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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.

Accidents Involving a Delivery Truck

Accidents Involving a Delivery Truck

Delivery truck accidents are very different from ordinary road traffic accidents involving cars or smaller vehicles. The damage is often far worse, and the ensuing lawsuits are more complicated and harder to resolve. That’s why it’s so important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. This will give you the best possible chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages. 

Every year, thousands of Americans are killed in accidents involving large delivery vehicles. Serious injuries, fatalities, grieving families, financial devastation — these are common in the wake of truck accidents. With the rise of online shopping and home deliveries, this number is only likely to increase. It’s more likely now for people to be injured or killed in an Amazon delivery truck accident, say, or a FedEx delivery truck accident. 

Many factors can cause a delivery truck accident. Speeding, distracted driving, driving while impaired by drugs, driver exhaustion — all of these can contribute to truck accidents. It’s important to get support from an experienced attorney, someone who can help guide you through the complexities of such an accident: determining who is at fault and effectively seeking compensation.

Who’s Liable in a Delivery Truck Accident? 

One of the crucial issues in a delivery truck accident case is determining who’s at fault. For your case to succeed, you’ll need to prove negligence on the part of the driver or other parties. 

In some cases, the delivery company may be liable for negligence. For instance, in a UPS delivery truck accident, UPS might theoretically be responsible. Sometimes, though, the delivery truck driver may be an independent contractor who might be held criminally liable for the crash.

In some cases, delivery companies may attempt to evade being sued by claiming that the driver was an independent contractor. Independent contractors, however, must satisfy certain specific conditions under the relevant employment and tax laws. If it can be proven that a company is paying employment taxes, then the driver can be shown to be an employee rather than a contractor.

Other parties may bear liability for a delivery truck accident. For example, if the accident is due to a cargo having been improperly loaded, the person or entity responsible for loading the cargo may be liable. If the accident is due to a defective truck part, the manufacturer can be sued. If the accident is due to a poorly maintained road or a faulty traffic signal, the authority responsible for their upkeep may be liable.

Comparative Fault in Delivery Truck Accidents 

Some people assume that if they were partly responsible for the accident, they wouldn’t be entitled to compensation. This is a misconception. In many states, including Florida, you may still be entitled to a percentage of compensation even if it’s determined that you’re partly at fault.

Delivery Truck Accident Settlements 

The amount you’re entitled to will depend on several factors. Your settlement may include:

Property and vehicle damage: It’s common for smaller vehicles involved in delivery truck accidents to be very severely damaged. In many cases, they will be written off entirely. You may receive compensation for your damaged or destroyed vehicle.

Medical expenses: Many victims of delivery truck accidents are left facing substantial medical bills. While there’s a lot of variation between cases, your settlement will generally be higher depending on your treatment’s cost and length.

Lost income: You may have to take a lot of time off work after an accident. Some people are rendered unable to work. 

Pain and suffering: You may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the accident. 

Other costs included in your settlement may consist of legal fees, expenses relating to ongoing care, and funeral expenses.

Because lawsuits relating to delivery truck accidents are so complicated, it’s important to get expert legal advice. At Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group, we have the expertise to bring you the compensation you deserve. 

 

What to Do If Denied Social Security Disability

What to Do If Denied Social Security Disability

If you find yourself unable to work due to disability, applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) can be the lifeline you need. SSID is awarded based on an assessment of your need, factoring in things like your income, assets, and level of disability. This means that some claims are rejected.

The refusal of your claim is not the final word, however. It is possible to appeal a rejection, and many appeals are successful. Your claim can be reconsidered and may be successful if you keep trying. Because social security disability benefits can be so important for maintaining your quality of life, it’s well worth fighting for them. Read on to find out what steps you can take to challenge the decision and claim the benefits you need.

Ask for a reconsideration

Your first step might be to file for reconsideration. When you receive your decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you will usually get an explanation of why you were refused SSDI. If you think this reason is wrong for any reason, you are entitled to file for reconsideration. The SSA must then review your case in its entirety as if it was a new application. If you were correct, your claim may be reinstated. A disability attorney can help you with this.

Request a hearing with an administrative law judge

Even if the reconsideration doesn’t go your way, you still have plenty of options. You can appeal again, requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings take place locally. The ALJ will review your application and question you about your situation. The judge will also speak to any medical experts and attending witnesses involved in your case. You’re entitled to representation during this process. During hearings, you should consider having a disability attorney present to support you.

Submit fresh medical evidence

If your medical condition has changed during the SSDI application process or you were appealing, you must inform the SSA. You can submit this new evidence separately or in conjunction with a request for reconsideration.

Providing information on medical changes is a requirement and can also help your application. New medical information and evidence can bolster your case, giving the evaluator additional cause to award you SSDI.

Obtain testimonials from your doctor(s)

Doctors’ evaluations are weighted very heavily by the SSA. Should your initial social security disability application be denied, additional information can help when you appeal. If you haven’t already done so, ask your doctor to fill in an RFC (residual functional capacity) form. If your condition has worsened, you can ask your doctor to submit a revised RFC form. Your doctor can also submit additional information to support your case, detailing your condition, and explaining why you should receive benefits.

Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney

Whether you’re applying for the first time or appealing an unfavorable decision, enlisting an experienced social security disability attorney is always a wise move. Disability attorneys know exactly what an SSA evaluator is looking for in a claim and can ensure that your case is adjudicated fairly. Disability attorneys are very well versed in the appeals process and can make this daunting endeavor much less painful. Disability attorneys are required to advise you for free until you win your appeal and begin to receive benefits. This means that the attorney is highly motivated to do everything they can to ensure that your appeal is successful.

If you’re thinking about appealing your SSDI decision, it’s a good idea to seek professional legal advice as soon as possible. Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group’s experienced, compassionate disability attorneys can help you receive the SSI disability benefits you deserve.

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