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jesus-rodriguez-332039-unsplash-copy-300x200With school soon to be back in session around Miami-Dade County, there are many nervous parents who will be signing their children up for driver’s licenses courses and training. If you are one of them, it is understandable that you are feeling apprehensive: According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2017 Annual Report, there is a yearly average of 62,992 car accidents involving drivers aged 15 to 20 years old. They may cover just a five-year age span, but these young motorists are responsible for over 16% of all crashes.

As a parent, you can do your part to reduce the likelihood of your child being in a car accident in Miami. A few tips may be helpful.

Be an Involved Parent

If you were hurt in an accident and have exhausted settlement negotiations with the responsible person’s insurance company, the next step is filing a lawsuit in court. As part of the proceedings, you may be required to engage in a process called mediation, so it is important to understand what to expect. Your Miami personal injury lawyer can explain mediation and will be at your side to ensure the protection of your legal rights. However, some answers to common questions about mediation may provide a helpful overview.

What is Mediation? 

In sum, mediation is an informal hearing during which the parties sit down with a mediation professional who attempts to guide them toward compromise in a personal injury case. The mediator is an impartial, neutral party who is specially trained to encourage productive conversations and effective communication. Through these efforts, the parties are often able to resolve differences and come to a mutually acceptable settlement regarding compensation.

On Monday, September 3, South Florida was battered by heavy rain and winds due to Tropical Storm Gordon. The tropical storm formed near the Florida Keys early that morning and moved west-northwest into the southern area of the United States. The unfavorable weather conditions did more than close beaches on the holiday weekend. The increased the risk of flooding and made the roads particularly wet and dangerous. It is no surprise that on Sept. 3, Miami-Dade County had multiple car crashes, creating significant traffic delays and leading to at least one fatality. Around 10 a.m. on Labor Day, Alfredo Cobas, 47, lost control of his truck while traveling north on I-95. Cobas’ truck hit an inside wall and spun multiple times. He was ejected from the vehicle, and Miami Fire Rescue pronounced him dead at the scene. Two other crashes took place shortly after on the MacArthur Causeway and on I-395, near the Biscayne Boulevard ext. A few hours later, another collision occurred on I-95 headed north. Witnesses saw a vehicle stuck underneath a large tanker.

Driving in the rain with wet roads and reduced visibility requires extra care. When drivers fail to pay greater attention to the road and their actions, crashes occur. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence in the rain, do not hesitate to contact a Miami car accident attorney from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (305) 371-6000.

Rain Is the Deadliest Weather

According 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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Fatal car accidents occur on the roads of Miami every day. Even when an accident was not caused by drunk driving, or texting while driving, or other behaviors which pose an obvious risk, it can still permanently change the lives of everyone involved. This is a lesson which tennis star Venus Williams is learning the hard way. Miami area residents and visitors have long trusted Gerson & Schwartz to protect their legal rights after any car accident. Gerson and Schwatz, PA  employ some of the best car accident attorneys  in Miami, Florida when it comes to negotiating and litigating injury claims arising from car, truck or motorcycle accidents, and many other types of personal injuries.

A Simple Accident That Changed Lives Forever

On June 9, 2017, Venus Williams was driving near her home in Palm Beach Gardens. She entered an intersection on a green light but was stuck in the intersection after the light turned red, due to stopped traffic ahead of her. Linda Barson, driving the opposite direction, drove through her green light into the intersection, where she collided with Williams’ sport utility vehicle. Witnesses initially told investigators that Williams ran the red light., Body camera footage from a responding officer showed him telling her that she had the right of way when she entered the intersection, but lost it when the light turned red. He declined to issue her a traffic citation because she “got stuck in a bad situation” and he felt she should “let the insurance companies work it out”. Barson suffered minor injuries, and her husband – a passenger in the vehicle – was initially conscious but disoriented. After fourteen days in the hospital, he died of internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and massive internal organ damage.

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

Rapes and sexual assaults on cruise ships happen often. Recently, 1,700 young students boarded the Luxury MS Galaxy cruise ship on a trip to Finland. What was intended to be a rewarding experienced turned ended in tragedy. Eight male passengers between the ages of 18 and 19 were arrested when the cruise ship landed.  Said men face charges of gang-raping a female student and aggravated rape. The attack occurred inside one of the ship’s cabins. One of these eight men has a prior criminal conviction. Two of these eight men are actually suspects in a separate high-profile murder case in Stockholm. Said murder occurred in November of 2015. As suspects to the murder case they were released pending trial and provided the opportunity to violently offend again.     

If you or a loved one have been attacked on a cruise, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA have the experience and skill needed for your case. For a FREE initial consultation, call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905.  You can also contact us online at info@gslawusa.com.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery

Injuries resulting from riding a motorcycle occur daily, and some of these are merely accidents. Some, however, are the result of someone’s negligence on the road. In the case of negligence, cyclists may have a case against the person who caused the accident. Automobile drivers who fail to respond or view the cyclists before it is too late are the primary causes of these accidents. Motorcycle riders can seek compensation resulting from medical care costs and/or lost wages in these cases.

If you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury or wrongful death related to a motorcycle accident, you may want to find an attorney that will help you obtain the compensation you or your family deserves. The Miami motorcycle accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA provide FREE initial consultations to discuss cases involving such accidents. Simply call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905. You can also contact us online at info@gslawusa.com.

Motorcycle Crashes

The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to install fences around Amtrak train tracks in Seminole County after the death of two pedestrians in November. FDOT anticipates spending $300,000 to place a 6-foot high chain link fence around four miles of tracks that pedestrians commonly cross. The two separate incidents that instigated the fence project occurred when a pedestrian crossed the tracks and was struck by the train. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a railroad accident contact a Miami Railroad Accident Attorney.

The first fatal incident occurred in downtown Orlando when a man crossed the tracks in broad daylight. Despite the conductor’s best efforts at attempting to stop the train, the train struck and killed the man on the tracks. The Orlando police describe the incident as an apparent suicide.

The second death happened in Altamonte Springs, a town north of Orlando, when a woman crossed the tracks at night and was killed by an Amtrak train. Police are still investigating the matter and the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

In most personal injury cases such as car accident injuries, truck accident injuries, and motorcycle accident injuries, the damages that are pursued by your Miami personal injury lawyer include restitution for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, there is another category of damages that goes beyond simply serving as a compensatory mechanism for the injured party. There is a special category of damages available that helps to make the injured party “whole” again and may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for their reckless and wanton conduct. This category of damages is known as punitive damages.

In Florida, punitive damages are also referred to as “exemplary damages.” As mentioned, these damages go beyond what is actually necessary to compensate you. They are meant to penalize the at-fault party if they committed gross negligence or caused intentional harm. They are awarded as a way to send a signal to the community at large that similar behavior will not be tolerated.

Punitive Damages Example