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Pedestrians and vehicle occupants are injured by hit and run and by uninsured drivers on a daily basis in Florida.  Although a driver who flees the scene of a car accident and uninsured in Florida might be liable for causing a crash and/or failing to stay and render assistance, legal claims for injuries caused by such drivers raise unique issues and special challenges.  Although a law enforcement investigation might result in tracking down a driver who flees the scene of an accident, many hit and run cases go unsolved every year.  Further, uninsured drivers might be “judgment proof,” so they have no viable means to satisfy a judgment or settlement.

When the at-fault driver cannot be located, the task of identifying a defendant with insurance or viable resources to pay a personal injury settlement or judgment can be difficult.  The legal theories that may be applicable to assign liability to a particular individual or entity will depend on the facts and circumstances of the crash.  States differ in terms of the specific legal theories recognized in the jurisdiction.  Therefore, car crash injury victims should promptly seek legal advice from an experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer who can analyze the situation and conduct research to determine the best way to pursue financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other forms of loss.

The Risk of a Crash Caused by an Uninsured or Hit and Run Driver Greater Than You Think

Although many drivers presume that their odds of being in a collision with a hit and run or uninsured driver are extremely low, real world data tells a different story.

  • Hit and runs rose to such epidemic proportions in Los Angeles during a recent year almost half of all crashes involved a driver who fled (USA Today)
  • Fatal crashes involving drivers who left the scene recently rose 13.7% during the same three year period that fatal collisions declined by 4.5 percent overall (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • 1 in 5 pedestrian accidents involve hit and run drivers (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
  • Approximately 29.7 drivers in the U.S. with no insurance
  • 2 million uninsured drivers in Florida

Another important factor that increases the risk that motorists or pedestrians will be involved in a collision with a hit and run driver is that poor drivers are more likely to flee the scene.  While any driver might panic and leave the scene of a crash to avoid criminal charges and civil liability, drivers have a greater motivation to flee from the scene of a crash if any of the following apply:

  • Record of prior accidents especially those resulting in injuries or deaths
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (currently and/or on prior occasions)
  • Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver’s license
  • Fleeing because he or she is at-fault
  • Lack of insurance

Uninsured drivers also tend to be among the worst drivers because their reason for driving without a license often involves a suspension or revocation based on prior accidents, tickets, or DUIs.  If you have been involved in a hit and run accident or a crash caused by an uninsured driver, we invite you to read Part II of this blog to learn more about you legal rights and options.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a crash with an uninsured or hit and run motorist, our Miami UM Claims Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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This blog post is Part II of a two-installment blog reviewing the dangers posed by vehicles that are exempt from the requirement of implementing vehicle defect recalls.  Many people do not realize that the requirement to ensure that safety defects are corrected on vehicles prior to making them available to consumers is limited to new vehicle sales.  Despite efforts to get defective rental cars and used cars off the road, consumers should confirm that a used car or rental can is not subject to a recall prior to purchasing or renting the vehicle.

Vehicles Exempt from Safety Recalls

Despite proposed legislation intended to close loopholes involving vehicles that are not required to fix defects, public safety remains dependent on voluntary action.  The law does not require that a rental car be repaired before it is rented to another customer following issuance of a safety recall.  Admittedly, certain rental car agencies voluntarily pull vehicles subject to recall out of circulation, but there are strong economic incentives not to take this step.  An article in Fortune magazine discussing this issue indicated that a major vehicle recall can impact one-third of a rental car company’s entire fleet of vehicles.

Under current federal law, a new car dealer cannot sell a vehicle subject to a safety recall until the issue has been fixed.  There is no similar requirement imposed on the sell or rental of cars from a rental car agency, used cars, or loaners.  The loophole is so large that used car dealerships, rental car companies, and dealerships that provide loaners do not even need to inform customers about significant safety recalls that affect a vehicle.

Danger of Fatal Accidents Caused by Unrepaired Vehicle Defects Claiming Lives

Although it might be tempting to dismiss this potential dangers as more theoretical than actual, the loophole that allows certain categories of defective vehicles to remain on our roads have caused traffic fatalities and catastrophic injuries, such as the following:

  • Two sisters tragically perished in a vehicle fire when they were driving a rental car that had been recalled because of a fire hazard.
  • A woman rented a car with an airbag that was subject to recall. She suffered significant injuries when her defective airbag failed to deploy during a crash.
  • A California Highway Patrol officer and three family members were involved in a horrific crash when their loaner Lexus suddenly accelerated unexpectedly until it reached a top speed of 120 mph. The vehicle went over an embankment and burst into flame.  Three vehicle occupants died in the crash.

These high profile examples demonstrate that unrepaired vehicle defects are actually causing harm to unsuspecting drivers and vehicle occupants who have no idea they might be driving a moving death trap.

Efforts to Require Compliance with Safety Recalls for All Vehicles Have Failed

Traffic safety advocates and lawmakers have been promoting new legislation to mitigate the danger posed by this loophole for years.  However, there is an increased urgency because of the seriousness and scope of recent vehicle defects.  Some rental car companies have voluntarily entered into an agreement not to re-rent recalled cars until safety issues have been addressed.  Unfortunately, these voluntarily measures have left millions of defective used vehicles and rental cars on our roads.

While federal lawmakers and regulators have been slow to formally respond to this risk, motorists are not without remedies when defects cause accidents.  When a defect causes a collision involving a vehicle exempt from recall requirements, the following parties might be liable for significant injuries or death:

  • Manufacturer of the vehicle
  • Rental car agency that re-rents the defective vehicle
  • Used car dealership that sells a defective vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer
  • New car dealership that furnishes a loaner to a customer while the customer’s car is

being serviced

These parties might be liable along with other negligent parties who constitute a substantial factor in causing an auto accident, such as other drivers, public entities, vehicle repair shops, vehicle owners, employers of negligent drivers and others.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or your family member have been injured in a Florida car crash, our Miami Auto Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

 

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With the arrival of summer, families are making vacation plans which might include getting a loaner car while you take your car in to get it serviced or making arrangements for a rental car.  While you might presume that used car dealerships and rental car agencies confirm that the cars they provide to customers are mechanically sound and comply with safety recalls, there is no factual basis for this assumption.  Although new car dealers are required to comply promptly with car defect safety recalls, this requirement of federal law does not apply to dealers that provide loaners, rental car companies, and used car dealerships.

2014 Brought a Record Number of Vehicle Safety Recall Defects

Although the loophole that exempts used cars, dealer loaners, and used cars from recalls has always posed a serious danger to the public, this risk has been magnified by the record number of recalls in 2014.  Last year, carmakers recalled a record 62,000,000 vehicles for safety defects.  The most prominent recalls that dominated the news involved faulty ignition switches and defective airbags.  General Motors (GM) recalled millions of vehicles because of a potentially deadly ignition switch defect.  The defect caused the switch to rotate into the off position while the vehicle was moving, disabling steering, brakes, and airbags.  GM ignition switch defects has claimed the lives of over a 104 people as of May 18, 2015.

While the ignition switch recall was limited to GM, the recall of airbags manufactured by Takata® involved as many as ten different automakers and constitutes the largest recall in history.  The airbags at issue rupture violently when they deploy causing metal shrapnel to be propelled at unsuspecting drivers.  The number of vehicles affected by the defective airbags continues to rise at the time of the writing of this blog post, but the toll claimed by the defect is currently at six fatalities and dozens of fatalities.

Along with these vehicle defects, recalls have been related to a range of other safety issues involving faulty fuel gauges, fire hazards, impaired steering, sudden brake failure, and other airbag defects.  The public was inundated with safety recalls, and over 700 recalls were announced during 2014.  The failure of Hyundai and GM to act promptly enough when implementing recalls even resulted in significant fines imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Given the massive number of safety issues with vehicles, loopholes that exempt rental cars, used vehicles, and loaners from recalls is concerning.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you or a love one has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, our Miami Car Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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The latest in a series of South Florida boating accidents involves a well-known nightclub promoter and his severely injured girlfriend.  A video clip has emerged depicting the small pleasure craft racing towards a seawall near Miami Beach.  The speeding boat T-bones the concrete wall, as Coast Guard personnel race to the scene.  The boat then slowly emerged and began to drift into Biscayne Bay.

The driver of the boat, a 42 year old man, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse but had reportedly turned his life around.  The other passenger on the boat was his 23 year old girlfriend, a Princeton University graduate. She suffered severe head injuries and was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition.  She is currently in a medically induced coma.  The driver is also in Jackson with broken ribs and a broken collarbone.  The accident is currently under investigation.  It has been suggested that the driver blacked out at the time of the accident.

Biscayne Bay Has Been Home to a Number of Boating Accidents in Recent Years

            South Florida, and Biscayne Bay in particular, has become the sight of a number of serious boating accidents as of late.  In May of last year, a large vessel operated by a popular radio personality struck a sand bar where a Voli Vodka party was taking place.  One man was killed after being sucked into the propeller.

Two months later, on July 4th, a 32 foot powerboat transporting five people slammed into a 36 foot vessel carrying eight passengers. The damaged boat then rammed a third vessel, bringing the death count to four and with another three injured and in critical condition.

How a Miami Boat Accident Attorney Can Help

            If you have been involved in a boating, jet ski, or other marine related accident, a boating attorney will prove invaluable. Your attorney will advise you as to the steps necessary to investigate, file, pursue, and litigate your claim against the at-fault party or parties responsible for your injuries.  Your attorney will launch an investigation into the boating related accident in order to protect your legal rights and strengthen your claim.  Investigations may include:

  • Investigating the scene of the accident and photographs
  • Researching the history of the vessel and any other similar accidents in the vicinity
  • Reviewing all relevant laws
  • Reviewing the boat operator’s credentials and driving history
  • Reviewing medical records as to your injuries
  • Consulting with expert witnesses and other witnesses who may have information as to the accident

Depending on the facts surrounding the accident, one or more parties may be responsible.  Common at-fault parties include boat operators, owners, manufacturers, and rental or sales companies.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Assistance with Boating and Other Accidents     

            If you have been injured in a boating related accident, the Miami Automobile Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. are here to help.  Our dedicated firm will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve from the party responsible for your injuries.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted accident victims in personal injury, and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Recently, three people were killed in an early morning car accident in Miami Lakes.  Investigators report that a red Nissan Altima was driving west on Miami Lakes Drive when the driver suddenly lost control at the intersection with North Miami Lakeway Road and slammed into a wall.  The car wound up wrapped around a light pole.  The accident occurred at about 1:20 a.m.

There were three people in the Altima, two women in their 30s and a man in his 40s.  All three occupants were killed on impact. The vehicle was damaged so badly that it was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office with the three bodies inside.

A nearby resident reports that during his 20 years living in the area, he has seen several crashes.  The mornings, he feels, are the most dangerous.  Investigators report that the driver of the vehicle was a single mother to a ten year old boy and studying to be a medical billing specialist.  It is believed speed was a factor in the crash and the potential role of drugs or alcohol is being investigated.

Miami Lakes Drive is a busy stretch of road.  During the police investigation, one vehicle drove past the speed limit sign, the police cruiser, and straight through the police tape.  A field sobriety test was administrated and the suspect was arrested for a possible DUI.

That same morning, officers responded to another speed related accident, this one occurring at Lejeune Road and Northwest 36th Street.  The driver was headed east when he lost control and crashed into a light pole on the median.  He died at the scene of the accident.

Speed is a Top Cause of Car Accidents

            Nearly one third of all car accidents can be attributed to speed.  The faster a car is traveling, the less time drivers have to react to obstacles or roadway hazards.  Speeding causes cars to lose control, swerve, hit cars ahead, and much more.  Some 13,000 lives a year are lost due to speeding.

Speeding is a deliberate behavior and when a speeding driver injuries another, he or she may be held accountable for the damages that ensue.  If you have been injured in a speed related crash, contact a licensed car accident attorney as soon as possible.  Your attorney will start by gathering evidence of the at-fault party’s excessive speed.  This could include photographing skid marks, checking traffic cameras, police reports, witness statements, assessing damages, and taking weather conditions into account.  With this evidence compiled, your attorney should be able to present a strong case for negligence on the part of the speeding driver.  Remember, the at-fault driver’s speed need not always be high to be considered excessive; road and weather conditions require speed adjustments and those who fail to take these conditions into consideration can be held accountable.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Award Winning Automobile Accident Attorneys   

            This recent tragic accident highlights the need for increased automobile safety.  If you have been injured in a car crash, the Miami Automobile Accident Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will fight to see that you obtain the recovery you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our experienced attorneys have assisted accident victims in car accident, personal injury, and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Recently, carbon monoxide poisoning killed a father and injured five others in an incident occurring at the Belle Isle Townhomes in Wilton Manors.  Detectives investigating the accident report that the father, a 43 year old, died attempting to save his family.  The family was returning from a trip and began unloading the vehicle in their garage.  They accidently left the car running for several hours.  The father evidently realized something was wrong and opened the garage door, collapsing near the door.  The man’s wife and daughter were unresponsive but alive when transported to Broward Health Medical Center.  A 29 and 30 year old in the apartment next door were found unconscious and treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Two dogs died in the incident and one cat.  Neighbors were the first to uncover the carbon monoxide accident when they noticed the garage door left open and saw the body of the fallen father.  Police report that had the family had carbon monoxide detectors, the death and injuries could have been avoided.

A review of the news shows that in the last week alone, at least 15 people have been killed across the country by carbon monoxide poisoning.  These statistics demonstrate the immense dangers posed by carbon monoxide.

Odorless and Colorless

            Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it lacks an odor or color.  This gas is the leading cause of poisoning deaths and injuries in the United States.  Carbon monoxide leaks are often the result of negligence on the part of an individual or entity, including:

  • Landlords or property owners
  • Repair companies and maintenance companies
  • Builders
  • Appliance manufacturers

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

            Inhaling carbon monoxide can lead to serious injury or death because this gas interferes with the body’s ability to supply oxygen to the brain and other organs.  CO is more dangerous than many other forms of toxic gas because it cannot be detected by the human eye or nose.  About 40,000 people die due to carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

Symptoms of CO poisoning can include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Light headedness
  • Flu like symptoms

These symptoms are often attributed to other, more common ailments.  As such, carbon monoxide poisoning victims may be exposed to prolonged gas, leading to serious and potentially life threatening injuries.

Carbon monoxide leaks can be the result of several issues, including clogged chimneys, exhaust vents, unvented heaters, or faulty appliances.  If an individual or entity lead to the CO gas leak, they may be held responsible for the injuries and damages sustained by carbon monoxide poisoning victims or their families.  A licensed personal injury attorney can review the accident to uncover whether negligence was a factor in the carbon monoxide poisoning.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Talented Miami Personal Injury Attorneys  

            If you have been injured in a carbon monoxide accident or any other sort of accident involving negligence, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will aggressively fight to see that you obtain the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication to legal excellence has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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In 2013, a series of explosions occurring at a Tavares, Florida gas plant rocked the state.  The accident injured eight people, five of them critically, after several explosions sent workers and local residents into a panic.  The Blue Rhino propane plant is located in northwest Orlando and refills propane tanks that are commonly used for barbeques and other heating purposes.  The plant holds at least 53,000 20 pound tanks at any given time at the premises. On the day of the explosions, there were 14 full time employees present and 10 part time.  Neighboring residents believed there were bombs going off as the massive explosions shook surrounding homes.  A huge fire erupted that could be seen from seven miles away and booms continued for over 30 minutes.

The propane plant was cited with a serious violation back in 2011 and became the subject of a serious investigation.  Two years after this incident, in Pensacola, an explosion ripped through the Escambia County Jail, killing two inmates.  The incident is believed to have been caused by a natural gas explosion.  Over 155 inmates were treated for injuries stemming from the massive explosion that nearly demolished the jail.

Causes of Gas Explosions

            A gas explosion is most often the result of negligence on the part of an individual or company.  Gas explosions, whether they involve natural gas or propane, are usually initiated by a gas leak of some sort combined with an ignition spark.  The negligent act can cause the leak or the spark that leads to the fateful explosion.

Gas tanks, pipelines, and valves are designed to be leak proof, meaning that when a gas leak does occur and causes an explosion, there is likely to be negligence somewhere in the chain of events.  Negligent actions could have occurred in the design, installation, manufacture, inspection, maintenance, or repair of a gas component.

Common causes of gas explosions include:

  • Leaking hoses or tanks
  • Poor or negligent maintenance
  • Defective control valves
  • Leaking hoses or tanks
  • Defective connectors
  • Improper installation

Gas Explosion Related Injuries

            Natural gas explosions, residential propane gas explosions, and house fires cause a number of severe injuries across the United States.  Some of the consequences of a gas explosion include:

  • Property damage
  • Burns, ranging from first to third degree
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Suffocation
  • Broken limbs
  • Disfigurement
  • Deafness
  • Death

What to Do If You Suspect a Gas Leak

            If you suspect gas is leaking in your home or workplace, you should vacate it immediately.  Call 911 and your utility company for assistance.  Do not attempt to turn off appliances or locate the leak.  The main sign of a natural gas leak is a rotten egg smell.  If an explosion does occur, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Award Winning Representation for the Victims of Natural Gas or Propane Related Accidents 

            If you have been injured in a gas related explosion, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will aggressively fight to see that you obtain the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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If you have been involved in a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of accident, you will likely have sustained a variety of damages.  Once you have established that the party responsible for the accident acted in a negligent manner, you will need to prove your damages.  Damages is a term that refers to all financial and emotional costs related to your injuries.

Damages are often the most important part of a personal injury case. If you cannot establish that you experienced financial and emotional costs related to your injuries, you will not have a viable personal injury case, no matter the level of negligence displayed by the defendant or defendants.

Types of Damages

            Damages in a personal injury case in Miami can be divided into tangible and intangible.  Tangible damages are those you can easily quantify and see.  They include all money spent on treating your injuries, as well as property damage.  Intangible damages, on the other hand, are harder to quantify and may not be visible to the naked eye.  They include emotional distress, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and other psychological effects.

Tangible damages are sometimes also referred to as economic damages, as they relate to concrete financial costs.  Intangible damages can also be described as non-economic damages due to their psychological nature.

Tangible Damages

            Potential tangible damages stemming from the accident include:

  • Hospital and doctors bills
  • Emergency transportation bills
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic bills
  • Out of pocket expenses, including medications, bandages, etc.
  • Estimates for damaged property
  • Lost wages

Intangible Damages

            Intangible benefits can include the following:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Proving intangible damages can be more challenging that tangible ones.  Evidence as to intangible damages may include reports from mental health counselors, the testimony of friends and family, psychological narratives, and any other evidence of emotional and mental anguish.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.  Unlike tangible and intangible damages, punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim.  Rather, they are awarded with the purpose of punishing the wrongdoer.  They will usually be capped at a certain percentage time the damage award, but can be quite substantial.  These damages will only be awarded in the case of recklessness or extreme negligence.

Your attorney will assist in gathering all evidence necessary of your tangible and intangible benefits.  This will include gathering extensive documentation from doctors and other professionals, as well as your workplace.  Your attorney will fight to see that you obtain compensation for all of your damages stemming from the accident by preparing appropriate evidence and presenting it in a thorough manner.  Once you have generated a final calculation as to all of your damages, you can strive to obtain a fair settlement or present your case at trial.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Seeking Full Compensation for Your Damages Sustained Due to Negligence

            If you have been injured in any sort of accident involving potential negligence, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. will aggressively fight to see that you obtain the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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If you have been involved in any sort of accident, you have likely heard the term “negligence.”  You may understand that in order for your Miami personal injury lawyer to prevail on your personal injury or wrongful death action, she needs to prove the defendant acted in a negligent manner.  Many accident victims, however, lack a full understanding of the important term negligence.

The following is a look at negligence, what it means, and how it is proven.

What is Negligence?

            Negligent conduct is conduct that falls short of what a reasonable person would do to prevent a foreseeable risk of harm.  In personal injury cases, a defendant can generally be held accountable for injuries and property damage that occur if their conduct falls short of reasonable standards.

What is Reasonable Conduct?

            Reasonable conduct will require an examination of the circumstances leading to the injury.  The court will analyze what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances, and compare that to the actual actions taken.

There is no one formula for negligence.  Opinions as to the reasonableness of conduct will vary from person to person and are influenced by the self-interest of others.  At times, negligence will be so clear there is hardly an argument against it.  Other times, negligence will be hotly contested and opinions may vary if a variety of individuals were polled.

Determining Negligent Conduct

            To uncover what behavior is negligent, you will need to consider whether, under specific circumstances, a person’s conduct was reasonable.  Courts will look to the totality of the circumstances to assess negligence.  A close review of the circumstances surrounding the accident will usually reveal useful evidence for or against a finding of negligence.

For instance, take the following car accident scenario:  Brian was driving to work as he does every weekday morning.  It was foggy, so he turned his fog lights and slowed his speed to about 40 mph, as did the other vehicles on the highway.  As he exited the roadway, he ran suddenly into the back of a pickup truck driven by Alice.  Alice did not have her lights turned on at the time of the accident.   Alice and her passengers were injured.  They sued Brian claiming he was negligent for following too closely.

Most rear-end accidents involve negligence on the part of the second or following vehicle. However, in this scenario, negligence is not so clear.  Brian had his lights safely on and was traveling at a reasonable speed.  He did not see the pickup’s lights, indicating they were not on.  The court in this case would consider:

  • How would a reasonable driver have acted under the circumstances?
  • What would have been reasonable conduct?
  • Was Brian’s conduct negligent?

It is likely in this case that Brian would not be found negligent.  Looking to the totality of the circumstances, he acted reasonably by slowing down.  Due to the fog, he could not and should not have known a vehicle was in front of him because Alice did not have her lights on.

Each accident will require such a thorough analysis of negligence.  Your attorney will assess the accident and assist in determining negligence.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Award Winning Miami Personal Injury Attorneys

            If you have been injured in any sort of accident involving potential negligence, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has handled a wide variety of personal injury claims across South Florida.  We will fight for your  full compensation from the negligent party, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our dedication and talent has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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Each year, over 70,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the nation for non-fatal gunshot injuries.  Another 30,000 will die due to unintentional shootings, as well as homicides and suicides.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that gun accidents cause more than 15 percent of all injuries and deaths from gunshot wounds.

Children, who are often unaware of the dangers of firearms or lack the control necessary to safely handle a gun, are tragically sometimes involved in gun related incidents.  Recently, the was a gun accident in Florida where a two year old boy was killed after fatally shooting himself with his father’s gun.  In Idaho, a toddler accidently discharged a handgun, killing his mother.  Several incidents occurred in a short time frame in Texas, with a three year old and four year old accidently shooting themselves and a five year old critically injuring his sibling.

On average, 62 kids per year die from gun related accidents like those described above.  In addition to these purely accidental shootings, there have been a number of highly publicized school shooting involving older teens who were able to obtain guns from their parents to shoot others.

Parent’s Liability for Gun Related Accidents

            In most cases, parents are deemed legally responsible for the actions of their children.  This means that if a minor injures another with a firearm, the parents may be held accountable and be required to provide compensation to the victim or the victim’s family.

Parents who fail to safely secure firearms out of the reach of children can be considered inherently negligent.  In the event that a child gets a hold of an unsecured firearm and discharges it, causing injury or death to another, the injured victim or their family may pursue a civil action against the parents.

Liability in the Event of School Shootings

            School shootings present another complex area of potential liability.  Each day across the United States, parents send their children to school expecting that they will be kept safe while receiving an education.  Schools, sadly, have become the site of shootings, stabbings, and other attacks.

The victims of school violence or their families may have several different avenues for recovery in the event of a school shooting or other act of violence.  One possible defendant will be the school itself.  Federal and state laws require schools provide adequate supervision to students, including responding to threats and taking actions to prevent violence.  A school’s failure to address a potential threat and provide appropriate action or security could lead to liability in a personal injury or wrongful death action.

Shooting victims or their families can seek compensation for their medical expenses, mental and emotional pain and suffering, disability, burial and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and much more.  Contact an attorney immediately if you or your child has been injured in a gun related incident.

Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, P.A.:  Dedicated Representation for Shooting Accident Victims

            Gun violence is on the rise and sadly children are often the responsible parties.  The Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. assist victims of all sorts of accidents and wrongful acts.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has handled a wide variety of personal injury claims across South Florida.  We will fight for your civil compensation against the at-fault party, which may include parents or supervisors.  Our dedication and talent has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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