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Florida boating accidentFlorida is a boater’s paradise, but its waters have also placed plenty in peril. According to the newest statistics released by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Sunshine State continues to lead the nation both for the most registered vessels and the highest number of reportable boating accidents. In 2020, officials counted a total of 836 Florida boating accident cases, causing 79 deaths (including 5 missing persons presumed dead) and 534 injuries.

These figures represent a surge of boating accidents and deaths at a time when an increasing number of people are taking to the water.

As our Key West boat accident attorneys can explain, lack of boater education is cited as a common thread in many of these cases. About 70 percent of boaters involved in deadly incidents had no boating education. Inattention/failure to maintain proper lookout is also a top cause. Alcohol and/or drug use was cited as a causal factor in about a quarter of all boating deaths. Continue reading

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Florida nursing home injuryPlaintiffs in a Florida nursing home injury lawsuit were awarded $2.5 million against a memory care center found to have been negligent in its care of an elderly patient.

As Naples nursing home injury lawyers, we expect unfortunately to see cases like these increase as the demand for elder care rises and the nursing shortage (exacerbated by COVID) continues.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are approximately 72,000 people living in Florida nursing homes. That figure is expected to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages into their 60s and beyond. Consider also the fact that the majority of nursing care facilities are now operated on a for-profit basis, meaning their priority is their bottom line. For-profit facilities tend to have lower rates of staffing and higher injury rates. Continue reading

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Fort Myers wet floor signWet walking surfaces are a top cause of slip-and-fall injuries in Florida. But are businesses required to post a “wet floor” sign to warn you?

A wet floor sign may indeed play a big role in the strength of your case, but the simple answer to the question about whether Florida has a “wet floor sign law” is no.

As a Fort Myers slip-and-fall injury attorney, I have successfully handled many of these premises liability claims. It is important to understand that these cases are often more complicated than they may initially appear. The outcome will depend heavily on the factual circumstances. The presence (or lack thereof) of a wet floor sign is just one of those. Continue reading

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Florida jury dutyJurors perform an essential role in the system of American justice, with jury service considered an integral duty of citizenship. Yet every year, about 3/4 of those summoned for Florida jury duty don’t show up, according to The Sun-Sentinel.

In fairness, some of those who skip out are legitimately exempt. What many fail to realize is that skipping out on jury duty is against the law and carries a penalty.

So what happens if you miss jury duty? As our Fort Myers civil trial lawyers can explain, there are two different answers to this: The possibility and the actuality. That said, it is not a service we would advise blowing off lightly. Continue reading

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Florida crash injuriesWhen Florida crash injuries are significant and lasting, it is necessary to analyze all potential avenues of financial recovery. In some cases, that may include claims against car manufacturers for dangerous vehicle design. These types of tort claims are referred to as product liability lawsuits.

Allegations in car accident product liability lawsuits often assert that one’s injuries were exacerbated by design or manufacturing flaws that put occupants at unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

Recently, a Florida family filed a product liability lawsuit against Honda alleging dangerous design flaws that resulted in severe injuries to a young girl who was riding in the third row of her family’s van. The girl’s mother was traveling with her three children one afternoon in August 2019 when they were rear-ended by a Jeep. According to local news reports, the girl, then 7, suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken bones. She has endured numerous hospital stays, surgeries and daily physical, and occupational therapies.

Although the family is pursuing a claim against the driver of the Jeep for negligence operation, claims against the vehicle manufacturer allege strict liability and negligence for alleged dangerous design flaws that reportedly left third row passengers vulnerable to serious injury. Continue reading

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Southwest Florida car accidentThe recent emergency closure of a major national east-west thoroughfare (the I-40 Mississippi River Bridge in Tennessee) due to a critical crack in a bridge beam has drawn attention to the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package proposed by the White House for road renovations nationally. Florida, which was given a C grade for overall infrastructure, has more than 400 bridges and 3,560 miles of highway considered to be in “poor condition.” Although strengthening of infrastructure makes us safer in the long-haul, road construction could well increase Southwest Florida car accident risk in the short-term.

Florida Road Construction Projects

Florida has seen exponential growth in recent years, placing increased burdens on our roadways and traffic infrastructure. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Lee County has been among the fastest-growing regions in the country.

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Florida distracted driving accidentsEmployers of motorists who cause crashes while distracted by work obligations may be liable to cover the damages of those injured. Florida distracted driving accidents are on the rise. AAA reports distracted drivers caused the deaths of 3,142 people in the U.S. in a single recent year, an uptick of 10 percent from the year before. In this Florida alone, 258 people died that year as a result of crashes caused by drivers who were distracted. That figure is likely underreported given that not all types of distractions are easily identifiable.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and traffic safety experts have expressed concern about the still-rising number of crashes, placing significant blame on drivers who aren’t paying attention. “Cognitive overload” after participating in back-to-back videoconferencing, along with atrophied driving skills during the pandemic, was cited by several researchers in a recent NBC News report.

It should be noted that F.S. 316.305 prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle while texting, emailing, reading data, instant messaging, etc. for non-voice communication purposes.

Cognitive distractions after a work-related video conferencing may be a very real problem for drivers, but the question in terms of potential legal liability for the employer will be whether the driver was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the collision. Continue reading

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Florida car accident lawyer Fort MyersThe way drivers pursue civil damages in Florida car accident cases will fundamentally change starting Jan. 1, 2022, barring a veto from Governor Ron DeSantis.  If approved, Florida’s 50-year-old no-fault driver’s insurance law will be no more as of next year, following the majority of state lawmakers’ vote for repeal with SB 54.

The new law will directly impact two types of driver insurance requirements – personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury liability coverage. PIP has been required in Florida since 1972 to provide up to $10,000 in coverage for 80 percent of all “necessary and reasonable expenses” incurred as a result of a crash, no matter who caused it. It also includes $5,000 in funeral expenses. Bodily injury liability, which covers damage to others if the insured caused the crash, has not been mandatory for most Florida motorists (with some exceptions for those with prior DUI convictions, etc.). However, Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law has held that drivers must provide up to $20,000 in financial coverage per accident and $10,000 per person if they cause an accident – an amount for which they’d be personally liable if they didn’t purchase insurance to cover it.

Under the new law, vehicle owners would no longer be required to purchase PIP to register their vehicles. However, they would need to pay for:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage, at least $25,000 per occupant, up to $50,000 per accident.
  • $5,000 in death insurance to cover funeral expenses and other bills of anyone killed in a collision.
  • A $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage liability (PDL) coverage.

Those hurt in a Florida car accident would no longer have a dollar limitation on recovering damages for pain and suffering under PIP. Further, insurance companies will be required to offer Med-Pay, with $5,000 and $10,000 in health insurance with no deductible, though insureds could opt-out of this. Continue reading

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Whether you are a construction worker, nurse, or teacher, if you are injured on-the-job in a Florida slip-and-fall, workers’ compensation may be your sole source of financial recovery. Workers’ compensation is considered the exclusive remedy for most work-related injuries in Florida, meaning it is the only recourse one has against an employer. Workers do not need to prove negligence so long as they were hurt in the course and scope of employment, and in turn the employer covers the cost of treatment and a portion of lost wages during recovery.

However, workers’ compensation tends to fall short of the damages (pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, etc.) one could recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Because the exclusive remedy provision of Florida workers’ compensation law makes it almost impossible to win a personal injury case against one’s own employer, our South Florida slip-and-fall injury lawyers would primarily be concerned with the potential liability of a third-party property owner/controller or other liable parties. This would be someone other than your direct employer. (Note: Independent contractors are often not  considered “employees” for workers’ compensation purposes and thus may be allowed to pursue injury claims against the company for whom they were working.)

Slip-and-fall cases are a type of premises liability. Premises liability is a legal concept referring to an injury caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. To win, a plaintiff must prove negligence (failure to exercise reasonable care) in owning/maintaining the property. The mere fact of a dangerous condition or occurrence of injury does not automatically mean the property owner was negligent. In most cases, you must prove the property owner knew or reasonably should have known the site was unsafe and failed to take proper steps to address the danger. (The exact proof burden for slip-and-fall injury claims is spelled out in F.S. 768.0755.)

It is important that if you are seriously injured at work and believe a third-party was at least partially responsible that you speak with an experienced injury lawyer about your legal options. You may have grounds to pursue additional damages beyond workers’ compensation.

Continue reading

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Fort Myers car accident lawyer

Fort Myers car accident lawyers are carefully watching Florida legislature developments pertaining to proposed changes to auto insurance claims laws that could impact how we approach crash cases.

The one that would result in the most change is SB 54, which would repeal provisions of Florida’s No-Fault Law to a fault system.

Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyers Explain Florida PIP

Florida is one of just a few states in the country with a no-fault law for car accidents. This does not mean nobody is ever to blame when an auto accident happens. Rather, it has to do with the way crashes are handled for insurance purposes. The type of insurance associated with a no-fault system is called personal injury protection, or PIP. Continue reading

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