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Florida venue owners and operators and event organizers have certain legal responsibilities when it comes to keeping properties free of hazards that could harm those lawfully on site – especially if they are paying customers. All known and foreseeable dangers need to be eliminated or else warned of so people can (hopefully) avoid injury. This includes third-party violence, which increasingly across the U.S. includes gun violence – whether they involve individual targets or mass shootings.injury attorney

There is extensive legislative and judicial precedent allowing these kind of third-party violence cases against property owners, but prevailing can be challenging. Unlike, say, a slip-and-fall case where a restaurant patient is injured slipping on rainwater tracked in from an entrance at which employees failed to place a mat to absorb the water from wet shoes, shootings aren’t everyday or even yearly occurrences at most venues. That makes establishing the risk of danger as a reasonably foreseeable one to the property owner/ operator a bit trickier. Instead, establishing reasonable foreseeability of violence by showing some combination of:

  • Regular calls to police at the site/ prior events for other types of violent crimes. These may never have escalated to the point of gunfire, but given the concentration of firearms in the U.S., this pattern serves to alert property owners to the possibility of more problems if they don’t act.
  • High rates of violent crime in the nearby proximity. Prior crimes used to prove the risk should have been known need not necessarily have occurred exactly on site.
  • A pattern of similar crimes at the same type of businesses, even if they weren’t in close proximity to that location. If a business owner knows certain types of violence are more common in his or her industry, they have a responsibility to take measures to address it.

Every case will be different, but in many cases, it can be argued a venue owner/ operator had negligent security and failed to provide a safe and secure environment. An experienced Fort Lauderdale injury or wrongful death lawyer can offer more specifics once learning more of the circumstances in your case. Continue reading

No one would dare question the late Aretha Franklin’s claim to the Queen of Soul title. However, claims to the estate she left behind may be a bit more difficult to establish. That’s because the “Rolling in the Deep” singer died without leaving a will. probate litigation lawyer

Legally, this is referred to as intestate property. In Florida, we has a statutorily established intestate succession procedure, as outlined in Chapter 732 of Florida Statutes. It’s basically a default guideline for how ones property can lawfully be distributed when someone either dies without a will or whose will has been deemed improperly devised. An individual’s right to the estate and in what proportion is specified based on his or her relationship to the decedent, as well as those of other claimant. It’s important to point out that Florida intestacy could be either partial or whole, depending on whether a person’s will is non-existent/ invalid OR whether only some portions were generated/ validated.

There are a lot of scenarios outlined in an effort to make the process as streamlined as possible. However, if you are a claimant in an intestate property case, it’s wise to have a Fort Lauderdale probate attorney who can help you navigate it with more ease and ensure you receive your fair share. Florida probate litigation laws are lengthy and complex and/ or subjective in several areas, so it’s best to have someone advocating for you in proving your claim is best aligned with your loved one’s wishes.  Continue reading

Electric scooters are gaining traction in urban hubs throughout Florida and the country. Many of these cities have already invested in bicycle share programs – several of them “dockless.” Successes on this front have prompted them to explore other alternative modes of transportation, particularly those that are cheaper and better for the environment and traffic infrastructure systems than motor vehicles.scooter injury lawyer

Here in South Florida, the trendy Miami suburb of Wynwood became one of the most recent communities to host an electric scooter share program. Problems that have arisen in recent months in other cities have include safety hazards from the dockless scooters being left in random places, obstructing sidewalks and public rights of way. The company that launched scooter share in Wynwood, LimeBike, has promised the city it will collect scooters that obstruct sidewalks and public ways during business hours. Other complaints involve rounding up enough of the scooters at any given time to accommodate a large group (or even just two riders) and the fact that one of the models maxes out on speed at walking pace (though some do go up to 15 miles per hour).

For us as Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, the bigger issue is the interaction electric scooter riders may have with cars and trucks, particularly on crowded streets and considering many motorists aren’t used to seeing this type of transportation mode (so they aren’t watching for it). Already in a number of other locations, electric scooter crashes have resulted in serious personal injury and even death. Continue reading

Family inheritance is slated to be a major legal battlefield in the coming years, as it is estimated approximately $30 trillion will be inherited over the course of the next 30 years. Inevitably, that’s going to mean descendants – children and grandchildren – will be squabbling over their fair share by contesting Florida wills.Florida will contest

What Drives a Florida Will Contest?

While there are those who may feel unjustly entitled, another catalyst setting the stage for significant fights over inheritance is the fact that many adult children and grandchildren have not been able to save sufficiently for their own retirement. Some may have been living under the assumption that an inheritance will fund their retirement, while others, thanks to stagnant wages and student loan debt, have simply not been able to scrounge enough together to live beyond paycheck-to-paycheck. Also contributing is the fact that those who were raised between the 1960s and 1990s are increasingly having to take on caretaking responsibilities of dependent parents, which can also sap their financial resources.

Elder adults may wish to help ward off some of these conflicts by having frank discussions with their children and grandchildren about what is available and the plans for distribution. Exact dollar amounts and an itemized breakdown aren’t necessary, but it’s important to make your wishes clear. Continue reading

A South Florida woman has filed a car accident lawsuit in Broward Circuit Court, alleging negligence resulting in serious injury, pain, disability, disfigurement and something known as “loss of life enjoyment.” car accident attorney Fort Lauderdale

Such damages are typical to seek in Florida crash injury claims, but this last one is what we want to focus on here. While serious injury, disability and medical costs can be established with documentation such as medical records, bills, bank statements, pay stubs and tax returns (among other types of evidence), loss of life enjoyment is a little trickier because it is highly subjective. It’s also sometimes referred to as “hedonic damages,” “loss of life’s pleasures” or “lost value of life.” It is a type of non-economic damages, which means there is no clear-cut value for the loss, as opposed to economic damages, which are the result of monetary losses suffered as a result of an injury or wrongful death.

In this case, as reported by the Florida Record, the motorist alleges defendant struck her vehicle in December 2016, causing her to sustain severe injuries that required hospitalization and ongoing nursing care. It also had the effect of exacerbating an existing medical condition. Details of the injuries and crash circumstances weren’t given in the initial complaint, except that it occurred at an intersection of the southbound I-95 ramp in Fort Lauderdale and plaintiff alleges defendant failed to maintain control of her vehicle or exercise proper lookout for other vehicles.  Continue reading

Cruise ships off the coast of Florida (and elsewhere) have a well-documented, long-running problem with sexual assaults on board, according to U.S. government data that spurred an NBC News investigation last year. Of the 92 alleged on-board crimes reported by cruise lines in 2016, a total of 62 were sexual assaults. When these occur at sea, it can be difficult to pursue criminal prosecution, and in fact, most sexual assault cases did not result in an arrest and/ or conviction. Further (and even more disturbing) many of those on-board sexual assaults involved minors.Florida tourist injury lawyer

One of the only avenues claimants may have to seek justice is civil litigation. Of course, a perpetrator can be held directly liable for damages resulting from a sexual assault, including medical expense treatment, therapy costs, pain and suffering and more. However, civil litigation can also hold the cruise line to account for negligence in the failure to protect against a foreseeable third-party criminal assault. Our Fort Lauderdale tourist injury lawyers know this can involve lack of adequate security, negligence in over-serving alcohol to patrons or failure to properly screen potentially dangerous employees. Because these incidents occurred at sea, they must be tried in a federal court and maritime law is applicable.

One such case is recently proceeding to trial, after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied a motion by defendant Royal Caribbean Cruises to dismiss a complaint alleging negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy aboard one of its ships. Plaintiff is seeking both actual and punitive damages on both counts. Continue reading

The Florida court system allows for professional guardians to be appointed for those who are “incapacitated.” As defined by Florida law, a person who is incapacitated is an adult who has been determined by a court to lack the mental capacity to manage at least some of his/ her property or to meet at least some essential health and safety requirements on their own. It’s a process that is outlined in Chapter 44 of Florida StatutesFlorida guardianship attorney

As noted by the Florida Bar, any adult can petition the court to decide the incapacity of another person, establishing their case with factual information. As the case proceeds, the court will appoint a three-member committee (typically two doctors and some other expert, depending on the nature of the case). There is usually some type of examination of physical health and mental health as well as an assessment of one’s ability to function. The person alleged to be incapacitated will have an attorney appointed to represent them during these proceedings (though they are free to hire their own, if they choose). After analysis, the panel will submit their own report of findings to the court.

If two of three panel members conclude the individual isn’t incapacitated at all, the judge has to dismiss the petition. However, if the majority finds the person can’t exercise certain rights on their own, the court will schedule another hearing to determine whether the individual is partially or totally incapacitated. At the end of those proceedings, a guardian will be appointed at another hearing, unless there is some other alternative that is less restrictive.  Continue reading

A $3 million Florida bad faith insurance claim was affirmed recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which found the auto insurer refused to tender its $250,000 policy limits to a plaintiff, even though it was well-established her injuries were clearly in excess of that. Broward car accident attorney

As our Broward car accident attorneys can explain, bad faith insurance, as outlined in F.S. 624.155, occurs when an insurer either unreasonably refuses to pay or properly investigate a claim (first-party) or when an insurer unreasonably fails to defend, indemnify or settle a claim within policy limits or investigate for a different party (third-party). As outlined in the 1995 Florida Supreme Court case of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Laforet, an insurer’s duty of good faith involves the duty to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interests in settlement.

Claims for bad faith are separate and apart from the original negligence claim that is filed for crash liability, and can result in plaintiffs being awarded triple their actual damages.  Continue reading

Florida’s no-fault auto insurance coverage – also known as personal injury protection (PIP) – is controversial and the subject of ongoing legislative debate. Earlier this year, as reported by FloridaPolitics.com, a bill to repeal Florida’s no-fault auto insurance died in committee. Lawmakers haven’t given up on the prospect of reintroducing a similar, if modified, measure in the future. car accident attorney

As it now stands, PIP coverage, as outlined in F.S. 627.727, is required of all motorists and extends a maximum of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits – regardless of fault. It is only if one’s condition crosses the “serious injury” threshold that they may seek additional coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurer and/ or their own uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) carrier.

Recently, it was reported litigation filed earlier this month in the Southern District federal court alleges three separate medical clinics wrongly billed an auto insurer for services through PIP, ultimately cheating the insurer out of $4.7 million. Although the lawsuits don’t specifically allege fraud by crash victims, it’s incumbent on Floridians and car accident attorneys to be mindful of these developments, as they may impact the types of challenges auto insurers may raise to deny medically necessary treatment following a crash.  Continue reading

Following the stunning and tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge under construction over Southwest Eighth Street at Florida International University in mid-March, resulting in the death of six people killed and several others injured, a total of six lawsuits have so far been filed. It’s likely more will be forthcoming. probate litigation

Each plaintiff was represented by a different Florida personal injury or wrongful death law firm (with the exception of two plaintiffs represented by the same firm), each tasked with the massive undertaking of conducting their own investigations and gathering their own evidence as to what happened and who should be responsible. In some instances, law firms dispatched investigators on the ground while cleanup of the site was still underway, helping to gather critical evidence, while others joined in the weeks that followed. Some of the initial questions raised when there are negligence lawsuits involving that many people for the same incident are:

  • How closely will they work together? For instance, will they pool resources during the discovery process, which is likely to converge?
  • How many will file against the exact same defendants?
  • What degree of independence will they maintain in hiring experts and investigating what went wrong with the design, construction, installation and testing of the bridge?

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