Articles Posted in Florida Law

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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?  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.

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. 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

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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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The State of Florida can now be liable for up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per tort claim, effective Oct. 1, 2011. That’s up from the $100,000 and $200,000 caps that had been in existence for lawsuits against the state, its agencies or political subdivisions.

While the increase is welcome news to victims of governmental negligence, the new caps may still be woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating a victim for a personal injury, wrongful death, or other injuries caused by t. Suing the State of Florida is a complex process, which includes extensive pre-suit requirements and as such; Government liability claims in Florida require an experienced law firm. As these relatively modest caps indicate, identifying other entities that may be liable for damages can be critical when it comes to securing a victim adequate compensation in the wake of a serious injury or fatal accident. The sovereign immunity limits in Florida apply to schools, police departments, counties, and many other offices and agencies under state jurisdiction.1232540_statue_of_wisdom

Florida Statute 768.28 sets the still relatively low damage caps, which were previously unchanged for nearly three decades. Lawmakers contend the caps have deterred claims against the state as there is also 25 percent cap on attorney fees which provide for a maximum fee of $25,000 (or $50,000 under the new cap). While that may sound adequate to some, bringing a serious personal injury, auto accident, or wrongful death lawsuit to trial can cost a law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whether in Fort Myers, Naples, or Fort Lauderdale, finding a firm with the resources to properly handle your case is an important consideration when choosing an attorney. Injured claimants must also consider that their lawyer will only get paid if they are successful in making a recovery on behalf of a client.

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Cases throughout Florida may end up coming unraveled if judges take note of what courts in Miami and Manatee County have done recently with drug cases that have been ruled unconstitutional, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Cases of drug possession and drug sales may be dropped after Judge Mary Scriven, of the U.S. Middle District of Florida, ruled that Florida’s drug possession statute is unconstitutional because it lacks the element of intent — opponents argue that violates due process because it puts the legal burden on the defendant. Three circuit court judges have now asked the Florida Supreme Court to address the constitutionality question of Florida Statutes Section 893.13.

152342_no_smoking_4A Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who is familiar with recent case law can often use evolving law to a client’s advantage. These precedent setting cases typically start at the trial-court level when a defendant and experienced lawyer see a legal issue that permits them to fight the charges.

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