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South Florida personal injury lawyerThink you might need to hire a Florida personal injury lawyer but have no idea where to start?

Most Naples personal injury clients are folks with little-to-no experience in civil litigation, and this is a good thing as we all don’t want to hire lawyers unless we have to. Many of our clients are reeling from a horrible crash or devastating loss due to a medical mistake and unsure of their next steps. Very often doctors or insurance companies are not always helpful in encouraging people to seek legal counsel.

The good news is that an experienced Naples Florida personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the whole process from start-to-finish, sometimes without even stepping foot in a courtroom.

How Do I Find a Lawyer?

The internet is usually the first place people start nowadays when looking for a Florida personal injury lawyer.

You can start with a simple search of attorneys in your region who practice the type of law you need. For serious injuries, you may want to dig a little deeper.

Personal injury law falls under the general umbrella of “torts,” but there are actually several different types of personal injury claims. For example, injury due to a doctor’s error is going to fall under “medical malpractice law.” Injuries resulting from a dangerous or defective product or vehicle will be filed as “product liability” claims. If you’re injured as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, this is called “premises liability.”

You want to check for injury lawyers in the area with experience and success in handling cases just like yours. For this, you can specifically for a section on their website with detailed testimonials and/or case results. (You can also ask for this directly if you decide to meet with the attorney.)

It’s not a bad idea to check the ratings and reviews on Google, social media, and other platforms. These might not give you the whole story, but attorneys and/or law firms with a fair number of positive reviews are probably doing something right.

In Florida, you can also contact your local Bar Association for lawyer referral services. There are offices in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota Counties.

What Does a South Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Need From Me?

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Florida hotel liability for guest injuriesThere are nearly a half a million hotel rooms  in Florida available to accommodate the hundreds of millions of out-of-state visitors welcomed to the Sunshine State each year. With an average occupancy rate of 70% and daily cost-per-room at around $138, hotel owners earn a pretty penny for their presence. Along with that prosperity comes the responsibility to prioritize guest safety. Florida hotel liability for guest injuries can be established in a court of law when there’s evidence the property owner/staff failed to use reasonable care in ensuring guest safety.

That doesn’t mean you automatically have a case just because you were injured or attacked and happened to be in a hotel. You must first prove negligence. That requires establishing the hotel’s duty of care to you, the ways in which they fell short in fulfilling that duty, and evidence of how you were harmed as a result.

Some examples of incidents that might give rise to a Florida hotel liability claim:

  • Failure to fix a sidewalk out front (Ingress/Egress)
  • Negligent hiring of a staffer with violent criminal background
  • Inadequate security with failed locks, poor lighting, or understaffed/poorly trained security guards (particularly in areas with high crime rates)
  • Failure to warn guests of a known or knowable danger
  • Failure to address dangerous stairways, walkways, rugs, entrances, etc.
  • Poorly maintained gym equipment
  • Dated/inadequate swimming pool safety features

As our Key West, Florida hotel injury lawyers can explain, these types of personal injury/wrongful death cases fall under an area of law known as premises liability. Essentially, it allows people harmed by dangerous conditions on someone else’s property to pursue monetary damages.

As far as the exact standards to which property owners are held, some of it depends on the type/size/location of the hotel as well as where exactly the incident occurred. If it involved the hotel pool, for example, we’d be looking carefully at the building code requirements in Florida, as well as industry standard practices for commercial pool, and whether or not slip resistant materials were used. Questions will likely be raised about whether similar safety issues had cropped up in the past that would have alerted staff to the issue OR whether the danger had existed for so long that it should have been discovered by any property owner exercising reasonable care.

Another factor on which those standards may hinge is the relationship between the property owner/manager and the person hurt. Paying guests and members of the public welcomed onsite for the financial benefit of the owner are owed the greatest duty of care/highest level of protection. On the other end of the spectrum are trespassers, who generally aren’t owed any duty of care beyond restraint from active harm. There are exceptions for young kids who don’t know any better and are lured by some interesting but dangerous element of the property (attractive nuisance doctrine).

Recent Examples of Proven/Potential Florida Hotel Liability in Guest Injury Cases

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Florida injury lawsuit waiver of liabilityFlorida is a vacation destination, and many find opportunities here to engage in activities for which businesses require you to sign a waiver, releasing them from liability if you get hurt. Such excursions include things like parasailing, boating, go-kart racing, trampoline park jumping, golf cart driving, and Jet Ski riding. But while waivers and releases are generally enforceable in Florida, your hope of winning a Florida injury lawsuit may not be entirely lost. If you or a loved one is seriously injured in an activity for which you signed a waiver, it’s important to avoid any presumption that you don’t have a case until you’ve had a chance to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer.

The enforceability of a waiver often comes down to the precise language it contains compared to the exact details of what happened to cause your injuries.

A prime example of this was the 2014 non-precedential opinion of Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal in Gillette v. All Pro Sports, LLC. Here, a woman was injured in a go-kart accident at a facility operated by the defendant. The injured woman alleged an employee of the facility increased the speed of the go-karts during the race, resulting in her loss of control of the vehicle and subsequent crash into a railing that resulted in injuries. She sued for her injuries under the legal concept of negligence.

In its defense, the facility cited a waiver of liability that the woman had signed prior to getting on the go-kart. The trial court granted summary judgment favoring the defendant. The appellate court reversed meaning that she was allowed to sue and have her case move forward.

Firstly, any clause of a contract that aims to deny an injured party the right to recover damages from the party that negligently caused the injury is to be strictly construed against the party seeking to avoid liability. Secondly, if such clauses are to be enforceable, they must be blatantly clear and understandable so that any ordinary person would know exactly the rights they’re foregoing by signing.

Here, the waiver indicated the user would: Continue reading

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“Every week it seems there’s a report of an accident between pedestrians and trains,” noted the Miami Herald in a recent story.

Fort Myers injury lawyerFort Myers personal injury lawyers know that “trains” aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when we talk “crashes.” However, a recent four-year review of data from the Federal Railroad Administration revealed that Florida is No. 6 among states with the most railroad crossing deaths in the nation.

From 2014 to 2018, more than 460 railroad accidents. Of those:

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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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