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October 25, 2014

Florida Airport Premises Liability Case Filed in Elevator Death

The family of a Pennsylvania man has filed a premises liability lawsuit against an airport in Florida after he died last year in an elevator shaft. Plaintiffs assert a malfunctioning elevator resulted in the man's death.
The federal lawsuit names the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport, as well as the elevator maintenance company. Defendants insist the elevators are safe, and have insinuated the 31-year-old decedent may have been at-fault, as he was found with Xanax in his system and his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the limit.

But even if the victim shared some degree of blame for what happened (called comparative fault in legal terms), his claim is not barred under Florida law.

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October 20, 2014

Florida Student Athlete Injuries, Deaths, Spotlighted in Recent Lawsuit

A Florida high school football player showed up for practice one afternoon - and has never been the same since.
That's because, according to a lawsuit filed recently by his family, the junior athlete suffered a head injury on the field, one they say his coaches failed to address promptly. He ended up leaving the field, driving himself home and later being rushed to the hospital, where he spent 10 days in a medically-induced coma while doctors attempted to reduce the swelling on his brain.Today, he suffers permanent effects from his traumatic brain injury - something the family said could have been prevented.

As the football season is in full swing, students, parents and coaches must take the potential for athlete injury seriously, as incidents like this are not an uncommon occurrence. In Fort Myers recently, a high school junior has been permanently blinded in one eye following a football accident, an injury that has stripped him of his dream of becoming a police officer. In New York, a 16-year-old died after suffering brain injury due to an on-field collision with another player. In Alabama, a 17-year-old was pronounced dead days after collapsing shortly following a tackle. And in North Carolina, a 17-year-old collapsed during warm-ups prior to a game and died shortly thereafter.

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October 16, 2014

Plaintiff Holds Duty to Mitigate Following Florida Crash

A person injured in a crash through no fault of his own still has a responsibility to take reasonable measures to minimize the effects and loss suffered. This is referred to in personal injury cases as the plaintiff's "duty to mitigate," and it's employed sometimes by defense lawyers as a means to argue for a significant reduction in damages.
This responsibility holds true even when the other driver was 100 percent at-fault in the case.

Generally, the common law legal principle holds a plaintiff should not be allowed to recover damages that could have been avoided had he or she acted reasonably. The flip side of it is that plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for expenses they occurred in reasonable attempts to mitigate their loss, even if those attempts are not successful.

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October 14, 2014

Dangerous Trucks Targeted by FMCSA, But Some Lawmakers Call for Change

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has pulled from service a fleet of dangerous trucks and drivers, after the carrier had five recordable crashes, as well as 29 drivers cited for speeding and other traffic violations. According to the release, the company also failed to properly screen driving records of its workers, didn't follow proper procedure when workers and prospective employees tested positive for drugs and alcohol, disregarded federal hours-of-service regulations for truckers and failed to maintain rigs in safe condition, resulting in at least two of the three crashes.
While federal regulators gear focus to this kind of action, advocacy groups and politicians have been pulling for change on several fronts. For one, a labor union and two safety advocacy groups have filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking that it compel the FMCSA to issue new minimum standards for entry-level training of commercial vehicle drivers. Meanwhile, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania has introduced the "Safer Trucks and Buses Act," which calls for a recalculation of the scoring system used since 2010 under the FMCSA's Compliance Safety Accountability Program.

While there are certainly competing interests among these organizations, the bottom line is trucking remains a hazardous industry, and fleet owners who fail to adhere to safe practices risk putting us all in harm's way. This is an issue that should be receiving constant evaluation.

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October 5, 2014

Drunk Daytona BIker Gets 4 Years in Biketoberfest Crash

When a Volusia County man climbed onto his motorcycle that evening in October 2012 during Daytona's Biketoberfest motorcycle rally, authorities say his blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit.
He'd already been convicted of three prior DUIs. Yet, according to prosecutors, he climbed on a bike, intoxicated, around 9 p.m. and crashed into two Ohio tourists attending the event on S. Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach Shores. The couple was waiting with other pedestrians to cross the street when the biker suddenly veered toward the crowd. The couple, in their mid-50s, suffered severe injuries and had to undergo numerous surgeries in order to survive.

They told the court their lives are forever changed. Now, the biker's will be too, as a judge has sentenced him to 4 years behind bars. He faced a maximum of 5 years for the crimes of which he was charged.

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September 25, 2014

Dangers of Distraction Driven Home for Daytona State Students

Daytona State College students recently got an education in distraction, as UNITE, a national health and wellness operation, brought its distracted driving simulator to campus.
Gripping a wheel in front of a giant screen, students were invited to navigate an obstacle course while reaching for a phone, sending a text, dialing a number, talking on the phone or eating a sandwich. Almost inevitably, they crashed. Lucky for them, it's not real - this time.

The fact is, our Daytona personal injury attorneys come across cases where victims are paying the ultimate price for someone else's split-second carelessness. One of the more recent studies on distracted driving indicated that in 2013, texting caused more than 300,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths.

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September 20, 2014

Bicycle Accident Victims & UIM Coverage

It's illegal for motorists involved in a fatal or injury-causing crash to flee the scene. Yet it happens all the time, usually because the driver is drunk or lacks insurance.
Hit-and-run accidents are especially common against bicyclists, who are more likely than a motorist or passenger to suffer serious injury or death as a result of a collision. In fact, it was a fatal hit-and-run bicycle accident in South Florida that prompted the Florida Legislature to pass the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, which strengthens criminal penalties against drivers who fail to remain at the scene.

However, Daytona Beach bicycle accident lawyers know even if drivers are later identified and a criminal prosecution pursued, lack of auto insurance (or lack of adequate auto insurance) can result in cyclists struggling to pay medical bills, recover from lost wages and rebuild their lives.

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September 16, 2014

Daytona School Bus Safety Top Priority for New School Year

School bus drivers are supposed to be vetted, properly trained and appropriately monitored. After all, they are responsible for the daily transport of precious cargo: Our children.
And yet, there are sometimes instances wherein the drivers and the system fail. Our Daytona school injury lawyers note a recent case out of Connecticut, where a school bus driver taking 20 children to their first day of middle school was found to be drunk.

As students head back to classes, one of parents' primary concerns is that the kids make it there and back safely. Fortunately, school buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in terms of avoiding a crash and preventing injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. School buses have heightened crush standards, flashing red lights, reinforced sides, cross-view mirrors, bright colors and stop sign arms. But all of this won't matter much if the driver isn't fit for the job.

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September 13, 2014

Daytona Traffic Collisions & Risks of Legalized Marijuana

In the last two decades, numerous states have radically reformed stances on marijuana, creating a vast patchwork of laws from place-to-place. However, no matter where you live, driving under the impairing influence of any substance - legal or otherwise - is against the law. hempleaf.jpg

Florida may soon be among those to allow consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Voters are set to consider Amendment 2 in November. But the measure has staunch opponents, and some of those have come forward to say that if the law passes, Floridians will be gambling with their safety on the roadway.

Specifically, the "Don't Let Florida Go to Pot" coalition, which includes the Florida Sheriffs Association, asserts that 25 percent of all deadly wrecks are connected to the consumption of marijuana. Our Daytona Beach car accident attorneys have seen the devastation wrought by impaired drivers. Would the passage of this measure mean more of these tragedies in Florida?

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September 10, 2014

More Florida Car Accident Victims Hiring Injury Lawyers

The Insurance Research Council has just released a study revealing those injured in car accidents are increasingly more likely to hire an attorney to represent them when making a claim.
In 2012, the IRC reported 36 percent of personal injury protection claimants were represented by a lawyer, compared to 31 percent five years earlier. This is more than double the rate of the number who sought legal representation in 1977. For those pursuing bodily injury claims, the rate was almost 50 percent in 2012.

While the insurance industry is busy painting this as a huge negative, our Daytona Beach car accident lawyers know the real reason behind the increase has to do with the public's response to the tactics of insurers. People would not spend the money to secure a lawyer if they didn't have to do so. Unfortunately, the insurance industry has created a climate where their customers and the public at-large has come to expect they will receive unfair treatment.

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September 2, 2014

Tort Reform Just Means Less For Daytona Injury Victims

In the early 1990s, a fast-food chain lost a widely-publicized case in which an elderly woman spilled scalding hot coffee on herself, suffering third-degree burns. Despite being required to pay nearly $3 million in both compensatory and punitive damages, the restaurant company won in a big way.
As highlighted in the new documentary, "Hot Coffee," the case was important in terms of convincing the public that the civil justice system had "run amok" with frivolous cases, and badly in need of reform. After all, how could a woman who spilled coffee on herself expect someone else to pay for it, especially considering we all know coffee is supposed to be hot.

But here is what our Daytona personal injury lawyers recognize was lost in the widely-derided case: Company executives admitted the beverage was not fit for human consumption because it was so outrageously hot. In fact, hundreds of people had already complained of suffering severe burns due to spills from this chain's hot beverages. Some of those hurt were infants and children. The company knew their beverages were served at temperatures far above those known to be safe -- and also 30 to 40 degrees above the competition. Despite this knowledge, the company did nothing to warn customers of the danger.

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August 25, 2014

Daytona Beach Traffic Accidents - High Risk of Tire Defects in Focus

For more than a decade, consumer advocates have argued for improved standards to help consumers tell the age of vehicle tires and determine when a tire might be "expired."
However, our Daytona car accident lawyers understand they may be arguing for even longer, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Association declined to enact new regulations to address the issues.

The agency issued a report, summarizing a dozen years of research and asserting that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139 was sufficient to protect consumers. This was the standard enacted in 2006 that has resulted in enhanced tire safety standards and improved monitoring and alerts to driver when a tire is not properly inflated.

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August 20, 2014

Pool Owners, Manufacturers, Could be Liable for Injuries

Summer in Florida is prime time for pool fun. However, our Daytona pool injury lawyers recognize the potential for danger is great, particularly where children are concerned.
Recently, the family of a 7-year-old Florida boy electrocuted in the family's pool filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the manufacturer of the pool light, and the company that serviced it.

According to the complaint, Sloan v. Pentair Water Pool et al, the child's parents allege the boy was killed due to negligence by the two firms - specifically, negligence in design and manufacturing, failure to warn and vicarious liability (by the maintenance firm) for acts of omission.

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August 12, 2014

Child Drownings in Florida Persist Through Summer

Tragedy has gripped a family in northern Florida after the drowning death of a 4-year-old girl in the family's pool occurred at a gathering where 19 people were present.

Authorities believe the child slipped away and was reaching for an object in the pool. She was unable to swim, and roughly 20 minutes passed before the adults discovered her in the pool.
The incident highlights how quickly and quietly a child-drowning death may occur. So far this year, officials in Florida report there have been a total of 42 child drownings, with nearly 70 percent of those involving children under the age of 3. Nearly half involved situations where the children were able to get out of the home and away from supervision without detection, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Our Daytona child injury lawyers know child drownings have been the No. 1 cause of child deaths this year, prompting both the Department of Children and Families and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to push campaigns urging families to teach children how to swim. The agencies are also pressing for parents to learn CPR and to become educated on how proper supervision can serve as a powerful prevention measure.

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August 8, 2014

Wrongful Deaths in Police Custody Warrant Accountability, Compensation

There is no question law enforcers and corrections officers have a difficult job, constantly balancing concerns of public safety with the rights of the accused.
However, our Daytona Beach wrongful death lawyers have noted a number of recent in-custody deaths in Florida at the hands of those who vowed to serve and protect. While not every death that occurs in police custody is worthy of a wrongful death lawsuit, the fact is, many of these deaths involve cases of excessive force, improper use of restraints and inadequate medical care. Individuals suffering from drug addiction, mental illness or other special needs are disproportionately affected.

While each case is different, these civil lawsuits will assert the organization as a whole was negligent, grossly negligent or deliberately indifferent to the needs of the decedent. Often, the agency's policy, procedures (or lack thereof) or custom proximately caused the death of the person in custody. Too often, it is not until someone dies in police custody that necessary changes are enacted.

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