Child School Injuries a Concern as Classes Resume

August 8, 2014

A Florida mother has filed a lawsuit against her daughter's former charter school as well as the maker of an inflatable "Sumo wrestling" suit, alleging that a "Spirit Day" activity went horribly wrong when the school failed to make sure the girl's helmet fit properly, and the manufacturer failed to warn of possible danger.

As a result, her family said the girl's head hit the ground repeatedly, causing her to suffer traumatic brain injury that has resulted in dramatic personality changes, regression in the ability to communicate, blurred vision, headaches and severe anxiety.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys know that in preparing children for back-to-school, parents must recognize a significant number of injuries to children occur while at school or while students are engaged in school-related activities or events. Some of these cases may be compensable, depending on the level of control the school had over the student at the time of the incident, and whether school administrators and staffers might have reasonably foreseen the risk of injury.

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Compulsory Medical Exams at Issue in Florida Personal Injury Cases

August 1, 2014

In many Florida personal injury cases, either side may request a plaintiff undergo a compulsory medical exam. This is a medical exam conducted to establish or refute arguments made by the opposing side.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know that while courts often grant these requests, they are not permitted to do so unless good cause has been shown and the parameters are clearly outlined. The exam has to involve a matter that is "in controversy" in the case. That is, it involves a key point that is critical to the requesting side's position.

This issue was recently before two separate appellate courts in different cases, with one court denying the request and another choosing to narrow it significantly.

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3rd DCA Denies Vicarious Liability for Those Aiding in Defense

July 24, 2014

Florida tends to have broad interpretation with regard to vicarious liability in car accident cases. That is, while third parties generally aren't liable for the actions of someone else, Florida's dangerous instrumentality doctrine provides that a vehicle is an inherently dangerous tool. Therefore, vehicle owners in Florida are subject to liability anytime that vehicle, driven negligently by a third party with the owner's knowledge and consent, is involved in a serious crash.

However, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal in Miccosukee Tribe v. Bermudez recently declined to extend this kind of vicarious liability to individuals who aid in a legal defense. The argument in favor of extending liability was based on case law that pertained largely to attorney's fees, the court found, and could not be used as a basis to require a third party to pay for damages incurred by another person or entity.

Our car accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale recognize this ruling limits the circumstances under which plaintiffs can pursue other parties for injury compensation. However, the overall impact is likely minimal, as the case involved a series of special circumstances.

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Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. - Rightful Claimants in Wrongful Death

July 18, 2014

The untimely death of a father in a traffic crash, leaving behind three young children, gave rise to a wrongful death claim that insurers sought to deny. The defendants (the at-fault drivers and two insurers) argued the children had no right to make a claim because the man's long-estranged wife had been denied compensation, and therefore the children (from another union) were not entitled to a set-aside from her.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in weighing the case of Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., found this to be a serious misinterpretation of the law, bordering on "absurd."

Our Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyers know that while there are statutory hurdles to making such a claim, courts are still inclined to make such decisions on a case-by-case basis. This is important, considering that families today don't always follow the traditional nuclear model upon which legal theory is often based.

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S. Shore Baseball, LLC v. DeJesus - Sports Stadium Injury Claims Tough to Establish

July 15, 2014

While tens of millions of Americans attend professional sporting events every year, a fair number of them will be injured.

These injuries range from third-party criminal attacks by other fans to being struck by hockey pucks and even getting hit with hot dogs.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know that precedent set in most courts holds that a lot of times, these injuries are the manifestation of an assumed risk fans take when attending such events. In many cases, this warning regarding "inherent risk" is even printed on the back of the ticket.

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Court: Federal Maritime Law Won't Apply to DUI Case

July 6, 2014

Texas and Florida are similar in many ways. Both are among the largest and most populous states in the nation, and both have considerable coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico.
This is why the plaintiffs in Schlumberger Tech. Corp. v. Arthey sought to take action under federal maritime law.
However, Fort Lauderdale DUI accident lawyers know one way in which these two states vary dramatically is the scope of justice available for crash victims through the civil court system.

In Florida, victims of DUI crashes have the option to pursue damages not only from the at-fault driver and his insurer, but also in some cases from the person who provided the alcohol to that driver. These are known as "social host liability laws" or alternatively "dram shop laws." Those injured in Texas, however, don't have this option.

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Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July Weekend

July 1, 2014

Our Fort Lauderdale bicycle and pedestrian injury lawyers wish you and your family a happy and healthy Fourth of July weekend.

In an effort to stay safe, we hope that you will familiarize yourselves with some basic tips to help prevent personal injury this holiday weekend. For pedestrians and bicyclists, the streets can be a dangerous place. This is even more so over the Fourth of July period. We expect to see increased numbers of tourists, drunk drivers, and teen drivers on the road. fireworks1.jpg

Tourists can pose a unique danger to bicycle riders by opening their doors without paying attention to an approaching cyclist. If a driver opens a door in a way that causes you to hit the door, the driver may be liable for any injuries you suffer as a result of this “dooring.”

While many police officers and angry drivers blame the bicycle rider for not getting out of the way of the door, the Florida Statutes (Section 316.2005, F.S.) specifically state that no person shall open a door into traffic without first making sure it is reasonably safe to do so. It is important to note that often times it is not the driver who opens his door into a bike lane but a passenger. Sometimes it is a passenger in a taxicab. These scenarios can present complex legal issues, and every situation is different. You should contact a personal injury lawyer who regularly handles these types of dooring cases to discuss the facts of your particular situation.

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2nd DCA Upholds $1.1M Verdict for Florida Car Accident Victim

June 30, 2014

A woman who sustained permanent soft-tissue injuries as a result of a rear-end collision has prevailed in her $1.1 million lawsuit, following an appeal to Florida's Second District Court of Appeal.
Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys understand that while the justices did find evidence of judicial error on the part of the trial court, those errors were ultimately deemed harmless.

The issue on appeal had to do with whether the court improperly excluded expert testimony on behalf of the defendant. The defense never denied liability for the crash. However, there was dispute regarding whether the crash was in fact the cause of the plaintiff's injuries.

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Cox v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. - Premises Liability Involving Defective Doorway

June 20, 2014

Businesses inviting members of the public have a duty to exercise ordinary care in ensuring the safety of those invitees. That means maintaining the property in a reasonably safe condition and warning patrons if there are any unsafe conditions present.
Defense in a recent trip-and-fall premises liability lawsuit argued a defect in a doorway that reportedly caused a patron to trip was not unreasonably dangerous, and further pointed to a so-called "categorical exemption" regarding entryway thresholds under state law.

Our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers understand that while the trial court granted the defense a summary judgment on this basis, that ruling was recently reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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Report: 2 Pedestrians, 1 Bicyclist Struck Daily in Broward

June 14, 2014

Florida traffic engineers and public safety officials have long been aware of the safety deficits that exist for those who commute by bicycle or on foot in this state. For several years now, researchers have named Florida the most dangerous state for both pedestrians and bicyclists. The most recent research by Smart Growth America, in the Dangerous by Design 2014 report, indicates the trend is continuing.
To put into perspective just how bad the problem is in Broward County, reporters with the Sun-Sentinel found: Every single day in this county, there are two pedestrians and one bicyclist struck. Not all die or suffer serious injury, but many do, as cyclists and pedestrians are among the most vulnerable users of our roads. Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident lawyers know these travelers are are no match for a two-ton mass of metal barreling toward them at even 35 mph.

Transportation for America recently analyzed bicycle and pedestrian deaths from 2011 through 2013. Researchers noted 2,276 pedestrian accidents in Broward alone, resulting in 114 fatalities. In that same time frame, there were 1,549 bicycle accidents, which resulted in 33 deaths.

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Valdez v. Mendez et al - Florida Boating Accident Lawsuit Filed

June 12, 2014

The family of a man killed in a South Florida boating accident has filed a lawsuit against a popular radio DJ, Miami rapper Pit Bull and his vodka brand, which reportedly sponsored the event where the incident occurred.
In Valdez v. Mendez et al., the family alleges "DJ Laz" was negligent in his operation of a party boat lodged on a sandbar near Key Biscayne. Rather than call for aid and have the vessel towed, the DJ/boat operator encouraged those aboard - many of whom had been drinking alcohol for the better part of the day - to jump out and help push the reportedly overloaded boat back into the water.

Several people jumped in the water and began to push. One of those was Ernesto Hernandez, who had recently graduated from the police academy. While he and others pushed, the boat operator reportedly did not cut the engine. The victim was fatally struck by the boat propeller. The family alleges the operator, who remained at the helm, recklessly engaged the engines' throttle.

Fort Lauderdale boat accident attorneys know that while this case has garnered many headlines because of the big names involved, boat accidents are unfortunately common in Florida, which the U.S. Coast Guard ranked No. 1 in boat casualties. In 2012, the agency reported Florida had 662 total boating accidents - more than any other state. In those, 50 people were killed and another 398 seriously injured. These crashes resulted in property damages totaling $6.8 million. Nationwide, Florida accounted for 7.7 percent of all boating deaths. The cost in terms of medical expenses, lost wages, wrongful death and pain and suffering is far higher.

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Foreseeable Zone of Risk Challenged in Injury Case

May 25, 2014

The New Mexico Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling that significantly broadens the grounds on which injured plaintiffs can bring claims of negligence against a property or business owner in that state. Specifically, the court struck down the issue of "foreseeability" in premises liability, finding that a court should never consider whether harm was foreseeable in determining the duty owed to the plaintiff.
In most places, including Florida, property and business owners generally have a duty to mitigate or abate reasonably foreseeable injury risks on site. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in Rodriguez v. Del Sol that foreseeability doesn't matter, so long as the injury risk existed.

Whether other state will now be more inclined to adopt this same standard remains to be seen. Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys know Florida has one of the broader interpretations of foreseeability, having adopted the "foreseeable zone of risk" in the 1992 case of McCain v. Florida Power. This is the assertion that the duty element of negligence in tort cases can be established by determining whether the defendant's conduct foreseeably created a broader zone of risk that could pose a general threat of harm to others.

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