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South Florida injury lawsuitEvery Florida injury lawsuit is different, and the law is always evolving. That’s why when you ask any lawyer a seemingly straightforward question, you almost always get: “It depends.”

That said, there are some common questions our Fort Myers personal injury lawyers have noticed frequently arise, whether we’re talking about car accidents, nursing home injuries, slip-and-falls or medical malpractice.

If you’re thinking of suing for a personal injury or wrongful death in the Sunshine State, here are five facts to know: Continue reading

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Florida product liability lawyerFlorida product liability claims can be the subject of complex legal battles, often owing to the difficulty in establishing the chain of commerce.

Under Florida law, when a product has been defectively designed or manufactured or when there are label defects, several entities may be held strictly liable. Potentially liable entities include the manufacturer as well as any others allegedly involved in the design, manufacturing, or sale of the product.

As our Florida product liability lawyers can explain, the chain of commerce has been raised in a growing number of injury cases in recent years aiming to hold accountable large e-commerce retailers like Amazon. If a store like Home Depot sells you a defective chainsaw and it causes serious injury, the store can be held liable because of its role in the chain of commerce. However, e-commerce makes it a little tricky. It’s been the position of Amazon that the doctrine of strict products liability doesn’t apply because e-commerce platforms don’t distribute, manufacture, or sell many of the products on the site. Rather, it asserts it is merely “an online marketplace.” Amazon insists it should be the third-party sellers who are legally responsible for dangerous product injuries.

However, that argument was rejected in a California appellate decision last year – the first of its kind at the state appellate court level. Although that ruling isn’t precedential for Florida, it could be instructive in future cases.

The ruling is particularly noteworthy considering more than 360 million products are sold on Amazon Marketplace a year in the U.S. alone. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 4,000 banned, unsafe and mislabeled products had been sold on the company’s platform. These products ranged from toys with choking hazards to defective motorcycle helmets. Dozens have resulted in federal lawsuits alleging serious injury and death. Continue reading

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South Florida personal injury lawyersWhen Florida personal injury lawyers take on a case, they’re frequently successful at negotiating a settlement – often before a lawsuit is necessary and long before the pre-trial or trial phase.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, there are very few cases that go to trial at all. Although many Hollywood depictions of the justice system focus on the courtroom drama of trials, the reality is trials are lengthy, expensive, often emotionally-trying. Most everyone involved in a civil case will aim to avoid the risk of going to trial if a fair resolution can be reached without one.

Another reason is that injury attorneys accept cases on something called a contingency fee basis. That means they aren’t paid attorney’s fees unless they win. If they do win, their fees are deducted as a percentage of the overall settlement amount or verdict award. Just speaking candidly, injury attorneys are unlikely to accept cases with extremely long odds. The good news about this for plaintiffs is, No. 1, they have the benefit of a frank assessment of how aggressively to pursue their case at the outset. No. 2, someone with a strong injury case won’t be hindered by a lack of an upfront payment.

All this said, when we are hired to take on a case, we don’t rush to settlement if it’s not advantageous for our client. Our goal is to secure the best possible outcome for them. That means meticulous investigation, skillful negotiation with insurers and the commitment to see the case to the best conclusion for our clients. As longtime civil trial lawyers, we have the experience to know when it’s wise to settle, when it’s best to pursue a trial and also how to prepare for either possibility. That’s another benefit of a contingent legal fee as the greater the amount of money that the lawyer can recover for you the greater their fee will be.

Our South Florida injury lawyers offer free initial consultations so that potential clients can get a no-risk, straightforward analysis of their chances of success and possible strategies.  Continue reading

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Florida distracted driving crashesFood delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, have been doing booming business in recent years. The online food delivery industry is now generating more than $26 million annually, and nearly one-third of Americans say they used food delivery services twice a week. But as their popularity has risen, so too have reported Florida distracted driving crashes attributed to their drivers.

Last year, there was the tragic case of an Uber Eats driver allegedly slamming into the back of a motorcycle in Tampa, killing a 19-year-old University of Tampa student on the rear of the bike and permanently injuring her brother, the operator. The 33-year-old food delivery service driver was reportedly on her phone making a delivery near campus when the crash occurred. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the police cited the driver for failure-to-yield, but the citation was tossed when the traffic officer failed to appear in court – a ruling the police department is appealing. No criminal charges have been filed, but the victim’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. They allege Uber, its subsidiary, and the driver are all liable for their daughter’s untimely death. Specifically, they say the driver was rushed and inattentive/on her phone, and that Uber is negligent in failing to train her and for encouraging driver distraction with a feature that prompts workers to communicate with customers while they’re driving. Plaintiffs also say the company hired the driver despite a poor driving record that included citations for speeding, carelessness, and a crash.

Similar cases have been reported from Boston to San Francisco. There are currently numerous, ongoing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against the drivers, vehicle owners, and delivery app companies.

Factors in Food Delivery Driver Crashes

The reality is food delivery drivers have always been slightly more prone to crashes, even before smartphones were everywhere. In fact, they have one of the highest occupational fatalities rates in the U.S. Primary factors driving up crashes for food delivery drivers: Continue reading

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Southwest Florida personal injury lawyerWhen it comes to civil litigation, there are many similarities and differences between Florida personal injury and wrongful death cases. As longtime South Florida injury attorneys, we will do our best to explain some of these – and why they matter.

Let’s start with some of the ways in which personal injury cases and wrongful death cases are analogous. To start, they are both torts, which are claims stemming from a wrongful act that resulted in legal liability. They can result from the same types of accidents, including:

  • Car accidents.
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Dangerous/defective products.
  • Dangerous property/premises liability.
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse.
  • Workplace accidents.

Both are claims for which civil litigants can pursue damages (financial compensation for losses). Further, both have a set period of time in which they can be filed, called a statute of limitations.

But there are numerous key differences, namely who files the claim, what type of damages they can collect and how much time they have to pursue it. Continue reading

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large truck crashesLarge truck crashes are on the rise throughout the U.S., according to a new report by federal safety regulators. This news comes just as trucking industry lobbyists have begun pushing hard for relaxed safety rules on things like hours of service and CDL age requirements to combat supply chain snags and driver shortages.

Fort Myers, Florida truck accident lawyers at Garvin Injury Law were troubled to learn that fatal accidents involving large trucks (those with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000+ pounds) reached nearly 4,500 in a single recent year. That’s the highest it’s been since 2005 when overall crash rates were at record highs. Factor in buses, and that figure shoots up to 5,230. About 1 percent of the total 550,000 large truck accidents reported each year are deadly, per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, the number of fatal crashes has gone up, even as the overall number of accidents has slightly fallen.

We also can’t overlook the fact that even when truck crashes aren’t deadly, people are frequently suffering injuries that are extremely serious if not catastrophic. There were 160,000 large truck crash injuries reported in 2019. Data shows us time and again that when someone is hurt or killed in a large truck accident, it’s the occupants of other vehicles – not the trucker –  bearing the brunt Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are also at high risk.

As for when/where large truck crashes are most likely to occur, the FMCSA gives the following breakdown:

  • 57 percent of all fatal large truck crashes occur in rural areas.
  • 25 percent occur on interstate highways, like I-75.
  • 13 percent fell in both categories, occurring on rural interstate highways.
  • 36 percent of all fatal truck accidents and 22 percent of all injury crashes occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • 83 percent of fatal trucking accidents happened on weekdays.

The largest percentage of drivers involved in fatal truck accidents are between the ages of 46 and 55. Continue reading

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Fort Myers personal injury claimsIn our many years practicing civil law, we have come to recognize there are many misconceptions surrounding Fort Myers personal injury claims. Some relate to the motivations of personal injury attorneys (no, we aren’t paid if we file frivolous claims that quickly get tossed). Others misconstrue how the processes works (no, you aren’t guaranteed a payout just because you were seriously hurt).

The reality is that Fort Myers personal injury claims are more complex than they might initially seem, and obtaining full and fair compensation isn’t the cake walk some presume. It often requires meticulous investigation and research, extensive consultations with expert witnesses and painstaking negotiations with hard-nosed (and well-prepared) defense attorneys.

If you’re hurt because of someone else’s wrongdoing, you may have a potential claim. It’s necessary in most cases to prove negligence, or that someone’s breach of a duty of care resulted in your injury. Injury lawyers often extend the courtesy of a free initial consultation, so it’s a good idea to at least reach out to one, even if you aren’t sure whether you have a case.

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South Florida injury lawsuitFlorida has some of the best outdoor recreation the country has to offer, with 8,400 miles of shoreline (including lakes and springs), 11 national parks and nearly 200 state parks, campgrounds, preserves, recreational areas and trailheads. Although we don’t have data for how many injuries occur at these sites every year, we do know that pursuing a Florida injury lawsuit after an incident may require overcoming the recreational use defense.

In any negligence lawsuit, a key question is whether the defendant owed the person injured a duty of care. The recreational use statute, codified in F.S. 375.251, limits the duty of care owed by the owner/manager of property to guests when the land, water or park areas have been made available to the public for recreational purposes without charge. The idea is to encourage land owners – including the government – to make areas available for public outdoor recreation by limiting their liability for injuries that may occur on site. The statute allows that if a landowner opens its land to the public for outdoor recreational use, it holds no duty of care to keep that area safe for entry or use by others and no duty of care toward a person who goes to the area and no duty to warn of hazardous conditions.

The statute broadly protects landowners against Florida premises liability claims, but it does not necessarily mean if you’re injured at a state park or on the beach in Florida that you can’t be compensated. If you are injured on private property that is open to the public for recreation, a complete analysis of the land ownership and whether the statute was strictly followed is important. It’s also important to discuss your legal options with a skilled Florida injury lawyer.

Continue reading

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Florida's careless driving statute Drivers who cause South Florida car accidents rarely intend to hurt anyone. However, Florida’s careless driving statute does not consider a driver’s intention. What matters is whether the driver was using reasonable regard for the laws and current road conditions. Failure to use reasonable care, the basic allegation in a careless driving traffic case, is also what injury lawyers assert when alleging negligence in many Florida crash cases. As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers can explain, a driver who is negligent failed to use reasonable care. They can be held legally liable to cover some – or all – of the resulting damages (assuming the injuries were serious enough to exceed the criteria set forth in F.S. 627.737).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates some 95 percent of crashes are caused by human error. Florida’s careless driving statute is outlined in F.S. 316.1925. It states anyone operating a vehicle on any street or highway in Florida, “shall drive … in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances, so as to not endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Failure to do so is careless driving.

Careless driving is frequently cited in cases like rear-end car accidents and failure-to-yield crashes. It’s also sometimes cited by officers in distraction cases, though if they can specifically prove it, they may assert a violation of F.S. 316.305, Florida’s distracted driving law. This provision bans not only texting while driving, but also emailing, instant messaging, and other forms of nonvoice interpersonal communication behind the wheel.

Allegations of careless driving may cross the threshold into “aggressive careless driving,” as defined in F.S. 316.1923, if two or more traffic violations occur at the same time or one right after the other.

Some examples of applicable violations: Continue reading

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Florida car accident injury riskA new analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that car accident injury risks are higher for women than men, though the reason appears to have little to do with physical differences. Rather, it comes down to the types of vehicles women tend to drive compared to men.

As our Fort Myers car accident injury lawyers know, men have long been known to be overrepresented in fatal crashes. Research suggests this is because men on average drive more miles and often engage in riskier driving behaviors (speeding, impaired driving and foregoing seat belts, etc.). But once IIHS researchers controlled for speed and other factors, they found women on a per-crash basis were nearly 30 percent more likely to be killed and 37-73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries.

They concluded this had to do largely with the types of motor vehicles women tend to drive. Once study authors limited comparison to similar crashes and vehicle types, the gender discrepancies mostly disappeared. Women are more likely to drive cars that are smaller and lighter. They’re also more likely than men to be driving the vehicle that is struck in front-to-rear and side-impact crashes. These types of crashes can result in more severe injuries.

Curiously, they did discover an unexplained phenomenon of women being especially prone to serious leg injuries compared to men, something researchers said “will require more investigation.” Continue reading

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