Articles Posted in personal injury

Florida’s sun-kissed beaches, resorts, and theme parks are world-renowned – which is why Broward County alone drew 118 million visitors in a single recent year. Tourism is the state’s No. 1 industry, and our restaurants, hotels, and other businesses profit handsomely from it. But with this comes responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect guests from foreseeable risks. Failure to do so, as a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can explain, can be categorized as negligent security and could be legally actionable if you’re harmed. woman looks out of balcony of Florida hotel negligent security risk

The broad definition of negligent security is a form of premises liability by which an individual who is injured by the criminal action of a third party can hold legally liable the owner or tenant of a property where the injury was inflicted. Typically, such injuries arise out of cases of robbery, rape, assault, or battery.

This is not to say there’s a potential civil claim for every criminal action. The question is whether you had a right to expect some degree of safety where the attack occurred – whether that was at a shopping mall or an office complex or an entertainment venue or a hotel. The people who own and control these properties are expected to have a basic understanding of the possible safety risks posed to their customers, and to take reasonable action to secure the premises and protect these individuals – particularly when (as in the case of the hotel) those individuals are paying customers.

As a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer can tell you, prevailing on a claim of negligent security against a hotel requires proof that the crime could have been prevented – or at least made less likely – if the hotel owner or manager had used appropriate security measures. If the  lapse in security happened due to the mistake of an employee, the hotel owner/employer can still be held liable under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior, Latin for “let the master answer.”

Examples of Negligent Security at a Florida Hotel

There are many different scenarios in which an injured Florida tourist could sue a hotel for negligent security. Continue reading

One of the first questions people start asking after a serious accident is, “Do I have a personal injury case?”Filing a Broward personal injury lawsuit

Weighing both the viability and value of a potential case is important when considering how to proceed. But you’re going to have a tough time answering that question without first talking to a Florida injury lawyer. Even if you have a basic sense of what negligence is and the fact that you were hurt by someone else’s failure to use care, other details can stop a case before it starts.

For instance, if the other driver is negligent but does not have insurance and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you may not have a personal injury case. If you’re in an accident and the other driver was at-fault but your injuries were not serious and permanent, you may have to rely solely on your own personal injury protection coverage (PIP) because your case doesn’t meet the serious injury threshold for filing a Broward personal injury lawsuit, as outlined in F.S. 627.737.

Large trucks are the lifeblood of our economy in Florida and throughout the U.S., a vital cog in virtually every supply chain wheel in the country. But they can also be incredibly dangerous to other motorists, as well as vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians. When crashes with big trucks do occur in South Florida, there are some key differences in the way those cases unfold compared to your typical car accident case. As longtime Broward truck accident lawyers, we’re committed to holding truckers and trucking companies accountable when negligence results in irreversible consequences to others on the road. Broward truck accident lawyer

Florida Truck Accident Statistics

Every day, operators of large trucks traversing our nation’s roads are the cause of serious crashes resulting in extensive property damage, serious injury, and tragic deaths. The term “large trucks” refers to medium or heavy trucks (excluding buses and motor homes) with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000+ pounds. This can include both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,700 large trucks involved in large crashes in 2021 – which represented an 18 percent increase from 2020 and a nearly 50 percent increase over the last decade. Part of the explanation for this rise is the fact that there are more large trucks on the road. But even so, the involvement rate per 100 million large truck miles has also increased – up 7 percent from 2020 and 22 percent over the last 10 years.

Big trucks are involved in 9 percent of all fatal crashes.

Specifically in Broward County, there were a total of 4,111 commercial vehicle crashes in 2021. These resulted in 820 injuries and 12 deaths. That’s just a snapshot of a single Florida county, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Statewide, according to the NHTSA, large trucks were involved in more than 350 traffic deaths in a single recent year.

Differences in Broward Truck Accident vs. Car Accident Claims

If you’re injured in a Broward truck accident, you may have grounds for filing a civil claim for financial compensation – same as you would if you were involved in a car accident. You’ll still need to prove negligence (and strongly dispute any allegations of contributory negligence), as well as the extent of your injuries to establish your right to collect damages. But there are a number of ways in which truck crash cases differ from your typical car accident claim.

Among them: Continue reading

There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are living their lives with the aftermath of some sort of injury. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports about 50 million people are treated for unintentional injuries annually. Many of us heal eventually, but some will have some sort of lasting impact. When someone who has a pre-existing injury is injured again, it can complicate any subsequent legal claim. But as longtime Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers can explain, it won’t kill your case – as long as you’re working with a good attorney.Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer

The first question is whether the accident at issue has anything at all to do with your existing injuries. If your pre-existing injury involves range-of-motion issues with your wrist but the more recent accident primarily impacted your neck and back, the old injury will probably be a non-issue for purposes of your new claim. That’s not to say it won’t come up at all. It’s important to be forthright with your medical providers as well as your lawyer, to ensure it’s all fully-documented and there are no surprises.

If the new injury does happen to involve the same area of the body where you were hurt before, the next question will be: “To what extent did the new injury exacerbate your pre-existing injury?”

Aggravation of a pre-existing injury is compensable under Florida law. This has been precedent for well over a century. (See the 1908 Florida Supreme Court case of Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Dees. In that matter, the court ruled “…to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the defendant, and [the plaintiff] was at the time the injuries were received suffering from some disease or illness… such [plaintiff’s] previous infirmity will not excuse the defendant from answering in damages to the full extent of injuries caused by such negligence…”)

But that doesn’t mean the defense won’t make it easy. When pre-existing injuries or illnesses are a factor in a Fort Lauderdale injury claim, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff (person who is injured) to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the injury was either caused or aggravated by the defendant’s negligent act. This must be properly pleaded – and supported by evidence – in the special damages part of a Florida civil lawsuit. Your attorney has to clearly spell out:

  • Exactly what the pre-existing condition is.
  • The extent to which it impacted your life/well-being prior to the accident.
  • How the new accident caused that condition to be worsened.
  • The degree to which this exacerbation of your injury has degraded your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

When there’s a pre-existing injury involved, it will not be assumed that the new accident caused it to worsen. That fact must be expressly stated and supported. Continue reading

There was a reason motorcyclists were motivated by the hundreds in a show of political might to cram into the Florida Capitol building last month: Tort reform. motorcycle accident lawyer

The controversial bill (House version HB 837 and Senate version SB 236) was fast-tracked through the legislature and signed by the governor within hours of it hitting his desk. It undercuts a laundry list of rights for personal injury plaintiffs – but those in Florida motorcycle accidents will suffer a particularly outsized impact.

Essentially, the measure imposes sweeping limitations on Florida lawsuits, most of those broadly and unapologetically shielding insurers and big businesses from payouts in injury cases – at the expense of those most seriously hurt. Many of the motorcyclists who turned up to protest, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, are “diehard, staunch DeSantis supporters, Trump supporters, and lifelong Republicans.” But as several of them noted, “This is bad for everyone.”

What exactly is the change motorcyclists are most upset about? The shift in the comparative fault standard.

As our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers can explain, for years under F.S. 768.81, Florida followed a system of pure comparative fault. Essentially, that means everyone is responsible for their own share of the fault. If you are hurt in a car accident and are 40 percent responsible for what happened, you can still hold the other driver accountable for their 60 percent share of the blame. In a pure comparative fault standard system, this fair share liability principal goes all the way to 99%/1%. So if a plaintiff is 99 percent liable and the defendant 1 percent, the plaintiff can still collect on that 1 percent in damages. (That’s not an ideal outcome, of course, and injury lawyers paid on a contingency fee basis were already less likely to take on weaker cases for this reason, as they are paid a portion of the damages ultimately paid out. This is one of the reasons the argument about “frivolous lawsuits” being problematic holds little water. It’s not easy to win – or get paid – for a Florida injury lawsuit that isn’t strong on its merits.)

This new law turns pure comparative fault on its head. Now, Florida has a standard of modified comparative fault with a 51 percent bar. This means that if the plaintiff is more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries, they can’t collect a dime from the other at-fault party. So if the other driver is 49 percent at-fault, they pay nothing. The financial burden rests solely with plaintiffs.

Why do motorcyclists care so much?

Because a motorcyclist can be faulted for their own head injuries if they don’t wear a helmet. Continue reading

Sweeping legislative reforms were passed by the Florida legislature late this month – including provisions will significantly and adversely impact the ability of personal injury plaintiffs in Fort Lauderdale to collect full and fair compensation for losses caused by another’s negligence. Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer

As our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can explain, tort reform proponents (mostly lobbyists for large corporations and insurers) have for years painted Florida as a “judicial hellhole” and decried how easy it was for plaintiffs to win big payouts for things like car accidents, premises liability, boating accidents, medical malpractice, etc.

The reality is: It’s not easy to win Florida personal injury cases, and never has been. Now it’s about to be even harder, and accountability for insurance companies has been weakened. Having a dedicated, experienced personal injury lawyer advocating on your behalf has always been an imperative to success in these cases, but now more than ever.

Among the changes now in effect thanks to HB 873: Continue reading

As a plaintiff (or potential plaintiff) in a Broward personal injury case, you may be curious what happens if the party you’re suing simply doesn’t answer or show up. What could happen is a default judgment.Broward injury lawyer

However, as our Broward injury lawyers can explain, that isn’t always the best case scenario. Default judgments are often successfully challenged. And even a Florida default judgment stands, plaintiffs may have a tougher time collecting on them than on cases with more responsive defendants, as the latter are more likely to have financial resources.

What Exactly is a Default Judgment?

To explain a default judgment in an injury lawsuit, we first need to recognize that part of the right to due process – as laid out both in the U.S. and Florida Constitutions – require that the defendant be put on notice of the proceedings and also be given the opportunity to be heard.

When the plaintiff files their injury lawsuit, they will spell out in the complaint exactly who the defendant is, what they did, how this resulted in damage to the plaintiff, and what sort of remedy the plaintiff is seeking. The defendant is considered put on notice when they’ve been served with a copy of the complaint as well as a court summons. That summons spells out clearly what a defendant has to do if they wish to defend the claim. It also tells them what can happen if they choose to outright ignore the lawsuit. The court provides the defendant a certain amount of time in which to formally respond in the form of a motion or answer that denies liability. The summons also lets the defendant know that if they don’t do anything, they might lose their case via default judgment.

Legislators and courts have concluded that justice is best served when all parties are fully informed and actively participating. However, they aren’t expected to wait forever – and unresponsive defendants aren’t rewarded for their lack of participation. Florida Rules of Civil Procedure allow plaintiffs to ask the court to issue a default judgment if the defendant doesn’t file any answer to the lawsuit by the deadline. If the court grants a default judgment, they decide the defendant is liable by default and will issue liquidated damages.

Will I Still Need a Trial After a Default Judgment?

As our Broward injury lawyers can explain, there are basically two reasons your case might still go to trial after a default judgment. Continue reading

Miami boating accidentThe tragic death of a professional soccer player in a South Florida boat accident raised questions about how we, as injury attorneys, go about establishing legal responsibility for Miami boating accidents in civil litigation.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported the Jan. 19th death of 25-year-old Anton Walkes, a Major League Soccer player from the Charlotte Football Club, was the result of two vessels colliding near Miami Marine Stadium a day earlier. He was found unconscious on the scene, received CPR, and was hospitalized in critical condition before dying the following day. The English citizen had been in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region for a two-week training camp. He left behind not only his team, but his parents, two siblings, long-time partner, and young daughter.

He was a passenger on an 11-foot personal watercraft operated by a 32-year-old German woman when it collided with a 46′ cabin boat operated by a 69-year-old Florida man. It’s unknown yet whether alcohol was a factor, and the investigation remains open. Worth noting is the fact that local advocacy groups have complained extensively about reckless boating and boat congestion in the marine channel where the fatal boating accident occurred.

Annual Florida Boating Accidents

Florida leads the nation for the most registered vessels (985,000+) as well as the most reportable boating accidents (836 in 2020). According to the FWC, collision with another vessel (as was the case in the crash that killed Walkes) was the No. 1 type of Florida boating accident, accounting for 27 percent of all reportable incidents. While personal watercraft (Jet Skis, Sea Doos, etc.) account for about 15 percent of all registered vessels in Florida, they are involved in 27 percent of all reportable boating accidents. In 2020, there were 15 deaths and 183 injured in boating accidents involving personal watercraft. Nearly 40 percent of all personal watercraft boating accidents occurred in Miami-Dade County.

Some 17,700+ personal watercraft are registered in Miami-Dade County, with about 500 of those being rentals. In a single recent year (2020), these were involved in 41 reported boating accidents in Miami-Dade, including 35 injuries and one death.

Annually, there are an estimated 550 boating accident injuries and 80 boating accident deaths.

Liability for Miami Boating Accidents

Legal responsibility (also known as liability) for a Florida boating accident depends largely on the cause. If it is determined that the cause of the accident – or exacerbation of injuries – was the the fault of someone who failed to exercise reasonable care when they had a duty to do so, that individual may be held liable. Continue reading

If you’re exploring whether you need to hire a Broward injury lawyer after a car accident or medical malpractice or slip-and-fall or some other injury caused by another, you may have seen the bookend on Florida injury lawyer advertisements offering “a free initial consultation.” But what does that mean, exactly? What should you bring? What sort of questions are they likely to ask? What should you be asking them? How much should you tell the attorney if you haven’t actually hired them? Broward injury lawyer

As a longtime Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer, I take seriously the responsibility to advocate for my clients’ best interests. That begins even with prospective clients. I start with a brief overview of the facts of their case as presented. I look to identify any parties that may be held legally liable. I’ll want to assess the anticipated scope of damages and apply the knowledge and experience gained in decades of practice in Florida injury law to provide a frank assessment of the likely viability and value of their case – and how I may personally be able to assist. All of this can happen before a person has chosen to formally hire an injury lawyer.

Given that you may want to engage more than one Broward injury lawyer in a free initial consultation before deciding which to hire, it’s best to walk in with a good sense of what to have ready. The more a person understands going in what to expect – and what may be expected of them – the more they’ll get out of the process. Ultimately, the goal is to find an injury lawyer who is not only experienced, qualified, and with a proven track record of success, but someone with whom you feel you can be honest, trust, and have easy communication.

Here are some Frequently Asked (and Answered) Questions to get you started:

Why Do Florida Injury Lawyers Offer Free Initial Consultations in the First Place?

Many attorneys charge by-the-hour, and the value of that hour can vary, depending on their experience, the complexity of the case, etc. Attorney consultation fees can run anywhere from $0 to $400. There are a few reasons initial consultations with injury lawyers are free. One has to do with the type of case, and how it’s paid. Plaintiffs in injury lawsuits do not pay attorney’s fees unless or until they win their case. This is called a contingency fee arrangement. Claimants in these types of cases aren’t typically large companies (which can afford lawyers on retainer). They are vying for fair compensation from someone who has legally wronged them. The injury lawyer they hire is paid at the end of a successful case with a previously-agreed portion of the insurance money or damages awarded. Contingency fee arrangements allow people with meritorious cases – but not a lot of extra cash upfront – to access quality legal representation. Attorneys are compelled to be honest with prospective clients, and only help pursue injury cases that have a pretty decent shot at winning. Knowing that many injury case clients don’t have a lot of money upfront, free initial consultations are a low-risk way to help both sides glean the information they need to get a good sense of whether the case is worth pursuing, and if the attorney is a good fit for the client’s needs.

Can an Attorney Give Me Legal Advice Before I Hire Them?

Continue reading

When we talk about Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits, we’re referring to cases that fall under the umbrella of legal “torts.” As our Broward personal injury lawyers can explain, a tort is an act – or omission – that results in injury or harm to another for which courts can impose legal liability.Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer

In most Florida personal injury cases, it’s necessary to prove that the “tortfeasor” (aka alleged wrongdoer or defendant) owed a legal duty of care to the person who was hurt. By breaching that duty of care and causing injury, the tortfeasor is responsible to pay financial damages to those adversely impacted.

There are many different kinds of torts. But when it comes to Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits, there are a few types we see crop up time and again.

1. South Florida Car Accidents

Auto accidents are the root of most personal injury claims in Florida. All motorists owe one another – as well as passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users – a duty of care to obey all traffic rules and use reasonable caution behind the wheel. If they violate traffic laws and someone gets hurt, they can be held liable. Even if they don’t explicitly violate the law but failed to use reasonable care when driving, they can be held legally liable in a Florida personal injury case.

It’s worth noting that (at least for now) Florida is a no-fault car accident state. What that means is that all motorists are required to carry a type of insurance coverage called personal injury protection, or PIP. This coverage will kick in and cover up to $10,000 in damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) to the insured and other parties covered by the policy – regardless of who is at fault. However, if the injuries sustained in the crash meet the “serious injury threshold” as outlined in F.S. 627.737, those hurt can step outside that no-fault system and pursue financial recovery from those who were at-fault in the crash. (Generally, a serious injury is defined as one that results in significant or permanent loss of a key body function, permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death.)

Florida follows a system of pure comparative fault, per F.S. 768.81, which basically means everyone is expected to bear legal responsibility for damages that is proportionate to their level of fault. (This applies in many different types of Florida personal injury cases.) As it pertains to Fort Lauderdale car accidents, if the plaintiff (person filing the claim) is found to bear a percentage of the blame for what happened, their financial recovery will be reduced by that percentage. For example, let’s say you’re injured in a crash with another driver, you suffer $100,000 in damages, but are found 20 percent at fault. The most you could collect from the other driver would be $80,000. Continue reading

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