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Drunk and drugged driving are two of the leading causes of fatal Florida car accidents. In fact, each year, there are over 400 fatal car accidents in Florida involving alcohol intoxication. In addition, there are another nearly 300 fatal accidents involving drugged driving.highway

Of course, driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is illegal, and anyone who is caught doing so – even when an accident is not involved – can face criminal penalties. However, when a Florida drunk driver causes a collision with another motorist, the drunk driver can also be held liable for any injuries that result through a personal injury lawsuit.

In order to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, a car accident victim must be able to establish that the at-fault driver violated a duty of care that they owed to the accident victim and that this violation resulted in their injuries. Normally, this involves establishing four elements:  duty, breach, causation, and damages. However, if the defendant violated certain non-traffic statutes – such as the DUI statute – the accident victim can take a “shortcut” when proving their case through the doctrine of negligence per se.

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Legal News GavelOriginally designed for use in the second World War, duck boats are amphibious vehicles that can travel on both land and water. In the 2000s, the retrofitted vehicles became a popular tourist attraction in many cities across the country. However, over the years since duck boats started being used for recreational purposes, there have been a number of fatal accidents, including the tragic duck boat accident that occurred earlier this month in Missouri.

According to a local news report, the duck boat capsized when inclement weather quickly rolled in. Seventeen people aboard the boat lost their lives in the accident, including nine members from the same family. A few days after the accident, authorities were able to remove the boat from the lake where it sank to begin their investigation.

Duck boats, like other vehicles that are permitted to carry passengers for pay, are required to undergo annual inspection. However, even if a boat passes inspection, there are still imitations regarding when the boat can be used on the water. For example, when winds reach a certain speed or waves a certain height, operators are supposed to cancel outings. A Florida boating accident attorney can help answer any questions you may have if you have sustained injuries in a boat accident.

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Florida is not known for its good drivers. In fact, each year there are approximately 3,000 fatalities caused by Florida car accidents. Perhaps not surprisingly for those who have spent much time navigating Florida roads, a recent study lists Florida as second among all 50 states for the number of car accidents caused by careless driving.

Legal News GavelThe category of careless driving encompasses a number of poor driving habits, most notably distracted driving and fatigued driving. These two categories compose the lion’s share of all Florida car accidents, with speeding and drunk driving rounding out the major causes.

Of course, all Florida motorists have a duty to those with whom they share the road to ensure that they are operating their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner. This includes the decisions a driver makes while behind the wheel, but also it calls into the question the decision the driver makes to get behind the wheel in the first place.

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Equal access to the court system is one of our country’s most fundamental rights. Regardless of a person’s background or economic status, the United States Constitution guarantees everyone’s right use the courts to resolve disputes among parties. However, that right, like many others, can be waived.

Legal News GavelChances are, anyone who has dealt with a claim against a Florida nursing home is familiar with the concept of arbitration. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution outside the traditional court system, in which a private arbitrator hears the case and renders a decision. Generally speaking, those parties who engage in frequent litigation prefer arbitration because it offers a quicker, cheaper, and confidential way to handle cases.

Arbitration, however, can present some potentially serious problems for individual litigants, including Florida nursing home residents and their families. This is because the nursing home usually creates the “rules of the game,” so to speak. For example, a nursing home can include clauses in an arbitration agreement specifying which state’s law applies, procedural deadlines, and even which arbitrator will hear the case. Thus, normally it is in a nursing home resident’s best interest to avoid arbitration, if possible.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit requiring the court to determine if the lower court was correct to grant the defendant hardware store’s motion for summary judgement. The court ultimately concluded that each of the plaintiff’s two theories was sufficiently supported by the evidence such that they should proceed toward trial. Thus, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was shopping at the defendant hardware store when an object fell from a shelf behind him and struck him behind the knee. The plaintiff later filed a two-count personal injury lawsuit against the store.

The plaintiff testified that he did not see the item before it struck him. However, he could see it out of the corner of his eye as it was falling from the shelf. After the accident, the plaintiff testified that a store employee showed the plaintiff a trailer hitch and told him that it was the object that had struck him. A representative for the hardware store testified that large, heavy items are not stored on the upper shelves; however, the plaintiff claimed to have seen other trailer hitches up on the top shelf immediately after the incident.

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Earlier this month, six people were hospitalized after a car on the Sandblaster rollercoaster in Daytona Beach’s Mardi Gras Fun Center derailed. According to a local news report, the coaster was carrying ten people in three separate cars when the front car derailed and fell off the tracks.

RollercoasterThe front car that derailed fell to the ground, leaving the other two cars dangling over 30 feet in the air. Emergency responders rushed to get the remaining occupants down safely. In all, six people were hospitalized, two with serious injuries.

Another news article interviewed one of the victims who was riding in one of the rear cars, who opened up about her experience. She explained the sensation of dangling from the coaster as she watched her co-worker fall over 30 feet to the ground below. The woman, a mother of two, told reporters that she was in an extreme amount of pain and thought that she was going to die. She suffered nine broken ribs and spinal injuries as a result of the derailment.

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All Florida personal injury cases must follow certain procedural rules in order to be properly heard by a court. In most cases, court procedural rules are jurisdictional, meaning that a party’s failure to comply with a rule deprives the court of the jurisdiction – or power – to hear the case. Thus, when certain rules are not followed, Florida courts have little discretion but to dismiss the case.

Legal News GavelOne of the most troublesome procedural rules in Florida personal injury cases is the statute of limitations. Essentially, a statute of limitations sets the time by which a plaintiff’s claim must be filed. While there are certain exceptions, in Florida, most personal injury cases must be filed within four years of the plaintiff’s injury. For Florida medical malpractice cases, the case must be filed within four years of the alleged act of negligence.

Of course, there are exceptions to these general rules that can extend the amount of time an accident victim has to file their claim. For example, if a plaintiff’s injury is not discovered until a later date, the statute of limitations may be determined to have begun at the time the plaintiff discovered their injury, rather than at the time the injury occurred.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability case brought by a woman who slipped and fell while in a Whole Foods grocery store. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge regarding the store’s knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall.

Legal News GavelUltimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff did present sufficient evidence to give rise to a material issue of fact. Thus, the court held that summary judgment was not proper.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was shopping in a Whole Foods grocery store when she slipped and fell near the self-service food section. The plaintiff, through an interpreter, explained that she was not in a rush at the time and did not see the substance prior to her fall. She claimed that she stepped on a dirty, greasy area of the floor, which caused her to fall. The plaintiff also explained that it seemed as though other people had stepped in the substance. The plaintiff’s son testified as well, consistently with his mother.

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Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case involving the issue of whether the lower court was proper to grant a new trial on all of the damages categories after finding that the jury’s award for future medical expenses was excessive. The court ultimately determined that, under Florida Statutes section 768.043(1), only the category found to have been excessive should be subject to a retrial.

Legal News GavelThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident with an uninsured motorist. Since the other driver did not have insurance, the plaintiff was forced to file a claim with her own insurance company, under the uninsured motorist (UIM) clause. Generally speaking, when a UIM clause is included in an insurance contract, the insurance company agrees to stand in the place of the uninsured driver. Thus, if the claim cannot be settled, the insurance company may be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the plaintiff.

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Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) opened up an investigation following a fatal Florida car accident involving a Tesla vehicle that killed two teenagers. According to a recent news article discussing the tragic accident and subsequent investigation, the vehicle was traveling southbound on Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale when it left the roadway and crashed into a concrete wall. The vehicle then immediately caught fire.

Legal News GavelThe driver and front-seat passenger were both pronounced dead in the accident. The rear-seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle and sustained major injuries but is expected to live. Police believe that speed may have been a factor in the fatal accident.

Following the accident, the NTSB opened an investigation, focusing not on the autopilot feature that has been a matter of recent concern but instead on the vehicle’s electric battery and the possibility that it was responsible for the fire.

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