Articles Posted in Negligence

If you’ve experienced property damage in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you may wonder when it’s time to hire an attorney. Property damage claims can be complicated, and if the process is mishandled, you may not be able to get the compensation you deserve. 

Knowing when to hire an attorney can differentiate between a successful and a failed claim. In this blog post, we’ll discuss when hiring an attorney for a property damage claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is best. Read on to learn more about when to seek legal help and what you can expect from the process.

If The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim

Florida has some of the most dangerous roadways in the country. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), over 400,000 car accidents happened in Florida in 2021. These accidents caused more than 250,000 injuries and about 3,700 fatalities in the same year. However, only a dismal percentage of crash victims in Florida seek counsel from a seasoned legal professional.

Most people hurt in automobile accidents in Florida are unaware that the law grants them the right to seek compensation for their suffering. The costs associated with treating injuries sustained in a car crash and other factors such as diminished quality of life, lost income, emotional distress, and property damage can add up quickly. Injured victims may be able to recover damages for their harm and losses if they take swift legal action against the liable party.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that over 90% of car accidents in the United States are caused by driver error. This usually involves drivers not paying attention to their surroundings, being distracted, driving while impaired, or making poor decisions. 

Recovery is usually multilayered if anyone has been involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. One may experience serious injuries, vehicle damage, and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Florida law, anyone is considered a victim if they were involved in a motor accident due to drunk driving.

According to reliable statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving remains a serious problem in Florida. Therefore, drunk driving is considered a criminal act, and a victim may be entitled to compensation for losses sustained due to the crash. 

In addition, different kinds of compensation are available to victims of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, drunk driving crashes. However, some compensation can be overlooked without the help of a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. Therefore, it is recommended to hire an attorney before taking legal action.

Although Florida is famous for being the perfect place to go on a cruise, many passengers suffer serious injuries every year due to cruise ship accidents. Cruise lines are in constant competition with each other, as they continue to build elaborate swimming pools, water slides, wave pools, and other aquatic activities which can lead to various types of injuries.

If you or a loved one was injured at a cruise ship’s pool, it is important that you understand your legal rights to seek compensation to pay for your medical expenses and other damages. Discussing your situation with an experienced lawyer may be critical to pursue the fair amount of compensation you may deserve. 

At the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our licensed lawyers have a wealth of legal experience, which includes in-depth knowledge of local and state maritime laws. We know what it takes to hold cruise lines liable for any damages you may have sustained such as medical bills, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call our firm today to schedule a no-cost evaluation of your injury claim.

According to recent statistics by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, distracted driving can be visual, manual, or cognitive. Examples of distracted driving include texting, eating, checking your GPS, unsecured pets, adjusting the radio, tending to kids in the back seat, and even daydreaming. Government statistics show that there were 50,190 distracted driving crashes in Florida in 2017, 1,746 of which occurred in Palm Beach County.

Distracted driving can be the basis for a legal claim for damages against the distracted driver. Most claims arising out of Florida car crashes are the result of negligent conduct. To establish a Florida negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove: the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff to conform to a certain standard of conduct; the defendant breached that duty; a causal connection existed between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s injuries.

Florida drivers are required to drive carefully and prudently to avoid endangering other people and property. This includes being attentive to the road at all times in order to be prepared for an emergency. In a motor vehicle claim, the plaintiff must show that the accident was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. For example, causing a crash because a driver was distracted is a foreseeable result of failing to maintain attention to the road while driving.

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In the mid-1990s, states across the nation began to see an uptick in the number of roadside accidents. Many of these accidents involved those who operated emergency vehicles on the road’s edge, such as police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and tow truck drivers.

It was not until 2002 that Florida passed its first iteration of what has come to be known as the “Move Over” law. Since then, the law has undergone several amendments, and in its current form the law covers “emergency vehicles” and “wreckers.” Specifically, the law requires that all motorists traveling in the same direction of a stopped emergency vehicle “vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle,” as long as the road has two or more lanes. If an emergency vehicle or wrecker is stopped on a single-lane highway then passing motorists must slow down to a speed of 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit or, if the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less, to a speed of five miles per hour.

A violation of Florida’s move over law can result in a traffic citation. However, the import of Florida’s move over law does not stop there. It also makes recovery easier for those who have been injured after a motorist failed to comply with the move over law. If you have questions of this nature, reach out to a dedicated Florida motor vehicle accident attorney.

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Many find an extended stay in a medical facility to be a nerve-wracking affair. Likely not among the many fears that one considers in advance of a stay at a hospital, however, is the risk that the staff would intentionally exploit one’s vulnerability. Nevertheless, even the unexpected has the potential of becoming reality. For instance, in a recent decision, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal tackled issues arising from an unfortunate case involving a woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted while receiving care at at a hospital’s mental health care facility.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that while she was a patient at the aforementioned mental health care facility, a technician employed by the hospital sexually assaulted her in her room. She further alleged that she reported this attack to hospital officials, whom she claims intimidated her and declined to investigated the incident. She also asserted that there was a high prevalence of sexual assaults at this facility and that the hospital and its agents failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing the attack. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the purported assaulter had ready access to her room and acted suspiciously prior to the incident in common areas where his conduct was observable to others.

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In response to a perceived crisis in medical insurance costs, the Florida legislature passed the Medical Malpractice Act (“MMA”), which was designed in part to deal with perceived rising medical malpractice costs in the state. See Franks v. Bowers, 116 So. 3d 1240, 1247 (Fla. 2013). In a specific effort to curb these costs, the Act included a  statutory scheme governing arbitration agreements covering potential medical malpractice claims. Although the law clearly evidences the legislature’s intent to allow medical providers to enter into arbitration agreements with patients, there continues to be ample litigation regarding how much the terms of such agreements may veer from the provisions under the MMA. See Fla. Stat. §§ 766.207, 766.212 (outlining the required contents of medical malpractice arbitration agreements). Indeed, in a recent decision, Hernandez v. Crespo, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that a medical malpractice arbitration agreement executed by a woman who delivered a stillborn fetus after being turned away from a doctor’s appointment was void as a matter of public policy.

The key facts at issue in Crespo are as follows. The principal plaintiff in this action was 39 weeks into her pregnancy and experiencing contraction pains when she was turned away by her physician for showing up late to the appointment. The original appointment was scheduled for August 17, 2011, and she was rescheduled for an appointment on August 21, 2011. On August 20, 2011, the plaintiff delivered a stillborn fetus. A little more than a year later, on December 19, 2012, the principal plaintiff and her husband, the other plaintiff in this action, served notice on the doctor from whom she was turned away and Women’s Care Florida that they intended to initiate litigation regarding the treatment she received, which they alleged caused the stillborn birth. The plaintiffs ultimately filed suit on May 23, 2013, and about a week thereafter, the defendants moved to stay proceedings and compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement that had been executed between the parties. On August 29, 2013, the plaintiffs requested binding arbitration, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 766.207, which the defendants rejected, arguing that they sought to enforce the signed agreement, which forestalled the need for § 766.207 arbitration. The trial court ultimately granted the motion compelling arbitration, but Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the arbitration agreement at issue violated public policy. The Fifth District did note, however, that its ruling was in direct conflict with a Second District decision on the issue.

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Florida is among many states that apply the “impact rule” in tort litigation. Generally, the impact rule provides that “a plaintiff can recover damages for emotional distress caused by the negligence of another” only if “the emotional distress suffered . . . flow[s] from physical injuries the plaintiff sustained in an impact.” Fla. Dep’t of Corrs. v. Abril, 969 So. 2d 201, 206 (Fla. 2007). Although there are many exceptions to the application of the impact rule, this limitation on recovery for emotional damages leads to considerable chagrin among many litigants in Florida courts. For instance, in a recent decision, G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc. v. Golzar, the Third District Court of Appeal foreclosed the recovery of emotional damages in a case involving a Peeping Tom employed as a security guard at a South Florida residential community.

The defendant in this action, G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc. (“Wackenhut”), provides private security services throughout the United States. Around November 2008, Wackenhut hired the security officer who performed in the aforementioned peeping incident at the heart of this case. At the time of the security officer’s hiring, Wackenhut performed an investigation of the security officer’s background and uncovered a California misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct in 2004. Although the security officer had not disclosed the incident on his application, Wackenhut chose not to investigate the incident further. It was later revealed that the specific conduct for which the security officer was convicted under California’s disorderly conduct statute was prowling and peeking into an inhabited building.

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In an effort to avoid potential litigation, many businesses enact procedures to ensure customer safety. Notwithstanding the ubiquity of such safety procedures, employees do not always follow the rules, which unfortunately leads to injuries to patrons.  When non-compliance with self-imposed safety protocols causes an injury, many people naturally question whether the failure to comply with these procedures amounts to negligence. However, as Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recently discussed in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Wittke, a failure to comply with internal practices does not necessarily establish negligence.

Wittke revolves around a December 2009 slip-and-fall accident at a Wal-Mart in Bradenton, Florida. The plaintiff in this action was entering the Wal-Mart on a rainy day when she fell and sustained injuries. Surveillance footage showed that there were two large fans and a yellow warning cone in the area where the fall occurred. Although these measures were taken, the plaintiff asserted that Wal-Mart employees failed to follow certain corporate protocols related to wet floors and were otherwise negligent. The case ultimately proceeded to a trial, after which a jury returned a verdict in favor of Wal-Mart. The plaintiff moved for a new trial, and the trial court judge granted the motion. In this order granting a new trial, the judge noted that “the evidence . . . clearly demonstrated that [the plaintiff’s] injuries were the result of [Wal-Mart’s] failure to follow its own safety policies and procedures.” Wal-Mart appealed the order granting a new trial, and the Second District Court of Appeal agreed that a new trial was not warranted and reversed the trial court’s ruling.

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