Articles Tagged with florida personal injury attorney

Autombile-Accident-Car-Keys-150x150
Many automobile accidents in the State of Florida as well as the rest of the country result from a rear end crash or collision.  In most crashes, the driver, who crashed into the vehicle in front of him or her, is at fault.  There are some exceptions to this general rule if there is a sudden and abrupt stop by the vehicle in front.  Section 316.0895, Florida Statutes – Following Too Closely provides that driver’s shall not follow another motor vehicle more closely than is reasonably prudent.  On Florida streets, highways, and roads, drivers should have due regard of the speed of other vehicles, traffic, road conditions, and weather when driving behind other vehicles and / or when approaching other vehicles.

Some may believe that once a rear end crash is essentially an open and shut case.  The automobile insurance company will recognize and admit liability and responsibility for damages to the vehicle that was rear ended and admit liability and responsibility for the injuries to the driver and passengers who were occupying the vehicle that was rear ended.  The truth is that automobile insurance companies scrutinize every part of a claim or case including the cause and details of the crash, the extent of the impact or the force of the impact, the relationship of the crash to the injuries complained of, the age of the injury victim, the prior medical history and condition of the injury victim, the reasonableness and necessity of the medical care provided, the finding of the treating medical providers, the finding of the treating radiologist, and the reports of the treating medical providers.  Florida law provides that it is the burden of the injury victim to prove by the preponderance of the evidence all elements of a personal injury case which are as follows:
  1. Duty;

 No Swimming.001During the past week, I have lectured and written on the issue of negligence, child injuries, and the unfortunate and tragic incident that took place at the Walt Disney World Resort – Orlando where a 2 year old child was attacked and ultimately drowned by an alligator.  It has been reported that there were “No Swimming” signs posted in or near the area.  Some people, who I have spoken to, believe that this fact should then be a bar to recovery if there is a claim or case pursued by the parents of the child who died.  Florida is a state that has adopted a Comparative Fault system for the pursuit and trial of personal injury cases.  In other words, even if an injury victim is comparatively or partially at fault, there can still be a case pursued on behalf of the injury victim and / or the injury victim’s family.   It should also be noted that there are some special laws in place in Florida when a child is injured.  For instance, in the State of Florida, a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held liable, responsible, or partially at fault as a matter of law.  As such, a 2 year old cannot be comparatively at fault as a matter of law even though there were “No Swimming” signs that were posted.  However, a parent, as a third party of sorts, can be held liable, responsible, or partially at fault if the parent’s actions or inactions contributed in whole or part to the situation or incident taking place.
As for the Disney alligator attack, it has been reported that there were “No Swimming” signs posted.  The family of the 2 year old were from Nebraska and may not have been aware of the presence of alligators throughout the State of Florida in its rivers, lakes, canals, ponds, and lagoons.  Furthermore, the sign read “No Swimming”.   The reason for the posting of the sign could have included any of the following:
*There was no regular lifeguard in the area.

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.   

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. 

Pick Up Truck SilverIn the State of Florida, there is a minimal type of coverage that needs to be in place to own and operate a motor vehicle.   Many people do not understand these minimal requirements.  In fact, many people are drive in the State of Florida under the impresssion that he or she has “full coverage” when there is only minimal coverage in place.  One reason that people are not better informed is because many such automobile insurance policies are obtained online.   There is no contact with a qualified insurance agent or just minimal contact with an insurance agent.  It is important for every driver and owner of a motor vehicle in the State of Florida to know and understand the types of insurance coverage currently in place on the policy and otherwise available for purchase.
By the time a person is an automobile accident, it is too late to purchase additional coverage or get coverage in place if it had lapsed.  The time to get the insurance papers and coverage in place is prior to the accident.  Here are the types of coverage available in the State of Florida:
Property Damage Coverage.   This type of insurance will pay the other vehicle owner for his or her property damage if you are at fault for the accident.  Minimum state required coverage is set at $10,000.   Additional coverage can be purchased which will result in higher premiums.   If a person has property damage in excess of $10,000 and you only have $10,000 in coverage, the other vehicle owner can come after you for the additional damage.  Your insurance company is only obligated to pay out what you purchased in insurance coverage. It is advisable to get more than $10,000 in property damage coverage.

Car Keys Automobile Accident and InjuriesIn the State of Florida, a teen can get behind of the wheel of a vehicle as the driver at the age of 15.  Teens can get a Learner’s License or a Restricted Driver’s License at the age of 15.   If the teen driver meets the necessary driving requirements and then passes the driver’s test, then, at the age of 16, a teen can get a driver’s license that does not have the restrictions on it.  As such, in the State of Florida, we have teen drivers on the road between and including the ages of 15 through 19 years old.   When a teen is at-fault for an automobile accident in the State of Florida, the issue or question that arises is who is responsible for the careless driving or negligence.
For purposes of this article, we are going to restrict the commentary to the teen drivers in the following age range:  15 year old to 17 years old.   These drivers are still minors and the liability laws in Florida are different than those for an 18 year old or a 19 year old driver.  Here are the potential people liable for the negligence driving of a teen in the 15 – 17 year old age range:
1.  Teen Driver.   That’s right, a teen can be sued for his or her own negligence arising from an automobile accident.  The guardians or parents of the teen would need to be the representative relatives in the lawsuit but the teen himself or herself can be sued for his or her negligent actions or conduct.   In the State of Florida, a child under the age of 6 years of age cannot be held liable or responsible for his or her negligent conduct.  For children 6 years old and older, then a portion or even all of the negligence can be attributed to the child or teen. 

Happy little girl looking at camera while swinging on playground area

Playground Injuries

During the summer months and the rest of the year, children enjoy the fun and adventure of spending time on a playground.  Whether it is at the day care center, school, summer camp, or public park, a playground can provide hours of entertainment and activity for children – especially toddlers and pre-schools. Of course, elementary aged children also enjoy going to the playground but as they grow older – the playground loses some of its luster to these children.   For the children who still love to go to the playground, there is great fun but also a risk of injury any time that a child spends time on a playground.

During the summer months, a child can get injured on a playground in a number of ways. One such way is being burned by the hot ground or hot playground equipment.  While a playground owner / operator / supervision cannot do much about the weather, safety precautions can be taken on the playground itself by making the sure that the equipment is made with materials and coating that protects the children and that the ground cover is made of materials that also protect the children in a reasonable manner. 

Laundry BottleWhile children are under the care of parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, day care centers, schools, or summer camps, there are some common household items, poisons, and cleaners that pose a significant risk of injury to children.   Let’s take laundry detergent pods.   It has been reported that over 30 children per day get into liquid laundry packets or pods.  Keep in mind that children especially toddles and infants are curious.  The bright colors of a laundry pod or packet (to a child) seems like a fun object to play with and even put in the mouth to play with or eat.  Many such laundry pods seem like a big soft piece of candy or like a soft toy to play with.  Of course, the purpose of these laundry pods or packets are to clean clothes and not to serve as a toy or play item.   This goes the same for other common household or day care items like bleach, bug spray, industrial cleaners, etc. . . . It is also well known that children are wonderful and mischievous explorers and adventurers. In other words, children get into places where they do not belong because there is a certain challenge and thrill in getting into places where they should not be in.
As for the laundry packets, the United States Product Safety Commission reports that children can become quite ill from the ingestion or contact with the packets including but not limited to difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, severe eye burns, and vision loss.   That’s right, these bright colored detergent pods and packets are quite dangerous.
Here are some safety tips that should be followed by all child care providers: