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When you take your child to a restaurant, park or other property, the property owner owes both of you a duty of care to help avoid the risk of foreseeable injuries due to hazards on site. However, a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that parents are not absolved of personal responsibility for their children’s safety upon entering the premises of another. injury attorney

The personal injury lawsuit before the court involved a child who suffered serious injury to his finger, which ultimately had to be amputated, when a stanchion (also known as a rope barrier) fell onto his hand as he and his brother were playing while his parents waited in line to place their order.

The boy’s parents sued the restaurant on a theory of premises liability. Trial court granted summary judgment to defendant. The court concluded any duty the restaurant might have owed to the child in this case was “abrogated” by the fact his parents were with him with him.

To abrogate means to avoid responsibility for.  Continue reading

A South Florida seafood restaurant has been deemed liable to pay $2 million in damages after a federal jury determined the restaurant’s employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of a crash that injured another driver. The question of exactly what the worker was doing at the time of the crash was central to the issue of vicarious liability – and whether the restaurant could be made to pay.car accident lawyer

Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability in which a supervisory party (like an employer) can be held responsible for the negligent actions of a subordinate or associate (i.e., an employee). It stems from the belief that these supervisory parties have a right, ability or duty to control the actions of their subordinates. It’s not necessary to prove the supervisory party was actually negligent or even that it knew about the subordinate’s actions. This type of liability falls under the umbrella of a doctrine called respondeat superior, which is Latin for “let the master answer.”

In some cases, it’s obvious that a worker was acting in the course and scope of employment. An example might be a truck driver delivering cargo from a supplier to a receiver in a company-owned truck. However, if at any point that driver is side-tracked or is running a personal errand and the crash occurs at that time, defendant could argue the driver was not acting in the course and scope of employment and therefore the employer can’t be liable. That’s what defendant tried to argue in the recent case before the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. Continue reading

The AARP reports that roughly 60 percent of American adults lack proper estate planning, with only 4 in 10 having a will or living trust. This isn’t shocking news, but it is concerning, considering that settling an estate with no will in Florida is often a challenging endeavor. Although older adults tend to have a better handle on these records (which makes some sense, given that as we age, we face the reality that estate planning is important), it’s wrong for younger generations to assume it isn’t necessary, even if they aren’t wealthy. A will stipulates things like what will happen to your small children if you and your spouse die, who can make financial and health care decisions for you in the event you’re incapacitated. probate litigation attorney

The term “intestate succession” refers to the distribution of one’s estate when one dies absent a valid will. The process varies from state-to-state, but generally follows that one’s surviving spouse and other heirs will receive decedent’s possessions in order of descent.

Florida’s intestate succession laws are outlined in F.S. Chapter 732. It should be noted that state laws can frequently change, so it’s important to discuss your options with a probate litigation lawyer if you have concerns about your rights and obligations.  Continue reading

Those who patrol Florida’s deadly streets and highways regularly spot motorists texting and driving, but are often powerless to do anything about it, despite the known danger and the fact that such action is against the law. That’s because Florida is one of just a handful of states that has deemed texting to be a secondary offense for non-commercial drivers, meaning officers can’t stop the driver or issue a ticket unless the driver also committed some other offense. That may soon change, as The Associated Press reports state lawmakers are considering a measure that would classify texting-and-driving as a primary offense, one that would be worthy in and of itself to initiate a traffic stop.distracted driving accident lawyer

This has the potential for a major impact in a state where some 2,700 people died in car accidents in 2017. It’s not known for certain how many of these crashes involved a texting driver, partially because unlike drunk driving, texting-and-driving is not so obviously traced. Meanwhile, the U.S. government opines that approximately 3,500 people are killed and 400,000 injured nationally in texting and other distracted driving accidents annually.

Florida is in company with three other states – Ohio, South Dakota and Nebraska – that make texting a secondary offense. Two other states have no law banning the practice, while another only imposes limitations for non-commercial drivers under 21.  Continue reading

It’s estimated that nearly 30 million people experience a house fire just during the holidays, according to InsuranceQuotes.com.  The National Fire Prevention Association reports more than half a million properties are destroyed annually by fire, with nearly 80 percent of those being residential properties. When someone is injured – or worse, killed – in one of these incidents, it can be utterly devastating. Part of picking up the pieces means determining whether certain parties may be liable for the fire, and whether home insurance or some other entity may be required to pay damages to survivors. injury lawyer

Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court considered a house fire liability lawsuit brought by the estate representative for a mother and her three children all killed in a fire at a public housing complex. Defendants in the case were the city fire department and five city officials. Plaintiff alleged the city was negligent in its failure to inspect smoke detection equipment in decedent’s unit in compliance with the applicable fire safety regulations and codes.

Although the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, finding they were entitled to sovereign immunity, the appellate court reversed and the state supreme court affirmed, finding a jury could reasonably find defendants displayed reckless disregard for the health and safety of the public. This is the standard necessary in that state to overcome a defense of immunity against a government agency or official, which means there is a possibility defendants could be held liable. Now the case can go to trial.  Continue reading

Hopefully as you enter the new year, you aren’t grappling with a financial hangover due to the holidays. Regardless of where you stand, the new year is a good time to take stock of your finances and make sure you have a strong estate plan in place, not only for your own security but that of your family. Many of the disputes that arise in Florida probate litigation can be headed off with proper estate planning to start. estate planning attorney

One of the primary reasons people avoid estate planning is because they erroneously assume it’s something reserved for the wealthy and maybe the elderly. The fact of the matter is, pretty much everybody has an estate and people tend to underestimate the confusion or even animosity that can arise among surviving loved ones regarding the contents of that estate. That includes the care and well-being of any young children you have, should something happen to you and your spouse.

A review of your estate planning documents may not sound like a particularly festive way to being a brand new year, but it is a smart one. You’ll want to make sure that your will, trust and powers of attorney still comply with your wishes. And if you don’t have these in place, it’s time to make it one of your resolutions to do so. Continue reading

A woman was injured seriously recently when a vehicle crashed into her home as she sat at her kitchen table. The Orlando Sentinel reports the 61-year-old motorist reportedly failed to maneuver her vehicle properly at a curve in the road, causing her to continue straight into the residential structure. The 67-year-old resident was pinned and immobile until firefighters arrived to remove her.car accident lawyer

Although such incidents tend to be reported as “freak accidents,” the reality is they occur with startling regularity. Home and auto insurer Ameriprise research reveals there are an average of 60 incidents daily wherein drivers crash their vehicles into retail outlets, homes, office buildings and restaurants. These incidents result in an average of 500 deaths annually, not to mention thousands of injuries. In fact, these types of car accidents claim more lives than lightning, tornadoes and earthquakes – combined. Economic losses for these collisions is estimated to be about $200 million every year, which includes both the cost for personal injury and wrongful death claims, as well as those for property damage.

Causes of these incidents are varied, but there are several trends the insurer has noted in the claims it reviewed. The three most common causes were:

  • Pedal Error – 28 percent. (Of these, 57 percent were caused by foot slip and 43 percent by accidentally stepping on the wrong pedal.)
  • Operator Error – 28 percent. (This would include incidents like those recently reported by the Sentinel.)
  • DUI – 18 percent.

Other causes included traffic accidents, medical incidents and burglaries. Continue reading

New Year’s Day is all about the celebration of new beginnings. Unfortunately, it’s one that is all too often associated with tragic endings, at least on the roads. drunk driving injury lawyer

An analysis released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals Jan. 1st is the single deadliest day of the year when it comes to alcohol-related crashes involving motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. The IIHS late last year looked at the most recent five years of deadly crash information, and discovered that on that day, an average of 70 people were killed in collisions where at least one driver, pedestrian or cyclist had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. In fact, 62 percent of all deadly crashes in the U.S. on that day were attributed to impairment by alcohol, which is almost double the overall rate of 35 percent.

In just looking at occupants of motor vehicles (excluding large trucks), an average of 83 people were killed in car accidents on New Year’s Day over that five-year time frame, compared to an average of 59 on any other given day.

It especially doesn’t bode well this year that overall traffic deaths have spiked, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the number of alcohol-impaired driving crashes in rose nearly 2 percent between 2015 and 2016. Nearly 10,500 people died in drunk driving accidents last year.  Continue reading

A woman in Virginia has settled her car accident lawsuit for $8 million, according to a recent report from The Daily Press in Newport News. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know it is unusual for someone to receive such a high amount, it’s not unheard of – particularly in cases with catastrophic injury or death and especially when the motorist was on the job or in a company vehicle, as was the case here. car accident lawyer

According to reports of the case, plaintiff suffered a closed-head traumatic brain injury, and as a result, lost the ability to earn a living, as well as partake in many activities of daily living. This kind of catastrophic injury results in a tremendous, lifelong loss of life enjoyment, which was likely something defendant took into account when agreeing to settle for such a significant sum (it’s the fourth-highest in Virginia to date, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly).

The defendant in this case was a Massachusetts-based environmental services firm that was hired to clean out a number of tanks at a site in Virginia. It was a months-long, eight-person assignment. One of those workers was the purportedly negligent driver.  Continue reading

Florida auto insurance laws require that if you have a car in the state for more than 90 days annually – and those days need not be consecutive – then you are required to comply with Florida’s registration requirements. You aren’t necessarily required to obtain insurance if you are regularly driving back-and-forth to your home state, but if you park the vehicle here year-round, you need to obtain auto insurance for it here. Also if you are required to register it here, you’ll be required to obtain auto insurance here too.car accident attorney

This can create headaches for snowbirds, but it’s important to discuss these matters openly and honestly with a licensed insurance agent because, as our personal injury lawyers know, failure to do so could result in a lost opportunity to collect damages.

This was what happened recently in New Jersey to a driver who, a court concluded, wrongly registered and insured his car in Florida, despite being a New Jersey resident. Law.com reports a judge in the Essex County Superior Court dismissed plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit, finding that allowing him to proceed would violate insurance statutes because he fraudulently obtained car insurance in Florida.  Continue reading

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