Can Property Owners be Liable for Weather-Related Slips and Falls?


When most people consider slip and fall claims, they picture a shopper in a grocery store slipping and falling in a puddle of milk. Or, they may picture an individual in a shopping center who trips over merchandise that has fallen into an aisle. However, did you know that property owners may also be liable for slips and falls that are primarily caused by the weather? Miami personal injury attorneys help these individuals recover for their injuries.

For example, consider a clothing store that has linoleum or tile flooring. On a summer afternoon, the sky turns dark and a thunderstorm rolls in. A period of heavy rain lasts for about thirty minutes. After the storm clears, shoppers begin trickling into the store. They carry umbrellas that are dripping wet, and their rain jackets and shoes also spread water on the floor. Employees do not mop the wet floor for an hour, and a man enters the store, slips, falls and breaks his hip. The store is can be legally responsible liable for the man’s injuries if it can be proven that the employees waited an excessive amount of time to mop up the water, or failed to warn of the hazard. If store employees had only waited a short period of time to correct the condition the claim could be more difficult to bring. That is unless, it can be proven that condition was one that happened with regularity that the store was on notice and should have entertained more corrective measures. In other words, the store and or employees did not act in a reasonable manner to remove safeguard the premises from a known hazard.

South Florida’s worst nightmare became a reality shortly after 1 pm  January 6, 2017. According to reports, at least 5 people were killed and 8 others were seriously injured after a gunmen opened fire shooting innocent bystanders in Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Early news reports state that a 20 year old passenger on board  a flight from Alaska to Florida had the firearm in his checked luggage. When he arrived to the airport, he was able to retrieve the firearm and then started opening fire. The suspect was apprehended and has been identified as Esteban Santiago. It is unknown what motive played a role.

According to TSA regulations, passengers can transport firearms in a hard locked container. However, the hard containers need to be secured and or locked and the firearm must be declared prior to boarding.  Whether or not Santiago was lawfully permitted to own or possess the firearm is unknown. So is whether or not he did in fact check the firearm consistent with TSA regulations on this flight. Obviously, this will all need to be carefully reviewed and investigated.

Personal injury lawyers with experience handling negligent security claims will likely want to know if all of the proper safety and security procedures were followed. If not, this may create legal liability on behalf of  the airlines or potential other third parties. It’s still too early to tell what if any negligence may have played a role in this tragedy and if this tragic event could have been prevented, according to the personal injury and crime victims lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA. www.injuryattorneyfla.com 877-475-2905.

Recovering for Medical Bills after Being Hit by a Drunk Driver in Miami

With the holiday season and new year upon us, we will unfortunately notice a rise in drunk driving accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has previously reported that on average, there are 36 fatalities every day in the United States that are attributed to drunk driving. During the Christmas holidays, there are 45 per day, and during the New Year holiday, there are 54 per day. Snowy, icy weather in many parts of the country, coupled with champagne toasts, eggnog, and other holiday beverages contribute to the high number of drunk driving accidents that are reported this time of year. In addition, longer periods of darkness in the winter create lower visibility, which also leads to many auto accidents. Miami personal injury attorneys help victims of drunk driving accidents recover monetary damages for the harm they have suffered.

What happens if you are seriously injured by a drunk driver?

On Monday, November 21, 2016, a school bus carrying 35 students with an adult driver violently crashed into a telephone pole in Chattanooga, TN. The crash killed six children. Twenty-three other children were taken to area hospitals suffering from varying degrees of injuries. The children ranged in ages from kindergarten to fifth grade. There is no doubt that such an occurrence is a parent’s worst nightmare. The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation. Experienced accident attorneys can help hold bus companies and other commercial vehicle owners legally  responsible for their actions and help recover money damages if you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Florida school bus crash or a victim of negligence.

Common Carrier Liability Under Florida Law.

Under Florida law, a public bus is considered a common carrier. The “common carrier” doctrine establishes a higher duty of care to transport passengers safely. The law requires a common carrier exercise the highest degree of care, foresight, prudence and diligence reasonably demanded at any given time by the conditions and circumstances then affecting the passenger and the carrier while the contract of carriage is being performed.  This heightened duty creates legal liability even in the event of an intentional tort, or premeditated act, so long as the contract of carriage is being performed. While the crash officially remains under investigation, the local police have charged the bus driver with several crimes including motor vehicle homicide and negligent driving.  The charges the bus driver faces could be upgraded depending upon the direction the investigation takes. The investigation could lead to a conclusion that the school bus driver acted with deliberate premeditation. Even is this were an intentional act under Florida law, the county would be liable.

A recent deadly scaffold collapse in Miami reminds construction companies to use caution when erecting and utilizing scaffolding on construction sites.  Construction companies use scaffolding frequently. The apparatus is more stable than a ladder and allows workers to move about more freely without worrying too much about losing their balance. However, scaffolding can create a false sense of security on behalf of those employees using it. Considerable attention must be paid to the safety requirements of scaffolds. Failure to do so can result in serious injury and death from collapsing equipment. A construction company may be held liable for the injuries suffered by workers from scaffolding failures. Miami construction accident attorneys with decades of experience will fight to hold construction companies responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death caused by scaffold collapses.

The recent deadly collapse occurred in Miami in mid-October of 2016. Construction workers set up scaffolding on the outside of a high-rise building. Without warning, the scaffolding failed. The collapsing scaffold cast debris in all directions injuring workers and passers-by alike. The person killed as a result of the collapse died from a heart attack as a result of fleeing from the falling structure. The debris crashed down on a worker’s head who, despite wearing a helmet, suffered a severe laceration to his head.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s primary function is to protect workers from unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.  Accordingly, OSHA issued safety standards for scaffolding use. The safety standards impose an obligation on employer and employee alike to make sure that they are using scaffolding appropriately and safely while on the job. The security requirements may seem so obvious that they need not be stated. Notwithstanding, scrupulous adherence to the rules can save lives and prevent injuries.

According to CNBC, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) uncovered a $1 Billion scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. As a consequence of this investigation the owner of more than 30 Miami-area nursing homes, Philip Esformes, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July of 2016. The DOJ also accused a physician’s assistant and hospital administrator for their role in stealing and laundering money from the federal government since 2009.  The depth and breadth of the fraudulent scheme shows how elders and the infirm are at the mercy of unscrupulous health care providers. Miami personal injury attorneys who have experience recovering damages for injuries and abuse in nursing homes will fight to protect your loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

The DOJ alleges that Esformes, with assistance from the other individuals involved, bilked the faltering health care system to fund a ridiculously lavish lifestyle. All at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people in our community: the elderly and the poor. Prosecutors alleged that Esformes subjected his residents to unnecessary medical treatments so that he could bill Medicare for the treatment. Additionally, and perhaps most egregiously, Esformes allegedly drugged some of his patients with prescription narcotics. The over prescription of narcotics renders the patient incapable of weaning themselves off of the drug. As a result, the patient remained bound to the facility because they were addicted to the painkilling drugs. Prosecutors referred to this abuse as a “cycle of fraud.”

Local law enforcement authorities are aware of the problem. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which represents the Miami-area, indicated that the South Florida area is replete with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Consequently, law enforcement is paying close attention to facilities in the hopes of preventing this type of wide-spread fraud in the future.

When we think about our smartphones, we think about devices that can potentially save our lives: we use them to call 911 after an accident, to let others know of our locations, and we even store our medical information in them to let others know of any allergies or health conditions we have. However, what if your phone causes you injury? Recently, it was discovered that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone would catch on fire—in fact, it would even reportedly explode—due to a malfunction with the battery. In these cases, Miami personal injury attorneys could sue the cell phone manufacturer, or any one in the stream of commerce on behalf of injured victims in a products liability lawsuit.

One Florida man has already filed suit against Samsung. The plaintiff, Jonathan Strobel, was shopping in Costco when his Galaxy Note 7 exploded, causing a second-degree burn. Strobel is seeking compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. And in fact, the number of lawsuits may grow. So far, Samsung has received 92 reports of issues caused by the batteries. Twenty-six users have reported burns, and 55 have reported property damage. As more reports trickle in, Samsung may have a number of claims to defend. Miami products liability attorneys file claims making at least one of the following allegations: that a product’s design was flawed, that it was manufactured improperly, or that it failed to properly warn consumers of the potential risks of using it. In a defective design case, a plaintiff argues that the design of the product itself caused the harm. For example, in the Galaxy Note 7 example, if the materials in the battery made it overheat and eventually ignite, the issue was in the design of the battery.

If the manufacturing of the product was the problem with the Galaxy Note 7, parties will argue that an issue in the factory caused the batteries to catch on fire. Perhaps the wrong materials were used by mistake in a certain batch of phones, which led to the overheating. If inadequate warnings were the issue, plaintiffs will allege that Samsung did not provide proper warnings about the risk of the batteries overheating and the phones igniting, if the company was aware that this was a possibility.

This week, news outlets reported that Matthew Apperson was sentenced to twenty years in prison for shooting at George Zimmerman during a 2015 road rage incident. Apperson allegedly followed Zimmerman in his vehicle while flashing his lights and honking his horn. At some point, Apperson moved into the lane next to Zimmerman and fired into Zimmerman’s vehicle. Zimmerman was not shot, but he suffered cuts from the shattering of his car window. Apperson was convicted of second-degree murder. Of course, criminal charges are appropriate in such a situation. However, civil claims may also be filed against an individual, regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed for an incident. Miami personal injury attorneys seek justice for injury, accident and road rage victims who were injured by the reckless or careless acts of others.

When are civil claims appropriate? Civil claims involving injuries typically require three parts: A legal duty was owed to the victim,  breach of the legal duty, due to that breach, the victim suffered damages. Generally speaking, road rage incidents are dangerous and can end up with serious or catastrophic injuries and in some cases fatal consequences.  One source reported that 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Two percent of drivers have admitted to trying to run another driver off of the road.

Aggressive Careless Driving and Following Too Closely- Violations under Florida law

Florida has some of the highest plastic surgery rates in the country. One survey showed that Miami alone has 10 plastic surgeons per 100,000 residents. Thousands of cosmetic procedures are performed in Miami and the rest of Florida every year. In some cases, surgeons make errors that cause severe injuries to their patients. Sadly, many patients die due to the injuries they sustained during or after a plastic surgery procedure.

Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex civil actions that attorneys file. Pursuing them requires an in depth understanding of not only personal injury laws, but also the anatomy and physiology of the human body. To successfully pursue such a claim, a victim should seek a Miami personal injury lawyer with years of experience in these cases.

In a medical malpractice case, the patient must demonstrate three things: that the medical professional had a duty to the patient; that this duty was breached when the medical professional acted negligently; and that, due to this negligence, the patient suffered harm. Establishing the duty is usually straightforward—when a patient consents to a procedure, the doctor-patient relationship is established. To demonstrate negligence, a medical expert will need to testify and explain what the standard course of conduct is for the procedure in question and how the medical professional deviated from that standard.

In today’s society, almost every driver has a cell phone. Whereas cell phones are often a lifesaver after an accident, or when a driver is stranded, they also pose a dangerous threat to motorists in the state of Florida. In 2015, approximately 45,740 accidents in Florida were attributed to distracted driving. About 24,560 of these crashes resulted in injuries, and, tragically, 198 resulted in fatalities. Nearly 200 individuals lost their lives in 2015 in Florida because a driver failed to pay attention to the road. Distracted driving accidents are on the rise and unfortunately will likely continue in the near future.

There are three categories of distractions on the road:

  • Visual, or taking one’s eyes off of the road;

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