Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Florida state government wants to encourage people to be active and to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather by rollerblading, skateboarding, mountain biking, or engaging in other recreational activities. However, the government seemed to notice that there were becoming fewer and fewer places to partake in these activities because landowners were prohibiting people from engaging in these recreational activities on their land, due to the liability they may face if someone is injured.

Skate ParkThe Florida Legislature’s solution was to pass Florida Statute 316.0085, which provides immunity to certain landowners who open up their property for the public’s use. While there are other recreational use statutes in Florida, this particular statute pertains to rollerblading, skateboarding, mountain biking, and paintballing.

The statute provides broad immunity to government landowners, stating that no government entity or public employee can be held liable for injuries sustained by someone who is rollerblading, skateboarding, mountain biking, or paintballing on government property. At first glance, it would seem that anyone who is injured while engaging in any of those activities would not be able to seek compensation for their injuries; however, that is not necessarily the case.

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Mike-200x300A Miami-Dade jury awarded this week a $9.3 million verdict to a 24 year-old man involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

On the morning of March 16, 2014 Dylan Machado, who was represented by attorney Michael Cecere from Cecere Santana, PA, was traveling on his motorcycle near SW 67 Ave and 32 Terrace in Miami, when the defendant, Maria Rodriguez, changed into his lane, crashing into his motorcycle. The force of the impact caused Mr. Machado to fly off his motorcycle onto the pavement. Mr. Machado’s injuries resulted in him spending more than two months in the hospital and several months of rehabilitation.

During the one week trial, the attorney representing the defendant argued that Mr. Machado was negligent for not seeing Ms. Rodriguez and was negligent for not wearing his helmet. Mr. Cecere, along with attorney Henry Seiden, argued that Mr. Machado was indeed wearing his helmet and he did not contribute to the accident. In addition, Mr. Cecere contended, the defendant’s negligence had caused Mr. Machado’s severe and irreversible injuries that resulted in a lifetime of challenges and limitations for him.  The Miami-Dade jury only attributed 12% fault to Mr. Machado resulting in the multimillion dollar verdict.

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Erick Santana & Michael CecereAccording to an October 12, 2016 CBS News article, the number of teenagers involved in deadly car crashes is rising for the first time in nearly a decade. In 2015, there was a 10-percent increase in teen driving deaths. “In fact, teenage drivers are more than one-and-a-half times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash,” said personal injury attorney Erick Santana, a founding partner at Cecere Santana.

To help prevent fatal accidents involving teens, Santana and Cecere Santana co-founder Michael Cecere share the following three tips:

No. 1: Always wear your seat belt. “Of the teens who died in passenger vehicle crashes, approximately 55% were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash,” said Cecere. “Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.”

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Professional sports associations have come under fire in recent months for the undisclosed and minimized risks of traumatic brain injury and related conditions that can arise from participation in professional sports. These days, it seems that athletes should know the risks associated with participation in a professional sport, but that was not always the case. Even 10 years ago, the culture of professional sports and the “tough guy” mentality encouraged by the leagues was pervasive and prevented an intelligible discourse on the safety techniques and preventative measures that are just now coming into use.

football-380388_960_720Professional sports associations, like other employers, have a duty to their “employees” – or players – to fully inform them of the risks they face while participating in the league. If a league hides known information about a certain risk, or if it encourages continued participation in the face of known risks, the league may be held responsible for the player’s injuries. Indeed, this is exactly the case in a recent lawsuit brought by over 5,000 former NFL players against the NFL.

New Research Indicates Traumatic Brain Injury May Be Present in 40% of Former Players

According to a recent news report coming out of the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology and the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, some 40% of former professional athletes may have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The study looked at 40 former players who played for an average of seven years and had been out of the league for five years.

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Over the past several years, numerous studies have been conducted on the link between playing high-impact sports such as football and hockey and the presence of a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Up until recently, professional sports leagues have denied that there is a link between CTE and participation in sports. However, earlier this month that changed.

football-560473_960_720According to a recent news report, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety admitted in a congressional committee’s roundtable discussion that there seems to be a link between CTE and football. The NFL spokesperson credited the research of a Boston University professor and researcher that dissected the brains of 90 former professional football players, finding the presence of CTE in many of the subjects.

The NFL’s new position on CTE still remains somewhat of a mystery, but the spokesperson did qualify his statements, saying that there are also a number of other questions that need to be looked into.

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Earlier this month, a 16-year-old boy was struck and killed by a motorist driving a Hyundai Sonata while he was skateboarding. According to one local news report, the accident took place at around 9 p.m. in the area of NW 12th Avenue and NW 108th Street.

skateboard-1558896Evidently, the driver was heading northbound as he approached a slow-moving vehicle ahead of him. As he approached, the driver decided to attempt to pass the slow-moving vehicle in the southbound lane of traffic. However, when he changed lanes to pass the other vehicle, he ended up striking the teen.

Rather than stopping to see if the teen he just hit needed any assistance, the driver sped away, fleeing the scene of the accident. It wasn’t until a few hours later that the driver turned himself in to police, telling them where they could find the vehicle and confessing to hitting the teen. Investigators told reporters that the driver was visibly upset as he was discussing the accident.

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Earlier this month in Coral Springs, one man was killed and another injured in an accident between a motorcycle and a car. According to one local news source, the accident occurred just after two in the afternoon on the 6600 block of West Atlantic Boulevard.

motorcycle-stunter-tyre-burnout-1301095-mEvidently, the force of the crash not only caused the motorcycle to lose control, but the car ended up flipping over and landing on top of the motorcycle. When emergency responders showed up, they needed to support the car as they rolled it over, freeing the driver.

The driver of the car was taken to Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach with minor injuries and is expected to recover from his injuries. Sadly, the driver of the motorcycle was not so lucky and was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses told reporters that the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the fatal accident.

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Earlier this month, construction began on a new parking garage at Miami-Dade College’s West Campus in Doral, Florida. The new garage will replace the existing garage that tragically collapsed two years ago, killing four construction workers who were working at the time when the garage collapsed.

parking-ramp-530784-mAccording to one local news report, the garage was under construction when a support column gave out, causing the garage to collapse on top of those working inside at the time. A total of four men lost their lives in the tragic collapse. An attorney for the college told reporters that “there was a column–a structural column–that needed to have grout or some kind of cement … They missed–they simply missed the fact that the column was not grouted safely.”

Since then, the college has been in negotiations to secure construction contracts for a new, safer garage. In the wake of the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation, finding that there was a failure to provide a workplace that was “free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”

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Three Florida residents were killed in a devastating crash in Miami Lakes earlier this month. The accident occurred on April 8 on a busy stretch of Miami Lakes Drive near the intersection with North Miami Lakeway Road. According to a local news report, just after 1:00 a.m. the driver of a Nissan Altima lost control of the vehicle, hit a wall, and ended up wrapped around a light pole. When police arrived at the scene, they were unable to remove the victims from the wreckage of the badly damaged car, although it was clear that all three occupants had been killed by the initial impact.

bridge-in-the-night-1251119-mThe wrecked car was taken to the medical examiner’s office, along with the victims’ bodies inside it. According to the news report, none of the occupants was wearing seat belts when the accident occurred, and police believe that speed played a role in the cause of the crash.

The Increased Danger of Late-Night and Early-Morning Driving

Driving at night is often more dangerous than daytime driving, and a resident quoted in the news report told the reporter that the section of road where the fatal accident occurred is especially dangerous in the overnight hours. The low light and poor visibility make one reason that the danger is increased at night. Drivers are also more likely to be tired or fatigued during the overnight hours. Additionally, intoxicated driving is more common at night. All of these factors combine to demonstrate that drivers should use the utmost caution when traveling at night or in the early morning.

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Earlier last year, two seventeen-year-old girls were critically injured in a parasailing accident off the Florida coast. According to a local South Florida news source, the girls just recently reached an agreement with the defendants in the case for an undisclosed confidential amount.

parasailling-956448-mAccording to news sources at the time of the accident, the two girls were injured when they went to a parasailing outfit owned by Aquatic Adventures Management Group. At the time the girls approached the outfit, the weather was questionable, with heavy clouds just off the coast. However, the operator of the boat determined that the conditions were acceptable and allowed the girls to get up in the air and go parasailing.

While they were up in the air, the rope connecting the girls to the boat snapped, sending them flying out of control and subject to the heavy winds at the time. For the next several minutes, the girls were tossed around. They crashed into a building, got tangled in power lines, and then slammed into the side of a vehicle. The girls were both hospitalized with critical injuries.

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