Heavy Summer Rains Cause Accidents in South Florida

September 10, 2014

South Florida summers are well known for their deluge of heavy rains. In Florida, heavy rain can strike unexpectedly and often leads to car accidents. Our recent wet weather has caused several accidents throughout the Miami-Dade area, and many more throughout the state. Rain causes thousands of car accidents nationally each year as rain diminishes visibility and creates slick conditions.

One of the main problems with heavy rain is that many drivers simply do not understand how to drive safely in it. Rain tends to lead to two types of drivers: the reckless drivers and the excessively timid. Both types of drivers can cause accidents during slick conditions. Overly timid drivers tend to exaggerate the dangers of rain and drive at unreasonably low speeds. It irks me when drivers who are moving put their 4-way emergency flashers on. It is against the law to put on a vehicle's emergency flashers due to rain. It makes sense if you think about it. When you see a car or truck with it's flashers on you naturally assume it's broken down and stopped. This ca and has caused many serious injuries. In heavy rain you should pull safely off the road if you are not confident or slow for the conditions. When the weather limits the number of available lanes, as heavy rain can do, this type of driver can cause traffic to back up and increase the risk of rear end accidents. Reckless drivers, on the other hand, ignore the dangers of wet weather and drive at full speed or even greater, even when conditions are slick and visibility low. These drivers pose a major hazard to all road users.

Our Miami car accident lawyers have prepared the following list of tips designed to help you stay safe during this summer rainy weather:

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Amusement Park Accidents

September 3, 2014

When people think about the injuries that happen at theme and water parks throughout Florida, the images of roller coasters derailing, safety bars failing to engage, and other dramatic events likely spring to mind, but there are many more basic safety problems that exist at these locations. A guest at one of these parks is more likely to slip and fall on a wet bathroom floor or trip over a piece of landscaping that has made its way into the middle of a walkway than be injured in a sensational ride incident.

There are hundreds of amusement parks and attractions in the State of Florida, leading to injuries every day. The skilled Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 130 years of collective experience in getting the results that our clients deserve after someone else's negligence led to a serious accident. If you were injured while enjoying an amusement park, regardless of the nature of the accident, we will do everything possible to get you the compensation that you need to recover from the harm that you suffered. We have successfully brought injury claims against the Dade County Youth Fair, Disney, Universal and many other parks and carnivals in Florida.

One of the big problems at an amusement park is the water rides, wading pools, lazy rivers, and other attractions involving water. Although there are potential dangers from the pools themselves, there is a big problem that results from the puddles of water that guests leave all around the attractions, including on surrounding decks, walkways, and restroom facilities. These wet areas are a real safety hazard. Although there are some falls where a child simply will suffer from a skinned knee and there are no further complications, if these wet areas are not handled properly, there can be dangerous falls leading to the following:

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Poor Lighting and Dangerous Accidents

August 31, 2014

Safety depends on many things, but one of the most critical components is having lighting sufficient to illuminate interior and exterior areas as well as walkways in order to keep people safe from preventable accidents and violent crimes. Many times, a homeowner, property manager, or commercial property owner will fail to install or maintain adequate lighting, leading to dangerous conditions.

If you were injured as the result of insufficient lighting, there may be something that you can do to get the compensation that you need to recover from your injuries and deal with the emotional consequences of the harm that you suffered. The skilled Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. are ready to fight on your behalf. Our firm has more than 130 combined years of experience in advocating for our clients and we are ready to work hard for you.

The owner or manager of a property has an obligation to maintain the premises in a safe manner. While this responsibility takes different forms depending on whether it is a commercial property or a private residence, there is a duty to ensure the safety of guests and invitees, and to a lesser extent even trespassers. If there is inadequate lighting in a private home or building, a warning to guests may be sufficient, while the owner or manager of a commercial building may have to take more active steps to protect the well-being of those on the premises.

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Motorcycle Driver and Passenger Die in Fatal Crash

August 25, 2014

There are many motorcycle accidents all over the state of Florida. They also happen when Florida residents travel out of the state on their bikes in order to enjoy the open road. Many of these accidents involve cars that failed to observe the biker and moved over into the path of the bike, failed to stop in time, or turned in front of the bike. In May, there was a serious motorcycle crash up in New Hope, Alabama where a motorcycle carrying a married Florida couple pulled out of a business parking lot and onto the roadway with deadly consequences.

Motorcycle accidents frequently involve serious injuries for the biker because of the lack of protection that these riders have on their bikes. When the accident is caused by the negligence of another driver, it is possible to get the compensation that a victim needs to recover from his injuries. In the event of a fatality, the knowledgeable Miami motorcycle accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 120 collective years of experience in getting the victim's loved ones money to carry on after their tragic loss.

In the case of the New Hope accident, the husband and wife of the bike were both killed. The investigation into the cause of the accident still is ongoing, but this accident shows that the riders usually face far more serious harm than the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash. When our firm investigates a crash, we look at the facts of the case to determine who was negligent in the terrible crash. Frequently, the biker is blamed completely for the accident, but many times, the other driver is partially or completely at fault.

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Swimming Pool Accidents in Florida

August 21, 2014

During the hot Florida summer months, swimming pools offer children and adults alike a refreshing way to escape the heat. Florida is home to over a million of swimming pools, from public pools to private pools, water parks, apartment complex pools, hotel pools, and more. While a safely constructed and maintained pool can offer hours of fun and enjoyment, pools can quickly become a hazard if not properly supervised or maintained. Sadly, many pools across South Florida become the site of a drowning or near drowning and other preventable pool accidents each and every summer.

Each year, over 1,000 children die by drowning in swimming pools. Another 5,000 are hospitalized due to pool related accidents and near-drowning. Studies show that most young children are drawn to the water but are not aware of the potential dangers it holds. Close supervision of all children while in or around the pool is essential, whether it be at your own pool, a public pool, hotel, or elsewhere. In addition to parental supervision, property owners are required to take proper precautions to protect young swimmers who could enter their pools.

Common Causes of Florida Swimming Pool Accidents

Swimming pool accidents occur in a wide variety of circumstances. Our Miami personal injury lawyers find some of the most common causes of swimming pool accidents include the following:

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Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives During Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents

August 19, 2014

Many of our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys ride for pleasure or to commute, so we know that left turn motorcycle accidents are particularly common. Motorcycle crashes involving a left turn usually involve a car executing a turn across the lane in which a motorcycle is traveling, such as turning at an intersection or pulling out of a driveway or strip mall parking lot. When the driver of a passenger car violates a motorcyclist's right of way by turning immediately in front of a bike, the rider may be left with virtually no option for avoiding the collision. Under circumstances like these, the risk of a collision is almost unavoidable for the rider, so measures to mitigate the injuries suffered in such a motorcycle crash become especially important.

Motorcycle Helmet Use Has Fallen Dramatically Since Florida's Universal Helmet Law Repeal

Although many riders object to the notion of mandatory helmet laws, there is no question that Florida's decision to repeal the state's universal helmet law has resulted in more head injuries and fatalities in crashes like left turn motorcycle accidents. Chanyoung Lee, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research, told the SunSentinel that 98 percent of riders in the state wore motorcycle helmets before the state repealed its universal helmet law in 1990.

Many public safety experts would contend that since Florida riders were given a choice, the number of riders deciding to ignore this valuable piece of safety equipment has increased to alarming levels. According to a recent Florida Department of Transportation study, helmet use in among those who ride in Florida has plummeted to only 51 percent. This drastic decline suggests a difference between expressed attitudes about motorcycle helmet use and actual behavior. A Florida study conducted last year revealed that almost three in four riders considered it important for motorcycle enthusiast to wear a helmet.

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Anatomy of a Left Turn Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Florida

August 14, 2014

While some riders might think that all personal injury attorneys are equally qualified to handle a left turn motorcycle accident, the most effective motorcycle collision claims are presented by attorneys who have experience with two-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycles present unique issues that are not present with other motor vehicle claims, including the unique vehicle dynamics of two-wheeled vehicles and the prejudices of others with whom motorcyclists share the road.

Motorcycles offer significant benefits over four wheeled vehicles, such as fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, minimal wear and tear on roadways and relief of traffic congestion. Despite these benefits, many drivers of car, trucks and SUVs still harbor traditional stereotypes of motorcyclists as reckless high-risk daredevils. These biases and lingering prejudices must be confronted when insurance companies and drivers of other vehicles attempt to shift the blame for a motorcycle accident to the rider. Our experienced Miami motorcycle accident lawyers have provided an overview of some of the key issues faced by injury victims in left turn motorcycle accident lawsuits.

Speeding Defense in Motorcycle Left Turn Crashes

The most common claim made by motorists that crash into a motorcycle or cut off a motorcycle while the motorist is executing a left hand turn is that the motorcycle "came out of nowhere." The implication of this statement is that the motorcyclist was speeding. Although sometimes drivers of passenger cars fabricate such claims, there also are many cases where motorists who never ride motorcycles believe such a claim because motorcycles sound fast even when they are idling or in first gear.

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Fatal Florida Motorcycle Accidents: Substance Impaired Drivers Pose a Serious Danger to Riders

August 7, 2014

Drivers impaired by an intoxicating substance like drugs or alcohol pose a serious accident risk to everyone else on the road. However, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to being injured or killed in a collision caused by a drunk driver. The lack of any barrier between a rider's body and the hard surface of the roadway as well as the lack of other types of safety equipment like airbags or seatbelts creates a much higher risk of suffering life-altering injuries. Our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcycles also offer less stability when attempting to avoid a collision with a drunk driver who suddenly executes a left turn in front of a rider without checking to determine that it is safe to turn.

While operating any form of motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance increases the likelihood of a crash, motorcyclists are especially likely to suffer severe injury or death in an impaired driving-related accident. Studies reveal that 40-45 percent of all motorcyclists who suffer fatal injuries have been drinking according to the Motorcycle Handbook published by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles. Riders should never operate a motor vehicle after drinking even if the rider is not over the .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) legal limit. Two-thirds of motorcyclists who suffer fatal injury with alcohol in their system have a BAC level below the legal limit. Whether the drunk driver is the motorcyclist or the driver of a passenger car, motorcyclists die in ninety percent of crashes that involve abuse of substances.

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Why the "Novelty" of Non-Certified Helmets Wears Off Fast in a Miami Motorcycle Collision

July 14, 2014

While most motorcyclists recognize the value of a helmet in preventing or minimizing head injuries, the growing popularity of novelty helmets reveals that not all helmets are created equal. Although novelty helmets might make a trendy fashion statement, they might offer no more protection than electing not to wear a helmet at all. To make matters worse, an increasing number of cheap knock-off helmets imported from China can be hard to distinguish from properly certified helmets. A study of head impact attenuation tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reached the alarming conclusion that novelty helmets showed a 100 percent likelihood of brain injuries or skull fractures.

Comparing Performance of Novelty Helmets and Certified Helmets in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle helmets that comply with minimum federal safety standards set forth by FMVSS No. 218 have been determined to be highly effective in reducing the number of traumatic brain injuries and wrongful deaths in serious motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers find that many riders are left unprotected because they do not realize that their novelty helmet offers little if any protection in the event of a collision. Although helmets that meet minimum safety standards are required to include a "DOT" symbol, imported novelty helmets often bear counterfeit DOT labels.

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Nursing Home Slip and Falls in South Florida

July 7, 2014

When the decision is made to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted care facility (ALF), it involves much contemplation and investigation in order to ensure that the new home is safe and secure and meets all of the physical and emotional needs of the person who will be living there. When the negligence of the facility administration or staff leads to a terrible accident, the physical and psychological consequences to your loved one is traumatic.

Unfortunately, accidents where residents fall in South Florida nursing homes are all-too-common. The dedicated and knowledgeable Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 120 years of collective experience in understanding how to gather the necessary information to show whose negligence was responsible for the harm suffered by your loved one. We have represented hundreds of slip and fall victims, trip and fall victims and those who have fallen at nursing homes who did not follow established fall prevention protocols.. We have recovered millions of dollars for these victims.

In a nursing home, there are many different hazards that can lead to a slip and fall injury, including:

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Slip and Fall Injury at a Florida Mall

June 30, 2014

South Florida has some of the most interesting and enticing malls in the country. However, what happens when a person goes to visit a mall and falls in one of the common areas or store fronts? Unfortunately, this situation happens every day and some of the injuries are so severe that they may irreversibly change a person's life.

When a person has been injured in a slip and fall accident at a mall, there are many questions about who was responsible and who is liable for the harm that the fall victim experienced. The skilled and hardworking South Florida premises liability attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have spent more than 120 years, collectively, getting justice for victims of fall accidents. To compensate these victims for the harm that they suffered, our firm has negotiated settlements and won jury awards totaling tens of millions of dollars.

There are three categories that apply to people who are present on the premises of a person or business:

• Trespasser - This is a person who enters the premises without the permission of the owner, renter, or manager;
• Licensee - A person specifically is invited for a limited purpose or amount of time; or
• Invitee - The individual is extended an open invitation as part of the public.
A mall is opened to members of the public. Therefore, patrons are owed a duty of care that the premises will be maintained in a reasonably safe manner.

Patrons of malls go there to find that certain item, locate the ideal gift, or simply window shop and create wish lists. What they do not expect is to encounter a dangerous condition that resulted from the negligence of those in charge of the space. The individuals or companies that own and operate the malls, and the individual store spaces within the mall, have an obligation to ensure that customers are reasonably safe within the limits of the mall property. This means that the various spaces need to be clear of dangerous hazards. In the large spaces occupied by most malls, this means that:

• The walkways and common areas must be kept free from debris, floors must be maintained without gaps, bulges, or missing tiles or carpet, and there must not be dangerous, wet, or slippery areas;
• Escalators must be maintained in good working order, without any loose or projecting equipment;
• Elevators must function smoothly, without abrupt starts or stops. In addition, they must be inspected and maintained regularly;
• Stairs and rails must be properly constructed and maintained; and
• Any other dangerous condition that a reasonable owner or manager would have discovered should be corrected before it led to the accident and subsequent harm.
There are many different parties that may be liable for the harm suffered by a mall patron, including:
• The owner of the mall;
• The development or management company responsible for the mall;
• Any owners or managers of the individual retail stores on the mall property; or
• The company or individuals responsible for the maintenance of the property.
It may require some investigation to determine who is ultimately responsible for the harm that the slip and fall victim suffered. In some cases, there are multiple parties who are liable for the damages.

Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. Works Hard for Slip and Fall Victims

A victim of a slip and fall accident may experience many things after the accident, including the struggle to recover from the injuries that were suffered. Many times it is difficult to know where to turn for answers. As a victim of the negligence of others, you can rely on the knowledgeable premises liability attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A to discover the solutions that you need. Our firm has more than thirty years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. Our determination to get justice for our clients has led to an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and a vote as a top-rated South Florida law firm by the Miami Herald. In addition, the prestigious legal society, Primerus, invited our firm to join. To schedule a time to discuss your case, please call (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website

Will Hair Follicle Drug Testing Reduce Rear-End Trucking Accidents?

June 23, 2014

When you are involved in a rear impact trucking accident, you can suffer devastating permanent injuries because of the enormous force caused by a motor vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds. When an 18-wheeler rear-ends a small passenger vehicle that has stopped for a stop sign, red light or traffic congestion, driver inattention and impairment by an intoxicating substance constitute the most common causes of these crashes. Because many trucking companies use a compensation system based on the miles traveled, commercial drivers have a strong incentive to disregard hours of service (HOS) rules that are designed to reduce the risk of fatigue based trucking accidents. Sometimes commercial drivers resort to use of stimulants like methamphetamine so that they can drive longer. Our Miami trucking accident lawyers know that while driver logbooks are theoretically designed to provide a deterrent to HOS violations, drivers can frequently manipulate these records.

Because of the significant risk associated with a stoned or drunk driver operating a tractor-trailer, trucking companies are required to conduct pre-employment screening of new hires. Commercial carriers also are required to conduct random drug testing during an employee's tenure and after a trucking collision. Unfortunately, reliance on urine testing as opposed to hair follicle testing compromises the effectiveness of substance abuse screening. Legislation is currently pending in Congress (H.R. 3403) to authorize pre-employment hair follicle tests as opposed to urine testing. The impetus behind the bipartisan bill, sponsored by Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Rick Crawford (R-AR), is that under current drug and alcohol screening rules many truck drivers pass their pre-employment urine test but fail random drug testing after they have been hired. We urge each an every reader, their families and friends to contact their elected representatives to require this testing. If passed lives will be saved and many will avoid serious injury.

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Florida Slip and Fall Accidents Involving Seniors

June 18, 2014

Slip and fall accidents in grocery stores, restaurants, bars, malls and on other commercial, public and residential premises are among the most misunderstood types of personal injury claims. Media sources and the insurance industry often minimize the seriousness of a slip and fall accident as more damaging to the ego than the human body. Many such depictions even suggest that fall victims' injury claims are exaggerated or fabricated. The reality is that slip and fall accidents can cause devastating life-altering injuries. With the average age of the U.S. population growing, the high risk of permanent injury to seniors from falls caused by the failure of property owners to clean up or warrn of slippery floors poses a significant cause for concern as trip and fall hazards.

A cursory review of the data from the National Safety Council on slip and fall accidents nationally reveals that falls involving seniors are both common and serious. One in three people age 65 or older suffers a fall each year across the country. These falls cause the death of over 18,000 elderly victims annually, which is four times greater than any other age group. In addition to the high number of fatalities in slip/trip and fall accidents involving seniors, there are many more seniors who suffer debilitating injuries like hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that cause permanent impaired physical and mental functioning, as well as a premature loss of independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries nationally involving those 65 and above.

Slip and fall accidents involving the elderly often occur because property owners fail to maintain their property, clean up spills or repair uneven sidewalks and driveways. Generally, commercial, public and even residential property owners (depending on the circumstances) have a duty to either clear hazards that may cause a fall or provide adequate warnings. Property management companies, landlords, tenants and others may also be liable for negligence in keeping the premises safe or warning visitors about the potential hazard.

However, slip and fall cases are fact intensive. Therefore, our Miami personal injury lawyers carefully investigates slip and fall accidents so that we can identify key facts which may include:

• Length of time hazard was present
• Nature of the hazard
• Efforts to clean up the substance
• Employee knowledge of the presence of the unsafe condition
• Prior accidents on the property related to a similar hazard
• Building and safety code violations
• Adequacy of lighting
• Accident report
• Statements of witnesses
• Nature of the property commercial, residential or public
• Video surveillance footage
• Prior reports by patrons regarding the hazard

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Am I Entitled to Damages in a Left Turn Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit If I Was Speeding?

June 9, 2014

While any motorcycle enthusiast recognizes the vulnerability of riders to the unsafe driving practices of other motorists, this may not be sufficient to discourage a rider from speeding. The power of a motorcycle is part of its allure, so it is hardly surprising that riders sometimes violate the posted speed limit. Our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers know that some injured motorcyclists presume that the fact that they received a speeding citation means that they cannot recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages following a left turn motorcycle accident. Although the fact that a rider was speeding may impact the amount of damages recovered in a lawsuit, the speeding violation will typically not be an absolute bar to a claim.

How Insurance Companies Exploit Motorcyclists' Speeding Violations in Left Turn Accident Lawsuits

Frequently, motorcyclists are cut off by the driver of a passenger car who violates the rider's right of way by turning immediately in front of the rider. The rider may have no time to navigate around the passenger car or stop. Because motorists who violate a rider's right of way in this type of accident face a substantial risk of liability, insurance companies for motorists look closely for unsafe practices by the riders, such as speeding. Because bikes moving at a higher rate of speed need more braking distance, offer fewer evasive options and collide with more force, the insurance company may argue that the accident would not have occurred had the motorcyclist been observing the speed limit. Alternatively, the carrier for the driver of the car might contend that the severity of a motorcyclist's injuries were a function of the rider's speeding violation.

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Why You Need an Experienced Miami Slip and Fall Attorney

June 1, 2014

When someone is injured in a slip or trip and fall in a grocery store in Miami or the surrounding areas of Florida, they can suffer painful debilitating injuries, such as fractures, head injuries or back injuries. While those who fall because of a damp floor or a "transitory foreign substance" might be legally entitled to money as compensation, these cases require a careful investigation and analysis of the facts. The Florida Supreme Court defined the phrase "transitory foreign substance" in Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So.2d 315, 317 (Fla. 2001) as "any liquid or solid substance, object or item located where it does not belong." The Owen decision essentially created a rebuttable presumption that a premises owner had failed to maintain his or her property in a reasonably safe condition if a transitory foreign substance was present on the floor. However, the law has shifted since this decision, so a skilled and experienced Miami slip and fall attorney is essential to gather the evidence to prevail in these fact intensive cases. Think of it this way. No store owner is responsible for following every customer to insure that they do not spill something which might cause another to fall. That burden is too high. But, what store owner's must do is have a program in effect to periodically check for potentially dangerous conditions, block them off, warn about them and clean them as soon as possible.

The Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute § 768.0755 along with other legislation shifted the evidentiary burden in slip and fall cases back to injury victims. Under Section 768.0755, slip and fall victims in cases involving transitory foreign substances must prove that the owner of the premises or party in possession had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard. Constructive knowledge by the business may be established by the duration of time the hazard was present or the frequency of the hazardous condition, which made if foreseeable. Trained lawyers who practice in the area of fall injuries know the right questions to ask to determine if this element is present.

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