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Sarasota Florida Construction Law And Personal Injury Blog

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.

Young children and pedestrian accidents

There are many different risks that young children face each day, but traffic accidents are especially concerning. Not only do kids face the risk of being involved in a traffic crash while riding in a vehicle (especially teen drivers), but they may also be hit by a car while walking to school or playing near the road. Moreover, young children may cause traffic crashes if they play in the road or interfere with traffic in some way (such as losing control of a skateboard or sending a ball onto the roadway).

If you are a parent, it is important to help protect your kids, especially if you live near a busy road or your kids frequently find themselves alongside the road for any reason. Some children, especially those who are very young, should not be left unattended. For example, a toddler may walk onto the roadway and a driver may be unable to avoid hitting them.

If you are not trained, can you help on the scene of an accident?

Being in control of a motor vehicle is a tremendous responsibility. You might remember how scary it was to get on the highway the first time as a teenage driver. At the same time, it may have been thrilling.

While it might seem as though you are only responsible for your own vehicle, the greater reality is that you must watch out for others as well. Remaining alert to what is happening around you can potentially help you avoid an accident. It can also make you aware of those who need your help.

What types of autonomous cars are there?

If you are like a lot of people who live in Florida, you have heard much about the development of self-driving cars. Whether or not you are supportive of these vehicles, it is wise to gain an understanding of them as it is likely they will be implemented more and more in the coming years.

One thing you should know is that all vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities are not the same. In fact, Techopedia indicates that the Society of Automotive Engineers has identified six distinct levels of autonomy in vehicles. The lowest level is something that might fit the profile of a vehicle 20 years old as the level zero vehicles have absolutely no autonomous capabilities at all. At the other end of the spectrum, level five vehicles are completely automated and would never include the involvement of a human to operate.

What you should know about aggressive driving

Thousands of motorists fill the highways and roadways of Florida on a daily basis. Everyone is rushing to their destination, and a number of people get angry while doing so. According to data released by AAA, nearly 80 percent of drivers across the country admit to driving in an aggressive fashion at some point. Whether you are trying to get home from work or are rushing to get to an important meeting, it can be frustrating to be stuck in traffic. Yet, aggressive driving behaviors can quickly turn deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 56 percent of fatal car accidents involved aggressive driving behaviors. As a way to prevent these catastrophic accidents from occurring, you should be aware of the signs of road rage and know what to do if you see them.

The Insurance Information Institute lists several common road rage behaviors, including the following:

  •          Making improper turns
  •          Erratic lane changing
  •          Speeding
  •          Following too closely
  •          Failing to follow traffic signs and signals
  •          Falling to yield to other drivers’ right of way

How Florida statutes define premises liability

Some people may seem more "accident-prone" than others, but when there are dangerous conditions on someone else's Florida property, you do not have to be uncoordinated to be susceptible to falling. The team at Dana J. Watts, Attorney at Law, often counsels clients about their options for compensation after an injury caused by someone else's negligence.

How do you know if negligence was a factor in your accident? The Florida premises liability statutes explain how you can tell if the property owner's failure to maintain safe conditions makes him or her liable for your damages. 

What are some common causes of construction disputes?

If you are thinking about developing or renovating real estate property in Florida, it’s a good idea to do some research on the construction industry. One good place to start is common causes of construction disputes.

If you have a good relationship with your builder, then you may have already decided that a construction dispute is unlikely. However, knowing the causes of construction disputes can help you tailor your contract, so that the most likely reasons for dispute are mitigated against. With that in mind, here are some of the most common reasons for construction disputes.

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