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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Reviewing the risks inherent with eating while driving

Most in Miami will likely agree that much has been made in recent years about the dangers of distracted driving. Most of the information cited to highlight the risks posed by this practice, however, focus on texting or using a cell phone while behind the wheel. What about other activities that people do while driving that also serve to turn their attention away from the road? One such practice that many participate in yet few may attribute any danger to is eating while driving.

Information shared by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance shows that eating while driving may increase the likelihood of accidents by 80 percent, and that 65 percent of near-miss accidents can may be linked to drivers who are eating or drinking. Yet despite the risks that eating while driving poses, the same source reports that nearly 70 percent if drivers admit to doing it.

When failed streetlights contribute to wrongful deaths

If you are like most in Miami, then you likely give little thought to the many outdoor lights and streetlights in your cities and neighborhoods. That may change, however, if and when such utilities ever go out. Poorly lit roads and walkways can contribute to car accidents or criminal confrontations that may result in death. Those who lose loved ones due to such conditions may come to us here at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer asking us who is to blame.

The answer can be found in Section 768.1382 of the Florida state statutes. It states that a streetlight provider may not be found liable for cases of injury or wrongful death due to the malfunction of these utilities. The law defines “streetlight provider” as any of the following entities:

  •          Any state agency, office, or instrumentality
  •          Political subdivisions (counties, cities, districts)
  •          Public or electrical utilities

A few factors that can derail a premises liability claim

When a person is injured on someone else's property, the property owner is generally presumed to be "at fault" if the accident was caused by property owner negligence, according to Florida laws. Under the law, owners or tenants are held responsible for maintaining a safe environment for others on their properties.

However, there are some mitigating factors that can affect this obligation.

What if my child was not wearing a helmet in a bicycle crash?

It's one of a parent's worst nightmares - that their child was involved in a serious bicycle accident. They maybe were just riding down the street and back, or just around the corner. Parents may have taken their eyes off of them for only a few seconds, but in those seconds, the world changed.

Bicycle helmet laws in the state of Florida are clear: Every child on a bicycle under 16 years of age needs to sport a federally approved bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and secured snuggly to his or her head with a strap.

Young boy killed in tragic water slide accident

With summertime in Miami may come the desire for residents to get out and experience the area’s many amusement and water parks. Most go to these attractions expecting that the rides they go on are safe despite the high speeds and jolting turns that they may subject riders to. Recent years have seen park administrators around the world introduce new attractions claiming to be the biggest or the fastest or the tallest in the world. These claims, while potentially true, may no doubt be motivated by park owners’ desires to attract more visitors. Yet is safety sacrificed in the push to create the newest “best” ride in the world?

This question could potentially come up following a tragic accident at a Kansas water park. A young boy was killed after suffering a fatal neck accident while riding one of the park’s water slides. Witnesses claimed to have heard a loud disturbance on the ride, after which the raft that carries riders along the slide emerged with two of its occupants covered in blood. The boy’s body emerged shortly thereafter.

Reviewing child bicycle safety requirements

Most of the bicycle accident injury cases that we at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer deal with may involve single riders. However, that trend may soon begin change as more and more people are looking to become active through bike riding while also involving their children in it. If you are a parent, the one thing that may be hindering you from having time to ride your bicycle is watching your young children. Fortunately, recent years have seen bicycle manufacturers release new equipment designed to take your kids with you while you ride. Before incorporating such equipment into your biking regimen, it may be helpful to know what the legal requirements are regarding its use.

These regulations can be found in Chapter 316 of the state’s Uniform Traffic Controls. Regarding infant seats or carriers, the law states that only children under 4 years of age or weighing less than 40 pounds may ride in them. You also must ensure that the seat is placed where your child will be well-protected from any moving parts on your bicycle.

Hit-and-run in Poinciana leaves pedestrian dead

Accidents involving cars and pedestrians in Miami often do not end well for the pedestrians. Their vulnerability in such accidents often results in then suffering catastrophic injuries or even dying. In the event of an accident, including an auto-pedestrian collision, those who are involved in it are required by law to stay at the scene. Not only does this allow them to make an accounting of the accident to law enforcement officials, but it also makes them available to render aid to those who need it. This may be among the reasons why those who leave the scene of accident may almost certainly face additional charges on top of those directly linked to the collision itself.

A woman from Kissimmee is currently facing such charges after she allegedly struck and killed a man with her car Poinciana. She reportedly left the scene and was later arrested at her home. She now not only faces the charges stemming from the accidents, but also counts of leaving the scene and driving with a suspended license.

Snapchat target of personal injury lawsuit

Will the Snapchat speed filter bringing on the next wave of personal injury lawsuits? If you are unfamiliar with Snapchat, it is a popular social networking app which allows users to send messages to one another quickly; and the messages disappear about 10 seconds after they are opened.

The app has a number of filters, including one that superimposes the speed at which the sender is travelling when the video or photo is taken. So, if you take and send a picture to your friend while in a car that's travelling at 45 mph, your friend will receive the photo with the caption '45 mph' superimposed over it. The app actually gives users virtual trophies when they send videos and pictures using these filters, creating an incentive for people to use more of their features.

Understanding Florida’s wrongful death damages cap

When many in Miami hear the term “wrongful death lawsuit,” their heads many fill with assumptions about multi-million dollar settlements. Yet when they hear that Florida, like many states, puts a cap on the amount of damages one can recover in such a lawsuit, the initial numbers they envisioned may dwindle significantly. An explanation of exactly where this cap applies may help dispel any confusion.

There are typically three types of damages one can recover as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. These include:

  •          Economic
  •          Non-economic
  •          Punitive

Avoiding the risks Pokémon Go presents to pedestrians

You may have recently noticed a growing number of people in Miami walking around in odd locations while staring at their cell phones. This rise in outdoor activity may be due to the groundswell of popularity in the new mobile app known as Pokémon Go. While there may be nothing wrong with encouraging outdoor activity, the past experiences of some of our clients has taught us at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer that distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. If you are considering joining the millions who are already playing this game, you may first want to familiarize yourself with the very real risks that it may present.

Pokémon Go is advertised as an augmented reality game that uses you phone’s GPS to plot a map of your local area. As you travel, “PokeStops” appear in certain areas. When you walk to these areas, Pokémon monsters appear on your phone’s screen, which you then catch and collect on your phone.

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Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer
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North Miami Beach, FL 33162

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