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You Should Only Help Accident Victims If You Are Trained

You Should Only Help Accident Victims If You Are TrainedAlmost every aspect of our lives has a positive and negative side to it. Living and working in cities is more convenient, but also means more crime and alienation. Enjoying more movies and television is entertaining, but can take up a lot of time and money. And living in a society where people who feel wronged can seek financial compensation in court can bring justice, but it can also limit how much you can do without legally endangering yourself.

Unfortunately, this also applies to the ability of Florida residents to help those that are in dangerous situations, such as accidents.

Negligence in a personal injury case is usually defined as a person being directly responsible for a victim’s injury as a result of not exercising a basic responsibility to ensure safety. Normally, this means driving safely, or, in the case of home or places of work and business, ensuring that the environment is safe for others.

In the case of accidents, it means ensuring that any injuries people have already sustained do not become... full post

Some Distracted Driving Can Be Incriminating

Some Distracted Driving Can Be IncriminatingModern technology has given us more and more ways to stay connected with friends and family. One of the best ways to do so now is through a combination of social media and video or camera equipment built into devices like our phones, which then allow us to go online to access that social media. It’s result in a lot of changes to the way we interact with loved ones, letting us take photos or shoot videos of ourselves and immediately share them with people, whereas in the past doing so would have required access to elaborate broadcast facilities.

The result of this has been people letting us into their lives more and more on a daily basis. And while that can often be a rewarding and interesting thing, it can also occasionally lead to accidents. Especially when using such devices while driving.

In fact, studies, and even informal demonstrations on popular shows such as Mythbusters have shown that the use of devices like phones while driving can impair driving skills to similar levels as driving while under the influence of alcohol.... full post

Always Maintain Honesty With Your Lawyer

Always Maintain Honesty With Your LawyerNo one is really prepared for the dramatic upheavals that occur in life when a serious injury with lifelong effects strikes. It means many changes and challenges, most of them negative, and it means adjusting to a new life with new limitations on how that life can be lived. It is unfair, and nothing can actually undo the damage and make life go back to the way it was. But if you were the victim of someone else’s negligence or incompetence, then a personal injury lawyer like the ones here at can at least get you the financial compensation you deserve to meet the challenges this new life presents.

A personal injury case is all about getting you what is owed for your suffering. And that is why, above all else, you must be absolutely honest with your lawyer about the extent of your suffering.

Injury Is Not Opportunity

For most people, an injury that changes the scope of the way you live is a major trauma that results in new, unwanted challenges and limitations. Hopefully, there will never be... full post

Smart Cars Still Need Smart Drivers

Smart Cars Still Need Smart DriversThere are a wide variety of driver’s assistance programs that are now on the market, at least at the premium end of things. Thanks to a host of sensors and cameras, plus a few electronic control systems, a vehicle can (under certain circumstances) drive itself. However, just because self-driving cars are becoming more of a reality doesn’t mean a driver is clear of fault in the event of a collision.

Electronic Engineering

The absolute variety of driving aids has grown to a staggering number, and there’s no indication that it’s going to slow down soon. The rearview camera is quickly becoming a standard feature across the industry, and while some companies simply give you a view of what’s immediately behind you, others provide guidance lines to show you what’s in your way or else use the view from extra cameras placed around the vehicle to extrapolate an outside perspective.

Other software programs are more useful on the highway. Adaptive cruise control not only lets you take your foot off the gas pedal, it automatically keeps pace with traffic... full post

Premises Liability And Franchises

Premises Liability And FranchisesUltimate responsibility can be a tricky thing to figure out sometimes. With a small business, it’s fairly obvious who’s responsible for the state of things, although if it’s a utility problem it’s more likely the fault of the building’s owner than of the business that rents it out. If a store belongs to a major corporation, it’s also easy to figure out that responsibility lies with the local branch manager and with the corporation itself. But what about when there’s a franchise involved?

Corporate Delegation

Franchises generally have a lot more leeway than the average corporate outlet. The idea is that someone from the local area owns one or more store – usually a fast-food restaurant – and as such he or she retains the profits. However, the owner is also responsible for hiring and training the staff, setting prices, and maintaining the buildings and equipment. The corporation makes its money through a franchise fee and by selling corporate-approved furniture, cooking equipment, and ingredients, and if the franchisee doesn’t like it, the corporation can suspend their license.

Still, there are some... full post

The Volkswagen Scandal Grows As Its Market Share Shrinks

The Volkswagen Scandal Grows As Its Market Share ShrinksThe latter half of 2015 has been a bad time for Germany’s top automaker. Earlier this year, Volkswagen managed to overtake Toyota as the world’s leader in vehicle sales, but their time in the sun came to an abrupt end in September when the EPA accused them of fitting diesel vehicles with “defeat devices” which allowed them to cheat on emissions tests. Now that a few months have passed, we’re starting to see the initial consequences of these actions as more cars get indicted and post-scandal sales numbers are starting to filter in.

The Bad News

After the EPA’s initial accusation, Volkswagen came clean about the software they were using to pass emissions tests under false pretenses. When the software sensed the vehicle wasn’t under testing conditions, it shut down a power-intensive exhaust scrubber which drained a significant amount of the diesel engine’s power and gas mileage. This meant it performed better for the car’s owner, but it also pumped out between 10-40 times the EPA’s limit on nitrogen oxide, a leading... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

When Does Negligence Become A Factor In Car Accidents?

When Does Negligence Become A Factor In Car Accidents?When you get involved in a car accident, especially a serious one with severe injuries that may even be permanent, one of the most important things in the aftermath is establishing what happened, and why. In many accidents, the chief cause of mishap is what is referred to as “negligence.”

In simple terms, this means that one party, or another—or perhaps even both—have a basic responsibility for their own safe driving and the safety of others on the road, that they were ignoring in some capacity. This means that if you were driving responsibly and became involved in an accident due to someone’s else’s negligence, you are entitled in court to financial compensation. This is where experienced personal injury lawyers like our staff here at come into play. When we take on your case, we represent your interests and prove in a court of law that the negligence and subsequent financial responsibility are the fault of the other driver.

But what qualifies as negligence in driving? How do you know that the other... full post

Florida Accident Law Has A Complicating Statute

Florida Accident Law Has A Complicating StatuteThe legal system is incredibly complex. And the interpretation and enforcement of laws and judgments can be so convoluted that it requires trained professionals just ensure that the requirements of the system are properly observed. But because of the complexities that are involved our laws, sometimes regulations arise that—even with the best of intentions—can often make a job more complicated than it needs to be.

In Florida, Statute 627.4136 is one of those things.

It’s not something that a client will ever have to know or worry about, but for the lawyer representing a client in a personal injury case, it is something that all Florida lawyers have to navigate as a tricky obstacle on the road to justice.

Better known as the “nonjoinder statute,” this regulation states that when someone goes to trial as the defendant in something like a personal injury case, that person alone is on trial, and no third parties can be involved or even mentioned regardless of their connection to the defendant, until after a verdict is reached.

In plain English, this means that if someone has... full post

Sometimes, You May Be At Some Fault

Sometimes, You May Be At Some FaultIn a simple, black and white world of cause and effect, when an accident occurs, one person is the victim, while the other person is responsible for the accident. This is the “ideal” legal situation that many personal injury lawyers will try to pursue if possible, since this is the simplest kind of case to resolve in court. In the event that one party is clearly responsible, while another is clearly a victim, the case can be settled quickly and efficiently with little room for argument.

However, in the real world this is not always the case. Sometimes when an accident happens, one party is not solely responsible for the incident. There are cases in which case even the party that has been injured has actually played a role in how the accident occurred.

So what happens when more than one party is responsible for an accident? Does that mean that no one can pursue the case?

The answer to that is “no.” But, it does mean that the courts must now resolve a case of what is called... full post

So Many Recalls, So Few Spare Parts

So Many Recalls, So Few Spare Parts2014 and 2015 have been banner years for vehicle recalls. Partly this is thanks to a few major defect scandals like the Takata air bag grenades and the GM ignition switch flying-coffin trick, both of which have demanded recalls in the order of several million vehicles each. Partly it’s the effect all these high-profile scandals have had on the industry, as automakers are now issuing recalls for the slightest defect as soon as possible. Regulators have also had to step up their game since many of these defects only came to light thanks to civil lawsuits.

Naturally, safety is of great importance in an industry that has to consider the roughly 5 million road vehicle accidents which occur each year – and that’s just the ones that end with a police report. Unfortunately, one major problem with issuing millions of recalls each year is the fact that the factories that make the parts can only make so many at once.

The Capacity Problem

Automakers have a responsibility to their customers and to government regulators to issue timely... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

The Downside Of Miracle Drugs

The Downside Of Miracle DrugsWe live in a golden age of new medications. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly releasing new drugs and new treatments on a monthly basis, drugs which are more powerful, work faster, and have fewer dangerous side effects than what’s already on the market. Thanks to these medications, people live longer, survive deadly diseases, and can cope with otherwise troubling disorders. However, not every aspect of this golden age is positive.

The price of new medications is rising steeply (some would say arbitrarily) and not every health insurance plan can afford to cover the latest and greatest in new treatments. What’s more, the pharmaceutical industry can be highly competitive, and that sometimes encourages drug companies to falsify or otherwise cheat on their tests so that they can beat their competitors to the market. Somehow they think that people won’t notice or link the painful suffering or death of the user to their unsafe drug, but things rarely work out in their favor.

Here are a few of the drugs that are out right now which may be responsible for several... full post

You Deserve To Have Help With Social Security

You Deserve To Have Help With Social SecurityThe Social Security Act turned 80 years old in 2015. Like most octogenarians, Social Security is creaky, wrinkled, and has a complicated life story with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. It’s also had 8 decades to get almost as complicated as the US tax code, and like the tax code it’s something which people often think they can handle on their own but which is honestly best handled by a professional.

A Complex System

You need to have a lot of information just about yourself in order to apply for any kind of Social Security benefit. There’s your own name, date of birth, and Social Security number, of course, but then you also need the same information for your current spouse, any and all of your former spouses, and all of your currently minor children. If you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you also need every bit of paperwork related to the illness or injury that’s taken you out of the workforce.

Then there’s all the different kinds of benefits you can... full post

Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Is On Trial

Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Is On TrialIn 2003, Florida’s legislature made a number of changes to the law regarding workers’ compensation, the mandatory insurance program which provides medical and lost wages payments to employees who are injured on the job or else grow ill because of working conditions. Then and ever since, workers’ advocates have argued that these changes went too far, and although it’s taken over 10 years, these changes are now being challenged in the Florida Supreme Court.

Tort Reform

Back in 2003, there was evidently something of a crisis in workers’ compensation insurance. Costs were spiraling out of control, and so Florida’s elected leaders decided to cut down on legally required benefits so that insurance providers could reduce the cost of insurance premiums. They also switched workers’ comp lawyers from an hourly wage to a percentage of the settlement, a payment structure which is fairly common throughout the civil law system.

However, these benefits cutbacks included such things as limiting permanent total disability payments to the age of 75 or 5 years, whichever is greater, whereas originally they lasted for the worker’s... full post

Florida Legislators Are Considering Killing No-Fault Auto Insurance

Florida Legislators Are Considering Killing No-Fault Auto InsurancePersonal Injury Protection has been a mandatory part of Florida auto insurance since the 1970s. The idea behind this $10,000 policy has been to speed up claims for the most important aspect of a car accident – physical injuries to passengers and pedestrians – by skipping the part where lawyers and claims adjusters have to determine fault and getting straight to paying out claims for medical expenses.

Unfortunately, the nearly half-century-old PIP system has invited constant attempts at fraud, endless lawsuits, and legislative “fixes” that often make things worse instead of better. It’s also the reason why Florida auto insurance is the fourth most expensive in the nation, and because of these reasons Florida legislators are trying once again to kill PIP altogether.

The Fraud

The reason the no-fault insurance model exists is to skip the expensive and time-consuming investigation period that often holds up insurance claims and raises premiums since the money to pay for investigators has to come from somewhere. But while the no-fault system works fine for workers’ compensation, probably because of... full post

Volkswagen Is Looking For Alternate Payment Plans

Volkswagen Is Looking For Alternate Payment PlansVolkswagen’s future isn’t looking terribly bright. After the scandal many are calling Dieselgate broke in September and slowly expanded to include millions of diesel vehicles worldwide, stalled sales in October soon led to a 25 percent sales plummet in November. That’s also when the automaker admitted it may have also fudged the CO2 emissions on a few gasoline vehicles, although the company has since revised its 800,000 vehicle figure down to 36,000. Not good that it happened at all, but at least it’s better than before.

As far as Volkswagen’s future is concerned, however, there are two names appearing on its radar which may offer some help: Ken Feinberg and Elon Musk.

Feinberg’s Alternative Dispute Resolution

Ken Feinberg has a storied history when it comes to settling financial matters outside of courts. He’s peacefully ended personal injury disputes brought on by Vietnam vets sickened by Agent Orange, 9/11 survivors, the BP Gulf oil spill, and GM’s faulty ignition switches. Considering the rest of his record, deceptive diesel engines are small potatoes.

Although some consider Feinberg’s alternative... full post

What Is The Personal Injury Process?

What Is The Personal Injury Process?You or someone close to you has suffered because of someone else’s negligence or outright malice. Under United States federal and state laws, you have a right to compensation from the party at fault for your injury. But how much compensation is that, exactly? How do you go about getting it, and in what order do you need to do things? The process can seem complicated at times, so it’s often good to have an idea of what you need to do.

1. Record The Injury And Exchange Insurance Information

The first thing you should do is make sure you document the damage, whether it’s damage to your car, a physical injury, or an illness. Pictures are good for this, as are bills from doctors, hospitals, and mechanics. At the same time, many kinds of accident are covered by insurance (particularly workplace and auto accidents), so make sure you get the correct insurance information from everyone who may be involved.

2. Ask For Or Demand Compensation

If insurance is involved, this means issuing a claim and dealing with a claims... full post

Which Is Better: More Recalls Or Fewer?

Which Is Better: More Recalls Or Fewer?2014 and 2015 have set impressive records for the total number of auto recalls. Partly this happened thanks to major defects which all went public one after another, defects which often affected a decade or more of vehicles and (as in the case of Takata airbags) multiple automakers. Massive, high-profile recalls aren’t exactly new on the scene – Firestone’s infamous recall of 2000 involved 14.4 million tires – and even though the Takata airbags are the biggest auto recall in history with 34 million affected cars and counting, it still doesn’t quite equal half the recall numbers of 2014 and 2015.

If you were to filter out the other major scandals and limit yourself to the “business as usual” recalls that hit new vehicles on a regular basis, it’s plausible that the number has been growing even beyond the increasing number of car sales. The question, then, is whether it’s better to have more or fewer recalls, and the answer you give may have a lot to do with your outlook on life.

More Safe Versus Less... full post

Who’s Responsible For Recall Repairs On A Used Car?

Who’s Responsible For Recall Repairs On A Used Car?Recently, the nation’s biggest independent used car retailer, CarMax, came under fire for selling vehicles with outstanding recall notices. Legally speaking, CarMax is completely able to do this, and in a state like Florida used car dealers don’t even have to notify the customer of any open recalls. It does raise the question, however, of whether such dealerships should be obligated to fix these recalls before selling the vehicles.

According to recent estimates, roughly one-fourth of all recalled vehicles never go in for their needed repairs, and many of these vehicles wind up in the used car market. While it’s at least understandable for a private seller to ignore or not know about an open recall, we expect higher standards from used car dealerships, higher standards that come with a higher price. But while such dealerships will clean the car inside and out, buff out any dents and rust spots, and inspect the mechanical parts to make sure everything is in good working order, they won’t investigate a vehicle’s recall... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

Who’s To Blame For Food Poisoning?

It’s hard to have a good day when you’ve got food poisoning. You get to spend a couple days home from work or school (which may range from a well-earned rest to a catastrophic loss of income), but the time you spend there is nothing but misery. There’s the aching, bloated feeling in your stomach, the constant trips to the bathroom, the fear that anything you eat will come right back out, and the drowsiness that keeps you from doing anything interesting.

Of course, all of that is what you get from just a mild case of food poisoning. A bad case can take you to the hospital, and in some populations food poisoning can be lethal. So if you know that you and your family aren’t to blame for your illness, who should you point your finger at to get compensation for your loss of income and health?

Working Out The Evidence

The first problem with a case of food poisoning is proving that it happened and that one specific store or restaurant is to blame. It’s hard to pin down responsibility for a disease in general since there’s a time gap between cause and effect, a... full post