Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Too often we read in the news about fatal accidents involving a cyclist in Florida roads. Many people ask about fault and liability in the event of these incidents. Even more riders are concerned about the lack of criminal action taken against negligent or even hostile automobile drivers when a cyclist is injured. Concerns about cyclist safety laws should be raised to your local state legislators. However, consider that it is already “illegal” to hurt or kill someoone with a car. Martin Law Firm aggressively prosecutes civil cases against car drivers who injure or kill cyclists. That being said, we’d rather you be safe and unhurt and not in need of our services. The first step in safety is to fully understand the rules of the road. Below we’ve written out a brief summary of the laws in Florida. This isn’t comprehensive, so we encourage you to educate yourself further.

A Bicycle is a Vehicle

Under Florida law, a bicycle is a vehicle and a bicyclist is a driver. The bicycle riders enjoy the same rights and must obey the same rules as a motor vehicle driver. A big difference is that the unarmoured biker is much more susceptible to injury when an accident occurs. Florida Statute 316.2065 contains the bicycle regulations. Some of the statutes deal with wearing protective gear while others dictate how a bicyclist may travel the roadways. A bicycle rider under the age of sixteen must wear a properly fitted helmet. Proper rules are extremely important since the number of accidents involving bicyclists is very high. A study done by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles looked at the number of bicycle injuries and fatalities that occurred on the highways during a ten year time span. The number of bicycle accident injuries in 2000 was about 4,585 and the number of fatalities in that year was 83. Ten years later, in 2009, the number of injuries stayed almost the same with around 4,376, and the number of fatalities increased to 100.

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During the last decade people of all ages have begun to utilize text messaging, email, internet browsing, or gaming features of their cellular telephones. Many people are using these features while operating a motor vehicle.

Additionally, many employees are using these features while working and driving. The use of these features increases the risk for vehicular crashes. Specifically, the use of a cellular phone has been tied to a four times greater chance of vehicle crash causing serious injury.

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In a case out of Orange County, Florida a jury was faced with just this issue. A flat-bed trailer, owned by Joseph Trucking, was loaded with 3.6 tons of pre-cast concrete in Seminole County to be driven to South Florida. While negotiating a curve at only 15 miles per hour, the wooden bed of the flat-bed collapsed under the weight of the concrete. The sudden movement of the load caused the tractor trailer pulling the flat-bed trailer to flip on its left side injuring the driver.
At trial, the driver’s attorney presented evidence demonstrating that the defective condition of the flat bed was the cause of the driver’s injury. First it was shown that flat-bed trailer was in poor condition with holes in the floor of the bed as well as rotten and warped wood. Second, Joseph Trucking was shown to have knowledge of the poor condition of the flat-bed. Third, it was shown that wood used in previous repairs was not the type typically used for such repairs. Fourth, Joseph Trucking was unable to produce any maintenance or repair records for the flat-bed trailer. Fifth, the driver was able to present evidence that the concrete pieces where properly loaded and secured on the flat-bed trailer. Sixth, the driver was demonstrated to be a properly licensed commercial vehicle operator with the necessary experience. Finally, the driver was able to demonstrate that he was experienced with driving on the roadway where the accident occurred.

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Whiplash-a soft tissue injury to the neck-is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It ischaracterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck,usually because of sudden extension (backward) and flexion (forward). The disordercommonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and or a slip and fall, and mayinclude injury to intervertebral joints, discs and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerveroots. Symptoms such as neck pain may be present directly after the injury or may bedelayed for several days. In addition to neck pain, other symptoms may include neckstiffness, injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries), headache,dizziness, abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling (known as paresthesias), orshoulder or back pain. In addition, some people experience conditions such as memoryloss, concentration impairment, nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or depression.

A low impact auto accident is generally defined as an incident that takes place atspeeds less than 10 miles per hour (mph). This type of collision usually causes the least amount of damage to the vehicles involved. Body injuries can result from any accident and that includes ones that occur with vehicles going less than 10 mph. Soft tissue injuries are the most common problem for those involved in a low impact accident.

A motor vehicle accident that takes place at speeds between under 10 mph often brings about little visible damage to the cars involved. Sometimes due to the fact that minimal damage was done to vehicle the injuries to the people in the vehicles are overlooked. This does not mean that bodily injury did not occur to the passengers during the crash. While an automobile is built to take a slow 5 to 10 mph crash that is not true for your body. In a low impact accident a person’s soft tissue can easily be damaged. The back and neck are the usual problem spots for soft tissue injuries and can result in life changing injuries. Soft tissue is a person’s ligaments, tendons and muscles. Soft tissue injuries are typically classified as contusions or bruises, sprains or strains. While these injuries may not appear as dramatic as a broken bone, if you have ever suffered from a sprained ankle or similar injury you know that they can be both painful and debilitating.

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Neck injuries are most commonly caused in four different ways. These are described by doctors as flexion, hyperextension, vertical compression and rotation injuries. So what does each of these mean to you as an injured person? An understanding of the nature of these injuries may be useful while you focus on the healing process. The most important thing for you to consider as an accident victim is that your body was not designed for the forces involved in auto accidents or similar incidents. Even mild impacts can have serious consequences to your long term health and wellness.

A flexion injury is caused when your neck bends forward too much or too fast or even both which is frequently what happens in an auto accident. Flexion injuries range from mild to severe and the injuries to you muscles, ligaments and spinal cord range accordingly. Considering that even a mild flexion injury can cause a fracture of the anterior portion of the vertebral body (the front part of your vertebrate), a severe flexion injury can cause a dislocation of vertebrae resulting in very serious spinal cord damage. Mild to severe flexion injuries can easily occur in a car accident including a “rear ender.” A hyperextension injury is the reverse of a flexion injury. Here your head and neck move backwards too fast and too much. Again, these injuries can range from mild to severe with similar consequences.

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. (Nov. 6, 2014) Caroline Zapiec has joined the attorneys at Martin Law Firm announced firm principal, Steven E. Martin.

Caroline’s practice focuses on personal injury litigation. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree with Cum Laude honors at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. During law school, she gained practical experience through an internship at the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic at Levin College of Law where she helped obtain injunctions for victims of domestic violence. She also interned at the Office of Technology Licensing for the University. Caroline’s experience includes private law practice in the criminal sector. During her last year of law school, she worked at a private criminal defense law firm in Gainesville.

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Shortly after her murder acquittal, Casey Anthony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the Middle District of Florida in January of 2013. According to her bankruptcy schedules, Anthony’s total amount of debt was close to $800,000; most of which were attorney fees. She listed that she was unemployed, and claimed about $1,000 of total assets.

In a normal Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a trustee is appointed to administer the bankruptcy estate. Pursuant to section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy estate consists of all legal and equitable interests of the debtor in property at the time of the bankruptcy filing. State law then allows a debtor to exempt, or keep, a certain amount of property from the bankruptcy estate. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy the Debtor would then have a choice to either surrender his or her non-exempt assets, or to buy them back from the bankruptcy estate. Since Casey Anthony had very few assets, most of her property would have been exempt. She would eventually receive her discharge of her debt, while paying very little back to the bankruptcy trustee.

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