The Florida pedestrian accident death of a 16-year-old on Palm Coast has prompted residents in the community to advocate for increased street and traffic lights and sidewalks on the stretch of road where it happened.street lights

The are in which the teen was walking on the night she was killed is not lighted and has no sidewalks, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Palm Coast Observer reported the driver who struck her said he couldn’t see her due to her dark clothing. However, that this fact alone does not mean she is responsible for the crash, nor does it means her family is barred from pursuing litigation. These kinds of cases should be weighed by an experienced injury lawyer.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its updated numbers on pedestrian accidents nationally. The results were not encouraging. Continue reading

In Florida, as in all states, if you are injured as a result of negligence by a government employee or agency, claims for compensation are going to follow a different set of rules, at least early on in the process. football

F.S. 768.28 is the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity law, outlining the various scenarios under which the state will agree to be sued. The state does set a number of limitations and guidelines. For example, a government worker can’t personally be held liable for harm unless they intentionally caused it. Damages against the government are capped at $200,000 for individuals and $300,000 for multiple parties harmed by the same action. Punitive damages and interest can’t be awarded, and there are other limitations if defendant in such a case is a public health agency (including a hospital) or law enforcement agency.

There is a also a special provision dealing with time limits. If you are injured by the state government, you have to file a notice of claim with that particular agency, and only after that claim has been rejected can you file your lawsuit. You must give the state agency at least 180 days to respond, and all this has to happen within the three-year window for personal injury cases and the two-year window for wrongful death lawsuits. Continue reading

A cyclist injured upon encountering a defective sidewalk has been awarded $4.85 million to settle a personal injury lawsuit against the settle with the city of San Diego.sidewalk and shadow

According to Bicycling.com, the bicycle accident occurred in 2014, when he struck an uneven sidewalk, resulting in a “ramp-like effect” that launched him 28 feet over the handlebars of his bicycle.

Apparently, a tree root had grown up through the concrete, raised it seven inches and cracked it, a condition the city was reportedly aware of the condition and failed to address it.

This is reportedly not the first time the city has paid out damages for bicycle accident injuries, though it is the largest amount the city has paid for this type of incident. Just last year, council members for the city agreed to pay $235,000 to a woman who was seriously injured after hitting a pothole while cycling in 2014. She was thrown from the bicycle, and suffered injuries to her head, pelvis and lower back, according to the San Diego Tribune.

That was one of several pothole-related lawsuits filed against the city in the last few years, each alleging city officials were aware of the dangerous condition, yet failed to address it. Continue reading

Sexual assault in nursing homes is an undoubtedly disturbing occurrence. According to a recent investigation by CNN, it’s also a more prevalent one than previously realized. hands of time

As part of an in-depth investigation into the problem, reporters discovered there were 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse in long-term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living centers) since 2000. That was according to data from the U.S. Administration on Community Living. However, even those officials noted that number doesn’t reflect the true scope of the problem because it only includes cases that involved the respective state’s long-term care ombudsman.

When CNN queried state health departments and other agencies that regulate long-term care facilities in all 50 states, they first discovered not all could provide data on sexual abuse of residents. Of those that could, the responses varied significantly. Continue reading

When a worker is injured in a Fort Lauderdale construction accident, there are a number of possible avenues of compensation. The first, of course, is workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault insurance benefit afforded to almost all employees in Florida. Exclusive remedy provisions of the state’s workers’ compensation law hold that this benefit is the only compensation a worker can obtain against an employer. However, it does not prohibit third-party liability lawsuits against others who may have been negligent. construction

But in order to avoid liability, particularly after an accident that resulted in serious injury or death, a company may try to assert “employer” status, which would grant immunity from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. One way this might be asserted is via the Borrowed Servant Doctrine. This is more common following accidents on construction sites, where it is not uncommon for one employer to “loan” employees to another temporarily.

It’s common for a construction site subcontractor to loan out workers to another to ensure a particular job gets completed. If that “loaned” worker is hurt on the job, the question becomes: Which employer is entitled to workers’ compensation immunity? Unfortunately in some cases, the answer could be: Both. Continue reading

The New York Court of Appeals recently considered a case wherein plaintiff alleged injuries sustained as a result of a poorly-maintained, diseased tree was the responsibility of both the property owner and the state. According to court records, plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries when a large branch broke off that tree, which abutted the road, and fell onto her Jeep. The impact caused her to suffer traumatic brain injuries. treebranch

Plaintiff and her spouse sued both the property owner and the state. Against the property owner, plaintiffs alleged there was negligence in the failure to inspect, trim and remove the dead/ diseased tree. As far as the state, plaintiff alleged negligence by Department of Transportation workers for a failure to properly maintain trees along that road or warn drivers of the dangerous along that highway.

Defendant property owner asked to be allowed to introduce trial evidence of the state’s alleged negligence, and also requested a jury instruction on the apportionment of liability for damages between property owner and the state. Plaintiff indicated that while there was nothing preventing the jury from hearing trial evidence tending to show the state was possibly liable for her injuries, but she objected insofar as the jury should not be allowed to apportion fault against the state. (The state could not be ultimately joined in this action because sovereign immunity laws prevented her from prevailing in such action.)  Continue reading

Japanese auto parts maker Takata recently pleaded guilty to fraud for concealing defects in millions of airbags sold to consumers throughout the U.S. and across the globe. The Justice Department announced the company will pay $1 billion for this deception, which affected 19 automakers and some 100 million vehicles worldwide. airbag

Although that sounds like a lot, it’s actually peanuts, given the scope of the fraud in comparison to what other companies have paid for similar offenses. For example, Volkswagon was required to pay $21 billion over an emissions-cheating scandal. Although penalties will include $125 million to consumers, the judge could have imposed as much as $1.5 billion. However, doing so likely would have put the auto maker out of business.

Still, that might yet be on the horizon. In Miami, a U.S. District Judge said the settlement means the pending multi-district litigation can move forward, most likely via settlements before trial. Continue reading

Recently, the North Carolina Supreme Court took on the issue of whether an arbitration agreement can be enforced in a medical contract. In a 4-2 decision, the court ruled plaintiff patient and his wife don’t need to go to private arbitration with the doctor and surgical practice for permanent injuries plaintiff suffered when defendant doctor performed surgery on him eight years ago. medical doctor

Plaintiff went to the doctor for repair of a hernia. When he made his first appointment with the surgeon, he was handed a huge stack of paperwork to sign, which defendant doctor’s office routinely presents to new patients, along with other documents, prior to the first time the doctor meets with the patient. Included in that stack of papers was a legal document, known as an arbitration agreement, in which plaintiff signed away his right to have any future disputes with the doctor – including those pertaining to medical malpractice – resolved by a court of law. Instead, any disputes would be handled through a private arbitration firm.

This practice has become increasingly common, and the Florida Supreme Court encountered this very issue with regard to medical malpractice claims in a 2013 case – and reached a very similar conclusion.  Continue reading

A personal chef who sustained severe personal injuries following a trip-and-fall while at work in a private home was awarded $1.5 million in damages as part of a settlement agreement in exchange for voluntarily dismissing his claim in court. chef

According to the Greenwich Time, the settlement was reached between the chef and the remodeling company, which allegedly laid down a dangerous plastic runner on a set of stairs in the rear of the kitchen. The remodeling firm was contracting with the homeowner to carry out a series of residential renovations.

This settlement was important for the worker because in Connecticut, similar to in Florida, homeowner do not have to purchase workers’ compensation coverage for domestic workers they hire. The exemption laid out in F.S. 440.02(15)(c)1 specifies that domestic servants in private homes are exempt from the definition of “employment.” But homeowners who choose not to buy workers’ compensation insurance for housekeepers, personal chefs, nannies and others may find they are personally liable for injuries suffered by these workers on their properties. Granted, the worker would have to prove negligence on the part of the homeowner (something they don’t have to do in typical workers’ compensation claims), but if that worker prevails, he or she will be able to collect all of their lost wages (as opposed to just a portion), all medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium. These payouts would most likely be made through the homeowner’s insurance policy.  Continue reading

Plaintiffs in a recent wrongful death lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme Court argued that the township, the county and the state department of wildlife and parks were liable for the fatal car accident. Claimants attributed the crash to the failure to provide adequate barriers, signs or other warnings along sections of the road where the crash happened. roadsign

These kinds of cases can be challenging because there are special rules to abide anytime you sue a government agency. Most government agencies and government workers are protected by sovereign immunity statutes, but these are waived in some cases under certain circumstances.

In this situation, plaintiffs sued a number of government entities alleging liability in the deaths of two people on a road in Kansas. One of those was a young man who was a father to two children. His mother filed the claim on behalf of those children. The other was a young woman whose mother filed the claim on her behalf.  Continue reading