Articles Posted in Negligence

In many Florida personal injury cases, more than one party is to blame. Even a plaintiff may share the blame in causing an accident. In these cases, Florida law applies the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, liability is apportioned depending on the percentage that each party is at fault, as determined by the fact finder (a judge or a jury). That means that if a jury finds that a party is 60 percent at fault and another is 40 percent at fault, each party will be liable for the plaintiff’s damages according to their respective percentage of fault.

This is true also for the plaintiff. Under the doctrine of pure comparative of negligence, and under Florida Statute 768.81(2), even if a plaintiff is found to be mostly at fault, the plaintiff can still recover compensation from other at-fault parties. That is, if a plaintiff is found partially at fault, a plaintiff’s recovery will not be barred entirely, but the compensation owed to the plaintiff will be reduced according to the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.

A defendant may also try to blame an accident on a non-party—a person or an entity that is not a party to the lawsuit. In that case, to allocate fault to a non-party, a defendant may plead the fault of the non-party, and must identify the non-party or describe the non-party as precisely as possible. A defendant must generally identify a non-party at fault by motion or in the initial responsive pleading in the lawsuit when the defendant asserts its defenses. At trial, the defendant must then prove that the non-party was at fault in causing the plaintiff’s injuries by a preponderance of the evidence. A fact finder must then apportion the negligence of the defendant and the negligence of the plaintiff and any other non-parties, ultimately calculating the defendant’s liability. Importantly, when a defendant can shift fault to a non-party, a plaintiff will not typically be able to file another complaint against that party. Thus, it is critical to investigate all potentially liable parties and name them from the outset.

Although most drivers do their best to drive carefully and safely to avoid accidents, automobile collisions are still unfortunately quite common. These accidents can cause incredibly costly injuries, and many times drivers rely on insurance companies to cover these costs. In Florida, drivers have the option to buy uninsured motorist coverage from their insurance provider. This coverage specifically protects drivers if they get into an accident with an uninsured driver who, because of their lack of insurance, does not have the funds to cover the resulting injuries. This coverage is optional in Florida, but many drivers choose to purchase it to protect themselves and their loved ones in the case of an accident with an uninsured driver.

In a recent case, a Florida Appellate court considered whether or not an accident occurring in a mobile gym located in the back of a truck is covered under an auto insurance policy that includes this type of uninsured motorist coverage. According to the court’s written opinion, the client was injured when she was training in a mobile gym. The owners of the gym installed workout equipment in the back of a truck, which they would drive to various locations and then use in training sessions with clients while parked. The plaintiff was training in the gym when she suffered permanent injuries, allegedly from her trainer’s negligence. She brought suit against the trainer and the gym owners, and those suits were settled.

However, the plaintiff also brought suit against her insurance company, arguing that the mobile gym was an “uninsured auto” under her policy, which provided coverage for injuries caused by accidents with the owner or operator of “an uninsured auto arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of that auto.” Her insurance company filed for summary judgment, which was granted in the lower court. The plaintiff then appealed.

Car accidents can lead to catastrophic, life-changing injuries. Dealing with these injuries is hard enough, but also having to think about the legal steps you should be taking can add a whole new level of stress. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or mistake, we can assist you. Our dedicated Miami catastrophic injury attorneys will focus on the legalities of your case so you can focus on healing and moving forward. You can take comfort in knowing that we provide experienced representation to each and every one of our South Florida clients.

Former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle, Kendrick Norton, lost an arm due to a car crash earlier this month. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Norton suffered severe injuries to his left arm, which led to an amputation. At the time of the accident, Norton was not wearing a seat belt and was driving his pick-up truck in the early morning hours of July 4 on a road known as the Dolphin Expressway, a 15-mile stretch of highway that cuts across Miami. Norton was cited for an improper lane change after he pulled in front of another vehicle and grazed it before he crashed into a concrete barrier. The truck flipped and, when it stopped, was upside down. According to a family friend of Norton, however, the football player was cut off before his vehicle flipped. Alcohol and drugs were not suspected to have been a factor in the accident for either driver. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.

The term “catastrophic injury” is not something that injury attorneys take lightly. A catastrophic injury refers to an injury that results in serious and permanent injury to the victim. This can include disability and/or disfigurement. These injuries may include traumatic brain injury, quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputations, organ damage, severe burns or any injury that has a life-altering impact on a person.

Sadly, drugged driving has become an epidemic all across the country. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, we can help you and your family. Our Miami personal injury lawyers understand the system and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation in your case. In short, we understand the law and will put that knowledge at work for you.

A new study by the AAA Foundation found that while almost 15 million Americans admit to driving within one hour after using marijuana, most do not think they will get caught by police for driving while high. In fact, the study found that an estimated 14.8 million drivers, nationwide, report that they have driven within one hour of using marijuana at least once in the past 30 days. This is worrying since it takes one to four hours after using the drug to feel its impairing effects. Researchers have found that more Americans approve of driving after using marijuana (7 percent) than they do driving drunk (1.6 percent). Marijuana users who drive high are up to twice as likely to be involved in a crash.

With the legalization of marijuana in many states, drugged driving deaths have increased. Florida DUI laws criminalize the operation of a motor vehicle not only when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 or above, but also if a person is under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. While a DUI arrest can lead to criminal consequences, it can do surprisingly little to compensate accident victims for their injuries and losses. Instead, an accident victim can file a civil negligence lawsuit against the impaired driver.

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A car accident can change your life. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, our Miami car accident lawyers can meticulously examine your situation and advise you of which Florida laws apply in your case. In the wake of a collision, having the right legal advocate on your side can make all the difference in your financial recovery. Having helped countless clients, we recognize how an accident can touch virtually every aspect of your life, which is why we will fight to get you full and fair compensation.

The annual Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report was recently released identifying which of the 200 largest US cities have the safest drivers. According to the report, Cape Coral was ranked as the 10thsafest city in 2019. Port Lucie came in 14th place whereas Tallahassee ranked 42nd, St. Petersburg ranked 49th, Miami ranked 57th and Fort Lauderdale ranked 62nd as among the safest cities on the list. Ranking lowest on the list was Hialeah at 125th place, making it the city with the least safe drivers in all of Florida. The report found that Hialeah drivers average just over 8 years between traffic accidents, and drivers in the city stand more than a 25 percent chance of getting into an accident than the national average.

Car accidents can lead to a number of serious and life-altering injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Back and neck injuries;
  • Loss of limbs;
  • Broken bones;
  • Burn injuries;
  • Nerve or organ damage; and/or
  • Death.

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Whether you were a pedestrian who was injured in a car crash or you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, we can help. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami pedestrian accident attorneys will thoroughly examine the circumstances of the accident and help you determine your legal rights and options. We understand that a pedestrian accident can turn your life upside down in the blink of an eye, which is why we will handle your case with the utmost compassion.

A man was recently hit and killed while walking along Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the accident took place before 6:00 a.m., delaying morning commuters for several hours. The tragic accident occurred as the 29-year-old victim walked in the right lane near a temporary construction barrier in the northbound lanes south of Sunrise Boulevard, and was struck by a 2018 gray Toyota 4Runner. The Toyota driver stopped and remained at the scene of the wreck until law enforcement arrived. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

All Florida drivers have a legal obligation to drive in a reasonably safe manner. This includes the duty to take others on the road, including pedestrians, into account.  If a car hit you while you were walking, you have rights. A pedestrian can sue the person(s) responsible for the pedestrian accident through a negligence claim. In the context of an accident involving an automobile striking a person on foot, negligence takes place when a driver causes injury by failing to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel. Reasonable care refers to the degree of care that a prudent or sensible driver would have used under the same or similar situation.
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Since Florida is sunny and warm for most of the year, it is an ideal place to ride a motorcycle. While riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, it can also be extremely dangerous. If you or a loved one has suffered a substantial injury after being involved in a motorcycle crash, our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys can investigate your case. These cases can be complicated, and you will undoubtedly want an experienced legal advocate on your side.

Earlier this month, a motorcycle rider died after a crash on U.S. 1 in Cocoa, according to law enforcement. The two-vehicle accident, which involved a vehicle and a motorcycle, was reported around noon and took place close to an intersection. Sadly, the motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck. It is unclear if other injuries were reported at the time of the crash. The accident caused some delays on the road as emergency workers cleared the scene.

Unfortunately, deaths caused by motorcycle crashes are more common than you probably think. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published data on motorcycle deaths by state in 2016 and found that 586 people died in motorcycle wrecks and related injuries in Florida that year. About 555 of these deaths were rider fatalities. In addition, 78 percent involved a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01 or higher, whereas 16 percent involved a BAC of .15 percent or higher.

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Disregarding a stop sign can lead to serious, even deadly accidents. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a driver’s stop sign violation, please contact us as soon as you can. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami car accident attorneys will investigate the facts of your case; figure out the best way to establish fault, and help you get the compensation you deserve in your case.

Last week, a Tesla driver blew through a stop sign at a Florida Keys intersection causing a deadly accident. The Tesla ran the stop sign, hit the side of a parked pickup truck causing the truck to spin out of control. When the truck lost control, it ended up striking a man and woman who were standing beside it. The impact of the collision threw the woman about 20 feet into the woods, ultimately killing her, according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). The Tesla finally came to a stop after rolling into some branches, the FHP noted in their report.

Stop signs are put on roads to control the flow of traffic and minimize the risk of accidents. All drivers behind the wheel have a duty to follow traffic laws and make sure they are operating their motor vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. Under Florida law, you must bring your vehicle to a full stop at an intersection with a stop sign. The driver must stop at the designated stop line or crosswalk. If there is no designated line, the driver is required stop as soon as the driver can see crossing traffic. Once the vehicle is stopped, the driver should look both ways and then proceed forward when it is safe to do so.

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Florida attracts many tourists from across the country and even around the world each year. The state offers amusement parks, beaches, golf courses, desirable shopping, and much more. Many people hire professional tours to explore their areas of interest. Some companies offer horse and carriage tours that allow individuals to sightsee and learn about specific parts of towns. While most of these rides take place without incident, the reality is that accidents do happen. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a Florida horse and carriage ride accident, you need to speak to a skilled Miami injury attorney who can help.

In most cases, open carriages do not have seat belts. In the event of an accident with a motor vehicle, there is little protection for the passengers, who could be ejected from the carriage, suffering severe injuries. In other cases, when the carriage overturns due to an accident, passengers inside may be pinned down and suffer crush injuries from the weight on top of them. In addition, passengers who fly out of the carriage could end up being trampled by the horses pulling the carriage.

In Florida, horse and carriage accidents are evaluated according to the same standards as an automobile accident. As a result, horses and carriages must follow traffic laws and operate in a manner that does not endanger others on the road. Fault in horse and carriage accident cases will be determined using the legal theory of negligence. Negligence takes place when a party causes injuries or death by failing to use the level of care that a reasonably prudent party would have used under the same or similar circumstances. For example, if a horse and carriage overturns because the carriage driver fails to make a U-turn properly, the driver will likely be liable, along with the company that operated the horse-drawn carriage. On the other hand, if a horse and carriage accident was caused by a car driver rear-ending the carriage, that car driver will likely be liable for any resulting harm.

Motorcycle accidents can be extremely dangerous, especially for the motorcycle rider who is particularly susceptible to bodily injury. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you may be able to recover compensation to cover your losses. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our skilled Miami motorcycle accident attorneys can help you value your claim and seek the maximum amount of damages in your case.

In Kempton v. McComb, following a jury trial for a collision in which the plaintiff was riding a motorcycle and was struck by a car, the plaintiff appealed based on the jury’s ruling that he was 55 percent negligent and the defendant was 45 percent negligent. The trial court then applied section 768.36 (the drug and alcohol defense) of the Florida Statutes (the “statute”) and barred the plaintiff from recovering any damages. The plaintiff appealed.

The plaintiff argued that the trial court made a mistake in applying the drug and alcohol defense since the jury’s decision did not indicate, as necessitated by the statute, that the plaintiff was more than 50 percent at fault “as a result of the influence of an alcoholic beverage.”

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