Under Florida’s personal injury laws, individuals who suffer injury because of a negligent driver may be able to recover for their losses through a Florida car accident lawsuit. However, these cases are rarely straight forward, and plaintiffs must ensure that they understand the evidentiary and procedural requirements they must follow. In addition to fact and evidence disputes, plaintiffs must anticipate and refute any defenses that the defendant may present.

There are three main types of defenses in Florida car accident claims that, if successful, can defeat liability. These defenses are, assumption of the risk, contributory negligence, and force of nature or unexpected loss of capacities. To overcome these defenses, plaintiffs must be able to pierce the evidence that the defendant presents.

The assumption of risk defense reduces a plaintiff’s right to recover when the defendant establishes that the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly assumed the risks of the dangerous activity that led to their injuries. Plaintiffs must present evidence that they did not know there was a risk of the same type that they suffered, or that they did not voluntarily take on the danger. Defendants may also argue that the plaintiff somehow contributed to their injuries and subsequent damages, and therefore their recovery should be reduced by their level of fault. To avoid a significant reduction of compensation, plaintiffs must be able to show that their behavior did not contribute to their damages. Finally, some defendants argue that an unexpected loss of capacity or other force of nature led to the plaintiff’s injuries. This defense typically requires a defendant to prove that the behavior giving rise to the incident was unanticipated, exceptional, unavoidable, or related to a grave natural disaster or phenomena.

Recently, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled that insurance companies must comply with Florida Statutes section 627.727, which covers uninsured motorist (UM) coverage minimums. The ruling comes after an insurance company appealed a lower court’s ruling in favor of the plaintiff in a dispute over coverage after a Florida motorcycle accident.

Before his death, a man purchased home insurance coverage that included a collector vehicle. The policy included a UM provision that limited benefits to accidents involving the collector vehicle. After the man’s death, his family tried to recover for damages through the UM provision in his home insurance policy. The defendant insurance company denied coverage, citing the UM limitation. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Florida insurance company, arguing that Florida Statutes section 627.727 prohibits the insurance company from placing restrictions on UM coverage. On appeal, the defendant argued that section 627.727 does not apply to specialty insurance policies, such as the collector vehicle at issue.

Florida Statutes section 627.727 governs “motor vehicle insurance, uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage, and insolvent insurer protection.” Typically, the statute provides coverage to the policyholder, their spouse, and resident relatives. This coverage applies when a person suffers bodily injury by a negligent motorist, whether they are driving or a passenger in their vehicle, driving or riding in someone else’s car, or suffer injuries as a pedestrian. There are several exceptions to this statute, but there are no exclusions related to a collector or antique vehicle.

During the past several years many major cities, including Miami, have seen a rise in e-scooter use. Although, manual scooters, Segways, and other similar modes of transportation have been around for years, e-scooters revolutionized the way people traveled through Miami. In many situations, the e-scooters can be rented at one kiosk and then returned to a different location. Miami e-scooter rental companies often boast that these characteristics make the e-scooters, economical, fun, easy to use and safe. However, emergency room data suggests that these e-scooters are not as safe as they may seem at first glance. Despite safety concerns with these scooters, businesses continue to pop-up, creating a surge in use and subsequent accidents. Individuals who suffer injuries involving e-scooters should contact a Miami personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and remedies.

In response to the rising rate of Miami e-scooter injuries and consequent personal injury lawsuits against rental companies, the city outlawed e-scooters. However, the backlash from the rental companies resulted in a pilot program. This pilot program was designed to allow city commissioners to evaluate the safety of each company and their e-scooters before deciding which companies would receive a formal long-term license.

The primary concern with e-scooters is that companies fail to ensure that their renters know and abide by Miami motor vehicle rules. Under the law, individuals must be at least 18 years-old to ride an e-scooter, and they must stop at red lights, stop signs, yield to pedestrians, and they cannot weave through traffic. Despite these rules, e-scooter riders are often involved in serious accidents. Accidents are more common with these vehicles because they are hard to spot, riders are often inexperienced, and other motorists are not on the look-out for them.

Insurance companies play a vital role in most Florida car accident cases and are expected to abide by the terms of their policies faithfully. However, in many instances, insurance companies wrongfully deny claims, and Florida personal injury victims end up in lengthy and costly disputes. These disputes can take longstanding financial, physical, and emotional tolls on Florida car accident victims. Florida has several statutes and remedies in place to hold insurance companies liable for delaying or wrongfully denying claims. Floridians who are at a standstill with an insurance company should retain an experienced attorney to help them get their rightfully due damages.

Florida motorists typically purchase automobile coverage with the expectation that the company will provide them with financial protection if they are involved in an accident. Insurance companies must deal with their policyholders in “good faith” and with “fair dealing.” These terms mean that the insurance company must treat their policyholders fairly and carefully when determining the validity of a claim, and settle claims against the insured within the agreed-upon coverage limit. Insurance companies act in bad faith when they refuse to pay or settle a claim without a reasonable basis, fail to promptly and adequately investigate or defend a claim without justification, implement deceptive practices to avoid paying a claim, or refuse to offer the full value of a claim.

There are generally two types of Florida bad faith insurance claims, first-party and third-party claims. First-party insurance claims occur when a Florida motorist’s insurance company fails to address and pay a claim adequately. This typically occurs when a Florida driver evokes their policy’s underinsured or uninsured coverage.

In a recent opinion, Florida’s Supreme Court addressed whether an individual who suffers injuries because of a company’s discharge of toxic pollutants can hold the company liable for their damages. This case required the Supreme Court to dissect and analyze Florida’s 1970 Pollutant Discharge and Control Act (1970 Act) and the Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983 (1983 Act), ultimately finding in favor of a plaintiff who suffered serious personal injuries after contacting spilled battery acid.

Florida’s Statute of the 1983 Act imposes strict liability for the discharge of specific toxic pollutants. Some common pollutants are nerve agents, asbestos, sulfuric acid, benzene, pesticides, and silica. Exposure to these toxins can result in serious medical conditions, including, asbestosis, Hodgkin’s disease, lung disease, Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Mesothelioma. Most often, individuals suffer exposure through the workplace, use of medications and pharmaceuticals, and a person’s residence. In some instances, individuals may experience exposure through the air or drinking water. The most common defendants in these toxic torts cases are the company who polluted the groundwater, an employer who does not abide by workplace safety standards, or a home manufacturer or landlord who does not appropriately test for mold or lead.

The plaintiff was a tow truck driver responding to the scene of an accident involving a disabled semi-truck accident. The semi-truck was transporting batteries at the time of the accident, and the collision resulted in a massive battery acid spill. While preparing the semi-truck for towing, the plaintiff came into contact with battery acid and suffered chemical burns. The tow truck driver filed a lawsuit against the trucking company, arguing that the company was liable for this damages under strict liability theory according to the Acts. The defendant appealed the plaintiff’s $5 million jury award, arguing that the 1970 Act expressly bars personal injury actions arising from an environmental action, and the 1983 Act does not address damages.

Florida motorists should engage in a comprehensive and thorough review of their available insurance policies to ensure that they have adequate protection in the event they are involved in an accident. One area of coverage that deserves close scrutiny is the terms of the insurance company’s uninsured and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM coverage protects Florida drivers that suffer injuries because of a negligent driver who does not have adequate vehicle insurance. A shocking 25 percent of Florida drivers do not have insurance, and this can have disastrous consequences for injury victims.

Florida’s no-fault insurance rules require that insurance companies protect their own policyholders in minor accidents, so long as the drivers purchase personal injury protection. However, issues arise when a driver sustains serious injuries in a Florida collision. In these instances, Florida drivers must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Filing a complaint with the negligent driver’s insurance company often raises challenges because Florida law does not require drivers to purchase insurance coverage that protects them from liability if they injure someone else.

Appropriate UIM coverage can provide a motorist with extra protection in case the other party is under or uninsured. However, policyholders often face difficulty evoking this policy because insurance companies are reluctant to pay out substantial amounts. Insurance companies will sometimes wrongfully delay claims, or assert specific provisions to avoid paying out claims.

The significant growth of ride-sharing companies has resulted in new professional and financial opportunities for many people, in addition to another way for commuters to get to work. However, this method of transportation has its own set of complications, especially when someone suffers an injury during a pickup or ride. In addition to the typical risks associated with car travel, utilizing these companies introduces a whole new set of concerns. Additionally, individuals who use Florida ride-sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, often face difficulties recovering for damages that they suffer during their rides.

In response to competing with new ride share companies, compounded with the rising concern of the safety of drivers and riders, Uber began a 21-month effort to review their safety standards. In effectuating their safety mission, they undertook a close examination of their business practices by reviewing hundreds of thousands of customers’ support requests and categorized them according to severity and response.

The jarring results revealed that there were over 3,000 reported sexual assaults in 2018 and close to 3,000 in 2017. Additionally, there were 5,500 other incidents involving unwanted sexual advances/touching and groping. Further, the report also showed nine murders in 2019 and 10 in 2017, which accounted for driver and passenger deaths. Finally, the report also indicated that the company recorded close to 60 fatal crashes in 2018 and 49 in 2017.

Florida law requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to cover property damage and personal injuries that may result after an accident. In some situations, Florida injury victims are unable to recover for their losses because the at-fault driver cannot pay. To address this issue, lawmakers require Florida insurance companies to offer their policyholders optional uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects motorists, relatives they reside with, and people who occupy their vehicles. In most cases, insurance companies offer UIM coverage in the same amount that the policyholder has bodily injury coverage. This coverage is essential in instances where a driver is involved in an accident with a negligent driver that does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the victim’s injuries. This coverage typically covers damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitative or nursing care, medical devices, pain and suffering, and death.

This coverage is vital because, despite laws requiring insurance coverage, Florida has a high rate of uninsured drivers. Additionally, Florida has a very low minimum amount of necessary coverage. These two facts can have devastating financial and physical consequences for car accident victims. Injury victims who wish to evoke this coverage may face difficulties because insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out damages. When this happens, injury victims may incur a delay in obtaining appropriate medical treatment, which can contribute to additional serious health conditions.

Manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to ensure that their product is safe for its intended use. When a product is unreasonably dangerous or suffers from some sort of manufacturing defect, the manufacturer may be liable for any injuries that result through a Florida product liability lawsuit. In addition, other parties in the chain of distribution may also be liable for a dangerous product.

Recently, manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson has been named in several product liability lawsuits based on its baby powder and other talc-based products. Over recent years, the company has been hit with several multi-million-dollar verdicts. These cases are based on claims that the company knew that its talc-based baby powder could cause serious health problems, specifically, lung disease, ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of internal organs that is associated with asbestos. Currently, there are an estimated 16,800 of these lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson.

In fact, in October of last year, Johnson & Johnson announced a recall of nearly 33,000 bottles of baby powder after preliminary tests indicated that there were trace amounts of chrysotile asbestos. The company later claimed that subsequent testing confirmed that there was no asbestos in the product. According to a recent report by the New York Times, the state government of New Mexico is the most recent party to file a claim against Johnson & Johnson.

Playground accidents can occur on Florida school property during school hours or at city and county parks. Some accidents are the result of child’s play and may not result in serious injuries. However, other preventable accidents are the result of someone’s negligence. In many instances, a child’s injuries are the result of defective equipment or negligent supervision. Florida children who have suffered playground injuries because of another person or entity’s negligence should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Typical defendants in Florida playground accidents are playground equipment manufacturers or retailers, school employees, or the city or county responsible for maintaining the playground. These cases entail many challenges because plaintiffs must comply with strict filing notices and deadlines. Requirements vary depending on the nature of the accident, type of lawsuit, and defendant.

Playground accidents, specifically those that occur on school grounds, are not always related to defective equipment, but may involve instances of altercations between students. For example, in a recent opinion, a state appellate court addressed evidentiary burdens in a lawsuit involving a physical altercation on a school playground. In that case, the child suffered injuries when other students attacked her during recess. The family filed a lawsuit alleging that the child’s injuries were a result of the school’s negligence and carelessness because of the school’s failure to supervise children on the playground adequately.

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