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It is inevitable that self-driving cars will become more and more popular as time goes on. With this increase will also come an increase in accidents. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a self-driving vehicle or believe that autopilot played a role in your accident, you need to reach out to a skilled Miami car crash attorney without delay. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we can assess the merits of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your claim.

Earlier this month, a Tesla in California hit a highway barrier and caught fire, causing hours of closed highway lanes as firefighters tried to ascertain whether it was safe to move the automobile and its damaged lithium-ion battery packs. The driver was killed, and the automobile was badly burned.

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the post-collision fire and the measures that are needed to make the vehicle safe to remove from the accident scene. At this time, it is unclear whether the Tesla’s partly autonomous driving system, known as Autopilot, was involved at the time of the crash.

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If you have been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to worry about is evidence not being preserved properly. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly reputable Miami injury attorneys understand the specific laws surrounding preservation of evidence in Florida personal injury cases and will make sure that your rights are protected. Personal injury cases are complicated, which is why it is imperative that you work with an attorney who understands this area of law.

A very important aspect of any Florida personal injury claim is the pre-trial discovery phase. During this process, parties can ask for relevant information from the other side. If the court approves a request for discovery, it will order that the evidence is shared with the opposing party. Preserving all relevant evidence, even if it is unfavorable to you, is critical.

The Florida Supreme Court has held that all parties have a duty to preserve evidence as soon as litigation is “reasonably anticipated.” Therefore, the duty to preserve evidence may kick in prior to a lawsuit is even filed. In all Florida personal injury cases, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving each and every element of the personal injury claim by a preponderance of the evidence.  As such, failing to preserve evidence can seriously jeopardize a plaintiff’s ability to effectively prove his or her case.

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Serious slip and fall injuries can take months to recover from and, in some cases, a full recovery may not even be possible. In the event that you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, is it vital to reach out to a seasoned Miami injury attorney as soon as possible. The question of fault in these cases can be confusing but, with years of experience, you can trust that we know how to handle even the most complicated Florida personal injury claims.

In a recent case, a Florida appeals court recently issued an opinion in a personal injury claim deciding whether the lower court properly permitted the plaintiff to leave to amend her claim to pursue punitive damages from the defendant. Eventually, the court held that it did not have the power to examine the lower court’s decision.

The facts of the case are as follows. In 2011, a minor child was injured when she fell from an amusement ride known as the “Psycho Swing”at a park in Hollywood. The parents of the child sued those who manufactured, owned and operated the ride for strict negligence. In such cases, the defendant is liable for harm even though he or she did not intend to cause the harm and did not cause it by being reckless or negligent. Among other defendants named in the lawsuit, the company that owned and rented out the swing was named.

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Damages are a crucial — yet often overlooked — element of a personal injury lawsuit. Florida personal injury victims must specifically plead and prove the damages they hope to obtain, and a failure to do so may result in a reduced verdict; even if the defendant was found to be at fault.

In a recent case, a Florida car accident victim successfully appealed a jury’s zero-dollar verdict for past non-economic damages. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was involved in an accident when a pickup truck made an illegal left turn and hit a car that collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff did not receive medical treatment or go to the hospital.

Several years later, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and owner of the pickup truck. Pretrial proceedings resolved all issues in favor of the plaintiff, and the trial jury only needed to determine damages. The jury awarded the plaintiff $50,000 for past medical bills, $200,000 for future medical expenses, and nothing for past or future non-economic damages.

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In a recent appellate opinion, the court reversed a trial court’s ruling in a Florida personal injury lawsuit filed by a tenant against her landlord. The plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit after she fell while walking on a pathway to her condominium. The plaintiff based her claim on the landlord’s failure to warn of the known danger and maintain the premises in a safe condition. The plaintiff argued that although she too was aware of the dangerous condition, she had notified the landlord on several occasions and offered to fix the pathway herself.

Evidently, the landlord did not repair the broken path and did not allow the plaintiff to do so. The landlord moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was not liable because the woman knew the fractured pathway, the danger was open and obvious, and she assumed the risk by not avoiding the path when she knew it to be damaged. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the damaged pathway was open and obvious, along with the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises.

Under Florida law, landowners or occupiers owe invitees two separate duties. First, the landowner or occupier must maintain the property, ensuring that the premises are reasonably safe. Second, property owners must warn guests of any concealed dangers. Landowners may avoid liability if they establish that the dangerous condition was “open and obvious.” In these cases, a landowner will not be liable for injuries if the guest knew of the hazardous condition. However, Florida slip and fall victims can recover damages for their injuries based on a landowner’s failure to maintain their premises.

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We all know that distracted drivers pose a risk to other drivers and pedestrians on the road, but there is another category of people we often do not consider – emergency first responders. These professionals are trained to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as a motor vehicle accident. Every year, a number of first responders including law enforcement, tow truck drivers and others end up being hit by other cars while tending to an accident scene.  If you were hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver, you need to consult an experienced Miami injury attorney. At our firm, we are dedicated to scrutinizing the facts of your case and helping you secure the damages you deserve.

Distracted drivers are a rising threat to first responders, according to a new report released by the National Safety Council. The data shows that 71 percent of drivers conceded to snapping pictures and sending texts while driving past emergency workers – nearly three times the 24 percent who admitted to doing so under ordinary driving conditions. In addition, sixty percent admitted to being active on social media; and 66 percent have sent emails about what they are passing on the road.

The consequences of this behavior are fatal. Sixteen percent of those driving motor vehicles state that they have hit or almost hit an emergency automobile or first responder on the side of the street. In fact, forty first responders died as a result of being hit on the side of the street last year, a 60 percent spike from 2017. This year, twenty-one first responders lost their lives, including ten police officers, and fourteen officers were struck and killed in 2018.

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An appellate court recently issued an opinion regarding punitive damages in a Florida nursing home abuse case. The appeal arose from a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit filed by a nursing home resident’s family. The family amended their lawsuit to include a claim of punitive damages against the facility. The nursing home claimed that it was not liable for punitive damages under Florida law.

There are two main types of damages that Florida personal injury victims can obtain, compensatory and punitive. As the name suggests, compensatory damages are awarded to a plaintiff to compensate them for losses that they suffered because of their injuries. Typically, this includes compensation amounts for medical bills, losses related to changed plans, lost wages, losses of support, and pain and suffering. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are awarded solely to punish the defendant’s reprehensible behavior.

Plaintiffs often seek punitive damages after they suffered injuries because of a defendant’s egregious behavior. In response to the growing number of nursing home abuse cases, Florida enacted a specific provision for punitive damages in nursing home negligence lawsuits. Under Florida law, plaintiffs must establish that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent. Gross negligence occurs when a defendant’s conduct was so reckless or lacking in care that it amounted to a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of individuals that are exposed to their conduct.

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A Florida appellate court recently issued a ruling in favor of a plaintiff in her premises liability lawsuit against the Orange County Public Library System (the “Library”). The plaintiff filed strict liability and negligence claims against the Library after she suffered injuries when a bottom drawer of a copier unexpectedly popped out and caused her to trip. The plaintiff claimed that the Library was strictly liable based on their ownership of the defective copier. She also claimed the Library was negligent under premises liability. She filed an appeal after the trial court dismissed her claims based on her failure to state a cause of action. The appellate court addressed Florida’s pleading requirements in negligence lawsuits and concluded that the plaintiff met the state’s requirements, allowing her case to proceed towards trial.

When a Florida slip and fall victim files a premises liability lawsuit against a business owner, the plaintiff must provide the factual basis of their claim in their complaint. There are two pleading systems in the United States, fact and notice. While federal claims follow the notice pleading system, Florida state claims require fact pleadings. A plaintiff’s complaint must comply with the state’s fact-pleading requirement and include a “short and plain” statement of the facts that show that the plaintiff is entitled to relief.

In Florida negligence lawsuits, the complaint must allege:

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion certifying a question to the state’s high court after a plaintiff appealed a lower’s court decision to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a Florida car accident. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff died after rear-ending the defendant’s Freightliner truck. Evidently, both motorists were driving on a six-lane Florida highway towards an intersection. The plaintiff rear-ended the back of the Freightliner, pushing the truck forward into another vehicle. The plaintiff died because of the injuries he suffered in the accident.

The plaintiff’s estate filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Freightliner driver, alleging that he negligently switched lanes before the accident, ultimately causing the rear-end. The defendant testified that he was traveling in the center of the three lanes, and he felt the pickup truck rear-end him while he was approaching the intersection. The defendant presented video evidence from his dashcam to substantiate his claims. However, the plaintiff’s eyewitness and an expert witness both testified that the defendant quickly changed lanes before the collision.

The defendant argued that under Florida law, motorists who rear-end another car are presumed negligent. Moreover, he claimed that the defendant’s video footage flatly contradicted the plaintiff’s expert and eyewitness testimonies. Ultimately, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because their eyewitness and expert witness created a genuine issue of material fact.

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A Florida man who was injured in a motor vehicle accident successfully appealed a final summary judgment motion entered by a lower court in favor of the City of Coral Gables. The case stemmed from injuries that the plaintiff sustained when his motorcycle collided with an SUV at an intersection. The plaintiff testified that he was traveling northbound when he noticed the SUV approaching in the southbound lane. The SUV driver was making a left turn when the plaintiff collided with the other driver’s SUV. The plaintiff explained that he could not stop in time to avoid the collision. The driver of the SUV claimed that recently planted palm trees with wooden supports at the end of the median obstructed his view of the motorcyclist.

The motorcyclist sued the City alleging, among other issues, that the City created a dangerous condition by negligently designing the intersection and planting the palm trees. The plaintiff argued that the City was liable because the trees and their wooden supports obstructed a driver’s view of oncoming traffic. The City countered that it should not be liable because the placement and wooden supports were a planning decision and not an operational decision; therefore, protected by governmental immunity.

Governmental entities cannot face liability for many of the day-to-day activities carried out by government employees. However, certain exceptions allow individuals to file a tort action against a Florida government agency. For governmental tort liability, the injury victim must be able to establish that the government entity owed them a statutory duty of care. The government agency will be liable only to the same extent that a private person would be under similar circumstances. Finally, certain discretionary functions are immune to lawsuits.