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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Is a store owner held liable if you’re attacked while working?

Convenience stores are often the site of violent crimes in Miami. If you work at such a business and are injured in an attack, you may wonder if the store’s owner is liable beyond what he or she is required to provide through workers’ compensation. While each of these cases is unique, the state of Florida does set limitations on premises liability regarding convenience stores.

According to state’s laws regarding tortious actions, if the owner or operator of commercial convenience location takes sufficient steps to bolster his or her store’s security, then he or she may be immune to liability from the actions of third parties. The steps required to gain such immunity are outlined in Florida State Statutes 812.173 and 812.174. They include:

  •          Equipping stores with safety cameras and a silent arm.
  •          Maintaining a well-lit parking lot.
  •          Offering an unobstructed view of the inside of the store. This extends to limiting the amount of tint allowed on store windows.
  •          Implementing cash management policies such as having an on-site safe, signs indicating that cashiers carry less than $50 and limiting the amount of cash on-hand after 11:00 p.m.

Bike lanes in Florida

As more and more people in Miami focus on living healthier lifestyles, more and more bicycles are appearing on the city’s streets. Biking can not only be an excellent way to get in shape, but also a terrific alternative to motorized vehicle transportation. Many bicyclists and motorists alike, however, fail to fully grasp the idea of a bicycle being an actual street-worthy vehicle as opposed to a sidewalk-bound method of diversion. This can lead to an uneasy tension between bicyclists and drivers on the road, which often results in catastrophic accidents.

In an effort to make biking a safer mode of transportation, bike lanes have been placed near highways and roadways across the state. In the past, the use of bike lines was according to one’s preference. However, Florida state law now requires that all bicyclists use a bike lane if one is available. Thus, it’s important that the state’s bicyclists understand which areas are legally considered to be bike lanes, and which are not.

What are the lifetime costs of an auto-pedestrian accident?

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto-pedestrian accident in Miami, your first concerns should be on recovery. Yet during the recovery process, you may start to ask yourself what the cumulative cost of the accident will be. Any thoughts of pursuing legal action against the driver involved in the accident may be far from your mind at first. If you are like most, you simply want to forget about what happened and move on with your life.

However, in many cases, the expenses associated with the accident may not allow you to. Given the lack of protection you or your loved one had when struck, the resultant injuries are likely severe or even catastrophic. The cost for the care required to treat those injuries can be enormous. Yet they don’t end at the hospital doors.

Florida’s requirements for nighttime bicycle riders

Bicycle riding can be an excellent way to get around in Miami. Yet those who choose to make biking their primary mode of transportation should be aware of the potential risks that it poses. It goes without saying that a bicyclist is at a much greater risk of sustaining serious injuries during an accident than a motorist. Thus, bicycle riders should try to avoid those situations where the risk of being involved in an accident is increased. One of those is while riding at night.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2009, 48 percent of all bicycle fatalities occurred between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight. One may read this and conclude that it is best for bicycles to be off the roads at night. However, there are certain cases where a cyclist may not be able to avoid night riding.

Who is responsible for keeping your apartment safe?

If there’s one place in Miami that you should be able to feel safe, it is in your home. Yet who is required to keep your home safe if you do not own it? The question of liability often comes up when people die in accidents or attacks in apartment complexes. While you may have your own moral obligation to keep yourself and your family safe, the law does place requirements upon landlords to maintain the safety of their rental units. A failure to meet them may serve as the foundation for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Florida law states that for all rental properties other than single family homes or duplexes, the landlord must see to the safety off all common areas on the property grounds. Common areas can include:

  •          Swimming pools
  •          Play and picnic areas
  •          Parking lots and canopies
  •          Walkways and Stairwells

Bike lane collision in Sarasota leaves man dead

Miami and the entire state of Florida in general are known for being very hospitable to bicycle riders. There are a good number of very clearly marked bike lanes that offer cyclists their own space when sharing the road with motorists. Just because these spaces are marked, however, doesn’t mean that collisions between vehicles and cars don’t happen. In any area where bicyclists share the road with motorists, both sides must maintain an awareness of each other. A failure to do so will often produce a catastrophic result (particularly for the cyclist).

Such was the case in a recent accident in Sarasota. Authorities are investigating the cause of a collision between an elderly driver and bicyclist. The cyclist was reportedly rushed to a local hospital after having been thrown from his bike in the collision. While the details of his injuries were not released, they were sufficiently serious to cause his death.

Explaining the idea of sovereign Immunity

Imagine if someone visiting a federal courthouse or post office slips and falls in the lobby or parking lot and sustains injuries. The legal principle of premises liability would typically hold the property owner liable for any injuries or damages caused by unsafe conditions. However, what about those cases that involve property owned by the government? Can one sue Uncle Sam?

The philosophy of “sovereign immunity” protects the government from liability claims. This is an idea that dates back to old English times to keep subjects from suing the king. Today, it extends that protection to federal, state, and local governments. However, there are instances where the government can actually waive the right to such protection.

Pedestrian rights in Florida

Accident victims who come to us for help here at the Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer often do so after having been hit by a vehicle while walking in the street in Miami. If such an accident has happened to you, you might question who is at fault, particularly if you were walking in a marked crosswalk. The rules and regulations regarding your right of way when crossing the street on foot may seem simple. However, it may be helpful for you to know exactly what they are, particularly if you are planning on seeking compensation following your accident.

Your rights as a pedestrian in a crosswalk at an intersection that has a traffic signal may are pretty straightforward. As you probably could guess, Florida State Law says that motorists are expected to stop and not enter the crosswalk when signals indicate that you may cross. They should not enter into the crosswalk area until you have crossed the side of the street on which they are traveling. The same holds true at intersections without signals yet have signs instructing drivers to yield to pedestrians.

The car accident reporting process in Florida

Car accidents in Miami will typically involve law enforcement to at least some degree. When such accidents occur, most may be too preoccupied to be concerned about officials might be doing. Their thoughts are on any injuries to themselves or passengers or assessing the damage to their vehicles. Yet in the event that one intends to seek compensation from another party following an accident, it may be beneficial to understand the accident reporting process required by the state of Florida.

The Florida Crash Records database reports that as recently as 2010, there was an average of 645 crashes every day on the state’s roads and highways. The law requires that either a Florida Traffic Crash Report, Long Form or Short Form be completed following any car accident. A Long Form is required if an accident involved any of the following elements:

  •          A commercial vehicle
  •          Injuries or fatalities
  •          Debilitating vehicle damage
  •          A possible DUI offense

What is assumption of risk?

For many in Miami, the logic behind the idea of premises liability may seem very simple: if one is injured on another’s property, the property owner is liable for any resultant damages. Yet in reality, the application of this legal doctrine is often not quite as simple as that. Oftentimes, a property owner may look to other factors that could erase his or her liability in the matter, such as the negligent actions of other parties involved or the exact circumstances of the accident. One defensive principle that he or she may cite is volenti non fit injuria, or the assumption of risk.

The Latin translation of volenti non fit injuria is “to one who is willing, no harm is done.” Applied in a legal context, this principle argues that when one voluntarily enters into an area or engages in an activity that he or she knows could be potentially dangerous, he or she assumes the risk of any accidents or injuries that could occur as a result. In reference to premises liability, a property owner could potentially argue that certain features of his or her property could have created dangerous conditions that a victim should have reasonably anticipated, and that the victim’s knowledge of this frees the owner of liability.

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

Phone: 305-940-0007
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