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Although our furry friends are often companions for life, sometimes animals can lead to accidents with significant consequences. When unexpected injuries take place, it is crucial that potential plaintiffs have a full understanding of their rights under Florida law.

In a recent District Court of Appeal case, a Florida court examined a dispute stemming from an alleged dog bite incident. In the case at hand, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s dog caused him to suffer physical and neurological injuries. At trial, the plaintiff and his wife testified that they were watching the dog for a few days when the plaintiff turned his back and the dog ran behind him and knocked him down, rendering him unconscious. Because of other conflicting testimony from both parties, it appeared unclear whether the defendant’s dog or if dogs that the plaintiff also owned caused the plaintiff’s injuries. As a result, the jury rendered a verdict for the defendant and found that the dog was not the legal cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The plaintiff, however, was later granted a directed verdict and a new trial on the issue of damages.

On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s directed verdict and sided with the defendants. In directing the trial court to reinstate the jury’s original verdict, the District Court of Appeal stated that testimony introduced at trial equipped the jury to make a decision. Because the evidence presented was ample and provided the jury with the opportunity to accept or reject the testimony presented to them, the jury had a reasonable opportunity to make its conclusions and the trial court erred in overriding the jury’s verdict.

An appellate court recently issued an opinion in a bad faith insurance lawsuit stemming from an accident between an 18-year-old driver and a motorcyclist. The accident occurred when the 18-year-old turned into a median in front of the biker. The biker slammed into the driver’s car with such force that the vehicle spun 180 degrees. The biker suffered serious injuries from the collision and was airlifted to a hospital.

The 18-year-old was driving his mother’s car at the time of the accident, and when he called the insurance company, he reported property damage but neglected to report any physical injuries. The insurance company interviewed the driver, who disclosed that the biker suffered injuries, and he indicated that the biker might have been speeding. The preliminary insurance investigation revealed that the accident occurred in a low-speed limit area, the motorcycle left long skid marks, and the driver did not receive a citation. With these facts, the insurance company concluded that the biker was likely contributorily negligent.

About ten days after the accident, the insurance company decided to tender the bodily injury limits to the biker; however, they asked the biker’s attorney if they could inspect the motorcycle. The next day the insurance company delivered a “tender package” to the biker’s attorney. The package included a cover sheet and described the content of the delivery, which included a $50,000 check and a form that released the company of “all claims.” The letter invited the biker’s attorney to edit the release or suggest changes to a release. The biker’s attorney did not address the release but rejected the offer stating the insurance company was trying to take advantage of the biker and his family by including an overbroad release.

When we buy a product, whether it’s food, an appliance, or a car, we expect and trust that the product will be safe for our use. Sometimes, however, these products can cause property damage or injury, which may mean that you may be eligible to receive compensation. From prescription drugs to negligently manufactured appliances, product liability lawsuits are always available for consumers so that the public can hold manufacturers accountable.

According to a recent news report, a major car accident involving a Tesla is prompting a federal investigation into the vehicle’s new technology and safety for consumers. After the accident killed two people, U.S. safety investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board sent three representatives to specifically look for photos or videos of the crash or the fire that broke out after the initial accident. Because Tesla vehicles are electric do not use gasoline, it is unclear what specifically caused the crash or the fire. It is also unclear whether the vehicle’s automated driving system was activated at the time of the collision, which has been the subject of federal interest in recent years. The report investigators plan to generate will create recommendations to other federal agencies about future safety regulations.

In Florida, there are frequent incidents that give rise to similar product liability claims. These claims, however, are subject to specific laws and requirements that govern product liability lawsuits. Because these cases can often be complex, it is crucial that potential plaintiffs understand the details surrounding filing a product liability lawsuit and what a claim will entail.

Recently, the District Court of Appeal of Florida issued a decision in an appeal involving injuries a woman suffered when a dog ran towards her and her dog. The woman filed a claim against the dog owners under Florida Law Section 767.01. Under the statute, “owners of dogs shall be liable for any damages done by their dogs to a person.” The jury found in favor of the victim and returned a million-dollar verdict, which the defendants appealed. Amongst several issues, the court reviewed how causation played into cases involving non-bite-related injuries.

While prior case law reaffirmed that section 767.01 is a strict liability statute, courts have offered essential caveats to the rule. Specifically, Florida courts reject the view that strict liability for dog owners applies in every case where the dog’s actions are a factor in the injury. As such, the plaintiff must establish that the dog engaged in an affirmative or aggressive act. However, the courts also explained that the imposition of liability might be appropriate when the animal did not touch the plaintiff. Further, Florida courts have found that the common law defenses to a claim apply to Florida dog injury cases.

This case falls squarely within the statute’s provisions involving situations where a dog caused an injury to someone, but not by biting them. Here, the plaintiff’s injuries occurred when she tripped and fell while the dog lunged towards her. The defendant argued that they should be able to present comparative negligence defenses and a third-party negligence defense. The appellate court found that the lower court was correct when it precluded the defendant from presenting a third-party negligence define. However, the deprivation of the defendant’s comparative negligence defense requires a reversal and a new trial on that specific issue.

In Florida, where sunshine and warm weather attract thousands of tourists and residents to its waters nearly year-round, water activities are a common way to enjoy all that the state has to offer. Unfortunately, water activities involving jet skis and water runners can often pose significant risks to those who operate them—especially if they do not have adequate experience or knowledge of the risks. To best protect yourself on your next vacation, it is important to understand the potential risks of these activities so that you can enjoy your time on the water—but do so safely.

According to a recent local news report, a tragic jet ski crash led to the death of a Florida woman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that a jet ski occupied by a man and woman was traveling north on Pablo Creek when the driver attempted to navigate the jet ski under a bridge while traveling approximately 20 to 25 miles per hour. The male driver crouched down to drive under the bridge, but his female passenger failed to crouch down and struck her head. After she collided with the bridge, she was thrown into the water. She was pulled from the water and brought on to the shore by the St. Johns County Fire Rescue, where she was pronounced dead. Local authorities report that the accident is still under investigation.

This jet ski accident is just one of many that take place in Florida when the state’s waters are crowded during the warmer months. Although many Floridians are familiar with jet skis, they may not fully understand the risks of operating or owning one, or the corresponding laws.

A Florida appeals court recently considered a Florida car accident case in which the jury had found in the defendant’s favor, despite admissions made by the defendant. The defendant had been driving a car and collided with a motorcycle, resulting in a fatality. The plaintiff filed a claim against the defendant and the case went to trial. According to the court’s opinion, prior to the trial, the defendant made some “admissions” in her deposition, which were admitted at the trial. Despite this, the jury found in favor of the defendant, finding she was not the cause of the crash. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court denied. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the jury’s decision was contrary to the evidence presented at trial and that the jury was bound by the defendant’s admissions.

If a party receives a jury verdict that is not in their favor, the party may be able to appeal the decision and other decisions made by the trial court. On appeal, a Florida appeals court reviews the decisions made by the trial court under different standards, depending on the decision. If a party files a motion for a new trial, the trial court will review the decision to see if it was supported by “competent, substantial evidence,” while considering the court’s observations about the witnesses at trial.

Thus, a trial judge can consider, in light of these observations, whether the jury’s verdict was “unjust” or a “miscarriage of justice.” When an appeals court reviews a denial of a motion for a new trial, the appeals court can only consider whether the trial court “abused its discretion” in denying the motion for a new trial. Thus, the appeals court should only overturn the judge’s decision if the evidence at trial clearly and obviously reflected a verdict in the other party’s favor—only where there is “no rational basis in the evidence to support the verdict.” In addition, if a party appeals a jury’s verdict, an appeals court will consider whether the verdict was “contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.”

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If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida, it is crucial that you know what options you have to recover. Should you decide to file a personal injury claim, there are various laws that may apply to your case. Because Florida is one of the few states with detailed slip and fall laws, potential plaintiffs are advised to hire an experienced slip and fall or personal injury lawyer to assist them with navigating their lawsuit.

In a recent District Court of Appeal decision, the court considered a slip and fall injury that took place in a Winn-Dixie grocery store in Florida. The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the defendant, Winn-Dixie, alleging that she suffered injury after slipping on liquid detergent on the floor of the grocery store. According to the plaintiff’s testimony, there were no footprints in the detergent, and she had no knowledge of how long the detergent had been on the floor or whether any employees knew of the spill. A Winn-Dixie store manager testified that five minutes before the incident, an employee had checked the area. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Winn-Dixie, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the condition.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment to the grocery store because discovery was ongoing and there was an abuse of discretion. The District Court of Appeal disagreed and found no abuse of discretion. Because trial courts can grant a motion for summary judgment despite the pendency of discovery, the lower court did not err in its decision.

The procedural requirements for successfully pursuing a Florida medical malpractice claim may be complicated and confusing to victims of medical malpractice. Plaintiffs must be sure they are pursuing a case in the proper venue against any appropriate defendants. Additionally, plaintiffs must initiate their claim within the statute of limitations period and also meet several pre-suit notice requirements that can appear frivolous. These procedural requirements are far from frivolous, however, because a plaintiff’s failure to fulfill any of the requirements could be permanently fatal to their claim, irrespective of whether the defendant committed malpractice or not. A recent opinion published by the Florida District Court of Appeal discusses the issue of pre-suit notice requirements of a Florida medical malpractice claim.

The plaintiff in the recently decided suit received treatment from the defendant after suffering injuries while incarcerated. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant committed medical malpractice by making mistakes during a surgery performed on the plaintiff, which caused permanent damage. The plaintiff pursued a medical malpractice claim against the defendant based on the alleged negligence.

Florida law requires medical malpractice plaintiffs to meet certain pre-suit notice requirements in order to have their claims heard by the court. In addition to other notice requirements, plaintiffs must notify each defendant by certified mail that they are being sued for medical malpractice and include an authorization form to release the plaintiff’s medical records for the upcoming suit. If these notices are not properly sent to each defendant within the two-year statute of limitations for a Florida medical malpractice claim, a plaintiff’s suit can be dismissed without any analysis of their actual claims.

Despite innovations in technology to make life easier, accidents often still occur. When these accidents cause injury or death, the responsible party will often blame the technology for the incident. However, in many cases, the user of the technology has still made errors leading to the accident. Because of this, they are still liable, and the injured person can bring a negligence lawsuit. But when the accident was not the fault of another person but actually a defective product, Florida law allows the injured party to bring a lawsuit in this instance too. Since it is difficult to discern whether a person should bring a negligence or a defective product lawsuit, listed below are the elements of both negligence and products liability lawsuits.

In Florida, an airborne Tesla plowed through a stop sign and into a home early last week. According to one news report, the car was fully airborne when it crashed through the house, leaving a massive hole in the middle of the property. The driver of the car sped through a stop sign and hit a curb—this sent the car into the air and into the house. The accident caused the death of a 69-year-old woman in the house, a passenger in the car, and left three people seriously injured. While the vehicle has an Autopilot function, it was not deployed at the time of the accident.

Negligence Lawsuits

After the death of a loved one in an accident, many things may feel out of the family’s control. However, something the loved ones of the deceased can control is whether or not to bring a lawsuit if the accident was caused by another person. These lawsuits are called wrongful death lawsuits, which can be brought in any state. However, states, including Florida, have different requirements for who can bring the lawsuit along with what the parties must allege.

Recently, a Florida man was arrested after a multi-vehicle crash led to fatalities. A man from Miami was traveling west on I-80 and rear-ended another vehicle, which was then hit by another car. In total, the crash involved eight vehicles and caused two fatalities—a father and son who were in the car who was initially rear-ended—and five other people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police indicated the initial driver caused the accident by not paying attention and driving extremely fast; he has been arrested on two counts of motor vehicle homicide.

Many states have specific laws dedicated to bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act governs all wrongful death suits. The purpose of the Wrongful Death Act is to shift the losses when a wrongful death occurs from the deceased’s survivors to the wrongdoer of the act. Because of this, the family of a person killed under these circumstances can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, there are strict requirements that must be met in order for a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful. A lawsuit can only be brought if the death of the person is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person, and the accident would have entitled the deceased to bring a personal injury lawsuit if they had not died.

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