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Self-driving cars, while not yet fully autonomous, provide motorists with the opportunity to cede some of the control behind the wheel. There is much evidence that this is a whole lot safer, as driver error is the primary cause of auto accidents in Florida. However, it has also meant the question of liability has become a vexing one. If a crash happens, who was in control – the driver or the auto manufacturer? car accident lawyer

Recently in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced it would not adopt a rule (recommended by General Motors) that would allow manufacturers of automobiles to evade liability for car accidents wherein the self-driving vehicle hasn’t been maintained to the letter of the manufacturer’s specifications. Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog calls the decision a “major victory for consumers,” according to the Associated Press. The rules, as proposed by the automaking industry, would have effectively absolved producers of these vehicles of product liability for things like the owner’s failure to properly clean the vehicle sensors or having a tire that was slightly under-inflated or not precisely meeting oil change recommendations.

Although it is true that vehicle owners have a responsibility to adequately maintain their vehicles (or face potential liability when failure to do so results in an injurious crash), these kinds of stringent maintenance requirements don’t exist for the standard human-driven vehicle.  Continue reading →

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An Illinois city recently agreed to a $4.75 million settlement to a woman in a sport utility vehicle who was struck by an on-duty city worker driving a garbage truck. It was reported the garbage truck driver was traveling eastbound, crossed over the double yellow lines on the road and side-swiped victim’s vehicle, which was traveling westbound. She spun and was struck by another vehicle.garbagetruck

The 33-year-old victim explained to The Chicago Tribune that her left leg was broken and she remains unable to move her left hand. Her attorneys explained in her personal injury lawsuit that she had suffered serious and permanent injuries that will not only cost her dearly for medical expenses, but also have rendered her unable to carry out certain functions of daily living, such as returning to her job as a home care worker and cashier.

Accidents involving garbage trucks are sometimes described in media reports as being “freak” occurrences. The reality is, they are more common than one might think. One study reported by the New York Daily News revealed that over a three-year stretch, garbage trucks killed an average of 24 pedestrians per 100 million miles driven. Compare that to taxis, which were involved in 6 fatal accidents per 100 million miles driven. Researchers cited potential design flaws in trucks that may make it difficult for garbage truck drivers to see.  Continue reading →

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Florida wrongful death lawsuits can be tricky matters when it comes to who has the right to sue. One can pursue a claim as a representative of decedent’s estate or they can pursue action as a survivor of decedent. Claims by survivors may result in higher damage awards, depending on the circumstances, because there are different types of damages one can assert. Those with a right to claim damages as a survivor generally include (in descending order) the decedent’s:

  • Spouse;
  • Children (particularly those under 25);
  • Parents;
  • Siblings or other blood/ adoptive relatives who were at least partially dependent on decedent for support or services.wrongful death attorney Fort Myers

Still, it is incumbent on those who have the right to pursue such a claim to do so in a timely manner. For example, a spouse may have statutory priority over a decedent’s parents in a wrongful death claim, but unless the spouse actually files the claim within the wrongful death statute of limitations (2 years in Florida), they may not be able to successfully challenge a prior claim, settlement or verdict.

Such was the case in a matter recently before the Tennessee Supreme Court. According to court records, the mother of an unmarried man who died in handcuffs while in the custody of a retail store was able to secure a wrongful death lawsuit settlement in 2010, claiming to be the sole heir of the decedent. However, 20 months after the case was dismissed in lieu of that settlement, a woman who reportedly gave birth to decedent’s child filed a motion to set that order aside and substitute her (as her child’s representative) as the real party in interest, allowing the claim to relate back to the original filing. Continue reading →

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Although the majority of car accident lawsuits in Florida are either settled or dismissed prior to trial, it’s important to work with an attorney you know will be prepared for the possibility of a trial. In the event that settlement negotiations break down and defendants are unwilling to extend a fair agreement to our clients, our Fort Myers trial lawyers are willing to do exactly that, and have a long history of success in such matters. It’s important that when you’re looking for a car accident attorney in Lee County that you ask about their trial experience, even if it seems unlikely the case will proceed to that point. This is especially important in cases involving serious injury or death. car accident attorney

Recently in Miami, a wrong-way crash victim was awarded $4.7 million by jurors in a car accident lawsuit that advanced to trial.

The Daily Business Review reports the head-on collision occurred in 2012 on Interstate 95. Although fault in a case like this may seem relatively easy to prove, this case was made even more challenging by the fact plaintiff was adamant about not testifying in front of the jury. In fact, she didn’t even want to enter the courtroom during the proceedings, citing the immense trauma she suffered after the crash. Just 20-years-old at the time of the crash, plaintiff had been a passenger in her friend’s vehicle when they were struck in Broward County around 3 a.m. by the wrong-way car. Continue reading →

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When you are injured at work, chances are good you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which will help you stay afloat financially by covering medical bills and at least a portion of lost wages. However, unlike a personal injury lawsuit, you won’t be entitled to collect damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish or loss of life enjoyment. The trade-off is you don’t have to prove your employer was negligent, only that the injury happened in the course and scope of employment. injury lawyer

That said, you may have grounds to seek those other kinds of damages if there was a third party involved who was negligent. Be warned, though, that if you have already collected workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries, you can’t collect any damages twice. So for instance, if your workers’ compensation insurer pays $50,000 in medical bills, you can’t collect that $50,000 from the third-party defendant. But this does not mean the third-party defendant doesn’t have to pay. Instead, it means the insurer that paid those bills can stake a claim (or a lien) to those damages you obtain as a result of a third-party claim.

Disputes regarding these liens can arise occasionally, and an experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Myers can help you navigate them. Continue reading →

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The Kentucky Supreme Court recently considered the personal injury lawsuit of a man who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident when he encountered a large, downed tree in the roadway.motorcycle accident attorney

Plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries and sought compensation from the county’s engineer and public works director, arguing these individuals owed a duty of care to maintain the roads in reasonably safe condition, and were negligent in failing to remove the tree or warn motorists about the danger. Defendants filed a motion for qualified official immunity in their individual capacities, which the trial court granted for the public works director, but not for the county engineer. An appellate court later affirmed this decision, citing the state statute that specifically states a county engineer is responsible to remove trees or other obstacles from public roads when the road debris is a hazard to traffic. (Defendant argued he wasn’t aware of the statute and it was the county’s public work’s maintenance department that was responsible for tree removal). With qualified immunity protection not available for defendant, the case went to trial and lasted eight days. Defendant testified he was never responsible for tree removal and his team didn’t have equipment to do so, as it had always been the job of the public works department.

After all evidence was presented, defendant sought a directed judgment, which was denied, but the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendant, concluding plaintiff hadn’t proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the engineer failed to comply with his statutory duty.  Continue reading →

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A Florida woman was seriously injured when a car came crashing into her Orange County home one recent Tuesday morning as she sat at her kitchen table. The 61-year-old driver reportedly failed to negotiate a curve as she approached the house. The homeowner was pinned until first responders arrived. She was transported to a hospital for treatment, and is expected to survive, The Orlando Sentinel reported. car in building

The driver, who suffered minor injuries, was ticketed for careless driving and told authorities she has no memory of what happened.

Although it can be tempting to write off such an incident as bizarre and isolated, the reality is many homes, business and even government buildings are vulnerable to this kind of assault. Continue reading →

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Several years ago, Florida lawmakers decided to enact a measure that would alter F.S. 90.702 (testimony by experts) and F.S. 90.704 (basis of opinion testimony by experts), forgoing the so-called “Frye standard” (so named for the 1923 case of Frye v. U.S.) and instead adopt the more stringent and widely-used “Daubert standard”(so named for the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc.). Then earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court in the per curiam ruling of In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, decided NOT to adopt the Daubert standard – even though the legislature had passed a law enacting it – for two reasons:

  • Concerns regarding the constitutionality of the amendment;
  • Procedural concerns with the law creating a section that isn’t part of the state’s evidence code.injury lawyer

So why does any of this matter when it comes to your personal injury lawsuit? The truth is, it may have a significant impact in the type of evidence you are allowed to present in your case. The federal courts and most other states now follow the Daubert standard, while Florida is one of the few states that still follows Frye.  Continue reading →

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Employers who encourage their workers to stay connected at all times should be mindful that if those times include while the employee is operating a vehicle, the employer could be deemed liable for the resulting injuries. This could come about in one of two ways:

  • Vicarious liability. Plaintiffs need not show the company was negligent, only that the driver who was negligent was acting in the course and scope of an employment at the time of the crash. An employee who is distracted by a work-related call could be found to have been acting in the course and scope of employment, even if he or she wasn’t technically on-the-clock.
  • Direct negligence. Companies that compel or expect workers to be available at all times – even knowing some of those times will be while the worker is driving – could be found directly negligent for a distracted-driving crash involving a worker. This is why an increasing number of companies are attempting to shield themselves from liability with anti- distracted driving policies.distracted driving

Despite knowing that distraction is one of the top causes of roadway accidents, many employers still fail to take this important initiative.

A recent poll conducted on behalf of Travelers insurance revealed that work-related pressures play a significant role in distracted driving. Continue reading →

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Unsanitary and dangerous living conditions cannot be allowed to persist in a nursing home full of vulnerable, elderly adults – particularly when the facility accepts government money to ensure proper care. Facilities need to be hygienic to lower the threat of illnesses, health codes must be followed in serving and preparing daily meals and the site needs to be regularly and adequately cleaned. nursing home abuse lawyer

Recently, a Fort Myers nursing home was shut down by the state for reportedly failing repeatedly to address unsanitary conditions for more than a year. The site has reportedly been inspected by the state 17 times over the course of 13 months, starting in October 2015. Time and again, The News-Press reports, the facility failed inspections when investigators with the Agency for Health Care Administration uncovered conditions that were either unsanitary or unsafe for residents. Facility owners were even advised of a return date of inspection, yet still failed to address the conditions that resulted in citation. A final order was issued last month, giving the facility 30 days to find new living arrangements for the residents.

As our Fort Myers nursing home negligence attorneys can explain, this is an extreme action by the state. It’s not that this facility didn’t deserve this action. What’s more startling is the number of opportunities the facility had to take corrective action. Meanwhile, there more than a 100 residents living with conditions that weren’t safe or clean. It’s actually quite rare for the state to take this level of corrective action.  Continue reading →