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Sarasota Florida Construction Law And Personal Injury Blog

Drive safe in construction zones

Construction zones can increase the risk of accidents and injuries in Florida. Not only do these work zones have workers in close proximity to drivers, but there are typically lane changes, narrowed lanes and speed reductions that can take drivers by surprise if they are not paying attention. Drivers must stay alert and follow certain safety tips so everything remains accident and injury free.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, an average of 40,000 people receive injuries and 880 people die every year from crashes in construction zones. In regard to fatalities, they occur most frequently during summer and fall, they mostly occur on roads with speeds greater than 50 mph and drivers are most commonly the victims. Other accidents are typically due to rear-end crashes.

Holding subcontractors responsible for their work

When subcontractors are hired to work on a job in Florida, they are often given a range of flexibility in which to complete their work with little to no supervision from the job's overseer. However, making sure that these individuals and companies are upholding their portion of the agreement and are completing high-quality work within the parameters that have been set, is an object that is best achieved with the implementation of a signed contract. 

Chron says that subcontractors have rights that allow them to have access to a working environment that is free of hazards. Just as the general contractor is entitled to sue for damages, subcontractors can also file a formal legal claim if they feel that the general contractor has broken the contract. The companies chosen as subcontractors should uphold a superior standard of work as it will reflect back on the general contractor and their company's reputation. 

Seasonal allergies and the risk of a motorcycle accident

Motorcyclists may find themselves in an accident for many reasons, from a driver’s inebriated state of mind to weather conditions that impact the road. At certain times of year, such as the spring and summer, people in some parts of the country have a very hard time with seasonal allergies. Not only can these allergies result in very uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, nasal drip and sneezing, but they can also make a motorcycle accident more likely. As a result, it is important for motorcyclists to be aware of these risks, even if they do not struggle with allergies themselves.

Some motorcyclists may have an especially difficult time with allergies due to their level of exposure to pollen while riding a motorcycle. Allergies can interfere with one’s ability to operate a motorcycle (or any other type of vehicle) and make a crash more likely. Someone who struggles with allergies may be fatigued due to sleep loss, or their symptoms may distract them from the road. Moreover, many people turn to medication and some of these drugs can result in drowsiness.

Did you find a construction defect in your new Florida home?

There’s nothing quite like walking into a new home and dreaming of all the ways you can use its space. When the walls are clear and there’s nothing staunching the flow of sunlight, the home isn’t empty—it’s full of promise. But many new Florida homeowners have seen those promises betrayed.

As the Herald-Tribune recently reported, construction defects gave Pulte homeowners all kinds of problems. The substandard application of stucco led to cracks, delamination, wood rot, mold and even collapsing walls. The state stood up for the homeowners’ concerns in a lawsuit that was recently settled, and they’re now able to file for reimbursement. But what about the rest of us?

Common types of construction defects

If you're taking on a construction project, such as building a new home, you hope that everything goes as planned from beginning to end. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, as a variety of construction defects can get in the way.

Generally speaking, there are four categories of construction defects:

  • Design defects: This comes into play when an engineer or architect makes an error when designing the building or key component. For example, a flawed roof design could result in interior and/or exterior water damage.
  • Material defects: A material defect is related to the use of a damaged or defective building material. For example, the use of "Chinese drywall" affected hundreds of thousands of people in the early 2000s.
  • Construction defects: Related to poor quality workmanship, you may require the help of a home inspector to better understand what went wrong. Common types of construction defects include damaged electrical wires and improper installation of a plumbing system.
  • Operational defects: Until your construction project is finished, it's the responsibility of the builder to maintain the structure. Neglecting to do so can result in damage to the home, thus causing problems in the future.

Recovering from a crash as a bodybuilder

Motor vehicle collisions can be devastating for anyone, but for some people, such as competitive bodybuilders or those who spend a lot of time working on their physique, an accident can be especially devastating. For example, a bodybuilder may be forced to drop out of a competition that they were preparing for, and they may have put months or even years of effort into preparing for the event. Unfortunately, a devastating accident injury can derail these plans and leave victims unable to keep working out.

If you like to work out regularly, an auto accident may set you back and hinder your progress moving forward. You may be able to recover from the crash and restore your abilities through hard work and dedication, but some people are never able to fully recover from the consequences of a motor vehicle collision. For example, some people become immobilized for the rest of their life as a result of a devastating crash, and others may never be able to use their body in certain ways again after suffering a back injury, neck injury or some other serious injury.

Detailing your duty of care

You certainly do not want anyone to be hurt in your home or on your property in Sarasota to be hurt, so you likely do all that is needed to protect whoever you invite to enter. Yet many have come to members of our team here at Dana J. Watts Attorney at Law questioning what liability they may have (if any) for injuries incurred by trespassers on their lands. The last thing that you want to have to deal with is a civil action launched by one who was never supposed to be on your land in the first place, so understanding the duty of care you owe to trespassers is vitally important. 

Florida's state statutes recognize two classes of trespasser: discovered and undiscovered. An undiscovered trespasser is one who presence you do not discover until 24 hours has passed from the time of the accident they suffer on your property. State law says that you cannot be held liable for any injuries they suffer while on your property, nor are you required to warn them of any potential dangers on your land (you cannot, however, act in a way that causes them injury). 

Driver runs red light in Moore Haven, kills 2

Despite news of car accidents in Sarasota being fairly common, most likely assume that such an incident may never happen to them. They may believe that by obeying the rules of the road and practicing defensive driving strategies, they will be able to avoid car accidents altogether. While there is something to be said about how safe driving translates to a general increased sense of safety on the road, people cannot plan for the actions of others, and all it takes is one negligent or careless driver to involve others in accidents that they not only may have never thought they would be a part of, but also could have not comprehended the extent of damages they might face. 

This fact was on full display in a collision that recently occurred in Moore Haven. Two local resident were traveling in their car when it struck by a vehicle that ran a red light. Sadly, both were killed in the accident. It was not reported whether the driver of the vehicle that ran the red light (a Texas resident) was injured in the collision. Authorities are still investigating the accident, yet no charges have been filed. 

What is the dangerous instrumentality doctrine?

Given the number of vehicles occupying Sarasota's roads, car accidents are bound to occur. That does not absolve one of the responsibility to drive safely and demonstrate a concern for others. If you happen to be involved in an accident with a driver, your frustration over the entire situation may be compounded if it is discovered that the they had a history of poor driving. Your surprise over how such a person was even allowed behind the wheel may be equaled only by your concern over who might have entrusted them with a vehicle in the first place. 

This latter thought may lead you to wonder whether it is possible to assign liability to the third party who loaned the vehicle to the driver who caused your accident. Florida subscribes to a legal principle known as "the dangerous instrumentality doctrine," which states that anyone who allows a person access to their vehicle may be held liable for any damages or injuries the one to whom the vehicle was loaned causes. 

Protect your business from premises liability claims

Most business owners in Florida already know that a slip-and-fall may result in insurance claims and a potential lawsuit. While this is the most commonly known illustration of premises liability, there is more to keeping commercial property safe than just reducing falls.

Forbes reminds business owners that whether or not a business owns or leases the property they operate on, they are responsible for everyone who enters that property. In fact, even trespassers may have some rights.

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