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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

The perils of autopilot

It's been one of those days: kids squabbling at the breakfast table, disgruntled clients grumbling on the phone, edgy supervisors snapping at the perceived slow turnaround of the quarterly report. Now you're onto that hour-long commute with the honking, breaking and cursing. But what if you could turn that chore into an hour-long escape from the frustrations of commuter life? Just put your key in the ignition, queue up a film or catch up on some reading. If you had an autonomous car, you'd have the ability to disengage as your vehicle's autopilot mode engages.

The vision of serenity during a commute is one currently touted as a reason car manufacturers provide when they highlight the benefits of autonomous cars. Road safety and traffic reduction are two other incentives offered with the purchase of such a luxurious item.

Understanding the perils of cycling in an urban environment

It's obvious to many visitors and natives of Miami that this city can't be beat when considering the night life, museums and world-class restaurants. Unfortunately, the elements that draw so many people to Miami also add to the congestion on the roads which can be problematic for those seeking to navigate the city's streets via bicycle. If you have been following our blog, you know that Miami-Dade ranks high among Florida counties for bicycle accidents.

This isn't to say that cycling through the city shouldn't be attempted, though. Many individuals are so enamored of the sights and sounds of Miami that they have mapped their favorite bike routes online. City planners have also endeavored to simplify riding and promote safety through Miami by incorporating bike lanes. While traveling by two wheels may be faster than walking and cheaper than driving, however, there are many factors to consider when riding through the streets of Miami.

Cell phone blocking apps: They're not just for teens

When most of us envision the typical distracted driver using a cell phone to text, surf or chat, we may assign this role to an over stimulated teenager. According to a recent AT&T survey, however, nearly half of adults confessed to texting while only 43 percent of polled teenagers admitted to using a cell phone as they were driving. So actually, it's the multitasking adults who may need a little help shutting the phone down when they turn the key in the ignition. All of us know it is tempting to use the phone to finish just one more chore behind the wheel before encountering an evening full of responsibilities at home.

Additionally, many adults may not feel pressured by Florida law to stop texting because this statute has relegated the act of texting while driving to a secondary offense and permits use of hand-held cell phones.

When are legally allowed to ride in the middle of the road?

Miami and the other major cities in Florida may be viewed by many across the country as being some of the most successful at accommodating bicycle traffic. Everywhere you go in these areas, it may seem as though there is a designated bike lane helping to keep automobile and bike traffic safely separated. Yet if you are familiar with Miami’s biking scene, then you likely know that there are indeed stretches of road in the city where no bike lane is present. State law mandates that in such areas, you are to ride as close to right-hand curb or the right edge of the road as possible. Are there times, however, when you are permitted to enter the middle of the road on your bike?

According to the state’s bicycle regulations, the answer is yes. You are allowed to stray away from the right side of the road in area’s that do not have a marked bike lane in the following scenarios:

  •          When it is necessary to pass another bicyclist traveling in the same direction.
  •          When you approach an intersection where you intend to make a left turn.
  •          When it is needed to avoid a collision with a vehicle (be it parked or moving), bicycle, pedestrian, animal, fixed or moving object, or any other sort of road hazard.

Assigning liability in bicycle-pedestrian collisions

With its year-round warm weather and well-designed layout, Miami may be a popular place for people to forgo traveling in their cars and instead get to where they need to go by foot. If you happen to be among those that spends a lot of time walking around the city, then you have likely seen the increase in both pedestrians and cyclists on the sidewalks. While many may think the only traffic-related dangers that pedestrians face are those posed by cars, we at The Law Offices of Ivan A. Schertzer can attest to the fact that bicycle-pedestrian accidents can be just as dangerous and damaging.

Cyclists are unique in how they are viewed by the law. According to the Florida State Statutes, when on the road, they are afforded the same rights as motorists. Yet once they take to the sidewalks, they are legally treated as though they are pedestrians. As you may have already witnessed, however, the combination of speed and the size of both bike and rider can make them very dangerous to pedestrians.

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.

Office Location

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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