1

It is the plaintiff who bears this burden of proof.  Continue reading →

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