Florida Injury Lawyer Blog
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Now that students are back in class and settled into their school years, it’s time to focus on safety. In Gainesville, University of Florida students are concerned following attacks on four female students earlier this school year. Students living on-campus and off-campus are being told to be more aware of their surroundings and to use extra precautions.

Students who are injured in assault cases in Miami and other Florida cities may have the option to seek a legal claim against the perpetrator or the owner of the property where the attack took place. This and concern for students has made university campuses more aware of the steps that can be taken to help prevent assault and injuries. The University of Florida, for example, offers:

  • Security staff patrols, including stepped-up patrols when attacks occur
  • Walk-home programs for students
  • Educational materials emphasizing personal safety and listing local resources
  • Outreach with apartment complexes near campuses, to help keep off-campus students safe
  • Roving dorm patrols

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Research studies and statistics help us make important safety decisions. For example, knowing that researchers have proven the dangers of drunk driving, we can make the decision to avoid driving after drinking and we can take steps to curb drunk driving in Miami Beach or our communities.

In some cases, though, research seems to contradict itself. For example, the website miaminewtimes.com recently pointed out that Miami Beach has been picked as one of the most livable cities in Florida and as the most dangerous city in the state. Livability.com ranks Miami Beach as the best city in Florida out of 2000 American towns. The website looked as cities with populations of 20,000-350,000 and determined livability according to education, health care, the local economy, housing, and other factors. Miami Beach was selected as 38th out of 2000 and the top city in Florida. Coral Gables also made the list, at number 100.

Another website, HomeSecurityShield.net, used FBI data to analyze the number of property crimes and violent crimes in cities across the country. Based on this information that website determined that Miami Beach is the most dangerous city in the state, with violent crime rates of 10.33 per 1000 residents and total reported crimes of 109.47 per 1000 residents.

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Florida draws many tourists each year, and while most people enjoy their stay in a few instances tourists find that their vacation turns into a nightmare and they return home with serious losses and injuries rather than an album full of fun memories. Personal injuries in Miami and other Florida cities can happen in many ways during a vacation. Cruise ship accidents, for example, are a common cause of injuries for tourists. One of the most common causes of accidents for tourists and residents alike are traffic collisions. Slip and fall accidents, tour boat injuries, and other injuries are all too common.

No one goes on vacation thinking that they will be injured. Even those who research tour companies and check for safety precautions on their trip may find themselves injured on an amusement park ride or injured in some other way. These situations not only cut a vacation short, but they can be deeply intimidating.

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Over the Fourth of July weekend this year, a 32-foot boat and a 36-foot boat collided on Key Biscayne, killing four people and seriously injuring three boaters. While the investigation is still ongoing, there is evidence to suggest that alcohol may have been on board one of the boats. The boating accident, one of the worst to occur in Florida, has once again put the focus on boating safety in Miami and Florida.

The state is already known for its high number of boaters and boating accidents. In 2013 alone, there were 62 boating fatalities in Florida, as well as 420 injuries and 736 boating accidents. Florida authorities say that changing conditions – especially more crowded bays and faster boats – may be contributing to more boating accidents than ever before and say that a serious strategy is needed to curb injuries and deaths.

Drinking and Boating: A Deadly Mix

One of the major contributors to boating accidents in Miami and other Florida communities is alcohol, and several lawmakers are looking for ways to crack down on boating under the influence. Carlos A. Gimenez, the Miami-Dade County mayor, has been looking to create a task force to tackle the issue, for instance. Other lawmakers have been hoping to use some of the same strategies used to curb drunk driving in Miami to curb boating under the influence.

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In the aviation industry, briefs and checklist are often used to prevent airplane crashes and errors in Hollywood and other communities. The healthcare system in Hollywood is now using a similar method in six area hospitals to improve patient safety and to prevent surgical errors.

As part of a new system introduced in 2008, Hollywood’s Memorial Healthcare System uses what it calls “crew resource management” in operating rooms to prevent surgical errors and improve patient experiences. The management involves using checklists, debriefings, briefings, communication scripts, and structured handoffs as part of surgeries. At first, doctors and surgeons were worried that the “crew resource management” system would make each surgery and procedure longer, but the system has actually been shown to save time. One important way that the system saves time, for example, is ensuring that less equipment is forgotten for surgeries, which means that staff don’t have to leave and reenter the sterile environment of the surgical room to retrieve these times.

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Florida’s workers’ compensation law is about 80 years old and has garnered controversy for years. The law is meant to help employees who are injured in work-related accidents in Miami and in other cities. The idea behind the law is that in case of a workplace accident or construction site accident in Miami-Dade or another County, employees don’t have to go through the complicated process of filing a legal claim. Instead, workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to provide money for medical care and lost wages while an employee recovers. Unfortunately, employees and employers often disagree about the effectiveness of the law.

Circuit Judge Jorge E. Cueto in Miami-Dade County recently called Florida’s workers’ compensation law unconstitutional, stating that it has been eroded by years of legislation so that it offers few benefits for workers. The comments were made as part of a case involving an injured government office employee.

The comments reflect what employees have been saying for some time. Many employees find that if they are injured in a slip and fall accident or suffer a head injury in their Miami workplace or another type of injury, workers’ compensation benefits only cover a portion of the costs associated with an injury.

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Labor Day weekend is a popular time to head out to Florida’s many waterways. Whether you are heading out to the rivers of Southern Florida or the beaches of Miami, boating accidents and other water-related accidents remain a concern. According to the Coast Guard and other authorities, holiday weekends tend to have higher rates of water-related injury, and Labor Day is a weekend that usually involves many of these types of injuries. The Coast Guard and other authorities have a number of tips to keep you safer around the water:

1) Never head near the water after drinking.

When you’re out on the water, you already have to deal with the sun, the glare off the water, and the Florida heat. When you add alcohol or drugs to the mix, you have the potential for a truly dangerous situation, especially since alcohol and drugs can exacerbate the effects of the sun. Alcohol and drugs can also affect your mobility and your ability to think clearly, which can result in drowning and other water-related tragedies. Boating under the influence is also illegal and can result in criminal charges.

2) Wear a life jacket.

Each person on board a boat should have a Coast Guard approved life vest. In the event of a boating accident, these vests can help keep you above the water, even if you hit your head or lose consciousness. Life jackets also make you more visible if you do go overboard, increasing the chances that emergency responders can find you.

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When you travel for business or for a vacation to Miami, you expect your hotel to be a comfortable place to retreat after a long day. Hotels in the city can be quiet expensive and of course you expect that these facilities will do all they can to make your stay pleasant and safe. In fact, many guests don’t even think about safety when checking into a hotel. On vacation, many of us turn our usual worries off and we don’t expect to have to be concerned about safety. Unfortunately, this can make us even more vulnerable.

The reality is that many people suffer serious injury in hotels in Miami and across Florida each year. The state attracts many tourists and while some hotels and motels are very careful about guest safety and security, some are not. Some guests suffer head injuries in their Miami hotel rooms due to poor building maintenance or rickety furniture. In some cases, guests become victims of assault, theft, or other crimes because hotels are negligent with security or fail to screen employees. These situations can not only ruin a trip but can also result in devastating and expensive injuries.

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If you have been injured while visiting a restaurant, hotel, or other business establishment, you may have a negligent security or premises liability case in Homestead or your community. This may also be the case if your injuries were caused in someone’s home or when you were visiting a condo or apartment building.

To launch a premises liability case, however, you need to be able to show that the property owner was negligent in providing you with a safe space. In some cases, there may be signs that a property owner has not taken due care to protect visitors to their property. For example, someone who has been injured may notice:

  • Poor lighting on a property
  • Debris on stairways and walkways
  • Lack of fencing or gate around a pool area
  • Dogs running loose on a property
  • Shelving not properly attached
  • Work areas and dangerous areas not blocked off or clearly marked
  • No railings on ramps and stairways
  • Spills on the floor that have not been mopped off
  • No warning signs for dangers
  • Uneven floors
  • Poorly maintained property
  • Broken gates, stairs, windows, and doors

All of these signs could be signs that a property owner has been negligent in providing a safe environment for visitors. If a visitor is injured as a result of this type of recklessness, they may have a legal claim against the property owner and any other liable parties.

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When we dine out, we expect to enjoy good food, a pleasant atmosphere, and good service. Unfortunately, each year diners in Miami and other cities are served up a lot more than just some comfort food. Each year, customers are seriously injured or even killed due to negligent security, poor restaurant maintenance, poor hygiene, and other preventable causes. The most common causes of restaurant-related injury include:

1) Property-related injuries.

Premises liability claims in Miami and Florida often include restaurants and there are many ways that these businesses can fail to protect customers. Spilled food and drink in the dining area, for example, can pose a serious slip and fall hazard. Poorly maintained buildings can literally cause ceiling tiles and fixtures to fall on customers. In some cases, customers have been injured due to uneven floors or decorative items that posed a trip and fall hazards. Restaurants are expected to create a safe as well as pleasant dining experience; when they fail to do so, they can be held liable if diners are injured.

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Are you taking a risk when you dine out?

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