Government Agency Opens Investigation Following Fatal Florida Tesla Accident

Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) opened up an investigation following a fatal Florida car accident involving a Tesla vehicle that killed two teenagers. According to a recent news article discussing the tragic accident and subsequent investigation, the vehicle was traveling southbound on Seabreeze Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale when it left the roadway and crashed into a concrete wall. The vehicle then immediately caught fire. The driver and front-seat passenger were both pronounced dead in the accident. The rear-seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle and sustained major injuries but is expected to live. Police believe that speed may have been a factor in the fatal accident. Following the accident, the NTSB ...

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Can Someone Recover for Emotional Injuries After Witnessing a Florida Accident?

For many, when anxieties run high, physical symptoms can set in. Commonly, symptoms of heightened anxiety are sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, or nausea. However, when a triggering event is serious enough – like witnessing a fatal Florida car accident – the symptoms can get much worse. Recognizing this reality, Florida courts have determined that those who suffer physical symptoms as a result of witnessing a psychologically traumatic event may be able to recover for their injuries – both physical and emotional. This claim is called negligent infliction of emotional distress, or NIED. Interestingly, NIED is not mentioned anywhere in the Florida Statutes. Instead, this cause of action was developed entirely through the court system. Essentially, courts were getting cases in which those who witnessed serious accidents involving a loved one were attempting to recover for...

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Jury Instructions in South Florida Product Liability Cases

In any South Florida personal injury case, one of the judge’s primary roles is to instruct the jury on the applicable law of the case. To help make sure that all Florida judges are providing similar instructions to juries across the state, a set of standard jury instructions has been created. The standard jury instructions provide the jurors with guidance, asking the jurors to answer individual questions that eventually lead to the ultimate conclusion. Once the jurors answer the questions, the judge will announce the decision and render a verdict. In Florida, there are several types of product liability claims, including manufacturing defect and design defect claims. When a Florida product liability case is brought under a theory of strict liability, Standard Jury Continue reading →

Self-Driving Technology Found to Be Partially at Fault in 2016 Florida Car Accident

The technology being used in vehicles is evolving quickly, and self-driving cars have started to hit the roads in increasing numbers. These cars present new risks and new legal issues that can complicate the issue of liability in Florida car crashes. For example, there is the question of who is controlling the car in a self-driving car—the driver or the self-driving system? Generally, existing laws only consider the driver for liability purposes, but in some cases, a manufacturer may be to blame. As self-driving cars continue to expand, many are pushing for legislative changes that consider the use of automated cars. Until then, it may be up to the courts to sort out the legal issues. Investigation Finds Tesla Automated Car to Blame in 2016 Fatal Florida Crash Accident investigators Continue reading →

The Two Tests Florida Courts Apply When Hearing Product Liability Cases

When someone is injured while using a product, that person is entitled to file a product liability case against the manufacturer of the allegedly dangerous product to seek compensation for their injuries. In most cases, the injured party will not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent; however, an injured party will need to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous. Florida courts allow product liability plaintiffs to prove dangerousness in one of two ways:  the risk-utility test or the consumer-expectations test. A recent Florida appellate court opinion briefly mentions each test and notes how under the current state of the law, a jury may be instructed on the elements of both tests. Florida’s Risk-Utility Test One way in which a Flo...

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Cleaning Solution Unexpectedly Combusts Into Flames, Seriously Injuring Homeowner

Last month, a federal appellate court decided a case involving a man’s claims against the manufacturer of a cleaning solution that spontaneously combusted when he was using the product to clean his basement floor. In the case, Suarez v. W.M. Barr & Co., the plaintiff filed three related product liability claims against the manufacturer of the “Goof Off” brand cleaning solution. Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff presented enough evidence on two of the claims to proceed. However, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim, based on the adequacy of the warning on the product’s label. The Facts of the Case Suarez was using “Goof Off” brand cleaning solution to cl...

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Johnson & Johnson Hit with Several Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits

Over the past few months, Johnson & Johnson has been found liable in several product liability lawsuits, based on the continued use of its talc-based baby powder. According to one recent financial news source, the company was most recently found liable for over $67 million, which puts the total amount for all of the baby powder lawsuits brought against the company at about $195 million. The cases proceed under a product liability theory and rely on recently discovered evidence that the continued use of talc-based products can result in certain kinds of cancer. Specifically, the research indicates that the use of baby powder in women's genital areas can lead to ovarian cancer. There are currently about 2,500 lawsuits pending filed by women who have suffered from vario...

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Plaintiff Loses Appeal in Product Liability Case Based on “Speculative” Effect of Questionable Evidence

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a product liability case, holding that a new trial was not warranted because any questionable evidence that was admitted by the trial judge had only a speculative effect on the jury’s verdict. In the case, Coterel v. Dorel Juvenile Group, the court skipped analyzing whether the evidence at issue should have been admitted, and it focused only on the effect that it had on the jury. Since the court determined that the plaintiff failed to prove that the jury relied on the evidence in question, the court held that even if the evidence were improperly admitted, a new trial was not warranted. The Tragic Facts of the Case The Coterels were gi...

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Topamax Birth Injury Case Results in $3 Million Verdict

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit just handed down a decision affirming a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a birth injury lawsuit stemming from the use of Topamax by pregnant women. According to one news source covering the case, the young plaintiff in the case was born with a cleft palate as well as a cleft lip after her mother took Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy. The jury’s verdict was split; $1.5 million was designated to go to the parents to help pay for the future care of their child, and $1.5 million was designated to go to the young girl herself to help compensate her for her non-economic damages. The Facts of the Case Back in 2007, the plaintif...

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FDA Declines Total Recall of Essure Birth Control and Implements Strict Warning Instead

Over the past few years, it has come out that the birth control medication, Essure, can cause a host of very serious negative side effects, including severe pain and bleeding, unplanned pregnancies, miscarriages, and still births. In response to the increasing number of women who say they have been negatively affected by Essure, as well as the research indicating the same, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will not be issuing a recall. Instead, it plans to implement a “black box” warning. The Black Box warning, according to the FDA, is the most serious warning that they can issue for a prescription medication. In fact, the warning requires that doctors get a patient’s written consent to take the drug after they have been made awar...

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