Sanders v. Sears-Page: Court Orders New Car Accident Trial

July 29, 2015

The majority of car accident lawsuits are settled outside of court, prior to the trial phase.
However, the personal injury lawyer you choose to handle your case should have ample trial experience. Some cases are best resolved at that level, and trial procedures are complex and fast-paced.

Although the actual crash may have been a fairly straightforward occurrence and fault is clear, liability may be less clear when a defendant calls into question the medical history of a plaintiff relative to causation of injuries. One example was seen recently in the Nevada Court of Appeals case of Sanders v. Sears-Page.

In fact, defendant admitted she was at-fault for the crash. She had made a right turn from the left lane and struck plaintiff's vehicle. Initially, the collision appeared minor and plaintiff did not complain of any trouble or seek medical attention. But as the hours wore on, her neck pain intensified. It worsened over the course of several days, and she sought treatment at a local neck and spine care center.

Continue reading "Sanders v. Sears-Page: Court Orders New Car Accident Trial" »

Widespread Vehicle Defects Galvanize Government Regulators

July 25, 2015

For years, it seemed as if the officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were asleep at the wheel.

The agency was slammed by members of Congress during hearings on Capitol Hill in which lawmakers criticized the failure to take swift, aggressive action over both the General Motors ignition switch failures in 2014 and Toyota's sudden acceleration problems in 2009. The agency was seen as weak as it was openly challenged by Chrysler in 2013 over the recall of 2.6 million Jeep sport utility vehicles.

But now, with new leadership, it seems the agency may finally be shifting gears.

Continue reading "Widespread Vehicle Defects Galvanize Government Regulators" »

Report: Emergency Responders Have High Rate of Driver Distraction

July 20, 2015

Distraction is a problem for all drivers. Whether it's a vibrating cell phone or children in the back seat - there is constant competition for our attention at all times, even behind the wheel.

But a recent news investigation reveals South Florida emergency responders may have an even higher rate than the rest of the public. This includes police officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMS workers.

The findings are particularly troubling in light of the fact that these workers are often called to operate vehicles at high rates of speed, often through heavy traffic. While they are given discretion as far as how to safely navigate through traffic, crashes are more commonplace than they should be, resulting in serious and sometimes lifelong injuries and even death to innocent motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Continue reading "Report: Emergency Responders Have High Rate of Driver Distraction" »

Florida Bicycling Risks Over Age 70

July 17, 2015

Bicycling in Florida can be great. There are many miles of flat, picturesque terrain and weather that is generally conducive year-round to good riding (though you may opt for an early morning or evening jaunt at the peak of summer).
But bicycling in Florida is also very dangerous.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 19 percent increase in pedalcyclist fatalities since 2010, with Florida having by far the highest percentage of bicycle deaths. We had 6.80 bicycle deaths per million, and a total of 133 for the year in 2013. That was far in excess of any other state - even those with much higher populations.

We also know that an increasing number of riders are over the age of 65, with many even over the age of 70. A report last year by found that between 1995 and 2009, there was a 320 percent increase in bicycling rates for those between the ages of 60 and 79.

Continue reading "Florida Bicycling Risks Over Age 70" »

Establishing Spectator Sport Injury Liability a Challenge

July 15, 2015

Just last month, a Boston Red Sox baseball fan was seriously injured when shards of a broken bat flew into the stands at Fenway Park and struck her in the face.
The 44-year-old's injuries were initially characterized as life-threatening, though she is now expected to survive. She was transferred from a hospital to a long-term rehabilitation center weeks after the incident, which occurred as she watched the second inning of the game from behind the third baseline.

Major League Baseball officials said they were reviewing fan safety at stadiums following the accident, but the question of whether she will be able to hold the stadium accountable is a difficult one.

There are two key defenses in spectator sport injury lawsuits: Assumption of risk and liability release.

Continue reading "Establishing Spectator Sport Injury Liability a Challenge" »

Truck Guards Could Reduce Severity of Truck Encounters With Bicyclists, Pedestrians

July 9, 2015

Accidents involving large trucks and bicyclists/pedestrians are a serious problem in urban areas. The growth of e-commerce has meant more trucks venturing into cities, while cycling as a form of transportation and recreation has rapidly gained popularity.

Part of what makes these collisions so dangerous (aside from the fact that cyclists and pedestrians have little to no protection from these huge masses of metal) is that so many people end up being knocked underneath the vehicle. That puts them at risk for being run over - and sometimes even dragged - by the back wheels.

There are a number of incidents that point to this issue in South Florida.

Continue reading "Truck Guards Could Reduce Severity of Truck Encounters With Bicyclists, Pedestrians" »

Sarkisian v. Concept Restaurants - Nightclub Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit

July 5, 2015

Slip-and-fall accidents in Florida have gotten harder in recent years to pursue in civil court, after legislators heightened the proof standards five years ago.
As a general rule, property owners and businesses owe the utmost duty of care to provide a safe space to guests. This includes keeping the floors clear of debris and slippery substances that might pose a fall risk to patrons.

However, up until 2010, people who did suffer a slip-and-fall needed only to show an out-of-place (transitory) foreign substance caused the accident. But now, with amendments to F.S. 768.0755, the burden of proof is on the injured person to show the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard and failed to address it or warn of it.

Continue reading "Sarkisian v. Concept Restaurants - Nightclub Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit" »

Sanon v. City of Pella - Drowning Litigation May Proceed

July 1, 2015

Swimming pools in Florida, by law, must abide by certain safety standards, whether they are residential or public.

In the case of Sanon v. City of Pella, which was recently before the Iowa Supreme Court, the drownings of two non-swimmer teen boys at a public pool rented out for a private function was attributed at least partially to the fact the pool was murky and had no underwater lights - as required by law.

The question before the court was whether city employees' decision to keep the lights off (due to rust, even though they still worked) and not provide any additional lighting to compensate met the criteria for the criminal offense of involuntary manslaughter. This critical distinction was necessary to overcome the city's assertion of sovereign immunity that would bar any civil lawsuit against it for negligence.

Continue reading "Sanon v. City of Pella - Drowning Litigation May Proceed" »

Browning v. Hickman - Pretrial Investigation Critical in Crash Lawsuits

June 30, 2015

The importance of careful pretrial investigation by injury victim attorneys cannot be overstated. It is essential in any injury case to have all elements carefully laid out so there are no surprises, nothing overlooked. This is true even in relatively simple cases. magnifyingglass.jpg

While plaintiffs are understandably interested in minimizing their legal expenses, not investing in this kind of thorough preparation even prior to the trial phase can be a costly mistake. Important details such as prior accidents, prior criminal records, witness backgrounds, officer backgrounds and other potentially relevant information can be overlooked when a lawyer fails to conduct a sufficient pretrial investigation. At worst, a case could be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.

In many cases, when a pretrial investigation is done right, defendants will concede the likelihood they'll lose at trial and agree to a settlement advantageous to a plaintiff in order to avoid trial.

Continue reading "Browning v. Hickman - Pretrial Investigation Critical in Crash Lawsuits" »

Jimenez v. 24 Hour Fitness - Waiver of Liability Not a Catch-All

June 26, 2015

Just because a person signs a waiver of liability before engaging in a certain activity does not mean the owner or organizer cannot be held responsible. treadmills.jpg

It's true that waivers of liability can complicate matters, and it's also a fact that many Florida courts have upheld these waivers as valid. However, that does not mean a case is rendered hopeless just because one exists.

While these waivers needn't spell out each and every possible injury that might arise from a given activity, they can't protect against gross negligence or willful, wanton or intentional misconduct. The intent of all parties involved is considered a key issue. These waivers (sometimes referred to as "exculpatory clauses") are disfavored by the court, but they are generally upheld if the intent to clear one party of all negligence is both clear and unequivocal.

Continue reading "Jimenez v. 24 Hour Fitness - Waiver of Liability Not a Catch-All" »

Ex parte Quality Carriers, Inc. - Tractor Trailer Strikes Disabled Vehicle With Fatal Results

June 23, 2015

Disabled vehicles pose a serious risk of injury not only to the operator and occupants, but also to others on the road. That's why it's best to maintain a vehicle in basic working order, to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios in the first place.
The recent case of Ex parte Quality Carriers, Inc. illustrates what can happen when people in this scenario fail to respond appropriately to minimize the risk.

According to records from the Alabama Supreme Court, which recently weighed a change of venue request from one of the defendants, a tractor-trailer company, the case started with a disabled Ford Crown Victoria in the northbound lanes of Interstate 65 in Autauga County (where Montgomery is located).

Continue reading "Ex parte Quality Carriers, Inc. - Tractor Trailer Strikes Disabled Vehicle With Fatal Results" »

Cain v. Lee - Punitive Damages in Injury Litigation

June 19, 2015

In any injury lawsuit - be it a car accident or a defective product or premises liability - there are two general types of damages that can be awarded.

The first type is compensatory damages. This is a sum of money awarded following a civil action to compensate a person for injuries, property damage or other losses resulting from the unlawful or negligent action of someone else. These damages provide a plaintiff the amount that's necessary to replace what is lost, and nothing more.

Of course, we know some losses are forever and there is no "replacing" the ability to walk or living pain-free or the loss of a loved one. But the idea is to restore the victim(s) to whatever degree is possible.

Continue reading "Cain v. Lee - Punitive Damages in Injury Litigation" »