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Negligent security lawsuits are increasingly being filed as their is a growing recognition of the responsibility property owners have to tenants and patrons.

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Most of these lawsuits involve some type of assault and battery crime, though roughly a quarter stem from sexual assaults and about 15 percent from wrongful death claims. Robberies, home invasions and false imprisonment cases, too, could be the basis of a negligent security claim. The majority of plaintiffs are usually customers or guests of businesses, though some are also employees. A slim percentage are trespassers. Research has shown plaintiffs are more often prevailing in these cases.

One case in Florida that has gained some attention involve the 2014 murder-suicide in which a mother and son were shot and killed in an apparent robbery by a man who soon after turned the gun on himself. Continue reading →

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Underinsured motorist benefits are one of the most important types of coverage any Floridian can purchase. That’s because it will ensure adequate coverage in the event you are injured in an accident with a driver who lacks enough insurance to fully cover your damages. carcrash4

Most UIM policies, however, will require that you first exhaust the coverage limits of the underinsured motorist before filing a claim for UIM benefits through your own insurer.

This isn’t unusual. However, where one auto insurer in the case of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Jakubowicz ran into trouble was in setting further limits and conditions that rendered its policy ambiguous. This matter was recently before the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled that because the policy was ambiguous, it would be construed in favor of the insured.  Continue reading →

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In what is believed to be the worst ever hot air balloon accident in U.S. history, 16 people including the pilot were killed in Texas when the balloon crashed into a live electrical wire, burst into flames and crashed to the ground.hotairballoon

The fatal crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). News outlets reported the pilot had four prior driving under the influence convictions and a slew of customer complaints, mostly related to customer service problems. There was, however, one previous personal injury lawsuit that was ultimately settled involving eight passengers who suffered various injuries after the pilot reportedly crash-landed a balloon.

Those who know the pilot say that while he was a recovering alcoholic, he was a safe and experienced pilot who was not reckless with the lives of his customers.  Continue reading →

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Lack of security at a nightclub bathroom led to a brutal sexual assault, leading jurors to award a $5.4 million verdict against the nightclub. Now, that verdict has been affirmed by a California appellate court, illustrating the way in which a business can be held responsible for failure to protect patrons against third-party violent crimes. womanindark

In this case, Janice H. v. 696 North Robertson, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, Division Three, Hollywood producer plaintiff, 37, had consumed several drinks at other nightclubs before entering this one to meet some friends, grab a drink of water and use the restroom.

However, when plaintiff entered the unisex bathroom, a man unknown to her – later identified as a staffer at the club – followed behind her and proceeded to sexually assault her.  Continue reading →

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The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled that the $900,000 limit and the amount of premiums paid for an underinsured motorist policy is irrelevant to a claim for benefits and breach of contract. As such, that evidence was excluded from trial. carcrash6

In Lucca v. GEICO, plaintiff suffered injuries after he was involved in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver.

At-fault driver had a $100,000 bodily injury policy. However, plaintiff alleged this was insufficient to cover all his damages. His car at the time was insured by defendant GEICO.  Continue reading →

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Auto insurance companies make lots of promises. They vow to be “on your side” and “like a good neighbor.” The truth of the matter is, when it comes time to pay a claim, they will do anything in their power NOT to pay it – or at least to minimize the amount they will compensate you. caroncurve

Bad faith insurance action – when an insurance company fails to deal with a customer in good faith – the penalties may be quite severe. If a judge or jury holds an insurer liable for bad faith action, the insured may be paid triple the original damages. This is intended to deter such action in the first place.

Many actions can be categorized as “bad faith,” but we generally see it manifest in car accident claims through claims that are swiftly denied or wrongly delayed or in low-ball settlement offers that are far below what the claim is actually worth.  Continue reading →

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To anyone looking on, it may have seemed like some kind of odd drug epidemic had swept South Florida. Dozens or even hundreds of people, wandering seemingly aimlessly around local parks, public libraries and college campuses. iphone6

Cape Coral Police Officer Ray Schilke first got wind of the phenomenon when he got a call of a suspicious person. The man was driving slowly through the park. “He looks like he’s watching people,” the caller told dispatch.

“That’s when things got a little bit hairy,” Schilke said in a now popular video. “He was playing Pokemon Go, and he was like 25-years-old.”  Continue reading →

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The family of four was on their way to a school play at a local high school. They were just minutes from it starting. Meanwhile, a 20-year-old driving a turbocharged BMW was heading home after picking up some Chinese takeout for his family. He was traveling at a mind-bending 115 mph – 70 mph over the speed limit on the Maryland road. hotvehicles1

The crash was described by The Washington Post as “thunderous.” The BMW struck the Chevrolet Volt at a broadside angle. Although horrified onlookers tried valiantly to rescue the family in the Volt – uprooting a metal sign so they could fight to pry the door open, smashing the rear car window and a doctor who crawled into the car to try to administer medical attention – three of the four inside perished. The sole survivor lost her mother, father and her 18-year-old brother, her only sibling, in that crash. She suffered life-threatening injuries, but ultimately survived.

Meanwhile, the driver of that BMW was in hysterics nearby. “It’s all my fault!” he could be heard screaming.  Continue reading →

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Wrong-way crashes are becoming a serious problem on Southwest Florida roadways, and The News-Press recently explored this issue on both a micro-level and from a statewide perspective. stopsign

As The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) noted in its 2012 investigation into the issue, wrong-way driving tends to have very serious consequences – in fact much more so than other types of dangerous driving behaviors. Although it occurs relatively infrequently – about 3 percent of all accidents on high-speed, divided highway accidents – drivers are 27 times more likely to be killed in wrong-way crashes than in other types of accidents.

Local media picked up on the issue after a series of high-profile wrong-way crashes in Southwest Florida. One of those included a teenager killed in a Lehigh Acres car accident in which a wrong-way driver struck her head-on.  Continue reading →

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A school district in California agreed to pay $10.5 million to a former student who suffered a brain injury after he was violently mobbed by classmates while dressed in a mock mascot uniform of the rival team.The traumatic brain injury occurred after the student begged school administrators to let him take the chicken suit off after he’d suffered an initial beating while wearing it. School officials, however, coerced him to go back out with it.football2

In Carter v. Kern High School District, the 24-year-old plaintiff, just 17 at the time of the 2010 attack, asserted he wore the chicken suit to the pep rally to make fun of the rival team. When he first did so, he was attacked by two students. He went to the school activities director, who forced him to continue wearing it by threatening him with having to pay the $75 rental fee if he refused to keep it on. He did as he was told.

However, during the rally, a number of students – including several of the school football players – dog piled up on top of him. He was hit, kicked and punched. It was supposed to be a “mock fight,” so officials never stepped in to intervene. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, plaintiff had to spend six months in a brain injury treatment center. He lost out on his senior year of high school. His classmates surpassed him in heading off to college. He continues to suffer the effects of the brain injury. His medical costs are expected to reach more than $5 million in the course of his life. The attack reportedly also damaged his pituitary gland, and he will be required to take growth hormones for the rest of his life. He also reportedly will require special education classes and ongoing therapy. Continue reading →