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Just How Bad Can A Slip & Fall Get?

Just How Bad Can A Slip & Fall Get?Some people may look at the idea of slipping and falling, and recall childhood memories of running around in the yard, tripping, and just getting right back up, dusting off, and continuing to play. To some, the idea of a slip and fall is just like spilling milk; a minor mishap. This kind of thinking usually makes most people believe that anyone that wants to enact a personal injury lawsuit for a slip and fall is usually just an opportunistic schemer that’s doing it for the money.

That, unfortunately, shows an incredible lack of empathy and short-sightedness and we’re going to explain why right now.
Every Circumstance Is Different
While the phrase “slip and fall” may appear pretty straightforward, the actual event is anything but. A whole range of different factors can affect the amount of damage a person receives when a slip and fall occurs. On the one hand, if a child running around in a backyard with grass should stumble and fall, while there may be a few scratches, if that, and the damage is not going to be too serious.

On the other hand,... read article

Michael J Babboni

Can You Represent Yourself In A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Can You Represent Yourself In A Personal Injury Lawsuit?One of the things that some people may consider if they become injured is going to court to get a personal injury lawsuit resolved. If you’re in a situation where you know that your injury was not your fault, and that the other party responsible was actually acting irresponsibly at the time, you have every right to do this and, in fact, you should seek damages.

However, some people, especially those who know they have strong evidence on their side, think that if the case is strong enough to easily win, is there even a need for a personal injury lawyer to be involved at all? After all, if the case is going to be a win anyway, what’s the point in having someone argue on your behalf, let alone collect a fee at the end of the trial? If you do it yourself, you can save money.

So is this possible? Can you represent yourself in a lawsuit where you are seeking damages for negligence?
Technically Legal
Is it the right of every American, if they decide to exercise it, to self-represent in court, and a... read article

Michael J Babboni

Criminal Convictions In Civil Cases

If one of the witnesses or parties to a civil trial has a criminal conviction can they be questioned about it? They can – with certain exceptions.

Here’s what Florida’s law says on this subject:

A party may attack the credibility of any witness, including an accused, by evidence that the witness has been convicted of a crime if the crime was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of 1 year under the law under which the witness was convicted, or if the crime involved dishonesty or a false statement regardless of the punishment, with the following exceptions:

Evidence of any such conviction is inadmissible in a civil trial if it is so remote in time as to have no bearing on the present character of the witness.

First off this procedure is called “impeachment.” The evidence of the conviction is allowed into the trial to attack the person’s credibility - not to demonstrate the person has a propensity for certain conduct.

The “remote” part of the law hits on the question – how old is too old? Are you allowed to bring in a 30 year old conviction? No. What about a 20 year old conviction? Probably not. Standards in legal practice have... read article

Michael J Babboni

Memory Loss & Brain Injury

Brain injury is often accompanied by various degrees of memory loss.

Dr. Glen Johnson, Clinical Neuropsychologist, states on his Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide website: “Impaired memory is one of the universal problems of people with head injury. All of my patients have complained about memory problems following their injury.”

Studies of traumatic brain injury cases show the memory loss differs from patient to patient:
- less than 3% experienced no memory loss at all;
- in 6% of cases, post-traumatic amnesia lasted for less than an hour;
- 7% experienced memory loss from an hour to a day;
- 16% between a day and a week;
- 23% between a week and a month; and
- 45% experienced amnesia for longer than a month.

Post-traumatic amnesia is a state of confusion or memory loss that occurs immediately following a traumatic brain injury. The injured person is disoriented and cannot remember the events that occurred after the injury; they may be unable to state their name; where they are, and what the date and/or time is.

The amnesia resulting from a trauma can be either retrograde amnesia or anterograde amnesia or both.

Retrograde amnesia is the loss of memories that were formed shortly before the... read article

Michael J Babboni

Food Poisoning Lawsuits

Let’s say you have dinner at one of your favorite restaurants, or you try the new hot spot downtown, then you come home feeling…not so great. You may have food poisoning. It could be mild, it could be severe. Sometimes people just let it go, never to return to that establishment again; and some people sue the restaurant for negligence.

The challenge with suing a restaurant is proving that the restaurant is directly responsible for causing your illness, especially when some time has passed between the meal and your illness. Often we don’t think we may have food poisoning until several hours later; in the case of a dinner, often not until the next morning. And sometimes we ingest other food between the time we were “poisoned” and when the illness presents itself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food poisoning is the most frequently reported restaurant injury. The CDC reports approximately 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year due to food poisoning. Since most cases of food poisoning cannot be cured by medication, people are often stuck painfully waiting it out; which means missing school or work.

It could also mean lost pay, medical... read article

Michael J Babboni

Florida’s Parasailing Law

Florida’s parasailing law was the first law of its kind in this country to regulate the parasailing industry. It has been in effect since 2014 and it requires Florida parasailing operators to carry a bodily injury liability policy of at least $1 million dollars per occurrence for an annual aggregate amount of $2 million dollars.

The owners/operators are required to have proof of insurance from a state-licensed insurer or eligible surplus lines carrier available at all times. Customers are entitled, upon request, to be provided with the insurer’s name, address and insurance policy number.

Owners/operators of a parasailing vessel must also maintain a valid United States Coast Guard license authorizing them to transport paying customers.

Additionally, the law requires parasailing operations to monitor weather conditions and, under certain circumstances, stop service. Parasailing vessels must now be equipped with a VHF marine transceiver and a separate electronic device capable of receiving National Weather Service forecasts and current weather conditions.

Parasailing is prohibited if currently observed winds reach a sustained wind speed of more than 20 miles per hour, or if wind gusts are 15 miles per hour higher than the sustained wind speed; and if the wind speed during gusts exceeds more than 25 miles... read article

Michael J Babboni

Slip & Fall At The Supermarket

Did you slip and fall at the supermarket during your weekly shop? Sounds like you need our advice.

A spill during your visit to the grocery can leave you in pain, and not knowing what to do next. Supermarket stores have a legal duty of care under the law to their customers. Employees are supposed to be tasked with the duty of manning the store’s floors and aisles to insure the areas are safe. Any spills are supposed to be mopped up promptly; there shouldn’t be debris or obstacles, like boxes, in aisles; and the store is obligated to keep the premises safe for shoppers.

To prove a store was negligent a victim must show it had actual knowledge of the hazard, or that the store had constructive knowledge; meaning, the danger was there long enough that someone exercising ordinary care would have known about it and fixed the problem.
“Clean up in aisle 3!” Ring a bell?

These type of cases fall under premises liability law. The specific law that refers to negligence claims arising from Florida supermarket slip and falls states that:

(1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove... read article

Michael J Babboni

You Can Sue A Drone Operator For Surveillance

You Can Sue A Drone Operator For SurveillanceOne of the more unusual technologies to become declassified and trickle down into general consumer use in the 21st century is unmanned aerial system, better known as a “drone.” These remotely operated flying vehicles were once highly protected military secrets that were used in everything from targeting terrorists to providing military intelligence for plotting an attack strategy. Today, anyone can buy a drone and, after registering it, let it fly through the sky either for recreation, or for commercial purposes.

And while it can be fun to fly a drone for the sheer joy of it, there are certainly are many commercial applications, not the least of which is photography. The ability of the drone to fly in any direction in a steady, stable manner has made it a boon to the photography and cinematography industries. What once required incredibly expensive cranes to hold a camera steady enough to get a high altitude shot can now be done with drones equipped with cameras at a fraction of the cost of a high budget Hollywood production.

This ability of drones to take sharp, steady pictures has been... read article

Michael J Babboni

Be Careful About Being A Good Samaritan

Be Careful About Being A Good SamaritanOne of the things may sometimes happen over the course of a day is that you, as a normal citizen, may encounter an emergency situation. It may be something common, like witnessing a vehicular collision, or it may be something far less conventional, like finding someone that has fallen down a hole, ravine, or other crevice who is in need of help.

In these situations, one of the noble and more admirable things to do would be to offer help. However, there is one thing that any potential rescuer needs to know. Even in an emergency situation like a traffic accident or other mishap, both you as a rescuer and the victims in need of help are entitled to certain legal rights that leave BOTH of you open to a lawsuit, depending on the circumstances. Let’s look at both of these situations now to see what a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg can do for each person in these specific events.
Negligence By The Rescuer
As of 2009, Florida is one of 10 states in the country that has certain provisions in the law that act as... read article

Michael J Babboni

Seat Belts Save Lives

Seat Belts Save LivesIt’s a message that most of us have probably heard all our lives if we grew up in a first world nation like the USA, but it bears repeating throughout our lives because it’s such an important message. Wearing your seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death. Orlando just got another grim demonstration of this.

On February 28, 2017, at the intersection of Metrowest Boulevard and Wilshire Drive, Kiflom Golla was driving east down Metrowest when a truck turned into his path. The vehicles collided and Mr. Golla was not wearing a seatbelt. Because of the speeds of the vehicles involved, he was thrown straight through the windshield of his car and out onto the street. By the time an emergency response had arrived and examined him, he was pronounced dead on the scene.

Unfortunately, the particular details of this story are all too familiar, not just in Florida, but every part of the world where cars are still used. Despite the fact that it takes less than 10 seconds to put on a seatbelt, many people choose not to, because the inconvenience of taking that time is... read article

Michael J Babboni

Can A Lawsuit Be Appealed?

Can A Lawsuit Be Appealed?For anyone that’s watched even a little bit of courtroom drama or reality television centering on courtroom activities, one thing that invariably comes up is the bitterness of the side that loses a judgement. In the majority of cases, the loser of a court case simply has to live with the decision, but often the losing side will make a statement to the affect that they will seek an appeal. So what exactly is an appeal? How does it work, and can it affect a lawsuit where you have been successfully awarded financial compensation for the negligence of someone else?
Arguing For A Second Chance
When a lawyer for the losing side decides to make an appeal, this is basically a call for another trial, hoping for a different result, but this is far from an easy thing to achieve. An appeal doesn’t go through and a second trial commences simply because the loser doesn’t like the result, it doesn’t work that way. The basis of an appeal is for a separate legal body to review the events the occurred in court. They review the trial—such as a personal... read article

Michael J Babboni

What Do You Do If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?

What Do You Do If The Other Driver Is Uninsured?No one enjoys getting into a traffic accident, especially where damage to the car is involved and there’s no way to avoid the expense of repairs. But at the very least, the protocol for handling a traffic accident is very well documented, and, according to the law, drivers are required to have automobile insurance. This means that in the event of an accident it is—at least in theory—up to the insurance companies involved to handle the finances of repair and compensation once blamed has been properly assigned.

However, there is one far more complex and nightmarish scenario that every Florida driver faces, and that is getting into an accident with someone that doesn’t have insurance.
Illegal Driving
Of course, according to the law, all drivers MUST have auto insurance before getting behind the wheel of a car. But in theory, no driver should drive drunk, all drivers must wear seatbelts, and no driver is supposed to text their friends while driving, and all of these things happen despite laws being in place to dissuade these activities. Uninsured drivers are no different and, unfortunately, the state... read article

Michael J Babboni

How Responsible Are You For Your Child’s Actions?

How Responsible Are You For Your Child’s Actions?There is that awkward period of time between your child being too young to really take care of him or herself, and not yet being a legal adult, but wanting the freedoms and ability to choose that an adult has. These are, of course, the teenage years. And while it’s understandable that there’s going to be a bit of tension and soul searching as young people try to define themselves during these years, they are still considered minors by the law until they are 18.

And that means that even though they can get in a car and drive it by the age of 16, they’re still minors behind the wheel of a vehicle. So what happens when a minor gets into a car accident and that minor is at fault?
Your Child, Your Consequences
In the state of Florida, things are pretty simple. As long as your child is still a minor, you face joint legal and financial responsibility for anything that the child does, including traffic accidents or, more embarrassingly, acts of vandalism or assault. In some cases, you may even face more responsibility if... read article

Michael J Babboni

Owning A Pool Isn’t All Fun & Games

Owning A Pool Isn’t All Fun & GamesMaybe you’ve gotten lucky and finally bought a home that already has a swimming pool built into the backyard. Or maybe you’ve worked hard, enjoyed your success and are rewarding yourself by adding value and a little bit of luxury to your home by getting a pool built to your specifications on your property. Whatever the case may be, one of the main goals of owning a swimming pool is to add more rest and relaxation possibilities to your home. Being able to swim in your yard in warm weather all year round is one of the great perks of living in Florida.

But, as with anything in life, once you own something you have certain responsibilities. When it comes to owning a swimming pool, you need to take those responsibilities seriously in order to make sure you avoid an upsetting and unwelcome lawsuit.
Your Guests May Be Your Plaintiffs
All home owners have a legal responsibility that is known as premises liability. This means that you have a legal obligation to ensure that guests at your home have a reasonable degree of safety when they enter... read article

Michael J Babboni

What If You Get Injured Riding A Horse?

What If You Get Injured Riding A Horse?Even though Florida is best known for being the tropical state where boating and sprawling amusement parks like Disneyworld are the things to do and places to go, that’s not the only kind of fun the state affords. That same sunny, mild weather can also make the state a pleasant environment for animals and animal lovers. Equine activities like riding a horse, or even participating in sports like polo are easy to do here in Florida, and many people partake in these more unique forms of recreation. But, just like any form of recreation, there’s no such thing as a 100% risk free activity, and this is especially true when it comes to riding a living form of conveyance, like a horse, that has a mind of its own.
You Are Only In Partial Control
Of course, the biggest hazard when it comes to riding any large animal is the combination of power and autonomy that an animal like a horse has. Despite its size, a horse is not a car, and the only reason a horse follows your commands is because it has been trained... read article

Michael J Babboni

Renter Safety Is A Landlord’s Responsibility

Renter Safety Is A Landlord’s ResponsibilityDepending on your financial situation, or simply your stage in life, owning a home may not actually be the most sensible thing for you to do at a given time. For example, if you’re single, working many hours at your profession, and you hardly spend much time at home, it might make more sense for you to rent an apartment, condo, or space within a home converted over to renting purposes. This way, some of your utilities are taken care of, and, more importantly, you’re not tied down with a mortgage and a home you need to sell should you decide to move to another location.

This also means that, for renters, the overall structural integrity of a residence is NOT your responsibility. That burden falls on the owner/landlord, or management if there is a company handling landlord responsibilities. So what does this mean for tenants?
Tenants Must Respect The Property
One thing that both sides must understand is that while you are living in a space like an apartment, condo, or remodeled home, this is not your property to 100% do as you please. Obviously, if you would... read article

Michael J Babboni

Texting Is Still A Problem On Our Roads

Texting Is Still A Problem On Our RoadsAs of 2015, in the state of Florida alone, our state and city police recorded over 45000 crashes that were the result of what is called “distracted driving.” This doesn’t mean that the drivers were drunk. On the contrary, in the cast of most distracted driving incidents, the drivers were alert and sober; they were just weren’t paying attention to the road.

Of those 45000 accidents, 214 of the crashes, tragically, resulted in death. And of those 214, 198 of the victims were the drivers themselves. How does distracted driving happen? Unfortunately, it’s quite simple, and it’s quite likely that almost anyone that drives has been guilty of doing this. Distracted driving happens most frequently these days when people start paying more attention to their phone than the road.
Eyes On The Screen, Not The Road
The 21st century phenomenon of the “smartphone” has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the idea of a portable computer, complete with phone, photo and video camera, as well as access to the Internet seems like a miracle device out of science fiction television shows like... read article

Michael J Babboni

Can You Sue Over A Sinkhole?

Can You Sue Over A Sinkhole?In Tampa, back in March of 2013, Jeff Bush was in the safety of his own home, in his own bedroom when a sinkhole opened up directly underneath him, and swallowed him up into the bowels of the earth. His brother, who was also in the home, attempted to rescue him, but couldn’t. Jeff was declared presumed dead, and his body was never recovered. This was one of the few times when a sinkhole has caused a fatality in the state of Florida.
A Geological Hazard
Sinkholes are an extremely rare geological event where the ground simply “gives out” and collapses into a hole. Unfortunately for Florida, sinkhole occurrences actually have a higher than average change of happening in our state, because of the porous bedrock that makes up much of the state’s soil. This allows more water in than other regions, creating more erosion, and greater possibility for structural weakness in the ground that eventually collapses. In fact, two years after the sinkhole that claimed Jeff Bush’s life and required the demolition of his house, another sinkhole, in the exact same spot, opened up again.

However, when sinkholes... read article

Michael J Babboni

Security Guards Are Not Policemen

Security Guards Are Not PolicemenEarlier in the year, in the state of Virginia, an elderly Chinese grandfather by the name of Jiansheng Chen was parked in his van. He was in his own neighborhood, an area known as Chesapeake River Walk, and thought he had the benefit of protection from the security that patrolled the area. What Chen was doing was playing Pokemon Go, a game that was currently being enjoyed by his own grandchildren. He felt that by playing Pokemon Go, he was able to connect with his grandchildren in a more meaningful way. He had made a successful career out of running a Chinese restaurant, and his English was limited and just barely functional.

While he was playing Pokemon Go outside the neighborhood clubhouse, not leaving his van, one of the security guards that was supposed protect residents got into an altercation with the not English-fluent grandfather. Tragically, the conflict ended with Jiansheng Chen shot six times in his own van. The security guard has now been charged with second degree murder.

The security guard claims that his life was threatened, and that when the Chen refused to comply with orders... read article

Michael J Babboni