Articles Posted in Florida Law

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Florida business interruption insurance Hurricane IanThe number of Florida insurance claims filed after Hurricane Ian is steadily rising, with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation estimating there have so far been nearly 450,000 claims, more than 12,300 of those being commercial property claims. Those figures are likely to climb. Insured losses for wind damage are estimated to be somewhere between $23 billion and $35 billion, while flood losses covered by private insurers and the National Flood Insurance Program are going to be anywhere from $8 billion to $18 billion. (The actual amount of damage is much higher; these are only the estimated losses covered by insurance.)

For Southwest Florida business owners forced to halt operations – temporarily or indefinitely – it’s a smart idea to consult with a Fort Myers business interruption insurance claim lawyer.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of Florida’s Gulf Coast, especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Business interruption insurance covers losses sustained when you’re forced to shut down your business for a covered reason. It isn’t required in Florida, but it is highly recommended for South Florida companies – for situations just like this.

Hurricanes are notorious for closing down South Florida businesses for various stretches. Business interruption insurance won’t cover the property damage losses (which are hopefully covered in your commercial insurance policy). What it can do is cover things like:

  • Lost income and profits.
  • Fixed expenses, like utilities and payroll.
  • Ongoing tax burdens.
  • Reasonable expenses incurred while business is temporarily operating elsewhere.
  • Lost rental income.
  • Relocation expenses.
  • Small business loan payments.

Typically, business interruption policies only apply in situations where there is physical damage to the business property or some other property that precludes employees and customers from entering. An example of the latter situation would be the destruction of the Sanibel Causeway, the only roadway on/off the island making entry only accessible by boat or aircraft. Continue reading

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Fort Myers property damage attorneyMany in our Southwest Florida community who sustained Fort Myers property damage during Hurricane Ian are wondering where to even begin when it comes to filing insurance claims. Roofs were blown off. Lanais are no more. Vehicles were flooded. Homes were flooded if not entirely swept away.

Industry analysts are estimating this may have been the costliest storm in Florida’s history – which is saying something. Early insurance industry estimates of the damage are falling roughly around $53 billion. Some are already saying the final number could be higher.

As Fort Myers civil trial attorneys offering help with Florida business interruption insurance claims and bad faith insurance actions, we can offer some insight on how to get the process started. Good property damage attorneys can help you fight back when insurance companies pinch pennies, lowball your legitimate claims, and try to deny you the relief you’re owed according to the terms of your policy.

Property damage insurance companies in Florida are notorious for downplaying the extent of the damage, looking for any possible loophole to deny coverage. As you go through the process of negotiating for coverage, it’s important to understand how the process works – and when you may want to seek intervention with a South Florida property damage lawyer.

The Process for Fort Myers Property Damage Insurance Claims

As you wade into negotiating a Fort Myers property damage insurance claim, it’s important to understand how the claims process works.

In many cases the following process takes place: Continue reading

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Florida emergency vehicle accidentsWe all know that when an emergency vehicle approaches with its lights flashing and sirens blaring, other motorists should make way – and fast. But what if you cannot move quickly enough? What if you did not see the lights or hear the sirens before it was too late? What if there were no lights or sirens activated at all?  Over the years our law firm has received many calls regarding Florida emergency vehicle laws;  As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, state law allows for legal accountability in Florida emergency vehicle accidents in some circumstances. Proving it will likely require an extensive investigation, expert witness testimony, and an experienced legal team.

According to the National Safety Council, emergency vehicle crashes – those involving police vehicles, ambulances or fire trucks – caused 168 U.S. deaths in 2018. Of those, less than half (48 percent) occurred while the authorized vehicles’ lights and sirens were in use. Most of those who died were either an occupant of non-emergency vehicles or pedestrians (69%). Police vehicles were involved in the most fatal crashes (64%), followed by ambulances (28%), and then fire trucks (8%). These numbers provide some insight but do not give us a full picture as non-fatal crashes are not included.

F.S. 316.072 allows emergency vehicle operators some leeway when it comes to traffic rules. For example, they can proceed past a red light or through a stop sign – but only after slowing down as necessary for safe operation. They can exceed the maximum speed limit – so long as the driver does not endanger life or property. They can also disregard regulations governing direction, movement, or turning – but only so long as life or property is not endangered. Many departments also have written policies that outline the caution their employees should use when responding to an emergency.

What the law makes clear is that while these first responders are tasked with critically important duties for which seconds count, they do not have free reign to drive recklessly on our roads or needlessly endanger others.

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One of the top concerns an injury lawyer hears upon meeting with prospective clients is: How much will this cost me?

Most who have suffered a serious personal injury are hurting financially as well as physically – which is why they’re seeking compensation from the at-fault party  in the first place.Fort Myers injury lawyer

The good news is that with personal injury litigation, you won’t need to pay upfront. In fact, you won’t pay any attorney fees at all unless you win.

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The standard for expert evidence admissibility in Florida court cases – civil and criminal – has once again taken a sudden turn, eschewing longtime adherence to the “general acceptance” Frye standard for vetting scientific evidence in favor of the more stringent Daubert standard.

Fort Myers injury law firmIn plain English: It just got harder for injured plaintiffs in Florida to win their cases. That makes having an experienced, skilled personal injury lawyer all the more essential.

After several years of fraught back-and-forth and lengthy debates centering on constitutional concerns, it appears with this decision, In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, No. SC19-107 (Fla. May 23, 2019), the Florida Supreme Court has settled the issue, reversing its own prior (sharply-divided) ruling from last year and joining the standard used in many other states and the federal government (the latter with Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence). Continue reading

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Florida lawmakers are seeking to limit the amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered by plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits.Fort Myers personal injury lawyer

Specifically, HB 17 would impose a $1 million cap on payments made to injury claimants for intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional anguish and loss of life enjoyment. While it’s true these losses are more subjective than things like medical bills or lost income, they are no less worthy of compensation.

As long-time Fort Myers personal injury lawyers, we know tort reform efforts like this are nothing new in Florida. Insurers and big corporations have lobbied intensely for them for decades. Proponents argue reform is necessary to keep consumers’ insurance rates in check and prevent frivolous claims and outrageous damage awards.

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Fort Myers has again been named the fastest growing city in America.Fort Myers car accident attorney

Fox4 News reports Lehigh Acres has ranked the seventh fastest growing city in America with Cape Coral ranked 24th. The annual Wallet Hub report looked at the economic growth in 515 cities over the last seven years to come up with the list.

With the accolades come the accidents. The end of Daylight Savings Time on November 4th will bring early darkness to the afternoon commute. Snowbird and seasonal traffic will soon follow, making it a great time to emphasize the need for improved road safety as we head into the year-end holidays.

The reality is that decades of explosive growth have made the roads of Southwest Florida increasingly dangerous; meanwhile, the Lee County Commission has continued to pander to developers and keep in place deeply slashed development “impact fees” which have left our roadway and pedestrian infrastructure outdated and massively underfunded.

Our growth has been staggering by any measure. Lee County’s population was barely 100,000 in 1970. By the year 2000, we had grown to 440,000 and today we are nearing 800,000.

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The following are new laws that are in effect in Florida as of October 1, 2018; please click the bill number for a link to the actual bill to learn more about the specific law going into effect today.https://www.garvinlegal.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Screen-Shot-2017-07-20-at-5.52.53-PM-1-300x300.png

CS/CS/SB 376: Workers’ Compensation Benefits for First Responders

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for First Responders; Providing that, under certain circumstances, posttraumatic stress disorder suffered by a first responder is an occupational disease compensable by workers’ compensation benefits; specifying that benefits do not require a physical injury and are not subject to certain apportionment or limitations, etc.

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Year around sunshine in Southwest Florida means motorists are often wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and other light summer garb.Is it illegal to drive barefoot or in flip-flops in Florida

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers know limbs, including hands and feet, are always vulnerable in serious traffic collisions. Leg compartments of modern vehicles extend to the front axle in many vehicles. Hands and arms are often caught between your body and the steering column. Crush injuries and degloving injuries can result- While it may be unsafe this still doesn’t answer the question – Is it illegal to drive barefoot in Florida?

The short answer is No, Click Orlando reports Florida is among the states where driving in flip-flops or barefoot is not illegal. And that’s a good thing or most of us would be violating the law on a regular basis. But what about flip flops on a motorcycle or even barefoot on a motorcycle?

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While May was Motorcycle Safety Month, watching for riders is a year-around job in Southwest Florida.

Motorcycles are incredibly popular in Southwest Florida, probably because we enjoy what is easily one of the best riding landscapes in the country – long stretches of flat roads, ideal weather year-round and captivating scenery. motorcycle injury lawyer

But our injury lawyers in Fort Myers also know Florida is also one of the most dangerous places to ride a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) tallied 577 Florida motorcyclists killed in a recent year – by far more than any other state (even California and Texas, which trump Florida in both size and population).

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