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South Florida injury lawsuitFlorida has some of the best outdoor recreation the country has to offer, with 8,400 miles of shoreline (including lakes and springs), 11 national parks and nearly 200 state parks, campgrounds, preserves, recreational areas and trailheads. Although we don’t have data for how many injuries occur at these sites every year, we do know that pursuing a Florida injury lawsuit after an incident may require overcoming the recreational use defense.

In any negligence lawsuit, a key question is whether the defendant owed the person injured a duty of care. The recreational use statute, codified in F.S. 375.251, limits the duty of care owed by the owner/manager of property to guests when the land, water or park areas have been made available to the public for recreational purposes without charge. The idea is to encourage land owners – including the government – to make areas available for public outdoor recreation by limiting their liability for injuries that may occur on site. The statute allows that if a landowner opens its land to the public for outdoor recreational use, it holds no duty of care to keep that area safe for entry or use by others and no duty of care toward a person who goes to the area and no duty to warn of hazardous conditions.

The statute broadly protects landowners against Florida premises liability claims, but it does not necessarily mean if you’re injured at a state park or on the beach in Florida that you can’t be compensated. If you are injured on private property that is open to the public for recreation, a complete analysis of the land ownership and whether the statute was strictly followed is important. It’s also important to discuss your legal options with a skilled Florida injury lawyer.

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Florida's careless driving statute Drivers who cause South Florida car accidents rarely intend to hurt anyone. However, Florida’s careless driving statute does not consider a driver’s intention. What matters is whether the driver was using reasonable regard for the laws and current road conditions. Failure to use reasonable care, the basic allegation in a careless driving traffic case, is also what injury lawyers assert when alleging negligence in many Florida crash cases. As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers can explain, a driver who is negligent failed to use reasonable care. They can be held legally liable to cover some – or all – of the resulting damages (assuming the injuries were serious enough to exceed the criteria set forth in F.S. 627.737).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates some 95 percent of crashes are caused by human error. Florida’s careless driving statute is outlined in F.S. 316.1925. It states anyone operating a vehicle on any street or highway in Florida, “shall drive … in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances, so as to not endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Failure to do so is careless driving.

Careless driving is frequently cited in cases like rear-end car accidents and failure-to-yield crashes. It’s also sometimes cited by officers in distraction cases, though if they can specifically prove it, they may assert a violation of F.S. 316.305, Florida’s distracted driving law. This provision bans not only texting while driving, but also emailing, instant messaging, and other forms of nonvoice interpersonal communication behind the wheel.

Allegations of careless driving may cross the threshold into “aggressive careless driving,” as defined in F.S. 316.1923, if two or more traffic violations occur at the same time or one right after the other.

Some examples of applicable violations: Continue reading

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Florida car accident injury riskA new analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that car accident injury risks are higher for women than men, though the reason appears to have little to do with physical differences. Rather, it comes down to the types of vehicles women tend to drive compared to men.

As our Fort Myers car accident injury lawyers know, men have long been known to be overrepresented in fatal crashes. Research suggests this is because men on average drive more miles and often engage in riskier driving behaviors (speeding, impaired driving and foregoing seat belts, etc.). But once IIHS researchers controlled for speed and other factors, they found women on a per-crash basis were nearly 30 percent more likely to be killed and 37-73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries.

They concluded this had to do largely with the types of motor vehicles women tend to drive. Once study authors limited comparison to similar crashes and vehicle types, the gender discrepancies mostly disappeared. Women are more likely to drive cars that are smaller and lighter. They’re also more likely than men to be driving the vehicle that is struck in front-to-rear and side-impact crashes. These types of crashes can result in more severe injuries.

Curiously, they did discover an unexplained phenomenon of women being especially prone to serious leg injuries compared to men, something researchers said “will require more investigation.” Continue reading

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Fort Myers hit and run injury lawyerEnduring any car crash is painful enough. But 25 percent of those in Florida car crashes have no one to answer for what happened because the at-fault driver took off or fled the scene. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports 1 in 4 crashes in the Sunshine State are hit-and-run accidents. There are laws on the books intended to hold fleeing drivers accountable. But even if those drivers are never caught, there may still be several insurance claim options that can help injured persons collect damages. If you’re hurt in a Fort Myers hit-and-run accident, injury lawyers advise taking certain steps to preserve evidence and protect your right to recover your losses from what insurance companies call a “Phantom Vehicle”

Fort Myers Hit and Run Accident Laws

An accident is considered a “hit-and-run” when a driver flees the scene without staying long enough to exchange personal information with the other driver (name, address, license number, vehicle registration, insurance information) or to render aid and “reasonable assistance” to anyone who’s injured. Per F.S. 315.062, reasonable assistance can mean simply calling 911 or, in some cases, physically taking the injured person to a hospital themselves.

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negligent apartment security lawyerThe death of a young college student at the hands of her apartment maintenance worker has driven her family to push for better apartment security, both in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit and a proposed bill. The latter could have significant implications for the 35 percent (2.8 million) Floridians who live in apartments.

According to authorities, Miya Marcano was slain by a maintenance worker with a spotty criminal past. She’d reportedly complained to apartment management that his unsolicited sexual overtures made her uncomfortable. Police say her attacker used a master key fob to gain access to the 19-year-old’s apartment the day of her death. The maintenance worker committed suicide a few days after her disappearance in September. Her body was later found near an old residence of his.

The following month, her family filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, alleging negligent security (a form of premises liability), negligent hiring, and negligent retention. They allege the the apartment complex that employed the maintenance worker ignored red flags that he might pose a danger to residents, particularly given Miya’s complaint and the fact that a different female resident at another apartment complex where he was previously employed had also complained about his unwanted advances. What’s more, the maintenance worker had essentially unfettered access to her apartment with his master key fob. This is something many Florida apartment complexes allow for various maintenance issues. Family members allege that clearly without proper oversight and in the wrong hands, such access is extremely dangerous.

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Naples car accident lawyerYou’re going about a regular day when suddenly you’re blindsided in a Florida car accident. Traumatic and jarring, the experience may leave you bewildered about what to do next. Often, one of the first questions is, “Do I really need a lawyer?”

The answer depends on a myriad of factors. Let’s start with something we can say unequivocally: There is no law anywhere in Florida statutes that says you must hire a lawyer if you’re involved in a crash. However, there are numerous situations in which it would be prudent or even strongly advisable to do so.

Here, we offer the top three questions to ask before deciding if you should hire a car accident lawyer in Florida: Continue reading

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Florida spinal cord injuries lawyerWhether from a fall or dive, violence, medical mistake or car accident, Florida spinal cord injuries can be utterly devastating. Such injuries can be catastrophic, permanently limiting one’s mobility, career options, recreational opportunities, relationships and more.  But the question of whether or not to file a lawsuit depends on a host of factors best discussed with an experienced civil trial lawyer.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, more than 17,800 new spinal cord injuries are reported in the U.S. every year, and about 300,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury. The average age at the time of injury is 43. Top causes are motor vehicle accidents and falls, followed by violence, sports (including diving) and medical/surgical incidents.

Tragically, Southwest Florida is no stranger to spinal cord injury incidents, particularly those involving diving, given our close proximity to so many bodies of water. Late last year, a Georgia teenager suffered a spinal cord injury in Naples.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the victim, an 18-year-old competitive swimmer at Florida State University, dove from a boat into shallow water. She is now paralyzed from the chest down.

In that case, there was no immediate mention of potential litigation. As our Naples neck and back injury lawyers can explain, the question when determining lawsuit viability is whether negligence – by another individual, business or organization – legally caused the injury. To prove negligence, one must show the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, breached that duty and as a result of that breach an injury ocured. Continue reading

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South Florida Motorcycle AccidentNobody sets out for a ride anticipating a Florida motorcycle accident. But when it happens, it’s important to proceed cautiously to protect your legal rights.

Pursuing a claim for motorcycle injuries is slightly different than doing so in other types of crashes. That’s partly because injuries are likely to be more serious than the average crash. It’s also because motorcyclists in Florida are not required to purchase PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, the foundation of the state’s no-fault accident system. To ensure fair financial recovery, it’s important to talk to an injury attorney experienced in motorcycle injury cases.

By their very nature, motorcycles are less stable, less visible and less crash-worthy than passenger cars – despite their high-performance capabilities. When motorcyclists crash, they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they’re far more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcycle deaths are 27 times higher than car deaths.

No PIP in a Florida Motorcycle Accident Case

To receive compensation for a Florida motorcycle accident injury, it will be necessary for your Fort Myers motorcycle injury lawyer to help you determine who was at-fault. “Fault” is established by proving the operator/driver in question failed to use reasonable care when they had a duty to do so, in turn causing your injuries. Continue reading

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drunk driving injury lawyerThanksgiving is associated with tradition, togetherness and turkey. But among public safety officials, it’s well-known as one of the booziest and most dangerous holidays of the year. In fact, the night before Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday,” and is statistically aligned with a steep increase in alcohol-impaired driving and drunk driving injury. (There’s also the increasing popularity of “Danksgiving,” which involves an uptick in marijuana consumption, dangerous when those individuals get behind the wheel.) Crash and fatality rates have reportedly been higher than even New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, or St. Patrick’s Day.

As Fort Myers injury lawyers, we recognize there are a few reasons behind this troubling trend. Part of it is because there are so many more people on the road. AAA anticipates a return to pre-pandemic travel levels this holiday, with nearly 54 million people hitting the road – a 13 percent jump since last year, the biggest year-over-year climb since 2005. Three cities in Florida (Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale) are listed in the Top 10 U.S. destinations for Thanksgiving 2021 holiday travel. In addition to that, many people have no work obligations during the long weekend, and folks are eager to return “home” to see family and friends. It’s also typically the first break college students have to return to their hometowns and catch up with their high school buddies – usually at local bars and clubs. Add to the mix this year that people are eager to shed COVID gathering restrictions, and it could be a recipe for particularly raucous reunions.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 415 people may die and another 47,500 may be seriously injured over the Thanksgiving holiday due to drunk driving. The agency’s predictions on drunk driving injury and death have historically been fairly accurate.

An analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data by ASecureLife revealed the states with the higher Thanksgiving holiday crash rates were in the South. The NHTSA reports that between 2015 and 2019, nearly 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday period. Over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, there were more than four times as many alcohol-impaired crashes during the nighttime hours compared to during the day.

Who May Be Held Liable for Florida Drunk Driving Injuries, Wrongful Death Claims?

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Florida nursing home abuse and neglectMore than a decade ago, the federal government unveiled what was intended to be an invaluable tool to help people make what can be the most difficult choice of their lives: The nursing home to which they should entrust the care of a cherished elder loved one. The system used a simple 5-star rating, with one being the worst, and five the best. But has it actually led to better care and fewer instances of Florida nursing home abuse and neglect?

According to an in-depth investigation by The New York Times, the answer is: Unlikely. Reporters analyzed the underlying data that powers those databases and found it to be fundamentally flawed, providing a heavily distorted picture of the level of care offered at nursing homes across the country.

As our Florida nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys understand it, many of these nursing homes fudged self-reported data to government regulators (specifically, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). The CMS ratings system that is shared with consumers relies on a mixture of health inspector reports from on-site checks as well as self-reported data. Continue reading

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