I just had a frustrating experience with one of our personal injury clients, and thought I might use the experience as an opportunity to explain an aspect of personal injury cases that many people never consider. Today’s frustration arose when my client failed to show up for her deposition. There was no late night email, or early morning phone call, or any warning provided that she wasn’t going to be there. When the time for the deposition to commence came and went, there was still no phone call, text, or any notice given by our client that she wasn’t going to be there. After the insurance company’s lawyer, the court reporter, and I set there staring at each other for a while, I asked my office to call the client. Our client answered the phone comfortably after the first ring. She wasn’t rushed, or hurrying to the deposition. She wasn’t on her way at all. The only explanation given was, “I totally forgot about it [the deposition].” This, despite the fact that we had provided her with a copy of the Notice of Deposition, emailed copies of documents to review to her, and had a comprehensive pre-deposition preparation session the week before the deposition. Nevertheless – “I totally forgot.” I am a reasonable person. I understand that people generally have a lot of things going on in their lives, and that they might forget to meet a friend for lunch, or to run by the dry cleaners on the way home from work. But most people only have one personal injury lawsuit pending at any given time. Personal injury lawsuits necessarily involve one side asking the other side to give them money. The side being asked to pay the money doesn’t really want to pay it, and in fact will go to great lengths NOT to pay it. Our legal systemplaces the burden on the Plaintiff (the party requesting the money) to prove to the other side, or a jury, why any money should change hands at all, and if so, how much. Defendants (the parties being asked to pay money) take a huge number of variables into account when deciding whether to pay, or how much to pay. In other words, they essentially sit in judgment of the Plaintiff — about fault, and medical bills, for example. In addition, Defendants (usually via insurance companies and their lawyers) are also judging the Plaintiff on other factors perhaps less directly related to their accident. For example, in determining whether to pay, or how much to pay, Defendants ask these kinds of questions, “What kind of person is the Plaintiff?” “Is the Plaintiff trustworthy?” “Is the Plaintiff the kind of person a jury will like, or relate to?” “What kind of appearance does the Plaintiff make?” “Is the Plaintiff taking this case seriously, and will that be conveyed to a jury?” “Is...Read More »
Who Was Responsible For Security In Orlando Nightclub Parking Lot Where 20-year Old Man Shot and Killed?
A 20-year old man was found by law enforcement lying in a pool of blood, dead from a gunshot wound suffered in a shopping plaza in the Pine Hills area of Orlando last weekend. The parking lot belonged to the Mandarin Plaza, a shopping center that features two nightclubs, the Scorpion and Santa Fe Nightclubs. According to the report, law enforcement is concerned that trouble that began inside one of the clubs spilled out into the parking lot. Importantly, it was also noted that this parking lot was the scene of a shooting just last year. What was not reported in the media story is the fact that over the last several years there have been a significant number of shootings and violent acts in various bars and nightclubs within just one mile of where this murder occurred. We know because our firm has been involved in representing at least two of the shooting victims and their families. It seems beyond belief that the people who operate these bars and nightclubs, and/or the property owners who lease these properties to the club operators, don’t realize how dangerous this area truly is. Businesses, and even landlords, can be held liable if their customers are victimized in ways that are foreseeable to the business operators and owners. In this instance, these business owners and property owners either know, or should know, that invitees get shot, stabbed, and otherwise assaulted in this area regularly. As a result, these businesses have a duty to take reasonable measures to keep the area reasonably safe for patrons. This might entail hiring security guards (or more security guards), enhancing lighting, installing video surveillance (or more, better video surveillance). If steps like these are not taken, and people get killed in these foreseeable attacks, businesses can be held liable for negligent security. It will be interesting to see how this story develops. Did one of the nightclubs in this plaza simply dump a bunch of angry, gun-toting, patrons on the sidewalk and hope that things would be okay? Did the shopping plaza have a visible security presence in the parking lot? The family of the dead 20-year deserves answers to these kinds of questions. If you have any questions regarding a potential Orlando negligent security case, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...Read More »
Three young ladies who were hit as pedestrians by a drunk driver while crossing Garland Avenue in downtown Orlando over the weekend would probably be well-served by dragging out their automobile insurance policies and starting to study them. According to a story on the WFTV.com website, Alyshia Lemons, Deniece Gilbert, and Dawn Williams were crossing Garland Avenue on their way to a birthday celebration last weekend when Mohammed Kais came speeding down Garland and hit all three of them in the middle of the road. Investigating officers say that Mr. Kais’ blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit. Ms. Lemons, Ms. Gilbert, and Ms. Williams need to know that they are each probably entitled to assorted insurance benefits from a couple of different sources. First, assuming that they can prove that Mr. Kais was negligent, each of the ladies would have a liability claim against him for damages. They will each have to hope that he carried bodily injury liability coverage on this insurance policy because his having insurance makes it much more likely that they will be able to recover money for their injuries. In addition, because he was drunk, each lady might have a claim for punitive damages against Mr. Kais, although his insurance company will not cover these damages which makes collecting from him much more difficult. In addition, in the short term, each lady would be entitled to Personal Injury Protection benefits (also called “PIP) – either under their own car insurance policies, or from Mr. Kais’ if that particular young lady did not own a car. This PIP coverage will pay 80% of the first $10,000.00 of medical expenses incurred by each lady. Last, If Mr. Kais did not have liability insurance, or enough liability insurance to properly compensate each of the ladies, each of them could also assert an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist claim under their own automobile insurance policies. This coverage can pay for unpaid medicals and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering and other intangible damages. Alternatively, each of these ladies could elect to speak with an experienced Florida automobile accident attorney, who should be able to help navigate through what can be a very confusing process for the average layperson. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident, call Winter Park accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or get a FREE copy of their informative book, Asleep At The Wheel – 13 Mistakes the Insurance Company Desperately Hopes You Will Make After Your Florida Car Accident by visiting...Read More »