Dog bite injuries in Florida are handled under a legal theory known as “strict liability.” What this means is, according to F.S.767.04, a dog owner may be liable if his or her dog bites someone – even if that dog had no history of any vicious behavior and even if owner had no prior warning or knowledge the dog might bite. The injured person does not have to prove the owner’s failure to use reasonable care played any sort of role in causing the bite. Rather, they must show the defendant owned/ controlled the dog, the dog bit the victim, that bite caused injury to victim.Police Dogs

There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule. Those include:

  • The person who was bitten was not lawfully in the place where the bite occurred. (In other words, he/she was trespassing.)
  • Comparative negligence. This asserts the dog bite victim’s own negligence was partially to blame for causing the bite. This generally doesn’t apply to children under the age of 6.

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If a worker is struck by an under-insured driver while on-the-job, it can result in a unique situation for compensation. As you probably know, most injuries that arise out of the course and scope of employment are going to be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, it can get a bit thorny if you settle with your workers’ compensation carrier based on the assumption you’ll still collect uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits. Forklift

Florida statute gives auto insurers the right to set off its obligation not just by what workers’ compensation actually paid, but by the full amount you were entitled to receive. This is spelled out in Fla. Stat. § 627.727. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale overseeing your case. You don’t want to undercut your rights with UM/UIM coverage by settling too soon.

There could be other considerations as well. Recently, the New Mexico Supreme Court was asked to resolve an issue from a federal district court concerning state law as it pertained to the UIM benefits a deceased worker’s family was entitled to collect after already receiving workers’ compensation death benefits. The case was Vasquez v. American Cas. Co. of Reading. Continue reading

Three year ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law amendments to F.S. 90.702 to F.S. 90.704 that changes the standard by which Florida courts determine whether expert witness testimony should be admissible. Previously, we used the “Frye standard,” which asks only whether the technique of the expert is generally accepted as reliable in the relevant scientific community. The legislative change has now instead using the “Daubert standard,” which is more stringent and requires something of a mini-trial in front of a judge before the case can proceed. Questions raise include not just whether the technique is generally accepted, but questions whether there has been empirical testing, whether there has been peer review and publication, whether there is a known or potential error rate, whether there is a maintenance of these standards and more. Cars

The Florida Supreme Court is considering a proposal that would revert the courts back to the Frye standard. (The Florida courts can take action without the legislators on this point because it concerns a procedural element of the court.) Civil plaintiff attorneys argue the Daubert standards are too stringent and serve as a barrier to legal remedy in legitimate claims.

To understand why the importance of this standard matters in civil personal injury lawsuits, we look at the recent case of Sims v. Kia Motors of America, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Here, the viability of expert witness testimony was critical to the product liability claim in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal car accident. Continue reading

Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is essential for anyone who drives a car or owns a vehicle. It is the means by which people injured in a car accident by a driver with minimal bodily injury liability coverage can seek more adequate compensation. More than 1 in 4 drivers in Florida don’t have any insurance at all, and a far higher number have insurance with minimum policy limits. carcrash1

In the case of Gillespie v. National Farmers Union Property & Casualty Co., plaintiff was the policyholder of a UIM policy that, when triggered, would cover not just her but her teenage daughter, who had just earned her temporary driver’s license. But the question before the North Dakota Supreme Court was whether those benefits were indeed triggered.

UIM policies only kick in when:

  • You are an insured under the policy;
  • Liability of the other party is established;
  • The policy limits of the other policy are exhausted;
  • Those policy limits are inadequate to compensate for crash-related damages.

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Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers understand that the negligence of some parties does not necessarily negate the negligence of others.highway14

This was the claim argued recently before the North Carolina Supreme Court, where the families of three people killed (including a mother and her 2-year-old daughter). Families of the decedents argued the state was negligent in failing to take action to install a traffic light at an intersection that was known to require it. The state, in turn, argued the sole cause of the crash were two drag racing drivers. Continue reading

It’s estimated there are approximately 15.5 million large trucks operating in the U.S., including about 2 million tractor-trailers. There are more than 1 million trucking companies and an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers. There is ample opportunity for something to go wrong, and that’s a serious problem when we’re talking about such massive vehicles sharing the roadway with smaller, vulnerable passenger vehicles.semitruck1

One of those who was unfortunate enough to cross paths with a negligent truck driver was 42-year-old Velma Dismukes. She was a single mother of three girls, ranging in age from 15 to 26. She was employed as a hospice nurse in Texas and she set out one February morning in 2015 to check in on a patient at home. The roads were icy. She took it slow. Unfortunately, the semi-truck that careened into her lane was not.

According to, the driver picked up the rig from the terminal that morning, set to deliver office supplies from Dallas to a smaller suburb about an hour away. He was well aware of the condition of the roads because he drove himself to the terminal. Nonetheless, he failed to install snow chains on his vehicle. This proved a deadly mistake. Continue reading

A woman is seeking $50,000 in damages on behalf of her daughter, who was injured while watching a musical production of, “Aladdin” at a local high school in Illinois. stage

The girl, a minor, was reportedly hit on the head with a light fixture during the production. The girl’s mother alleges the youth theater company as well as the school district are liable to pay damages for the resulting injuries – specifically, medical bills, pain and suffering and the mother’s lost wages.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the girl was participating in the production for school credit in one of her classes. According to the lawsuit, her role in the production was to pick up confetti that had been fired out of a cannon at the end of Act I and then to leave through the back curtains. Behind that curtain was an adjustable stage light that was on a pole. The complaint asserts that an employee of the company adjusted the light to be about five feet off the ground. However, complainant student is 5 feet 8 inches tall. The girl reportedly was picking up the confetti and then stood up, striking her head on the light as she did so.  Continue reading

Some car accident cases are more complicated than others. This is especially true of cases in which one of the driver was on-the-job, acting in the course and scope of employment and/or was operating a company vehicle. chef1

First, there is consideration that – generally regardless of fault – an employee injured while working can collect workers’ compensation.

Second, if the employee was at-fault and others are injured, those injured persons may seek compensation from the employer by alleging vicarious liability (via the legal theory of “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for, “Let the Master Answer”) or for direct liability (i.e., inadequate training, negligent hiring, inadequate supervision, unsafe equipment, etc.). Even if the employee wasn’t technically on-the-clock, there could be a claim for vicarious liability against the company if the worker was driving the company vehicle. That’s because in Florida, motor vehicles are known as inherently dangerous instrumentalities, and therefore, owners can be held responsible for the negligence of anyone entrusted to operate them.   Continue reading

Airbags are supposed to help save lives – not take them. airbag

That’s what has Jewel Brangman’s father, Alexander, so incensed about the death of his beloved child, whom he called “my best friend.” The striking beauty was a college graduate, a model and a gymnast teacher. She lived in San Diego, and her father had moved there from New York to be closer to her. But the last Father’s Day card he ever received from her was in June 2014. In it, she told him no matter what, she’d always be his little girl.

Just months later, she was gone. She was reportedly traveling in a rental car on the Los Angeles freeway when she rear-ended a van. It was a multi-vehicle collision, involving four cars total. But while all others involved walked away with no serious injuries, 26-year-old Jewel was killed. The Honda in which Jewel was driving was reportedly equipped with a faulty airbag. The vehicle had been recalled back in 2009, but it doesn’t appear the airbag was ever switched.  Continue reading

For victims of a crime, such as drunk driving or a violent assault, it’s not uncommon for there to be two cases moving simultaneously through the court system: The criminal and the civil. Criminal cases are pursued by state or federal prosecutors while civil complaints are pursued by the victims who have been harmed. The goal of the criminal case is to penalize the wrongdoer, while the purpose of the civil case is to make whole (to whatever extent possible) the person wronged. gavel7

It is not unheard of for judges in criminal court to order restitution to the victim, who may or may not have a pending civil case. However, that restitution is unlikely to cover the full cost of damages. Victims may be lucky if they get even a fraction of their losses covered – and that’s assuming the defendant even pays. Although criminal restitution isn’t dischargeable in a bankruptcy, it’s not uncommon for victims to walk away without ever seeing a dime of that money. On the other hand, civil lawsuit damages take into consideration not just medical bills, but lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Further, they are usually paid by insurance companies and other third parties, which increases the chances of the victim actually receiving the money owed.

This is why it’s imperative to discuss your case with an experienced Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer – even if the prosecutor pursuing action against the person who harmed you promises to also ask for restitution.  Continue reading