COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Fort Myers bicycle accidentThe coronavirus pandemic has spurred a nationwide biking boom. Bike sales nationwide have doubled in recent months compared to last year. Some cyclists like cheap transportation while others find it safer to cycle right now than take a public bus or subway. Many simply welcome a healthy outdoor respite from social isolation. Numerous Florida cities have seized on the reduced traffic counts as an opportunity to get a jump start on building new bicycle lanes or connecting existing ones to create a more expansive, safer biking network. However, South Florida is still one of the most dangerous regions in the deadliest state for bicyclists and the risk of a Fort Myers bicycle accident remains high.

The Miami Herald reports that despite the high demand for bike infrastructure, few South Florida cities are taking the initiative to make biking safer. Transportation safety advocates note that in many communities throughout the state, there is no network of safe bicycle pathways. Instead, we have these fragmented stretches of random bicycle lanes that do not connect to one another, are often not separated from traffic, and are far too frequently ignored by careless motorists.

Our South Florida bicycle accident attorneys know that many communities from Tampa to Miami have made big plans when it comes to bike safety, but many have stalled if they were ever begun in the first place. There has been discussion of expanding and connecting the Gulf Coast Trail, which would serve as a Southwest coast connector from Clearwater to Naples, with segments adjacent to motor vehicle traffic. WINK News reports the last time the City of Fort Myers created a plan to make biking and walking easier was in 2007, though they did recently release a survey asking residents to chime in with suggestions for improvement. Meanwhile, there has been little movement on Miami Beach’s nearly-200-page bicycle master plan for Miami Beach. So far, the city’s only built one-tenth of a mile of the 17 miles of protected bicycle lanes promised back in 2009.

Bicycling is great for individuals and communities in a number of ways, but there is cause for concern when there is an uptick in ridership combined with a lack of safety infrastructure – especially because Florida does not have a great track record when it comes to preventing bicycle accidents. Continue reading

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Naples injury lawsuitSuccess in a South Florida personal injury lawsuit is going to depend on dozens of factors that are specific to your case. These can include the degree of the other person’s carelessness, what type of insurance you have, what your pre-existing conditions have, and whether there were complaints or verdicts against the defendant for similar conduct.

Some of these elements are more nuanced than they initially appear. That is why it is so important to consult with an injury attorney who has extensive experience handling tort claims before writing off your chances of winning.

Understand that personal injury attorneys in Florida accept these cases on a strict contingency fee basis, meaning they are not paid unless you prevail. That means injury attorneys have ample incentive to be frank about your chances of winning, and it helps to know some of the aspects they are considering. Continue reading

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furniture tip-oversHome furnishings retailer Ikea has recalled 820,000 chests due to the risk of furniture tip-overs that could endanger young children. The IKEA Kullen dressers have been sold nationwide, and the danger is that if they tip over, they can crush kids. According to the Ikea recall notice, the three-drawer version of these chests is unstable if not anchored to a wall and they were not in compliance with voluntary performance standards. Consumers are advised to stop using them immediately and can receive either a repair kit or a refund.

Every year, thousands of children are treated in emergency rooms because of furniture tip-overs – dressers, chests, bookshelves, cabinets, desks, television stands, and televisions being particularly deadly. Consumer Reports indicates that since 2000, there have been more than 200 deaths, almost all of them younger than 6. Young children often are not able to think about or react to danger to themselves. They cannot consider the consequences of climbing up or down a piece of furniture, and they are not fast enough to react to one falling on them or strong enough to lift it off themselves if they are trapped.

Federal public health officials report 40 children every day are injured in furniture tip-overs.

This recall is the seventh involving chest and drawers for tip-over risks – since September.  Continue reading

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South Florida nursing home abuse attorneyThe prevalence of Florida nursing home abuse is one of the primary reasons people have such a difficult time deciding to relocate a loved one there in the first place. One of the biggest indicators of whether a facility is safe is how well it is staffed. The government-run Nursing Home Compare website makes research much easier and more transparent by publishing everything from staffing levels in comparison to the state average to details contained in health and code inspection reports. Recently, it has gone a step further, with a bright red warning icon indicating nursing homes that have failed to protect its residents from being neglected, exploited, or abused.

There are reportedly 697 nursing home facilities in the State of Florida. Nursing Home Compare marked 25 of the state’s 697 nursing homes with the red-and-white “halt” hand icon on the first day the system went into use late last year. Two of those were in Southwest Florida: ManorCare Health Services in Fort Myers and Lakeside Pavilion in Naples. Both of those facilities were already at a two-star rating, indicating the quality of their care is below average. They have also both been on the state’s “watch list” of nursing homes that red flag facilities and that have been cited for failing to protect residents from Florida nursing home abuse.

The red warning icon is assigned to those nursing homes that have “severe abuse citations,” which usually involve serious abuse or neglect, typically leading to injury or death. However, less serious violations of “potential harm” could warrant a warning icon if it is repeated two years in a row. Continue reading

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child injuriesThe novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented financial and personal challenges in Florida and across the country. Parents especially are under a great deal of pressure. With schools out and distance learning underway, parents are expected to stay informed, prepare meals, remain calm, care for basic needs, teach and often continue to work.

The problem is parents cannot work and provide adequate supervision, particularly for younger kids. This is why healthcare providers are bracing not only for an uptick in COVID-19 patients but also for child injuries.

Parents are essentially doing five jobs at once, schedules are less structured and children are doing what they often do best: Testing limits to see what they can get away with. That could mean climbing on things they are not supposed to, doing dangerous backflips on the backyard trampoline, riding scooters around the block without helmets or wrestling with siblings. Continue reading

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Florida impact ruleMental and emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, anger, fear, and insomnia, are common experiences among those who have suffered a personal injury. Florida is one of just five remaining states that subscribe to something called the impact rule when weighing claims of emotional distress.

Also known as the physical impact rule, it requires plaintiffs who are seeking financial compensation for non-economic damages (namely, emotional distress) to prove they also experienced some physical impact or that their emotional injuries somehow physically manifested.

South Florida personal injury lawyers frequently request compensation for emotional distress as an element in injury lawsuits, but claims that solely involve emotional distress can be a bit trickier. This is not to say it is impossible, and the Florida Supreme Court has in recent years relaxed the guidelines for applying the impact rule. Still, it is important for anyone considering filing a claim for emotional distress in Florida to understand a bit about the legal standards that must be met. Continue reading

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Fort Myers injury lawyerFlorida property owners owe a duty of care to protect invitees from third-party criminal attacks – where the assault was reasonably foreseeable. This principle was affirmed recently by the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s reversal of summary judgment favoring a Florida business owner accused of negligence in an injury lawsuit.

As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, key issues in these types of premises liability cases are:

  • Reasonable foreseeability of the attack.
  • Duty of care the property owner owed to the plaintiff (designation of invitee, licensee or trespasser, depending on the plaintiff’s purposes on-site). Age and special relationships can also be factors.
  • Whether the defendant property owner’s actions proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

The defendant in Bryan v. Galley Maid Marine Products, Inc. argued it owed no duty of care to the plaintiff, who was on-site drinking with the owner and three others when he was attacked, twice. He suffered a broken neck, nerve damage, and facial fractures. The defense asserted there was no way the property owner could have reasonably foreseen what would happen because it occurred suddenly and without provocation. Furthermore, the defendant argued the victim was a licensee rather than an invitee, meaning the only duty business owner owed was to refrain from wanton negligence, willful misconduct or intentional exposure to danger.

The court noted there were seventeen (17) minutes between the first attack, which left the plaintiff unconscious and with missing teeth, and the second attack, which resulted in another bout of unconsciousness and even more serious injuries. No one called 911, according to court records, because those present were reportedly afraid of the assailant (who was later arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison). Continue reading

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Florida personal injury lawsuitsMany people with strong claims to financial damages in Florida personal injury lawsuits are very reluctant to explore the possibility, and it largely has to do with some common myths and misconceptions of the process. They are:

  • Assuming it is going to be extremely expensive;
  • Thinking their injuries are not serious enough;
  • Hesitant to “punish” the at-fault person;
  • Reticent to seem “greedy”;
  • Presuming their insurance will cover it all anyway.

As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, while the individual facts and circumstances of the situation ultimately determine the viability of your claim, by-and-large: These notions are incorrect or exaggerated. Some of these myths are rooted in a simple misunderstanding of the law. Others can be traced to an aggressive push for tort reform messaging.

Let us address them one-by-one: Continue reading

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Cape Coral dog bite injuriesFloridians are at higher risk of dog bite injuries compared to those in most other states. During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Insurance Information Institute revealed Florida ranked No. 2 for dog bites and other dog-related injuries.

In 2018, there were 1,281 Florida dog bite injury claims filed with homeowner insurance companies, making it second only to California, where 2,166 claims were filed. The good news is reports of Florida dog bites are down slightly from 1,345 in 2017, but there were still 6 bites reported for every 100,000 residents. Comparatively, there were  5.5 per 100,000 in California and 3.2 in Texas.

About 78 million dogs live in U.S. households, and about 4.5 million dog bites are reported annually, according to data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. That works out to approximately one dog bite victim for every seventeen (17) dogs owned.

The average cost of a dog bite injury claims in Florida is $44,000, higher than the national average of $39,000. In all, homeowners insurers paid out more than $675 million for dog bite injuries in 2018. Continue reading

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