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

Continue reading "Florida Slip and Fall Accidents Involving Seniors" »

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.

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

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.

Continue reading "Why You Need an Experienced Miami Slip and Fall Attorney" »

The Fatality Risk Posed by Vans and Trucks making Left Hand Turns in front of Motorcycles Resulting in Crashes in Florida

May 27, 2014

With the summer weather rapidly approaching, left turn motorcycle accident season has nearly arrived. While the warm weather makes riding a motorcycle appealing, many motorists are not yet accustomed to looking out for bikes in the first few weeks of the summer. Motorcyclists must be extra vigilant when riding in the early stages of the summer while drivers of passenger cars become more accustomed to sharing the road with two-wheeled vehicles. One of the most common and dangerous types of motorcycle accident during this period is where a car or truck makes a left hand turn cutting off the path of a motorcycle.causing a crash.

A left turn accident involving a car or truck striking a motorcycle often occurs when the driver of a car, truck or SUV exits a parking lot or driveway by make left hand turns without checking adequately for approaching motorcycles. The motorcyclist often has no viable evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with the larger passenger vehicle. Predictably, the motorcyclist typically bears the brunt of the impact when cars and motorcycles collide. It is important to remember that any driver must first see a potential danger and then send a message to their brain and have the brain react. The time it takes to react is called "Reaction time." It is critical to remember that during the period of reaction time (often 1.5-2.5 seconds,) the car, truck or SUV is moving forward without slowing or taking evasive action.

Our Miami personal injury law firm has often used "Time Sequence Analysis" to show where a vehicle was when it should have perceived a danger, how far it traveled during the "Reaction Time" (which is dependant upon speed - the faster a vehicle is going te more feet it covers in a second) and then what action was taken to avoid the collision. With this approach we have bee very successful in showing how our client's could not have avoided impact and injury.

Continue reading "The Fatality Risk Posed by Vans and Trucks making Left Hand Turns in front of Motorcycles Resulting in Crashes in Florida" »

Slip and Falls in Florida Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

May 16, 2014

Everyday people throughout Miami-Dade County and the rest of Florida make trips to supermarkets and grocery stores of all varieties and sizes. Whether you are visiting a large chain grocery store like Publix or Whole Foods or a small gas station convenience store, wet, sticky or uneven floors are a common hazard because of spilled drinks, jars that fall from shelves and water tracked in during a rainstorm.

Slip and fall lawsuits can be challenging because subtle distinctions in the evidence can have a major impact on the case in terms of proving actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition or establishing that the hazard was not one that should have been obvious to a shopper. Since Miami grocery store slip and fall accident lawsuits require extensive investigation and persuasive presentation of the facts, your selection of a Florida personal injury lawyer with experience handling supermarket slip and falls can significantly impact your settlement or verdict.

Continue reading "Slip and Falls in Florida Grocery Stores and Supermarkets" »

Examining Fatal Car Accidents in Florida

April 21, 2014

On January 20, 2014, a violent crash in southwest Miami-Dade killed three people and sent three others to the hospital. The wreck occurred at about 1:45 a.m. in the area of Southwest 144th Street and Krome Avenue. Erik Betancourt, a 19 year old, was driving southbound on Krome Avenue when he collided head on with another vehicle.

Betancourt had three passengers in the car, and the other vehicle had one passenger. Gisele Betancourt, just 15, and the driver and passenger of the other vehicle were killed in the accident. Erik Betancourt and his two other passengers, Julissa Ochoa and Samuel Domifilo, were transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

One month later, Daniela Perez, 14, was killed when Arnaldo Campo Romaguera, 43, lost control of his Chevy Trailblazer. Romaguera was heading west on Julia Tuttle Causeway when he lost control of the SUV carrying seven people. The SUV struck a guardrail, overturned, and landed on its roof in a grassy embankment. Perez was ejected from the vehicle, killing her instantly. She was the only fatality, though the driver and all passengers sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, in close by Tampa, a fiery head on collision left five people dead. In this crash, an SUV was traveling the wrong way on Interstate 275 when it hit a Hyundai Sonata, carrying four fraternity members from the University of South Florida in Tampa. All four Sigma Beta Rho passengers were killed, as was the driver of the SUV.

Approximately 3,000 individuals are killed on Florida roadways each year, and 30,000 perish nationally. In fact, someone is killed every 13 seconds in the U.S. With this in mind, our Miami car accident lawyers have prepared the following list of the top causes of fatal car accidents in Florida. This list is intended to help you understand the potential hazards on the roadways so that you can stay safe while driving.

Continue reading "Examining Fatal Car Accidents in Florida" »

Injured While Food Shopping: A Look at Supermarket Falls in Florida

April 19, 2014

Grocery shopping is something most of us do on a weekly basis. In fact, studies show the average American will travel to the supermarket 1.7 times per week. The grocery store is a bustling place, with an average of 42,000 items on store shelves, often 50 plus employees, and many consumers rushing to fill their carts. In the midst of all this activity, falls sometimes happen. Supermarket falls have garnered national attention due to a few high profile slips.

There are two central causes of a supermarket fall: slipping or tripping. Shoppers often slip on slippery surfaces in the store, such as spilled liquid or fallen fruits that then become slippery. Trips can occur from uneven surfaces or misplaced items in the grocery store, such as mats not rolled out correctly or ill placed magazine racks.

In Florida, our Miami personal injury lawyers know that those who slip and fall in a supermarket may be able to seek compensation from the store owner for their damages stemming from the accident under premises liability law. In 2010, Florida reformed its premises liability laws, now requiring that slip and fall plaintiffs prove the store owner, or an employee, had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition and failed to remedy it. For instance, in a case involving a customer slipping on a discarded grape, the court will look to how long the grape was present (as evidenced by its coloring and cleanliness), whether employees passed through the area, and if any complaints were made as to spilled fruit, among many other factors.

Publix is the most popular grocery chain in Florida, and has been home to a number of slip and fall injuries. The following is a look at some actual cases resulting in favorable outcomes for slip and fall plaintiffs against Publix:

Continue reading "Injured While Food Shopping: A Look at Supermarket Falls in Florida" »

Deadly Weekend for South Florida Pedestrians

April 15, 2014

The weekend of March 21, 2014 proved deadly for South Florida walkers after two adults and a child died and three other individuals were injured by car crashes. Our Miami personal injury lawyers know how these deaths have sadly become a part of South Florida's lethal history for walkers:

• On a Friday night, in Coral Springs, two men were crossing North University Drive around 9 p.m. They were midway across when they were hit by a vehicle. Jose Gutierrez, a 22 year old young man, died instantly as a result of his injuries, while 20 year old Tyler Sanders-Nielson was airlifted to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach with life-threatening injuries.

• Twenty-four hours later, four year old Abdallah Staih, his mother Natalie Munzer Alja'Ouni, and eight month old brother Ahmad Staih, were walking along the sidewalk on Pine Island Road in Sunrise. The two young boys were riding in a dual stroller. A driver, who was attempting to avoid collision with another vehicle, lost control and hit the family. The stroller was impacted heavily, and four year old Abdallah was killed. Abdallah's mother and brother were sent to the hospital, were both are said to be in stable condition.

• On Sunday afternoon, 19 year old Jacqueline Elizabeth Postrel-Jambor was skateboarding in North Miami Beach along Northeast 23rd Avenue. A Ford sedan traveling on Northeast 137th Street fatally struck the young woman.

Continue reading "Deadly Weekend for South Florida Pedestrians" »

Slips, Trips, and Falls on Florida Sidewalks

April 11, 2014

We walk on sidewalks on a daily basis, often many times a day. Rarely do we stop and consider our personal safety while walking upon a sidewalk. However, our Miami personal injury lawyers know how a single poorly placed uneven flag of concrete, crack in the pavement, or protruding root can send you pummeling to the ground, shattering that illusion of safety. Sidewalk injuries occur at alarming rates across the state of Florida, with walkers slipping, tripping, and falling on any number of obstacles and dangerous conditions annually.

Sidewalk falls can be caused by a number of factors. In Florida, some of the most common causes include:

Continue reading "Slips, Trips, and Falls on Florida Sidewalks" »

Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents in Florida: Part II

April 11, 2014

There are over 600,000 registered motorcycles in the state of Florida, and many more visitors on motorcycles travel our roadways every day. While Florida's temperate weather and numerous freeways make it ideal for motorcycle riding, the state is also home to a considerable number of serious motorcycle accidents a year. In fact, Florida is currently ranked the third most dangerous state for motorcycle riders, and the number of fatalities in Florida has actually been on the rise since 2010.

In Part I of this two part series, we examined a few of the questions most often asked by our Miami motorcycle accident clients. In Part II, we continue this list of questions, diving further into the realm of motorcycle accident law and recovery.

What actions can the family members of a deceased motorcycle accident victim pursue?

The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the survivors (as defined by Florida law) of deceased riders or passengers to seek compensation for lost support or services following the death of their loved one. Survivors may include a spouse, child, or parent.
What types of compensation are available to motorcycle riders hurt or killed in an accident?

Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents in Florida: Part II" »

Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents in Florida: Part I

April 7, 2014

Florida is home to a large number of motorcyclists. Our balmy climate and many highways that stretch the span of the state make Florida an ideal place to ride. Tourists flock to Florida on their motorcycles annually, and our state is host to a number of motorcycle enthusiast events. Sadly, with the popularity of motorcycles comes a high rate of accidents. Each year, approximately 7,300 individuals are injured in crashes across the state.

Over three hundred riders are killed on motorcycles annually. Miami-Dade, with its miles of highways and more than its share of distracted drivers, is considered the most dangerous Florida county for motorcyclists, home to nearly 40 deaths each year. Given the high rate of serious injury or death, victims of motorcycle accidents and their families require the assistance of a Miami motorcycle accident attorney who will pursue their interests to the fullest extent in either a personal injury or wrongful death action.

The following is a compilation of questions frequently asked by motorcycle accident victims and their families. These questions can provide you with some initial information and understanding, which your licensed Florida motorcycle accident attorney can further expound upon.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida?

1. Left hand turns into motorcyclists--by some accounts, motor vehicles making a left hand turn in front of motorcyclists who have the right of way is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. The drivers of cars and trucks frequently fail to check their mirrors, observe stop signs or stop lights, or yield the right of way. This can leave the motorcyclist with no time to react before he or she pummels into the side of the vehicle. Motorcyclists injured in this manner will have a strong personal injury claim based on the motor vehicle driver's negligence.

Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents in Florida: Part I" »

Rollover Accidents Still Lead to Fatalities throughout Florida

March 30, 2014

Late on Halloween night, four teenagers were returning home from a "haunted walk" in Collier County, Florida when the Mustang in which they were riding veered off the road, impacted a concrete culvert, and rolled over. Three of the teenagers were killed and a fourth was able to crawl from the car with serious injuries, according to an NBC news story. Rollover accidents continue to be among the most deadly of all auto accidents.

When a person has been injured in a severe crash, there are many struggles that he may endure, but he does not have to do this alone. The skilled Miami auto accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have more than 100 years of combined experience in getting the damages awards that our clients need to pay for medical treatment, cover accident-related expenses, and compensate them for pain and suffering.

Continue reading "Rollover Accidents Still Lead to Fatalities throughout Florida" »

The Risk of Following a Motorcycle Too Closely is Tremendous

March 28, 2014

As part of the warm South Florida driving culture, cars and motorcyclists share the road throughout the year. Although there are accidents that are caused by the biker, many times, it is the driver of the passenger car or light truck that causes the accident because of the decreased visibility of the biker, coupled with the more vulnerable position of the rider with no real safety protections on the bike. Following behind the bike without sufficient stopping distance is a common cause of serious accidents.

Bikers are very aware of the dangers of taking to the road with other drivers; however, the thrill of riding outweighs the perils. When there has been a collision and you have been injured in a bike accident, you need the hard-working Miami motorcycle accident attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. to fight for your rights and get you the damages award that you need to move forward.

The dangers of following too closely became tragically apparent on January 4, 2014, when a 64-year-old driver of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was struck by a 23-year-old driver of a vehicle traveling behind him. According to the article in the Palm Beach Post, the driver of the car did not realize that the biker had slowed because of backed-up traffic. The impact ejected the biker, Joseph Comparetto, from the bike into the emergency lane, where he was struck by the driver of another vehicle, a Ford Edge. Mr. Comparetto died at the scene. This type of accident happens often between motorcycles and other motor vehicles.

Continue reading "The Risk of Following a Motorcycle Too Closely is Tremendous" »

Hit and Run Driver Involved in Fatal Pick-up Crash

March 24, 2014

Early on the morning of February 16, 2014, a pick-up truck collided with another pick-up and the driver of one of the vehicles fled the scene. When the driver of the second pick-up exited the vehicle to look at the damage to the truck, a third vehicle struck and killed him. He had his wife and 18-year-old son in the pick-up when he was killed. The accident occurred in Tamarac, Florida, at the Commercial Boulevard entrance onto the Florida Turnpike, according to an article in the Sun Sentinel.

Victims of hit and run accidents often believe that there is nothing that can be done to identify the responsible party and hold him accountable, but this is not true. The experienced Miami auto accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. have the skills and network of professional investigators to help those injured in many types of hit and run accidents.

In the case of the Tamarac accident, deputies are examining video surveillance to identify the individual involved in the original collision. Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal under Florida law. The reason many people flee is because getting convicted of a DUI carries more serious penalties, including longer prison times and higher fines than a collision.. Therefore, someone who has been drinking may want to leave the scene even if he/she intends to turn themselves in to the police for the accident at some point. By then, it is almost impossible to prove that they were under the influence at the time of the crash.

In Florida it is a crime ,to leave the scene of an accident and is compounded when one leaves the scene of a crash with injuries to another. When a person is involved in a crash with another vehicle, building, or structure and leaves the scene without notifying anybody about the driver's contact information, including name and address, vehicle registration, and driver's license details, pursuant to Florida Statute 316.061. a criminal charge may result.

If the accident involved injury or a fatality, Florida Statute 316.027 requires additional obligations including mandating that the driver:

Continue reading "Hit and Run Driver Involved in Fatal Pick-up Crash" »

Turns in Front of Motorcycles Lead to Many Intersection and Roadway Accidents

March 21, 2014

On New Year's Eve, a Mini Cooper made a left hand turn in front of a motorcyclist and caused the bike to collide with the passenger side of the car, leading to the death of the biker at the scene. The driver of the car was turning into a Costco parking lot when the vehicle moved into the path of the biker, according to a WPTV article. The biker was thrown from the motorcycle. A passenger in the Mini Cooper suffered from minor injuries. This fatal crash occurred in Boca Raton, Florida and demonstrates the dangers that motorcycles face when traveling through Florida intersections.

Motorcycle accidents pose great risks to bikers because there is little that can be done to prevent harm once impact has occurred. With more than three decades of experience, the Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. know how to put together a comprehensive strategy to get justice for bikers who were injured as a result of another driver's negligence.

Turning vehicles account for a large percentage of deadly bike crashes. In early February, 2014, a Naples motorcyclist was killed in Collier County when another motorist negligently turned right into the path of the biker, leading to a collision. The impact was head-on and the biker died at the scene, according to a News-Press article.

Continue reading "Turns in Front of Motorcycles Lead to Many Intersection and Roadway Accidents" »