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Skateboards are often considered toys, but a fair amount of skill and athleticism is needed to ride them safely.  This form of recreation can serve as a great source of enjoyment and help children increase their agility, balance, coordination, and sense of self-esteem.  However, when children ride skateboards without a focus on safety, riders can suffer serious injuries, such as a traumatic head injury or even death

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 300,000 skateboard accident victims are treated in hospital emergency rooms for skateboarding-related injuries on an annual basis.  Many of these skateboard injuries are a result of the defective design or manufacture of skateboards or inadequate warnings and instructions regarding the proper age and skill necessary to safely use skateboards.  Two of every five skateboard injuries involve a borrowed board where the rider often lacks experience and/or adequate adult supervision.  Almost half of all skateboard injuries involve children between the ages of 10-14.  Over one-third of injured riders are not wearing any protective equipment like a helmet to protect their head.  Traumatic brain injuries due to colliding with vehicles can lead to fatal skateboarding accidents. Continue reading →

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Our Miami personal injury attorneys are repeatedly reminded that kids are at the greatest risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.  While all Florida car accidents pose a serious risk of harming children, pedestrian accidents are a particular threat because of the limits of children’s experience and ability to assess traffic-related risks.  Many child pedestrian accidents occur because children are less attentive, but recent research suggests that even attentive children are prone to step into the path of traffic.  Our compassionate child pedestrian accident lawyers recognize that nothing is equivalent to the pain and anguish that results from serious injury or the death of one’s child.

A recent study reveals that primary school age children cannot accurately judge the rate of traffic moving over twenty miles per hour.  The researchers analyzed the visual acuity of a hundred primary school age children and evaluated the speed of approaching vehicles that primary school age children could detect.  The study revealed that adults can reliably estimate vehicle speed up to fifty miles per hour.  However, children’s estimates of the speed of an approaching vehicle become inaccurate at speeds of over twenty miles per hour if the vehicle is five seconds away. Continue reading →

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Employees injured in a workplace accident generally must rely on the worker’s compensation system as the exclusive remedy against their employer.  Although worker’s compensation benefits provide an efficient avenue for obtaining wage replacement and free medical care, the amount of compensation typically falls short of a civil lawsuit which permits access to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other types of damages.  While an injured employee can seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit against a third party in Florida, the level of negligent conduct must be more egregious than in a personal injury lawsuit unrelated to a workplace accident or illness.

In Villalta v. Cornn International Inc., the court considered the level of negligence that must be established for a subcontractor (other than the employer of the injury victim) to be subject to third party liability.  The estate of a deceased worker sued a HVAC subcontractor seeking damages after the decedent fell from a scaffolding.  The decedent worked for a subcontractor hired to install drywall when he fell from a scaffolding that collapsed.  The HCAC subcontractor failed to cover a cut-out.  Safety standards mandated that coverings be fastened to the floor and painted to warn of the danger.  A wheel of the scaffold dropped into the cut out and caused the scaffolding to topple. Continue reading →

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While many people assume that a permanent brain injury is an obscure event that only happens to other people, statistical research reveals this debilitating form of injury is far too common.  Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that head injuries constitute the leading cause of death in young adults and children.  Further, head injuries account for 44 percent of all injury-related deaths in the U.S.  Over 1.5 million Americans sustain head injuries every year with 80,000 of those injuries resulting in irreversible damage.

The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries is auto accidents followed closely by bicycle or motorcycle accidents, falls, and sports-related accidents. After a person has sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident, it is not always immediately apparent how extensive the damage really is until some time has elapsed, and medical tests and evaluations have been conducted.  The outside of the head may look fairly normal and mask serious internal damage.  Nonetheless, the brain may have extensive internal bleeding or the skull might be fractured. Continue reading →

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People typically assume that elevators are safe and that serious injuries from lift accidents are rare events.  While it might be tempting to assume that malfunctioning elevators do not exist outside the world of Hollywood movies.  Elevator accidents cause injury to over 11,000 people in a typical year according to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  These accidents typically result from the defective manufacture or design of an elevator or inadequate maintenance by the property owner or private maintenance company.  If you suffer injury in a Florida elevator accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the elevator manufacturer, the property owner and/or the elevator maintenance company.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers have been collectively representing those seriously injured throughout Florida for over 130 years.  If you are involved in an elevator accident, our experienced lawyers fight to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.  We carefully investigate elevator accidents to determine the cause and all potentially responsible parties, so we can build the most persuasive case possible. Continue reading →

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Many motorists injured in motor vehicle crashes presume that they cannot prevail in a personal injury lawsuit because the investigating police officer has determined that the injury victim was at-fault.  While police officers are trained in analyzing crashes, law enforcement officers do make mistakes and draw improper inferences, especially when they possess inaccurate or incomplete information.  If you are injured in a traffic collisions, you should seek legal advice despite the conclusions of the investigating officer because an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer might have a different perspective.  Further, the evidentiary impact of such conclusions are limited under Florida law as evidenced by the Florida 5th DCA case, Diaz v. FedEx Freight East, Inc.

In Diaz, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate brought a wrongful death action against FedEx after a motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant.  The plaintiff alleged that the truck driver crossed the motorcyclist lane while executing a left-hand turn.  The maneuver involved moving across two lanes of traffic traveling in the opposite direction including the motorcyclist’s lane.  The truck had crossed one of the lanes and come to a complete stop in the median because of an interruption in the flow of traffic.  The decedent slammed his motorcycle into the side of the big-rig.  Evidence revealed that the decedent’s speed was approximately 59 to 79 miles per hour when the crash occurred though the speed limit was only 45 miles per hour.  The evidence also revealed the motorcyclists could have avoided the accident had he been obeying the speed limit. Continue reading →

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There are many reasons that an injury victim’s selection of a motor vehicle accident lawyer is important to the outcome of a legal claim for compensation.  One vital consideration involves the injury victim’s comfort level in communicating all relevant facts, including information that is unflattering or detrimental to the lawsuit.  Misrepresenting or withholding negative information often causes substantial damage to a civil lawsuit because the adverse facts usually will come out at some point in the legal process.

The advantage of candid communication between an attorney and client is that the sting of the damaging information often can be mitigated by a skilled legal advocate.  The way this information ultimately is presented to the judge or jury typically determines the impact of adverse facts.  Further, the court can actually dismiss a case when there is a pervasive pattern of fraud or misrepresentation by a plaintiff.

In the recent 3rd DCA case, Middleton v. Hager, 179 So.3d 529 (3rd DCA), the passenger in a vehicle brought a lawsuit against the driver after suffering injuries in a rear impact crash.  The trial court appointed a magistrate to review the decision-making process related to discovery.  The magistrate noted a litany of material misrepresentations about her medical treatment and physical condition prior to the collision that included: Continue reading →

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Many motor vehicle accidents that cause catastrophic injury or even wrongful death involve motorists with no insurance or insufficient coverage.  In such situations, the potential liability of government entities for unsafe road design or maintenance becomes an important issue.  Government entities have the financial resources to pay a personal injury judgment.  Because public entities benefit from sovereign immunity to the extent not waived by tort claims acts, personal injury lawsuits against the State of Florida, counties, or municipalities involve additional issues, special procedures, and tighter deadlines for providing notice of a legal claim.

In Manfre v. Shinkle, the 5th DCA considered whether the Sheriff of Flagler County owed a duty of care to a motorist who hit a dead horse laying in the roadway.  The plaintiff filed a tort claim against the sheriff alleging the sheriff was negligent in neutralizing the hazard created by the two horses that were running-at-large near the roadway.  The jury returned a verdict for the sheriff.

The plaintiff alleged that the sheriff’s office was notified that two horses had wandered into the road an hour and a half prior to the accident.  A deputy was dispatched to the location, and the horses, which were perhaps spooked by the flashing lights, retreated from the roadway to a pasture.  The deputy did not get out of the vehicle or talk to the owner of the horses.

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In most auto accident lawsuits, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will tenaciously work to dispute its insured’s negligence.  However, there are situations where the defendant might be inclined to concede that he or she engaged in unreasonably unsafe conduct to keep egregious facts from appearing relevant to the litigation.  The theory is that admitting fault makes facts that could poison the jury against the defendant no longer relevant after the defendant concedes liability.  This strategy is designed to prevent the jury from hearing facts that might motivate the jury to award larger damages.

The Florida 4th District Court of Appeals case, Lenhart v. Basora, 100 So.3d 1177 (4th DCA 2012), provides an example of a negligent driver attempting to use this litigation strategy.  The plaintiff was riding a scooter when the defendant suddenly moved into the lane of the scooter which caused the collision.  The plaintiff, who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash involving the scooter and car, suffered a serious traumatic brain injury.  Continue reading →

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This is the second installment in our two-part blog post discussing the potential danger to children when vehicles back out of a driveway.  Although motorists might not consider this simple driving maneuver a high risk activity, hundreds of kids die and over ten thousand are injured by vehicles backing up every year.  This installment discusses legal changes and safety strategies designed to prevent these tragic child pedestrian accidents.

New Rear Visibility Safety Standards

Fortunately, The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act has prompted new standards from the Department of Transportation (DOT).  Under the final rule issued April 7, 2014, the required field of vision for all passenger vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds has been expanded.  The regulations mandate that the area behind a vehicle be visible to a driver when the vehicle is put into reverse.  The DOT presumes that motor vehicle manufacturers will install rear back up video monitoring systems with in-dash displays to comply with the requirements. Continue reading →

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