July 14, 2020
Neighbor’s dog is constantly loose? Here’s what to do
Maybe your neighbor’s dog is simply an escape artist whose skill at sliding through your neighbor’s gate or jumping the fence knows no bounds. Maybe your neighbor is simply terrible about keeping track of their dog. Whatever the reason, a loose dog can be a big problem. Handle the situation the wrong way, and you can end up seriously hurt.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Do your best to avoid encounters. If you know a dog has a habit of running loose, it may be safest and wisest to just change your route, if you have the option. There’s no sense courting disaster if you can simply take your daily walk down another street.
- Stay calm and block the dog’s access to your pet or child. If you react in a visibly frightened or excited manner the way that prey might, that can trigger the dog’s instincts to attack. If the dog is loose again and headed your way, use a firm, commanding tone and tell the dog “No” or “Stop” and put your dog or child behind you.
- Talk to your neighbor. Preventing the dog from running loose should be the ultimate goal — for the safety of everyone in the neighborhood and the animal itself. While dogs do sometimes get loose even when an owner is vigilant, a dog that’s often loose is a sign that the owner isn’t taking enough preventative measures.
- File a report with the police or animal control. If all else has failed and the dog is becoming a menace to the neighborhood, you may need to get the authorities involved. At the very least, you want to document the problems that you’re having.
Despite your best efforts, you can still end up bitten by your neighbor’s dog — and dog bites have the potential to be very serious, even when they’re relatively mild. Infection and scars are a real possibility. Make sure that you understand how to claim fair compensation for your losses.
July 2, 2020
A broken arm from a slip-and-fall can mean major bills
For many people, the worst-case scenario in a slip-and-fall incident would involve them suffering a head injury. If you fall quickly or with a lot of force and strike your head on the floor or nearby fixtures, you can suffer a traumatic brain injury that could completely alter the course of your life.
Compared with that, suffering a broken arm by trying to stop your fall may seem like a relatively minor injury. However, while a broken arm may not be as life-altering as a head injury, they can still come with significant costs and impact for the victim.
A broken arm could mean weeks away from work
Depending on the work someone does, a broken arm might prevent them from being able to do their job at all. Lost wages can quickly add up, especially when there are also medical expenses to consider.
Someone who works in a small manufacturing facility, for example, may not be able to fulfill their functions. The company may not be able to accommodate them because they don’t have any clerical jobs or positions that don’t require manual labor.
Fixing a broken arm will cost thousands
Even the simplest bone fracture in the arm could potentially cost $2,523 on average to treat if the injury doesn’t require surgery. However, depending on how someone falls and what causes the break in their arm, they could have a much more serious injury, such as a compound fracture where the bone breaks through the skin or a spiral fracture where the bone breaks into multiple pieces.
The worse the fracture, the greater the medical expenses and the longer the recovery will take. Those who have suffered a broken bone or other significant injuries after a slip and fall in a business may have the grounds to bring a premises liability claim against the business owner or property manager to offset their losses.
June 19, 2020
Dangerous dogs: Here’s what to know about dog bites in America
Dogs can be fantastic pets, but they can also cause some serious problems if they aren’t friendly or feel threatened. Usually, a family pet will be welcoming to strangers and those around them. In most cases, dogs are friendly and predictable, too.
Unfortunately, there are some dogs that are not trained well or who become aggressive, which makes them more likely to bite or attack. Even a loving family pet can become aggressive if it’s hurt or has fallen ill, which is something to consider as you approach a frightened or growling dog you may or may not be familiar with.
Each year, homeowner’s insurers pay out around $797 million for liability claims related to dog-related injuries and bites, according to 2019 statistics from the Insurance Information Institute. The cost per claim has also risen by around 134% between 2003 and 2019.
Infections pose a threat to victims
Even if the bite itself isn’t very serious, there can be complications. Out of around 4.5 million dog bites that occur annually in the United States, approximately one out of five will end up getting infected. An infection can range from the treatable, which require a round or two of antibiotics, to severe. In severe cases, patients may require hospitalization for sepsis or other bloodborne illnesses.
Are some dogs more dangerous than others?
Interestingly, some dogs do pose a greater threat than others. Bites that resulted in complex wounds were 4.4 times more likely for cases involving pit bulls in comparison to other top-biting breeds. Dogs weighing between 66 and 100 pounds with a brachycephalic head shape were more likely to cause heavy tissue damage upon biting.
Not all dogs are bad, and not all dogs will bite. However, if you are bitten, remember that the owner should be held liable.
April 28, 2020
The aftermath of a slip and fall
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere. It could be in your house, at the supermarket, at work or simply walking down the sidewalk. No matter where it happens, the effects of an accident can last for weeks or even years in your life.
The National Floor Safety Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have complied a series of statistics that show us the aftermath of a slip and fall, including some of the most common injuries.
Fractures and breaks
One of the most common injuries that occur from a slip and fall are fractures and breaks to the bone. They most often occur in the older generations. 87% of all fractures for people over the age of 65 are the result of a fall.
Hip fractures are some of the most serious injuries that typically result from a slip and fall. They often end in hospitalization, increased health issues and even death. Over the age of 65, half of all adults are hospitalized for hip fractures and are unable to live independently afterwards.
Spinal cord and brain injuries
The second most common injury is to the spinal cord and brain. Falling and hitting the head, neck or back can lead to these types of injuries, which can be life changing. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
In the home, half of all accidental deaths are the result of a fall. The elderly are especially at risk, with falls being the sixth leading cause of death for people over the age of 70. 60% of deaths because of a fall occur among individuals over the age of 75.
Falls at work can also be fatal. Deaths occurring from a fall on the job most commonly occur in the construction, mining and maintenance industries.
Lost time at work
Injuries that happen at work ca have a huge impact on an employee’s ability to continue performing their duties. Slip and falls are a huge factor in worker injuries. When looking at worker’s compensation claims, 85% concern employees falling on wet or slippery floors. 22% of these incidents require employees to lose 31 days of work.
While slip and fall injuries can be life-changing, there are ways to offset the impact of an injury. Personal injury, premises liability and worker’s compensation claims are some of the top ways to get payment for injuries, bills and time lost from work.
February 24, 2020
Slip and fall while at a hotel or resort pool? Causation is key
We’re coming up on spring and summer, a time when people flock to Florida’s many hotels and resorts. Many of these vacationers are excited for one activity in particular: time at the pool. While pools can be great fun, there are risks.
Accidents such as slips and falls do happen, and they can result in a pretty serious injury. While the law does allow for an injured party to seek compensation, it is not a free for all. A property owner does not automatically owe someone money for an unfortunate outcome.
Causation is crucial
In order to file a successful personal injury lawsuit against a property owner, the injured person has to prove negligence. They have to show the hotel operator was responsible for providing a safe premises, and that their actions (or inaction) directly caused the accident and injury.
For example, if a resort did not have the legally required slip-resistant tiling around the pool, that might be considered negligence. Or if hotel staff repeatedly failed to stop teens from roughhousing in the pool, and a third party was hurt during their horseplay, there may be a case.
When someone files a personal injury lawsuit for something like a slip and fall, the property owner will frequently try to show the injured party is at least partially to blame for what happened. For example, maybe the property owner failed to clean slick algae off the concrete around the pool, and you slipped. However, maybe you were staring at your phone and walking very quickly.
Under Florida’s comparative fault law, you can still sue and even be awarded compensation, but the amount might be reduced based on how at-fault the jury believes you were.
Premises liability cases are complex
Premises liability cases, such as slip and fall accidents, are often quite complex. The law has different safety standards depending on the exact scenario at hand. Either way, as a victim, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible. That can include:
- Taking photos of the scene immediately
- Gathering contact information for witnesses
- Saving all related documents and paperwork
This type of information can help offer a clear picture of what actually occurred – regardless of what a hotel or resort owner claims happened.
February 5, 2020
What is sovereign immunity?
Say that you are walking through a state park and fall into an uncovered hole in the ground, or slip on the slick floor of a state-owned building in Vero Beach. Such an accident could potentially produce injuries that could lead to inordinate expenses due to medical bills, recuperative costs and time away from work. The solution may seem to be to take legal action against the state in order to be compensated for said expenses. Yet are you allowed to sue the government?
The principle of sovereign immunity seems to limit this. This idea arose from old English common law that viewed that the king could do no wrong. Thus, civil action could not be taken against him. It was later extended to government, which seemingly eliminated the opportunity to hold a federal or state agency civilly liable for any negligent action.
However, according to Section 768.28 of the Florida state statutes, the state has waived its right to sovereign immunity. What this means is that in any incident of negligence where you might be able to hold a private citizen liable for any injuries you sustained, you can pursue legal action against a state agency when that agency is the negligent party. The law limits the potential financial compensation that may be awarded from such action, however, to $200,000 paid to you individually, or $300,000 paid in response to a series of claims arising from the same incident. Any further amount would need to be approved by the state legislature.
You should also know that just as you can treat a state agency the same as you would a private party in a negligence case, that agency can respond as a private party might. That could include disputing our claim or appealing away award you receive.
September 25, 2019
What to know if you are injured at your hotel on vacation
When you stay at a Florida hotel, you should be able to take comfort in the amenities and be confident that the place you are paying to stay is safe. Unfortunately, this is typically not the experience people have when they get in an accident at a hotel.
If you fall, get sick or suffer an attack while at staying at a hotel, it may not only be your trip that is ruined. You could also experience serious pain, time away from work and emotional distress. With so much fallout from these incidents, it is important to understand that another party may be liable for the damages you suffer.
July 24, 2019
The most dangerous dogs that bite
In 2014, Florida had an average dog bite insurance claim of nearly $40,000. Unfortunately, the interactions between humans and canines do not always go well. Even though many dogs are fairly harmless, there are certain breeds that are more likely to bite.
Which dog should you be more cautious around? For the most part, the canines topping the list of the most dangerous breeds have not changed much over the years. Here are the top three. The first up is the Pitbull. According to Forbes, this breed is responsible for 66% of all dog bite fatalities over the past 13 years. Pitbulls have been responsible for over 280 deaths. Next, are Rottweilers that have 45 fatal attacks reported followed by German Shepherds with 20 attacks. Even if a dog bite is not fatal, they still result in serious physical (and financial) damages for the victims.
There are nearly five million dog bites that occur in the U.S. annually. Over 500 Florida residents require hospitalization every year related to dog bites. Across the nation, at least 800,000 dog bite victims receive emergency medical treatment. The primary victims are children and the elderly. Children make up 50 to 72% of dog bite incidents and the elderly comprise approximately 20% of the cases.
There are usually excessive medical costs associated with treating dog bites. For instance, the average hospital stay for a dog bite is just over $18,000. These types of medical expenses often result in higher settlements. According to the Florida Bar, the high healthcare costs associated with dog bites will likely result in more plaintiffs filing expensive dog bite insurance claims.
July 10, 2019
What are my options if my neighbor’s dog bites me?
In Florida, the law takes dog bites seriously. Dog bites are relatively common and can occur with any dog in any setting. If a neighbor’s dog bites you, is he or she liable for your injuries? Normally, the answer is yes. Most of the time, the owner of the dog is liable for his or her dog’s actions. The Florida Statutes on dangerous dogs, however, is multifaceted and complex.
It does not matter if the dog has a history of viciousness. The owner is liable, regardless of the dog’s history, whether the bite occurs on public or private property. The exception to this rule, however, is whether the injured party played a negligent role. A court may reduce an owner’s liability if there is any reason to believe that you behaved negligently to cause the dog bite.
If you were on your neighbor’s property legally, then it is the responsibility of the dog owner. However, if the owner of the property has a sign that includes the words “bad dog” in an easy-to-read position, then he or she may avoid liability. The only exception to this rule is that if the owner acts negligently, then he or she may still be accountable. In dog bite cases, the courts have to decide who was negligent. In many cases, the dog’s owner is liable for any damages caused by a dog bite.
The information presented is for education purposes only and simply here to provide an idea of who is liable for a dog bite. Do not consider it as legal advice.