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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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Florida businesses have a duty to protect the public against injury. Our experienced slip and fall attorneys know that the most common injury people suffer in businesses are slip and fall injuries.  In Florida slip and fall accidents, the injured party must demonstrate that the company was negligent, causing the person to fall and suffer injuries. Slip and falls can cause severe injuries. People injured in slip and fall accidents generally suffer injuries ranging from broken bones, especially broken hips, wrists, and collarbones. Also, injured people experience spinal injuries such as disc herniation, while others who fall and strike their heads can suffer from traumatic brain injury and concussions.

The duty of Florida businesses is clear. Companies must warn of dangers that are either known to the business owner yet unknown to the public, that the public cannot know about even if the people are careful. Also, business owners have a duty to warn their invitees about hazards of which the business owner should be aware. Florida law imposes a duty on business owners to make regular inspections of their premises so that they can learn of any dangers to the public and then take reasonable measures to fix the hazard or warn the public about the danger. However, the business owner has no duty to warn the public about dangers that are open and obvious. If the hazard is open and obvious, then the business owner can rely on people’s common sense to avoid getting hurt.  Continue reading →

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People from all over the world flock to Florida for family vacations throughout the year. Many of these family vacations are centered on our state’s amusement and theme parks. Unfortunately, as experienced injury attorneys many people suffer from the onset of sudden illness, receive injuries, and some die riding the theme parks’ attractions. Our personal injury attorneys report that despite the theme parks and attractions bringing significant revenue to Florida each year, the state do not regulate the safety of its theme parks. Furthermore, a federal agency, and not a state-run organization, regulates carnivals and fairs.  Florida’s theme parks must report injuries, illnesses, and deaths quarterly to the Florida Department of Agriculture.

A recent tragic story illustrates the issues with the lack of oversight. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a 67-year-old man died after getting off a ride at an Orlando theme park. The unfortunate man fell ill after riding one of the park’s main attractions.  The theme park operators reported that the man died of a heart attack and suffered from a pre-existing condition of cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Theme park enthusiasts suffered other injuries and illnesses as well. Seizures, dizziness, stomach pain, chest pain, back pain, and neck pain were some of the injuries people suffered from Florida’s rides.  Some people fainted after getting off of a ride. Naturally, some injuries, especially at water parks, are caused by slips and falls. The slip and fall accidents occur when people are getting on and off the rides. Interestingly, in the recent report from the first half of 2016 published by the Orlando Sentinel, the explanation provided by the theme park for the injury or illness of the guest was a pre-existing injury or illness. The parks seem eager to point the finger at the guest rather than the ride for their wounds or sickness. Continue reading →

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The Jones Act (“the Act”) is a federal law passed by Congress in 1920 designed to protect sailors who suffered injuries or fell ill during a voyage. The Act gives seamen an opportunity to sue their employers for damages if they are injured due to their employer’s negligence. The common law rules of maritime law obligate a vessel’s owner to care for and provide for the safe passage and medical attention for a sick or injured seaman. Furthermore, maritime law provides for the care of seaman from harm caused by ships that were not seaworthy. The injured seaman has an option, therefore, to bring a suit in admiralty or under the Jones Act. In certain circumstances, the sailor has the opportunity to seek punitive damages.

As Miami Jones Act attorneys we have seen cases like the case of Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend. This case originated in Miami and made its way to the United States Supreme Court. The question in Atlantic Sounding was whether a sailor who suffered injuries during a voyage could sue his employer for punitive damages for a willful failure of his employer for refusing to pay for the seaman’s maintenance and cure. In this case, the seaman fell on a steel deck while working as a deckhand on a tugboat. The seaman injured his arm and shoulder in the fall. The employer refused to pay maintenance and cure as provided for by maritime law and terminated the seaman’s employment. The seaman filed sued the tugboat company in United States District Court in Miami. The case then went to the United States Supreme Court for a final decision. Continue reading →

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