Blog by personal injury lawyer – The Florida Safety Belt Law

As a personal injury lawyer in Boca Raton (also Deerfield Beach accident lawyer, Pompano Beach injury attorney, Fort Lauderdale accident attorney, Hallandale accident lawyer, Hollywood injury lawyer, Miramar accident lawyer, Pembroke Pines injury attorney, Plantation injury lawyer, Tamarac accident lawyer, Lauderhill injury attorney), I commonly get asked the question about the requirement of wearing a seat belt and how this plays out in an accident.

The seat belt statute provides, in part:

(4) It is unlawful for any person
(a) To operate a motor vehicle unless each front seat passenger of the vehicle under the age of 16 years is restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device pursuant to s. 316.613, if applicable, or
(b)To operate a motion vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.
(5) It is unlawful for any person 16 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion.

Subsection ten (10) of F.S. 316.614 discusses how the seat belt statute should be used in a civil action:

A violation of the provisions of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall such violation be used as prima facie evidence of negligence or be considered in mitigation of damages, but such violation may be considered as evidence of comparative negligence, in any civil action. 

Clearly, this statute requires the use of a seat belt and makes some penalties if you do not wear the seatbelt.  However, while the statute does not make the failure of wearing a seatbelt negligence automatically, it can be used as evidence of comparative fault, in any civil action.

An example would be as follows.  Robert is a front seat passenger in a vehicle.   As a result of the negligence of the other vehicle, there is a car accident.  Robert is not wearing his seat belt.  He goes through the front windshield, causing significant scarring to his face along with some other injuries caused solely from the impact.  The other front seated person was wearing their seat belt and has minor injuries.  The defense may argue in the case that had Robert been wearing his seat belt, that he would not have gone through the front windshield and would not have the scarring on his face.  The suggestion by the defense would be that the jury should not award Robert the damages for his scarring but only the damages for the other injuries, due to his comparative negligence.  Of course, this would ultimately be decided by a jury and the facts of every case are different.

Common sense suggests that everyone should wear their seat belts.  There are cases reported in the newspapers where in major accidents when people where seat belts, the injuries are generally much less.  There are accidents where the only people in major car accidents with life changing injuries are those who were NOT wearing their seat belts.

If you have been in an accident, please feel free to call the injury lawyer from Boca Raton, Gary J. Drucker, (also accident attorney from Aventura, accident lawyer from North Miami, injury lawyer from Miami, accident attorney from Downtown Miami, accident lawyer from South Miami, accident lawyer from Opa Locka, accident attorney from Coconut Grove) for a free consultation at any of the convenient location in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton (principal office), Coral Springs or Miami.  I work on a contingency fee basis which means that I only charge a fee or recoup costs if money is recovered for you.

Three car rear end collisions – who is at fault? Can more than one car be at fault in an accident?

Another very common type of car accident is the three car rear end collision.  There is a lot of confusion as to whether one or two cars are at fault and who you can sue.  This blog entry will discuss some of these issues.  Bear in mind that every case is case specific and it is important to have these cases analyzed.  At Drucker Law Office, the injury attorney in Boca Raton (also accident lawyer in Delray Beach, accident attorney in Boynton Beach, injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, accident lawyer in Lake Worth) helps clients analyze their car accident cases and helps clients recover monies from the at-fault owner/driver or owners/drivers when they are injured in an accident. 

Generally, the three car rear end collision happens in two different ways.  First car in front is stopped; second car behind is stopped; third car crashes into second car which causes second car to crash into first car in front.

In this first scenario, the third car is generally at fault.  If the second car was just stopped behind the first car, then the second car of course would generally not be at fault.  Similarly, if the first car was stopped at a light, then it would not generally be at fault either.  So, in this scenario the third car is at fault.  Oftentimes, I will be asked by the person in the first car if they can sue or make a claim against the second car and generally the answer is no, as the second car is not at fault.  In this scenario, the second car was stopped and the only reason it hit the first car was because the third car hit it from behind.

The second way these accidents can happen is as follows.  First car in front is stopped; second car behind crashes into first car in front; third car crashes into second car which causes second car to crash again into first car in front.

In this second scenario, both the second car and third car are generally at fault.  The first car, presuming it was stopped at a red light for example, would generally not be at fault.  From the perspective of the first car, he would have a claim against both the second and third car for his or her injuries.

Of course, every case is unique and has to be judged on its individual merits.  In order to evaluate these cases, a jury will listen to the testimony of the drivers of the car, any passengers, any witnesses and the policeman (although his testimony would be limited to only what he saw, not to any conversations with the drivers; see the accident report privilege blog from earlier) and to look at pictures of the cars and the intersection and any other evidence brought in by the parties.

At Drucker Law Offices, the accident lawyer in Boca Raton (also injury attorney in Deerfield Beach, injury lawyer in Pompano, accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale, injury attorney in Hallendale, injury lawyer in Hollywood, accident lawyer in Miramar, accident attorney in Pembroke Pines, injury lawyer in Plantation, accident attorney in Davie, accident lawyer in Tamarac, accident lawyer in Coral Springs, injury attorney in Parkland, accident lawyer in Lauderhill, injury attorney in Lauderdale Lakes, injury lawyer in Margate, accident lawyer in Coconut Creek) helps to analyze all injury cases including three car rear end collisions.  If you or a loved one has any questions about an injury case, please call the Boca Raton office 561-483-9199 or the Coral Springs satellite office 954-755-2120 or the Miami office 305-981-1561.

Rear End Collisions – who is at fault from the accident attorney office

One of the most common types of two-car, car accidents is the rear end collisions accident.  A common question the injury lawyer in Boca Raton (also accident attorney in Delray Beach, injury attorney in Boynton Beach, accident attorney West Palm Beach, personal injury lawyer Deerfield Beach, accident lawyer Coral Springs, injury attorney Fort Lauderdale) gets in car accidents cases is whether the car from behind is automatically at fault. 

In Florida, there is a presumption that in a two car rear end collision, the car from behind is at fault.  This means that the jury should presume the car from behind is at fault unless there is other evidence that rebuts the presumption.  There are several ways to rebut the presumption; for example, if the car in front comes to an abrupt and sudden stop, without purpose, this could rebut the presumption.  Another obvious presumption would be that if there was some evidence that the car in front put the car in reverse and in fact struck the car in back, then that would arguably rebut the presumption.  Often, in these cases, there is a difference in the testimony from the two parties.  The car in front says they came to a normal stop and the car from behind says the car in front came to a sudden and abrupt stop and thus the jury has to decide who is at fault.

In most rear end collisions, one car is stopped at a light or at a stop sign or in traffic and the car from behind is not paying attention and strikes the car from behind.  In these scenarios, which is likely the majority of these cases, there is agreement as to who is at fault and the presumption holds that the car from behind is at fault. 

To sum up, in most cases the car from behind is at fault in a rear end collision case.  There usually is agreement between the parties about who is at fault.  There is a presumption under Florida law that the car from behind is at fault but this presumption is rebuttable.  Thus, fault is not automatic but instead is presumed but the presumption can be rebutted by evidence like the car in front abruptly stopped without purpose or that the car in front backed into the car from behind. 

If you have been in an accident and would like advice regarding your rear end collision car wreck or another type of accident, please feel free to call Drucker Law Offices at 561-483-9199.  The injury attorney in Boca Raton (also injury lawyer in Deerfield beach, accident attorney in Pompano, injury lawyer in Boynton Beach, accident attorney in Kendall, Florida) will be glad to answer any questions that you may have regarding your automobile accident case or other injury case.

The accident report privilege – thoughts from the Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs personal injury attorney

In my experiences as a personal injury attorney in Boca (also accident attorney in Delray Beach, injury lawyer in Boynton Beach, injury attorney in West Palm Beach, accident attorney in Miami, accident lawyer in Kendall, injury attorney in Dadeland area), more often than not, there is agreement as to who is the cause of an accident.  In the most common type of car accident, a rear end collision accident usually the person who hits the other from behind agrees that he or she is at fault. 

However, there are many accidents where the parties are in disagreement as to how it happened.  In some of these accidents, the police describe the accident but do not make a determination as to who caused the accident.  The reason for this may be because there are no witnesses and no way to determine who is at fault. In other accidents, for one reason or another, the police actually cites one car as the cause of the accident.  In those cases, I commonly get calls asking the question above:  if I was found at fault by the policeman, is there any way to fight this to recover monies for my injuries from the other insurance company. 

Florida Statute section 316.066 is called the accident report privilege statute.  This statute makes it that any statements made by someone to the police investigating a crash is inadmissible in a civil case and further the report cannot be used as evidence in a civil proceeding also.  Thus, even though the police find one party at fault in a police report, in terms of presenting a case to a jury, this finding would not be able to be used in a civil court case.  

As a result of this statute, the police report is far from final in terms of determining who is at fault in an accident.  Using common sense, policeman investigate accidents regularly and likely are correct in finding accidents, as they have had the opportunity to talk to the parties involved in the accident and any witnesses.  But in the case where the policeman does not understand the accident or misunderstands a witness or just makes a mistake in finding fault against one party, there would be recourse for the person who thinks they were wrongfully found at fault in an accident from the standpoint of pursuing an injury case with an accident lawyer. 

If you have been involved in an accident, please call the accident attorney, injury lawyer for a free consultation regarding your car accident case.  Drucker Law Offices handles cases in Palm Beach County – Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Loxahatchee, Wellington, Broward County – Deerfield Beach, Pompano, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Margate, Lauderhill, Parkland; and Miami-Dade County – Miami, Aventura, Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Coral Ridge, Homestead, South Miami, and Coral Gables.

Comparative fault in a Premises Liability Case – A Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer perspective

In the last blog, I discussed premises liability and specifically slip and falls and trip and falls accidents cases.  I am trying to give this from an injury lawyer from Boca Raton perspective or an injury lawyer from Sunrise perspective, etc.  We, the accident attorney and staff, handle these slip and fall cases that happen in all of Broward county– whether it is Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek, Margate, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Cooper City, Oakland Park or Fort Lauderdale.  We, the injury attorney and staff, also handle cases in Palm Beach – Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, etc. and Miami-Dade Counties – Miami, Kendall, Aventura, Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Homestead, Coral Ridge, South Miami, Coral Gables, Pine Crest, etc. 

When people fall and are injured, and assuming a jury later finds that the landowner or business is negligent for the fall, the question commonly raised by the defense is that the injured person is also at fault for the fall.  This is called comparative fault.  

The general argument made by defense counsel is that the plaintiff bears the burden of caring for themselves and they were negligent in doing so which caused the injury.  With a liquid on the ground type of case the defense position would be:  look the liquid was right there in front of the plaintiff and had they simply looked to the ground, they would have seen it and avoided it.  Let’s say that someone goes to a business and there is a leaky air conditioner that the business owner has known about but has not fixed.  If the plaintiff falls in that liquid on the ground, this would generally make for a pretty strong negligence liability case against that business owner.  If a jury in court would find that the business owner was negligent, the next question would be whether they also find that the injured person was also at fault (comparatively at fault) for the fall.  If the jury would answer that question also in the affirmative, then they would have to apportion fault between the two parties, i.e. x percentage to one party and x percentage to the other party and the numbers must equal 100 percent.  So a jury could find 10 percent on the injured party and 90 percent on the business owner, or it could find 90 percent on the injured party and 10 percent on the business owner.

How does this comparative fault generally work out in a slip and fall case?  Generally, if the injured persons damages are $50,000.00 between medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering and the jury found that the plaintiff was 10 percent comparatively at fault, then the jury award would be reduced by 10 percent and the judgment would be for $45,000.00.  On the other hand, if the jury found plaintiff was 90 percent comparatively at fault, then the jury award would be reduced by 90 percent and the judgment would be for $5,000.00, and so forth. 

In working on these cases, trying cases and reading jury verdicts, it is very common for juries to find comparative fault in slip and fall cases as usually the thing that the injured person is falling on is not hidden and right in front of them, so the argument that if they would just look down is very persuasive to juries and hence you see this type of findings by juries.  Usually, the counter-argument to this defense position is that when the client is in the business, the business is usually doing things to encourage their customers to look around the store, like sales signs and so forth.  Also, people generally do not look to the floor when they walk and they generally assume the area inside a business is safe to walk without slipping and falling.

All of these examples are of course very case specific and every case needs to be legally analyzed, by an injury attorney  or an accident attorney, as there may be specific laws that apply to a certain case.  At Drucker Law Offices, the injury lawyer analyzes slip and fall cases as well as trip and fall cases for the client and he helps them get compensated for their injuries.  Drucker Law Offices handles these cases in Broward– whether it is Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Coconut Creek, Margate, Lauderhill, Wston, North Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Oakland Park or Fort Lauderdale; Palm Beach – Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Manalapan, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, etc.; and Miami-Dade Counties – Miami, Kendall, Aventura, Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Coconut Grove, Homestead, Coral Ridge, South Miami, Coral Gables, Pine Crest, etc,  If you have any questions, please feel free to call the accident lawyer today at 561-483-9199 (Boca Raton Principal office) or 954-755-2120 (Coral Springs satellite office) or 305-981-5393 (Miami Satellite office).

do you win case solely because you fall – Accident lawyer discussion

Slip and Fall accidents happpen in people homes, in local businesses, in strip malls business, in retail mall outlets and essentially at any property.  The accident attorney can help when someone is injured in a fall where there is liablity against the landowner/land occupier.  This injury lawyer handles cases in Boca Raton, Florida, Delray, Boynton Beach and many other cities where clients are injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall case.  The practice is located in South Florida meaning the tri-county area.  This area of law is called premises liability, meaning liability of the landlowner or occupier of someone that is on those premises.

The first thing that is important to understand in this area of law is that Florida law is clear that the owner or occupier of property is not automatically responsibly just because someone is injured on the property.   This seems to be one of the most common misconceptions of this area of law.  People believe that SOLELY because they were injured on the property, that business owes them for medical bills and so forth.  This injury lawyer on this site who practices in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach and other cities as referenced on the website can tell you that the law states, generally, that negligence must be proven before a business owes someone for medical bills, pain and suffering, etc.  For example, if someone trips on their own shoe laces at a business and thus it is the person’s fault as opposed to the fault of the business, they would generally not have a case to recover money resulting for that fall.

People ask this accident attorney from Boca Raton, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach if there is water or some liquid on the floor, does that mean that the business owes them for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. and again the answer is maybe.  If the water is leaking from a refrigerator or air conditioner that the business knew about, then this would be a strong case for liability against the business.  However, if there is videotape (and nowadays video is very common) and if two minutes before the person fell, another customer spilled some liquid on the floor and this is what caused the fall, then this would be a much more difficult case.  The reason this case would be more difficult is that, as against the business, they would be able to argue that there was nothing that could be done to prevent the accident and therefore they are not liable.  In general, fall cases on transient liquids are “failure to warn” cases, unless it can be shown that the business or one of it’s employees put the liquid on the ground, knew about it or the liquid came from an air conditioner in the business, etc.  So if the video would show that the spill was just a few minutes before the fall, then it would be hard for the injured person to argue that the business “failed to warn” as likely it would be determined that there was not enough time for them to warn.

Another issue in the slip and fall cases is what is known as comparative fault, which is the legal position that while the defendant (landowner or business in the cases I am discussing here) is at fault, the plaintiff (the injured person) is also at fault and thus fault should be apportioned.  I will discuss this issue further in another post, so please look out for other posts on comparative fault.

There is obviously a lot of information here and of course every injury case is unique.  The injury lawyer on this site offers free consultations on accident cases like the ones described above and for car accident cases.   Attorney Gary Drucker handles cases in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Delray as well as other cities as discussed on the main page.  The office works on a contingency fee basis which means that lawyer fees and costs are only charged if money is recovered for clients. This advise is based on Florida law and other states laws may vary significantly from Florida.

Pedestrian Accidents

Have you been injured as a pedestrian crossing the street?  Are you looking for a pedestrian injury lawyer that will give you the personal attention that your case deserves?  If so, you have found the right law firm.  Drucker Law Offices is focused on giving its clients personal attention and that is the basis of the motto: “Personal Injury Deserves Personal Attention.”. Call us today for a FREE consultation. The firm does not collect attorney fees or costs unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor.

A staggering number of pedestrian accidents happen each year. More often than not, they involve children and are usually the fault of a negligent driver. Victims of pedestrian accidents can rely on Drucker Law Offices to thoroughly investigate their case and pursue fair compensation from those who were at fault. Attorney Gary Drucker is dedicated to upholding the legal rights of injured individuals. He can help make sense out of the complex legal issues that surround these types of accident. When drivers do not pay attention to the road, fail to stop at pedestrian crossings, or ignore road signs and speed, they put the lives of children and loved ones in danger. Drivers may be distracted by cell phone or smart phone use or simply not see a pedestrian crossing the street. However, when drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risk of hitting a pedestrian is considerably increased.

Pedestrian accidents can result in significant injury and even death and can cause some of the most devastating types of personal injury, including severe head injury, injuries to the limbs and spinal cord, in addition to the emotional distress incurred by victims and their families.

Drivers are responsible for being aware of their surroundings, obeying road signs and speed limits, and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol while operating a vehicle. However, many drivers do not follow these rules and regulations. What can result is the serious injury or death of an innocent pedestrian. Pedestrians who are injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver are entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering.

Victims of pedestrian accidents should seek legal representation from experienced personal injury attorneys in order to pursue fair compensation for their injuries. Drucker Law Offices is devoted to the well being and financial stability of clients. Let Gary Drucker represent you or your loved one.

Victims of pedestrian accidents can rely on him to pursue compensation from those who are responsible for their injuries. Contact Drucker Law Offices today for a free evaluation. A free initial consultation is provided for clients who have been injured as a result of pedestrian accidents. The contract is a contingency fee contract so clients only pay a lawyer fee if the case is satisfactorily resolved.

Ship & Boating Accidents

Have you been injured in a ship or boating accident?  Are you looking for a boat accident lawyer that will give you the personal attention that your case deserves?  If so, you have found the right law firm.  Drucker Law Offices is focused on giving its clients personal attention and that is the basis of the motto: “Personal Injury Deserves Personal Attention.”. Call us today for a FREE consultation. The firm does not collect attorney fees or costs unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor.

Ship and boating accidents have become more common as there are more boats using the waterways and the cruise industry has expanded. Unfortunately, there are too many circumstances where injuries are suffered as a result of other’s negligence on a ship or while boating. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed to recover damages. Attorney Gary J. Drucker can assist you if you or a loved one has been involved in a nautical accident.

Boat accidents can occur with jet-skis, on other pleasure boats, or on cruise ships. These cases require an understanding of maritime law as well as personal injury law. Drucker Law Offices handles many cases involving such claims, and the attorney is very familiar with the specific issues raised by nautical and maritime laws and regulations.

Some boating accidents can result in serious injuries and can even prove fatal. Given the serious nature of such accidents, it is important to have an attorney handle your case to analyze medical records and any eye witness accounts of the incident very carefully. Attorney Gary J. Drucker will fight diligently for your legal rights.

The attorney works on a contingency basis. That means you will not pay any attorney’s fees unless a recovery is made in your case.

Vehicle Rollover & Tire Defects

Unfortunately, rollover accidents have become all too common. Attorney Gary Drucker will fight for you if you or a loved one suffered as a result of a vehicle rollover.

Apart from vehicle rollovers, another contributing factor to fatal motor vehicle accidents involves defective tires. Manufacturing defects such as poor adhesion and unsanitary manufacturing facilities can contribute to the separation of tire tread and other potential dangers. Drucker Law Offices can assist you if you or a loved one has been injured due to defective tires.

If you have sustained injury due to a vehicle rollover, a tire defect, or any other form of car accident, Gary Drucker will fight diligently for your rights.

If you or someone you know has been inured due to defective tires or a vehicle rollover, Drucker Law Offices can assist you. A free initial consultation is provided for clients who have been injured as a result of a vehicle rollovers and tire defects. The contract is a contingency fee contract so clients only pay a lawyer fee if the case is satisfactorily resolved.

Vehicle Rollovers & Tire Defects

Construction Site Injuries

Have you been injured on a construction site?  Are you looking for a construction site accident attorney that will give you the personal attention that your case deserves?  If so, you have found the right law firm.  Drucker Law Offices is focused on giving its clients personal attention and that is the basis of the motto: “Personal Injury Deserves Personal Attention.”. Call us today for a FREE consultation. The firm does not collect attorney fees or costs unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor.

Construction sites are dangerous places and serious accidents can happen, regardless of the strict safety standards that most construction companies follow.  In addition to endangering the safety of the workers at construction sites, hazardous conditions can also injure passersby. If you have been injured in a construction accident, Drucker Law Offices can help to pursue compensation from those responsible for the conditions that led to your injuries.

Unfortunately, construction site injuries are not uncommon and can occur in a variety of ways. These are just a few of the potential ways someone can become injured at a construction site:

– Slip and falls
– Roofing accidents
– Misuse of tools
– Defective equipment
– Falling objects
– Electrical accidents
– Misuse of safety restraints
– Power tool mishaps
– Fires and explosions
– Scaffolding accidents
– Being struck by operating equipment
– Welding accidents

When construction accidents occur, they are often caused by the negligence of those responsible for the safety of the site, including contractors, site supervisors, and property owners. Construction companies need to do their job by having sites checked by safety inspectors for potentially hazardous materials, surfaces, and equipment. Sadly, inspectors may overlook some issues and allow construction to take place on a site that is hazardous to a worker’s safety as well as the safety of bystanders. Thus, many companies put their workers and innocent bystanders in danger and the result can be serious injury or even death.

There are many different areas of law that construction accidents may be covered under, depending on the circumstances involved. If you have lost a loved one due to injuries sustained in a construction accident, Drucker Law offices can assist you in filing a wrongful death lawsuit When defective equipment is to blame for injuries, the manufacturers of the faulty equipment may be held liable under product liability laws. Attorney Gary Drucker can help you make sense of the issues surrounding construction site injuries. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a construction accident, he can review your case.

Construction site accidents often result in debilitating and life changing injuries. These serious injuries may require years of therapy and medical treatment and cause permanent disabilities that prevent the victims from returning to work. Gary Drucker can help you pursue compensation from those responsible to help pay for pain and suffering, present and future medical bills, and lost wages.

The legal issues surrounding a construction accident can be complicated. Gary Drucker has experience litigating a variety of construction site accident cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact the office to review your case.
A free initial consultation is provided for clients who have been injured at construction sites. The contract is a contingency fee contract so clients only pay a lawyer fee if the case is satisfactorily resolved.