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When people lose someone that they love in a collision, they often develop emotional distress and mental health issues. In recognition of the emotional harm often caused by fatal crashes, the Florida legislature enacted statutes allowing surviving family members to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they endured due to the loss from the party that caused the deadly accident. The damages award is determined, in part, by the surviving party’s life expectancy. Thus, if the survivor dies before a verdict is issued, no damages are owed. This was illustrated in an opinion recently issued by a Florida court in a case in which it reduced a $5 million damage award to nothing after the surviving party died before the judgment was final. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be owed damages, and you should consult a Florida car accident attorney to assess your rights.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the decedent was killed in a fatal collision. The accident occurred on a road adjacent to the defendant’s travel center. The plaintiff instituted a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant. The case proceeded to trial and the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, granting her $5 million in compensation for pain and suffering. The defendant moved for a new trial, but before the court could rule on the motion, the plaintiff died.

It is reported that the defendant subsequently filed a motion for relief from the judgment on the grounds that Florida Statutes 768.24 provides that when a surviving heir dies before a judgment awarded under the Wrongful Death Act becomes final, the judgment should be reduced to the value of the services and support lost from the date of the decedent’s death to the date of the survivor’s passing. The court agreed, finding that because the judgment was not final when the plaintiff died, the verdict should be reduced. The plaintiff’s estate then appealed. Continue reading

While Florida is known as the sunshine state, it does experience inclement weather on occasion. Although it does not frequently rain in Florida, business owners nonetheless must take measures to protect their customers from slip and fall accidents caused by rain puddles within their premises, and if they do not, they may be held accountable. Recently, a Florida court discussed what a plaintiff injured in a slip and fall accident at a Florida business must prove to recover damages. If you were hurt in a fall, it is in your best interest to talk to a Florida premises liability lawyer regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited a post office owned and operated on a rainy day in May 2018. She entered the lobby, slipped, and fell. She suffered knee injuries in the fall. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing its negligence caused her fall and injuries. The case proceeded to a bench trial, during which the court heard testimony from the plaintiff and from the defendant’s employees regarding their inspection and maintenance process and their placement of wet floor signage on the day of the fall.

Proving Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents in Florida

The court ultimately found that the plaintiff met her burden of proof with regard to her negligence claim and awarded judgment in her favor. The court explained that under Florida law, to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show a duty of care imposed on the defendant, a breach of the duty, a causal link between the breach and the plaintiff’s injury, and actual losses sustained by the plaintiff. Continue reading

Drunk driving accidents often cause catastrophic injuries. In some cases, the entity that served the intoxicated driver may be held liable for the harm ultimately sustained. Other factors can impact liability as well. For example, in many cases, the defense will argue that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent and, therefore their damages should be reduced. Recently, a Florida court discussed the interplay of comparative negligence and Florida’s dram shop laws in a case in which an intoxicated underage driver struck an intoxicated underage pedestrian. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the injured party, who was intoxicated and underage, was walking across the street when she was struck by a truck driven by a person who was also intoxicated and underage. The injured party suffered critical harm in the accident. The plaintiff, her guardian, subsequently filed claims against the bars that served the injured party and the driver. Default judgment was entered against the bar that served the injured party, and the court ruled that the bar that served the driver could not argue comparative negligence. Following the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff close to $29 million. The bar that served the driver appealed.

Comparative Negligence and Florida’s Dram Shop Laws

On appeal, the appellate court ruled that the bar that served the driver should have been able to argue comparative negligence as a defense. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings. Continue reading

Under Florida law, if a driver causes a collision while operating a borrowed car, both the driver and the owner of the vehicle may be held accountable for any damages that ensue. Some parties are immune from vicarious liability for collisions caused by people using their vehicles, though. Specifically, under a federal law referred to as the Graves Amendment, entities that lease or sell vehicles generally cannot be deemed vicariously liable for losses that arise out of the lease or sale of a car in their fleet. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing the Graves Amendment and explaining what evidence a party arguing it applies must produce to avoid liability. If you were involved in a crash with a borrowed car, it is advisable to meet with a Florida car accident attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the motorist visited a car dealership owned by the defendant to drop off his wife’s car. The defendant gave him a vehicle to use while he waited for his wife’s car to be serviced. The parties disputed whether the driver completed a rental agreement, however. A short time later, while driving the loaned vehicle, the driver was involved in a collision with the plaintiff. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the crash. She then filed a lawsuit asserting vicarious liability claims against the defendant. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability pursuant to the Graves Amendment.

Exemption From Vicarious Liability Under the Graves Amendment

The Graves Amendment provides that certain parties are exempt from vicarious liability. In other words, it provides that entities that are engaged in the business of selling or leasing cars will not be held accountable for harm caused by a collision involving a car they leased or rented to a motorist. The Graves Amendment only applies if the driver in question was not negligent or engaged in criminal activity.   Continue reading

In many lawsuits arising out of collisions, it is abundantly clear that the plaintiff’s harm developed due to the crash. In some matters, though, the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s alleged harm is not related to the accident. To support their argument, the defendant may hire an expert in biomechanics to offer testimony about the force produced by the crash and whether it could have brought about the plaintiff’s harm.  Recently, a Florida court discussed the use of experts in biomechanics in car crash cases in a matter in which the plaintiff argued that the expert lacked the qualifications to testify on the topic of causation. If you were hurt in a collision, it is important to meet with a trusted Florida car accident lawyer to assess what evidence may be used against you at trial.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car crash with the defendant. She later filed a lawsuit asserting that the defendant’s reckless operation of her vehicle caused the crash and her subsequent harm. In response, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s purported injuries did not arise out of the accident and stated she intended to introduce testimony from an expert in biomechanics to support her position. The plaintiff then moved to have the defendant’s expert precluded, arguing that he lacked the qualifications to offer an opinion on the topic of causation. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Admissibility of Expert Testimony on Causation in Car Accident Cases

In cases filed in federal court, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 dictates what expert testimony is admissible. Specifically, it provides that an individual who is qualified by training, experience, education, or skill can testify if their opinion will help the judge or jury determine a factual dispute or understand the evidence. Additionally, Rule 702 states that expert testimony must be based on facts or data and must be the result of reliable principles and methods. Continue reading

In general, business owners can be held accountable for injuries caused by hazardous conditions on their premises. However, there are occasional exceptions, such as when a hazard poses a clear threat; in such instances, the property owner may be able to avoid liability. Recently, a Florida court clarified a property owner’s responsibilities in the context of open and obvious hazards. If you were hurt in a fall on someone else’s property, it is in your best interest to talk to a  Florida personal injury lawyer about what you must show to recover damages.

Details of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff went to the defendant’s boathouse to have his boat serviced. He stepped on the sea wall as he walked to the dock to board the boat. Unfortunately, he landed on a divot and his foot slipped out from under him. He then fell and suffered injuries. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting that the defendant’s negligent refusal to repair the sea wall caused him to fall and sustain injuries. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.  The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed. The trial court’s decision was overturned on appeal.

Liability for Damages Caused by Clearly Dangerous Conditions

The main issue on appeal was whether the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because the condition that produced them was open and obvious. The court emphasized that, in most cases, a company owner has no need to safeguard a customer entering their property from dangers that they are aware of or that are so evident and obvious that they could reasonably be expected to notice. Continue reading

Flying is normally safe, although harsh landings, turbulence, and other elements encountered during a flight could potentially result in bodily injury. However, just because an individual is harmed while traveling by air does not mean they are entitled to compensation from the airline. Instead, they must prove the airline’s negligence proximately caused their injuries. If they neglect to provide such evidence, their claims could be discharged, as illustrated in a recent Florida case. If you suffered harm on an airplane, you might be entitled to damages, and it is advisable to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer about your options.

The Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

Allegedly, the plaintiff sustained injuries while flying due to a bumpy landing. She claimed she suffered back injuries, including a fracture of her vertebra, as a result of the flight crew’s failure to supervise the plane’s approach speed and rate of descent, which resulted in a forceful landing. She then filed a lawsuit in federal court asserting negligence claims against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion asking the court to grant summary judgment, claiming that the plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed because she failed to show the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm.

Proving Causation in Personal Injury Matters in Florida

The court agreed with the defendant’s assertions and ultimately granted the motion. Under Florida law, a plaintiff must establish that a defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable care, that the defendant violated that duty, and that the violation proximately caused the plaintiff to incur damages, in order to sustain a claim for negligence. Florida employs a preponderance of the evidence standard for causation in negligence cases; in other words, a mere possibility of a causal link is insufficient to establish fault. In negligence cases, when the causative relationship between purported harm and the accident in question is not evident to the average person, expert medical testimony is frequently required. Continue reading

Retailers have a responsibility to offer a safe shopping environment for their customers, which includes correcting unsafe conditions. If a store fails to fulfill its responsibilities and a customer is damaged as a result, the injured party may be able to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases must adhere to any applicable pleading rules, though, or their claims may be dismissed. This was demonstrated by a Florida court’s recent decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit after determining that her complaint was a shotgun pleading. If you were injured in a retail store accident, you may be able to recover damages, and it’s a good idea to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer about your options.

The History of the Case

The plaintiff allegedly tripped and fell in a puddle of water while she was shopping at the defendant’s retail establishment. She sustained serious bodily injuries and instituted a case against the defendant, asserting only one claim of negligence. The plaintiff then filed an amended complaint, alleging vicarious culpability and loss of consortium under the negligence count, after the defendant moved the case to federal court. The defendant subsequently moved to dismiss the amended complaint, claiming that it was a shotgun pleading with conclusory accusations.

Pleading Requirements in Personal Injury Cases in Florida

The court ultimately agreed with the defendant and dismissed the amended complaint without prejudice. The court clarified that a shotgun pleading is a pleading where the plaintiff fails to divide various causes of action into separate counts as required by the pleading standards set forth in the federal rules of civil procedure. In the subject case, the court noted that the modified complaint contained a single negligence claim, but the plaintiff nonetheless asserted numerous additional causes of action within that count. Continue reading

Parties will generally not be found liable for harm caused by the criminal or negligent acts of another individual. There are some exceptions, though, such as when a business owner knows or reasonably should know that a customer has dangerous propensities but fails to prevent them from harming other customers. Recently, a Florida court discussed what evidence a plaintiff seeking to recover damages from a business for injuries caused by another party’s harmful act must produce to demonstrate liability, in a matter in which it ruled in favor of the defendant. If you suffered losses due to someone else’s negligent acts, you might be owed damages, and you should confer with a skilled Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, a cruise ship owned by the defendant docked in the Bahamas. The plaintiff, a passenger on the ship, was walking down the gangway when a man in front of her charged and swung at a woman who was another passenger. The woman fell into the plaintiff, which caused that plaintiff to fall off the gangway. She struck her head on the pier on her way down and sustained a concussion and traumatic brain injury. She later developed debilitating migraines.

It is reported that the plaintiff then filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the defendant cruise ship operator. The plaintiff asserted that the man punched the woman in the head shortly before the incident, and a worker on a nearby cruise ship saw the incident and gestured to a worker on the defendant’s ship, and therefore the defendant was negligent for failing to prevent the man from harming anyone further. A bench trial was conducted, after which the court found in favor of the defendant. Continue reading

In Florida, a plaintiff in a car accident case generally must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident to recover damages. In turn, if a defendant can show that it was not their negligence but the negligence of the plaintiff that caused a collision, they may be able to obtain a verdict in their favor. While a defendant is permitted to introduce evidence suggesting a plaintiff’s fault, they cannot proffer information that is irrelevant or unduly prejudicial as discussed in a recent Florida opinion issued in a wrongful death case arising out of a car accident. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car crash, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney about your rights.

The Subject Accident

Allegedly, the defendant, who was driving a car, collided with the decedent, who was operating a motorcycle.  The decedent sustained critical injuries in the accident and passed away shortly after. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant on behalf of the decedent’s estate, alleging that the defendant’s negligence caused the collision and the decedent’s death. No one observed the accident, but one witness saw the decedent shortly before and after the crash. She testified that she saw him perform a wheelie approximately five minutes before the collision and later arrived at the scene of the collision.

It is reported that before the trial, the plaintiff moved to bar the defendant from introducing evidence regarding the wheelie the decedent reportedly performed or suggesting that the wheelie led to the collision, on the basis that there was no evidence he performed a wheelie at the time of the accident. The decedent filed a response in opposition to the motion. Continue reading

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