Florida landowners generally have a duty to make sure that their property is safe to those whom they invite onto their property. If a landowner, including a business or government entity, fails to maintain their property, and someone is injured as a result, the injured party may be able to recover compensation for their injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.

RollerbladesThere is an exception to this general rule, however, and that lies within the Florida recreational use statute, F.S. 375-251. The statute provides immunity from liability to certain landowners who open up their land for the public’s general use. In order to qualify for this immunity, a landowner must not charge a fee for the use of the land. A recent Florida appellate opinion discusses the applicability of a recreational use statute to a rollerblade injury case, finding that the plaintiff was prevented from bringing a lawsuit against the government entity he claimed was responsible for his injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was rollerblading on the street in Delray Beach when he encountered a pothole. Unable to maintain his balance as he hit the pothole, the plaintiff fell to the ground, resulting in serious injuries. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the City of Delray Beach. The plaintiff admitted that it was against the law to rollerblade in the street but nonetheless argued that the city was negligent in maintaining the roadway and letting a pothole develop.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a woman who was injured when a fallen tree struck her in the apartment complex where she lived. The case presented the court with the opportunity to determine whether the plaintiff’s case was sufficient as a matter of law and should therefore survive the summary judgment challenge filed by the defendants. This case is helpful for South Florida premises liability plaintiffs because it clearly illustrates the elements of a premises liability lawsuit.

Fallen TreeThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a tenant at the defendants’ apartment complex. One day, during a particularly heavy storm, a tree on an adjacent piece of property was knocked over. As the tree fell, it got caught on the gutter of the apartment building where the plaintiff lived.

The tree remained suspended from the apartment building for some time. The plaintiff reached out to the defendants, asking them to remove the tree, but no action was taken. Ultimately, the plaintiff contacted a fellow resident she knew to also work as a part-time maintenance worker for the defendants.

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When a South Florida nursing home abuse or neglect case is filed, the parties must exchange certain requested materials before the case is scheduled for trial. This is called the pre-trial discovery process, and it is an opportunity for both sides to learn a little more about the other’s case.

Discovery DocumentsIn most South Florida personal injury or wrongful death cases filed against a nursing home, the plaintiff will request not just information that he believes will be helpful to his case but also information that could potentially be harmful to his case. The idea is to be prepared for what lies ahead at trial. A recent case illustrates the tactics that some nursing home defendants will attempt in order to prevent the plaintiff from obtaining certain material.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the father of a mentally ill man who was a resident at the defendant nursing home. While the plaintiff’s son was a resident of the home, he was attacked by another resident with a blunt object and subsequently died from the injuries he sustained in the attack.

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After a driver is involved in a South Florida car accident, they will likely make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, seeking compensation for the damages they sustained in the accident. In the event that the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have adequate insurance, the accident victim may then have to file a claim with their own insurance company.

Car AccidentInsurance claims, however, are not always approved. Insurance companies operate on a for-profit model and are often looking for ways to reduce their costs. This may mean trying to find ways to deny a claim that would otherwise be costly to the insurance company. A recent case illustrates the difficulties one motorist had when making a claim with his own insurance company following a serious car accident.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff and his wife were involved in a serious car accident with another driver. The plaintiff’s wife was seriously injured and later died before she could recover from her injuries. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver as well as his insurance company. In addition, since he believed that the at-fault driver’s insurance policy was not going to provide full compensation for his loss, the plaintiff named his own insurance company, based on the underinsured motorist provision in his insurance contract.

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Most people buy car insurance with the hope that they never have to use it. Indeed, aside from being required by law, car insurance provides motorists with the peace of mind of knowing that, should the unthinkable happen, at least they will be covered. However, thousands of South Florida car accident victims are shocked each year when they are made a low-ball settlement offer that doesn’t cover their expenses, or they are told by their insurance company that their claim has been denied.

Rear-EndedFollowing most Florida car accidents, the accident victim will file a claim with the other driver’s insurance policy. However, there may be several reasons why a driver files a claim against their own insurance company as well. For example, if the other driver’s insurance limits are too low, the accident victim may seek compensation through their own policy’s underinsured motorist provision. A recent case illustrates how a driver’s own insurance company may try to limit the amount of money payable to the accident victim.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of two people who were killed in a car accident. At the time, the plaintiffs’ family insured five cars through the insurance company. Since the company had a rule to only have a maximum of four cars per policy, the company generated two policy numbers. Three of the plaintiffs’ cars were on one policy, and two of their cars were on the other policy. Each policy had a limit of $250,000 for underinsured motorist protection.

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Earlier this month, Hurricane Irma ripped through South Florida, leaving behind a disaster area in some locations. Hurricane Irma may not have been as bad as some had forecasted, but hundreds of thousands of Floridians were left without power in the wake of the storm. While a power outage may be a minor annoyance to most, outages can be deadly to a nursing home resident who relies on medical equipment.

Blowing TreeAccording to a recent news report, one South Florida nursing home is facing at least one lawsuit stemming from the deaths of eight residents following Hurricane Irma. The report details the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint, which claim that the nursing home’s failure to take adequate precautions to protect residents leading up to the storm showed “negligence and reckless indifference.”

The plaintiff points to several alleged failures on the part of the nursing home, including the home’s failure to secure a generator in the event of a power outage despite ample warning that the facility was likely going to lose power. Indeed, there were reports that the temperature inside the nursing home reached as high as 106 Fahrenheit at times due to the lack of air conditioning.

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After someone is involved in a Florida car accident, they may seek compensation through a South Florida personal injury lawsuit. In order to successfully bring a case against an allegedly negligent driver, a personal injury plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s actions resulted in their injuries.

PedestrianOnce a plaintiff establishes that a defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff, the next step is to determine the damages that the plaintiff is owed. The calculation of damages in a Florida car accident case can be a very contentious and complex issue, depending on the surrounding circumstances.

Some types of damages are fairly easy to calculate. For example, determining the amount of past medical expenses may be as easy as reviewing medical bills. However, figuring out the exact amount of damages is not always straightforward, especially when there are subsequent injuries sustained by the plaintiff.

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Establishing the breach of a duty is one of the most contested issues in South Florida premises liability lawsuits. Essentially, in order to establish this element, a plaintiff must point to some negligent act or omission of the defendant that violated a duty owed to the plaintiff.

Florida SunsetEarlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the father of a young boy who drowned while swimming in a pool at a condominium complex. The appellate court was tasked with determining if the trial court was proper to grant the defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on the plaintiff’s failure to establish that the defendant was negligent. After reviewing each of the plaintiff’s claims, the court determined that the condo association was not negligent in any way and affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s son was swimming in a pool that was located inside a condominium complex operated by the defendant condo association. The boy was accompanied by several family members, none of whom lived in the condo complex. While the boy’s aunt did live in the complex, she was not present while the group was using the pool.

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When a plaintiff files a Florida personal injury claim, it is imperative that they name all of the potentially liable parties and include all of the relevant theories of liability as soon as practicable. This often means conducting a thorough investigation prior to filing the lawsuit in order to make sure that a plaintiff has all of the information to properly file a case. Of course, it is possible to amend a complaint after it is initially filed for a short time; however, if a plaintiff waits too long to amend a complaint, they will be stuck with what was initially pleaded.

Empty Swimming PoolThis can create several problems for Florida personal injury plaintiffs. For example, the trial judge can only instruct the jury on the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s complaint. Thus, even if a plaintiff uncovers evidence during the trial that may help them prove liability through an unpleaded theory, they may be prevented from doing so. A recent premises liability case issued by a state appellate court illustrates how exacting appellate courts can be when interpreting the allegations of a plaintiff’s initial complaint.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was an investor looking to buy a rental property through the defendant realtor. One of the defendant’s listings was a home that had a pool in the back yard. The defendant contacted a pool maintenance company and performed the necessary maintenance to the pool prior to listing the home.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a car accident case that will be of interest to South Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the limits of the doctrine of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that allows a plaintiff to hold a third party responsible for the negligent acts of another party. The classic example of vicarious liability is when an employee causes an accident while working for his employer, and the accident victim seeks to hold the employer liable for the employee’s negligence.

CollisionIn some cases, if an employee negligently causes an accident while acting within the scope of his employment, anyone injured in that accident may seek compensation not just from the employee but also from the employer. However, the burden rests with the accident victim to prove that the relationship between the parties is sufficient to establish legal liability. Generally speaking, this means showing that the person who caused the accident was actually an employee and was acting within the scope of their employment. The case mentioned above illustrates how courts analyze these claims and which types of evidence courts may consider when determining if a person is an employee.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with a delivery driver who was working for the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the driver of the vehicle as well as the company that hired him.

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