August 29, 2014

More Road Travel in Florida Expected This Labor Day

This Labor Day is expected to be the busiest on our nation's roadways in six years, with the recession easing and gas prices lowered. But, according to AAA projections, it's also likely to be one of the deadliest holidays in recent years as well.
As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers know, more vehicles on the road translates to a greater number of crashes.

It can be easy to downplay the risk as you head out to the boat or backyard barbeque. No one ever thinks it can happen to them. The National Safety Council indicates the odds are 1 in 88,000 you or someone you love will die in a crash between now and Tuesday. Those might seem like decent odds, but the consider too the chance is even higher you or someone you love might be seriously injured.

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August 28, 2014

Carman v. Tinkes - Traffic Law Violation Doesn't Automate Fault

In auto accident litigation, our Lehigh Acres injury lawyers know it can be helpful to the plaintiff's case if it can be shown the defendant driver was engaged in some violation of traffic law at the time of the crash.

However, as the recent case of Estate of Edmund M. Carman v. Tinkes, et al. reveals, it isn't the only factor that matters. A driver who violates a traffic law might be cited by police for that infraction, and that fact could be used in the civil case to reveal a pattern of poor habits behind the wheel. However, that fact alone won't establish liability. What has to be shown is that the traffic violation was a contributing cause of the crash.

Another important factor is that of comparative negligence. That is, to what degree was the plaintiff responsible for causing the accident? Florida follows the pure comparative negligence standard, which liberally favors plaintiffs by holding that no plaintiff is barred from recovery of damages just because he or she shared a portion of the blame for what happened. However, the amount of damages collected may be reduced, depending on one's degree of fault.

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August 26, 2014

Gregory v. Cott - Alzheimer Patient Aggression and Injuries

Caregivers of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are familiar with the fact that, at times, feelings of frustration and confusion may cause the sufferer to lash out in physical aggression.
Now, according to the recent California Supreme Court decision in Gregory v. Cott, health workers providing care to these individuals are presumed to have assumed the risk of potential injury when they agree to work closely with these patients. That means the exclusive remedy for aides, nurses and doctors who suffer physical injury at the hands of an Alzheimer patient is likely workers' compensation.

However, our Fort Myers nursing home abuse lawyers know that when it comes to other residents in a long-term care facility, there is an expectation the facility will protect patients from the aggression of staff or other patients. Additionally, while the state supreme court decision may be looked to for precedent by Florida judges weighing similar issues, it does not hold sway here. There is also an understanding that facilities will have properly-trained staffers to handle incidents of aggression among dementia patients, so that outbursts do not escalate and cause the resident to be placed at risk of injury. Failure to do so is a form of nursing home negligence.

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August 18, 2014

Fatal Fort Myers Hit-and-Run Leads to Arrest

Fort Myers police report a 23-year-old pedestrian was killed after being struck by a hit-and-run driver outside a local club. The 21-year-old driver was caught soon after the crash by police after a witness followed him home and contacted authorities.
Our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers know that under a new law that went into effect last month, drivers will face harsher penalties for leaving the scene of a motor-vehicle collision involving injury or death.

Before the law was passed, a legal loophole essentially created an incentive for drunk drivers to flee the scene. That's because the penalties for hit-and-run were less than what one could expect to receive for a conviction on a charge of DUI manslaughter. So if a hit-and-run driver could avoid capture until his blood-alcohol level dissipated, the state would be deprived of critical evidence to prove the driver was drunk at the time of the crash.

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August 16, 2014

Florida Courts Deny Automatic Forfeiture of Coverage for Medical Exam Refusal

Anytime an insurance claim is made for injuries relating to a motor vehicle crash, you can bet the insurer is going to question both the nature and extend of any injuries. The primary way this is done is through compulsory medical exam.

This is sometimes referred to by the insurer as an "independent" medical exam, but our Cape Coral car accident lawyers refuse to use this term, as there is nothing "independent" about these visits. The doctors are paid for by the insurer, with the primary goal of discrediting your assertions about the seriousness of your condition.

In the past, auto insurers commonly used a policy provision to automatically deny coverage to a claimant who refused to submit to a compulsory medical exam after seeking underinsured/uninsured motorist benefits. A Florida Supreme Court ruling in March - State Farm v. Curran - rejected this practice. While the insurer had argued refusal to submit to an exam amounted to a breach of contract by the insured, the court found it to be a post-loss obligation, not a precursor to coverage.

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August 12, 2014

Otero v. Gomez - Florida Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Remanded

Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeal recently reversed an earlier judgment by a trial court that prevented a bicycle accident victim from proceeding with his case against a property owner.
In Otero v. Gomez, the appellate court found the trial court had improperly used an untimely-filed motion in limine to effectively serve as a summary judgment in favor of the defendant. This procedural flaw will allow the plaintiff another chance to bring his case.

Cape Coral bicycle accident lawyers recognize this case as an example of how those injured in traffic crashes may have more options with regard to litigation than simply pursuing the driver and his insurer.

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August 10, 2014

Bergmann v. FDOT - Operation-Level Negligence Trumps Sovereign Immunity

Generally speaking, the government and its employees are shielded from lawsuits asserting negligence resulting in injury based on the legal principle of sovereign immunity. Government entities entitled to this protection encompass a wide range of fields, from police departments to hospitals to school districts to transportation departments.

However, our Sarasota injury lawyers know that successful lawsuits against the government and its workers are won all the time. That's because this immunity is waived in certain circumstances, primarily when the plaintiff can show the worker acted recklessly, outside the scope of his or her employment or when the negligence involved an operational failure, rather than a planning failure.

Clearing these hurdles requires careful legal analysis on the part of your attorney, and hiring a lawyer with experience will be critical to your case.

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August 8, 2014

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death: Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co.

Wrongful death litigation in Florida can arise from virtually any death resulting from negligence, including traffic crashes, work accidents, medical malpractice and other incidents that result in fatality. Similarly, it can involve almost any type of family.

The fact that the makeup of the "average" American family has evolved significantly in recent years has meant courts are grappling with the issue of who has the right to claim damages for the wrongful death of a loved one. Complications are especially prevalent in cases of blended families, cohabitant couples who never married, gay couples, divorced parties and children of prior marriages still reliant on the decedent for support, and children born out of wedlock.

Our Fort Myers wrongful death lawyers know that Florida has outlined very specific guidelines under its Wrongful Death Act, specifying who can collect damages, the amount to which they are entitled under the circumstances and how those claims must be pursued. Still, because of familial complexities, courts have been known to make exceptions in the interest of fairness and to meet the standards of legislative intent.

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August 6, 2014

Glaittli v. State - Boating Accident Injury Plaintiff May Pursue Case

Florida boaters enjoy some 8,400 miles of external and internal coastline along the ocean, including the gulf and various lakes and rivers.
While injuries caused by the negligence of boat operators is almost certainly worthy of compensation, those that arise out of the "natural condition" of the landscape generally are not. Additionally, local and state governments are generally protected under sovereign immunity laws.

However, as a recent case out of Utah illustrates, this protection is not absolute. Further, our Naples boat accident lawyers understand the definition of "natural condition" may not be narrowly interpreted by all courts.

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August 4, 2014

Preventing Child Injury Goal of NHTSA Awareness Campaign

Memories of summer in childhood should be recalled with fondness - splashing by the pool, road trip vacations and long, lazy afternoons.
However, parents and caregivers must take note: Summer is also a time when hazards abound. Our Fort Myers child injury lawyers have seen cases here in Southwest Florida in which children have suffered from heatstroke. Tragedy on the roadways has occurred when children weren't properly belted into a car seat or they encountered fatigued or drunken drivers. While on bicycles, children have serious suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle. Children left unsupervised by the pool have drowned, and others injured by fireworks or defective products.

While it's true that injuries to children can occur at any point in the year, summer carries its own unique challenges, and it's important for parents to become educated. That's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a campaign to encourage awareness of potential injuries children may suffer in summer.

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August 2, 2014

Insurance Coverage Disputed in Florida Drowning Case

Many community associations in South Florida attract owners and renters with the use of a shared pool. However, those who pursue litigation against homeowners in these communities due to injuries or deaths arising from pool use could find it difficult to collect compensation from the association's insurer unless a strong case is presented indicating individual ownership interest, per a recent Florida appellate court ruling.
This does not mean the wronged parties aren't entitled to damages. Consulting with an experienced swimming pool accident lawyer will be critical to protecting your rights.

In the recent case of Southern Owners Insurance Co. v. Cooperativa De Seguros Multiples, etc., et al., Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed an earlier judgment holding an insurer responsible to extend coverage in a wrongful death lawsuit against an individual community association homeowner.

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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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