Articles Posted in Florida Personal Injury Caselaw

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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.

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Have you or your loved one been injured in a truck accident? If so, you need a trusted Miami truck collision lawyer to evaluate your case and help you determine your legal options. With wide-ranging experience handling personal injury claims for South Florida clients, we know how to help.

A Florida appeals court recently sought clarification from the Florida Supreme Court, asking if there should be a different summary judgment standard when video evidence is involved. Under Florida law, a party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law when there is “no genuine issue” pertaining to any “material fact.” A material fact, in this context, is anything that tends to prove or disprove a disputed fact that is relevant to the outcome of the case.

The facts of the case are as follows. On January 17, 2017, a man was driving a freightliner truck on the freeway when he was rear ended by a pickup truck. The collision caused the freightliner to hit another vehicle. The pickup truck driver died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

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If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident or any other type of personal injury accident, you may be able to recover monetary damages for your harm. Our Miami injury lawyers understand how to build a strong case, including the use of expert witnesses, as and when needed. In Florida, the standard that governs the admission of expert testimony just changed, which some believe will make it harder for injured plaintiffs to establish their claim. For this reason alone, it is more important than ever that you choose your injury attorney wisely.

We often think that the law is fixed and unchanging when the truth is that standards, rules and procedures change all the time. The Florida Supreme Court recently held that the Daubert standard, as opposed to the Frye standard, governs the admissibility of expert evidence in Florida courts. Over the last ten years, the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Legislature have grappled with the appropriate standard for the governing standard on expert testimony. In 2013, the Florida Legislature adopted the Daubert standard. In 2017, however, the Florida Supreme Court declined to adopt Daubert on procedural grounds. The Florida Supreme Court, however, recently reversed the 2017 ruling and Daubert is now the standard in all federal court cases and in the majority of state courts as well.

The general premise of the Frye standard is that an expert opinion is admissible if the scientific technique on which the opinion is based is “generally accepted” as reliable in the relevant scientific community. This was almost a universal standard in courts throughout the country after the Supreme Court’s 1923 decision in Frye v. US.

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If you have been injured in a hit and run car accident, you probably have many questions. Our trusted Miami injury attorneys can take a close look at your case and help you understand your legal rights and options following a crash. At our firm, we understand how stressful it can be dealing with a hit and run accident because of the uncertainty it creates in terms of how you should proceed. But rest assured that you have options. We understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law and can apply it to your case.

In a recent case, a 28-year old man has been accused of causing the death of a rising MMA star in a hit and run accident this past May. The State claimed that the man drove recklessly while intoxicated after having left a bar. After the accident, the man supposedly went to a buddy’s house, “posted” something pertaining to the wreck online and hid the car he had been driving before getting it repaired.

Florida law requires drivers of all vehicles involved in a collision to stop their vehicle and stay at the scene. In fact, drivers are not allowed to depart the scene of a wreck until they have provided their names, addresses, and registration numbers for the automobiles they were driving. In addition, drivers must share their driver’s licenses information to any person, driver, or passenger who has been hurt due to the accident. If possible, drivers are also required to provide reasonable assistance to an individual who is hurt, including calling 911 if necessary.

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Slip and fall accidents can lead to devastating, life-changing consequences for a person. In the most serious cases, these accidents can be fatal. When a slip and fall accident takes place on another’s property, you could potentially obtain compensation for things like medical bills and lost income that are a direct result of the accident. Our Miami premises liability attorneys will meticulously look into what happened in your case and fervently advocate for your rights.

In a recent opinion, a plaintiff lived in a condominium for almost ten years. During that whole time, she knew about a specific crack in the sidewalk and watched it continue to worsen. In fact, she had traversed the area many times without incident – never taking special care to avoid it. While she told the landlord that the area needed to be repaired, no repairs were made. Then one day, the plaintiff fell on the fractured concrete. She sued the landlord for injuries, alleging failure to warn and a failure to maintain the premises.

The landlord filed a motion for summary judgment saying that the condition was open and obvious. They used the plaintiff’s own testimony indicating that she knew about the condition and she also knew that there were other paths she could have used. The trial court granted the landlord’s motion based on the plaintiff’s undeniable awareness of the sidewalk’s condition, its open and obvious nature, and her assumption of risk.

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Motor vehicle accidents happen all the time in Florida and across the US. However, these accidents can instantly become more complicated when one of the parties is a delivery driver. In these cases, liability can extend to the employer, in addition to the person behind the wheel.  If you have been injured in accident involving a delivery driver or a commercial vehicle, our Miami injury attorneys can examine the facts of your case and help you understand your rights.

In a recent case, a Florida state jury recently awarded almost $9 million against Domino’s Pizza for the injury and death of a driver in a 2011 crashed caused by one of the restaurant’s delivery drivers. The accident took place when the other driver, a retired Brevard County fire chief, allegedly swerved to avoid hitting the delivery vehicle which had pulled in front of his car, and ended up hitting a median before going back across the roadway and overturning. The wreck rendered the retired fire chief a quadriplegic and he died from injury-related complications one year later. The man’s wife sued and named the franchise’s parent company, Domino’s Pizza, as a defendant.

At trial, Domino’s Pizza argued that it was not at fault because the delivery driver worked for an independent business (i.e., the franchise) and, thus, was not an agent of the parent company. The defense pointed to, among other things, the franchise’s autonomy in being able to hire and fire people. The victim’s lawyers, however, told jurors that Domino’s was indeed an agent of the corporation and was liable because it maintained a right of control over the franchise. The attorneys pointed to a variety of restrictions that extended down to the delivery drivers who, among other things, were prohibited from using radar detectors or carrying more than $20 in cash.
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Car accidents can turn your life upside down in an instant. If you have suffered injuries in an auto accident that you believe were caused by someone else’s error or carelessness, we can help you. Our Miami car accident lawyers will look into the cause of your accident and help you recover the damages you need to move on with your life.

Florida car accident cases can be complicated. Last month, a Florida appellate court held that that a jury’s zero-dollar award for the plaintiff’s claim of past non-economic damages was legally inadequate since it was inconsistent with the jury’s conclusion that the plaintiff sustained harm that necessitated medical treatment.

The facts of the case are as follows. After visiting a grocery store, the plaintiff stopped his car at a red light. At that time, the defendant made an illegal left turn into the intersection striking a vehicle, which then hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff did not obtain medical treatment at the scene, and he did not visit a hospital after the wreck.

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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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