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“Steer clear of the state of Florida,” the lead sentence of a recent Forbes.com article reads. The reason? Our traffic safety is atrocious, particularly on South Florida highways. Of those that had the most car accident fatalities in the last decade:

  • Florida U.S. 1 – 1,079 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 41 – 772 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 27 – 614 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 441 – 442 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 17 – 420 deaths
  • Florida U.S. 98 – 465 deathshighway

Six of the top 10 deadliest highways in America are right here in the Sunshine State. The Forbes writer referred to these as “death tollways.” The numbers were based on a recent analysis of federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by a company called GeoTab.  Continue reading →

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In a ruling that will have a major impact on all Florida personal injury lawsuits, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected a more stringent standard of evidence known as the Daubert Standard, in favor of the less restrictive Frye Standard that it followed for years.

Florida legislators in 2013 voted to alter the Florida Evidence Code to a switch from Frye to Daubert, and Gov. Rick Scott signed that measure into law, with favor from the defense bar and big business clients. However, the courts never formally followed suit, and it seems with this ruling, they don’t intend to do so. The court cited constitutional concerns.

We recognize legal discussions on evidence standards can sound like dry jargon. But here’s tinjury lawyerhe reality: It’s likely to have a direct impact on your Fort Myers injury lawsuit. The reason is that the Daubert requires a higher standard of proof just to get a foot in the door. That can mean your case could be killed before it ever even gets started, which plaintiff attorneys like us view as an issue of access to the courts. Specifically, Daubert involves the admissibility of expert witness testimony. That’s not to say “Frye” is a free-for-all, by any means. However, it does give you a better chance of getting your valid case in front of a judge and reaching a favorable solution.  Continue reading →

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A recent playground injury involving a child reached a state supreme court, which was tasked with considering whether sovereign immunity laws protected defendant school district from liability for allegedly defective equipment. playground

Sovereign immunity is a legal principle handed down by the English that held the “sovereign” or government could not be held liable for tort actions. The theory is that the government needs to be able to carry out basic function and policies without fear of liability. But this is not absolute. In Florida, there are exceptions under F.S. 768.28, the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity.

Sovereign immunity laws vary from state-to-state. The case in question was weighed by the Colorado Supreme Court, which decided a piece of playground equipment that was not negligently constructed or maintained can’t be considered a “dangerous condition” for purposes of the sovereign immunity exception.  Continue reading →

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The Kentucky Supreme Court recently considered whether a state government has a responsibility to enforce vehicle weight restrictions on portions of its highway. The question arose in a case that resulted in the death of a school bus driver whose bus collided with a tractor-trailer on a narrow non-designated portion of the highway.trucking

The most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals the number large truck and buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent between 2014 and 2015. The 4,311 large vehicles involved in collisions in that latter year represents a 20 percent increase since 2009. During that same time frame (2009 to 2015), the number of injury crashes involving large trucks and buses spiked by 62 percent.

Of the approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2015, there were nearly 3,600 (or 1 percent) that proved fatal and another 83,000 (or 20 percent) that resulted in injury. About 60 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happened on rural roads (like the one that is the center of the Kentucky case) and 25 percent occurred on interstate highways.  Continue reading →

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A crash on I-75 that led to catastrophic injuries for one North Fort Myers woman has now led to a careless driving citation for a St. Petersburg man.car accident

According to The News-Press, the 30-year-old victim, a mother and foster parent, stopped on the side of the highway to help another motorist who had lost control in a rainstorm and struck a guardrail. She let the stranded motorist sit in her vehicle as she went to retrieve a blanket from her trunk. It was then that another driver swerved and struck her, pinning her against a vehicle and the guardrail, ultimately requiring her to undergo a leg amputation.

The citation of the driver does not necessarily have a direct impact on any future claim for damages, as the criminal and civil litigation will be separate procedures. However, it could potentially be used by plaintiff attorneys as evidence of driver negligence. Continue reading →

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Anyone who lives in Fort Myers knows U.S. 41 is a nightmare for motorists. Lanes are narrow. Traffic volumes are atrocious, especially at rush hour. There are few crosswalks and drivers routinely speed or tap away at their phones as they weave in-and-out of traffic. Worse, there is very little alternative, as the thoroughfare, also known as Tamiami Trail, is one of the main in the Southwest Florida. Car accidents occur with regularity.car accident

Perhaps it should surprise none of us, then, that it is ranked as the No. 2 most dangerous road in the country. Further, most Floridians would probably not be shocked to learn that four of the top five most dangerous roads are in Florida, as reported by NBC-2, which detailed the findings of a new study by Geotab. Six of the top 10 most dangerous highways are in Florida.

While car accident rates have spiked everywhere in these last two years, with increasing driver distractions and lower gas prices, Florida has been acutely affected.

Continue reading →

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Proximate cause is a legal concept that limits liability along the chain of causation. In order to establish that one person’s negligence is the proximate cause of another, a plaintiff must show there was:motorcycle

  • Defendant’s negligent act was the cause-in-fact (i.e., a reasonable certainty defendant’s actions caused the injury and injury would not have occurred but for defendant’s conduct);
  • Defendant’s negligent act was the legal cause of injury (i.e., The injury was foreseeable/ of a type that a reasonable person would see as the likely result of his or her conduct).

Questions regarding proximate cause come up a lot anytime there are chain reaction collisions. However, the farther apart in space and time the crashes occur, and the more that happens in the meantime (i.e., superseding causes), the lesser the chance that an act of negligence will be deemed the proximate cause of another’s injury. This is what was seen in a recent case out of South Dakota involving a motorcycle accident wherein two bikers crashed on the same road, near the same curve, but a 40-minute time span apart. The two motorcyclists never collided with each other. Still, the second motorcyclist (plaintiff) alleged the negligence of the first (defendant) created a dangerous condition that was the proximate cause of his crash. Continue reading →

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Summer is on the horizon, which means many families will have more free time to explore the outdoors, taking advantage of Florida’s many parks, campgrounds and beaches. camping

However, there is something important visitors – including locals and tourists – need to understand about the risk they are assuming when venturing onto these sites for recreation. Florida’s recreational use statute, F.S. 375.251, limits liability of property owners who make public certain areas for recreational use without charging them. The purpose is to encourage those who own land, water and park areas to make those sites available to the public for outdoor recreation by limiting the owners’ liability for persons injured on those sites.

Essentially, visitors to these sites can’t make the presumption that any of these recreational areas are safe for any purpose. The property owner doesn’t owe a duty of care to the people who go to that area, and he or she won’t be liable or responsible for any injuries to people who visit the site. The only real exception to this is liability for deliberate, willful or malicious injury to persons on the property – and that is a difficult assertion to make.  Continue reading →

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Florida is second only to Louisiana when it comes to the worst states for distracted driving. That’s according to a new study conducted by an online insurance company that used an app called EverDrive to measure behaviors like speeding, aggressive turning, sudden acceleration, hard braking and other dangerous movements while the motorist’s phone was being used behind the wheel. Study authors made sure to exclude measurements of movements that occurred in the car when the phone was in sleep mode or when it was used in hands-free mode (which we know still is not as safe as you might think). iphone

The analysis proved that more than 90 percent of drivers across the country with cell phones have used them while in a moving car at some point in the previous month.

When it came to state rankings, Florida was placed at No. 2. This was based on data from 2.7 million trips and 230 million miles driven, according to the company.  Continue reading →

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Proponents of tort reform are pressing forward with a series of bills that, if passed, would make it increasingly difficult to file an injury lawsuit, to pursue class action litigation or to obtain just compensation. gavel

The term “tort reform” is a tidy way of explaining efforts that make it harder for those who have suffered serious injury due to someone else’s negligence to seek and obtain justice. It’s wrapped in a pro-business agenda, and is predicated on the notion that plaintiff attorneys are greedy and frivolous claims are rampant and plaintiffs unfairly are awarded millions – even when it was largely their own fault for being hurt. This characterization overlooks the reality of our civil justice system and the fact that it can already be an uphill climb for many injury plaintiffs. Yet it’s been very successful. Look no further than the so-called “McDonald’s coffee case,” wherein an elderly woman was awarded $1 million (or two days’ coffee sales) after she was so severely burned by the company’s hot coffee that she nearly died. The fast-food restaurant was selling coffee far in excess of what would be considered safe temperatures and thousands of people had suffered burns in the year prior. Yet tort reform proponents managed to successfully rewrite the script for the American public, who now generally look back on that case as a class “frivolous lawsuit.”

Now, with politicians friendly to tort reform now controlling both houses of Congress and a president considered pro-business, tort reform supporters are pressing forward with their agenda.  Continue reading →