Articles Posted in Florida Personal Injury Caselaw

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A car accident can change your life in an instant. If you have been injured in a car wreck that was not your fault, you need to contact a skilled and experienced Miami auto accident attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are committed to protecting the rights of car accident victims throughout South Florida. We strongly believe that you should not have to deal with the burden of medical bills, car repair expenses and the cost of missing work because of someone else’s carelessness.

In a recent opinion, the plaintiff was driving on a dark road around 4:45 a.m. when he struck cows that were on the road. The nearby gate that enclosed the cows pastures was discovered to be open. The plaintiff sued the landowner under the Warren Act, which imposes liability on owners of livestock for injuries caused by the livestock wandering onto public roads due to the owner’s negligence. In the case at hand, the plaintiff argued that the landowner was negligent for allowing his cows to escape their enclosure and wander onto a public road. The plaintiff sought damages for pain, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and loss of income, arguing that the accident would not have taken place had the landowner locked the pasture gate.

At trial, the lower court excluded evidence of a prior incident in which the cows escaped because the facts of the prior case were not substantially similar to this case. Rather, the trial court found that the prior breakouts were  prompted by hurricanes, hunters and fallen trees – not by an unlocked or unlatched gate. The jury found that the defendant was not liable and the plaintiff appealed.

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Rear-end accidents are the most common type of accidents on the road. If you have sustained injuries in a rear-end crash, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our trusted Miami rear-end accident attorneys will analyze the circumstances surrounding your accident and help you determine a fair value for your injuries and harm.

In Restal v. Nocera, an accident took place in Brevard County in which the defendant’s vehicle rear-ended the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging permanent bodily injury and various other related damages. During deposition, the plaintiff said she was going to make a U-turn, moved toward the median and slowed down to approximately thirty miles an hour. She claimed that she never used the brakes. She then realized that she couldn’t make a U-turn at which point the defendant struck her car from behind. The defendant told a different story. He stated that the plaintiff slammed on her brakes and was turning towards the center median when he hit her and admitted that he could have prevented the accident if he had left more space between his vehicle and the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The trial court granted summary judgment against the defendant based on his admission as well as the presumption of liability in rear-end accident cases. Thus, the trial was held only on how much the plaintiff was owed. The defendant appealed stating that his testimony was enough to raise an issue about whether the plaintiff’s comparative negligence was a contributing factor in the accident.

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If you have been injured in a car accident, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our reputable Miami auto accident attorneys thoroughly understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law, including the process of obtaining evidence from the other parties in the case.

Dade Truss Co. v. Beaty

In a recent case, a Florida appeals court held that a defendant could not improperly avoid discovery based on untrue claims of privilege. In July of 2016, the plaintiffs got into a motor vehicle accident with the defendant, who was driving a tractor-trailer owned by his employer. In September 2016, the plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, shortly after which began the process of discovery. During the process, the defendants noted a private investigator as a fact witness. The private investigator was subpoenaed for a deposition and he was requested to bring all documents relevant to his investigation of the plaintiff. When the deposition ended, the plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the private investigator would give his opinions on a future date.

The plaintiffs then made a request for production, which is a legal request for documents related to the case made to the opposing party. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought documents that showed the private investigator’s insights and observations. The defendants objected citing work product privilege and removing the private investigator from the witness list. The trial court overruled the defendant’s objection. In addition, defendants objected to other requests for production citing work product privilege for some and general objections to the others. However, the defendants did not file a privilege log identifying the documents they claimed to be privileged. As such, the trial court overruled the objections and ordered document production within ten days. The defendants filed a certiorari petition.

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Property owners have a responsibility to ensure that property under their control is in safe conditions and free from hazards that could cause injury to those to who visit the premises. If you or a person you know has sustained an injury in a slip and fall mishap on another’s property, you could be eligible to recover monetary damages. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our seasoned Miami premises liability lawyers are committed to getting clients the compensation they deserve for their harm.

Florida Court Addresses Issue of ‘Open and Obvious” Danger in Recent Case

In a recent premises liability case, the 5th DCA discussed whether a plaintiff’s case should be able to move toward trial even though the hazard instigating her fall was open and obvious. In Middleton v. Don Asher & Associates, a fifteen-year resident of a condominium complex tripped on an uneven sidewalk in the community. She used that path routinely during her time as a resident there. As a result of the fall, the woman suffered serious injuries and sued the condominium association as well as its property manager.

At trial, the condominium association claimed that the uneven sidewalk was an open and obvious danger, which is why the plaintiff was not entitled to compensation for her injuries. The trial court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, explaining that the uneven sidewalk was, as a matter of law, an open and obvious danger.

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Sadly, car accidents happen on a daily basis in Florida and throughout the country. If you have been seriously hurt or someone you know has died in a car accident, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. While no sum of money can take away the pain you have suffered, it can help pay for the bills that suddenly pile up after an accident. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our seasoned Miami car accident attorneys know how to preserve evidence and build the strongest case possible on your behalf.

Calhoune v. Ford Motor Company et al

In cases where an accident is allegedly caused by a design or manufacturing defect, the car itself can be critical evidence in establishing fault. Following an accident, the plaintiff often has an obligation to preserve the vehicle so that the opposing party can properly inspect it. Failure to preserve the car could potentially negatively impact the plaintiff’s case. In Calhoune v. Ford Motor Company et al, a Florida court recently discussed when an adverse inference instruction against the plaintiff for not preserving a vehicle that supposedly had a design or manufacturing defect is appropriate.

In this case, the plaintiff was driving his Ford Mustang GT on an interstate when he swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle that made an improper lane change and lost control of his car, which ultimately flipped over and landed on its roof. The plaintiff sustained such severe injuries that his left arm had to be amputated. The plaintiff’s insurance company determined that the Mustang was a total loss, which led to the plaintiff transferring the title of the car to the insurance company. Neither party preserved the car.

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Depending on the severity, car crashes can be devastating. If you have been injured in a car wreck, you could potentially recover a variety of damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami car accident attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of South Florida clients. When you hire us, you can rest assured that we will handle the legal details so you can focus on healing.

The Case

In Seminole Lakes Homeowner’s Association (HOA) v. Esnard, the court held that a HOA that creates conditions that lead to an accident does not necessarily mean the HOA will be liable for the accident when the condition created by the HOA did not directly lead to the accident.

In the case at hand, when facing a serious parking problem, the HOA allowed on-street parking, even though restrictive covenants required otherwise. The municipal code prohibited on-street parking that could interfere with the flow of traffic. Permitting on-street parking prevented two cars from traveling between vehicles parked on either side of the street.

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If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries through a premises liability lawsuit. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami injury attorneys have extensive experience handling premises liability cases and are prepared to vigorously advocate for your rights to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Florida property owners have a legal obligation to make sure their property is in reasonably safe conditions so individuals who enter the premises are not injured. If the property owner fails to ensure the property is safe, he or she could be liable for any injuries that result from a property defect.

Under Florida law, property owners must exercise “ordinary care” to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. Secondly, a property is required to warn guests of known dangers that may not be immediately apparent to the visitor. There is, however, one exception to this rule. Property owners have no duty to warn visitors of a danger that is “open and obvious.” In fact, this is a defense that can be used by the property owner in situations where a person claims the property owner’s failure to warn was the cause of injury.

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If you have been injured and you believe you cannot sue the at-fault party because you signed a liability waiver, you need to speak to a seasoned Miami injury attorney about your legal rights and options. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we understand that waivers are not always enforceable and will do our best to make sure you get the justice and compensation you deserve for your harm.

Many businesses require people to sign a liability waiver before allowing them to partake in certain activities. A liability waiver is a type of form that releases a party from liability for harm or damage that might take place under contract. In other words, the individual signing the contact “waives” his or her right to hold the other party liable for injury or losses. These agreements are common in a wide range of activities, from go karting to white water rafting. It is important to note that just because you signed a waiver does not necessarily mean you will be barred from suing in the event of an accident or injury. The general rule is that while waivers of liability can insulate businesses from liability of acts for negligence, they cannot insulate from gross negligence. A waiver may be unenforceable for a number of other reasons as well.

A Recent Florida Case Involving a Liability Release Waiver

A Florida appeals court recently discussed the parameters of a liability release waiver and if such an agreement could preclude a plaintiff from pursing a claim of gross negligence against the at-fault party. In this case, a woman signed a release and waiver of liability and assumption of risk agreement to access a restricted area of a speedway. During the race, she was killed when a tow truck backed over her. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the speedway. The trial court found that the release agreement barred the lawsuit, finding that it only applied to gross negligence and pointed out that no gross negligence took place in this case.

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Workplace accidents injure countless Floridians every year. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, our experienced Miami personal injury attorneys can help you figure out your next steps. Sadly, not all workers are covered by workers’ compensation. Whether you were an employee or an independent contractor at the time of the workplace accident, we will meticulously analyze the circumstances surrounding your injury and determine an appropriate legal strategy accordingly.

Construction Loaders Considered “Dangerous Instrumentalities” in Florida

Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court quashed a lower court’s decision in support of Caterpillar Financial Services Corp. in a case involving a multi-terrain loader that cut off a construction worker’s middle finger. The plaintiff was clearing debris from a private residential lot. While attempting to transport a tree stump into the disposal trailer, he was inside of the vehicle trying to consolidate the debris. His colleague was unaware that the plaintiff was inside of the disposal trailer and as the plaintiff tried to get out of it, the stump went over his hand, severing his middle finger.

The plaintiff sued his employer, claiming that the construction loader falls within the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Under Florida law, individuals who have suffered harm due to a “dangerous instrumentality” are permitted sue the person or entity that owns the instrumentality for damages. In other words, Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine creates a law, which states that the owner of an inherently dangerous tool is legally responsible for any injury or harm caused by that tool’s operation. As such, whether the loader was a dangerous instrumentality was a central question in the case.

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Car accidents happen daily in Florida and across the United States. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an auto accident that was not your fault, please a contact a seasoned Miami car accident attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are dedicated to helping South Florida clients obtain the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.

Establishing Liability After a Car Accident

When it comes to determining fault in an accident, some cases are simple while others are complex. In the vast majority of auto accident cases, the legal concept of ‘negligence’ is used to establish fault. Negligence takes place when an accident is the result of someone failing to use the level of care that an ordinarily prudent person would have used behind the wheel under the same circumstances.

Using Circumstantial Evidence

In a recent car accident case, a Florida court upheld a jury’s decision for a plaintiff who sustained serious injuries after her vehicle was rear-ended by a van while stopped in traffic on a bridge. In this case, the court needed to make a determination about whether the plaintiff’s case wrongly relied on stacking a number of inferences since her evidence was circumstantial. The court held that the plaintiff’s case did not rely on the wrongful or inappropriate stacking of inferences and affirmed the lower court’s decision favoring the plaintiff.

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