Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Responsibility for sidewalk maintenance depends on where the walkways is located and what the state and municipal ordinances say about who is responsible. Sometimes it can be private property owners located adjacent to the walk or homeowners associations or businesses on which the walkway exists. On public sidewalks, though, responsibility for maintenance usually rests with the county, city or town government. Orlando sidewalk injury lawyer

If you suffer injury in an Orlando sidewalk trip-and-fall, your claim is likely to be against the City of Orlando, which is responsible for sidewalk grinding of sections that have become lifted, cracked or uneven. Although old English common law established the idea of governmental “sovereign immunity” from torts, F.S. 768.28 outlines the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity in tort actions, allowing it to be treated just like any other negligent party or vicariously liable employer. However, there are a number of exceptions, which is why it’s so important to work with an Orlando injury attorney with a track record of success in cases against government agencies. Ask for specific examples when you’re deciding which attorney to hire.

One of the exceptions outlined in the statute involves something called discretionary function immunity (the opposite of which is ministerial function, for which governments can be held liable). These are technical and complex legal concepts, but the easiest explanation is that ministerial duty applies to a public employee’s official duty, without room for the worker to exercise any discretion. On the other hand, discretionary function is that which involves a function of one’s public employee job that requires the individual to exercise some degree of judgment in carrying out the task.  Continue reading →

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Amid reports that hundreds of people have been sickened in 10 states connected to two second cyclospora outbreaks (one of those resulting from eating McDonald’s salads), it’s important to point out that food poisoning illnesses can result in liability of these restaurants and grocery store chains.food poisoning injury

Recently one such case, Stachulski v. Apple New England, LLC, resulted with the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which affirmed a damage award of $750,000 in favor of a plaintiff who fell ill with salmonella after consuming a hamburger at defendant restaurant. Although ultimately ending in a favorable outcome to plaintiff, it highlights some of the challenges plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits may face.

According to court records, 29-year-old plaintiff, an HVAC technician, based his claim on a theory of strict products liability, explaining in his complaint he had dined at the restaurant with his wife and brother-in-law in February 2014, at which time he consumed a hamburger, which he alleged to be the source of his illness. He ordered the burger medium rare, and that was the start of the nightmare. (His brother-in-law too became ill, but recovered after a few days.) Plaintiff was hospitalized for a full week in intensive care when he first became sick. Even after he was released, he was unable to work for a full year due to uncontrollable bowel movements. He was embarrassingly on the toilet dozens of times daily, suffering kidney failure, shutdown of his liver and septic infection in his blood. Continue reading →

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South Florida trampoline park injuries among children have seen a stunning rise, with an NBC6 investigation reporting nearly 300 falls and injuries at trampoline parks resulting in 911 calls, about 70 of those requiring paramedics. Among those calls were a 4-year-old boy with a sprained ankle and a 6-year-old girl left bleeding after a larger child jumped on top of her and a boy who suffered a head injury. At one business alone, there were 60 calls to 911 in two years.trampoline injury

Larger studies suggest the problem is widespread and growing. For instance, a study published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that between 2010 and 2014, there were approximately 92,000 emergency department visits made during the study period. That alone is troubling, but particularly when you consider that trampoline park injuries spiked 10-fold during the study period. Five-to-six new trampoline parks open across the country every single month, with an estimated 450 open as of the end of last year. That’s compared to the 35 to 40 that were in existence in 2011 and 280 in 2014.

Sprains and fractures were among the most common trampoline injuries, with dislocated joints twice as commonly occurring at trampoline parks as at residential trampolines. Also more common at the businesses were fractures more likely to occur in younger children – accounting for roughly 50 percent of injuries among children younger than 6.  Continue reading →

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Head injuries can be among the most serious types of personal injuries seen in the West Palm Beach area.  Not only can these accidents result in death, in cases where they do not prove fatal, they can leave a victim with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  A traumatic brain injury can result in the need for a plaintiff to undergo multiple surgical and non-surgical medical procedures, and will leave plaintiffs unable to do many of the things we take for granted like walking, eating, using fine or even gross motor skills, talking, and they may have trouble concentrating on simple tasks, memory issues, trouble returning to work, and in many cases, these victims will not make anything close to a full recovery.

slip and fall attorneyThis means the plaintiff will often have extensive medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and the need for full-time care.  In some cases, the plaintiff will no longer be able to live alone and may require moving to a full-time care facility. In other cases, plaintiffs will be fortunate enough to have family members who are retired or can afford to stop working, but even this will cause a tremendous financial burden to the members of plaintiff’s family and this is why we say that not only the plaintiff, but the plaintiff’s family members can also be devastated by a serious accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Continue reading →

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A business liability insurer will not need to provide coverage to a convenience store faced with claims of negligent supervision arising from a physical altercation between the store’s security guard and a customer.personal injury attorney

According to records from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the incident happened in 2009 at a convenience store when the customer visited the store to buy beer and that while he was inside the store, the security guard punched him in the face twice. Customer/ plaintiff left the store, called police to report an assault and was transported to the hospital where he received treatment for a broken jaw.

As our personal injury attorneys in Orlando can explain, actions for intentional tort can be difficult because many insurers will allege they do not cover intentional acts. However, there may be negligence claims that are applicable for which insurers are liable.

Plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the store owner, the security guard and the store’s insurer. He alleged the store had a duty to properly train and supervise employees, owing the highest degree of care for the safety of customers. The store’s liability insurer hired an attorney to represent him, but did so under “reservation of rights,” meaning that decision alone did not mean it would provide coverage for the end verdict. The insurer sought to bifurcate issues of coverage and liability and put the proceedings on the latter issue on hold until the issue of coverage could be decided, a motion the court granted. The store owner hired his own attorney to represent him on the issue of coverage. Continue reading →

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Unsafe sidewalk conditions such as uneven slabs and cracks can result in serious injuries from trip-and-fall, bicycle accidents and, it turns out, Segway accidents.sidewalk accident

Recently in California, the San Diego Tribune reported the city council had agreed to approve a $1.5 million settlement with a woman who suffered a Segway accident injury while riding on a sidewalk. Her husband was also awarded $200,000 for loss of consortium. Segways, which can be rented across the Orlando area as well, are those two-wheeled motorized vehicles that can carry a single person standing upright. Plaintiff was reportedly injured when she drove a Segway over a large area of damaged and broken sidewalk in the summer of 2015. She suffered a shattered pelvis requiring emergency surgery and permanent metal plates. She still requires intense physical therapy and currently relies predominantly on a wheelchair for mobility now. She sought damages for pain and suffering and lost wages, while her husband sought compensation for loss of companionship.

The city initially defended itself, arguing in responses that plaintiffs were negligent, careless and the damage to the pavement was open and obvious and could have been avoided had they been using reasonable care. The city also filed a cross-complaint against the Segway tour guide business from which plaintiff rented the vehicle. Ultimately, that company didn’t contribute to the payout because the company lacked liability insurance at the time of the accident and the company had limited assets. The city is now working on an ordinance that would require Segway tour operators to carry liability insurance, as well as adhere to other safety regulations.  Continue reading →

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Florida is renowned for its water parks and theme parks – from the obvious draws like Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando to Tampa’s Adventure Island, Destin’s Big Kahuna’s Waterpark and Winterhaven’s Legoland. Amusement parks are big business in the Sunshine State, drawing in many millions of visitors (Disney World’s Magic Kingdom alone has more than 20 million visitors annually) who collectively pay billions for the experience. amusement park injury

But with this benefit comes a huge responsibility: To keep visitors reasonably safe from foreseeable harms.

When businesses fail to do this and it results in a personal injury, it can be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Examples might include the failure to clean up a spill resulting in a slip-and-fall or the failure to properly manage a busy parking lot, resulting in a vehicle-versus-pedestrian accident.  Continue reading →

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Amid ongoing incidents of violence at schools and colleges, the California Supreme Court has ruled that colleges DO owe their students a duty of care to protect them from foreseeable violence during curricular activities. This responsibility, the court ruled, was owing to the power dynamic between schools and students, which amounts to a “special relationship.”injury lawyer

This was a reversal of a previous appellate court decision, which held 2 to 1 that universities and colleges had no general legal obligation to protect adult students from the criminal actions of other students.

The case involves a 20-year-old pre-med student who was viciously attacked with a knife in a chemistry classroom by a fellow University of California at Los Angeles student. Her attacker had previously been diagnosed with paranoid delusions and possible schizophrenia and was undergoing outpatient treatment at the university at the time of the incident. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. Plaintiff’s argument against the university was the school breached its duty of care by failing to take reasonable steps to protect her from foreseeable violence. Continue reading →

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House fires have the potential to cause serious threats to our personal safety and welfare. The National Fire Protection Association estimates home fires kill 2,500 annually (accounting for 93 percent of all civilian structure fire deaths), which breaks down to an average of seven daily. They also injure some 12,300 people each year and cause more than $6.7 billion in direct damage. fire injury

The question of who is legally responsible for a fire can be a complex one, even when there is no evidence someone intentionally set the fire (in which case criminal arson charges may be applicable). More often than not, the cause is accidental, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t preventable or that someone shouldn’t be held liable. The NFPA reports cooking equipment is the No. 1 cause of home structure fires and injuries, followed by smoking and heating equipment.

But for those who live in rental properties, it’s important to consider the actions or omissions of the landlord. While such actions may not have caused the fire, they may have created circumstances that made the structure vulnerable to fire or exacerbated the risk of injury or death. Examples might include absent or broken smoke detectors, blocked fire exits, missing safety equipment and maintenance failures.  Continue reading →

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Disney is the “happiest place on earth,” but visitors are still sometimes at risk for serious injury. Obtaining injury compensation from an amusement park – or any large-scale corporation – can seem a daunting challenge. The good news is the civil courts are intended to be a level playing field, where no side has a greater advantage and all are subject to the same laws. While big companies do have deep pockets to hire some of the best defense attorneys, personal injury claimants generally pay nothing upfront in a contingency fee arrangement (wherein attorney’s fees are paid only if and when the claim is successful), meaning plaintiffs too have access to high-quality legal representation. injury attorney

It has been the experience of our personal injury lawyers in Orlando that sometimes the company will settle a case far in advance of trial if the facts are sufficient to support a case for negligence. However, ensuring plaintiffs are paid an adequate sum for their injuries can be more challenging. It requires extensive proof established through witness statements, medical records and sometimes expert witness testimony.

A number of recent Disney injury cases have been reported in local media outlets, who caught wind either via a public court filing or through the company’s own periodic injury report, which it releases voluntarily to the public (part of its deal with legislators to avoid state inspections).  Continue reading →

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