Florida consistently ranks highly on the list of states with the highest number of hit-and-run accidents each year. Through August, Florida has already reported 52,791 hit-and-run car accidents throughout the state. Additionally, hit-and-run accidents have resulted in 11,494 reported injuries and 119 fatalities in Florida this year. There are many reasons why a driver may flee the scene after an accident. The primary motivating factor is likely that the driver wants to avoid the legal or financial consequences of the accident. Depending on the cause of the crash, drugs, alcohol, outstanding warrants, texting, or distracted driving, there could be serious legal ramifications, leading to the driver leaving the scene. Other reasons, such as lacking proper insurance, holding a commercial driver’s license, or driving the vehicle without permission, could result in significant financial consequences for the driver, leading them to flee the scene.

Florida drivers and pedestrians should be aware of some of the factors involved in calculating pain and suffering damages after an accident. Such elements can be used to determine the value and compensation in court after a crash or auto accident. (1) the type of injury and seriousness of the harm, (2) the amount of recovery time required, and (3) the necessary treatment required by the injury. These issues are related to each other. For example, generally speaking, if your injury is more serious, the recovery time and treatment required will be more elaborate, and will often result in greater compensation. Subsequently, if your injury is relatively minor and there is not a ton of pain associated with it, any damages awarded may be on the lower end. A recent news article discussed a fatal Florida hit-and-run crash that occurred in September 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when an SUV struck a man crossing the street near the intersection of Krome Avenue and Southwest 320 Street, also known as Mowry Drive, in Homestead. The crash occurred early in the morning around 6:45 am. At the time of reporting, detectives were still searching for the driver, who fled the scene after striking the pedestrian. Surveillance videos show the car hitting the man crossing the street in the early morning hours before speeding off.

Taking simple steps such as wearing your seatbelt, especially in the front seat of the car, can significantly decrease your risk of fatal injury in the event of a car crash. On the other hand, driving or riding in a car without a seatbelt can cause an increased risk of dying in the event of a crash by as much as 45%. Each year, thousands of Florida drivers and passengers experience severe to fatal injuries in car accidents due to their failure to wear seatbelts. While it can be tempting to unfasten your seatbelt while the car is in motion, remember that doing so could have a major impact on not only your health in the event of a crash but also your ability to recover financial damages in the event of a car accident.

Florida drivers and passengers should be aware that the state makes use of pure comparative negligence when it comes to determining a victim’s recovery in the event of a car accident. Pure comparative negligence can have a significant impact on damages collected after an accident and it can take a skillful attorney can navigate the legal theory successfully. A recent local news article discussed a fatal Florida car accident that occurred in September 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when a 2019 Ford Flex driven by a 78-year-old Florida man crossed the median line on Highway 42 going northbound. After crossing the median line, the Ford Flex struck the rear tires of a semi-truck trailer that was headed southbound. After striking the semi-truck trailer, the Ford Flex then crashed into a Ford Explorer that had pulled into the shoulder to try and avoid the crash. The 78-year-old Florida man driving the Ford Flex was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people involved in the crash were transported to hospitals.

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion in an appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida involving a negligence claim by a plaintiff against a cruise ship operator following an injury on the ship. According to the record, the plaintiff states that the district court erred in finding that his amended complaint failed to allege sufficient facts in support of his negligence claim that the cruise ship operator was on notice for the alleged hazard that result in his injury. In response, the cruise ship operator filed a motion to dismiss, stating that the plaintiff failed to raise a plausible negligence claim due to inadequate evidence. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, holding that the plaintiff failed to satisfy the pleading standard in question. The appellate court upheld the district court decision, denying the plaintiff’s claims.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger on one of the defendant’s cruise ships, descending from Deck 5 to Deck 4 when he slipped on a wet or slippery transient foreign substance. The plaintiff claims that due to the fall, he suffered serious injuries, including a complete rupture of the right knee patella tendon. The injuries required surgical repair and physical therapy. The plaintiff alleges that the staircase in question is one of the most highly trafficked regions of the cruise ship and that it is flanked on both sides by shops staffed by dozens of crew members. Additionally, the plaintiff claims that several hundred guests and crew members traverse the staircase on a daily basis, many carrying drinks, resulting in frequent spills. As a result, the plaintiff claims that the cruise ship operating company had constructive notice of the dangerous conditions, and knew or should have known about the spills.

In an amended complaint, the plaintiff makes two claims against the defendant, (1) vicarious liability for negligent maintenance; and (2) vicarious liability for negligent failure to warn of a hazard. Regarding the negligent maintenance claim, the plaintiff alleges that there was actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous conditions and that crew members failed to maintain the stairs in a reasonably safe condition. On the second claim, the plaintiff asserts that the cruise ship operator had actual or constructive knowledge of the conditions and that crew members failed to warn him of the danger before he fell and became injured.

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According to some metrics, Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians. In fact, researchers from the non-profit organization Smart Growth America (SGA) gave Florida a 201.4 rating on their pedestrian danger index, with Alabama coming in a distant second with a score of 174.6. This is in large part due to the fact that 5,893 people were killed in pedestrian accidents between 2000-2019 in Florida. In 2019, alone 713 pedestrians died in Florida. The SGA report found that older people, as well as those living in lower-income neighborhoods, are at the highest risk of being killed in pedestrian and car accidents. People of color are also at an exceedingly high risk of fatal pedestrian accidents. SGA reported that the number of fatalities among Black pedestrians was 82% higher than with white pedestrians from 2010-2019.

As people age, it can complicate their ability to avoid cars as pedestrians. Not only do older adults tend to physically move at a slower rate, but older people can often be injured or struck by cars because they have issues seeing or hearing incoming traffic. Additionally, many fatal crashes occur in the evening and away from city lights. Simply, the darker it is, the harder it is for motorists and drivers to see pedestrians on the road. A recent local news article discussed a fatal Florida pedestrian accident from September of 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when an Orlando man exited his vehicle after crashing on the Florida Turnpike in Lake County. After exiting the vehicle, the man was struck and killed by an SUV in a separate collision moments later driven by a 24-year-old Florida woman. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the fatal crash occurred on the Florida Turnpike at mile marker 276 around 9:45 PM following the initial crash. After the initial accident occurred, the driver then exited his vehicle, walked across the southbound lanes of the Turnpike, and crossed the concrete median, the crash report shows. As the victim entered the northbound inside lane of the Florida Turnpike, he was struck by the SUV. The man died at the scene after being struck by the SUV. According to law enforcement, both crashes are still being investigated.

By the virtue of their employment, law enforcement officers and other public safety officials often find themselves in situations that present a danger to themselves or other members of the public. When people are hurt or killed as a result of negligent police activity, it may be challenging to determine if the law enforcement officer or agency bears some civil responsibility for the loss. On one hand, police officers are human and are forced into dangerous situations very often, holding them accountable for any negligent acts would prevent police from properly performing their duties. On the other hand, law enforcement officers are tasked with protecting the public, and if an officer negligently or intentionally acts in a way that results in the death of an innocent person, there must be some consequences. Florida law addresses these considerations by operating within a framework that allows public employees, including police officers, to be sued personally for damages under some circumstances. A recently published news report discusses a jury verdict recently handed down in a wrongful death case filed by the family of a deceased teenager.

According to the news report discussing the recent jury verdict, the trial centered on the death of a 12-year-old boy who had been visiting the fair on the day he died. According to the report, police officers were called to the fair because some youths were causing a disturbance and committing small crimes. Although some of the youths were arrested or detained, the deceased boy was not accused of any criminal activity, however, the officer chose to eject him from the fair nonetheless. Instead of allowing the child to leave the fair through the exit, the officer forced him to go out of a side exit that had no safe pedestrian access and abutted a busy highway. When attempting to cross the highway, the boy was hit by a vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The boy’s family pursued a wrongful death claim against the officer and the department in Florida state court. According to the complaint, the officer was grossly negligent in forcing the young child out of the far and onto a busy highway, where he was ultimately killed. In responding to such claims, municipal law enforcement agencies often claim that qualified immunity protected them from being sued. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects public employees (including law enforcement officers) from legal liability for acts of negligence that occur while the employee is acting within the scope of their employment. Qualified immunity has been used in Florida to protect thousands of public employees from the consequences of their negligence, but the protection is not absolute.

The tourism industry makes up a significant part of Florida’s economy, producing hundreds of thousands of full and part-time jobs for workers in our state. Additionally, the money spent by tourists supports other areas of the economy and contributes to the state budget through tax revenue. The tourism economy can be fickle, however, as weather events or other unexpected factors can eliminate tourism-based income streams with little warning. Tourism-related businesses may be tempted to continue operating, even if the weather has made the activity unsafe. A Florida boat captain was recently charged with criminal manslaughter after a parasailer was killed in a weather-related accident that occurred while he was captaining the boat.

According to a recently published local news report discussing the developments in the case, the defendant was operating a parasailing business in the Florida Keys, and he was hired to captain his boat for a tandem parasailing excursion for a woman and her child. According to the report, the weather appeared ominous and questionable before the excursion, and the family suggested to the captain that they could wait to go parasailing another day. The defendant ensured the family that it was safe to proceed, and the parasailing commenced. During the excursion, witnesses stated that the weather quickly deteriorated and winds picked up to dangerous speeds. Attempting to alleviate the danger, the defendant cut the line connecting the parasailers to his boat, which sent the parasailers careening into a bridge. The mother was injured in the collision and ultimately drowned in the water before a rescue could be completed. The child survived the accident with moderate injuries.

According to the article, prosecutors chose to charge the captain with criminal manslaughter because his conduct in proceeding with the trip despite the ominous weather was reckless. Furthermore, prosecutors claim that the defendant’s decision to cut the line was “gross and flagrant,” and that a safer course of action should have been taken. Manslaughter is a serious felony in Florida, and the defendant may be looking at 20 or more years in prison if he is convicted of the crime.

Recently, a Florida court ruled on an appeal involving severe injuries that occurred in a truck parking lot. Originally, the lower court had decided that the company that owned the lot was not responsible for injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Reviewing this decision, the higher court agreed, ultimately denying the plaintiff’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendants in this case owned a commercial parking lot that contained crushed concrete and was used as a spot for large commercial trucks to park. Owners of these trucks could pay a monthly fee and keep their vehicles in the lot. The lease agreements said that no oil changes or engine work could be performed on the lot, but that emergency repairs were acceptable.

Despite this prohibition, truck owners would still occasionally perform mechanical repairs on the lot. On January 23, 2016, the plaintiff in this case came to the lot and noticed that others were working on trucks that day. He saw no signs prohibiting mechanical work, so he began working on his own vehicle.

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It is common knowledge that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving that same distance in a car or larger motor vehicle, but the discrepancy in safety might surprise you. Some sources claim that someone riding on a motorcycle is 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone riding or driving in a car over that same trip. The increased level of risk presented by motorcycles on the road should lead drivers of cars and motorcycles to exercise extreme caution when on the road. The open nature of motorcycles and the smaller vehicle weight and profile mean that drivers should be extra vigilant and aware when they are more likely to encounter motorcycles on the road. A recently published local news report discusses a fatal motorcycle crash last month that killed two Harley riders.

According to the local news report, the accident occurred in Melbourne on Wickham Road when a 2012 Ford Focus driven by a 75-year-old Melbourne man exited the parking lot of a shopping center and attempted to cross Wickham Road to travel east onto College View Drive. Two men were riding on a 2001 Harley Davidson northbound on Wickham Road at the time when they struck the Ford Focus on the right side. Both of the motorcycle riders were taken to the hospital where they died according to police. According to the authorities, there is an ongoing investigation to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash. The police did not say if the driver of the Ford Focus was injured in the accident.

Comparative negligence is the legal concept that parties in an accident are assigned the percentage of fault that they were responsible for in the accident. Under the pure comparative negligence theory, an accident victim can recover money from an equally or less negligent party. Under Florida law, accident victims can recover compensation from the other party, even if the victim is partially at fault, including fault that exceeds 51%. In practice, this means that even if the victim is found to be mostly at fault for an accident during a trial, they can still seek compensation for personal damages from the other party. If the claim is successful, the total damages awarded will be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault.

Wrong-way car crashes refer to situations where one vehicle collides with another automobile while going in the wrong direction on a street, resulting in a violent collision between two incoming vehicles. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), between 2010 and 2018 there were 2,921 fatal wrong-way crashes resulting in 3,885 deaths—an average of 430 deaths per year. Florida is not exempt from these types of accidents, ranking second out of all states with an average of 34.4 per year. A recently published CNN news report discusses a fatal wrong-way crash in Miami-Dade county.

According to the CNN news report, the accident occurred one early morning last month after a 30-year-old man was driving at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction on State Road 826. The police stated that the man was driving in the wrong direction at a high rate of speed for at least a mile before hitting another vehicle head-on, killing all five passengers in the other vehicle. There were four women and one man between the ages of 18 and 25 killed in the crash. The wrong-way driver was airlifted to Ryder Trauma with serious injuries according to the police. The highway patrol stated that he remains hospitalized and will be booked into jail once discharged and is being charged with several counts of vehicular homicide. Troopers are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if impairment was a contributing factor. If the driver was impaired at the time of the crash, more charges could potentially be filed.

According to the AAAFTS, the most common causes of wrong-way driving include drunk or impaired drivers, unlicensed drivers, older vehicles, and drivers over the age of 70 years old. The AAAFTS states that drivers with one or more of these factors are heavily present in the wrong way crashes. While these factors may seem relatively distinct, each one has the potential for a distracted or inexperienced driver more prone to making fatal errors. Although establishing fault in a wrong way driving accident may seem straightforward, many factors could impact a victim’s recovery. An attorney can help accident victims at all stages of the claims process, including by helping gather evidence, leading settlement negotiations, litigating, and appealing.

As communities in Florida and nationwide continue to make investments in infrastructure and development projects, construction remains a powerhouse of industry in the state. Unfortunately, construction jobs can be hazardous for both the workers as well as members of the public. A 27-year-old construction worker was recently killed in an accident in Tampa Bay when a large concrete slab broke from a seawall and crushed the man.

According to a local news report discussing the tragedy, workers had been replacing a seawall in Port Tampa Bay when a piece of concrete broke apart, and a slab weighing approximately 3000 lbs fell month the worker. Emergency crews were called, but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. The article does not contain many details, but it appears that negligence may have been a factor in the accident.

Florida workplace accidents caused thousands of injuries and deaths each year. People hurt or killed in such incidents can often pursue compensation for their injuries and loss by making a Florida workers’ compensation claim. Florida law requires most employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance that covers losses related to workplace accidents. Workers’ compensation coverage may pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages related to their injury.

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