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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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