Articles Posted in personal injury

Inflatable bounce houses, bounce pillows, space walkers, moon bouncers and slides – all are increasingly popular at community events and private parties in South Florida, a fun attraction for children to release some of that pent-up energy. However, there is a growing body of evidence that inflatable bounce houses and related amusements are anything but safe. Children have been seriously injured and even died. Product liability and premises liability claims may be appropriate.injury attorney

Recently, The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska reported a 2-year-old boy died on a recent afternoon when a strong gust of wind blew over the unenclosed inflatable bounce pillow on which he was playing at a pumpkin patch. The boy and his older sister, 5, were at a private event, playing on the pillow with their parents, who both slid off seconds before the gust of wind swept the pillow up, despite being tethered to the ground. The wind gust reportedly clocked in at around 60 mph. The pillow was ripped of its moorings and flew some 30 to 40 feet. The girl was thrown, but the boy reportedly became “wrapped like a taco” inside the inflatable.

The newspaper reported the pumpkin patch owner does carry the requisite liability insurance required of such operations. Such a claim would fall under the umbrella of premises liability, which holds property owners or controllers responsible for dangerous conditions on their property. Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers explain that while the number of defendants will be case specific, it’s plausible the child’s parents may have grounds to pursue claims also against the inflatable pillow manufacturer, as well as the event organizer, if a different entity than the pumpkin patch. Continue reading

Personal injury law is frequently characterized as something of a circus, full of malingering, greedy “victims,” ambulance-chasing, shamelessly self-promoting injury lawyers and feckless jurors who award outrageous sums for no good reason. These stereotypes are often furthered by those in favor tort reform, which does little to prevent frivolous claims or lower insurance costs. Instead, it makes it more difficult for those serious injured by another’s negligence to obtain full and fair compensation.personal injury lawyer

It’s important to revisit some of these myths and misunderstandings every once in a while, because we hear from injury clients who wait months or even years before exploring their legal rights, assuming to do so is somehow selfish or it was partly their fault anyway and they should have known better.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand these concerns, so we wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the most common.
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Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. Failure to do so may result in a fine by government regulators. Workers’ compensation – the exclusive remedy for employees against their employers for job-related injuries – is paid on a no-fault basis. That means workers who are injured in Florida don’t need to prove their employer acted in a manner that was negligent in order to collect compensation.work injury lawyer

Third parties, meanwhile, can be liable and compelled to pay damages to the person injured on top of what he/ she receives for workers’ compensation – but only if the plaintiff can prove the third party negligent.

Many serious Florida work injuries involve some type of fault from a third party, whether that’s:

  • A general contractor or property owner who fails to make sure the work site is free from an unreasonable risk of hazards (known or foreseeable);
  • A negligent driver who strikes a work crew on the road;
  • A product manufacturer that designed/ made/ sold a heavy machine that is unreasonably dangerous, even when operated as intended.

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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

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

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

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

Trampoline parks have been cropping up in Broward County and throughout the country, offering children a chance to literally bounce off the walls to burn some energy. They are especially popular in South Florida in the summer, where parents and caregivers need something fun and active to keep kids occupied while still keeping them out of the crushing heat. trampoline injury lawyer

However, a recent investigation by NBC6 in Miami revealed child injuries at trampoline parks have become incredibly common. Just in the last two years in South Florida, there have reportedly been nearly 300 911 calls made regarding injuries and falls at trampoline parks. In roughly 70 of those instances, paramedics were required at the scene.

Those incidents included:

  • A 4-year-old boy who suffered a sprained ankle;
  • A 6-year-old girl left injured and bleeding when a larger boy jumped on top of her;
  • A boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a Broward County trampoline park.

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Motorcycle accidents often leave operators and passengers suffering serious injury, facing huge medical bills and the inability to work for an extended period of time. Even so, the last thing many want to do is sue a friend or loved one. What you need to understand is that while you may need to bring a claim against your friend or family member, it’s not them who pays compensation for your injuries. It’s the insurer(s). motorcycle accident attorney

These cases are not unheard of, and in fact, are quite common. (If you think about it, as a passenger, with whom are you most likely to be riding? Not a stranger, but probably someone who is or once was close to you.) In a recent motorcycle accident case in New Jersey, the ex-girlfriend of a state assemblyman filed a lawsuit against him, alleging his negligence in exceeding the speed limit resulted in his losing control of the motorcycle when the pair approached stopped traffic ahead. Defendant told the local Daily Journal newspaper that allegation was untrue because there had been no citation issued. (This is not exactly true, however, because an investigating officer’s decision to cite or not for a traffic violation is not the final word on whether someone was negligent in a personal injury lawsuit; that call is made by the court.) Cases involving exes may be a bit more adversarial than others, but nonetheless generally do not involve plaintiff seeking direct compensation from defendant.

The reason defendants are named is because plaintiffs can’t directly sue insurers. They must file a claim for damages against the person who is actually negligent, and then obtain compensation from the entity required to indemnify/ cover those losses on behalf of the defendant.  Continue reading

This past Independence Day many went and enjoyed one of the numerous professional fireworks displace across the State of Florida.  However, many others went over to a barbecue at relatives or friends homes and capped-off the night with an amateur fireworks display.  This can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very dangerous, and for this reasons, authorities also warn fireworks are best left to the professionals.

Broward Personal Injury One thing many do not realize is fireworks are actually illegal to sell in the state of Florida if they are being used for what most consider their normal purpose of shooting them off on the Fourth of July.  If you want to legally purchase fireworks for public display, the buyer and seller actually need permits, but that is not what typically happens.  You may be wondering how all of these roadside stands are allowed to sell virtually any type of fireworks to consumers.  Continue reading

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