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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Who would be liable in the event of a horseback riding accident?

With its nearly perpetual warm weather, miles of trials and beaches, as well as its scenic outdoor areas, Miami may be a great place for you and your family to go on a horseback ride. Such an activity is one that may be particularly appealing to your younger children. Yet despite the potential for fun that riding a horse offers, you may still want to keep in mind that you are dealing with large, strong animals that can be difficult even for expert riders to control. Falling or being thrown from a horse can cause serious injuries or even death. If such an accident were to happen, who would be liable?

Florida’s equine activities law prevents you or your representatives from holding the owner of a horse or the provider of horse-related activities responsible for any risks inherent with being around such an animal. There are some exceptions to this immunity from liability, however. These include:

  •          If the one providing the equipment used to help control the horse know it was in poor condition.
  •          If the owner/activity provider made no attempt determine yours or your family member’s riding abilities.
  •          If the owner/activity provider meant to intentionally injure you or your loved one by allowing either of you to ride.
  •          If a dangerous condition of the land on which you or your family member were riding was known to the land owner, lessor or lessee.
  •          If the owner’s/activity provider’s actions or inactions were blatantly negligent in regard to you or your loved one’s safety.

Addressing the issue of impaired cyclists

If you are an avid bicyclist in Miami, then you are likely well aware of the dangers that other vehicles on the road may pose to you. Yet, like most, you may likely limit those dangers to cars, trucks and SUVs. However, we here at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer can tell you that your fellow bicyclists may present just as great a danger. While the requirements for riding a bicycle may not be as stringent as those for driving a car, people are still expected to exercise the same amount of care and caution while doing both. Given that the levels of operator responsibility are seemingly equal for bicyclists and motorists, the penalties one may face for violating them may be equally as harsh, as well.

For example, Florida (along with a handful of other states) places the same restrictions on operating a bicycle under the influence of alcohol as it does on driving a car. This is due to the way the law outlining DUI offenses is worded. In Chapter 316, Section 193.1 of the state’s statutes, it says its DUI law is applicable to those “in actual physical control of a vehicle.” Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control laws define a “vehicle” as “every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.”

Watch out for hazardous roads even out of Matthew's path

As Hurricane Matthew approaches the Florida coast, many people heeding Gov. Rick Scott's warning to evacuate will be doing so by car. Gov. Scott has waived tolls to reduce traffic as 1.5 million Floridians are being ordered to evacuate, according to CBS Miami.

But it's important to remember that driving hazards are likely to exist even when you're out of the storm's direct path. Flooding is one of the top causes of fatalities during tropical cyclones that hit land, according to the National Weather Service, and hurricanes can cause flooding hundreds of miles inland, even days after the storm has passed.

Operational requirements for low-speed vehicles on sidewalks

Those walking around Miami’s parks or large outdoor areas and venues are likely to see people driving back-and-forth on golf carts or utility vehicles. These smaller, low-speed vehicles allow for easy access to maintenance and recreational sites, making them ideal to transport materials and, in some cases, even people. Their small size also allows them to be operated amongst foot traffic. Pedestrians should know, however, that simply because these vehicles are smaller does not mean that they cannot do damage in the event of a collision.

Accidents involving low-speed vehicles may be much more common than one would think. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission information shared by the Tampa Bay Times shows that every year, golf cart-related accidents require 13,000 hospital emergency department visits, many of which may involve collisions with pedestrians. Recognizing the need to both protect others and allow public and private employees to continue to utilize these vehicles for practical uses, the state of Florida has set forth low-speed vehicle operating guidelines in its statutes regarding state uniform traffic control.

Schooling your adult children on premises liability

You've had the discussion on the dangers of underage drinking, the importance of maintaining good grades and the long-term benefits of healthy lifestyle choices. They assured you that they would be model students and were mature enough to accept the responsibilities of college life. Of course, you trusted them, but you know that college students still make decisions that show a severe lack in judgment. Embracing the change, both you and your adult children met the new academic year with crossed fingers and a hope for the best.

Accidents can happen, though. While you may not have addressed premises liability during your lectures on making good choices, this is an issue that is ripe for dialogue. Your children may scoff when you highlight the need to take care in walking on slick surfaces; however, should a mishap occur on campus premises, your children should know what to do in order to ensure they receive proper medical care that is paid by the appropriate party.

Examining delayed-onset car accident injuries

Car accidents in Miami may not always be catastrophic. In fact, many may simply be simple fender-benders that involve front- or rear-end collisions at low speeds. When you have been involved in such an accident, your concern may lie more with your car rather than yourself. You may think that an accident at such a low speed is incapable of causing any serious injuries. However, we at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer can tell you that is not always the case.

Collisions at low speeds may still deliver enough impact energy to cause injury. In many cases, it is not the impact of the collision that injures you, but rather the jawing force your head, neck, and upper and  lower body sustain when you are thrown against your seatbelt (or, if it deploys, your airbag). You may not even feel much pain in the immediate aftermath. That may be because many of the injuries caused by low-speed accidents may take hours or even days to manifest themselves.

Arbitration or litigation? Now residents in retirement homes have the right to choose.

Unexcused bruises, cuts, burns and sprains

Fractures in various stages of healing




This catalog of warning signs of elder abuse is posted on our practice area page on nursing home abuse and neglect. The excerpt provides just a fraction of the many indicators that may suggest an elderly relative is suffering at the hands of a nursing home employee. Upon discovery, relatives of the abused loved one should be well within their rights to be outraged and to seek a remedy in a court of law for injuries suffered. In many cases, however, they could be denied the right to litigate.

5 steps to take if you suspect elder abuse

In a previous blog, we referenced a statistic reported on ABC News that close to 30 percent of nursing home facilities in the United States have reported a case of either abuse or neglect of their charges. As it is distressing to consider and upsetting to discover, nursing home abuse does happen because many of the elderly residents suffer from conditions that make them easy targets for unscrupulous people.

The types of abuse may vary from financial to emotional or physical. In some cases there may not be physical evidence of abuse; however, you are within your rights to contact an authority if you suspect your loved one is being harmed. Having the suspicion of abuse should not deter you from action. Please remember that you and your loved ones are not powerless to act if abuse does take place.

Who is responsible for your safety while engaged in water sports?

If you are like many in Miami, then you may be currently planning one last water sports outing for you and your family before summer ends. Yet it should be remembered that such activities can be dangerous, with accidents often resulting in serious injury or death. This may prompt the question of who is liable for yours and your family’s safety when water skiing, tubing or parasailing?  

You can find the laws regarding boating safety in Chapter 327 of the Florida State Statutes. In Section 33, it states that the driver of a boat pulling a skier or tuber is to avoid driving at a speed that can endanger said person. It goes on say that any form of reckless boat driving while towing is also prohibited. Section 37 of the statute lists causing a skier to collide with another skier or object as qualifying as recklessness.

Man sues after slipping and falling at McDonald’s

Many in Miami may have encountered a time when they were at a restaurant or bar when a drink was spilled on the floor. Most would assume that the employees of the establishment would quickly set to work on cleaning up the spill, for the longer the liquid stays on the ground, the greater the likelihood that someone unwittingly encounters it. However, factors such as a high volume of guests needing to be served may take a staff’s attention away from remedying such a problem. Some may also say that diners should be mindful of such potential hazards. In the end, however, if an accident were to occur, one may easily say that liability lies with the restaurant.

Such was the claim made by a Pennsylvania man following a fall he sustained at a local McDonald’s. A lawsuit that the man filed against the company operating the popular fast-food provider claimed that he sustained serious injuries after slipping on a liquid substance that was allowed to remain on the restaurant’s floor. A settlement was reportedly reached over the matter, however apparent legal wrangling regarding the man’s Medicare eligibility has delayed him receiving that settlement amount.

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Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer
16211 NE 18th Avenue
Suite #100
North Miami Beach, FL 33162

Phone: 305-940-0007
Toll Free: 800-639-8084
Fax: 305-354-8895
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