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Four women from Spain die in Florida car crash

Florida is a major vacation destination, attracting visitors from across the globe. Florida is also a prime place of business, where many people travel for work. "Snowbirds" from the northern states head to Florida when cold weather strikes, to take advantage of the state's mild winter temperatures. And, many people travel to Florida to visit family and loved ones. Unfortunately, an international trip turned deadly for four women from Spain, who were killed in a car crash in the Florida Keys earlier this month.

The car crash occurred on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the women were traveling in a Nissan Rogue in the northbound lane of traffic. They were trying to execute a left-hand turn when a truck transporting portable toilets rear-ended their car, sending it into the southbound lane of traffic. At that point a motor home heading due south struck the right-hand side of the women's vehicle. The force of the collision sent the women's vehicle heading due south, where it eventually struck a tree.

When might a property owner face liability for a fall outdoors?

Florida residents may already understand that a slip-and-fall lawsuit could happen if a person falls down and is injured inside a building, such as a store, hotel or restaurant. However, what they may not know is that slip-and-fall accidents can occur outdoors as well. These accidents could also lead to a premises liability lawsuit, if appropriate.

One issue that could lead to a premises liability lawsuit is inadequate outdoor lighting. Businesses need to make sure that their parking lots and entrances are properly lit. If there are holes, uneven surfaces or cracks in a parking lot or entrance and it is too dark to see these dangers, a person could fall down. Also, if there is inadequate lighting on the steps leading up to the business or the curb surrounding the business and a person trips or falls, that could also lead to injuries. The property owner could face liability if they knew that there was inadequate lighting on their premises or they should have known there was inadequate lighting on their premises, and did nothing to fix it.

Who is allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?

Florida has enacted wrongful death statutes, recognizing the public policy that the losses a person's survivors incur when a wrongful death takes place should be shifted to the wrongdoer.

When a person dies due to another person's wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of warranty or contract, then the person committing the act may be liable for the damages incurred from the death, if the deceased could have brought a lawsuit for damages had death not occurred. This is a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the deceased is no longer around to pursue damages, a wrongful death lawsuit will be brought by a personal representative of the deceased. The personal representative will pursue damages for the benefit of the deceased's survivors.

Help is available in Miami when an insurance policy is violated

When disaster strikes, homeowners in Miami may be very thankful that they have homeowner's insurance. Whether it is a hurricane, a fire, a sinkhole or any other type of property damage, most homeowners expect that since they've been dutifully paying for their insurance policies on time and in full, that these policies will come to the rescue when their home has been damaged or destroyed.

Unfortunately, things aren't always that easy. Insurance companies will sometimes "nitpick" every detail of the claim or drag their feet in processing the claim, in order to lower the amount of compensation the homeowner is due. This may even be the case when a homeowner's claim is valid and should be completely covered. Moreover, sometimes a homeowner's claim is denied outright, leading to further difficulties.

Despite advances in medical field, medication errors persist

We are fortunate to live in the age of modern medicine, when there is medication to treat almost anything. When people in Miami have a headache, they will take an over-the-counter pain killer. If they have high blood pressure, diabetes or even a mental illness, there are prescription medications that can help alleviate these conditions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 82 percent of adults in the United States take one or more types of medications on a daily basis. This means that pharmacists will fill anywhere from 125 to 150 prescriptions daily. However, the physicians prescribing the medication and the pharmacist filling the medication are only human and can make mistakes. This means that medication errors are not uncommon. A person could receive the wrong medication, could receive medication meant for another person, could receive the wrong dosage of a medication or the instructions on the medication bottle could be inaccurate. In addition, some drugs have similar names, causing confusion.

Could self-driving cars reduce the number of car accidents?

While they may have once been the stuff of science fiction, self-driving cars are becoming a reality in Miami and nationwide. One of the hopes of these autonomous vehicles is that they will reduce the number of car accidents. However, are self-driving cars really safer than traditional human-driven vehicles?

According to current statistics, over 90 percent of auto accidents in our nation are due to driver error. One question to ask, though, is does this mean that autonomous vehicles will be less likely to crash than human-driven vehicles? Research needs to be done that would establish the rate of how often vehicles driven by humans and self-driving cars do not crash.

Cruise ship accidents may increase as more ships fail inspections

Many people in Miami may be looking forward to taking a cruise vacation in 2018, but these trips could potentially affect their health. According to a MarketWatch analysis, in 2017 a greater number of cruise ships did not pass health inspections than ever over the course of the past 10 years. This analysis was based on numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, two cruise ships did not pass health inspections. However, in 2017, there were 14 occurrences wherein a cruise ship did not pass a health inspection. In fact, one cruise ship did not pass a health inspection two different times. Moreover, merely 50 percent of the cruise ships that did not pass a health inspection were inspected a second time and passed that second inspection. In comparison, in 2007 and again in 2011 all ships inspected received a passing score.

These periodic, unannounced inspections are part of the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. They take place while the ship is docked at a port in the United States. The ships that fall under the jurisdiction of the Vessel Sanitation Program will be inspected at least twice annually. One to four inspectors will examine the cruise ship to determine whether it is complying with guidelines regarding maintenance, sanitation and other safety and health protocols.

Premises liability and a property owner's duty to trespassers

People may have a "no trespassing" sign posted on the entrance to their property, but this does not always keep trespassers away. And, unfortunately, sometimes a person is injured or killed while trespassing on another's property. When this happens, it is important to understand how premises liability applies to trespassers under Florida law.

A property owner is not civilly liable for trespassers who are injured or killed on their property if the trespasser's blood-alcohol level is at or above 0.08 percent. That being said, a property owner may be liable if he or she was grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in misconduct that was the proximate cause of the trespasser's death or injuries.

How long does one have to file a wrongful death suit in Florida?

The death of a loved one is never easy. Whether a person in Florida died in their sleep in their old age, or whether a person died from a terminal illness, the loved ones left behind must find some way to cope and move forward with their lives.

However, this can be especially difficult if a loved one's death was caused by another person's negligence, and otherwise would have been entirely preventable. For example, a person could be killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. In these situations, the deceased's loved ones are left not only grieving, but they also may suffer financially. After all, they must cope with funeral and burial costs, the costs of any medical care the deceased received before passing away as well as the loss of income the deceased provided. For these reasons, the family of the deceased may want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Two cruise ship accidents in one week

Taking a cruise is an exciting way to spend your hard-earned time off.  Riding on a floating castle and being pampered like royalty sounds amazing, but there are definitely cruise-specific hazards to consider.

Last week it was reported that a woman fell to her death from a balcony while aboard the Carnival ship Elation. The woman fell from her 14th-floor balcony to the 11th-floor deck on the first night of a four-day cruise. Days later another woman was seen falling overboard from another Carnival cruise ship prompting search and rescue efforts. Cruises are supposed to be an escape, but with two accidents within a week from the same cruise company, you may start to worry.