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Traffic entering and leaving Fort Myers Beach has always been something of a headache, especially if there is a special event. Some say it’s so bad, it keeps them off the island altogether, though that has done little to alleviate congestion. roundabout

Now, there is a proposal on the table from the Florida Department of Transportation that seeks to address the problem: Roundabouts. A lot of them, in fact. The state agency has posited that constructing roundabouts at nearly every intersection from Crescent Street to Summerlin Road is the solution. Although the proposal is still in development – FDOT has said it will present its traffic-calming study to the public in February – some  council members have expressed skepticism, as have a number of business owners.

Still, most agree something has to be done. Tourists come from all over the world to visit Fort Myers Beach, and even when we’re not in season, bumper-to-bumper traffic can result in an hour-long commute just to get from one end of the mile-long Matanza’s Pass Bridge to the other. This can increase the risk of rear-end accidents and road rage.  Continue reading →

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An elderly south Fort Myers couple died in a car accident as they pulled onto Summerlin Road from their RV resort community, on their way to church. The driver of the vehicle that struck them was also injured. Investigators have concluded the 89-year-old decedent driver was at-fault in the collision. stop sign

According to The News-Press, the crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. when the driver of a 2012 Toyota tried to make a left turn onto Summerlin Road from M-Street, the primary entrance/exit to Siesta Bay RV Resort. He apparently misjudged the time he had to safely clear oncoming traffic and pulled into the path of a driver operating a 2007 Infiniti. Both occupants of the Toyota, the driver and his 87-year-old wife of 60 years, were rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead right away. he died shortly thereafter. The Infiniti driver also had injuries, though is expected to make a recovery.

The collision is still under investigation, but authorities have said that speed and alcohol are not suspected to have been factors. Decedent driver’s brother called the crash a bad mistake. He said his brother didn’t see the other vehicle as it approached. Reporters with Wink News spoke to several residents at the resort, who say they have expressed concerns that the intersection of Summerlin and M Street isn’t safe. There is no traffic light that gives those exiting the neighborhood an opportunity to safely enter traffic, which zooms by at 45 mph (or more, depending on whether motorists are obeying the speed limit).  Continue reading →

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Boaters in Florida face many hazards while out on the water, from perilous weather to reckless operators. Underwater dredge pipes are a hidden risk. boating

Dredge pipes are used to conduct dredging operations, which are intended to clean out the bed of a harbor, river or some other area of water by scooping out the weeds, mud and trash. These sites are essentially construction zones on the water, and yet, they are usually not visible to boaters. They can pose a serious danger for approaching vessels, particularly in low visibility conditions.

That is why the companies and government agencies responsible for carrying out these operations owe a duty of care to make sure there are warnings or signs so boaters know to steer clear. The recent case of C.F. Bean v. Barhanovich involves a boater who was killed when the outboard engine of his fishing boat struck an underwater dredge pipe. The pipe flipped into his boat and fatally struck him. Continue reading →

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Attorneys’ fees are often a concern of personal injury plaintiffs, or anyone needing professional legal help. But when it comes to personal injury or wrongful death cases, almost always there is a contingency fee arrangement, which means the client pays nothing upparking bumperfront and the attorney is ultimately reimbursed a percentage of the damages awarded in a settlement or trial verdict. If the case is lost, the attorney isn’t paid.

There are some circumstances, however, in which attorneys’ fees might be paid by the opposing side. Per F.S. 768.79, plaintiffs who extend a settlement offer that is not accepted within 30 days may recover attorney’s fees if they prevail in trial and are awarded damages in excess of 25 percent of that settlement offer.

Plaintiff in Anderson v. Hilton Hotels Corp. was seriously injured when he was attacked by a gunman in a hotel parking lot. He later filed a lawsuit against the the hotel and three other defendants – including the management company, the investment firm and the security contractor – for premises liability/ negligent security for failing to keep the property safe for guests. The question in his case was whether settlement offers made to the separate entities should be aggregated before being compared to the final damages awarded. The Florida Supreme Court answered: No.  Continue reading →

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As Fort Myers personal injury attorneys, we handle many cases that involve third-person liability. Regardless of the type of incident – whether it’s a construction accident or a car accident or a slip-and-fall – there are four necessary elements one must prove in order to prevail. Those are:

  • Duty.
  • Breach.
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The boating death of the Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez shocked and devastated the team and the community. Now, a toxicology report reveals Fernandez, 24, had a blood-alcohol level that was almost twice the legal limit and he also had cocaine in his system. His two friends, also killed in the boating accident, had alcohol in their systems too, though they were under the legal limit. Authorities opined the three died of blunt force trauma to the torso and head after the boat slammed into a jetty around 3:30 a.m. boating

We still don’t know at this point who was actually operating the boat. However, we do know, based on the latest boating statistics released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that alcohol and/or drug use played a role in 1 out of every 5 boating fatalities in Florida last year. There were a total of 737 reportable boating accidents in 2015 (those that involved injuries or caused more than $2,000 in property damage). Florida has the most registered vessels in the nation – 916,000 – a figure that has been steadily growing with the economic recovery.

Although boating under the influence (BUI) is a crime by Florida law (F.S. 327.35), and penalties are somewhat similar to those for driving under the influence (DUI) (F.S. 316.193), there are some loopholes that lawmakers have been trying to close for sometime. As the Palm Beach Post recently reported, BUI enforcement and treatment under the law raises a number of complex questions.  Continue reading →

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People might assume that a vehicle legally owned by a multi-million dollar corporation is adequately insured. But when it comes to rental cars, they may find themselves disappointed. car crash

Approximately 1 in 4 drivers in Florida has no insurance, despite law that requires it. Florida’s vicarious liability laws consider motor vehicles to be a dangerous instrumentality, which means vehicle owners (if different from the driver) can be held responsible for injuries caused – even if the owner wasn’t directly negligent. It used to be that rental car companies were included. However, the 2005 passage of a federal law known as the Graves Amendment eliminated this avenue of financial recovery. The Graves Amendment, codified in 49 U.S.C. 30106, preempts and abolishes any state statute or common law precedent that held rental or leasing agencies vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their drivers – except when the owner was negligent or engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

When drivers rent a vehicle, he or she is given the option to purchase insurance through the rental car company. However, they aren’t required to do so and many don’t. Further, it’s not unheard of for rental car companies to rent vehicles to drivers with no insurance. But that effectively leaves the vehicle with no insurance in the event of a crash. So what’s the best way to protect yourself? Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. Yet even then, as the recent case of Martin v. Powers shows, injured plaintiffs may still find themselves in for a fight.  Continue reading →

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One would assume that proving someone caused a crash would be sufficient to establish liability to compel them to pay for it. As the case of Minnegren v. Nozar shows, though, that’s not always true.car on curve

The driver in this case admitted his error in judgment resulted in a crash that caused plaintiff’s injuries. Open-and-shut liability then, right? But the question became whether he breached his duty of care. The appeals court held that when there is evidence a driver used at least some care, there can be a finding that he may have acted reasonably – and therefore did not breach duty of care – even if his actions ultimately led to a car accident.

These kinds of legal gymnastics show you that there are some really good defense attorneys working in personal injury law – which means you can’t take your chances with a mediocre lawyer to represent your interests. At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our experienced traffic accident attorneys are committed to making sure our clients’ rights are protected and that they have the best possible chance at a successful claim for compensation. At the end of the day, those injured in a collision caused by another driver shouldn’t have to be responsible for burdening costs associated with recovery, lost wages or ongoing care.  Continue reading →

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation is still liable to pay $3 million for the deaths of three people on a state roadway where a traffic signal was promised but never installed. That was the ruling handed down recently by the North Carolina Supreme Court in Holt v. N.C. DOT.highway14

The state appealed the trial court verdict that found it was liable, despite the argument that fault rested solely with two drivers who were drag racing at speeds that topped nearly 90 mph. Justices ruled that fact didn’t negate the DOT’s responsibility to install this traffic light – one engineers knew was needed. Although state officials argued they could not anticipated every illegal action that might take place on a public road, the state high court justices found that speeding vehicles was a foreseeable possibility.

Victims in this case include a local professor and her 2-year-old daughter, who were on their way to church, and a 13-year-old boy who was returning from a nearby amusement park. According to appellate court records, the 13-year-old was riding in a vehicle with his 11-year-old friend, driven by a 20-year-old man. When the driver stopped for traffic at one intersection, he and decedent noticed two female friends in an adjacent vehicle. They began joking and gesturing at one another. When the light turned green, both drivers took off at a high rate of speed in the same direction, approaching the intersection where the professor was preparing to make a left turn. The two young drivers were engaging in a race in which speeds reached 86 mph.  Continue reading →

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Uninsured/ underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage is essential for all Florida motorists, as it provides the policyholder and other insureds with coverage in the event of collision with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance. cars

However, F.S. 627.727(7) allows insurers to avoid paying damages under UM/UIM policies for claims of pain, suffering, mental anguish or inconvenience unless the injury or disease involves:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability (beyond scarring or disfigurement);
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement;
  • Death.

This was the statute that felled the bad faith insurance claim made by plaintiff in Cadle v. GEICO, recently weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Continue reading →