A pedestrian bridge located at Florida International University suddenly collapsed on vehicles below injuring dozens and causing several fatalities. The bridge was recently constructed and was just opened to the public this past Saturday on FIU’s campus. Little information is known about the root cause at this time. Witnesses reported that dozens of vehicles may still be alive or trapped beneath the rubble.  Miami-Dade Fire Rescue along with first responders were still trying to get beneath the 950 plus tons of concrete wreckage. A witness to the accident contacted our law firm and sent us this photograph seconds after the bridge crumbled. FIU bridge Collapse

Construction sites, accidents, rules and regulations are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA is the primary federal agency assigned with promulgating rules and safety enforcement regulations in the workplace. In this case, when a bridge and construction accident occurs, OSHA conducts a comprehensive investigation. This usually takes many months to complete but eventually will reveal how this tragic event occurred, how it could have been prevented, and what specific violations of OSHA’s regulations may have been violated. OSHA’s duties, include protecting workers as well as enforcing safety laws for the benefit of the general public. Companies who violate OSHA safety regulations may expose themselves to legal liability, which can include civil and criminal penalties. Miami, Florida has been subject to many construction site accidents but this one is by far the most serious and tragic construction accident event in recent memory.

While it is too early to know how or why this specific tragedy occurred, the mere fact that this bridge collapsed is a prime example of the legal doctrine known as as “Res Ipsa Loquitur”, which means “the negligence speaks for itself”.  Bridges simply do not collapse in the absence of some sort of negligence. The personal injury law offices of Gerson and Schwartz, PA specialize representing serious injury and wrongful death victims due to construction defects and industrial accident related tragedies. Our construction accident attorneys in Miami are familiar with OSHA rules and regulations and how to prove negligence in industrial and construction accident cases. If you or a loved one were the victim of the FIU bridge collapse or another type of construction accident case, then contact our Miami law offices today for a free consultation. Call us today at 1- 877- 475-2905 or email us at info@gslawusa.com for help. Walk in clients are also accepted. Our personal injury offices are located at 1980 Coral Way in Miami, Florida. You may also visit our website at www.injuryattorneyfla.com. Se Habla Espanol.


Multi-Vehicle Crash in Alligator Alley Leads to Fatality

In early March, an accident on I-75, locally known as Alligator Alley, led to one fatality and numerous injuries. A van carrying 15 people was travelling east in the left lane when it was rear-ended by a truck. The van was carrying individuals from Minnesota as young as 4 years old, visiting for a spring training game in Ft. Myers. When the van was struck by the pickup truck, the driver lost control. The van flipped, several passengers were ejected, and it landed on the other side of the highway. The truck also rolled over. Numerous reports state a third vehicle was involved in the crash, though specifics were not given. One van passenger was killed, Lauren Vanreese. Numerous passengers were airlifted to a hospital due to serious injuries while other van passengers and the driver of the truck were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Liability for the Accident

l-a-2-1232149-300x200According to various sources, an actress who is known for playing a character in the television series “Quantico,” has filed a lawsuit against two drivers and two California state agencies over a three car accident that happened last February in Los Angeles. One of the cars involved in the wreck was a state emergency vehicle.

The actress reportedly claims that she lost a significant amount in potential compensation due to the ordeal while she was riding in an Uber driven car. According to the suit, the actress is not suing the driver of the Uber vehicle that she was riding in.

According to the California Highway Patrol accident report, one of the officers at the scene found the driver of the non-emergency vehicle to be at fault. The report stated the determination was made that the first driver made an improper lane change which then forced the ambulance to swerve into the lane that the actress was riding in.

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magazine-1241490-300x225Last week Government Employees Insurance Co., known as GEICO, filed a massive lawsuit against Path Medical and Pain 411, alleging that since 2014 the defendants defrauded the company for millions of dollars worth of medical procedures that were, “medically unnecessary, illusory, unlawful, and otherwise unreimbursable health care services, including initial examinations, follow-up examinations, diagnostic imaging, and physical therapy, and chiropractic services [], that purportedly were provided to automobile accident victims (“Insureds”) who were eligible for coverage under GEICO Florida no-fault insurance policies.”

In addition to seeking compensatory damages for the allegedly fraudulent payments, GEICO is also seeking declaratory judgment that it is not legally obligated to reimburse the more than $200,000 in additional pending, allegedly fraudulent no-fault insurance claims.

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With the rapid growth of the ride-sharing app Uber, the business has been in headlines across the cross-walk-1503397-260x300country as witnesses have claimed to see the notorious Uber logo sticker in the windows of vehicles involved in crashes. It is not clear whether all of the drivers involved in the following three accidents were in fact Uber drivers, but it is clear that at least one of them was, although the individual was not “on the clock” at the time of the crash. Additionally, as a general matter, just because a driver was working for Uber, does not necessarily mean that the company is responsible for the behavior of the individual driver.

Scottsdale Pedestrian

The first accident that had Uber in the news occurred early in the morning last Thursday in Scottsdale. According to police, the accident happened at around 1:30 a.m., when a pickup truck hit a pedestrian. Officials stated that they did not believe speed or any sort of impairment were factors in the crash, and that the driver was a driver for Uber.

While the company had not made a statement at the time the story was published, a spokesperson stated that the driver had been removed from the app while the accident was being investigated, and that the company intended to cooperate with police on the investigation.

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canal-12-1575861-300x225This past Thanksgiving weekend, was unfortunately fatal for several drivers in the Miami area. According to a spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol, “Thanksgiving is the most dangerous holiday in the United States.” Additionally, “The day before Thanksgiving, fatal accidents increase by 15 percent. That’s why the Florida Highway Patrol is out here, committed to have a high presence and make sure that motorists that are driving to visit their families get there safe.” Highway patrols across the nation made similar pronouncements about increased patrols in an attempt to prevent car accidents.

Curiously, among the serious accidents that happened, there were three where a vehicle crashed and ended up in a canal of some sort, resulting in the death of five individuals.


Various news outlets reported that a driver-less vehicle crashed into a semi truck following its launch at an event in shuttle-bus-300x296Las Vegas earlier this month. The crash occurred just two hours after the introduction and promotion event for the first self-driving shuttle in the United States aimed at serving the public. Interestingly, it was the human driver of the other vehicle that was reportedly at fault. Fortunately the incident only caused minor damage and there were no injuries.

The shuttle in question, which can transport up to 12 passengers at a time, comes equipped with electric curb sensors and uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) in lieu of a steering wheel or brake pedals.

The introduction of the shuttle comes on the heels of the passage of the Self Drive Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this fall. If passed in the Senate, the bill would exempt car manufacturers from having to follow various state and federal regulations that typically apply to automobile manufacturing. States would still be able to determine whether or not to allow self-driving cars on their roads.

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scaffolding-1518087-300x225Last month provided several examples of the serious personal safety issues that can arise with construction site work.

Construction Worker Falls from Crane on Dolphin Expressway

First, a construction worker fell from a crane on the Dolphin Expressway one morning, near the Northwest 37th Avenue overpass. A Miami fire department official stated that the man fell a total of 30 feet from a crane that was attached to a flatbed truck. The worker was using the crane’s controls on the side of the truck when it suddenly fell over, throwing him off of the overpass. As he fell, thankfully he did not fall into the flow of traffic below. The man was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his critical condition.

The area where the accident occurred is currently under construction, as Miami-Dade Transit is working to add an additional lane in both directions on the Dolphin Expressway.

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A Florida district court of appeals recently rendered its decision on an appeal based on the trial court’s decision to chromed-out-1451031-300x225exclude various pieces of evidence from consideration by the jury.

In the case, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant revved the engine of his Chevrolet Camaro, thus signaling his alleged desire to race the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs alleged that after riding next to their two motorcycles and swerving into their lane twice, he hit the first motorcycle (which had one passenger), which then crashed into the second motorcycle and then drove away. The plaintiffs survived the accident, but suffered serious personal injuries which required medical treatment. Prior to the accident, the plaintiffs had stopped at a restaurant and then a bar, and were headed home when the accident occurred.

At trial, the defendant claimed that the motorcycles caused the accident to occur by one driver accidentally turning onto the other one. He claimed comparative negligence as a defense. Witness testimony as to what happened was similarly inconsistent.

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security-camera-1245610-300x199According to various reports, Miami Beach Commissioners recently voted to close Miami Beach east of the dunes at 10 p.m. The decision to close the beach two hours earlier is an attempt to curb crime and keep both residents and tourists safe. The beach will continue to open at 5 a.m.

The vote was prompted by a recent string of violent crimes and thefts that have occurred late at night, including the vicious assault and rape of a tourist on the beach that happened over the summer, after the woman had fallen asleep.

Proponents of the earlier closure asked the commission to engage in an educational outreach designed at educating the public about the reasons for the change. In response, the commission stated that it was investigating the best ways to engage in an information campaign, including signs and other outreach.

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