If you suffer a Florida slip-and-fall injury, compensation requires more than proving you were hurt on someone else’s property. In fact, these cases are quite a bit more complicated than many people assume. A key element in a Florida slip-and-fall case is something called “constructive notice.” This is outlined in F.S. 768.0755, and was recently explained in a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (the federal court with jurisdiction over Florida). Florida slip-and-fall injury

The law requires those in slip-and-fall cases to prove the defendant property owner/manager had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. Actual knowledge would be proof that they knew about that particular spill or hazard and hadn’t taken reasonable steps to rectify it. This is often tough or impossible to prove. Constructive knowledge, however, can be established by showing that either:

  • The condition existed for such a period of time that the business should have learned about it if they were using ordinary care.
  • The condition occurred so regularly and it was foreseeable.

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Do-it-yourself projects and repairs are common when you have the basic skills and would rather not pay a professional service fee. Still, very few of us have all the equipment and tools we need to get every job done. But some of these tools are expensive, and you don’t need them but maybe a few times. This is why many home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, U-Haul, etc.) here in West Palm Beach offer tool and equipment rentals.
tool rental injury lawsuit

Some examples of tool, equipment or special event items that may be rented for single-use or short-term use include: Bucket lifts, floor cleaners, floor strippers, saws, backhoes, scissor lifts, forklifts, air compressors, tree-trimming equipment, scaffolding equipment, wallpaper steamers, stump grinders, generators, drills & drivers, pressure watches, hitches, trailers, tents, flooring/staging, inflatables, tables/chairs, tents, food equipment (popcorn machines, cotton candy machines, grills, etc.) and more.

Consumers rely on these companies to provide them with tools and machines that are safe for use. If those products prove defective, the consequences can be serious, including broken bones, abrasions, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, electrocution, head injuries, amputation, etc. In these instances, it may be possible for the injured to hold the rental store as well as the product manufacturer liable for those damages.

In such circumstances, it is imperative to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer to weigh your legal options.

Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that a broad liability release in a rental agreement signed by a Home Depot customer doesn’t make the store immune from claims that a defective machine rental cost a man his finger. Continue reading

In Florida, as well as in every other state, it is an unlawful civil rights violation for guards or staff to engage in sexual relations with prisoners. In this dynamic, no sexual encounter can be considered consensual because prisoners cannot legally consent to sex with someone who has authority over them. It’s further understood that refusal invites risk of retaliation. jail-300x200

Unfortunately, the reality is sexual assaults occur far too often in prisons. Some callously view it as “part of the punishment,” but that is unequivocally false. As our South Florida sexual assault lawyers can explain, it can be grounds for civil litigation – against the guards, staff and the prison itself. Claims against government agents and agencies are not easy cases, but they can be successful. Accountability in these matters not only brings justice for victims, but helps reduce the chances that future inmates will be preyed upon in the same way.

Recently, the U.S Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded an investigation into the conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida, finding reasonable cause of Eighth Amendment violations for failure to protect prisoners from sexual abuse and assault by the staff. This is an express violation of provisions of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980, a federal statute that protects the civil rights of those in correctional facilities, nursing homes, mental health facilities and institutions for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Officials at prisons have a constitutional responsibility to protect prisoners from harm. Prosecutors for the DOJ say that incarcerated women at the Florida prison were frequent victims of sexual abuse by prison staff. Further, women were discouraged from reporting the abuse and some investigations were even handled by the abusers themselves. As reported by Courthouse News, there were numerous documented cases of sexual coercion and rape, as well as reports of daily sexual harassment, groping and actions like watching inmates shower and use the toilet. Threats of solitary confinement or withholding basic necessities reportedly occurred when inmates objected. Some inmates were allegedly beaten and physically assaulted when they objected. Continue reading

You are driving down Clematis Street in West Palm Beach after work. You glance down to briefly look at your phone and respond to a text. Out of nowhere, a drunk driver veers into your lane from the opposing direction. You suffer serious and lasting physical injuries as a result of the car accident. Florida comparative negligence

Does the fact that you were texting and driving mean you can’t pursue damages from the drunk driver?

In Florida, the answer is “no.” The reason is because of Florida’s adherence to the negligence standard of pure comparative fault.

What does that really mean?

As our West Palm Beach injury lawyers can explain, per F.S. 768.81, it means that whatever percentage you were negligent, your financial recovery will be reduced by that amount.

So let’s take the above hypothetical car crash scenario. If you filed a personal injury lawsuit and the jury found you 25 percent negligent for the crash because you were texting and driving, your total damages would be reduced by 25 percent. So let’s say the court decided the case at your favor and determined you incurred $200,000 in damages. The drunk driver was 75 percent at fault. Your total damage award would be reduced by $50,000 (25 percent), so the most you would receive is $150,000. Continue reading

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers in Florida have a professional and legal responsibility to provide care to patients according to the prevailing standard for their education, experience and position. When they fail to do so resulting in patient harm, they can be held accountable with a Florida medical malpractice claim. Verdicts and settlements are typically paid out by insurers.West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

But in recent years, our West Palm Beach injury lawyers have noted a troubling trend of doctors and health care companies compelling patients to sign binding arbitration agreements before they receive care. Patients are given forms to sign away their constitutional right to have complaints of substandard care weighed in a court of law. If they decline, they are told to look for another provider.

It should be noted if you’re harmed as a result of substandard care, these agreements may not be enforceable, thanks to a 2016 Florida Supreme Court case. You should consult with an experienced medical malpractice law firm before deciding how to proceed. Continue reading

In Florida, business owners, property managers, landlords and security contractors have a legal duty to take necessary steps to secure their premises and prevent foreseeable harm to patrons, residents and lawful guests. If a property owner fails in this duty, he or she can be held legally responsible for the damages.West Palm Beach negligent security

A poorly-secured premises can leave people vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault or another violent attack leading to serious and physical and emotional injuries. Sometimes, it can lead to death.

Negligent security is a special type of premises liability claim wherein someone alleges their injury by a third-party criminal on another person’s property was at least partially the result of the property owner’s failure to make the site safe when they had a responsibility to do so.

There are several defenses in negligent security cases for which your legal team should be prepared, as was illustrated in an appellate case recently before Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal. In Pride of St. Lucie Lodge 1189 Inc. v. Reed et al, the issue was whether the court erred in awarding $5 million to the plaintiff (daughter of decedent), given that decedent had been involved in a felonious brawl at defendant night club just prior to her death. Continue reading

Eight acrobats who suffered life-altering injuries in a 2014 circus accident in which they fell 20 feet while hanging from their hair reached a $52 million settlement last month with the owner of the arena where it occurred. Notably, the Florida-based circus that employed them was not named as a defendant in that case.West Palm Beach injury lawyer

As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, much of that has to do with the fact that state workers’ compensation laws stipulate that workers’ comp insurance is the exclusive remedy against an employer for work-related injuries. That doesn’t necessarily mean people who are seriously injured on-the-job don’t have alternative claims against third parties. This type of claim is more common in hazardous professions like construction, truck driving, warehousing, nursing, etc., where workers are often contracted to work at that location by another company. Continue reading

A judge in California recently fined rideshare giant Uber nearly $60 million and threatened to suspend its license to operate in the state if the company refuses to pay the penalty and respond within 30 days to questions regarding the company’s records on sexual assaults.South Florida sexual assault lawyer

As our South Florida civil trial sexual assault lawyers know, a safety report released by the company last year revealed some 6,000 sexual assaults that were reported to Uber in connection with rides between 2017 and 2019.

As a public service provider, Uber and other ridesharing companies undoubtedly have some responsibility to keep customers safe. The extent of this responsibility, though, is part of what is being litigated in hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits across the country. Continue reading

New Year’s celebrations are all about new beginnings – and many this year are especially eager to start the next chapter!South Florida injury lawyer

To help ensure 2021 starts on a bright note, our West Palm Beach injury lawyers are offering 5 Tips on New Year’s Eve Safety. This list is gleaned from our years of observing the top causes of preventable injuries in South Florida around this holiday. Continue reading

A shocking 57 percent of all motorists were using their cell phones within one minute of crashing this year, according to a recent study by transportation analytics firm Zendrive. Nearly 17 percent of motorists in crashes had been using their phones in the five-second window just before. car accident lawyer

Study authors culled data from more than 86,000 crashes that took place in the U.S. throughout this year. What they found was that not only were there record-setting crash rates – even amid pleas to stay home and social distance – but that these very often included some form of distracted driving. Even more troubling, distraction appeared to grow worse as the year wore on.

Of course, distracted driving is a problem that existed long before 2020.  Unfortunately, it seems likely to continue being a scourge for years to come. The upheaval in travel patterns of late serves only to highlight this longstanding issue.

Sending a single text message can tear a driver’s eyes away for nearly 5 seconds. If you’re traveling 70 mph (the maximum speed on most Florida highways), that’s like traveling 1.5 football fields completely blind. While a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is associated with a 12.5 percent reduction in reaction times, sending a text message or engaging on a social media site is associated with a 38 percent reduction in reaction time.

As we prioritize the health and safety of our community in many other ways in the coming year, our South Florida injury lawyers urge everyone to do so on the road as well. Continue reading

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