The good news is that for what seems like the first time in a long time, Florida has a relatively low rating when it comes to poor driving: 32 out of 51 (with D.C. included), according to a recent study by In fact, it doesn’t even rank in the top 10 when study authors ranked factors such as:

  • Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled;
  • Percentage of fatal crashes involving failure to obey traffic laws;
  • Drunk driving;
  • Speeding;
  • Careless driving resulting in fatal crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists per 100,000 residents.traffic6

Interestingly, Montana was deemed to have the worst drivers in the country. That was followed by South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota Delaware and Mississippi.

However, Florida did come out No. 1 in one category: Careless Driving. Continue reading

Disputes between tenants and landlords are fairly common almost anywhere you live. Unfortunately, too many landlords are more concerned about their bottom line than in ensuring their property is habitable and safe for tenants and guests. stairway

There have been cases in which the lack of management can result in injuries. For example, if there are slippery floors, broken stairwells or damaged handrails, this could result in a serious fall. Where doors and windows aren’t equipped with locks or other security features, this could make residents and guests vulnerable to crime.

In these cases, where injury results, the terms of the lease agreement isn’t the only recourse Florida tenants have. Continue reading

The family of 29-year-old physician’s assistant Alexander Chun described him to The Sun-Sentinel as “happy, “kind” and “smiling.”

Now, his family will never again see his smile again after Chun was struck and killed by a motorist in Pembroke Pines. According to police, the other motorist – a 78-year-old who as of yet has not been charged in connection with the accident – was driving eastbound on Pines Boulevard shortly before 1 p.m. when he cut Chun off while making a left turn onto Northwest 98th Avenue.

Chun’s mother said the Mount Sinai Medical Center employee was riding his motorcycle on the way to meet a friend for lunch.

Chun, who grew up in Northeast Ohio and was an accomplished flutist, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead about four hours after the crash.
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Many are familiar with the fact that negligence, in the legal sense, is when someone who had a responsibility to use due care acts in a careless or reckless way that ultimately harms others.
What is lesser known is that the victim also owes a duty – to his or herself – to minimize the risk of harm. This is known as the “duty to mitigate,” and the idea is that someone who is wronged has a duty to make reasonable efforts to limit the resulting harm.

When an injured person failed in this duty or in someway contributed to his or her own injuries, this is called comparative fault. In some states, a finding of comparative fault will completely prohibit an injured person from collecting any compensation for those injuries. Other states will still allow recovery – reduced based on the percentage of plaintiff’s fault – so long as it doesn’t exceed a threshold of 50 percent or 51 percent.

In Florida, our courts follow a system known as “Pure Comparative Fault.” F.S. 768.81 indicates that the fact of a plaintiff’s comparative fault will not bar him or her from recovery. However, it will reduce the amount of compensation available. So if a plaintiff is awarded $150,000 but was 30 percent at fault for the crash, he or she will only receive $105,000. This is allowable up to 99 percent, meaning an injured person can collect for just 1 percent of damages, even if he or she was 99 percent at-fault.
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Traffic safety advocates have been trying everything to curb distracted driving. That has involved:
–Launching awareness campaigns to drive home the point;
–Funding studies to better understand the issue;
–Promoting anti-distraction laws that penalize drivers for not paying attention.
But while many drivers say distraction among motorists is a major concern, a huge portion pretend as if this isn’t applicable to them personally. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has identified this as a situation of “Do as I Say, Not as I Do.”

Now, in a somewhat ironic twist, it may be technology – the very thing that keeps us distracted – that holds the power to help us unplug and stay focused on the road. It’s a matter of critical importance considering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s prediction that motor vehicle deaths will surpass 40,000 this year for the first time in eight years. By some estimates, distraction is blamed for 25 percent of all fatal crashes in Florida.
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When a former chiropractor suffered serious and permanent injuries in a 2004 auto collision with an uninsured motorist and an uninsured motorist, he and his wife sought compensation from their own insurance company. They carried a policy that provided for UM/UIM coverage.

However, there car insurance company – GEICO – refused to pay the claim. At that point, plaintiffs Dr. David Zucker and his wife, Carrie Zucker, had no choice but to file a lawsuit. According to The Daily Business Review, Carrie Zucker had been a passenger in the vehicle and was pregnant at the time. Her injuries, however, were not as serious as those suffered by her husband.

David Zucker reportedly suffered permanent spinal and urological injuries as a result of the crash, which happened on Interstate-95 in Miami after a reportedly uninsured motorist, Miguel Gonzalez, slammed into an 18-wheel oil tank truck, driven by Juan Chirino. The impact of that accident caused Gonzalez’s vehicle spinning across three lanes of traffic, where he slammed into the Zuckers’ vehicle.
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The Broward County Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services recently used a $13,000 grant on a video game.
Well, not exactly.

The Dangerous Driving Simulator is an advanced technological tool that serves to demonstrate the perils of driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s a way to offer a real-life message of extreme danger through a safe, simulated experience. Because the problem, say many safety advocates, is that many people believe they are somehow immune to the danger.

That is, they may say that texting and driving is dangerous and they are concerned that other drivers do it. Yet many admit to doing it themselves. Similar findings have been found by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety with respect to drunk driving. This “Do as I say, not as I do” mantra is born of the idea that, “It can’t happen to me.” People think they are somehow better at these dangerous activities than others. The simulator shows them the glaring truth: They aren’t.
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According to the Florida Health Care Association, there are more than 680 nursing homes statewide serving some 73,000 residents, and an additional 3,050 assisted living facilities serving 85,000 residents. nobody.jpg

These figures are expected to grow exponentially in coming years as the baby boomer generation ages, and that has raised many questions about the quality of care these facilities are providing – particularly the growing number that operate on a for-profit basis. Research has shown for-profit nursing homes tend to have higher ratios of staff-to-patients, have more safety and health violations and are frequently the subject of litigation alleging nursing home abuse.

Rather than improve their business model, most of these facilities have initiated a mandatory arbitration policy, whereby residents and/or their legal representative are asked upon admission to sign an arbitration agreement. This binding contract is effectively the patient giving up his or her right to take a case to civil court should there be an allegation of abuse or neglect. Instead, the complaint is funneled to private arbitration, which has many advantages for the nursing home, but few for the patient.
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Some injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, meaning lawyers who agree to pursue the cases aren’t paid anything upfront and they don’t get paid unless they win.
Under the so-called “American rule,” attorneys’ fees in civil litigation aren’t covered by the losing party unless there is some contract, statute or court rule that allows it. Florida does follow the “American rule,” but also abides by F.S. 627.428, which holds that if a judgment is made against an insurer, plaintiff may collect “reasonable” attorney’s fees.

The American rule contrasts with the English rule, in which the losing party always pays the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees.
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More than 100 miles of Fort Lauderdale sidewalks are known to be a trip-and-fall hazard to pedestrians. That represents nearly a quarter of the city’s 425 miles of sidewalks. Worse, even if you doubled the amount of sidewalk the city does have, it wouldn’t be enough to install sidewalks in all the areas that need it.
All of this creates a potentially dangerous situation for pedestrians and bicyclists, particularly in the city’s more urban areas. In fact, downtown Fort Lauderdale has some of the worst sidewalks.

This is not merely an issue of aesthetics. According to a recent report by The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the city has shelled out some $250,000 a year – amounting to $1.3 million in the last five years – for trip-and-fall lawsuits brought against the municipality.
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