Published on:

September in South Florida means that storm season is here, and with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma rapidly approaching, it is imperative that you and your family take the necessary precautions before it is too late. While hurricane season is certainly an unsettling time of year, you and your family can take steps to ensure that your property is safe. Though property insurance cannot physically protect your home from nature’s elements, it legally protects you in the event that there is damage to your property after the storm passes.

Hurricane-300x294
How can you protect yourself?

  1. Preparation is key. Now is the time to make sure that your property insurance is up to date on any home you may own. Be sure that your policy extends coverage through the end of the calendar year, and that all of the necessary premiums have been paid. Missing payments and failing to renew your policy in time could put your policy in bad standing with your insurance company, which would prevent you from making a valid property damage claim after the storm.
Published on:

The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Orlando location had more than 55 million visitors to “The Happiest Place on Earth” in 2017 alone. Formally known as Walt Disney World, the theme park has branded itself as the picture perfect getaway destination for children and families alike. Many South Florida residents consider Disney World an ideal weekend escape thanks to its proximity, yet few know of the dangers that can arise on Disney’s various properties.

disney-land-1459236-1024x768

California Screamin’ at Disney’s California Adventure

The entertainment and media super-conglomerate is no stranger to personal injury claims, as Disney has negotiated settlement agreements with guests when it knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused a guest’s injuries. Following the horrific wrongful death of a two-year-old boy at Disney’s Seven Seas Lagoon in June of 2016, two additional lawsuits alleging Disney’s negligence were filed in Orange County Circuit Court last month.

Published on:

You’re finally going on the family vacation of your dreams, a 7-night cruise throughout the Bahamas, but the excitement is cut short when a family member slips and falls while onboard.

So, what exactly can you do?

In 2016, the United States cruise industry had a $126 billion worldwide economic impact. The Cruise Lines International Association reports that 24.7 million passengers sailed the seas in 2016, and an estimated 27.2 million are expected to cruise before the end of 2018. While cruising provides a unique opportunity to see more than one geographical location within a short period of time, this luxury does not come without risk. Amidst the glamour and festivities is a masked truth that all passengers are still aboard a moving vessel weighing hundred of thousands of tons. Passengers, however, are not the only class of persons who may receive monetary damages from a cruise line if injured on board.

Published on:

paid-invoice-1413750-300x200If you or anyone you know has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you know that no amount of money can completely make up for the trauma and injuries you have sustained. However, a personal injury suit may be the only recovery available.

Personal injury suits provide plaintiffs who have been injured the opportunity to recover damages and help pay for expenses that were incurred as a result of their injuries, such as those for medical services. However, medical billing is not as straightforward as charging a patient for services rendered. Combine this with the presence of different health care systems and insurance companies, and it makes for a complex billing process and an even more complex recovery process.

In order to recover for past medical expenses, the injured party must present evidence to prove that the medical expenses incurred were both “reasonable” and “necessary.” Although it seems simple enough, compensation for medical services has actually become a major issue of contention in personal injury cases over the years; defining “reasonableness” and determining the “reasonableness” of medical services and expenses incurred can be controversial and confusing.

Published on:

jet-ski-race-silhouette-3-1428220-300x199One of the many perks of South Florida’s great weather and over abundance of beaches is the access to all of the many water sports and activities, including jet skiing, all year-round. Although most jet skiing experiences go without incident, a few unfortunate accidents do occur, and sadly, can result in serious injuries.

Earlier this year, in May, at least three people were rushed to the hospital after a jet ski with two passengers crashed into a boat near Picnic Island. A few days later, there was another jet ski accident in Miami Gardens, in which one of the injured parties was a minor.

According to the United States Coast Guard, there were a total of 675 injuries involving a personal watercraft last year. A personal watercraft (PWC) is distinguished from other water vessels for being operated by sitting, standing, or kneeling on it. PWC laws and safety precautions attempt to prevent potential injuries to operators and others that may be in the water, by imposing age limits and speed limits, and requiring the use of life jackets and kill cords. However, despite these regulations, some accidents are inevitable. The most common PWC injuries include concussions, burns, broken bones, and whip lash. These usually occur as a result of collisions with other boats, through reckless driving, speeding, underage operation, driving under the influence, and loss of control. Other less common causes of PWC injuries are drowning, explosions, and defects.

Published on:

palm-tree-1406738-225x300This past weekend, Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean Islands and Cuba before landing in the Florida Keys and making her way upwards into the state of Florida. Hurricane Irma broke several world records by reaching up to 185 mph winds for 37 hours, the longest any cyclone has lasted at such intensity.

In the Caribbeans, the category 5 hurricane destroyed most homes and establishments in its path, flooding the streets and leaving many without food and power. Florida also sustained incredible damages from the hurricane and the storm surges that followed. Approximately 6.2 million homes lost power and the death toll currently stands at 12 people. Even after being reduced to a tropical storm, Irma continued to wreak havoc in Georgia and South Carolina.

Although Hurricane Irma has now passed, her damages are ongoing. Restoration efforts are currently underway in all of the affected areas, and it is uncertain when, or if, conditions will ever be 100%.

Published on:

road-signs-1520829-300x225Back to school season is here, and while it is an exciting time for students and parents, it is also a time of major chaos on the roads.  Parents battle rush hour traffic to drop off and pickup their kids at school, yellow school buses make their rounds, kids walk and bike to and from school, and new teen drivers are out on the road.  Unfortunately this makes school zones, which are designed to be safe areas, a high risk for pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents.

Statistics show that approximately 25,000 children are injured each year in school zone accidents.  These accidents are a combination of pedestrians being struck while walking or cycling to and from school, and vehicle on vehicle collisions.  100 children are killed every year walking to and from school. While the rate of pedestrian deaths in teens 12-19 has decreased overall over the past two decades, the number has increased in the past two years.  These statistics are alarming considering the fact that school zones are designed to make commuting to and from school safer for students.

Many school zones attempt to enforce safety by creating cross walks with signs and flashing lights, designating drop off and pickup areas for parents and school buses, and by imposing speed limits. Violating any laws accompanying these precautions often carry heavy fines. So, why are more and more accidents occurring in school zones

Published on:

skycrane-1558013-300x225If you are a South Florida resident, particularly of Miami, you are well aware of the city’s on-going, and seemingly never-ending, construction.  In fact, construction all over the United States has been booming for the past several years, and 2017 is no exception. While cities like New York and Chicago have maintained their long-standing reputation as construction capitals, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, are just recently joining the ranks.  Although the increase in construction across the U.S. means more jobs and well-developed cityscapes, unfortunately it also means a higher chance of construction-related accidents and injuries.

Common construction-related accidents involve falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught in between equipment.  The construction industry experienced its biggest loss in 2015 as fatal construction injuries rose by 2 % since 2008.  The number continues to rise each year.

Earlier this year, in May, a construction worker was hospitalized after falling three to four floors down a building shaft in Downtown Miami.  Before that, one construction worker was killed and another injured after being hit by a Metromover car while on the job.  Then, on June 1, three construction workers in northwest Miami-Dade were seriously injured after two crane lifts fell.  The specific cause of injury in all three incidents was undetermined.

Published on:

roller-coaster-1214286-300x170
When people decide to get on one of the many rides that amusement parks, carnivals, and local fairs have to offer, their first thoughts are generally those of excitement and anticipation.  Even with movies like Final Destination 3, most thrill seekers do not consider the possibility that one of the rides can malfunction or result in some kind of freak accident.

The claim is that statistically, ride-related injuries and deaths are extremely rare, and that a person is more likely to get struck by lightning.  While statistics on ride-related accidents can often be hard to obtain, it seems as though this claim may have some merit.  The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) have noted that the chance of a serious injury occurring on a ride at a U.S. fixed-site amusement park is about 1 in 16 million. Why then are people becoming more and more hesitant about allowing themselves or their loved ones to get onto a ride?

Over the past decade or so, the number of ride-related incidents has risen tremendously.  According to Amusement Safety Organization, there were over 1,500 significant injuries at amusement parks nationwide in 2014.  Around one-half of those that are injured by amusement park rides are children between the ages of ten and fourteen years old.  These incidents are not only restricted to temporary rides that are assembled at local fairs and shopping centers for a limited amount of time.  Many reported incidents have occurred at the larger, more well-known, fixed-site amusement parks such as Six Flags, Disney World and Disney Land, and Universal Studios.

Published on:

Doctor performing procedureEveryone makes mistakes, even doctors. Unfortunately, however, when a doctor makes a mistake, the damage is often irrevocable. While no amount of money can completely erase any damages caused by these mistakes, money is usually the only available remedy.

For more than a decade, Florida law has had placed a cap on the amount of money that patients can recover from medical malpractice suits against a doctor. Patients or loved ones seeking non-economic damages for pain and suffering have been limited to recovering $500,000. Compensation for economic damages, however, has remained unlimited. In other words, if you or your loved one was injured severely due to a doctor’s mistake, and it resulted in pain and suffering (e.g., mental anguish, emotional trauma, etc.), the amount of compensation available has been restricted.

As of June 9th of this year, this is no longer the law. The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, found these caps to be unconstitutional. It reasoned that the caps on non-economic damages arbitrarily decreased the monetary amount that could be awarded to persons who have suffered the most drastic injuries without actually taking into consideration the severity of the injury. The Supreme Court ruled that this violated equal-protection rights.