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Far too often, people are dissatisfied with their attorneys.  Complaints are often that the lawyer does not return phone calls, does not pursue the claim aggressively, or settles to easily.  At The Ben Law Firm, we have fought for and recovered millions of dollars in financial compensation for our clients.

The Ben Law Firm Puts the Ball In Your Court!

Insurance companies thrive on inexperienced lawyers!  Hire The Ben Law Firm, and we will put the ball back in your court.  We have decades of experience negotiating with Insurance Companies and recovering maximum financial compensation for our clients!

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Our website is located at TheBenLawFirm.com.  We can be reached by telephone at (954) 961-2055 or by email at Andy@TheBenLawFirm.com.

 

Bike Helmets fail to prevent a lot of Head Injuries

helmet-thumb-333x233-91873A common misconception among parents is that wearing a bicycle helmet will protect their child from serious head injuries. We all see kids motoring along the sidewalk or street on bicycles, skateboards, scooters, etc., many of whom are dutifully wearing the helmets their mothers bought for them.

While these helmets can certainly protect against a penetrating impact to the skull which might result in a fracture (for example), they do not protect your kids from common head injuries that may cause long-term problems. According to a 2013 report on youth sports-related concussions by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, “there is limited evidence that current helmet designs reduce the risk of sports-related concussions” — minor traumatic head injuries that have been tied, at least in adults, to long-term neurological problems including depression, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a neurodegenerative disease) and chronic cognitive impairment.

It really should not be surprising that children bicycle helmets don’t protect against concussions. Football helmets in the National Football league – the best engineered helmets available – fail to protect elite athletes from concussions and micro-concussions. A young child riding a bike or a motorized skateboard at 10 miles per hour is capable of striking his head on a sidewalk with as much or even more force as a professional football player tackling another.

The point is that parents need to re-evaluate their thinking, particularly when they allow their child to operate a motorized toy such as a scooter or a skateboard, capable of speeds upwards of 10 miles per hour. While requiring your child to wear a helmet may help in some instances, it does not adequately protect them against concussions which can be particularly damaging to children whose brains are still developing.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Cruiselines sugarcoating passengers missing at sea?

images[11]-thumb-333x444-14105Every year it seems like we hear about someone “disappearing” at sea while on a cruise. More often than not, there are no witnesses to what happened and the cruise ships label the disappearances as “mysterious circumstances.” The cruise lines may spin these situations as a simple case of a drunk passenger deciding to jump.

According to Canadian college professor, Ross Klein, in 2008 there were 12 passengers or crewmen have gone overboard from cruise ships or ferries. Since no central government agency maintains records of cruise ship disappearances or deaths or falls from cruise ships, Professor Klein derived his data from various news outlets.

“They’re (the cruise lines) trying to sell a vacation product and this isn’t good news . . . .They tout cruising as the safest mode of transportation anywhere in the world. People go on them expecting to be safe, and these incidents contradict that perception,” states Professor Klein.

Every cruise ship has barriers designed to prevent passengers from falling overboard. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine some one falling off a cruise ship without being drunk or disregarding their safety. Nevertheless the cruise ships have the legal responsibility to take reasonable precautions to prevent this type of foreseeable occurrence.

Although falling overboard would seem to involve some comparative negligence on the part of the passenger, the cruise ships frequently over serve alcohol to their passengers without limits. Alcohol is a big money maker for the cruise lines. As a result of over-imbibing, passengers tend to fall on the decks of cruise ships and some even overboard. Accordingly, there may be some liability on the cruise lines for falls on and off the ship even though the passenger may have been intoxicated.

“It’s drink and drink and drink,” says Charles Harris, former chief of security for Carnival Cruises, a critic of cruise industry secrecy. “We’ll take your money, and if you fall overboard, we don’t worry about it.”

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Girl, 4 years old, sued in bicycle crash

184819502_ca8346f636A New York judge has ruled that a four year old girl might have been too young for grade school, but the girl was old enough to be sued over a bicycle accident that injured a bystander.

The judge refused to dismiss negligence claims against the girl and her mother and who are being sued by the estate of a woman who alleges she was seriously injured when hit by the girl’s bicycle while she was racing down a sidewalk. The woman later died.

The court ruled that although the girl was three months shy of five years of age, there was no evidence a child of her age couldn’t appreciate “the danger of riding a bicycle into an elderly woman.”

Of course, a young girl would probably not have sufficient assets to pay off any judgment which might ultimately be rendered against her, but her parents might. Her parents may also have insurance which provides liability coverage to the victim’s estate for the parents’ negligence. This raises the legal issue of when can a parent be held legally responsible for the negligence of their young child.

In Florida, the long-standing rule is that “a parent is not liable for the tort of his minor child because of the mere fact of paternity.” Seabrook v. Taylor, 199 So.2d 315 (Fla. 4th DCA 1967) One of the recognized exceptions to this rule is where the parent entrusts the “child with an instrumentality which, because of the lack of age, judgment, or experience of the child, may become a source of danger to others.” Gissen v. Goodwill, 80 So.2d 701 (Fla.1955).

Here, the judgment of the girl’s parents in allowing her to race her bicycle on a city street can certainly be called into question. Even if the girl, without her parents’ permission, took it upon herself to race her bicycle down the sidewalk, her parents had the duty to supervise her behavior to make sure that it was not a danger to others.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida Girl in boat attacked by Giant Barracuda

reef1515-thumb-333x212You are probably wondering what this blog has to do with personal injuries and wrongful death and the answer is: not much. I just thought it was interesting

Koral Wira, 14, was fishing with her family for barracuda and shark in the Gulf of Mexico about four miles outside the Venice Inlet on the west coast of Florida. After a 4 foot barracuda bit into the bait, it jumped from the water and landed inside the boat. The barracuda locked onto the girl’s arm and with its sharp teeth shredded her flesh. The wound took 51 inches to close. The girl’s father reacted quickly and stabbed the barracuda with a knife in between its eyes. While extensive, her injuries were not life-threatening.

If you own a boat, this interesting but terrible case underscores the need to have liability insurance on the boat as well as health insurance that will cover yourself and family. All sorts of unexpected events can occur while you are out in the ocean which can result in injuries and potentially liability to the owner. While this barracuda attack is a freak event, it is not uncommon for people to be injured as a result of mechanical difficulties or operational errors.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Flat Bicycle Tire resulted in Boy’s Death

2933616692_7c15bb1bd6-thumb-333x289A 9-year-old boy was killed while riding his bicycle at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in April. The boy was killed after the bicycle he was riding struck the left side of a passing Disney bus near the campground. Although wearing a helmet, he died instantly when he was run over by the rear tire of the bus.

The bicycle, a Mongoose “Outer Limit” dirt bike, was in an “unsafe condition,” according a report by the Florida Highway Patrol which investigated the accident. According to the report, the bike’s front tire was under-inflated and the rear tire had “no measurable air pressure,” the report states.

The Disney bus driver, who was not charged with any traffic citations, claimed he saw the boy operating his bicycle normally just before the impact.

This tragic case highlights the importance of total bike safety. Not only should young children wear helmets, but parents also need to vigilant as to other factors such as the operating condition of the bicycle and driver visibility. Tires should be checked (preferably with a tire gauge) before riding and if they are low, they need to be inflated. Brakes as well as other bicycle components should be examined periodically. Lastly, the bicycle’s reflectors and lights should be operational so that they are visible in low light. Every little bit helps — the child’s clothing should be bright enough not to blend in with the roadside.

While we will probably never know what the precise cause was for this horrible accident, a young child riding a bicycle on the road is always exposed to traffic. We must always try to stay one step ahead.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida House to reinstate child liability waivers to protect businesses

2850654198_3c8a587076The Florida House is considering a bill to allow waivers of liability signed by parents in favor of businesses involved in high risk activities for children such as theme parks, go-cart tracks and other businesses. The bill has already been passed by the Senate and will go to the House for vote.

In Kirton v. Fields, 997 So.2d 349 (Fla. 2008), the Florida Supreme Court, held that a pre-injury release executed by a parent on behalf of a minor child is unenforceable against the minor or the minor’s estate in a tort action arising from injuries resulting from participation in a commercial activity. In the Kirton case, a 14-year-old boy was killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle at a commercial track. The Florida Supreme Court allowed the boy’s family to sue the track even though his father had signed a liability waiver.

The Republican dominated Florida House and Senate appears to be more concerned with the profitability of its business constituents and corporate donors then the welfare of children. If pre-injury releases are permitted for commercial establishments, the incentive to take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of minor children would be removed. Moreover, as a provider of the activity, a commercial business can take precautions to ensure the child’s safety and insure itself when a minor child is injured while participating in the activity. On the other hand, a minor child cannot insure himself or herself against the risks involved in participating in that activity.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida law targets Pit Bulls

3615297732_1bf12314f1-thumb-333x231A bill is pending before the Florida legislature in Tallahassee which could make it more difficult for people to own pit bulls and impose tighter regulations on owners. This bill represents a response by Florida politicians to numerous citizen reports of attacks by pit bulls. Legislators are proposing a bill that would give communities the right to regulate dogs based on breed and the target is pit bulls. Cities and municipalities could require pit bull owners to purchase additional insurance or even have their dogs wear muzzles when they are out in public.

Currently the cities of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale do not have laws on their books which are capable of regulating the ownership of pit bulls differently from other more docile breeds.

Critics of the bill, not surprisingly, are pit bull owners and conservative republicans who believe in less governmental regulation. Their argument is that essentially we should not believe our “lying eyes” — pit bulls are just gentle, lovable creatures like golden retrievers. They argue that the reason for the apparent disproportionate number of pit bull attacks is soley because of the owners and that any aggressive behavior is not inherent to the breed. Pit bull proponents apparently believe that the numerous pit bull attacks that we read about in the paper are the result of incompetent owners or are simply exagerrated.

“Let’s do more important things than that,” said Kim Godin, a pit-mix owner, who dismisses the purpose of the proposed legislation. If you are familiar with the violent propensities of the breed, it is hard to imagine that protecting children and others from the serious injuries that can result from these kinds of attacks is “unimportant.”

Florida law does not presently permit cities like Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood to amend their municipal codes to target dangerous breeds like pit bulls. Florida has had a ban on breed-specific laws since 1990. The inability to enact dog specific rules for owners effectively prohibits cities in Broward County and elsewhere from impodinh reasonable requirements for pit bull owners such as purchasing insurance for their dogs in the event that they attack someone.

The time for turning a blind eye to these types of attacks is running out. There are far too many pit bull complaints by Florida citizens for the legislature to continue to do nothing. The pending bill will make Florida’s streets safer for families. For those individuals who insist that only a cuddly pit bull puppy (rather than some other breed of dog) can fulfill their need for “man’s best friend,” then it is time for you to take some responsibility in the event your dog bites some one else.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Delray Beach, Florida high school coach accused of improper physical contact

charter-school-buildingUsually a school is thought of as a safe haven where students are protected from the types predators who roam outside the campus. Sometimes, however, the danger to students can come from within.

At Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida, the track and football coach was arrested recently on misdemeanor battery charges, accused of groping one student and biting another, according to records.

James “Andre” Thaddies, 40, was arrested on March 3. According to school police two female students reported Thaddies touched them inappropriately without their permission. One track student reported Thaddies tried to touch her, she resisted, and he then grabbed her by the wrist and called her “retarded.” The second student said that Thaddies bit her in the neck area, but did not break skin, according to the report.

The Palm Beach County school district assigned Thaddies administrative duties and no longer allowed him to teach students, effective Feb. 24. The Atlantic High football team, under Thaddies, enjoyed winning seasons.

Thaddies, it appears, had a suspected background of inappropriate conduct with female students at a Minnesota high school where similar accusations were made. According to Minnesota court documents filed in 2000, Thaddies, admitted to providing alcohol to an underaged gil and resigned after being suspended. Police investigated, but Thaddies was not charged with any sexual misconduct.

High schools in the State of Florida have the legal duty to investigate the background of teachers and other potential employees who may be in contact with their students. This is because teachers and administrators stand in the shoes of the parents while a minor student is on school grounds. Mandatory schooling has forced parents into relying on teachers to protect children during school activity. Accordingly, where the school fails to adequately investigate the background of a school teacher or administrator who abuses a student on school grounds, the school may be liable for negligent hiring and/or supervision.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Student killed in bicycle accident in Miami, Florida

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In the early morning of October 30, 2009, a high-school student and his two friends rode their bicycles from one boy’s Miami Shores house to another’s home in North Miami. The cyclists believed they were safe at night because their bikes had front and rear lights.

Their safety lights did not help them. As the student rode his bike along Biscayne Boulevard he was struck and killed by a car his friends say was speeding. “The bicycle was pinned down under the front tire of the car,” according to a witness who arrived at the scene shortly after the accident.

On November 27, 2009, the monthly Critical Mass ride — organized by cyclists demonstrating for their safety — was dedicated to this boy. From the usual starting location at Miami-Dade County Hall in downtown Miami, the ride proceeded north on Biscayne Boulevard to 113th Street, where the student was killed. There his friends and family gathered to place a memorial in his memory.

This case represents another cycling fatality in the state of Florida which has the most in the country. Florida law classifies bicycles as vehicles, giving cyclists the right to use the roadway. After dark, cyclists are required to have bike lights front and rear.

Like other cities, Miami has seen an increase in the popularity of cycling despite streets widely regarded as dangerous to bicyclists, in part because many roads are designed for fast motorized traffic and lack marked bike lanes.

Cycling activists have, without success, requested the Florida Department of Transportation, which manages Biscayne Boulevard, to add bike lanes on that road which is a major north-south cycling route in eastern Miami-Dade County.

This tragic case reminds us that cyclists should always wear helmets, although I am not sure that it would have made a difference here. Even with flashing lights and reflectors on bicycles, a lot of motorists still do not see cyclists on the road. Unfortunately, when a collision occurs between a car and a bicycle, the end result is usually very serious to the cyclist. One of the ways that a cyclist can financially protect himself from the adverse consequences of a collision with a car is to make sure that if he owns an automobile, that he has purchased uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage may extend from the automobile to your bicycle in the event that the at-fault motorist does not have any, or does not have enough, liability coverage for the damages incurred.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the law partners at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.