July 28, 2014

NHTSA Warns Against "False Security" of Novelty Motorcycle Helmets

The law requiring helmet use by motorcyclists in Florida was repealed 14 years ago this month, and since then, the number of riders donning a helmet has been halved -- to roughly 50 percent, according to the Sun Sentinel.

What's especially concerning to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that of those who do wear helmets, some may be using helmets that offer little to no protection in the event of a crash. The sales of so-called "novelty helmets" is booming, according to research by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. These helmets may offer a false sense of security to riders, who assume "something is better than nothing."

Our Cape Coral motorcycle accident attorneys understand there is ample evidence to show this isn't true. Some novelty helmet manufacturers have in the past been caught falsely claiming their products are certified by the Department of Transportation, indicating they met minimum federal safety standards, when in fact they did not.

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July 27, 2014

"Multiple Occurrences" in Insurance Law

In cases where multiple injury victims seek compensation from at-fault party insurers, an issue that often arises is whether the injuries stemmed from one occurrence or multiple occurrences.

Punta Gorda injury lawyers know this is often a key point that can significantly impact the overall amount of damages awarded to each plaintiff. That's because insurers often cap the damage award based on a per-person or per-incident calculation. If an injured party can show there were multiple incidents, giving rise to separate claims, each injured party is likelier to receive a higher sum.

This comes into play a lot in cases in multi-vehicle crashes. While insurers will tend to argue each injury stemmed from a single crash, plaintiffs will seek to show that each collision was separate in its own right, even if factors stemming from other crashes may have played a role in causation.

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July 26, 2014

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Crash Case Dismissal, Florida Courts Might Have Different Outcome

The lawsuit brought by the widow of a fatally injured motorcyclist was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on the grounds that she failed to establish the defendant's owed a duty to her husband.

Had the case been in Florida, our Fort Myers motorcycle crash attorneys know the outcome may have been different. That's because Nebraska, where this crash occurred, does not recognize the theory of foreseeability in determining duty of care. Florida does.

The doctrine of foreseeability weighs whether the person or entity alleged to have caused injury should have reasonably foreseen the consequences that would result from the conduct in question. In the case of Packard v. Falls City Area Jaycees, there may have been enough evidence to support the notion that the defendants could have reasonably foreseen harm and failed to act to prevent it.

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July 19, 2014

Exposito v. University of Miami School of Medicine - Medical Malpractice Case May be Amended

Florida's Third District Court of Appeals, allowing for a more liberal reading of medical malpractice laws in the state, has granted a mother's petition to amend her complaint against three doctors she alleged contributed to her daughter's profound injuries at birth.
Our Cape Coral child injury attorneys understand the justices reviewing the case of Exposito v. University of Miami School of Medicine determined the statute of limitations can be tolled in instances where the plaintiff was unaware injuries may have been the result of medical malpractice.

Here, the plaintiff asserted she didn't know medical malpractice may have played a role in her daughter's birth injuries, which includes cerebral palsy, seizures, cortical blindness, encephalopathy and spastic quadriplegia. The girl's twin had been born healthy, and the mother said it wasn't until much later that wrongdoing by the doctors could have caused her daughter's injuries.

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July 17, 2014

FL 3rd DCA Rules No Vicarious Liability in Tribe Case

Fort Myers car accident attorneys recognize that in crash cases, there are numerous situations in which a third party can be held responsible for the at-fault driver's actions.

Per the doctrine of vicarious liability, there are instances wherein the owner of the vehicle could bear some of the burden. So too might the driver's employer, if he or she was working or driving a company vehicle at the time of the crash. Additionally, the parent of a minor behind the wheel or anybody who served alcohol to the driver just before the crash could face liability.

While the courts in Florida have allowed a broad application of this theory, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal recently narrowed scope in the case of Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of South Florida, etc. v. Bermudez. Even while sympathizing with the plaintiff and chastising the defendant American Indian tribe for refusing to pay the settlement agreement in lieu of continuing to defend a drunk driver, the court ruled there was still no legal basis to force the tribe to comply.

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July 15, 2014

Winter v. State Farm - Insurance Firms Must Write Clear Policies

Case law in Florida has well-established that insurance companies must write policies that are clear and without ambiguity. Any dual interpretations or omissions are to be considered in a light most favorable to the insured.
Cape Coral car accident lawyers note this principle was highlighted most recently in Florida in the case of Spaid v. Integon Indemnity Corp., wherein the First District Court of Appeals held a discrepancy in the policy with regard to medical coverage fell in favor of the plaintiff.

While court opinions have varied somewhat from state-to-state in this regard, many courts have reached similar conclusions, strengthening the basis for future claims. One of the more recent cases is that of Winter v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, weighed by the Montana Supreme Court.

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July 14, 2014

Cannizzaro v. Marinyak - Dram Shop Liability is Limited

Florida, like a host of other states, has given the option to drunk driving victims in certain cases to pursue civil litigation against individuals or establishments that illegally served alcohol to the driver who caused their injuries.

Lehigh Acres drunk driving accident attorneys recognize that this presents the chance to seek compensation from bars, restaurants, liquor stores and even parents and social hosts - and their insurers - in addition to the person who was driving drunk. It's an important provision that may go a long way in bolstering the amount of recoverable damages. It also serves the important function of deterring individuals from serving alcohol to minors or those known to be habitually addicted.

However, these statutes are not without limitation, so it's imperative that drunk driving accident victims consult with an experienced attorney before deciding how best to proceed.

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July 13, 2014

Alcohol Cited in Fatal Florida Boating Accident on Holiday

The impact of a horrific, three-boat crash following a firework display over the Biscayne Bay to celebrate the Fourth of July left four people dead and three suffering critical injuries. A total of eight were transported to the hospital.
Investigators, while still working to piece together the exact details of the chaotic scene, have announced they believe alcohol was a possible contributing cause to the crash.

Our Fort Myers Beach boating accident lawyers understand Florida was the No. 1 state for boating fatalities in 2013, continuing a trend that has been noted over the last decade - second only to California, which has twice the population of Florida.

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July 7, 2014

Coomer v. Kansas City Royals - Inherent Risks Assumed by Sports Fans

Millions of Americans attend sporting events every year. Research has indicated the number of injuries sustained by these patrons is far higher than one might expect, ranging from being struck by a foul baseball to being bruised by a rouge hockey puck.
Fort Myers personal injury lawyers know that many of these injuries are considered "inherent risks" that sports fans assume when they attend a game. That means, unfortunately, sports teams often aren't held accountable for resultant injuries. Most teams even have a "disclaimer of inherent risk" printed on the back of the ticket.

However, the general rule isn't absolute. The key is establishing that the facility or employees somehow deviated from established custom. This is why despite the inherent risk clause, many teams have increased their protective glass and netting surrounding areas where such injuries are most likely to occur.

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July 6, 2014

Randall v. Walt Disney World Corp. - Loss of Consortium Claim Survives Death of Spouse

A ruling by Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal holds that a claim for loss of consortium, brought by a spouse in unison with a personal injury action, can continue even after the death of that spouse, without having to be refiled as a separate claim.
Fort Myers personal injury lawyers understand there are some conflicting rulings in this regard, but the Fifth District, in its consideration of Randall v. Walt Disney World Corp., cites precedent set by the Florida Supreme Court in 2013.

This ruling is important because it sets the tone for how other loss of consortium claims should proceed in the event the original plaintiff/spouse dies before the case winds its way to the trial phase. However, it is still in conflict with precedent set by Florida's Third District Court of Appeal.

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July 2, 2014

Rejection of UIM Coverage Must Be in Writing - Whelan v. State Farm

With the economic recovery still tepid in Florida, many people are forgoing full auto insurance coverage - or sometimes giving it up altogether -because they can no longer afford it.
Of course, many of these individuals still drive, as do those who aren't eligible for auto insurance because they lack a valid driver's license.

Cape Coral car accident lawyers know that in Florida, it's illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle without insurance coverage. The fact that so many drivers do it anyway substantially increases the risk that someone who is covered will be involved in a crash with someone who isn't.

This is where uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits can make all the difference.

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July 1, 2014

Preventing Injury this Fourth of July

Bruce L. Scheiner, PA Wishes You a Safe and Happy Fourth of July

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers urge everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.

Fourth of July is the time for backyard barbecues and hanging out with friends and family. It’s a fireworks1.jpg
time to celebrate our nation’s birthday, and the way we celebrate is with fireworks. Most people will go to a professional fireworks demonstration. This is by far the safest option. Others, however, purchase their own fireworks. Unfortunately, the use of fireworks by someone other than a trained professional can result in serious injury.

If you are going to put on your fireworks display, you should check local laws and follow some basic safety precautions. Regarding the law, according to the Collier County Sherriff’s Office, any fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in the state of Florida. This means that only handheld or ground sparklers are legal to use in Florida. This law is in effect every day of the year, including the Fourth of July. Anything that shoots into the air or explodes is illegal. It is because of this law that many people will drive to a neighboring state to purchase fireworks that are not legal in Florida. Do Not Do This. In addition to the enhanced safety issues involving more dangerous fireworks, you can be subject to serious criminal statutes pertaining to the transport of explosives across state lines.

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