Articles Posted in personal injury

Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorneys know electric scooters and pedestrians don’t make for the safest mix on our sidewalks. Fort Lauderdale commissioners acknowledged as much in a recent two-hour meeting. However, as the mayor noted, officials don’t have any interest at this point in banning the e-scooters. One commissioner even tested a model before the meeting, concluding it wouldn’t be in the city’s best interest to eliminate e-scooters as a transportation option, particularly one that gives the city a “cool vibe.” Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident attorney

Officials did say they eventually want to enact a measure that would require the e-scooters to reduce their speed (currently at 15 mph, which is too fast to mingle with pedestrians) and also be relegated to bike lanes. The latter is within the purview of the state legislature, which is in the early phases of passing such a measure. For now, scooter riders must stick to the sidewalks.

Our city is the first in Florida to allow e-scooters, even as the metro area was named in a recent Dangerous by Design 2019 report as being among the worst in the country for deadly pedestrian accidents. Although city officials reason that e-scooters could help us carve out a tourism market advantage over other surrounding communities, being the first means we’re facing a host of regulatory and safety issues for the first time. Continue reading

A Florida teacher sexually assaulted by an 18-year-old student is trying to collect on a $3 million settlement from her former employer, the Miami-Dade School District, accused of endangering her and breaking the law, opening the door to a violent attack and serious injuries. Although sovereign immunity laws cap liability for government agencies (like school district) at $200,000 per individual, more can be awarded through the passage of a state lawmaker claims bill, for which the district lobbied and a legislator from Broward has already sponsored. Miami teacher injury lawyer

As Miami school injury lawyers, we are struck by a few different unique elements in this case. Firstly, most school assault injury lawsuits in Florida involve students who are either injured by other students or teachers. Schools unquestionably owe a duty of care to students over whom they have control and can be held liable in some circumstances for criminal assaults that occur on school property or are the perpetuated by school employees or contractors. It’s less common that claims are filed by teachers suffering injury by student. Not that it’s unheard of. An article published last year in Education Week revealed an estimated 6 percent of the nation’s nearly 4 million teachers were attacked by a student during the 2015-2016 school year. Another 10 percent were threatened with violence by a student. The article also highlighted a 2017 study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence indicating female teachers were more likely to be attacked than male teachers, with new teachers especially vulnerable to threats and violence.

This case hit all those marks. However, teacher injuries sustained in the course and scope of employment – whether a slip-and-fall or an attack by a student – are typically covered by no-fault workers’ compensation. For most work accidents and work injuries, this will be the exclusive remedy (only legal recourse) a teacher or school employee has against an employer district. Work injury exclusive remedy in Florida is spelled out in F.S. 440.11. The only exception is when the actions of an employer, as proven by clear and convincing evidence, reveal the employer deliberately intended to hurt the employee OR engaged in conduct employer knew (based on prior similar accidents or explicit warnings specifically identifying a known danger) was virtually certain to result in an employee injury or death AND that risk of danger wasn’t apparent to employee AND employer deliberately misrepresented or concealed the danger to prevent the employee from making an informed judgment about whether to perform the work.

Since changes were made to this state law in 2003, zero Florida work injury cases have met this exception to exclusive remedy threshold. Arguably, there is a good chance this teacher injury case might have met the proof burden, which is likely why the district chose to settle the case pre-trial for an amount in significant excess of statutory damage caps.  Continue reading

Lifeguards posted at beaches throughout Fort Lauderdale are supposed to save lives and reduce the risk of serious injury. However, for one sunbathing tourist, the actions of an on-duty lifeguard nearly ended in tragedy. Local media reported the North Carolina woman was soaking up the sun on Fort Lauderdale Beach in 2012 when a patrol vehicle ran over her. After deliberating for about three hours, jurors awarded her $250,000.

However, our Fort Lauderdale tourist injury lawyers know it’s likely that the damage caps applicable to Florida state and local government agencies in injury lawsuits, as imposed by F.S. 768.28, will reduce that award to $200,000 (the maximum any one person can receive in such a case; It’s possible more could be secured with a successful claims bill passed by state lawmakers, though that could take years). The problem with such caps, of course, is they are not only arbitrary but sometimes serve as a lawsuit deterrent, preventing all the most severe catastrophic injury claims. Further, they can make government agencies less likely to address dangerous conditions that threaten the taxpayers footing the bill.Fort Lauderdale tourist injury lawyer

In this case, plaintiff testified she’d been lying in the sand with her shorts draped over her face when a lifeguard operating a patrol vehicle drove over her. But it didn’t end there. The now-49-year-old says she was trapped under the vehicle. City officials dispute the claim the truck tires came in contact with plaintiff, instead arguing the bulk of her injuries, defense asserted, was the undercarriage of the truck. Still, the city accepted liability in the case.

The issue jurors were left to decide was whether plaintiff was entitled to recover monetary damages for her injuries and if so, how much. A doctor testifying for the defense argued the woman still had full range of motion in each of her limbs and neck and had suffered no permanent scarring form the incident. While the woman’s attorneys sought $1 million in damages, the city’s lawyers initially offered her just $40,000. That offer was increased the week before trial to $100,000. Jurors awarded her 150 percent more than the city’s most recent settlement offer. It appears they gave greater credence to the expert witness testimony of plaintiff’s physician, who testified about the ongoing health effects of the incident, as well as plaintiff’s own testimony, in which she showed the jury visible scars on her body she insisted were the result of the city-owned truck running over her. According to her account (supported by her doctor) the woman suffers permanent neurological damage and chronic pain, for which she routinely receives painful cortisone injections.  Continue reading

Following several tourist injuries and at least one death, a Bahamian-headquartered cruise line docking in the Port of Miami is being sued by multiple plaintiffs who say they encountered an unreasonable risk of danger at an on-shore zip line excursion in Honduras. As with many excursions advertised by large cruise lines, this one was offered by a third-party independent contractor. However, plaintiffs allege firstly they were misled in marketing materials to believe the cruise line itself was the operator. Furthermore, these tourists say the cruise company should have known the zip line excursion wasn’t safe because numerous cruise ship guests suffered tourist injuries on it. Miami tourist injury attorneys know that if they can prove both of these elements, they may have a decent shot at recovering damages for their injuries.Miami tourist injury lawyer

In July, a newlywed groom on that zip line crashed into his brand new bride, suffering serious injuries that proved fatal. The Miami New Times reports that prior to that incident, there were at least 10 people who sustained severe injuries while on the excursion facilitated by Royal Caribbean, which received complaints after each incident.

Zip lining is arguably one of those recreational activities, such as rock climbing or mountain biking or snow skiing, that by their very nature present some sort of risk of an accident or injury. Defendants will often argue the “assumption of risk” doctrine, meaning they assumed the inherent risk when they chose to do that activity anyway. Such assertions can be especially bolstered if the claimant signed a waiver of liability. Such waivers don’t completely shield defendants from liability (particularly for gross negligence), but they can be useful for the defense. However, in the case of this Honduran-based excursion, the numerous federal lawsuits indicate a pattern of problems that went beyond what one might assume while zip lining. Rather, the allegations are that this particular zip lining excursion was especially dangerous – even for zip lining – and that Royal Caribbean knew about it yet failed to protect future guests from being hurt either by terminating their contract with the zip lining company or warning guests of the potential dangers or prior accidents.  Continue reading

Florida theme parks – Disney, Universal, Legoland and more – owe a duty of care to adequately warn visitors of possible danger, whether it’s a slippery walking surface or a ride with jerks and jolts that could be dangerous to someone with a heart condition or who is pregnant. In fact, as businesses that invite members of the public on site for the benefit of the property owner, these companies owe visitors the highest duty of care to patrons. But what does it mean to provide “adequate warning”? Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know there is a good argument to be made that an adequate warning at a theme park that attracts visitors from around the globe is one that is provided in numerous languages.amusement park injury lawyer

This is the allegation in a recent wrongful death lawsuit filed against Universal Studios Orlando by the family of a Guatemalan man who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2016 shortly after exiting a suspense-filled roller coaster-type ride featuring animatronics and 3D screens, the rider seated in a “truck” as they speed through the scenes of the recent King Kong films. Decedent, a man in his 50s, reportedly had prior heart problems – a risk factor outlined in prominent warning signs just before riders board. However, decedent was unable to read those warnings because they were written entirely in English, while he understood only Spanish.  Continue reading

A South Florida injury lawyer can give you advice if you were injured as a result of negligence by someone who died in the accident itself or soon thereafter. A personal injury claim doesn’t die when the defendant does, though there can be complications because the case will be filed not against the person, but his or her estate. Typically though, it will still be an insurance company that stands in to represent the defendant and that ultimately foots the bill – especially in Florida car accident lawsuits.car accident lawyer South Florida

An appellate court in California recently addressed several issues that arose from such a situation in Meleski v. Estate of Holtlen, where a plaintiff sued the estate of a decedent, alleged to have been the at-fault driver in a crash in which plaintiff was injured. Although this was an out-of-state case, the same general principles apply with regard to Florida injury litigation.

In this case, plaintiff was injured when defendant ran a red light, colliding with her vehicle. Unfortunately, by the time plaintiff filed her lawsuit, defendant was deceased, apparently of unrelated causes. Decedent had no estate from which she could recover, but he had purchased an auto insurance policy for $100,000 that covered the accident. Plaintiff brought her complaint pursuant to the state’s probate statutes, which allowed her to serve her complaint on the insurance company directly and recover damages from that policy, though limiting recovery of damages to policy limits. Continue reading

It’s almost become second nature when something major happens to us: Update social media. However,  if you are injured in a Florida car accident, our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys urge caution,. The reality is you could inadvertently harm your claim for damages. personal injury lawyer Fort Lauderdale

We’re all familiar with those “gotcha” news clips of a person who claimed they were seriously hurt and video evidence showed it clearly wasn’t as bad as they’d alleged. We’re not even talking about those cases. The insurance company and other defendants, they will want to damage your credibility any way they can. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits can request the court grant access to review your page – your posts, your likes, your photographs, your videos and even private messages. (Some courts have held that privacy settings matter when it comes to these requests. For example, a federal appellate court ruled in Crispin v. Audigier Inc. that when a user’s settings are “private,” their posts there are to be treated as private and not-discoverable, based on a 1986 electronics communication law. Yet the Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, ruled just the opposite in Romano v. Steelcase, finding the court could compel plaintiff to consent to turning over all current and deleted contents from her social media accounts, absent any consideration for her privacy settings, so long as the information contained therein was “material and necessary.”

What you need to bear in mind is that everything has the potential to be used against you. This is true even among injury plaintiffs that are truthful about how the accident happened and the extent of the injuries they suffered. Sometimes, it’s as seemingly innocuous as emojis or “likes.”  Continue reading

When you are injured on-the-job in Florida – as thousands of workers are – you most likely will be entitled to compensation for medical bills, a portion of lost wages, retraining and perhaps a lump sum disability payout from your workers’ compensation insurer. The good thing about workers’ compensation is that it is part of a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove your employer did anything wrong or that you did not. Instead, one need only prove the injury occurred in the course of and arose from the scope of one’s employment. The trade-off is: It doesn’t cover everything. Fort Lauderdale work injury attorney

The exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law stipulates it’s your only recourse against an employer. If you are left seriously injured or permanently disabled, it’s important to discuss with a South Florida injury attorney whether any third parties were negligent and, if so, whether they could be held liable to pay additional compensation.

Construction workers, who tend to have a higher-than-average rate of injury, often have grounds for third-party liability claims because frequently, there are many different entities involved with various responsibilities pertaining to safety. If your co-worker makes a mistake that results in your injury, you probably won’t have grounds to pursue anything additional there. However, if a property owner, general contractor, subcontractor, tool manufacturer or some other party fails in exercising a duty of care owed to workers on site, you might have a third-party claim. Also, if your employer did NOT have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you should be able to pursue an injury lawsuit against them as well.  Continue reading

Work zone crashes are an incredibly serious problem that continues to plague our Florida roads and highways. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports in a single recent year, there were an estimated 97,000 work zone crashes, an increase of nearly 8 percent from just a year earlier – and a 42 percent rise since 2013. Although most only result in property damage, our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know that every single day, there are at least 70 work zone crashes resulting at least one injury and every week, at least a dozen deaths. Even while overall highway traffic deaths decline, work zone crash fatalities are rising. Of those killed, 85 percent were drivers and passengers in cars and 25 percent of those fatal crashes involved a large truck (compared to 12 percent of highway deaths overall).Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney

Recently, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a $3 million verdict for plaintiff in a highway construction zone crash lawsuit, after defendant construction company sought a new trial or alternatively a remittitur (reduction of damages).

Work Zone Crash Causes Serious Personal Injury

The work zone crash occurred in June 2010 on a two-lane U.S. Highway where the construction crew was replacing the bridge and approaches to it. The state Department of Transportation had prepared plans for the project, including traffic control, and had supervisors on site to ensure compliance. Defendant construction worker was operating a Caterpillar motor grader in the northbound lane. Plaintiff, with four passengers in his van, attempted to go around the motor grader by crossing the double-yellow line into the southbound lane. The motor grader then turned left, and the two vehicles collided. Plaintiff suffered a double-fractured jaw, broken leg and bruised lung.  Continue reading

When a Florida drunk driver causes serious injury to his or her passengers, occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, it is likely that driver will be named as a defendant in both a criminal and civil case. As Florida DUI injury lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm can explain, these are two totally different processes in different courts pursued for different purposes. However, that does not mean one will have no impact on the other. One of the most notable is the issue of compelling defendant’s testimony in a civil lawsuit, which then becomes public record that can be used against him or her in the pending criminal case. But of course, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives those accused of criminal wrongdoing the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. That silence and refusal to answer questions cannot be used against them for the jury to infer wrongdoing.Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyer

Courts in Florida have held that defendants in wrongful death lawsuits can invoke their Fifth Amendment right during the civil litigation process if compelling that testimony could potentially amount to self-incrimination in the pending criminal case. However, as noted in the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Baxter v. Palmgiano, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t guarantee negative inferences against a defendant in a civil lawsuit when they refuse to answer pertinent questions regarding the evidence against them. This doesn’t mean the judge or jury in the civil DUI injury lawsuit can simply point to defendant’s refusal to answer questions and declare that alone as basis for a decision in plaintiff’s favor. However, the court is entitled to draw inferences against a defendant who chooses to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to silence. In U.S. ex rel. Bilokumsky v. Tod in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, “silence is often evidence of the most persuasive character.”

Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyers can use this to their advantage in drunk driving civil litigation.  Continue reading

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