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Recently, a 40-year-old Florida woman was arrested on charges of child neglect and drug possession after she was found passed out at the wheel of her vehicle, parked in a gas station with her 4-year-old son in the back seat. According to News4Jax, police were called by a passerby who discovered she needed medical attention. After she was revived, she allegedly conceded to officers that she’d been using heroin in front of her son and that she’d momentarily blacked out. heroin

The boy was turned over to the custody of his father, the woman’s husband, who told police that while he suspected his wife had a problem, he didn’t realize it had gotten this bad. Thankfully, the vehicle wasn’t moving at the time of the incident and the boy was not injured, and neither was anyone else. But there is plenty of evidence that an increasing number of drivers are behind the wheel under the influence of drugs – which puts all of us at high risk of collisions resulting in injury and even death.

Federal data reveals every two hours, someone in South Florida suffers a heroin overdose. Perhaps this isn’t entirely shocking, given that southern Florida has always been at the forefront of drug abuse epidemics. There was cocaine and then crack cocaine in the 1980s. Then there was oxycodone and other painkillers, which turned this region into the “pill mill capital” of the country. Then we started seeing a rush of synthetic drugs – aka “bath salts” – over the last few years. Now, we have become a hot spot for abuse of heroin and synthetic opioids, carfentanil and fentanyl.  Continue reading →

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Car accidents are increasingly common in the U.S. A new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that unfortunately, children are not immune to the risks. child

As you may know, motor vehicle crashes are on of the main killers of children under 14, who comprise about 19 percent of the total population. Of the more than 35,000 people killed in traffic crashes in 2015, 3 percent were children. What’s especially troubling is that there were 1,132 children reportedly killed in car accidents in 2015, and this marked a 5 percent increase from the 1,073 who lost their lives in 2014.

What this means is that every day, three innocent children were killed in crashes. Another 487 were injured, amounting to 178,000 for the year. Of those fatal crashes in which we know the status of child restraint use (775 cases), 39 percent weren’t wearing a seat belt or properly strapped in to a car seat. We also can’t overlook the fact that children made up 4 percent of all pedestrian accident fatalities (223 out of 5,376) and five percent of all bicycle accident deaths (44 out of 818). Additionally, 16 percent of child crash victims died in alcohol-related crashes.  Continue reading →

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An injury lawsuit has been resolved with an $18.5 million settlement on behalf of a man who suffered critical injuries in a motorcycle accident two years ago. motorcycle

The claim was filed against both the state’s department of transportation, as well as a construction contractor whose employee made an illegal U-turn without warning on a highway on-ramp, straight into the motorcyclist’s path.

Although claims against the government and government contractors are often wrought with complications and technicalities, this case shows they are often worth pursuing. Such matters should only be handled by experienced attorneys from well-resourced law firms that can capably prepare for a trial, if necessary.  Continue reading →

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Every year, tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts come roaring into Florida or travel from various corners of the state to attend the two biggest annual motorcycle events on the East Coast: Bike Week and Biketoberfest, both held in Daytona Beach. The former is held every spring and the latter every fall. These yearly events draw huge crowds and are great for local and state economies. motorcycle

However, motorcycle accidents also spike during that time. Officials have estimated nearly 500 people have died in motorcycle accidents in Flagler and Volusia counties between 2005 and 2015, with more than one-third of those crashes involving one of the areas two big biking events. That’s according to an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted by the Daytona News-Journal. Those incidents have included:

  • Motorcyclists crashing into utility poles at 45 mph.
  • Motorcyclists drifting into oncoming traffic on S.R. 40.
  • Motorcyclists losing control and being thrown from their rides.

Just at the most recent Bike Week, one man died and three were injured in a Saturday crash when two motorcycles collided. The following day, a female rider was killed in another crash.

Still, there may be a silver lining in the analysis. That is that motorcycle deaths at these two massive events appear to have been at a historic low in 2015 (the last year for which final numbers are available).  Continue reading →

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The number of bicycle accident deaths is on the rise. Florida not only had the highest number of such fatalities, it reported the second-highest rate of deaths, when factoring in both population and percentage of total traffic deaths. bicyclists

This troubling news means once again, Florida is the most dangerous place for bicyclists in the country. It’s an issue about which our leaders – and drivers – must take more proactive measures if we hope to change course.

The report, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reveals there were 818 bicyclists killed in the U.S. in 2015 (the latest year for which final statistics are available). This accounted for 2.3 percent of the total number of traffic deaths that year and marked a stunning 12.2 percent hike as compared to the final death toll tallied in 2014, when 729 bicyclists lost their lives. Continue reading →

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Florida’s dog bite injury statute, F.S. 767.04, indicates that people who own dogs or are responsible for controlling them may be liable if that person bites a dog – regardless of whether the dog had previously shown a propensity to bite or be vicious. pitbull

However, every state has a different approach to liability. Others don’t afford the same protections as as our state.

For example in Georgia, the law requires a finding that the owner/ controller of the dog knew or should have known it was dangerous or had a propensity to be vicious. In a recent case before the Georgia Supreme Court, justices were asked to consider whether this alleged knowledge of the dog’s viciousness was a matter of law for a judge to decide or a matter of fact for a jury. Justices sided with the latter interpretation, reversing the appellate court and remanding the injury case for a trial by jury.  Continue reading →

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Last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a rule that prohibits nursing homes from requiring patients to sign mandatory arbitration agreements prior to disputes. However, CMS hit the brakes on enforcement of that rule in a largely-overlooked memo in December, indicating it would not do so until a court-ordered injunction is lifted. That occurred in November, when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi granted the request of trade group American Health Care Association’s to halt the rule.old woman wheelchair

The other big question mark here is how the Trump Administration is going to handle this issue, which involves stripping nursing home residents of the legal remedy of pursuing a trial in court. Instead, arbitration agreements require disputes – even those pertaining to serious personal injury and death –  be handled by an arbitrator of the nursing home’s choosing.

In the meantime, courts across the country have come to varying conclusions about the issue. In September, the Florida Supreme Court rejected mandatory arbitration in a nursing home abuse case. While the 3rd District Court of Appeal had sided with the nursing home in ruling the case should go to an arbitrator, the state supreme court ruled 5-2 that a decedent father should not be bound by an arbitration agreement signed without his consent by his son – who helped with his father’s admission to the nursing home.  Continue reading →

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A recent analysis by The Tampa Bay Times, looking at figures from the Florida Highway Patrol, reveals hit-and-run crashes in Florida are on the rise. road

This creates a troubling situation not just for law enforcement companies, but for victims who are injured by someone else’s negligence with no one to hold accountable. Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers know there are sometimes a few different avenues to pursue in these cases, but it does often make the process more difficult.

Last year, there were more than 99,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida, representing a 26 percent uptick since 2013, when there were about 78,660. Some of these were simple fender-benders, while others were major collisions, resulting in serious personal injury and death. In fact, 179 people did lose their lives in these crashes.  Continue reading →

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The City of San Diego has agreed to pay almost $5 million to a man injured in a bicycle accident that resulted in severe injuries when his bike was thrown nearly 30 feet after striking a sidewalk that was damaged by a tree. sidewalkcrack

The bike accident occurred three years ago, and resulted in the cyclist suffering torn spinal cord ligaments, numerous lost teeth and a possible stroke after he landed on his head.

Plaintiff filed his personal injury lawsuit in 2015. The settlement agreement is for a much higher sum than what the city normally pays for bicycle injury lawsuits or injuries resulting from damaged sidewalks. Three recent settlements in the past ranged for between $75,000 and $235,000. However, the settlement agreement is still lower than the $7.6 million that was awarded to another cyclist at trial five years ago, after a man was paralyzed when a queen palm tree fell on him during a 2010 storm. Plaintiff in that matter argued the city was negligent because it responded to the Great Recession by, in part, slashing funds for the tree maintenance and inspection program. Continue reading →

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Large truck accidents in Florida are on the rise, mirroring a national trend. The impact is out-sized here, though, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the Sunshine State has one of the highest number of truck crashes in the country.trucking

The latest report from the federal agency covers 2015 data. What researchers found was that 4,067 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks that year, marking a 4 percent increase from 2014. Additionally, there were 116,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, which was also an uptick of 4 percent.

The vast majority of those killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles. That didn’t include the number of pedestrians and bicyclists struck.  Continue reading →