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In South Florida, many people try to stay healthy and lead an active lifestyle. Walking, jogging, and bicycling are three common exercises people of all ages enjoy. However, our lawyers know that danger lurks around every corner. Hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed each year in Florida. This number hopefully will not go up, but one cannot be sure given the number of distractions people have while driving these days. Our personal injury attorneys know how to protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

As experienced Miami personal injury lawyers, we see many cases just like the one that appeared in the Miami Herald on September 25, 2016. A driver left the scene of a fatal crash with a person who was jogging according to Florida Highway Patrol. Unfortunately, the man did not have identification on him and police sought the community’s help identifying him.  The driver ultimately identified herself to law enforcement because she believed she hit something along the side of the road. The crash occurred around 6:30 in the morning on State Road 84 in West Broward. The initial investigation reveals that the right front portion of the car struck the jogger. Continue reading →

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The community of Miami woke on Sunday, September 25, 2016, to tragic news: beloved Miami Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was killed, along with two others, in a boating crash earlier that morning.  This incident is a terrible tragedy.  While the investigation is still pending and the final results will not be known for some time, the initial report indicated that alcohol or drugs were not involved in the crash. The experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have represented numerous personal injury clients.

As Miami-based personal injury attorneys, we see facts similar to these frequently. While fun and exhilarating, boating is still an inherently dangerous activity.  Many people each year suffer fatal or substantial injuries from boating accidents.  Numerous boating accidents are caused by excessive alcohol intake or ingestion of drugs, while negligence causes others, inattention, carelessness, or inexperience. Boaters must also contend with rapidly changing weather, changing tides, and winds as well as other boaters. Low visibility, especially boating at night, substantially increases the dangers inherent in boating. Continue reading →

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A July 2016 decision by the Florida Court of Appeals demonstrates why you need highly skilled, experienced, and professional attorneys representing you if you suffered personal injuries through no fault of your own.  The trial judge allowed a bio-mechanical expert to testify about the velocity change in an accident and forces applied to the human body in an accident.  That is only part of this story. The attorney’s behavior at that trial fell measurably below how an attorney should act. South Florida personal injury attorneys Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell for their professionalism and success.

The plaintiff in the case suffered injuries when a truck traveling in the same lane of traffic as she hit her car as she turned into her driveway.  The driver of the truck claimed that she swerved, and he could not avoid her. The plaintiff claimed permanent injuries to her shoulder, neck, and back as a result of the crash. The jury returned a verdict that the defendant truck driver was not negligent in causing the accident. The plaintiff appealed the jury verdict.

The plaintiff complained that a biomechanical expert testified at trial about the change in velocity of the cars at the time of the crash and how that change in velocity effects the human body. Change in velocity is called “delta-v.” Delta means change and “v” stands for velocity.  The change in velocity causes physical forces to be applied to the body. Courts allow biomechanical experts to opine how the changes in velocity affect the severity of the impact of the vehicles.  Courts do not allow a biomechanical to testify that an accident could or could not have caused certain injuries to be permanent because they lack medical training. Biomechanical experts can, however, give an opinion as to the car crash caused the injury. The plaintiff lost this argument on appeal. The appeals court ruled that the defendant’s biomechanical expert testified properly. The appeals court reversed the case on other grounds. Continue reading →

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In Florida, car accidents in which damages for personal injuries are at stake, the issue of whether the injuries are permanent is most often left up to a jury to decide.  Judges can take that decision away from the jury in very limited circumstances. Only when there is no issue of fact for the jury to decide, then the judge may make a finding of a directed verdict. Judges must make very detailed findings on this issue. We at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, a Miami personal injury law firm, as rated by the Miami Herald, have faced directed verdicts in the past and have persuaded judges to let the case go to the jury.

In the appeal court’s most recent decision in the James case, the plaintiff was riding in a car in the city of Tampa. A trash collection truck moved slowly in front of the car in which James rode. The trash truck backed up and collided with the car. James alleged that the trash truck struck the car once, but the City of Tampa claimed the truck hit the car only once. James suffered personal injuries from the crash with the trash truck. The City of Tampa contested James’ injuries. James suffered injuries in a car crash four months prior when another vehicle struck him broadside. James waited three months before seeking treatment for his injuries from the first crash. Continue reading →

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In Florida, for car accidents involving personal injuries, there arises a question of whether PIP applies to cover medical bills. Personal injury protection commonly referred to as “PIP” is set off from other damages in motor vehicle accidents.  PIP is a component of Florida car insurance policies and covers medical expenses up to $10,000 for an injured party. A person injured in a car crash receives PIP when the medical expenses relate to the crash in issue, are reasonable, and are necessary. In most instances, the PIP payment will be set off, or deducted, from the ultimate damage award. There are exceptions, but generally, the PIP set off prevents a plaintiff from receiving exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are damages, which are not related to the injury but are punitive in nature. Our personal injury lawyers in South Florida find that Florida law prohibits exemplary damages in most personal injury cases.

In the Carpenter case, the plaintiff, Chavez, suffered injuries in a car crash caused by Carpenter. Chavez argued that the medical damages she suffered exceed $203,000. However, the jury heard evidence that Chavez had a pre-existing condition.  Chavez suffered from a condition that caused four discs to bulge in her neck. The jury returned a verdict of $48,840 for past medical expenses attributed to the crash. The jury found that Chavez did not sustain any permanent injuries in the crash and did not award her for future medical expenses.  Continue reading →

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In Florida car accident cases, the issue of punitive damages arises in the context of whether the driver who caused the accident was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or is operating recklessly. Punitive damages punish certain behavior and reach beyond auto accident policies to a person’s pocket. A jury can award punitive damages in addition to an award of compensatory damages for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. With the combined 130 years of legal experience in South Florida, the car accident attorneys Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have handled many cases for clients involving reckless behavior and have asked for punitive damages. Our vast experience gives us an advantage over other personal injury firms.

In the State Farm case, the defendant was a physician who fell asleep while behind the wheel and caused a car crash that injured the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant took prescription sleeping medication before leaving on a three-hour drive. The defendant, however, said that he was just tired from a long day and drifted off to sleep while driving. The defendant also contested the extent and seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The plaintiffs asked the court to separate the trial into two jury trials. The first part of the trial concerned whether the plaintiff proved that the defendant was negligent as well as the extent and the permanency of the plaintiffs’ injuries.  The plaintiffs asked the judge to hold a second trial on whether they were entitled to ask the jury for punitive damages because of the reckless act of the defendant taking sleeping pills before taking an anticipated three-hour drive.  Continue reading →

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Many thousands of people vacation in Florida annually. People from all over the world turn to Florida’s amusement parks, its beautiful beaches, great golf, abundant fishing, and year-round warm weather for rest and relaxation with family and friends. Tragedy can strike while on vacation. You need to know where you can turn for help when you are out of your familiar surroundings, and something terrible happens. You need to know where to turn for help. If you or someone in your family suffered personal injuries or died as a result of another person’s careless acts, you need the law firm the Miami Herald voted to be the Top Law Firm in South Florida: Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano.

While terrible and tragic, severe car crashes occur on Florida’s highways that involve vacationers from out of state. For instance, a dream vacation for a family from Leadwood, MO turned into a terrible nightmare. The parents of two young girls were killed on Interstate 4 just outside of Orlando recently when another car struck the front end of their car. The force of the collision forced the victims’ car off of the road and into a tree. The impact with the tree killed both parents. Their two daughters, aged 13 and 8, survived but suffered very serious personal injuries.  It was a dream vacation gone wrong. The parents saved money for months so they could show their daughters what it was like to go on vacation. The family was traveling to the beach when the fatal car crash happened. The family visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios over the previous couple of days before the crash.  Due to the severity of the injuries to the children, they do not know that their parents died in the crash. Relatives flew to Florida to be with the children and break the heart-wrenching news to them. Continue reading →

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Our lawyers see many people who suffer debilitating injuries in collisions caused by uninsured or under-insured motorists.  While the physical pain and emotional trauma of recovery take a toll on crash victims, the emotional hardships increase exponentially when the other driver is not adequately insured.  Medical bills can mount, and the loss of household income take its toll.  Drivers might be inclined to dismiss the possibility of being hit by an uninsured driver as unlikely.  Florida consistently ranks in the top ten for the highest number of uninsured drivers in the U.S.  Almost one in five Florida drivers carries no insurance while many others carry only minimal coverage according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), which makes uninsured motorist (UM) coverage an extremely important form of financial protection.

Our car accident attorneys take notice of significant uninsured motorist decisions because they can have a significant impact on many accident victims.  The Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court opinion that denied UM coverage to a driver and two injured passengers.  The plaintiffs in Trotter v. Harleysville Insurance Company suffered serious injuries when the car they were traveling in was hit in an intersection by a motorist who blew through a stop sign. Continue reading →

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Despite the heightened level of concern parents have regarding their children’s safety, motor vehicle collisions constitute the leading cause of death of children under the age of fourteen in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Based on a CDC study, approximately 638 children age 12 and under died and another 127,250 suffered injury in passenger vehicle accidents during a recent one-year period.   Given these alarming statistics, parents have a legitimate reason to worry about the safety of their children who are passengers.  Florida law provides special protections to safeguard the interests of child passengers pursuing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.  Our Miami auto accident attorneys discuss a special statutory protection for minors injured in collisions in this post.

In this blog post, our lawyers review a recent court decision that applied a special statutory protection for children in personal injury litigation.  In this heartbreaking case, a grandmother died while her two children (one an adult) and two minor grandkids suffered injury when they were struck by an intoxicated driver.  All of the passengers suffered injuries of varying degrees of severity.  The coverage limits of the insurer for the drunk driver were $25,000 per bodily injury victim and $50,000 per incident for all victims.  After the tragic crash, the children’s mother filed a lawsuit on behalf of her kids, herself, and the estate of her mom.  While the insurance company agreed to tender the full amount, confusion later arose about whether the money offered was to be considered a tender of policy limits or a full settlement of all claims.  Ultimately, the insurance carrier tendered $25,000 to the estate of the grandmother, $25,000 to the mother, and nothing for either child. Continue reading →

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While a third party like a school district or a patron in a bar can be liable for the violent actions of another student or customer, liability often will turn on the issue of whether the third party’s actions were reasonable foreseeable.  Intentional criminal acts by a third party sometimes are determined to be a “superseding cause” that cuts off the liability of another entity in the causal change that leads to injury.  However, a third party’s criminal conduct typically will not provide a basis for imposing liability unless the criminal conduct is reasonably foreseeable.  Our Florida traumatic brain injury attorneys recognize that this can be an important issue in premises liability lawsuits involving injuries occurring to patrons in bars, students attacked at school, or the sexual assault of a customer in the parking lot of a bank.

Our premises liability lawyers offer a recent decision in the California case, Carter v. Kern High School District, as an example of the circumstances that can warrant the liability of a property owner for the violent criminal act of a third party.  At the time of the brutal attack in this case, the student wore a chicken suit to a high school prep rally to make fun of a rival school.  Shortly after donning the costume, the plaintiff was brutally attacked by two other students.  When the victim goes to a school administrator (the school activities director) to beg off wearing the costume again, he is threatened with the cost of reimbursement of the $75 fee for the rental.  During the succeeding rally, other classmates dogpile the student while kicking, hitting, and punching him.  Because the rally was to include a “mock fight,” no school faculty members took any steps to intervene and stop the attack. Continue reading →

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