Articles Tagged with compensation

Boat Silhouette.001Florida is well known for its waterways, oceans, lakes, canals, rivers, coasts, and other aquatic areas. With a flurry of boating activity year round and more so over the summer, Florida is also the location or site for boating accidents causing personal injuries to children, teens, adults, and seniors. Florida has laws in place that cover the use and operation of a boat or vessel. Just because a boat owner / operator is out on the water, there is no freedom per se to act negligently, carelessly, or recklessly just because you are off the land and seem to be away from civilization.   Section 327.33, Florida Statutes provides as follows:
It is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless manner. A person is guilty of reckless operation of a vessel who operates any vessel, or manipulates any water skis, aqua plane, or similar decide, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner as to endanger, or likely to endanger, life or limb, or damage the property of, or injury any person.
Florida law under Section 327.33, Florida Statutes further provides that:

Bicycle Injury Rider.001In the State of Florida and other states, bicyclists are put at risk for personal injuries.  From the simple bicycle ride of a child to a more rigorous bicycle ride by an experienced cyclist, an injury, accident, or crash could take place at any place and time.  Some bicycle injuries are quite minor in the form of a scared knee or elbow that heal quickly; however, other bicycle accident related injuries can be quite significant and change the life of the injured cyclist.  Tragically, far too many cyclists from toddlers to elementary school age children to teens to adults to seniors die every year due to the negligent driving of an operator of passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle.  Any time that a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver should keep in mind that on any given trip there will be pedestrians, cyclists (bicycles), and bikers (motorcycles) on the roadway.  There is a common expression or theme out there – Look Twice for Motorcycles.  This simple but powerful advice applies the same and even more to pedestrians and cyclists especially those who are children.
When a cyclist is injured or a cyclist dies as a result of the fault of a driver, the cyclist and the family of the cyclist can seek compensation for the damages (personal and property) caused by the bicycle accident  Most states have adopted a comparative fault form of liability for bicycle accidents.  In other words, even if the cyclist was partially at fault, an injury claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist and / or the family of the injured cyclist.  It should be pointed out that each claim or case involving a bicycle accident or injury should be evaluated on its own merits, facts, and circumstances. It is important that the injured cyclist and family retain the services of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to review the facts, circumstances, insurance coverages, medical bills, and medical records to determine the recommended practical and legal courses of action.
A police report detailing the details of the bicycle accident can be helpful as part of the investigation; however, it should be noted that a case or claim can be pursued on behalf of an injured bicyclist even without a bicycle accident report and even without a favorable bicycle accident report. In other words, if the police officer places some or all of the fault for a bicycle accident on the injured cyclist, a civil claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist. In most instances, the police officer, deputy sheriff, and / or highway patrol trooper arrive on the scene after the bicycle accident has already taken place.  As such, the police officer is merely assessing the information as he or she processed it at the time of the crash.  In most jurisdiction, for purposes of a bicycle accident, the police officer is not given the role of insurance adjuster, judge, or jury.  In other words, the conclusions and evaluations of the police officer are not completely dispositive of a claim or case on behalf of an injured cyclist.

Interstate 95In the State of Florida, just one crash can change the lives of many people and families.  This is especially true when there are multiple deaths or multiple claimants involved with a traffic crash. There are many issues and challenges to a case involving one injured person or party.  The issues are compounded when there are multiple victims, injuries, and claims.
For most personal injury claims or cases, the amount and type of automobile insurance often come into play and require a close evaluation and study.   It is important for a personal injury victim and / or the family of the personal injury victim to retain the services of an experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney to determine the rights of the victim, the rights of the family, and the recommended courses of action.  It should be noted that there is a big difference between the legal rights of the victim and the practical options or practical resolution of a case.  For instance, let’s assume that a person suffers a fractured leg requiring surgery and an extended hospitalization.  Let’s further assume that the reasonable value for such a case is $450,000.  The at-fault driver had an automobile insurance policy with a bodily injury policy limit of $50,000.  As such, the total amount of liability insurance in place for this particular claim was $50,000.  Under these facts and circumstances, the fair value of the case is $450,000; however the practical resolution of the case may end up being the $50,000 policy limits.  Again, there is a difference between the legal rights of the personal injury victim and the practical resolution of the case.
On Interstate 95 near Titusville, Florida, there was a recent fatal crash that was reported by news and media outlets.  The crash ended the lives of three young girls who were ejected from the vehicle.  It was reported that there were 11 people occupying the vehicle that was manufactured with a maximum capacity of 8 passengers / occupants.  A tire problem caused the Dodge Durrango SUV to go off off the road and then the SUV flipped several times.  Certainly, this tragic crash will have a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, and community.   

Bicycle Injury Rider.001In every community, there are cyclists and bicyclists of all types and ages.  It is important for drivers to slow down any time a cyclist is on or near the roadway.  Let’s face it.  A bicyclist, even an experienced one, is no match for a vehicle that crashes into or cuts off the bicyclist.  The result of such an incident or crash can be devastating and tragically ends of the life of far too many bicyclist.  Many bicycle accidents are preventable with safer and more attention driving.   Drivers should slow down and be respectful of bicyclists and cyclists.  Many injured cyclists are children who lack the safety awareness and motor skills to avoid impact with a vehicle that is heading straight for the bicyclist or cuts off the bicyclist.
This leads to a question that is common in bicycle accident cases.  What the value of a bicycle accident case?  While this may seem like a simple question, there is no simple answer to such an question. There are a variety of factors that are considered when properly evaluating a bicycle accident case.  For instance, the value of a case depends in part of the seriousness of the injuries.  An abrasion to the shin that heals in a weeks is evaluated much differently that a fractured leg that requires surgery.  Another factor to consider involves the amount and type of automobile insurance coverage in place.  Let’s say that a cyclist is hit by a vehicle through no fault of the cyclist.  The cyclist was wearing a bicycle helmet but still suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that required 1 year of treatment and the bicyclist now has ongoing headaches, memory problems, and cognitive problems.  One would think that this case has a significant value.  Let’s assume that the at-fault driver had $1,000,000 (One Million Dollars) in insurance coverage.  Then, yes, the case would have significant value and there is a good amount of insurance to cover the injuries.  One could even argue that the injuries exceed $1,000,000 (One Million Dollars).  For most injured bicyclists, the amount of automobile insurance coverage is much less than $1,000,000.  Let’s say that there is $25,000 in coverage.  Let’s further say that the case has a value from an injury standpoint of $750,000.  Even though the injuries are quite significant from a medical and value standpoint, the case may utimately be resolved (for practical reasons) for the Inusrance policy limits of $25,000.
Before making any decisions as to the settlement or a resolution of a case, the injured cyclist and his or her family should have an experienced Florida Personal Injury to evaluate the case and to provide advice, guidance, and legal representation.

Swimming Pool - Drowning and Personal Injuries
In Florida, swimming, boating, and aquatic activities are essentially year round activities.  This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day from drowning related incidents. Children under the age of 14 account for 2 out of the 10 deaths.  It is reported that drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.

Despite these risks and disturbing statistics, drowning incidents continue and unfortunately will continue through the rest of the 2016 year including the summer season.  Can a case or claim be pursued on behalf of an injured child OR on behalf of the parents of a child who dies as a result of a drowning incident?  Like many legal questions, it depends on the facts and circumstances.  It also depends on the practicalities associated with liability insurance coverage and other matters.
Like other personal injury cases in the State of Florida, there are four essential elements associated with a drowning case:

Beach Personal Injury.001In the State of Florida, there are beaches on both coast from Key West to Jacksonville to Tampa and across the state to Pensacola.  For most beach goers, the days are filled with wonderful scenes, the surf, and family fun.  Unfortunately for some pedestrians and beach goers, the beach is the scene of a personal injury caused by the negligence with of a driver.  Many beaches have both pedestrian traffic and vehicular traffic.  It is important for all drivers to proceed with due caution when driving on a beach because there are pedestrians, sun bathers, and, yes, teens and children in the area.  Many such incidents or accidents could be avoided with safer driving and / or more restrictions on beach driving.
During Mother’s Day Weekend – May 2016, two teens were hit by a Park Ranger with Atlantic Beach, Florida on Atlantic Beach.  The two girls were laying on the sand when they were hit by the vehicle.  With beach goers laying down, it is difficult to see them but this is all the more reason to drive extremely slow and careful when operating a motor vehicle on the beach.  First Coast News and other media outlets reported that the Park Ranger was at fault and will be issued a citation.
If a pedestrian or beach goer is struck by a vehicle while on the beach, the injured pedestrian or beach goer has legal rights to pursue compensation for medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, mental anguish and the loss of the enjoyment of life.  Compensation is not necessarily automatic or guaranteed.  Each potential case should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  It should be noted that cases or claims against government entities and its employees are handled differently by both practice and procedure.  There are formal notices that are required.  Furthermore, there are limitations of recovery on personal injury cases against government entities.  There are essentially four elements of a personal injury case:  1. Duty; 2. Breach of Duty; 3. Causation; and 4. Damages.  It should be noted that the results on ones case do not necessarily control the results on a similar case.  For instance, let’s say that a person is speeding through a school zone and hits a 6 year old waiting for the school bus.  The 6 year old suffered some minor abrasions but was otherwise fine.  This case certainly has some merit or value. Let’s change the facts a bit and say that the child suffered a broken leg, broken arm, and a serious traumatic brain injury.  While the circumstances surrounding the pedestrian accident were similar, the injuries and value are quite different.

Red Bicycle.001In Florida, there is a common risk or danger in most communities. Children ride bicycles in most communities.  This is the common risk and danger.  It is well known or should be well known that children lack good safety awareness.  Furthermore, the motor skills of small children are still developing when the children especially when the children are in pre-school and elementary school.  Because of the risks of bicycle riding, it is important for all motorist to slow down any time that a driver is near a child riding a bicycle.  Children enjoy riding bicycles in neighborhoods, parking lots, driveways and elsewhere.
When a child is hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle, the personal injuries can range from minor ones to significant personal injuries including the wrongful death of a child.  A child and bicycle are no match for the steel and weight of the typical motor vehicle.  When you combine the size differential with any amount of speed, the situation can easily escalate to one with horrific and catastrophic personal injuries.  
It should be noted that Florida is a comparative fault state.  As such, for a particular accident or incident, there can be a percentage distribution of fault attributed to the bicycle rider and driver.  It should also be noted that children under a certain age cannot be held comparatively at fault as a matter of law.  In the State of Florida, a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held comparatively at fault; however, a parent or supervisor of the child may be help proportionally at fault for the lack of supervision of the child. 

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child SafetyWhen a child or adult is injured as a result of a Florida Automobile Accident, there are many challenges presented including but not limited to the payment of medical bills.   Let’s say that a child or an adult is walking across the street and then is hit by a driver who was not paying attention.  The injured pedestrian suffered a fractured leg and other injuries.  The driver was 100 % at fault for the crash as a result of looking down at a text message as the driver approached a red light.  Under this fact scenario, one would assume that the at-fault driver would be liable or on the hook for all of the medical bills and related damages.  Under Florida law, this is not the case if the injured pedestrian owned a vehicle OR if the injured pedestrian resided with a relative who owned a vehicle.  PIP (Personal Injury Protection) under a Florida Automobile Insurance Policy may end up covering the medical bills for the injured pedestrian.

Let’s bring up a few more facts to illustrate how this works. Let’s say that the injured pedestrian is a twelve year old boy named Johnny who resides with his mother Mary Jones.  At the time of the pedestrian accident, Mary Jones owned a vehicle that was insured with GEICO Insurance.  The at-fault driver was insured through State Farm Insurance.  Even though the vehicle of Mary Jones was no where near the crash site where the pedestrian was injured, GEICO – the insurance company for Mary Jones – will most likely pay the medical bills of Johnny Jones, the twelve year old injured pedestrian.  Under some circumstances, a pedestrian can qualify for PIP coverage for the at-fault driver IF AND ONLY IF the injured pedestrian did not own a vehicle AND if the injured pedestrian did not resident with a resident relative who owned a vehicle and had insurance on the vehicle.

Certainly, there are a host of challenges in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident when a child or adult suffered personal injuries. The payment or responsibility for the payment of the medical bills is just one piece of a complicated puzzle.  It is important for the injury victim and the family to retain the services of a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to get guidance, advice, and, yes, legal representation to get through these tough and confusing issues.

School Bus CrashWhen a child is injured as a result of a school bus accident, there are often questions and challenges for a parent as it pertains tomedical care for the accident related injuries. A parent may think that a school bus or school district would automatically pay for the medical bills and provide for medical care if the accident or crash was the fault of the school bus driver. While this may seem to be reasonable and full of common sense, school bus companies and the related insurance companies do not automatically go into gear to provide for or pay the medical bills for the injured child. As such, a parent must often make arrangements on his or her own to get the child appropriately evaluated and treated. Here is a list of medical providers who may provide care following a school bus accident:
Pediatrician or Primary Care Doctor. The pediatrician or primary care doctor may be appropriate for medical care following an automobile accident if the injuries seem relatively minor and do not require much in the way of follow-up.
Emergency Room. If the child needs immediate medical care and there appears to be signs and symptoms of trauma related head injuries, back injuries, injuries to the extremities, internal injuries,  etc. . . the parent should take immediate action to get the child properly stabilized and evaluated at the emergency room. Many cities, especially the larger ones, have emergency room and hospitals that special specialize in the care of children. If such a facility is available, parents should take child to a pediatric emergency room or trauma center. Typically, a pediatric specialist the best position to have the best training in order to provide the proper evaluation and treatment of children following the school bus accident.

medical_1000006509-120613intDuring the summer time and other parts of the year in Florida, it is common to see children especially toddlers on bicycles and riding toys on or near driveways.   A good question is the following:
What riding toys are dangerous on or near driveways?
The answer to this question may surprise you.  The answer is all of the riding toys are dangerous.   This is because there are risks of personal injuries to any child on a riding toy or bicycle on or near the driveway.   Let’s say an example to discuss.  A 4 year old child is riding his three wheel cycle on the drivveway.  Like many such toys, this three wheeler is low to the ground and below the vision of most drivers.   While there are backup cameras in many newer model vehicles, a child riding a low three wheeler can often times be missed by a driver who is backing out of of driveway or driving into a driveway.   Also, children lack good safety judgment.   A 4 year old who is not being supervised can easily ride right into the street and into traffic.  This can, in turn, lead to serious personal injuries to the child.  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind: