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

It was one of the most horrific – and deadly – fires in Maine’s history. In 2014, a blaze broke out in a two-story rental unit, killing six people. Soon after, it was alleged the landlord reportedly kept the property in relatively shoddy condition with negligent repairs and poor maintenance – including lack of smoke detectors. fire2

Soon after, there was a rush to file wrongful death lawsuits (five in all) because, as is usually the case, the defendant only has a finite amount of insurance and assets that could cover such claims. But given the large number of deaths, there was a dispute over which family should be the first in line for the payout, if the landlord was indeed found liable for the deaths. (Meanwhile, the landlord faced criminal manslaughter charges.)

Recently, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court settled the issue in Estate of Summers v. Nisbet, closing a legal gap that had existed in the state up to that point.  Continue reading

A 39-year-old woman who was reportedly drunk when she ran into a 37-year-old pregnant woman and her two children, ages and 3 and 5, on South University Road in Miramar, now faces charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death. highwayexposure

The new charges were filed after the victim’s baby, whom doctors were forced to deliver, died.

Court records show the mother had been nearly six months pregnant with the child and the baby died within just days of the May 7 car accident.  Continue reading

One year after a tractor-trailer accident rendered him critically injured, trucker Chris Liddy – a father of three, husband and bicycling enthusiast – has died. motherandson

The Orlando Sentinel reported the sad news after a year-long fight for his life that ended recently in a hospice facility in Central Florida. He was just 40-years-old. Friends and family told reporters Liddy loved the open road, whether it was driving his tractor-trailer or bicycling across the state – a hobby he had fervently dedicated himself to in recent years.

The truck accident that caused his injuries occurred last July. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Liddy’s truck collided with another tractor-trailer on the Turnpike in St. Lucie County one morning shortly after 5 a.m. Investigators later told WPTV NBC-5 that the two trucks were traveling southbound with the other truck a short distance ahead of Liddy. For an undetermined reason, Liddy’s semi struck the rear trailer of the other vehicle. Liddy then struck a median guardrail and jackknifed.  Continue reading

A 31-year-old habitual traffic offender was arrested following a road rage incident caught on film in which he appears to intentionally run over two motorcyclists before fleeing the scene. tollroad

The Florida Highway Patrol reports the Land O’Lakes man had a nasty exchange with the bikers in the moments before the incident. One of the victims, a 46-year-old Navy veteran, said he feared for his life and the life of his female passenger. 

“You don’t know what’s going through his mind,” the victim told 10 News. “Is he going to put the car in reverse? Is he going to turn around? Is he going to stop and pull out a gun?” Continue reading

A new report from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reveals a sharp increase in the number of boating accidents in Florida in 2015. boating

The 2015 Boating Accident Statistics Report reveals the Sunshine State had 737 reported boating accidents last year. That is more than 100 more than what was reported in 2014. A spokesman for the agency was quoted as saying most of these crashes and fatalities could have been prevented if operators had been paying attention and if passengers had all been wearing life vests.

Florida has the most registered vessels of anywhere in the country, with 915,713 registered as of last year.

The No. 1 type of accident was collision with another vessel. There were 191 of those, accounting for 26 percent of all boating accidents.  Continue reading

With summer comes the parade of charter buses in and out of South Florida – whether for senior group outings or athletic competitions or family vacations. bus

These operations are overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which reports varying levels of adherence to federal safety laws between carriers. The agency even encourages passengers to, “Look Before You Book” to determine which might be potentially unsafe.

Yet a recent investigation by journalists at CNN revealed that even a company with a “satisfactory” rating may not abide by basic safety rules.  Continue reading

In Florida car accident litigation, it’s not just the facts that matter. It’s the procedural details. driving

The claim has to be properly stated, served and filed. All the elements have to be there – on time – or else you risk forfeiting your right to assert damages, perhaps forever.

This was the unfortunate outcome for plaintiff in Sorenson v. Batchfelder, recently before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Although this is an out-of-state case, the same general principles apply.  Continue reading

A 28-year-old Uber passenger in Orlando was killed in December when the driver allegedly ran a red light and struck a deputy, speeding through the intersection.drivingsleepy

Now, the family of that victim, Corey Allicock, is suing:

  • Uber
  • The Uber Driver
  • The Deputy

Although investigators did not fault Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Sullivan in the crash, witnesses who saw the deputy just before the crash said he was traveling 60 mph on the road. Authorities later revealed he was on his way to an emergency domestic violence call. However, it is undisputed he had not activated his emergency lights and siren. The 73-year-old Uber driver, meanwhile, was cited for running a red light and for causing the young man’s death. He has not driven for Uber since the crash. Continue reading