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Posts made in March, 2013

Circuit Court Finds New Florida PIP Law Unconstitutional

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

Finding that the new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law passed by the Florida Legislature last summer exceeds “the outer limits of constitutional tolerance”, a Leon County Circuit Court judge issued a temporary injunction against enforcement of sections of the law that apply to “emergency medical conditions” as prerequisites for payments and payment of services to chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists. Click here for a copy of the Court’s Order. As referenced by Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, PIP has always been justified as a “reasonable alternative” to every citizen’s common law right to redress against the driver responsible for causing the citizen’s damages. The argument was that since PIP guaranteed certain payments for medical bills and lost wages — regardless of fault – this was a fair trade for not being able to seek damages, or the full measure of one’s damages, against a negligent driver. As I discuss much more fully in my book, The Clever Client’s Guide To: Avoiding Disaster Under the 2013 PIP Law, the Florida Legislature passed a major revision of PIP, significantly reducing benefits based upon the particular diagnosis made by a doctor following a car accident, as well as completely eliminating medical payments to certain kinds of medical providers (chiropractors, massage therapists, etc.) Apparently, Judge Lewis felt that these changes were too significant for the current PIP framework to represent a “reasonable alternative”. Governor Rick Scott and the State Insurance Commissioner’s office have vowed to appeal Judge Lewis’ decision. In the meantime, it appears that the political will to keep PIP in Florida may be waning, and a system of mandatory bodily injury liability coverage in Florida may be on its way. Florida is one of only 13 or so states that still have a PIP system. It will definitely be interesting to see how this story develops. If you have any questions about a Florida car accident, Florida automobile insurance, or PIP benefits, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Sneeze Seems Like Feeble Excuse In Flagler Wrongful Death Bicycle Crash

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

Sneeze Seems Like Feeble Excuse In Flagler Wrongful Death Bicycle Crash

As a lawyer who has handled Florida car accident cases for nearly 20 years, it is easy to think, “I’ve seen it all.” However, every time that I think I’ve heard of every possible excuse for why a driver has caused a car accident, an explanation comes along that surprises me. The latest excuse comes from a story on ClickOrlando.com and involves a Flagler County accident where a bicyclist was tragically killed after being hit by a car. Apparently Frederick Martinez was riding in his bike eastbound – in the bicycle lane – on Highway 100, near Old Kings Road. As Mr. Martinez rode his bike, a van driving in the same direction apparently veered into the bicycle lane and hit him. Mr. Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene. The attached photo shows that Highway 100 has a wide shoulder/bike lane, and more than enough room for a bicyclist to expect safe riding. Apparently, the driver of the van attributed his causing the wrongful death of Mr. Martinez to a sneeze. Although I do not have any statistics on how often drivers sneeze while operating their vehicles, it occurs to me that sneezes happen thousands and thousands of times each day without causing accidents. It also occurs to me that if the van driver had been giving Mr. Martinez the three feet of safe passing distance that is required of cars overtaking bicycles under Florida law, he might have had enough time to sneeze, recover, and still avoid causing the wrongful death of Mr. Martinez. I don’t know who the van driver is, or anything about him, but this sneeze explanation rings hollow to me. Our hearts go out to Mr. Martinez’ family, and we hope that the van driver accepts responsibility for the tragedy he has caused. If you have questions following a Florida automobile or bicycle accident, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Where Was Lifeguard When 13-Year Old Was Drowning In Disney Pool

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Theme Park Accidents

Where Was Lifeguard When 13-Year Old Was Drowning In Disney Pool

So this is how it begins in 2013… I was so sad to read on WESH.com that the 13-year old Missouri boy who was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at the Disney Pop Century Resort was pronounced dead.  Of course it is always tragic whenever a child is lost.  The loss of a child is probably the most devastating experience that a family can go through.  As an Orlando accident attorney who handles child drowning cases, I fear that this is only the beginning of the tragedies that we’ll see in Central Florida this year with drowning accidents. In our experience, drowning accidents are almost always preventable.  In a typical residential drowning case, invariably access to the pool is the issue.  Someone has usually left a sliding door or gate unlocked, and a small child has made his or her way into the pool area. Sometimes it is attractive pool toys left in plain sight of a toddler, and the toys are just too tempting. A resort pool drowning is a bit more unusual. Most of the large resorts, and particularly the ones run by the theme parks such as Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, feature life guards on duty throughout the day.  I know that there is a lifeguard stand in place at the Pop Century pool.  The story on WESH.com failed to mention any involvement, or even the existence of a lifeguard at the Pop Century Resort at the time of this child’s drowning, but a separate media outlet reported that the child had been swimming after lifeguards had already gone home for the day.  As we are currently in prime Spring Break vacation time here in Florida, and there are a huge number of kids wanting to use the swimming pools, I wonder if lifeguards should have been left on duty until later in the evening. Hopefully this family from Missouri has received satisfactory answers from Walt Disney World on this issue. As a father of four children myself, I cannot imagine what they are going through. If you have any questions regarding a Florida drowning accident or wrongful death, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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