A Florida product liability lawsuit alleging faulty airbags leading to a fatal car accident slated for trial in the fall when attorneys announced a surprise confidential settlement agreement. airbagdeployed

The case centers on allegedly defective Takata airbags, which are reported to have played a role in at least 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries when they improperly inflate and spew metal debris into the faces and necks of front seat occupants.

Vehicles made by 14 different automakers were recalled in what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the biggest and most complex recalls to date. Most of the bags were installed in vehicles from 2002 through 2015.  Continue reading

Criminal assault may not be something businesses desire, but it is something they can anticipate and take reasonable steps to prevent. nightclub1

In cases where businesses do not take reasonable steps to prevent injury, businesses may be liable for damages to victims.

One such case was recently seen in California, where an appellate court affirmed a $5.42 million damage award to a woman who was sexually assaulted in a dance club unisex bathroom.  Continue reading

When people get ready to buy a car, they may spend a great deal of time researching the various safety features and ensuring (if it isn’t brand new) that it’s checked by a licensed mechanic. But when they rent a vehicle, they may barely give much thought to the vehicle, other than it’s size and how accommodating it will be a for a trip.keys

Yet up until very recently, it was perfectly legal for rental car companies to loan out recalled vehicles to unsuspecting customers – without making repairs or warning customers of the danger. That should alarm motorists everywhere, but it’s especially troubling here in South Florida, which has a booming rental car industry from tourism. Now consider that there have been record vehicle recall rates in recent years – with an average of 900 recalls annually breaking down to some 2.5 every single day. In the last two years, more than 100 million vehicles were impacted by safety recalls. To give you a better idea of how big that is, there are a total of 260 million vehicles registered in the U.S.

The good news is that now, following an arduous legal battle, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015, which passed as part of a larger transportation bill, went into effect June 1, 2016 and mandates that rental car companies with 35 or more vehicles in fleet must ground any recalled vehicles until they can be repaired. Continue reading

A woman is suing a luxury hotel owner and valet service in Miami after a violent carjacking that reportedly left her with injuries.bentley

Video of the incident shows the victim pulling up to the hotel’s valet service with her Lexus sport utility vehicle. An attendant begins unloading her belongings and she steps out of the car. Suddenly, a man who was seen in earlier frames looking on nearby approaches. He calmly gets into the car and sits in the driver’s seat. The scene quickly turns chaotic. He violently slams the vehicle into reverse. He knocks over several valets and hotel guests. Plaintiff instinctively reaches out to the door handle, but the suspect jerks forward, forcefully pulling her arm. In all, seven people were struck and four had to be hospitalized – one in critical condition.

Now, plaintiff argues the hotel and valet service knew or should have known this act might occur and done more to prepare for it or at least warn their guests. According to Courtroom View Network, the assailant had attempted to steal at least five other vehicles from this very same valet service, which operates in the South Florida region. One of those attempts occurred at the very same hotel. All of those incidents occurred in the months before this incident.  Continue reading

A Florida jury awarded $10 million to plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit against the Domino’s Pizza parent company for the negligence of a franchisee employee. hotvehicles

The ruling is significant not just for the amount of damages awarded, but for the fact the jury decided the Michigan-based corporation could be held liable for the actions of a person it didn’t directly employ. The difference here, according to court records, was the degree of control Domino’s reportedly held over its franchises.

Usually, companies can be held vicariously liable for the actions of its employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior. But franchisors generally aren’t considered the “employers” of those who work for franchisees. However, this kind of complex corporate structure isn’t unique to the pizza delivery industry. Trucking companies, nursing homes and others routinely set up these complex business models with numerous companies, with one of the goals being  to distance the main entity from any liability and ultimately reduce the damages any injury plaintiff might receive, as those smaller entities will have less of an ability to pay.  Continue reading

It’s long been understood by those who work closely with nursing home abuse victims that aggression and attacks by other residents is one of the possible threats. Now, a new study conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine reveals 1 in every 5 nursing home residents – or 20 percent – report being abused by other residents. hospitalhall

The study involved culling information on more than 2,000 nursing home patients. Findings were that more than 400 of them had been involved at least once in some type of abuse involving another resident over the course of the four-week study.

Accounting for 45 percent of those cases were verbal taunts. But physical assaults too made up 26 percent of incidents. Plus, it’s worth noting that verbal taunting can often be a precursor to a physical attack, including a possible sexual assault.  Continue reading

The alligator attack death of a 2-year-old boy at a Disney resort recently was met with horror, grief and questions about whether the theme park may be liable for what occurred. alligator1

The toddler, Lane Graves, was snatched by an alligator as he was splashing in about six-to-twelve inches of water, about one foot in at the bank of a man-made, freshwater pond, his father just footsteps away. His father wrestled with the alligator to try to free his son, but tragically, he did not succeed. The boy’s body was found intact after an exhaustive 16-hour search.

Soon after word of this nightmare emerged, it was revealed that there were “No Swimming” signs posted nearby. However, there was no mention of alligators or any other wild animal. Of course, those of us who live in Florida are familiar with the fact that any freshwater body – and even some saltwater – is a potential habitat for gators. But this was a resort and it was known many people would be staying from out-of-town. This family was no exception, as they’d been visiting from Nebraska.

But could Disney be liable for wrongful death in this case?

Based one what we know of the case, it seems plausible.  Continue reading

It used to be that a phone was just a phone. A way to call one person and speak from long distances. phone

Today, phones have become so much more. They are our maps. Our social calendars. Our means to connect with current contacts and decades-old pals. Our music. Our clock. Our books. Our calculator. Our news source. And so much more.

We aren’t the only ones who have taken note. Because for all the good things that having this technology at our fingertips does, it can be deadly in the hands of a driver. Far too often, distraction turns deadly. In an effort to curb the risk of car accidents caused by mobile phone distraction, auto insurance companies are increasingly giving drivers an option: Download our use tracking app, and get a break on your insurance rates.  Continue reading

While still upholding the validity of the overall law, the Florida Supreme Court has for the second time this year struck down a portion of the state’s workers’ compensation law it deemed unconstitutional. worker3

Both decisions were considered big wins for injured workers in Florida, who have been affected by a series of legislative changes – most notably in 2003 – that have served to whittle down their protections within the state workers’ compensation system.

Workers’ compensation is a legal construct that allows workers to be quickly compensated for on-the-job illnesses and injuries without having to prove the company was negligence. The trade-off is the worker forfeits the right to sue his or her employer. But this alternative system of dispute resolution has to be fair to both sides. What the court ruled was that, yet again, legislative changes made to the law in the interest of keeping insurance costs down have rendered the system one-sided in favor of employers.  Continue reading

Traffic laws are intended to keep order on the roads and improve safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who all share the space. road

However, there are questions about how effective some of those laws truly are when when Florida has some of the highest rates of accident deaths by motor vehicles – including those involving bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2014, there were 2,494 traffic fatalities in Florida. That’s compared to New York – which has almost the exact same population – which had 1,039. California – which has double Florida’s population – had 3,074 that year. Texas, which is also about double, had 3,538.

Traffic safety experts say the issue is somewhat complicated. It starts with the fact that our roads (as were many in the South) were designed primarily for fast motor vehicle traffic. It continues with the fact that we have year-round nice weather and beautiful beaches and other tourist draws. That means we have far more people on our roads, many of them inexperienced with the area and sometimes on long commutes. There is also the issue of lacking public transportation, which is a major problem in a lot of Florida cities. But another issue is the fact that many of our traffic laws are rather lax.  Continue reading