Articles Posted in Florida Personal Injury Caselaw

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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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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.

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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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