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empty mugWhen someone is hurt in a Florida drunk driving accident, the injuries are often severe. In many Florida DUI accidents, the intoxicated motorist is traveling at a high rate of speed, traveling the wrong way down a one-way road, or entering an intersection without yielding to a traffic signal. These accidents may result in a high-speed, direct-impact collision.

Regardless of the specific type of accident, anyone who is injured in a Florida drunk driving accident can pursue a claim for damages against the responsible parties. The obvious party to name in this type of claim is the drunk driver. However, liability may not stop there. Under Florida’s Dram Shop law, an accident victim may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the individual or business who provided alcohol to the intoxicated driver.

Florida’s Dram Shop law is contained in Florida Statutes section 768.125, and provides two situations in which a third-party can be responsible for injuries to a person who was injured due to the third party’s decision to provide to another.

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car accidentThe lawmakers in each state are able to determine what amount of insurance is required to legally operate a vehicle on public roads. Most states require motorists to obtain a certain amount of bodily injury liability coverage to ensure that an accident victim is able to recover – at least in part – for the injuries they sustained. However, Florida lawmakers left the bulk of the decision to obtain car insurance in the hands of the individual motorists.

Unlike many other states, Florida law only requires motorists to obtain $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability. Personal injury protection, also called “no fault insurance” covers the motorist (and other qualifying individuals) up to the policy maximum, without a showing of fault.

While this sounds good in theory, by not requiring motorists obtain additional bodily injury liability coverage, few motorists have coverage beyond the bare minimum PIP. This means that many Florida motorists do not have insurance to cover the medical expenses of those who are injured in an accident that they caused. Given the state’s lax insurance requirements, it is no surprise that Florida ranks among the worst states for uninsured and underinsured drivers.

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Angel-Rivera-Photo-0918-284x300Angel I. Rivera has joined Cecere Santana, PA as an associate attorney. Mr. Rivera will be working with the legal team handling Property Litigation claims. As part of this team, he will be responsible for helping clients whose homes or businesses have been damaged by hurricanes, storms, fires, water damages or other types of property claims.

Mr. Rivera joins Cecere Santana after a successful career handling property claims. Previously, Mr. Rivera represented insurance companies in cases related to property insurance claims, which gives him a unique perspective when representing our clients. He knows first-hand how insurance companies operate and the best way to help our clients receive the right compensation for their property loss.

A graduate from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Colley Law School, Mr. Rivera is fluent in Spanish. He is also a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.

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premises liabilityAs a general matter, Florida landowners owe a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to keep the area reasonably safe and warn visitors of known hazards that may not be readily apparent. The extent of the duty owed by a landowner depends on several circumstances, including the relationship between the parties. For example, a business visitor such as a customer in a retail establishment is owed a higher duty of care than a social guest.

When a landowner fails to exercise the necessary level of care in maintaining their property, and a guest is injured as a result, the landowner may be held liable for their visitor’s injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit. In general, in order to succeed in a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard causing the plaintiff’s injuries.

Importantly, a Florida premises liability plaintiff does not need to prove that the landowner had actual knowledge of the hazard; it is sufficient to show that the defendant landowner had constructive knowledge of the hazard. Constructive knowledge is a legal concept by which a court assumes that a party has knowledge of a certain fact based on the surrounding circumstances.

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semitruckSemi-trucks are among the largest, most dangerous vehicles on the road, and as a result are involved in more than their share of Florida automobile accidents. Indeed, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that in 2016 there were 293 fatal Florida semi-truck accidents. Also concerning is the fact that as a percentage of the total number of accidents, Florida semi-truck crashes continue to rise.

One type of semi-truck accident that has been getting significant attention over the past few years is an underride accident. An underride accident occurs when another vehicle gets wedged underneath a semi-truck during a collision. This normally occurs when a motorist rear-ends a stopped or slowing semi-truck at a significant speed; however, underride accidents may also involve a vehicle being dragged underneath the front side of the truck as well.

Trailer manufacturers have long been required to install rear underride guards on their trucks. These guards reduce the likelihood that a vehicle will get dragged underneath the rear of the truck in the event of a rear-end collision. However, more recently, lawmakers have been pushing to require trailer manufacturers to install front- and side-underride guards as well.

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funeralIn the tragic event that someone is killed in a Florida car accident, the victim’s family members may be able to recover financial compensation from the at-fault parties through a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. The Florida Wrongful Death Act is contained in Florida Statutes § 768.16, which provides for various forms of recovery, depending on the relationship between the deceased and the person filing the case.

Florida wrongful death claims can be filed by qualifying survivors. A “survivor” is defined under the Florida Wrongful Death Act as the deceased’s “spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the [deceased] for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.”

Any qualifying survivor is able to pursue a claim for the loss of support and services they experiment as a result of the loss of their loved one. In addition, there may be specific types of compensation available to certain survivors. For example, a surviving spouse may be entitled to compensation for their loss of companionship and protection. Similarly, surviving minor children may be entitled to compensation for their “parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering.” Surviving parents are also eligible for pain-and-suffering damages for the loss of a minor child.

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distracted drivingResidents of every major city like to claim that their drivers are the worst. Of course, dealing with any commute day in and day out gets tiresome, and inconsiderate or aggressive drivers tend to stand out in commuter’s mind when they make these comments. However, Florida drivers, in many motorist’s minds, are among the worst.

According to a recent news report discussing a study conducted by SmartAsset, in 2018, Florida drivers ranked eighth for the worst drivers in the country. This figure represents a drastic improvement over the 2017 figures, which named Florida drivers as the absolute worst. Nevertheless, the high number of accidents in our state requires knowing a skilled South Florida car accident attorney in the event that you are injured in a collision.

The study took several metrics into account, including the number of DUI citations, the state’s traffic fatality rate, the rate of uninsured drivers, as well as the number of traffic citations issued by police. The following is the data for Florida drivers:

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roller coasterIn June of this year, six people were seriously injured when the Sand Blaster roller coaster on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk malfunctioned. News reports at the time explained that the coaster derailed shortly after it had re-opened after being closed for several weeks due to the coaster’s poor condition. A recent news report discusses some of the shocking discoveries investigators have uncovered in the few months since the accident.

The Accident

On June 14, several cars on the Sand Blaster derailed, sending two women in the front car plummeting over 30 feet to the ground below. The remaining passengers dangled from the track, waiting to be extricated by emergency workers. At the time, little was known about what caused the accident.

The Investigation

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which is the government agency responsible for regulating roller coasters, inspects roller coasters twice a year. However, operators are responsible for conducting daily inspections before opening the ride to the public.

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This summer, Cecere Santana, PA celebrates 10 years since partners Michael Cecere and Erick Santana decided to join forces and open Cecere Santana, PA. Attorneys Cecere and Santana met in the early 90s when they were both insurance adjusters for State Farm Insurance Company. Mike-Erik-Final-2017-300x200Their paths crossed again in 1996 when they attended Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University. After graduating and practicing law for several years, the attorneys decided to combine their years of experience in personal injury and property claims and in 2008 they opened their first office in Sunrise.

At the time, the firm consisted of two attorneys and three case managers. Since then, Cecere Santana has moved to a larger office in Plantation and the team has grown to four attorneys and more than 10 paralegals, case managers and support staff, with the sole purpose of offering our clients the best legal representation and the best customer service in the industry. In the last 10 years, Cecere Santana has helped thousands of clients hurt in automobile accidents, slip and falls, negligent security and all types of personal injury cases. We have also collected millions of dollars for home and business owners who have suffered losses to their properties due to hurricanes, storms, fires, water damages or other types of property claims.

At Cecere Santana, our priority is to offer our customers not only sound legal advice, but also excellent customer service. Our attorneys make a point of speaking directly to our clients when they sign with our firm, but also throughout their case. Our staff is trained to assist our clients throughout the legal process, guiding them every step of the way. As a result, our clients are our best referral source. Most of our new clients come to us referred by a friend or family member.

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In a recent case, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida personal injury case requiring the court to discuss the state’s medical malpractice pre-suit requirement and whether the plaintiff’s case was required to comply with that requirement. Ultimately, the court determined that the defendant failed to establish, as a matter of law, that the plaintiff’s case sounded in medical malpractice, and thus the plaintiff did not need to comply with the pre-suit requirements.hospital

Florida’s Pre-Suit Notice Requirement

Under Florida Statute section 766.106(2)(a), prospective medical malpractice plaintiffs must provide notice to those whom they plan to name as defendants. This notice must contain certain information, such as a list of all known health care providers seen by the plaintiff in the past two years and copies of the plaintiff’s medical records. In addition, the plaintiff must obtain an expert affidavit indicating that the plaintiff’s claims have merit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was a resident at the defendant psychiatric facility. During his stay, another resident removed a metal handrail from the wall, beating the plaintiff in the head and face with the rail. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the facility, arguing that it breached its duty to provide security and train staff on how to recognize and handle emergency situations.

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