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While the thought of fleeing the scene of an accident is completely foreign to most motorists, the fact remains that there are over 33,000 hit-and-run accidents across the country each year. In many Florida hit-and-run accidents, an accident victim’s injuries are worsened by the fact that they were not able to receive the medical treatment they need in a timely manner. The result is that many hit-and-run accident victims suffer serious injuries.

Fiery CrashAfter someone has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, they may be entitled to monetary compensation from a variety of sources. If police are able to locate the hit-and-run driver, the accident victim can pursue a Florida car accident lawsuit against the responsible driver. However, in some cases, the at-fault driver eludes authorities.

When police are unable to locate a hit-and-run driver, the accident victim may still be able to recover for their injuries through their own insurance policy. Under a policy’s underinsured/uninsured motorist provision, a hit-and-run accident victim can file a claim against his own insurance company as though it was the at-fault driver. Of course, the insurance company may reject the victim’s claim, in which case the victim can then file a personal injury lawsuit in hopes of getting a court to compel the insurance company to pay out on the victim’s claim.

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In Florida, lawmakers have determined that lawsuits bringing claims of medical malpractice must comply with additional requirements that are not necessary in Florida personal injury cases bringing claims under a traditional theory of negligence. In so doing, lawmakers put courts in the position of determining which cases should be classified as “medical malpractice cases” and thus be subject to the additional requirements.

Knee X-RayA recent decision issued by the Florida Supreme Court provides some much-needed guidance for how courts should sort out personal injury cases that lie on the line between traditional negligence and medical malpractice.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the aunt of a student at a school for the deaf. The student was seriously injured when she was placed in a hold by staff and taken to the ground after staff determined that she was being non-compliant. As a result of her injuries, the student’s left leg was amputated below the knee.

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Earlier this month, a Florida auto accident between a car and a dump truck claimed the life of a mother and her eight-year-old daughter. According to a local news report, the accident occurred on John Young Parkway at around 3:50 in the morning.

Dump TruckEvidently, the mother was traveling northbound on the Parkway when she entered the right-turn lane. However, as she did so, she ran into the rear of a dump truck carrying a load of asphalt that had been parked on the road shoulder but was partially extending into the lane of traffic. No one was in the truck at the time, and it has not yet been determined why the vehicle was left partially obscuring a lane of traffic.

Tragically, the young mother was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The child was transported to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to save her life. The accident is still under investigation.

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Earlier this month, Florida authorities arrested a man suspected of causing a fatal accident in Broward County back in April 2016. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the evening hours, when the victims’ vehicle was stopped at a red light at East Oakland Park Boulevard and North Federal Highway.

Car WreckEvidently, a driver came from behind the victims’ vehicle when it was stopped at the red light. The driver failed to stop in time and slammed into the rear of the vehicle, which was then pushed into several other nearby cars. Both the driver and the passenger in the stopped vehicle were pronounced dead shortly after the accident.

The at-fault driver exited his car and ran to a nearby business, where he took off his clothes. Patrons at a nearby bar later told authorities that they saw the half-naked man drinking other peoples’ drinks at the bar. Authorities later arrested the man and took him to the hospital for the treatment of the injuries he sustained in the accident. There was evidence suggesting that the man had smoked marijuana earlier in the day and may have been under the drug’s influence.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida dog bite case discussing the single defense to the state’s strict liability dog-bite statute. Ultimately, the court concluded that a warning sign posted outside the dog park where the plaintiff was injured did not bar her recovery against the defendant dog owner.

Snarling DogThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff had volunteered at a local dog park for three years. Prior to beginning as a volunteer, the plaintiff signed a waiver indicating that she was aware of the dangers involved in being in the dog park and that she accepted those risks. On the entrance gate into the dog park, there was a sign warning visitors of the potential dangers and explaining that all visitors enter at their own risk.

One day, the plaintiff was inside the dog park with the defendant and the defendant’s dog. The defendant’s dog was running around the park when it collided with the plaintiff, causing her to fall and break her leg. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that under the state’s strict liability dog-bite statute, the defendant was liable for her injuries.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida nursing home negligence case dealing with the validity of an arbitration agreement that was signed by the plaintiff on behalf of her deceased husband. The case required the court to determine whether the court or the arbitration panel named in the agreement should determine whether certain clauses contained in the arbitration agreement were severable from the rest of the contract. Ultimately, the court concluded that the severability of the clauses was properly before the court because the arbitration agreement contained no “delegation” clause.

signatureArbitration Agreements Generally

When someone is injured due to the alleged negligence of another person or business, the injured person has a right to file a personal injury case against the party they believe to be responsible for their injuries. The same is true for the loss of a loved one. However, the right to file a claim in a court of law can be waived through an agreement to submit the claim to arbitration.

Arbitration is an informal, although still legally binding, way of resolving disputes between parties. Normally, arbitration is requested by a company prior to providing services. Commonly, arbitration agreements arise in the context of nursing home pre-admission contracts, whereby the resident agrees to submit any claim for damages to arbitration, rather than filing a personal injury case in a court of law.

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Earlier this month, a pedestrian bridge on the campus of Florida International University collapsed, killing six and injuring several others. According to a recent news report, students and teachers on campus identified several cracks in the bridge before its collapse. However, no action seems to have been taken amid reports of the cracks.

As students prepared to go back to school four days after the tragic accident, the first lawsuits started to be filed. One man who was riding a bike near the bridge at the time of the collapse recently filed a Florida personal injury claim against the firm that designed the bridge as well as the company in charge of its construction.

University GroundsThe bridge was constructed using a new method of construction called accelerated bridge construction. While a former president of the American Society for Civil Engineers told reporters that accelerated bridge construction does not result in a more dangerous bridge once construction is complete, he did acknowledge that moving the bridge into place can put stress on the bridge, leaving it more vulnerable to collapse until final installation is complete.

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For many, when anxieties run high, physical symptoms can set in. Commonly, symptoms of heightened anxiety are sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, or nausea. However, when a triggering event is serious enough – like witnessing a fatal Florida car accident – the symptoms can get much worse.

Fatal AccidentRecognizing this reality, Florida courts have determined that those who suffer physical symptoms as a result of witnessing a psychologically traumatic event may be able to recover for their injuries – both physical and emotional. This claim is called negligent infliction of emotional distress, or NIED.

Interestingly, NIED is not mentioned anywhere in the Florida Statutes. Instead, this cause of action was developed entirely through the court system. Essentially, courts were getting cases in which those who witnessed serious accidents involving a loved one were attempting to recover for the injuries they sustained from the person who caused the accident. Since there was no statute guiding the courts on how to handle these matters, the courts had to decide for themselves what the elements were to substantiate such a claim.

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Over the past few years, the popularity of rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, has skyrocketed. Indeed, last year, over 45 million people used a rideshare app at least once to get to their destination. However, drivers who are employed by these companies do not need to meet any special criteria other than having three years of driving experience and a clean driving record. The result is that, in too many cases, inexperienced drivers looking for a quick buck end up causing Florida car accidents while transporting passengers.

Steering WheelThe rideshare movement, has raised a number of questions involving who can be held responsible when an accident occurs. The two main rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, each maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover drivers, riders, and even third parties, such as pedestrians or other motorists. However, that policy is only in effect once a driver has accepted a passenger’s request for a ride.

If an accident occurs while a driver is waiting for a passenger to contact them, or is using their vehicle for personal reasons, the companies’ $1 million insurance policy will not provide coverage. However, there may be other options for accident victims, including filing a claim under their own insurance policy, filing a claim with the driver’s personal policy, or filing a claim with the rideshare company under their liability-only policy. The companies’ liability policies, however, offer only the greatly reduced coverage limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.

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Florida is known for its temperate, warm climate, which lends itself to nearly year-round motorcycle riding. As a result of this, many Floridians have a motorcycle that they use, if not for their main means of transportation, as a secondary vehicle. At the same time, Florida is also known for its bad drivers. And as anyone who has ridden a motorcycle knows, bad drivers and motorcycling don’t mix.

https://www.southfloridainjuryattorneys-blog.com/files/2018/02/Screen-Shot-2018-02-20-at-7.07.09-PM-300x193.pngIn all, nearly 500 motorcyclists are killed each year in Florida motorcycle accidents. According to one recent government study, this represents the most fatal motorcycle accidents in any state. In fact, aside from Texas (which is just slightly behind Florida), Florida has nearly three times the number of fatal motorcycle accidents as any other state.

The duty to prevent Florida traffic accidents rests with all motorists, but when it comes to multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents, there is a common theme. More often than not, these accidents are caused by another motorist failing to take notice of a motorcycle. This may result in a motorist changing lanes into a motorcyclist, or a motorist attempting to make a left turn in front of an approaching motorcycle. In either case, a distracted driver can be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence through a Florida personal injury lawsuit.

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