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A series of high-profile boating accidents has safety advocates preaching caution as we head into the height of Southwest Florida’s tourist season.

With nearly 1 million registered vessels and more than 600 serious boating collisions each year, Florida is by far the most dangerous state in the nation, with California as the only other state to report more than 300 boating accidents a year.boats-300x225

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports 52 more reported boating accidents occurred in 2017, compared to the previous year. A total of 766 boating accidents were reported, killing 67 people. Southwest Florida is home to nearly half of the state’s 10 most dangerous counties for boaters, including Monroe County (ranked 1st – 105 reported boating accidents), Lee County (ranked 5th – 39 reported accidents), Collier County (ranked 7th – 31 boating accidents) and Charlotte County (ranked 10th – 18 boating accidents).

Our boating injury lawyers in Fort Myers know the leading type of Florida boating accidents continues to be collisions, either with a fixed object or another vessel. Falls overboard are a leading secondary type, as well as a leading cause of death, making life vests crucial. Last year, 81 percent of those killed were not wearing a life jacket.  Continue reading

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Two people have already been killed in Lee County pedestrian accidents this January; a reminder that Southwest Florida is among the most dangerous areas in the nation for walkers. streetsigns-300x200

Citing the area’s rapid growth and inadequate infrastructure, Smart Growth America’s landmark 2016 report, Dangerous by  Design, ranked the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area as the nation’s deadliest for pedestrians. The just-released 2019 update to that report identified many Florida metro areas as being among the nation’s deadliest for walkers. Most dangerous cities include Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Jacksonville, Bakersfield, California; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Six of the most dangerous cities in America (and 8 of the top 10) were all located in Florida. While Fort Myers-Cape Coral avoided again being named most dangerous, our pedestrian injury lawyers in Fort Myers know that’s likely not because Southwest Florida has gotten safer.

“Our best guess is that some other places in Florida got worse,” Emiko Atherton, executive director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, told The News-Press.

In the two most recent incidents, a 12-year-old was hit and killed as she walked along Durrance Street in North Fort Myers. A few days later a 70-year-old Canadian woman was trying to cross the northbound lanes of 41 in North Fort Myers when she was hit and killed by a motorcycle. The motorcyclist also died in the crash.

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Police are looking for the driver who struck a group of people in a Fort Myers parking lot before speeding away.Lehigh Acres car accident lawyer

WINK News reports a woman driving a red four-door car drove into the group of pedestrians just off Marsh Avenue in Fort Myers. Police were trying to determine whether the driver did so intentionally before driving away. One adult and two children were taken to the hospital.

Unfortunately, hit-and-run collisions are a common occurrence in Southwest Florida.

Consulting an experienced car accident lawyer in Fort Myers can determine the best course of action following any traffic collision.

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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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UPDATE: Since this writing, the Florida Supreme Court has done an about-face, deciding the more rigorous Daubert analysis will in fact be the new evidentiary standard in Florida cases, both civil and criminal. This will mean the bar to bring – and prevail – in Florida injury lawsuits is raised. In its May 23, 2019 decision  In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, No. SC19-107, the court (now with three new governor-appointed justices since the last ruling) held Florida’s evidence standard should align with that used by federal courts and most other states. The court previously rejected adoption of Daubert following a 2013 legislative amendment, citing procedural issues and “grave constitutional concerns.” In this 5-2 ruling, the court now says those concerns are unfounded.

On October 15, 2018, the Florida Supreme Court, settled the long-running debate about the appropriate admissibility standard for expert opinions thought Florida state courts.  In a case that began with a plaintiff who developed mesothelioma after years of exposure to asbestos, the Florida Supreme Court held that Frye, not Daubert, is the appropriate test.

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A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday said a controversial 2013 law about expert-witness testimony was an unconstitutional infringement on the court’s authority.

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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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Labor Day weekend was marred by several drunk driving accidents in Southwest Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol provided extra enforcement as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, beginning August 15th and lasting through Labor Day weekend. It will be one of a series of enforcement blitzes as we head into the fall holiday season. While Labor Day is one of the deadliest in the nation, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years typically prove deadlier. The start of fall football season also results in a measurable uptick when it comes to drunk driving crashes. Whether high school football under the Friday night lights, or cheering for your favorite college or pro football team, fans are encouraged to be responsible party hosts, and to make a commitment to never drink and drive. beer-taps-1-300x225

“If you are under the influence of alcohol or any substance, be responsible and have a designated driver to get you to your destination safely,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding. “There is never an excuse for impaired driving.”

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A 50-year-old woman was killed in a Lehigh Acres pedestrian accident after being struck by three vehicles, two of which fled the scene, according to FOX4 News.

Florida Highway says the incident happened Tuesday, September 4th just before 9:30 p.m. on Homestead Road North, near Plaza Drive. FHP reports the woman was attempting to cross the northbound lanes of Homestead Road from the McDonald’s when she was hit by three northbound vehicles. intersection1-1-300x225

This unfortunate tragedy highlights the growing risk of walking in Southwest Florida. Burgeoning population growth has led to rapid development, often with little forethought or planning when it comes to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Smart Growth America’s landmark study, Dangerous by Design, found the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area is the most dangerous metro area in the nation for walkers. Eight of the nations top 10 most dangerous cities are located in Florida. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford ranked third, followed by Jacksonville, Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton followed closely, ranked the tenth most dangerous.

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As a general rule, bicycle helmets are a smart safety investment in safety all cyclists, regardless of age or skill – especially in Florida, which has the unfortunate, long-running reputation as the most dangerous in the U.S. for riding. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported of the thousands treated in hospital emergency rooms nationally for bicycling injuries, traumatic brain injuries account for 60 percent of deaths, 67 percent of hospital admissions and 33 percent of injuries. Only 17 percent of all cyclists killed in crashes were wearing helmets.

If you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of your bicycle accident, it’s important to understand how that will – and won’t – affect your claims and/ or litigation.

What is Florida’s Bicycle Helmet Law?

bicycle accidentLegally, there is no universal bike helmet law in Florida. If you’re 16 or older, you don’t have to wear one. However, if you’re younger than that, the law says you must wear one that meets federal safety standards, fastened to your head security with a strap.

However, a defendant in a Fort Myers bicycle accident cannot use your decision to wear a bike helmet – or to ensure your child is wearing one – as a means to gain the upper hand in the case. The defense strategy, existing in some states that don’t expressly forbid it, involves asserting that a cyclist’s decision to forego the known protection of a helmet, is an act of contributory negligence resulting in exacerbated trauma that otherwise would not have been sustained, and therefore, defendant shouldn’t be responsible for the full extent of your injuries.

Florida law expressly prohibits this defense tactic. Continue reading

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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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