Published on:

The sovereign immunity doctrine in Florida bars lawsuits in state court against a state government, as well as its agencies and subdivision, absent governmental consent. Although proponents of this theory say it allows for governmental discretion by allowing officials to engage in flexible decision-making without risk of liability and protects public funds, opponents say it fails to discourage wrong-doing and leaves injured parties with no viable remedy. injury attorney

Florida’s waiver of sovereign immunity is outlined in F.S. 768.28, a lengthy and complex statute that allows for various stipulations on suing the government or government employees for negligence. Even if you win, your damage award will be capped at $200,000 a person and $300,000 total per claim (no matter how many claimants), unless the state legislature passes a bill that allows for a higher amount in any given case. This doesn’t mean it’s never worthwhile to pursue compensation from a government agency or worker if you’re injured owing to their negligence, but it’s important to understand there will be a number of challenges, which is why hiring an experienced Orlando injury attorney is so critical.

A recent case considered by the Georgia Supreme Court considered a wrongful death claim involving the tragic death of a student engaged in horseplay in an unsupervised classroom. His parents alleged it was the result of negligence in whole or in part of the teacher who left the room. However, the teacher was a governmental employee, and as such, the question of official immunity was raised.  Continue reading →

Published on:

A Florida personal injury that occurs on someone else’s property can in some circumstances be compensated under the legal theory of premises liability. These theory opines that property owners owe varying degrees of duty to protect lawful visitors (and sometimes even lawful visitors) from unreasonable risk of harm. This could be a slip-and-fall, a dog bite, faulty stairs or negligent security resulting in vulnerability to a third-party criminal attack. One of the most common defenses in Florida premises liability lawsuits is the “open and obvious” doctrine. injury attorney

Essentially, as noted in the Florida Supreme Court’s 1952 decision in Early v. Morrison Cafeteria Co. of Orlando, a business property owner has a legal right to assume those invited to the site will perceive potentially dangerous conditions that are open and obvious to the ordinary senses. One has a duty to avoid these open and obvious dangers, and a business has no responsibility to warn patrons of these dangers. It’s the concealed dangers – those the business knows or should know about – that require warning. In any case, business property owners do have a responsibility to use “ordinary care” in keeping the site reasonably safe.

One premises liability case recently weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considered whether a teetering tower of rolled insulation at a hardware store customer loading area was an open and obvious hazard, or whether the business owed a legal duty to address or warn of the potential danger.  Continue reading →

Published on:

An appellate court in California recently reversed summary judgment in favor of a company that employed a maintenance worker accused by plaintiff of negligently failing to conduct an adequate check on her – a guest – at her husband’s urgent request. It turned out the wife had suffered a brain aneurism and was in dire need of medical attention. While the lower court found the hotel owed no legal duty to the couple (co-plaintiffs), the appellate court said the “negligent undertaking” theory of liability can be invoked where one comes to the aid of another but fails to do so with reasonable care.personal injury attorney

In Florida, this is sometimes referred to as the “undertaker’s doctrine.” Having nothing to do with funeral homes, it involves establishing a defendant owed a “duty of care” (a key element in any negligence case) to the plaintiff. As noted in the Restatement (Second) of Torts Chapter 323, anytime a person undertakes to provide a service to others – whether gratuitously or by contract – the person who undertakes to provide that service (i.e., “the undertaker”) assumes a duty to act carefully and not to place others at unnecessary risk of harm. A good West Palm Beach injury attorney recognizes that this applies to governmental and non-governmental entities, and not only to those parties who have a contract with one another, but also third parties, as noted in the 2003 Florida Supreme Court ruling in Clay Electric Cooperative v. Johnson.

These cases can be pursued when a person undertakes or renders services to another that he/ she should recognize as necessary for the protection of the third person and his/her things is subject to liability if the third person suffers physical harm resulting from failure to exercise reasonable care if:

  • Failure to do so increases the risk of such harm;
  • Harm is suffered because of the third-person’s reliance on this undertaking.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Nearly 2,800 commercial vehicle crashes were reported in Orange County, Florida in 2016 – a nearly 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Truck crashes like these wreak havoc on our roads, and cost hundreds of lives and thousands of serious injuries in Florida alone. Orange County tallied nearly 600 commercial vehicle accident injuries and 20 deaths just in a single year alone. truck accident lawyer

All of this makes the recent report from The Drive all the more troubling. The report indicates that a commercial driver licensing school in Florida (with locations in both Miami and Labelle) reportedly was severed from its contract with the FHSMV after it reportedly engaged in conduct that posed an immediate, serious danger to public safety and welfare. Specifically, the school allegedly left out key parts of the required three-part skill test that it gave to students, and further tweaked testing data it provided on CDL skill test score sheets. Once officials form the state began sitting in on classes and the testing process, the scores plummeted from a 60 percent pass rate to just 11 percent.

In addition to cutting off ties with the school, the state agency has informed some 1,500 licensed truckers in the state who received their licensing through the facility that they have just two months to redo their tests – and pass them – if they hope to hang on to their commercial licenses.  Continue reading →

Published on:

An estimated 50,000 crashes every year in Florida are attributed to distraction, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These collisions lead to 3,500 serious bodily injuries and nearly 250 deaths. Further, it’s a phenomenon that has spiked 26 percent just in the last four years, largely thanks to the advent of cell phones.distracted driving attorney

But for all the destruction and havoc it wreaks, texting and driving is not a primary offense in Florida. What this means is a law enforcement officer may clearly spot a driver who is in violation of F.S. 316.305 (Florida’s texting-and-driving law), and would be able to do nothing about it – even with clear and unequivocal proof – unless that driver was also in violation of a primary offense.

That could change if a bill passes that would make texting while driving a primary offense. It’s not the first time such a measure has been proposed, as The Tampa Bay Times reports, but this time it has the support of several key legislative leaders. The new bill would keep the fine for texting and driving at a meager $30 and there still would not be any points added to the driver’s record if there was a violation. The main difference would be that officers would have the power to stop and cite motorists solely for violating that offense.  Continue reading →

Published on:

All terrain vehicles are considered a welcome past-time in Florida, especially now that cooler evenings have afforded more comfortable camping conditions in rural parts of the state. However, recent news reports are littered with stories of individuals who have lost their lives in Florida ATV accidents.injury attorney

There was the teenager killed in Miami-Dade ATV crash late last month when the off-road vehicle was reportedly traveling on 198th Street and was struck by a pickup truck. Another teenager and the driver of the pickup were critically injured. Then there was the 41-year-old man who died in Ocala after the ATV he was riding crashed as he negotiated a curve on Southwest 153rd Loop. Then a 51-year-old Pompano Beach man was killed in an ATV accident at River Ranch Hunt Club in Lake Wales after reportedly losing control on a soft sand surface while trying to negotiate a right curve, resulting in a complete rollover, with the ATV resting on top of decedent.

Florida has some of the highest rates of ATV deaths in the U.S., according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Sunshine State ranked No. 6 nationally, with 512 total deaths on ATVs reported between 1982 and 2012. A more recent CPSC analysis of ATV-related fatalities in 2016 indicates there were 337 reports of ATV deaths nationally just in 2016 alone. That’s a drop from the 484 reported in 2015 and the 581 reported in 2014. It should be noted that reporting for the last few most recent years is still ongoing, and these figures are expected to rise once the final reports are in. Between 1982 and 2016, the number of ATV deaths had risen to nearly 14,700. Continue reading →

Published on:

Plastic surgery, like any surgery, carries risks. While it is not typically as dangerous as something like open heart surgery in most cases, patients are trusting the skill, experience, and professionalism of their surgeons and anesthesiologists to not only do an aesthetically good job, but also to perform the operation in a safe manner so as not to result in serious personal injury or death. If a doctor fails to adhere to the requisite standard of care, plaintiff may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages caused.

medical malpractice LawyerAccording to a recent news article from the Miami Herald, a woman died due to complications involving what is known as a “Brazilian butt lift” operation. Specifically, the medical examiner found that clots of fat from the surgery entered her heart and lungs causing an embolism resulting in her death. In the past four years, six women, including her, have died in Miami-Dade County from complications arising from this procedure. Continue reading →

Published on:

Boating is one of the more popular activities in South Florida. In some cases, this includes going out in the bay or offshore from areas like Fort Lauderdale, but it can also involve taking a boat out of Lake Okeechobee in the Greater Orlando area. While this can involve a lot of fun, there are also serious boating accidents that occur each year which can result in serious personal injury or death. Some of these accidents can lead to the need to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit.

South Florida Boat Accident LawyerAccording to a recent news article from TC Palm, a major fishing tournament was canceled after the first day when two boaters went missing while participating in the tournament. Authorities including those from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have said one team consisting of two men who had traveled to the state to participate in the tournament were reported missing the night following the first day of this tournament on the lake. Continue reading →

Published on:

Restaurants are a common site of trips, slips and falls, especially during the busy holiday season. The National Restaurant Association recommends all restaurants regularly monitor the coefficient of friction at various surfaces, replace worn or fraying carpets or mats, repair uneven surfaces on walkways, use non-slip matting in the kitchens or other areas that tend to be wet, wax carefully, keep pathways clear and promptly clean up reported or discovered spills. All of these practices will help reduce Florida slip-and-fall injuries. slip and fall attorney

Recently, the Mississippi Supreme Court considered a restaurant trip-and-fall case involving an elderly customer and an allegedly errant high chair, one leg protruding into the customer’s pathway, resulting in a fall that caused serious injuries to his face and shoulder.

According to court records, the incident occurred five years ago at a fast-food restaurant in Mississippi while 76-year-old plaintiff was on a road trip with his family, returning to their home in Missouri. After plaintiff received his order, set his food down at a table and walked to the condiment station. He picked up several condiments, but then thought he heard one of the workers speaking to him. He turned to face the counter, but then discovered the employee was actually talking to a different customer. He turned to walk back to his table and as he did so, his left foot struck the leg of a high chair that was protruding into the aisle. Soon after, he reportedly overheard one of the employees ask a co-worker what the highchair had been doing in that location. A supervisor instructed someone to move it.  Continue reading →

Published on:

If you are injured on-the-job, you are probably aware that you can seek no-fault benefits through your employer’s workers compensation insurer. But there is also the possibility, if another party was responsible in whole or in part in causing the accident, that you can pursue compensation from that individual or company (the third party). This moves forward as would any other Florida personal injury lawsuit, but with one important distinction: Your workers’ compensation insurer can impose a lien on whatever damages you collect for benefits they have already paid. The purpose is to avoid double recovery by the plaintiff. injury attorney

In other words, you cannot collect damages for medical bills from the negligent third party that have already been paid by the workers’ compensation insurer. However, this doesn’t mean the defendant should be off the hook for paying those damages. It means rather the workers’ compensation insurer has grounds to seek a lien on those sums.

This is one of the reasons why individuals who file personal injury lawsuits after collecting workers’ compensation need to have a fierce legal advocate in their corner.  Continue reading →

Contact Information