Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer

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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Pompano Beach woman killed in collision with train

When people in Miami hear of a car being struck by a train, their first assumption may be that the driver was at fault for having stopped on the train tracks. That, or the driver’s car must have stalled and could not be moved before being hit by the train. However, many may not take into account the idea that a driver may simply have been stopped on the tracks while awaiting a traffic signal or due to heavy congestion. Given the ever-increasing number of cars on the road, it may not require such a stretch of the imagination to envision such a thing happening.

That appears to be exactly what happened in a recent collision between a car and a train in Pompano Beach. A family driving in their car was stopped on the railway while awaiting a red light. As they waited, they say that the warning indictors that a train was coming turned on. Fortunately, three of the occupants of the vehicle managed to exit and get to safety. Sadly, a fourth occupant, the mother and grandmother of the other three, was still in the car when the train collided with it. Reports say that she was killed instantly.

Reviewing Florida’s employee death benefits

Most in Miami likely maintain the opinion that one of the safest places for them to be is their jobs. Even those who hold what others may consider to be dangerous occupations may feel as though their experience and expertise mitigate any risks their jobs may pose. Unfortunately, statistics may show that line of thinking to be incorrect, as every year hundreds of people are killed at work. Information shared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 228 Floridians died while on the job in 2014 alone.

When one dies at work, he or she may leave behind a family or other dependents that rely largely on the financial support that his or her job provides. Therefore, Florida law has enacted measures to provide death benefits to qualifying family members of those killed at work. First and foremost, employers of people killed in workplace accidents are required to pay funeral expenses up to $7,500. After that, every person who qualifies as a dependent of the deceased’s is entitled to the following percentages of his or her average weekly wage:

  •          Spouse: 50 percent
  •          Spouse (with children) 50 percent plus 16.667
  •          Children (if no surviving spouse): 33.33 percent each
  •          Parents: 25 percent each
  •          Siblings and grandchildren: 15 percent each

Could pedestrian injuries from car collisions soon be obsolete?

Victims of automobile accidents can have their day in court, but would likely agree that it would be better not to have been in an accident in the first place.

Now that seat belts, airbags, and other auto-safety features have become ubiquitous, automobile makers are starting to think more about safety features for autonomous vehicles.

Cars that drive themselves use mechanisms such as intuitive speed reduction, object sensitivity, and automatic braking to reduce or prevent accidents involving other vehicles.

But what about accidents involving pedestrians? Google thinks it has the answer to preventing unnecessary injuries.

What common injuries are seen in auto-pedestrian accidents?

It may go without saying to most in Miami that auto-pedestrian accidents tend to end very badly for the pedestrians involved. Yet have you ever considered what are the most common injuries sustained by pedestrians when they are hit by cars? Furthermore, how might understanding these injury trends influence your thoughts concerning the filing of a civil action following such a collision?

According to study information shared by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, the most common areas of the body to sustain injuries in auto-pedestrian accidents are ranked as follows:

  1.        The lower extremities
  2.        The head, face and neck
  3.        The upper extremities
  4.        The thorax
  5.        The spine
  6.        The abdomen

Making the case for dogs being considered dangerous property

While many Miami residents rely upon dogs to provide love and companionship, we at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer understand that these pets may pose a risk to visitors on a person’s property. If you or a family has been attacked and bitten by a dog at a friend or relation’s home, the resulting injury expenses may leave you needing to pursue a liability claim. The question becomes what freedoms does Florida law allow for when initiating such action.

The state’s “Dog Bite Law” can be found in Section 767.07 of the Florida State statutes. In it, liability for any injuries or damages that you sustain in a dog attack is placed squarely on the animal’s owner, no matter if the incident occurred in a public place or the owner’s home. This includes cases where you may be on a person’s property executing any assigned duties of the state or postal service. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Linking CTE to bicycle accidents

Many in Miami may believe that those unfortunate enough to suffer bicycle accidents, whether they be from collisions with cars or other cyclists, are likely out of the woods if they’re able to survive the immediate aftermath of such events. However, for those accidents that may have involved head trauma, the risk of mental deterioration and other physical ailments could remain with them throughout the rest of their lives. This is due to the fact that recent news may be starting to indicate that a condition commonly associated with athletes could result from more common, everyday activities.

According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain condition associated with concussions and traumatic brain injuries. It results from an abnormal buildup of the normally stabilizing tau protein in the brain, leading to interference with certain neuron functions. Up until recently, CTE was linked primarily to football players. Yet cases have now been observed in players from other sports, as well as members of the military.

What is the dangerous instrumentality doctrine?

In theory, every driver on the road in Miami could pose a risk to you. However, evidence has shown that certain demographics tend to present a greater danger than others. Teen drivers may be amongst these. Given their relative inexperience behind the wheel, this may come as little surprise to many. Yet if and when you are struck by a teen driver, what sort of legal recourse do you have? If you sue the teen, the likelihood that he or she has sufficient assets to cover your accident expenses may be slim. What about his or her parents?

The legal philosophy of vicarious liability states that one can be held liable for the actions of another. In relation to car accidents, Florida has specific legal rule that assigns such liability. Known as the dangerous instrumentality doctrine, the Supreme Court of Florida attributes its origin to a 1920 case which produced a ruling that when a driver’s negligence causes an accident, the party that entrusted him or her with a vehicle may be made to answer for his or her recklessness. A subsequent ruling in 1990 reaffirmed this idea, further stating that one who gives a another driver access to his or her vehicle is in the best position to guarantee the resources needed to cover his or her potential negligence.

The personal representative’s role in a wrongful death case

The sudden death of loved one in Miami can throw your family into turmoil. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Ivan a. Schertzer have worked who have experienced such a tragedy may rely on those named as the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to guide them in their actions. If you have named as the executor of a will for a family member or friend who has died suddenly, you may feel a duty to him or her to try and secure some financial stability for the family in his or her absence. This leads to the question of what sort of action are you, as a personal representative, allowed to take in a case involving wrongful death?

In truth, you as the personal representative are the only one who can actually initiate a complaint of wrongful death. As such action is typically done at the request of the family, the issue of their not being able to pursue it themselves may be moot. As executor, you can file to recover the costs of any medical or funeral expenses paid out of the estate’s assets. The only exception to this would be if another party has already paid them, in which case he or she would be reimbursed.

Parking lot accident leaves woman dead, several cars damaged

Most in Miami may consider themselves to be safe when walking through a parking lot. This may be due to a general assumption that once drivers pull into parking lots, they realize the need to reduce their speed given that they are in such close proximity to pedestrians. However, some find that certain drivers bring the same dangers found on the open road with them to parking areas. In some cases, they may simply be driving a little too fast for the given conditions. Yet in others, their negligent actions may simply be inexplicable.

Such appears to be the case for a parking lot collision in Ohio that took the life of an elderly woman. Authorities took a man into custody after he struck the woman while driving backwards through the parking lot. Along with the striking the woman, the man also reportedly ran into several parked vehicles. While it was not reported if drugs or alcohol may have played a factor in the accident, law enforcement officials did share that the man had been driving with a suspended license. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment, while the woman was reported to have already have died by the time officials first arrived at the scene.

Curious kids: legal recourse for injury on another's property

Typically, private property owners, or those under the control of property, have a duty to keep the premises in a safe condition to prevent injury to those who enter. They must either repair or warn invitees or licensees of any known dangers. If they don't, they could be liable for injuries that occur.

But owners generally do not have a duty to trespassers-except children.

Here's why.

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