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Vero Beach Car Accidents Involving Out-of-Town, Visiting Drivers

Vero Beach Car Accidents Involving Out-of-Town, Visiting Drivers

A car accident injury  (or worse, a fatal car accident) can be a life-changing experience. It’s not just the victim who is affected, but their dependents and loved ones. Suppose you have an accident in Vero Beach involving an out-of-state driver. In that case, you’ll need expert help and support from an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the complexities of Florida’s laws.

Accidents with Out-of-State Drivers

Sometimes a Vero Beach car accident involves a driver from another state, such as a tourist or business traveler. Some victims fear that if the other driver has an out of state driver’s license, they may struggle to obtain compensation.  Florida state laws mean that accidents occurring on the Sunshine State’s roads fall under Florida’s jurisdiction. It doesn’t matter whether the driver is from another state.

There’s also a “Long Arm” statute, meaning that out-of-state drivers involved in Florida road traffic accidents can be recalled to Florida for court appearances. By choosing to drive on roads in the state of Florida, the driver consents to abide by the state’s laws and is subject to the “Long Arm” statute. This means that someone who gets into a traffic accident in Florida is obliged to appear in court if they are sued over their involvement in a road traffic accident.

Comparative Fault

Different states have different approaches when it comes to determining fault and deicing on compensation. Florida is what is termed a “pure comparative fault” state. In a pure comparative fault state, compensation is determined based on each party’s degree of fault. This means that if more than one person is found to have contributed to causing the accident, all those responsible may be held liable. For example: if Driver A is distracted by their phone and is struck by Driver B, who has ignored a traffic signal, both drivers may be held liable for the resulting accident.

Accidents Occurring Outside of Florida

If you’re a Florida resident who has been injured in a car accident while driving out of state, you will not fall under Florida’s jurisdiction. You will need to file any lawsuit you bring in the place that has jurisdiction in that instance. This might be the state, the county, or the city, depending on the circumstances. If you have an accident out of state, you’ll be bound by the state’s laws where the accident happened. You’ll need to find a lawyer with experience and knowledge of the laws relating to car accident injury in that state.

What to Do After a Road Traffic Accident

Regardless of where the accident took place, there are some steps you should always take following a car accident.

  • Don’t leave the scene. If it is safe to do so, remain with your vehicle until law enforcement arrives.
  • Notify law enforcement. This can be the highway trooper or local law enforcement.
  • Offer any assistance that you reasonably can to those involved.
  • Exchange information with the other party or parties involved. This includes insurance details, driver’s license information, etc.
  • Gather evidence. Take photographs, collect the names of any witnesses, etc.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may feel all right after the accident, but some injuries don’t always manifest right away.
  • Do not admit fault. Even if you feel that you’re responsible for the accident, this is for the courts to determine. Admitting fault can prejudice a future court case and might mean that you don’t get the compensation you deserve.

If you do decide to move forward with a lawsuit, or if another driver sues you, you will need a skilled and experienced car accident attorney. Contact the Graves Thomas Injury Law Group today.

Can You Sue If You Fall in a Parking Lot?

Can You Sue If You Fall in a Parking Lot?

Accidents and other injuries can occur anywhere, but there are specific hazards and legal issues relating to parking lot injuries that can mean you’re eligible for compensation if you get hurt. The incident might involve a simple trip or slip, but you can also seek compensation if you’re injured in an assault.

Duty of Care

The entity that owns or operates the parking lot typically has a duty of care towards those who use it, as long as they are doing so safely and legally. If a person is trespassing, behaving in an unsafe manner, or in the process of committing a crime when they’re injured, there may still be some duty of care, but this is significantly reduced.

Generally speaking, the entity responsible for the parking lot must keep it properly maintained. This includes ensuring that surfaces are level, hazards are marked or removed, and illumination is sufficient. In some cases, providing security might fall under the duty of care.

Slip, Trip, or Falling Injuries

Slipping or tripping is a very common cause of injury. Sometimes the injury is minor, such as a strain or sprain. Often, though, the results can be severe. Broken bones, lacerations, torn muscles, and head injuries are all possible. There is no fault involved in some cases — it’s merely bad luck on the part of the injured person. If the parking lot was poorly maintained or improperly lit, however, the entity responsible for the parking lot may be on the line to pay compensation.

Slip hazards include oil, water, or other slippery fluids. If there’s a leaking pipe or drain, for instance, and someone slips in the resulting pools of water, this might be grounds for a lawsuit.

Potholes, broken concrete, and cracked or crumbling surfaces are all examples of trip hazards that might give grounds for a lawsuit. If items that could cause someone to trip or suffer some other injury are left out in the parking lot, this could also be the basis for a compensation claim. Trailing hoses or cables are other examples of trip hazards.

Steps and uneven ground need to be clearly marked to avoid trips and falls. If the person or company responsible for the parking lot fails to do this, they might be liable for compensation if someone is injured.

Illumination

Because hazards are harder to spot in the dark, there may be a responsibility to provide proper illumination during dark hours. Assaults and robberies are also more common in poorly lit locations, as are accidents involving pedestrians. This means that you might have a case if you fall or are assaulted in a darkened parking lot, even if no other hazards are present.

Problems

One problem with injuries in parking lots is that there may be a lack of witnesses or evidence. This can make pursuing a claim for damages complicated. If witnesses are present, things are more manageable. You may also be able to use security footage of the parking lot to help support your claim.

You might also encounter problems in identifying the entity that is responsible for the parking lot. Sometimes this will be the company or individual who directly owns the lot. It might also be the business that the lot serves or someone else who rents the lot.

Personal injury lawsuits can be very complicated, especially if several different factors are in play. It’s important to seek representation from an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Contact the Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today for a consultation.

Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog bite injuries can be very serious, even fatal. They can leave physical effects, including dog bite scars, and can also cause lasting psychological harm. Dog bite statistics in Florida are surprisingly high, with an average of two deaths per year caused by dog attacks. Even with a relatively minor injury, a dog bite infection is always a possibility. This can result in prolonged treatment periods and high medical costs.

If you or someone in your household is affected by a dog bite injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Obtaining a settlement for a dog bite incident can help you to move forward. To achieve the kind of outcome you deserve, you need a skilled and experienced dog bite attorney.

Dog Bite Injury Statistics

Children are at the highest risk of suffering a dog bite injury, with those under 14 representing the largest number of casualties. Boys are at a greater risk of dog bites than girls.

The most significant risk factor seems to be a lack of proper restraint for dogs, with unrestrained dogs accounting for approximately one-third of attacks. This includes dogs outside the owner’s property and dogs off their leash in a public space.

The majority of dog bites in Florida involve a bitten child by a familiar dog, either a family pet or one owned by a neighbor or friend.

Dog Bite Lawsuits: Receiving Compensation

Florida law allows you to seek compensation if you are affected by a dog bite injury. Unlike other states, where owners are only held liable if the dog has bitten someone before, Florida’s law applies strict liability in the case of dog bites. This means that if you’re attacked by a dog in a public space or on private property lawfully, the dog’s owner can be held liable.

You can also file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner on the grounds of negligence. To do this, you will have to prove that the dog’s owner had a “duty of care” that applied to the victim. This is an option in cases where strict liability doesn’t apply.

If the dog’s owner deliberately orchestrated or otherwise caused the attack, for example, by setting a dog on the victim, an intentional tort may be pursued. Intentional torts cover incidents when the dog bite was intentionally provoked by the owner or someone else in control of the dog. They are similar to cases involving assault and battery.

Reduced Liability

In most situations, you can hold the owner liable for an attack by their dog. There are some situations where liability may be reduced, however. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Incidents where the victim was hurting the dog or provoked the attack in some way.
  • Dog bites occurring when the victim was on the property illegally, such as attacks on trespassers or burglars.
  • Attacks where the dog was protecting the owner, or another nearby person. There must be a reasonably perceived threat to the person the dog was protecting.

Every case is unique, and many factors can affect liability. Even if liability is reduced, you may still be eligible for compensation if the owner is found to be partly or mostly responsible. For example, if you as the victim were found to be 20 percent at fault, the owner would still be 80 percent at fault.

As you can see, dog bite lawsuits can be complicated and challenging to navigate. If you’re considering a claim for compensation relating to a dog bite incident, your first step should be to seek expert legal advice from a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today for an initial consultation.

Pool and Playground Accident Law

Pool and Playground Accident Law

Pool and playground accidents injure and even kill large numbers of Americans every year, including children. Playground injury statistics make for sobering reading, as do the figures relating to swimming pool injuries. If you or one of your dependents has been harmed in a pool or playground accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

Conversely, if you’re responsible for a pool or a playground area, you may be held liable if someone else is injured on your property. You would then need a solid defense in court to ensure that any settlement is fair and you’re not held responsible for something that isn’t your fault.

The laws around pool and playground accidents are complicated. They can be very confusing and require superior legal support to avoid expensive mistakes. In Florida, the statute of limitations for pool injuries is four years. It’s essential to start your claim as soon as possible.

Pool Injuries

Even if nobody loses their life in a pool accident, the results can still be catastrophic. Near-drownings and other accidents can result in brain damage, concussions, spinal damage, and fractures. These conditions may leave the injured party with serious medical issues and disabilities, potentially requiring extensive care for the rest of the victim’s life.

Common causes of swimming pool and playground injuries:

  • Improper or poorly maintained fences, gates, and barriers
  • Inadequate supervision of children
  • Improper maintenance of playground equipment, pools, decks, etc.
  • Broken lights or insufficient illumination
  • Physical hazards like broken glass, etc.
  • Defective or improperly maintained drain or filter systems in pools
  • Improper chemical treatments in pool water
  • Inaccurate water level indicators
  • Electrocution

Pool Owner’s Liability

There are specific responsibilities that come with owning a pool. These depend on the type of entrant.

Invitee: A member of the general public who has been invited to use the pool. Invitees can be Public invites or Business invites. They can include people who have paid to access the pool.

Licensee: A Licensee is someone who’s been invited to enter the pool by the owner or someone else who is permitted to provide access. This category can include friends who use the pool while visiting.

Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who enters the pool precinct without permission. While trespassers do not merit the same high duty of care owed to Invitees and Licensees, a duty of care is still owed to child trespassers under the “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.”

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

Playgrounds and swimming pools on your property fall under the designation of “Attractive Nuisances.” They are appealing to children who don’t fully understand the dangers posed by unsupervised play equipment or open water. They can be drawn to trespass through their curiosity, and fall from play equipment or drown in the pool. The property owner is required by Florida pool laws to ensure “reasonably safe conditions” and provide warnings about any dangers. Florida’s Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (RSPSA) provides several safety precautions. Pool owners are obliged to enact at least one of the items on the list.

If you’ve suffered a playground or swimming pool accident

Laws around swimming pools and playgrounds in Florida are very complicated. Navigating them effectively requires an attorney with specific knowledge, skills, and experience to tackle these complex cases. If you’ve been affected by a playground or pool accident, you deserve the proper levels of compensation. When you’re bringing a swimming pool injury lawsuit, a skilled attorney can help you to establish and pursue your case effectively. If you think you might need to get a playground injury lawsuit or a swimming pool injury lawsuit, contact Graves Thomas Rotunda today.

 

Most Common Real Estate Scams – Real Estate Fraud

Most Common Real Estate Scams – Real Estate Fraud

Real estate fraud comes in many forms. There are many ways for a scammer to separate you from your funds, from rental scams to title fraud. Once you’ve fallen for a real estate scam, it can be very difficult to get your money back. Prevention is far better than cure when it comes to real estate fraud. Read on to find out some of the most common tricks and how you can avoid falling for them.

Rental Scams

There are many types of rental scams out there. Typically, an individual or organization will claim to be renting a property they don’t own. They will ask for a “viewing fee” to look at the property, or want a big deposit up-front before you can move in. Once you’ve given them your money, you’ll discover that the property was never theirs to rent.

You can protect yourself by renting through reputable property companies.

Escrow Wire Fraud

This is one of the most common types of real estate fraud. It typically starts with a phone call, email, or text, ostensibly from an escrow or title company, often one that the target is already doing business with. These calls and messages originate with scammers. Targets are tricked into wiring money to the fake escrow company. The funds are then withdrawn and transferred to an offshore account, making it hard to recover your money even when you realize that you’ve been scammed.

Today’s fraudsters are very adept at setting up fake websites and phone numbers, so it looks as if you’re interacting with a real company. If you look closely at the email, URL, or phone number, it may be wrong — off by a digit or a letter. These differences can be hard to spot. Consult genuine documents to confirm contact details and access websites by carefully typing the URL into your browser. Before making any transfers, check with the escrow company to confirm any details.

Real Estate Investment Seminar Scams

Real estate investment can be an exciting opportunity. If you’re looking to expand your investment portfolio, you may have been tempted by seminars that promise to help you get started in real estate. These seminars, unfortunately, are often scams. Targets pay a large sum to attend — usually upwards of $1,000 dollars. These events don’t provide you with useful instruction. They are used to sell further training, which is even more expensive. Many people end up paying tens of thousands of dollars, far more than they’ll clear in future real estate transactions.

The best way to avoid this type of scam is to keep in mind this adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take your time and don’t rush into anything. Ask to read the one-page disclosure document that they are legally obliged to provide. If it looks like a scam, you can report the company to the Federal Trade Commission.

Title Fraud

Deeds and titles can be forged or subjected to fraud in other ways. Someone may pose as a seller (grantor) or their representative, possibly working with an unscrupulous notary. Scammers may also obtain access to deeds by presenting themselves as a property owner or through theft.

You can protect yourself through title searches and title insurance. Verifying that the deed is valid is an integral part of any real estate transaction.

As domestic and commercial real estate scams become more common, more and more people fall victim to them. Your best hope of recovering your money is to enlist the services of an experienced real estate fraud attorney. At Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, we have the experience and knowledge to help you recover your funds from real estate frauds and scammers. If you’ve been a victim of real estate fraud in Florida, contact us today.

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