Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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If a person is seriously injured or killed as a result of the negligence of another, the injured person or surviving loved ones can seek damages in civil court. There are two types of damages: Compensatory and punitive. gavel211

Compensatory damages are those meant to indemnify a person for a particular loss or injury. There is no special process for obtaining these damages, as they are intended to replace what was lost. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are supposed to punish a defendant for grossly negligent acts and to deter similar behavior in the future.

Punitive damages are not available in all cases, as F.S. 768.72 points out. Requests for punitive damages have to be approved by the trial judge, and there has to be evidence of gross negligence, such that there was a lack of disregard for human life or safety, a lack of care by defendant who was consciously indifferent to it or intentional violation of the victim’s rights. Continue reading →

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Drunk drivers cause nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities nationally, or about 10,000 people each year. It’s surprising this figure isn’t higher when you consider research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates there were 112 million trips made by drunk drivers in 2010 alone. drinkinggirl

We know persons injured by drunk drivers – or survivors of those killed – may seek compensation through the impaired driver’s insurance company or against the accused himself. In fact, personal injury judgments stemming from drunk driving cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, like many other kinds of debts. The law takes it pretty seriously.

But what if you are the drunk driver, and you were injured? In most cases, you may have a difficult time securing any significant recovery for damages in Florida unless you can prove your intoxication was not a major factor in the crash. For example: You were impaired, but the other driver ran a red light and caused the crash. Perhaps the other driver was impaired too.

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Consumers who suffer from an injury as a result of a manufacturing defect have the right to take legal action against the automobile maker or other companies responsible for the defect. In a recent South Florida case, a woman was in a minor accident when her air bag deployed. A piece of metal shot out of the airbag and struck the woman in the forehead, leaving her permanently scarred. She has brought a lawsuit against the airbag company responsible for the defective product installed in her 2001 Honda Civic.

adriverThe airbag company is currently to blame for a nationwide recall of several vehicle models that have installed the defective product. Unfortunately, for many consumers, they will not realize that they are in danger until it is too late. In this case, the woman did not realize her airbag was defective until she was involved in a collision which resulted in serious injuries caused by the defective airbag. Victims of accidents will often suffer from physical, as well as emotional trauma. In this case, the victim says she is still in shock, sad, and afraid to get behind the wheel.

The victim’s Honda Civic was one of eight million cars that are part of the recall over air bags produced by Takata Corporation. According to victims, police reports, and a growing amount of evidence against the company, the inflators in the air bag have been known to rupture and eject shrapnel in the event of a crash. The list of vehicles that have been recalled include cars from Honda, General Motors, approximately 25 million vehicles in the U.S., as well as recalls in other countries, including China, Japan, and throughout Europe.

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Accidents involving public transportation can result in significant injuries, wrongful death, and complex litigation involving multiple plaintiffs and defendants. In a recent South Florida case, a bus crash near Fort Lauderdale sent six victims to the hospital. According to reports, the accident involved a city bus as well as a four-door Jeep. In addition to the number of injuries arising from the accident, the crash left the Jeep heavily damaged. This case is a reminder of the potential dangers of bus accidents, as well as the complications that may arise in personal injury litigation.

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Nationwide, public transportation companies, as well as city buses, have been the target of lawsuits for serious injury or accidental death. These cases can be complicated as they often involve multiple plaintiffs and formidable defendants. Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and maximizing compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, long-term care needs, funeral expenses, and other personal losses or property damage rising from a collision. We will take the time to review the facts of every case and identify all responsible parties.
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You may have heard about several recent high-profile bus accidents throughout the country, like the big one in California that killed 7.

Well, it’s that time of year again when residents throughout the U.S. look to take a much-needed vacation. Luckily, our economy thrives off of these trips — bringing visitors to Disney World, some of our Indian casinos and many of the other attractions in South Florida. Many of us Floridians even use these buses to get to where we’ve got to go as part of a group, or a daytrip.
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Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident attorneys understand that many are looking to save some cash on their next vacation, but skimping on travel accommodations is not the way to do it. Whether you’re looking to purchase a personal bus ticket or you’re hiring a busing company for group travel, it’s important that you keep safety as your number one priority.

Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offer you some things to consider before choosing a bus company.

Consider the following when planning a Bus Trip:

-Make sure you check the company’s safety performance. This can be found on the FMCSA website. You have to remember that the cheapest company isn’t always going to have the best safety ratings.

-Look at their safety rating — also found on the FMCSA website. You want to make sure that they have a top rating. Remember that satisfactory is the top rating and a final unsatisfactory rating means that they shouldn’t even be in operation. Consider these ratings before choosing a company.

-Make sure that the company has the right to be operating and it’s carrying the proper insurance. Busing companies that charge a fee to provide insurance for customers must obtain operating authority from the FMCSA. If there are more than 15 passengers, then the company is required to have at least a $5 million insurance policy.

-Check out the latest consumer complaints. File one if you’ve got one. You can do this by calling 1-888-DOT-SAFT or by visiting the FMCSA website.

-Ask around and talk to friends. See what companies they’ve used and how their experience went. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to help you to decide which company to choose.

“Make the choice to put safety first! Every trip, every time” –FMCSA.

In 2008, there were less than 850,000 buses registered in the U.S. During this time, there were 11,000 injury accidents reported among buses. In these accidents, there were close to 25,000 people injured. Do your homework before choosing a company to book your next trip.
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The results are in and officers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) weren’t messing around. During the recent holiday enforcement period for the Fourth of July holiday, which took place from the 1st through the 4th of July, troopers increased patrols on the hunt for dangerous and impaired drivers.

This enforcement effort aimed reduce the risks of car accidents in Wellington and elsewhere in the state.
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During this holiday enforcement period, officers issued nearly 8,500 traffic citations and arrest more than 80 drivers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of these citations were handed out over the four-day enforcement period. Drivers apparently didn’t get the message about the risks for accidents and citations during this time of the year as all safety concerns seemed to be out the window.

Breaking Down the Citations:

-More than 3,530 were ticketed for speeding.

-More than 655 were ticketed for not wearing a seat belt.

There were also nearly 2,500 motorists who were assisted on the side of the road by troopers, so enforcement efforts weren’t all bad. During these popular travel holidays, breakdowns and accidents happen. That’s another reason why state troopers employ more officers during these times of the year.

Troopers were also keeping an eye on the workings of commercial vehicles. They were able to conduct nearly 1,110 inspections on commercial vehicles. As a result of these inspections, there were nearly 125 vehicles and more than 70 drivers who were put out of service because of various safety violations.

“The men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol did their part to identify unsafe drivers and took the steps to reduce aggressive driving and crashes on our roadways,” said Col. David Brierton, Director of the FHP.

Officials with the FHP would also like to take this time to remind drivers to move over a lane if they spot an emergency response vehicle, a law enforcement vehicle or any other vehicle on the side of the road with its rotating or flashing lights activated. It’s the law in the state of Florida.

Officials would also like to use this time to remind drivers about *FHP (*347), which is the number to call if you see an aggressive driver on the road or if you need to request roadside help.

The holiday accident risks may be over, but there are still a lot of dangers out there lurking on our roadways. Officers haven’t stopped their enforcement efforts either. They’re still combing our streets in search of intoxicated drivers, motorists who aren’t buckled up, speeders and other dangerous motorists. Drivers as still asked to be on their best behavior behind the wheel to help to make our roadways as safe as possible for everyone.
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A recent car accident in Pompano Beach killed a woman from Miami and critically injured two others.

According to CBS Miami, the accident happened just before 1:00 a.m. on W Atlantic Boulevard. One driver has been charged with two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury, DUI manslaughter, driving with a suspended license and DUI causing property damage. The man is currently in custody at the BSO Main Jail in Ft. Lauderdale
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Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators say that a 37-year-old man was driving east on W Atlantic Boulevard in an SUV when he slammed into the side of a passenger car. The victim’s vehicle was driven by a 22-year-old from Miami. Reports indicate that the young driver was getting off of the northbound ramp from Interstate 95 heading onto Atlantic Boulevard when she was t-boned. There were two other passengers in the passenger car. They were transported to North Broward Medical Center and were listed in critical condition. The young driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Driving along the Interstate can be scary. Getting on and off of it can be just as frightening. Add intoxicated drivers into those scenarios and it just got a whole lot worse. Our Pompano Beach car accident attorneys travel the same local roadways as you and your family and we too witness the dangerous drivers. It’s important to keep safety as a top priority behind the wheel and to exercise your best defensive driving habits to help avoid potentially fatal accidents.

Intoxicated drivers can be some of the most threatening, taking the lives of thousands of innocent people every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about a quarter of all drivers who were involved in fatal passenger car accidents were legally drunk at the time of the accident, meaning they had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

In 2009, there were more than 1,500 passenger vehicles involved in fatal car accidents in the state of Florida. Of the cars involved in these accidents, nearly 890 were passenger cars, 270 were pickup trucks, nearly 290 were SUVs and more than 90 were vans.

Many of these accidents occurred on our state’s busy roadways, like our South Florida interstates and highways. According to The National Safety Commission, Florida’s Interstate 95 is the most dangerous road in the county. Statistics reveal that accidents along this roadway are likely to involve tourists and people who aren’t familiar in the area. Remember that tourists make Florida their vacation destination year round, meaning risks for these accidents are always high.

Interstate 95 is the longest north-south Interstate Highway in the country. It passes through 15 states. It connects Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Some area of the road carries at least 250,000 vehicles each day. Not knowing where and when to merge on these roadways can be dangerous for all motorists. Not knowing your exit and what to do upon exiting is another problem on these roadways. Remember there are speeding limits on the interstate, as well as on the roadways leading to and exiting I-95. Be cautious and be one step ahead of your car. Know where you’re going before heading out to avoid any confusion at the wheel.
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As the holidays draw near, more and more residents are flocking to the malls and other shopping centers to get those last-minute gifts for friends and family. Be careful when parking at these places though because parking lots are commonly the backdrop for serious accidents. There are high risks for car and pedestrian accidents in Wellington parking lots through the holiday season.

“With the holiday season coming up and more shoppers expected to park in lots later at night, it’s important to be aware of the surroundings and choose a safe place to park,” said Anndee Soderberg, ADT marketing manager.
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Our Wellington car accident attorneys ask motorists and pedestrians to be safe while traveling through parking lots and parking garages outside of busy stores. Pedestrians are not only warned to be safe around vehicular traffic in these lots, they’re also warned to be cautious of cracked sidewalks and other hazardous debris. By following a few safety tips, we can all help to make sure that we make it in and out of the stores safely this year.

Parking Lot Safety Tips:

-Be aware of your surroundings. Refrain from distracting activities, such as cell phones, bags and packages, car keys, pedestrians and other cars. Keep your eyes on the parking lot.

-Always hold the hands of small children.

-Be careful when crossing the path of vehicular traffic. Look both ways when crossing a parking lot lane just as you would crossing the street.

-Park in open spaces. Never try to squeeze your vehicle into a tiny spot.

-Be extra careful when backing up. Keep looking around your vehicle for nearby pedestrians. Backup slowly just in case someone darts out behind your vehicle unexpectedly.

-Lookout for defective sidewalks and parking lot debris.

-Walk when and where pedestrian traffic is signaled to.

-Drivers should always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

-Drivers should never block or park in crosswalks.

Property owners are required to keep parking lots clean and safe for everyone. as well By following a few safety measures, property owners can help to prevent any accidents or legal matters regarding their parking lots.

Tips for parking lot owners:

-Make sure that all areas of the lot are well lit.

-Deal with flooding areas immediately after the rain to avoid any fall hazards.

-Clearly mark areas where pedestrian and vehicular traffic are expected.

-Clearly mark steps and changes in level on sidewalks.

-Clear the lot of all trash and other debris.

-All signs should be visit and legible.

As the stores fill up with holiday shoppers, the parking lots are expected to fill as well. Shoppers are urged to be cautious when parking as these areas can produce a number of accidents if you’re not cautious and careful. Property owners are required, by law, to ensure that these areas are safe for all visitors. Let’s all do our part to be smart, polite, careful and courteous in parking lots to avoid an accident. Happy Holidays and safe shopping!
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Curbside buses may offer cheap rides for residents, but they also offer higher risks of busing accidents in West Palm Beach and elsewhere.

According to The Palm Beach Post, curbside buses are seven times more likely to be involved in an accident than conventional buses. The rates are much higher on these curbside buses because they’re harder to regulate by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), states a newly released report.
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Curbside buses are buses that navigate their way through the city, picking up and dropping off passengers in front of retail stores and at street corners. The more conventional buses use busing terminals to gather passengers. Half of the curbside busing companies have been in business for more than 10 years and nearly 45 percent of them have fewer than 10 buses. Newer companies had higher accident rates than these veteran companies.

Our West Palm Beach bus accident attorneys understand that these buses are difficult to regulate because they don’t operate out of a typical terminal. It’s more difficult for inspectors to track down these buses for en route inspections. To make matters worse, there are only about 900 FMCSA inspectors who are in charge of looking over 760,000 U.S. motor carriers. These inspections typically take about two weeks to complete. There’s just not enough manpower.

Even worse, companies that are shut down for numerous violations can and do reopen under another operating name. The same buses are used, just with a new coat of paint. Officials call these vehicles “ghost buses.”

FMCSA officials aren’t able to keep tabs on ticket sales for these curbside buses either. Sales are made through online brokers, which don’t fall under the Administration’s jurisdiction. Most times, these brokers don’t reveal the name of the busing company to a consumer who purchases a ticket, meaning that there’s no way for you to check out a company’s safety record beforehand.

“Business and safety practices within the growing curbside bus industry create challenges for enforcement authorities and consumers alike when it comes to separating the safe operators from the unsafe operators,” said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman.

The report was summoned by Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y. and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. back in March after our country witnessed the brutal bus accident in the Bronx that took the lives of 15 people and injured another 18. The owners company of that bus, World Wide Travel, was shut down after receiving a number of safety violations.

Later in May, a bus heading to Chinatown in New York from North Carolina got into a serious accident that ended up killing four and injuring another 50. Reports indicate that the bus driver fell asleep at the wheel. Sky Express Inc., the bus’ operator, had received nearly 50 safety violations regarding driver fatigue within the last two years. That company was also shut down.

So far in 2011, there have been nearly 25 interstate busing accidents that killed about 35 people and injured more than 450.

The problem with these companies is that they’re growing and sprouting up quicker than the NTSB and the FMCSA can keep track. For this reason, passengers are urged to look thoroughly into a busing company for potential safety warnings before purchasing a ticket.

“When travelers board a bus, they should feel safe, whether the trip starts in a terminal or at a Chinatown sidewalk,” said Velázquez.
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A Florida state court has found Yamaha Motor Corporation USA responsible for a watercraft accident in West Palm Beach at Currie Park. The accident took the life of a 14-year-old girl and seriously injured a 15-year-old boy. The family of the injured children was awarded $35 million. The parents received $19 million and $16 million went to 21-year-old daughter, who was 15 at the time of the accident, according to The Street.
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The jet ski company was warned several times about defects in the model jet ski that the family was renting that day. The defect consisted of steering problems. Yamaha failed to warn the users of these problems and failed to correct the issue.

Our jet ski accident attorneys in Delray Beach, Lake Worth and Port St. Lucie understand that rental companies have an obligation to provide safe and operable equipment to renters. Manufacturers are also required to produce quality products that are safe and free from defects that can injure a consumer. In these cases, where companies fail to consider the safety of their customers, companies can be held responsible for compensating the injured for a number costs and loses.

Rental companies also have a responsibility to make sure than renters are educated and knowledgeable about the products they’re renting. In this case, the rental company sent two inexperienced children out on the waterways along during a busy holiday weekend.

This court case was heard for more than six weeks, and the system declared that Yamaha Motor Corporation USA was in fact responsible for the damages as they failed to fix a faulty product, allowing users to ride in dangerous situations.

It is estimated that approximately 700 people are killed in watercraft accidents every year. Another 3,000 people are injured in these accidents annually.

Research from the University of South Florida reveals that accidents that involve jet skis are more common than any other boating mishap. Victims of jet ski accidents will most likely experience trauma to the check, abdominal injury and closed-head injuries. During a jet ski accident it is common for rider to be thrown from the watercraft. The study compared jet ski accidents to motorcycle accidents in injuries.

“The same factors that make personal watercraft fun make them dangerous,” said Dr. Elizabeth Beierle a UF pediatric surgeon.

To help prevent an accident while riding on a personal watercraft, please review the following Florida laws:

-Inflatable Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) are not allowed for personal watercraft use.

-A cutoff switch must be attached to the operator at all times.

-These vessels are not to be operated from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise.

-You are prohibited from driving a personal watercraft by swerving through congested traffic, jumping the wake of another watercraft that’s unreasonably close or when visibility around the vessel is blocked.

-No horse play. You are not allowed to swerve at the last second to avoid collision. This is classified as reckless operation of a vessel, which is considered to be a first-degree misdemeanor.

-No one under the age of 14 is allowed to operate a personal watercraft.

-You have to be at least 18-years-old to rent a personal watercraft.

-If you were born on or after January 1, 1988 must have either have completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating education course or to have passed a course equivalency.
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