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When people purchase products—either one of their favorites or a new one for the first time—they trust the product will work as advertised. When this is not the case, and the product actually winds up injuring a person, the victim may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. This type of lawsuit is called a Florida products liability lawsuit, where a product manufacturer can be held liable for the person’s injury.

In a recent accident involving a well-known exercise company, a child died after accessing their touch screen treadmill at home. Although details about the accident are still unclear, there have been a handful of incidents where children have been injured because the product is intended to be used by people at least 16 years old. The company has urged customers to adhere to the safety warning concerning their products and to keep the treadmill stored away where children cannot access them.

Depending on if the exercise company adequately warned their customers of a known potential risk, injured customers may be able to sue. In Florida, the court will hold a product manufacturer strictly responsible for their actions. This means a plaintiff does not need to prove negligence as long as they have proven: (1) the item contained a defect; (2) the item caused the victim’s injuries; (3) the victim suffered the injuries because of the defect. There are three types of product defects: design flaw, manufacturing defect, and a failure to warn. A design flaw is a defect made during the product’s creation or inception that makes it dangerous for consumers. Unlike a design flaw, a manufacturing defect is an error during the manufacturing process that makes the product unsafe.

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Accidents happen on a daily basis—some are more serious than others, but when they cause serious, lifelong injuries, the at-fault party can and should be held responsible. In Florida, however, whether a potential plaintiff is able to receive the full extent of the compensation they seek depends on the severity of their injuries and the circumstances of the accident.

According to a recent news report, the family attorney of the five-year-old girl who was injured in a car accident involving a former NFL assistant coach has suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the collision. Earlier this year, the coach’s truck collided with two cars on the side of a highway entrance ramp, which severely injured the five-year-old girl, her mother, her aunt, and a four-year-old cousin. The family was pulled over to help another relative whose car had run out of gas. The NFL coach was driving “at highway speeds” when his pickup truck struck the two vehicles. The two cars he crashed into were flattened, and his truck was totaled. According to a search warrant from the crash, the coach was reportedly slightly inebriated when the accident took place.

In Florida, potential plaintiffs who are severely injured in car accidents can file personal injury lawsuits to obtain financial compensation for their injuries and other losses. Although many of these claims are settled before they make it to trial, they often remain on the court’s calendar and can cause significant congestion in state judicial dockets. To remedy this issue, the Florida government enacted the “serious injury threshold law,” which establishes standards that potential plaintiffs must satisfy in order to sue an at-fault party for causing an accident.

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Contrary to the general perception, most Florida car accident lawsuits are resolved before trial. There are many avenues of relief for Florida injury victims, but claimants should contact an experienced and skilled attorney to ensure that they recover the compensation they deserve. Depending on the accident’s facts and circumstances, many settlement agreements occur through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The two most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they have drastically different implications that can impact an injury victim’s right to recovery.

Meditation is a form of ADR that allows parties to settle claims without going to trial. During this process, a trained “mediator” guides the victim and the other party to reach a settlement. The meditator cannot require either party to do or agree to anything; however, they facilitate discussions and make recommendations. This form of ADR only occurs if both parties agree to it. Many insurance companies refuse to go through this process. However, in some cases, a court may require the parties to go to mediation before trial.

During mediation, the individual making a claim will explain their view of the case and the extent of their damages. The mediator will then allow the opposing party to present their view of the case and settlement amount. In most cases, the parties will know within a few hours whether they will reach an agreement; however, agreements can take several sessions in some cases. If the parties agree, the settlement document will be given to a judge for review.

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For nearly the last 50 years, Florida followed the no-fault insurance law framework. Under this system, Florida motor vehicle accident victims often had to pursue compensation through their insurance company rather than the at-fault driver. Proponents of the system purported that no-fault insurance laws provided injury victims with an efficient way to recover compensation. However, critics claim that the system underestimated and limited the damages that injury victims could claim after an accident. Although there have been several reforms, insurance costs have been increasing without providing significant additional coverage to policyholders. In response to these growing concerns, the Florida House voted to repeal its longstanding insurance laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill (SB 54) that will do away with the requirement that motorists maintain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Instead, SB 54 mandates that policyholders carry bodily injury (BI) coverage. Similarly, the Florida Senate is working to pass SB 150, which will repeal mandatory PIP coverage and require Florida motorists to purchase BI coverage at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident, $10,000 for property damage and $5,000 medical coverage. Supporters of the bill cite a recent study that found that Floridians could save over $80 per vehicle, or nearly $1 billion collectively.

Additionally, the bill reduces coverage limits for low-income individuals and students. However, some question the change because the bill does not require proof of eligibility to qualify for the lower-income plan. Further, the plan may potentially allow drivers to pay deductibles for windshield repairs. The windshield addition came after insurance companies criticized vehicle-glass businesses for offering incentives to get their windshields replaced. At the moment, motorists do not have to pay to get their windshields repaired. The proposal would require insurance companies to offer plans with deductibles up to $200 for windshield repairs.

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Recently, an appeals court issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a homeowner’s claim against his homeowner’s insurance company. The Florida insurance dispute arose after the homeowner filed a claim under his homeowner’s insurance for fire damage at his residence. The insurance company’s investigation revealed that the plaintiff filed previous claims and that his failure to repair previous damage overlapped with damage from the current claim. In response, amongst several claims, the homeowner filed a notice of insurer violations contending that the company delayed his claim, failed to act promptly, and offered an unsatisfactory settlement amount. The company responded outside of the statutory period citing outside factors claiming that the civil remedy notice (CRN) was invalid.

Under Florida Statute section 624.155, insurers must act in good faith in settling their policyholders’ claims. Floridians who have suffered damages because of an insurer’s conduct have a right to civil remedies. However, to effectuate these remedies, the policyholder must file a CRN with the insurance company and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). The CRN must state the cause of action with specificity.

In Florida, a CRN must include:

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After a Florida car accident, victims and their families often face a slew of financial, psychological, and medical turmoil. These accidents can leave individuals in a position where they must navigate complicated and bureaucratic processes to obtain the compensation they deserve. More often than not, a fatality exacerbates the complexity of these cases. When a family suffers the loss of a family member after a Florida accident, they may be able to seek compensation through Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.

Under Florida section 768.16, the Wrongful Death Act provides family members with recourse against negligent individuals who caused the death of their loved ones. Those wishing to evoke their statutory rights must be able to establish that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the victim’s death. The negligence may be rooted in negligence, recklessness, breach of contract, or another wrongful act. These claims often follow Florida fatal car accidents, premises liability accidents, and medical malpractice incidents.

For instance, recently, a local news report described a harrowing accident that may result in a wrongful death lawsuit. According to the article, highway patrol reported that the accident occurred when one car traveling southbound lost control and crashed into another car at an intersection. The men in the vehicle that lost control were hospitalized for critical injuries. However, sadly, the individuals in the car at the intersection died from their injuries.

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Policyholders who pay their premiums on time expect their insurance company to abide by the terms of their insurance policy. However, many insurance companies prioritize their financial standing over the well being of their policyholders. When an insurance company fails to engage in good faith, they may be liable under Florida’s bad faith insurance laws. Insurance bad faith occurs when an insurance company violates its statutory duty to engage in good-faith resolution of an insurance claim. This includes failing to reasonably evaluate the merits and resolve a claim in favor of the insured.

Recently, a Florida appellate court issued an opinion stemming from an insurance company’s failure to settle a claim. The policyholders purchased coverage from an insurance company and evoked coverage when a water line burst in their home. After reviewing the claim, the insurance company subtracted the insureds’ deductible and issued a $43,708 payment. The policyholders filed a Civil Remedy Notice (CRN) arguing that the insurance company violated their insurance agreement because they did not identify the necessary repairs and instead gave a “low ball offer”.

Under Florida Law, a CRN is a requirement for those who are beginning the process of filing a claim against an insurer. The insurer must provide notice to the insurance company and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). The policyholder must expressly state the facts that gave rise to the violation. In some cases, a policyholder may provide the insurer with a monetary amount to “cure” the violation.

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Florida rear-end accidents can range from a minor fender bender to a catastrophic collision resulting in deadly injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end accidents are the most common type of collision. In some cases, liability in a rear-end accident is clear; however, the cases are much more complex in some situations. In these situations, successful resolution of a personal injury lawsuit requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.

The primary issue in a Florida rear-end car accident is determining who is at fault for the collision. Florida’s no-fault laws require motorists to file a claim with their own insurance company. At first glance, this theory may seem to make recovery easier on injury victims. However, this becomes an issue when insurance coverage does not meet the extent of the victim’s damages.

Further, although the rear driver is generally responsible for an accident, there are exceptions to this rule that may present challenges. For example, the rear driver may present evidence that the front driver stopped suddenly, reversed accidentally, or was distracted. These claims can diminish a driver’s economic recovery. Moreover, issues often arise if the front driver suddenly pulls in front of another car. When a collision occurs in this situation, the fact finder may evaluate the vehicle’s speed, road conditions, traffic signals and other similar factors to determine fault.

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According to various sources, it’s dangerous to be a Florida motorist. National surveys, Florida’s Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Crash Dashboard, and insurance safety reports all indicate that Florida continues to rank as one of the most dangerous places to drive. Although, nation-wide stay-at-home orders have drastically reduced the amount of daily traffic, the rate of deadly accidents continues to increase steadily. Those who suffer injuries in a Florida car accident should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and how they can pursue a claim for compensation.

Reports from the nationwide surveys from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that risky driving behaviors and fatal accidents increased during the first several months of the COVID-19 national emergency. The researchers evaluated seat belt use, speeding, and impaired driving, ultimately concluding that many fatalities involved more than one of these risky behaviors. Further, a popular website providing the public with an objective, third-party, resource for automobile insurance information listed Florida as number nine among the top ten states with the highest number of fatal car accidents.

Florida’s Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles maintains an up-to-date public dashboard that tracks collisions throughout the state. The public can search for car accident data by vehicle type, injury, and classification. The harrowing statistics from the last full reporting year reveal that there were 339,905 crashes in Florida. Out of the total number of crashes, the database reports 3,286 fatalities, and 211,804 injuries. Of these crashes, there were 5,919 bicycle accidents and 157 fatalities; and 8,005 motorcycle crashes and 504 motorcycle fatalities. There were 8,072 pedestrian accidents in Florida and 699 pedestrian fatalities. Finally, the database shows a startling 91,824 hit and run accidents, resulting in 255 fatalities and 20,935 injuries.

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Florida drivers experience drastic and severe weather changes on a fairly regular basis. Although drivers may have experience handling these changes, these conditions pose serious dangers to motorists and passengers. Florida weather-related accidents, especially those involving large trucks, can result in serious injuries and fatalities. Further, the unexpected flurry of winter storms throughout the southern United States highlights the importance of safe winter driving skills.

For example, national news reports continue to detail the havoc that the recent winter storm brought to the south and midwest. One of the most devastating series of accidents occurred on a popular Texas highway. The icy conditions caused over 100 vehicles, including tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and sedans, to spin out and collide with each other. As the vehicles spun out on the slick roads, many of the cars became trapped in the pileups. Emergency responders used tow trucks and emergency equipment to extricate the drivers and passengers. Although the National Weather Service issued a weather advisory, it seems that many motorists did not expect that the road conditions could change so drastically.

Theoretically, drivers should stay home during severe weather events. However, practically, this is not always feasible. Drivers who must drive and experience a sudden change in weather conditions, should immediately adjust their driving. Motorists should reduce their speed, and leave distance between their cars and other vehicles, especially between large trucks. Further, drivers should remain vigilant about traffic patterns to avoid sudden braking or shifting.

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