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The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment authorizes the imposition of liability on the owner of a dangerous instrument, such as a motor vehicle, for negligence by a motorist the owner knows or should know poses an unreasonable risk of harm.  The basic rationale for this legal theory is that a vehicle owner should exercise ordinary care when placing a dangerous instrumentality like a motor vehicle in the hands of another.  While actual knowledge that the person using the vehicle has a pattern of drunk driving convictions, citations for reckless driving, or a history of at-fault accidents can justify liability, vehicle owners cannot bury their head in the sand to avoid liability.  The legal relationship between the parties as well as known facts might give rise to a duty to inquire further.  In this blog, our Miami personal injury attorneys highlight a recent case where a Florida appellate court allowed a claim of to go forward based on the negligent driving of an employee under the legal doctrine of negligent entrustment.

An employer gave an employee permission to use a company car for the weekend to move a mattress as part of a move.  Permission was given to use the company car during off-work time and for the sole convenience of the employee.  The employee proceeded to down several alcoholic drinks before operating the vehicle and subsequently collided with the plaintiff.  The injury victim filed a personal injury lawsuit against the employee based on negligence and against the employer based on negligent entrustment.  The trial judge granted the employer’s request for summary judgment based on the grounds the company did not know of the employee’s pattern of unsafe driving. Continue reading →

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Many people have been involved in barroom brawls that cause serious injury.  The party suffering injury often does not cause the physical altercation or might even be an innocent bystander.  The owner of the bar and the property can be liable to a person injured because of unsafe conditions on the premises.  Owners of a bar or the commercial property where a bar is located have a legal duty to take reasonable care to prevent patrons from being hurt in a fight or to warn of the potential for brawl-related injuries.  In this blog, our Miami personal injury attorneys discuss negligent security claims in the context of a court decision involving a woman injured in a fall during a bar fight.

In the Florida appellate case of Faber v. Pasco, the plaintiff sued Joseph Karl, the bar owner, and Karl of Pasco, the owner of the commercial property.  The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit alleging that the negligence of the defendants caused her injury when she was at The Karl Reef.  The complaint alleged that the manager of the bar and the plaintiff were standing near each other when a fight erupted.  The complaint also indicated that the plaintiff was the victim of an intentional attack that caused her to fall after another customer hit her. Continue reading →

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Studies have been around for decades reporting a link between the female hygienic use of talcum powder products and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.  Concerns about the carcinogenic effect of talc-based products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower recently culminated in a $65 million verdict against the manufacturer.  Bloomberg reported the massive verdict represents the third consecutive defeat in a wave of product liability lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant.  In this blog post, our Miami product liability attorneys analyze the outcome and significance of these large judgments against Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Deborah Giannecchini used J&J’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for over four decades according to a media report.  She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years before the verdict.  Despite the plaintiff reportedly having undergone chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, she faces an 80 percent probability of dying during the next two year.  The plaintiff provided evidence that included thirty years of studies revealing an increased risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talc for feminine hygiene.  The plaintiff contended that the company was aware of the risk and that the public did not know that talc products are linked to ovarian cancer. Continue reading →

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Falls in grocery stores, restaurants, malls, and other types of businesses can have a devastating impact on victims.  Customers shopping in a grocery store probably assume they will receive compensation if they fall and suffer injury.  However, litigation of slip and fall accidents in Florida poses special challenges that make it important to seek legal representation from an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer.  In this article, our attorneys review a recent case that demonstrates the special obstacles to proving liability in a Florida business.

The task of establishing the liability of a business for a fall involving a customer became more difficult because of changes in Florida law when F.S. 768.0755 was enacted.  The law included the requirement that a plaintiff in a lawsuit involving a fall on a transitory foreign substance must prove the owner of the property/business had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition and that the owner/business failed to take adequate remedial action to protect the injury victim.  Actual knowledge is self-explanatory, such as when the business/owner observes the hazard or receives a report from an employee.  Constructive knowledge involves a more complicated factual analysis.  The circumstances and facts must support a finding that the owner/business would have been aware of the hazard with the exercise of reasonable care.  The most common way to prove constructive notice is to establish that the hazard has been present long enough that ordinary care should have led to its discovery or that the situation is so common the hazard was foreseeable. Continue reading →

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Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Invite You To Take Our Distracted Driving Quiz!

Distracted driving is a serious problem in Florida and across the nation. The personal injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano are alarmed by the high rates of distracted drivers in our area.  Our attorneys recognize that some people simply do not understand what behaviors constitute distracted driving or how dangerous driving distracted can be.  We offer a quiz below to test your distracted driving knowledge:

Q. True or False: If you are stopped at a traffic light it is okay to read or return a text.

A. False: It is extremely dangerous to text while you are stopped at a traffic light. You may not see when the light changes and could start to drive too late, or too early. Texting while driving is against the law while the vehicle is in operation, which includes while it is stopped at a traffic light.

 

Q. True or False: Using a hands-free device is a safe alternative to using your cell phone while driving.

A. False: Several studies have shown that hands-free devices can cause significant distraction to drivers.  Even though your hands are on the wheel, your mind will be torn off the road if you are talking, texting, or engaging in other activities with your hands-free device.

Q. Approximately how many people are killed due to distracted driving each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)? Continue reading →

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Our personal injury lawyers frequently represent shoppers who trip and fall when visiting shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses or commercial properties held open to the public.  Owners and parties in possession of business property held open to the public have a legal duty to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition for “invitees,” which includes customers, suppliers, maintenance people, and others engaged in business purposes.  This duty is accompanied by a duty to warn “invitees” of latent (non-obvious) hazards that the owner or party in possession knows or should know exist that are not open and obvious.  Even if the hazard is open and obvious, Florida appellate courts have not excused the duty to mainain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.  Knowledge of the hazard includes actual knowledge or constructive knowledge based on factors that should have given notice with the exercise of reasonable care.  An important factor is the duration of time the hazard has been present.

A recent decision from the Florida 3rd DCA in which an invitee slipped on rebar in the parking lot of a shopping mall provides a primer on these basic principles of Florida trip and fall law.  In Grimes v. Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc., the injury victim attempted to use a short cut through a landscaped island that used re-bar as ties downs.  Maintenance of these areas was performed by an outside company hired by the owner and commercial tenant.  The trip and fall victim suffered injury when taking the shortcut where he tripped on re-bar that was not tied to any of the vegetation.  When the plaintiff filed her lawsuit for injuries suffered to her knee, she alleged the owner and commercial tenant failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition, warn of the latent hazard, and remedy the hazardous condition.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants relying on an earlier decision involving a fall after cutting through a parking lot.  In the prior case, the injury victim tripped over a root when cutting through a landscaped area of the parking lot. Continue reading →

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Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Explore How Technology Could End Car Accidents

The United States Department of Transportation issued a proposed rule recently that would mandate the development and widespread adoption of connected vehicle technologies throughout the nation. Under the proposed rule, all new “light duty” vehicles, which includes any vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or less, would enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology.  Accordingly, all new vehicles would have the potential to avoid a multitude of crash scenarios by “talking” to one another.  Soon, the DOT also plans to issue a rule requiring the adoption of vehicle to infrastructure technology, which allows cars to communicate with their surroundings, such as traffic lights and stop signs.  Our South Florida personal injury lawyers anticipate that these technologies combined will save thousands of lives.

Vehicle Communication Technologies

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Miami Personal Injury Lawyers Explore the Ongoing Litigation Against the NFL

Former-NFL player Tony Gaiter, along with hundreds of other retired players, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the National Football League seeking workers’ compensation benefits for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Gaiter, like many other former players, reports that he was hit on the head numerous times during his career and now suffers from serious brain injuries.  Specifically, Gaiter suffers from constant head pain and cannot hold a job because he is unable to focus or remember basic things.  He and the other NFL players joining in the Fort Lauderdale lawsuit claim that CTE is an occupational hazard and players should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  Our brain injury attorneys are closely following the lawsuit as it could have serious implications for recently retired NFL players, along with current and future football players.

This litigation comes a year after a final decision was rendered in the monumental class action lawsuit of Turner et al v. National Football League et al. In that case, several former-NFL players filed suit through their personal injury attorneys against the NFL for the development of CTE.  In sum, over 5,000 players were represented in the lawsuit.  Judge Anita Brody reached a settlement that will apply to all players who retired on or before July 7, 2014.  The settlement provides up to five million per retired player for serious medical conditions related to head damage.  Total funds available to injured players amount to one billion.  Players have the option to opt out and pursue their own lawsuit.

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Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Celebrate the Use of Seatbelts

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a promising new finding—seatbelt use in the United States has reached its highest level since the government began conducting surveys. Our personal injury attorneys are pleased to announce that today, approximately 90 percent of all drivers and passengers wear their seatbelts while their vehicle is in operation, which is up from 88.5 percent in 2015. The data was gathered through a mass observational study known as the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS).

Seatbelts Save Thousands of Lives Annually

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Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss the Legal Rights of Injured Illegal Aliens

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that about 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants currently live across the United States. Many believe this figure is far higher.  There are a number of reasons people enter or remain in the country illegally, including our difficult and lengthy legalization process.  Illegal aliens are not afforded all the same protections as legal citizens, but they are entitled to some legal rights.  When an illegal alien is injured due to the negligence of another in Florida, they can file a personal injury claim with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, but their legal rights are not the same as legal citizens.

The Rights of Injured Illegal Aliens

Illegal aliens face all of the same potential dangers as anyone else, and when they are hurt due to negligence, they have the right to seek compensation in the state of Florida.  A Miami personal injury attorney can assist an injured illegal alien in making claims for damages.  In Florida, a jury will not hear about the illegal alien’s status so long as they are only making a claim for:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Property losses;
  • Funeral expenses;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Disability;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Punitive damages.

Continue reading →

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