Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida pedestrian accident case involving the duty a defendant employer owes to a plaintiff employee. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the outer limits of an employer’s duty to protect an employee. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant employer owed no duty to the employee, and thus, could not be held liable for her death.

Railroad TracksThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff worked for the defendant employer, a financial services firm. The defendant maintained a bar on-site to encourage employees to socialize and stay at work longer than they may otherwise have chosen to. One day, the plaintiff visited the defendant’s bar after work. After a few drinks, the plaintiff began to get agitated at other employees, and she was eventually told to leave and subsequently escorted out. Her access into the building was revoked.

The plaintiff then began to walk toward her home, which was ten miles away. She was walking along a set of railroad tracks when she was struck by an oncoming train. She was killed instantly.

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A state appellate court recently issued an opinion in an interesting car accident case. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a plaintiff’s signed rejection of uninsured motorist (UIM) protection was valid under state law. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s rejection of UIM coverage was valid and the defendant insurance company was not required to cover the plaintiff’s claim.

Insurance ContractThe case is important for Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the benefits of UIM coverage and the potential problems accident victims can encounter if they do not obtain sufficient UIM coverage.

The Facts of the Case

The opinion was issued as a result of two consolidated cases that presented similar issues. In both cases, the plaintiffs had obtained auto insurance coverage through the defendant insurance company. As is required by state law, the insurance company included UIM coverage as a default coverage. However, the company allowed for customers to opt out of coverage by signing a UIM rejection form.

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In most Florida nursing home abuse and neglect cases, the threshold issue is whether the case can be pursued through the court system, or if the plaintiff must pursue their claim for compensation through the arbitration process. The reason this issue so often arises is because nursing homes routinely include arbitration agreements in their pre-admission paperwork.

Pre-Admission ContractWhile arbitration is generally understood to be a more favorable forum for a nursing home, many families end up signing these agreements due to the inherent emotional pressures that are present at the time a decision must be made. While courts do have the ability to declare arbitration agreements void, it is the plaintiff’s burden to establish why that is the case.

In a recent opinion, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed based on an arbitration agreement that she had signed prior to admitting her mother into the defendant nursing home. In so holding, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that, at the time she signed the document, she did not have the legal authority to do so.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case discussing the Slavin doctrine, and how it can protect a contractor from liability that was allegedly caused by their work. The case arose in the context of a motorcycle accident that the plaintiff argues was the result of shrubbery that obstructed the view of motorists as they approached the intersection.

CrosswalksThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a surviving family member of a motorcyclist who was killed when he entered an intersection and was hit by another vehicle. The plaintiff believed that the accident was the result of shrubbery that obscured the vision of motorists as they approached the intersection. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against several entities, including the company that planned the landscaping project, the general contractor, and the landscaping company (‘the contractors”).

In most Florida car accident cases, one or more of the parties involved will file a claim with an insurance company, seeking compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. In many cases, after an accident, it is an at-fault driver’s insurance company – rather than the driver themselves – that ends up compensating the accident victim for their injuries.

Signing a ContractAn insurance policy is essentially just a contract between the insurance company and the insured, whereby the insurance company agrees to cover certain costs that are incurred in the event of an accident. As with all contracts, both parties have certain obligations and rights. For example, the insured’s main obligation is to pay the monthly premium, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to provide the insurance contained in the policy.

There are often, however, terms that give rise to additional obligations on the insured’s part. For example, most insurance policies require that notice be given to the company in the event of an accident that may result in a claim being filed against the policy. In a recent case, a court had to determine whether a plaintiff’s failure to provide immediate notice violated a term of the contract and, if so, whether her claim should be dismissed as a result.

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When someone is injured due to the negligent actions of another party, the injured party may pursue compensation for their injuries through a Florida personal injury lawsuit. As a general matter, all lawsuits based on some type of injury must be filed by a certain time afterward, usually based on the time at which the injury occurred. These time requirements are outlined in the statutes of limitations.

HourglassIn Florida, the statutes of limitations for each cause of action are listed in Florida Statutes section 95.11. As a general matter, the statute of limitations for Florida personal injury lawsuits is four years. The statute of limitations for Florida medical malpractice lawsuits is two years. Of course, there are exceptions to these general rules.

The determination of when a statute of limitations expires is an important one in many Florida personal injury lawsuits. Thus, establishing when the statute begins is very important. As noted above, most of the time, the statute of limitations begins to run at the time the injury occurs. However, in instances in which an injury is not discovered until later, in which the plaintiff is a minor, or in which fraud or deception is involved, the statute of limitations may begin at a later date.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a motorcycle accident case that raised an interesting issue that confronts many Florida motorcycle accident plaintiffs. The case involved a plaintiff’s claim that he was entitled to coverage under the defendant’s uninsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage. Ultimately, the court rejected the plaintiff’s claim.

Motorcycle CrashUIM Coverage

There are several types of insurance included in most insurance policies. Liability insurance covers personal injuries that are results of an accident caused by the insured. However, most insurance policies also include UIM coverage. Uninsured motorist protection covers the insured, and usually anyone occupying the insured vehicle, in the event that the at-fault motorist does not have adequate insurance coverage.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff motorcyclist was stopped at a red light when the defendant failed to stop in time and rear-ended him. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff was thrown backwards and landed on the hood of the defendant’s car.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating the outer bounds of how far courts will currently go to impose liability on a defendant landlord. However, the case is important to Florida personal injury plaintiffs because, given the societal scourge that addiction represents and the recent efforts to combat the disease, the law in this area may be ripe for a change.

Illegal DrugsThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving parents of a young man who died of a ketamine overdose while at a home that was owned by the defendant. The defendant, however, did not live in the home and allowed his ex-girlfriend and her family to reside at the home rent-free. The exact details of the agreement were not clear, but there was evidence suggesting that the tenant worked for the defendant.

The young man had obtained the drugs through the son of the tenant. The defendant knew that the son had a troubled legal past, but he knew nothing of the fact that they were using ketamine at his home. In fact, the defendant had not lived in the home in three years. Once the tenant told the defendant of the young man’s death, he ended the agreement and required everyone living in the home to move out.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case that raises interesting issues for Florida product liability plaintiffs who have been injured as a result of an improperly designed or maintained vehicle. The case required the court to determine if a used-car dealer could be held liable for injuries caused by carbon monoxide poisoning that was a result of the car being sold without a muffler. Interestingly, although the plaintiffs purchased the car “as-is,” the court concluded that the dealership may still be liable.

Exhaust SystemThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs purchased a used car from the defendant dealership “as-is.” Given that there were 180,000 miles on the vehicle and that the asking price was $1,500, the plaintiffs were aware that some mechanical work was needed. However, they were not told that the vehicle’s muffler was missing.

The plaintiffs noticed a gasoline smell in the vehicle and had the oil changed, but the smell persisted. The mechanic who changed the oil noted several issues with the vehicle, but again, the lack of muffler was not noted. The plaintiffs took their minor son to see an apartment to which they were considering moving. However, the landlord was late, and the plaintiffs were forced to wait in their car for 45 minutes.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit discussing the potential consequences that may arise when a plaintiff fails to properly follow all of the procedural requirements. Ultimately, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the defendant because the pre-suit notice provided by the plaintiff contained the affidavit of an infectious disease doctor, rather than that of an ophthalmologist, which was the specialty of the defendant doctors.

SurgeryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff underwent a surgery to repair droopy skin around her eye. The surgery was performed by one of the defendant doctors. The surgery went as planned, and another defendant doctor conducted the post-surgical examinations. Both defendant doctors were ophthalmologists.

After the surgery, the plaintiff developed an infection in her eye. The infection left her with serious visual impairments, dizziness, and a heightened risk of future infections. She filed a personal injury lawsuit, first naming the doctor who performed the surgery as the only defendant. Attached to this claim, the plaintiff included an affidavit from an ophthalmologist stating that the plaintiff’s case had merit.

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