Articles Tagged with Wolfson and Associates

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In most accidents that involve a tractor-trailer, the blame lies with the driver of the truck. People tend to blame truck drivers because of assumptions about how little they’ve slept and how distracted they are behind the wheel.

We’ve all heard stories about truck drivers taking drugs to make unreasonable deadlines, but the truth of it is that those cases are few and far between. The majority of truck drivers are responsible, and they can certainly become the victims of negligent drivers.

A recent car accident in Florida shows exactly what happens when a negligent driver causes an accident with a tractor-trailer. First Coast News reports that the driver of a refrigeration truck was merging onto a highway when he hit a Honda.

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The Third District Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court’s ruling that a bank was negligent when it mistakenly reported that the Plaintiff was a bank robber. In Bank of America Corp. v. Valladares, the Court would not conclude that the bank was liable for a Plaintiff’s personal injuries when a police officer who was called in for the suspected bank robbery kicked the Plaintiff in the head for failing to obey a command.

In doing so, the 3rd DCA cited Pokorny v. First Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n of Largo, 382 So. 2d 678 (Fla. 1980) to emphasize that a party cannot be held liable in Florida for negligently calling the police for the purpose of reporting a crime. The test used in deciding this case and Pokorny was a balancing test, weighing an individual’s protection from abusive accusations against one’s freedom in reporting suspected criminal activity. Florida Court’s have repeatedly held that when one makes a good faith mistake in reporting suspected criminal activity he has a qualified privilege with the sole exception of malicious intent. Here, the Court has simply extended the logic of Pokorny to a good faith mistake that leads to an injury inflicted by the police.

So, if you innocently suspect criminal activity, do not be afraid to report it because there is a shield of qualified privilege protecting you from suit.  And, if someone calls the police on you wrongfully, you probably don’t have civil recourse unless you were falsely imprisoned, hurt, or had other damages apart from the call.

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Law and public policy are often used simultaneously in determining case law. When it comes to judgments and collecting them, the law has now been made even clearer.  In Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of South Florida v. Bermudez, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1395b, the 3d DCA ultimately sided with a strong public policy argument in the wrongful death case, reversing the trial court’s judgment that allowed the plaintiff to add the Miccosukee Tribe as a judgment debtor, and allowed the plaintiff to collect the amount of the complete previous judgment plus interest from the tribe.

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The fine balance between law and public policy is loudly illustrated in this case where two members of the tribe caused the accident, which led to the death of the plaintiff’s wife, and the injury to his child and to himself. While it is blatantly obvious that the plaintiff deserves compensation resulting from the court’s final judgment, the two members of the tribe assert that they have no assets. The Plaintiff recently appeared in front of the tribunal for the tenth time.  And the 3d DCA decided that the plaintiff had no adequate legal basis to add the Miccosukee Tribe as a judgment debtor thereby reversing the trial court.

In ruling this way, the Third DCA relied upon three lines of authority in attempting to add the tribe as a judgment debtor, however the strongest of the three, which holds that a nonparty to litigation that funds and controls vexatious litigation can be added as a party for purposes of paying costs and attorney’s fees, was readily distinguishable from the fact pattern in Bermudez.

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Young woman falling on wet floor

Young woman falling on wet floor

Ever wonder how to win your Miami slip and fall injury case?

The law in years past has vacillated in slip and fall cases in business establishments involving water or other similar transitory substances.  For the past several years, actual or constructive notice has been the requirement. And, in a recent case, the Third District Court of Appeals dismissed a Plaintiff’s claim because, as they said, the “record here is devoid of any evidence suggesting that the Appellees had any notice—either actual or constructive—of the water on the floor.”

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Slip and fall cases are hard.  And, summary judgment is very difficult at times to avoid.  This is due to the relatively new statutes.  But if the Court lets defendant’s argue evidence that was not filed, well that makes it even more difficult.  Recently, the Fourth DCA corrected a trial court that allowed evidence to be presented during a Summary Judgment Motion that was not filed in accordance with the rule.  In fact, that evidence was relied upon in the trial court’s ruling on the slip and fall case.  The ruling, actually, dismissed the case because the Plaintiff was found to be an undiscovered trespasser.

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The Fourth District Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court’s ruling granting summary judgment for the defendant in a slip-and-fall case when it came to the issue of allowing deposition testimony that was not attached to the motion, pretrial filings, or the record of appeal. In Denniser v. Columbia Hospital Corporation of South Broward d/b/a Westside Medical Center, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D990a, the appeals court would not conclude that Denniser was an “undiscovered trespasser” in the hospital pantry because the only evidence Columbia brought and relied on was deposition testimony where Denniser said she did not see anybody before she fell, which was not attached or admitted into evidence.

In doing so, the 4th DCA cited Servedio v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 46 So. 3d 1105, 1107 (Fla 4th DCA 2010) to assert that “a trial court’s order for summary judgment must be reversed when there is no sworn evidence, in the record, to support that motion.” So although there is relevant testimony to support Columbia Hospital’s motion for summary judgment, procedural and evidentiary rules preclude admissibility of the statement and left a gaping genuine issue of material fact to be resolved by a jury.

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Different age groups tend to have their own set of problems when it comes to negligent driving. For instance, statistics show that teens are prone to texting behind the wheel. It seems that many elderly accidents have a common theme as well: mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal.

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The latter often happens in parking lots, leading to many collisions with pedestrians and businesses. Earlier this year, Florida experienced a particularly tragic example of this type of accident when an elderly woman accidentally reversed into a group of churchgoers and killed three people. During the past month, we’ve had two similar accidents in Miami.

WSVN News reports that the first incident occurred early in the morning when a man accidentally accelerated through a parking spot and into a barber shop. Fortunately, an astute barber saw the car coming and warned customers. No one suffered any injuries in that auto accident, but victims of a different collision weren’t so lucky.

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Distracted driving causes many of the preventable car accidents in the United States, and state governments across the country are looking for ways to curb the behavior. Most believe that texting while driving is only an epidemic because drivers aren’t educated about the dangers associated with distracted driving, but a new poll proves that isn’t the case.

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The Car Connection reports that a new Harris poll demonstrates that U.S. drivers know texting is dangerous yet choose to do it anyway. According to the research, 94 percent of drivers agree that sending text messages can cause an accident. When those same drivers were asked if they send texts, 37 percent admit to texting while driving.

The statistics for reading text messages tell a similar story. Harris reports that 91 percent of adult drivers say that reading a text message while driving is dangerous, but 45 percent admit to doing it.

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Hit-and-runs are terrifying trends in the United States, especially because many victims may not have died if the driver had remained to provide aid or call for help. However, most drivers are prompted to leave the scene, either because they are breaking a law by driving without insurance or they are driving without a license.

 

Nowadays, it’s difficult to imagine that many of these drivers actually get away with killing another person and just leaving them after a car accident. The sad truth is, many hit-and-run drivers do escape justice. Statistics for these sorts of trends are scarce, but the Chron reports that in at least one area of the country, approximately 50 percent of hit-and-run drivers are never found.

Florida police are avidly trying to find a driver after a particularly violent hit-and-run crash last week. WTSP News reports that the accident occurred at 3 a.m. and left two young women dead and third in the hospital.

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The law in years past has vacillated in slip and fall cases in business establishments involving water or other similary transitory substances.  For the past several years, actual or constructive notice has been the requirement. And, in a recent case, the Third District Court of Appeals dismissed a Plaintiff’s claim because, as they said, the “record here is devoid of any evidence suggesting that the Appellees had any notice—either actual or constructive—of the water on the floor.”  Kenz v. Unicco, 116 So. 3d 461 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2013).  In Kenz and for the foreseeable future, a Plaintiff must show evidence that the Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the condition that caused him or her to slip and fall and be injured.

Wet Floor

Suffering a slip and fall can be both dangerous and embarrassing. If you suffered a slip and fall because of the negligent behavior of another party, you may be able to recover damages.

To recover damages, an attorney would have to prove not only that the injured party slipped and fell, but also that the owner of the property was liable. Then, we would need to prove that it was foreseeable that the property owner’s negligence would create the danger that caused your injury.

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