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Can Florida Businesses Be Liable for the Actions of a Drunk Person?

Can Florida Businesses Be Liable for the Actions of a Drunk Person?

It is an obvious fact that drinking and driving is a deadly combination and can result in a very preventable tragedy.  Tragedies are only magnified when a drunk driver kills multiple people, such as when on New Year’s Eve, 2016, an alleged drunk driver killed five individuals when driving the wrong way down I-95 in Florida, or when two young children died and six others were hospitalized from an alleged drunk driver in October of 2016. For those who survive a drunk driving accident, life is irrevocably altered but they must pick up the pieces and find a new normal without their loved ones or learn to live with their new injuries and physical limitations.  When the driver’s insurance only covers a small portion of the damages or when the drunk driver ends up in jail and with no assets, where do the injured and aggrieved parties turn to in order to pay for the injuries and losses?  If a mother or father of a household can no longer work, it is a legitimate question to ask as to how the family will survive financially. In many cases, it may be necessary to prove liability beyond the drunk driver themselves and look to the establishment that served the driver the alcohol.   Dram Shop Actions Florida’s Dram Shop law is limited compared to other states and only covers two specific circumstances.  In Florida, a bar or establishment that serves or sells alcohol may be liable for the damages or injuries caused when they do either of the following: Willingly and unlawfully sell or furnish an underage person alcoholic beverages; or When...
Amusement Park Liability in Florida: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

Amusement Park Liability in Florida: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

Amusement parks and theme parks are by definition supposed to be fun for all and a pleasant distraction from life.  As with many things in life, however, going to an amusement park is not without risks of injury.  It is difficult to quantify the risk of amusement park and theme park rides because there is no single, central clearing house that collates such statistics, such as exists for traffic accidents. However, in Florida, injuries happen regularly on the premises of amusement parks for a variety of reasons.   The Florida State Department of Agriculture oversees some amusement park safety, but only for smaller, traveling carnivals.  Larger theme parks are not legally mandated to have their equipment inspected by a neutral third party, with the threat of sanctions for failure to adhere to basic safety features.  There is some limited federal oversight by the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), but that agency generally gets involved only after an accident occurs in order to rectify the problem and prevent further injuries.  That means that even one simple shortcut employed by a theme park manager or employee can potentially mean life-altering injuries for you or your child.   Legal Liability for Amusement Parks and Theme Parks There are three general grounds for which an injured party can recover from an injury sustained at an amusement park or theme park: Simple negligence Premises liability actions Products liability The following is a brief overview of each of these causes of action stemming from amusement park accidents and injuries.   Negligence at Amusement Parks and Theme Parks As for negligence, it is a general, all-encompassing legal...
What if I Have to Miss Work Due to an Injury?

What if I Have to Miss Work Due to an Injury?

When you think about losses incurred due to a car collision, fall or another type of accident, you likely first think about medical bills. While medical expenses can be substantial and can cause serious stress, your concerns may increase if you also have to miss work while you recover from your injuries. Fortunately, the law allows you to not only recover from the negligent party for medical costs but also for all injury-related losses, including losses from missing work. Types of injuries that commonly keep you from working Many different injuries can keep you from performing the necessary duties of your job depending on your particular profession and the severity of your injuries. Some of the most common injuries that can cause you to miss work include the following: · Neck and back injuries – Neck and back injuries can require you to rest as part of your treatment and can significantly limit your mobility. Sprains, strains, dislocations, and other injuries to the neck or back can especially affect your ability to work if your job requires heavy lifting, moving, pushing, or pulling. · Traumatic brain injury (TBI) [1] – A concussion or another type of TBI can have a significant effect on your cognitive and physical abilities. A TBI can make it difficult for you to follow instructions, communicate with others, stay focused on a task, and much more. Your balance and coordination may also be impaired during your recovery. In addition, if you have a TBI, you will have to refrain from any type of activity that may risk a subsequent head trauma until your injury has...
Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Because they spend hours and days on end behind the wheel, a major concern regarding truck drivers is fatigued driving. When a driver becomes seriously fatigued, the effects can be similar to intoxication, as a driver will lose the ability to focus on the road, will have slower reflexes, and will have lessened decision-making skills. In addition, if a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel, a massive vehicle that potentially weighs 80,000 pounds will be barreling out of control down the highway, possibly taking out anything in its path. A main culprit of fatigued driving is the long hours on the often monotonous highway. In response to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted and enforces strict hours of service limitations, which restrict the number of consecutive hours or days a truck driver can be working without taking a certain period of rest. However, even with hours of service regulations, truck accidents continue to occur due to fatigued drivers. Recently, the FMCSA has been paying closer attention to a health condition that may be contributing to fatigued driving among commercial drivers – obstructive sleep apnea. What is Sleep Apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition that reportedly affects approximately 22 million people across the United States. The condition causes a pause in breathing during sleep and these pauses can happen hundreds of times in a single night. When the person stops breathing, they will wake up briefly to restart their breathing. This means that people with obstructive sleep apnea may involuntarily wake up as much as 30 times per hour during the night and such disruptive sleep can...
Ft. Lauderdale Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Much More Serious than Cuts and Scrapes

Ft. Lauderdale Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Much More Serious than Cuts and Scrapes

Millions of American households have a dog as a pet, and it is easy to see why. Dogs can be excellent companions, act as living, breathing security systems, and even provide support for people who are struggling with disabilities. Unfortunately, they also are capable of causing extremely serious injuries when they attack. When most of us think about dog bite injuries, we tend to think of cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other similar injuries that can result from teeth coming into contact with skin and muscle. While it is certainly true that many dog bites result in these types of injuries, it is also true that dog bites can cause other issues that can be just as serious, if not more so. Some of the more common of these are discussed below. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,1 or PTSD, is a condition that sometimes develops in people that have experienced a stressful, frightening, dangerous, or shocking event. In recent years, the condition has received significant attention in relation to combat veterans who develop it, but it can occur after a type of traumatic event, including a dog bite or attack. The symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult to engage in daily activities or work, often significantly disputing the lives of sufferers. Some of the more common symptoms of PTSD include the following: Flashbacks of the traumatic event Nightmares Unwanted thoughts Avoiding things, events, or places that could serve as reminders of the traumatic experience Difficulty remembering the event Mood swings Anger Anxiety Feelings of guilt or shame Serious Infections You may have heard that dogs’ mouths have fewer bacteria...
How Injuries can Happen During Your Hotel Stay

How Injuries can Happen During Your Hotel Stay

As the winter holidays approach, many people are booking hotel rooms to stay near family and friends or simply to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax on the beach. While many hotels may do their best to accommodate guests and provide an enjoyable and safe atmosphere, many injuries can occur during a stay in a hotel or resort. The following are only some examples of how people may be injured in hotels during this holiday season. Slip and Falls Like any other type of business or property, the risk of slipping and falling may exist if the owners fail to take precautions to eliminate any potentially hazardous conditions on the premises. Many different conditions can lead to slip and falls, both on level ground and in stairwells or on ramps. Some possibly dangerous conditions may include the following: Carpet or flooring that is overly worn and therefore slick Rugs that are not secured and may shift Wet spots on the floor from spills Failing to clearly warn hotel guests that floors are wet or have recently been cleaned Door jambs and other small steps that may not be noticeable Electrical cords that are not lining the walls out of the path of guests Objects in walkways Loose or broken railings on staircases or ramps Steps that are too steep, slick, or different sizes Swimming Pool Accidents Many hotels specifically advertise that they have pools or hot tubs in order to attract customers – especially those with children who will enjoy using these facilities. However, there are many risks associated with hotel pools and many of these...
Traveling Alongside Large Commercial Trucks

Traveling Alongside Large Commercial Trucks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that more than 10 million commercial trucks and almost 1 million buses were registered in the U.S. in recent years. While not all of these vehicles are in operation on a daily basis, at any given moment there are hundreds of thousands of commercial trucks on the highways in Florida and across the country. The number of trucks on the roads only increases during the holiday season, as many stores increase their inventory and replenish more often to accommodate the needs of holiday shoppers. In addition, the holidays also mean an increase in travelers on the roads, as the majority of travelers choose to drive to their destinations, as opposed to flying or taking a train. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that 91 percent of holiday travelers will drive each year. The increase in both commercial trucks and cars results in an increased risk of collisions. When a large truck crashes into your small personal vehicle, devastating damage can occur as these trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Driving Safely Next to Trucks There are several things you can remember in order to reach your destination safely this holiday season and avoid truck accidents and injuries, some of which include: Blind Spots – While every car has some blind spots, large trucks have major blind zones called “no-zones.” These zones exist in front of the truck, behind the truck, and on both sides of the truck and you should always be certain to avoid lingering in these zones whenever possible. Lane Changes...
Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Having a baby is often an exciting yet stressful time for new parents. The stress of raising a child can be substantially magnified if you learn that your child suffered an injury at birth. Even minor birth injuries can require medical treatment, which will result in more medical bills in addition to the expenses of your labor and delivery. More serious birth injuries can result in impairments and disabilities with which your child may struggle their entire lives. Furthermore, serious birth injuries can mean a lifetime of medical and personal care and limitations on work and activities. If a birth injury occurs due to medical malpractice, you have the right to hold your negligent1 doctor liable for all of the costs – monetary and otherwise – of the birth injury. Improper Testing During Pregnancy As part of prenatal care, doctors often should perform a variety of tests to determine the health of both the mother and the fetus. These tests can identify whether a mother has health conditions that need to be managed or addressed, can help predict any possible complications during the birth, and can determine whether the baby has any life-threatening or otherwise severe birth defects. If a doctor fails to perform necessary tests or does not relay test results back to the parents, it can constitute malpractice if any birth injuries result. Failure to Monitor Vital Signs During Labor Hospitals have equipment that can monitor a baby’s and mother’s vital signs during the labor process. If it appears that one of their heart rates are falling or if there are signs the baby is not receiving...
Increased Risk of Accidents as Holidays Approach

Increased Risk of Accidents as Holidays Approach

As we head into the last part of the year, households all across Florida and the U.S. will start preparing for the fall and winter holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah. Preparations may include purchasing items, putting up decorations, planning to host parties, planning trips to see family and more. While you are in the spirit of the holidays, however, it is important to stay safe so that your holiday season is not disrupted by an accident and serious injuries. The following are only some examples of common accidents around the holidays. Car and Truck Accidents Many people take trips during the holidays and statistics show that the large majority of people travel by car.1 This fact combined with the additional number of large trucks needed to transport goods and packages during the holiday season, the overall number of vehicles on the road greatly increases. In addition, many drivers who are on road trips may be unsure of where they are going or unfamiliar with traffic patterns or possible risks on certain roads. All of this can lead to a higher number of auto accidents. Furthermore, many holiday gatherings involve drinking spiked eggnog, champagne, or other alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, many people decide to get behind the wheel and drive after they have had too much to drink. An increase in impaired driving leads the winter holidays to be a particularly dangerous time2 to be on the road. Accidents in Retail Stores From the crazed crowds of Black Friday to the last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve to people making returns after the holidays, there is no question that retail stores...
Have You Been Hit by a Drunk Driver?

Have You Been Hit by a Drunk Driver?

Every person who has a driver’s license should know that it is both dangerous and against the law to drive a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol. However, numerous drivers continue to make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking too much each and every day. Such drivers may believe they have not had too much to drink, may believe that they are good enough drivers to get home without incident despite their intoxication, or may simply believe they are invincible from the law and safety regulations. Regardless of their justification, it is generally only a matter of time before a drunk driver causes an accident and serious injuries to others. Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers Because of their delayed reaction times and lack of focus on the road, drunk drivers tend to be involved in severe collisions. Whether they hit another vehicle, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian, drunk drivers can cause devastating injuries to accident victims. Often, a drunk driver will stray from their lane and cross over the center line, or perhaps they may turn the wrong way on one-way street or highway. These actions can result in head-on collisions at high speeds that leave victims with life-changing injuries and impairments. Some of these injuries can include: Spinal cord injuries Paralysis Amputations and crushed limbs Traumatic brain injuries Back and neck injuries Burns Internal organ damage What to do After a Drunk Driving Accident As an accident victim, it is only natural to be shaken up after any type of collision. However, there are steps you should take whenever possible...

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