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Fall may be in full swing, but Florida boaters know it’s the perfect time of year to be out on the water. Unfortunately, those waters can be perilous when reasonable care is tossed to the wind.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reports there were 931,000 registered vessels in the Sunshine State as of last year, and a total of 714 reportable boating accidents. Reportable boating accidents are those that result in more than $10,000 in property damage or personal injury or death. Of those 714 boat accidents, 421 resulted in injuries and 67 deaths. Personal watercraft (i.e., Jet Skis, SeaDoos, etc.) accounted for 13 percent of all registered vessels, but 26 percent of all reportable boating accidents. In terms of fatal crashes, there were 11 total, with nearly half of them involving a rented vessel. Palm Beach County ranked No. 3 in terms of the most reported boating accidents in Florida – 62 total reported with 3 of them fatal and 19 resulting in injuries. More than $1 million in property damage was reported.

Proving liability and obtaining compensation for a boating accident isn’t always a simple matter, but it’s often worth pursuing given the severity of injuries typically involved. The primary cause of Florida boating accidents, as assessed by the reviewing authority in cases last year, can largely be summed up as operator error. Continue reading →

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Lawmakers are gunning for a repeal of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system – one they say is outdated and inefficient and costly to Florida motorists. Doctors and other health care groups are opposing the measure. car accident attorney

F.S. 627.736 stipulates that personal injury protection (PIP) benefits must accompany any auto insurance policy in Florida, and it must provide compensation to the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured vehicle, passengers in the vehicle and others struck by the vehicle who suffered bodily injury while not an occupant of the vehicle (i.e., bicyclists and pedestrians). It allows for up to $10,000 in medical and disability benefits (with non-emergency benefits capped at $2,500) and $5,000 in death benefits, regardless of who is at-fault in the crash. Only if someone is severely injured (i.e., has lost an important bodily function, is permanently scarred or has broken a bone) or died can one pursue legal action to obtain bodily injury liability coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Now, HB-19, which has cleared an early hurdle for the next legislative session beginning in 2018, may change that. The measure calls for overturning the no-fault laws that necessitate PIP coverage, and would instead allow motorists to pursue legal action directly against at-fault drivers. PIP benefits would no longer be required. The proposal was cleared by the state house Commerce Committee recently. Continue reading →

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Bicycle commuting could become more commonplace in South Florida, as a Silicon Valley start-up called LimeBike is expanding into Miami, offering yet another means to rent a bicycle during the daily commute. Already home to Citi Bikes, which have become prevalent in the areas of downtown and Miami Beach, Miami is poised to become a cycling destination. Citi Bikes require users to pick up and return the bikes to an existing docking station. LimeBike, meanwhile, offers an app that allows users to look up the location of nearby bikes that aren’t being used, along with an estimated walking distance to get to that bike. Cyclists use the app to unlock the bike and take it, and then drop it off and lock it up when they’re finished. bicycle accident lawyer

The company has about 400 bikes in use so far in Key Biscayne, North Bay Village and Miami Shores and is exploring further expansion, possibly into Broward County as well. The bikes cost $1 an hour (50 cents for students), and monthly memberships are $30 for 100 rides. There are currently 10,000 of the bright lime green bikes in more than a dozen cities across the U.S., opening three to four new markets weekly. They’re being promoted heavily to students, tourists and residents alike.

Still, biking in Florida is not exactly for the faint of heart. As our bicycle accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know, bicycle lanes aren’t common place (though the city’s Complete Streets initiative is hoping to change that). We also know that Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents in the country.  Continue reading →

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For many kids, Halloween – and of course, trick-or-treat – is highly anticipated and the source of many magical childhood memories. However, there are also a host of frightening dangers lurking on Halloween that have nothing to do with ghosts or goblins. injury lawyer

Attorneys for child injury victims in Orlando are committed to helping raise awareness of some of the most common child Halloween injuries, in the hopes families will face fewer emergency room trips this year.

From traffic safety to pumpkin carving to candle hazards, the hazards are seemingly endless.

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Unless you have been involved in a high stakes injury trial, you are probably unfamiliar with the terms “remittitur” and “additur.” They aren’t common knowledge, but they can have a substantial impact on any personal injury lawsuit.injury lawyer

In Florida, remittitur and additur come into play after the jury has rendered a verdict. Either side can ask the judge for a remittitur (a reduction of damages, usually by motion of the defense) or an additur (additional damages awarded, usually by motion of the plaintiff). The judge has discretion to decide whether such a request is appropriate. Some of the things the judge will consider include:

  • Whether jurors obviously ignored evidence or facts presented at trial;
  • Whether there is a reasonable connection between the evidence and amount of the verdict award;
  • Whether the award was too small or too big because of some prejudice or bias;
  • Whether the verdict is logical based on the evidence.

F.S. 768.74 is what governs judicial power on this. It’s an element of a case cannot be ignored, as it can significantly impact the amount you receive following a serious injury. Remittiturs and additurs can also be subject to appeal. Statutes on this power vary from state-to-state.  Continue reading →

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When an employee causes injury to someone else in the course and scope of employment, their employer can be held vicariously liable for those injuries. The legal doctrine is called respondeat superior, which is Latin for, “Let the master answer.” injury attorney

Of course, an employer could also be found directly liable as well for things like negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision or negligent security. But respondeat superior does not require a finding that the business was negligent. As long as the negligent employee was acting in furtherance of the business at the time the incident occurred, the business may be liable.

This is what is alleged in a Florida personal injury lawsuit recently filed against Apple Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case is filed federally because, while the injury occurred in South Florida, the company is headquartered in California.  Continue reading →

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The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that “Stand Your Ground” immunity granted in criminal cases cannot be automatically transferred to civil cases filed in response to the same incident. injury attorney

The standard of proof in a criminal case – beyond a reasonable doubt – differs from that in a civil case – the preponderance of the evidence (which basically means it was more likely than not something occurred in a certain way). That’s why a person can be found not guilty in a criminal trial, but still be found liable for damages in a civil case.

Many civil injury lawsuits are predicated on wrongdoing based on negligence. That is, someone owed a duty of care, that duty of care was breached and injuries resulted. However, some civil cases involve intentional torts. These can include things like assault and battery, false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional distress. A single incident can be the subject of both a criminal case and a civil case, but the two are entirely separate, and the outcome of one should not influence the outcome of the other, though much of the same evidence may be presented.  Continue reading →

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A fatal construction accident has spurred a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the worker’s widow against the property owner and two subcontractors in California. construction accident

The incident highlights the fact that not only is construction work extremely dangerous, but that workers and their families may have options in addition to workers’ compensation to pursue damages. Although this case is unfolding on the opposite side of the country, California and Florida have similar laws pertaining to the exclusive remedy of workers’ compensation. In Florida, workers’ compensation law is outlined in Chapter 440 of Florida Statutes.

This is essentially a no-fault system wherein the employee forfeits the common-law right to a negligence action against an employer in exchange for strict liability (i.e., if it happened at work or arose out of a condition of employment, it’s covered) and rapidly-recovered benefits. This is the so-called “exclusive remedy.” You can’t sue your employer if you obtain or are eligible for workers’ compensation. There are some very narrow circumstances wherein an employee could pursue a claim of general liability against an employer for an intentional tort, but that is quite rare. However, what is far more common are claims of third-party liability against someone other than the employer. This is especially common in the trades for two reasons:

  • Injuries are more likely in construction and labor work because of its high potential for risk;
  • There are often numerous companies, individuals, contractors and property owners involved in these jobs.

Continue reading →

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Council members for the City of Fort Myers have agreed to pay $40,000 to avoid further litigation involving the family of a 20-year-old man who was fatally shot at a Halloween-themed event downtown two years ago. injury lawyer

The News-Press reports the city hoped to avoid the continuation of a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit, by settling with the young man’s personal representative. The city has already spent $55,000 thus far settling various lawsuits filed against it after the unsolved shooting at the event, a horror-themed tradition called Zombicon. The city cut ties with the event coordinator soon after the shooting. Two more personal injury lawsuits are still pending in state court, as well as a third involving a dispute with insurer in federal court. Previously, the city paid two other 20-year-olds who had been shot and injured $7,500 each.

Zombicon had been one of the most popular downtown celebrations, drawing some 20,000 people to the event every year. However, at the 2015 event, shortly before midnight, an unknown person started firing into the crowd. Decedent was killed and six others were seriously injured. After nine years of the event being held downtown, it is no longer. The event organizer is also facing litigation, alleging, among other things, inadequate security.  Continue reading →

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A bicyclist who suffered a severe injury after his bicycle struck a pothole will receive a $6.5 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles, following lawmaker approval of a claims bill. The claims bill process involving public entities in L.A. is somewhat similar to how such matters are handled here in Florida, where damage caps per F.S. 768.28 allows for up to $200,000 per claim or $300,000 per occurrence, unless legislators pass a claims bill to allow for more. pothole1-300x225

According to the Los Angeles Times, plaintiff suffered severe and permanent brain damage when he encountered a pothole while on his bicycle. The impact tossed him from his bicycle, causing him to suffer several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

He alleged in his lawsuit that the street on which he crashed was poorly maintained, causing what was in essence a concealed trap for those on bicycles. Claimant presented evidence that he is likely to suffer some form of disability for the rest of his life. Members of city council agreed to approve the multi-million dollar settlement.  Continue reading →

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