Monday, October 16, 2017

Cyberbullying Laws

civil case against cyberbullying

When a person goes online and suffers constant abuse from strangers, whether that be classmates, coworkers, or random individuals, it can (and has) led to emotional damage, physical injury, and even death. In fact, because of cyberbullying, the rates of suicide among teens have skyrocketed. This grave injustice of our youth, and of our society in general, demands a closer look and demands justice. Cyberbullying is not something that should be glossed over or dismissed. After all, if someone followed your around all day, invaded your home, or harassed your multiple times a day, you would be outraged. So why should it be viewed any different when it occurs online?

Being cyberbullied can cause instability in mental health, problems when trying to concentrate in school, and self-esteem issues. While some people are harassed once or twice, others are relentlessly bullied for week, months, or years. These crimes tend to be correlated with shame, causing a victim to avoid seeking any type of help.

The internet has allowed would-be harassers to remain anonymous. This characterisitc of the internet has of course led someone to take advantage of this quality. This makes it a great tool to pick on peers while avoiding any repercussions that face-to-face interactions might involve.

Cyberbullying happens through text messaging, email, on social media, and on social apps like Snapchat. Because these applications are often connected to more than one person, and sometimes the victim's entire peer network, the harassment can be magnified. Social media also allows for the sharing of information in a rapid way. This often means that once something is posted, is it out there forever. Even if the person posting the picture or information has a change of heart, often the spread is irreversible.

Seemingly in opposition to the public and widespread nature of social media, is the often privateness of personal technology devices like phones and laptops. This often means that the victim can hide their experience from their parents. This aspect often leaves the individual feeling alone and isolated.

What Is Cyberbullying?

The crime of cyberbullying is a form of terrorism that is usually used by children and teenagers. It involves the use of electronic technology to attack, offend, and isolate a victim through inflammatory texts, personal or private websites, or social media platforms. The person that gets targeted is usually attacked by one person or a group of individuals for a specific reason or what they feel is “just for fun”. This may take the form of sharing private information, spreading false rumors, the making of hateful or hurtful memes, the sharing of nude photos, and the list goes on and on.

One of the scarier aspects of cyberbullying, besides its often irrevocable nature, is the ability to get others, who would not normally participate in such acts, to join in. That's because social media feels so distant to some, that sharing something or commenting on something seems harmless, when in reality it only adds interest to the attack.

Laws for Cyberbullying

Several states have created and implemented laws that penalize people for cyberbullying. Other variations of these violations include cyberstalking and harassment. These regulations have been made to protect minors against these horrendous actions.

Cyberstalking includes the spreading of a false allegations, which legally speaking is a type of slander and/or libel.

In addition to federal anti-cyberbullying laws, Florida also has specific language referencing the occurence:

Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147(3) (2010): "(a) ‘Bullying’ means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve: (1) Teasing; (2) Social exclusion; (3) Threat; (4) Intimidation; (5) Stalking; (6) Physical violence; (7) Theft; (8) Sexual, religious, or racial harassment; (9) Public humiliation; or (10) Destruction of property. . . . (d) The definitions of ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ include: (1) Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment...[and] (2) Perpetuation of [bullying or harassing] conduct ... by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a student...".

types of cyberbullying

The Cyberbullying Pattern

The crimes of cyberbullying usually follow a pattern that could be defined by law enforcement if police get involved in the situation. A type of tracking method could be implemented to find the person who is behind the incident. Any spiteful behavior and threatening messages often will follow a pattern based on the person who is behind the attacks. It can be specific days, certain websites, and particular hours of the day that are used. When a cyberbullying incident starts to become physical abuse, the crimes are easier to prosecute against. Charges could be issued as misdemeanors or felonies based on certain the factors.

The Burden of School

Both cyberbullying and cyberstalking most often occur with school children. These kids will either receive or send out the attacks while in school or specifically to classmates. Legislation has started to shift the responsibility of resolving the attacks and avoiding the crimes on the school districts by having and enforcing policies and regulations. This is possible through adjusting an already existing anti-bulling policy within the school’s guidelines. It now includes instances of cyberbullying between children when it involves the educational districts. Still, even with the state laws and school policies, the issue continues to persist has more and more ways to harass another become available.

Seek Legal Recourse for Cyberbullying

It is imperative to contact an attorney when your child becomes the victim of cyberbullying. Many children that are affected by these crimes will require medical attention and/or treatment for psychological damages. Compensation should be obtained to cover these expenses, as well as, pain and suffering.

Cyberbullying Attorneys -Dolman Law Group

At Dolman Law, we understand that this is a tough issue. When your child becomes the victim of bullying, it creates stress and worry. We are here to help you through this difficult time. If your child has been subject to cyberbullying, call us to speak about getting justice. We have many experienced attorneys that will go over your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 4 ways:

  • Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900
  • Complete this online contact form
  • Click the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page
  • Download the Dolman Law Group App for direct contact with our firm
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, October 5, 2017

5 Tips Regarding Hit and Run Accidents

hit and run tips in florida - dolman law group

A hit and run car accident in Florida is more common than you would think. In fact, a client contacted us just this morning with serious injuries from a driver who fled the scene. In Florida, approximately 25% of accidents are hit and runs. A hit and run accident can be an extremely frustrating situation. But pursuing an insurance claim for a hit and run accident could possibly be even more frustrating.

Here are 5 important facts about insurance coverage after a hit and run accident.

#1: Uninsured Motorist Insurance Could Save You

If a person becomes the victim of a hit and run accident, having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will cover the victim’s damages. This is particularly helpful since in the event that a person is injured and the hit-and-run driver isn't caught, this coverage will cover just like if the person didn't have insurance at all. 
The coverage can be broken into two basic categories:
  • injuries to the driver and passengers (bodily injury)
  • damage to the vehicle (property damage)
Since this coverage acts just like any other motorist insurance, it can be vital in providing coverage for situations in which other coverage isn't available.

#2: Standard Car Insurance May Not Be Enough

In some cases, standard motorist coverage isn't always enough to cover all the damages from a car accident. Insurance only covers up to a certain amount, depending on the coverage, so it may fall short in serious situations or injuries. This is why having adequate coverage is imperative before something like a hit and run accident happens to you. Ensuring that you have extras, like UM or Bodily Injury coverage, will prevent situations like a hit and run from putting you and your family in a financially tight spot. 

#3: Collecting Evidence is Crucial

Collecting evidence after an accident is always crucial to a successful claim. But when there is no other driver, evidence can be even more pivotal in the outcome of a case. Hiring an expert attorney is a great way to ensure that the appropriate evidence is collected, analyzed, and used effectively in making your case. 
After a hit and run accident, you will have to prove:
  • the accident was caused by an unknown motorist;
  • all reasonable efforts have been made to try and identify the other driver and if the other party involved has any existing insurance policies;
  • if you have suffered any injuries or damages as a direct result of the hit and run accident.

#4: Hit and Run Accident Claims Have a Time Limit

All hit and run insurance claims, just like any other accident, are subject to Florida’s statute of limitations. You always have to remember that the longer you wait to file a claim, the more it can damage your claim. Not only is there an actual time limit on how long you have to file a claim, but evidence can be lost, procedures can be missed, and credibility can be deteriorated.
In Florida, the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit after a hit and run is four years. This may sound like a lot of time, but in cases in which a person doesn't know the extent of their injuries until years later, this can be restrictive. 
If someone dies in a hit and run accident, then the statute of limitation that applies involves wrongful death, which is two years from the date of death. 

#5: Stay at the Scene of the Accident

If you happen to be involved in a hit and run, it's imperative that you stay at the scene of the crime. It can be tempting to chase after the person or attempt to follow them in order to get their license plate information, but you should not do this. Not only is it the law, but depending on the severity, leaving an accident could make you injuries worse.
The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage is a second degree misdemeanor charge, including the possibility of sixty days in prison and a $500 fine. If there are injury’s involved, than the charges can be trumped up to a second or third degree felony, including a suspension of license for at least 3 years, up to five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine. Lastly, if there has been a fatality due to the accident, then it's considered a first degree felony, involving a revoked license for up to three years, and a mandatory minimum of four years in jail, and a $10,000 fine.        

Dolman Law Group    

At Dolman Law, we understand that an injury caused by a hit and run driver can be frustrating. These types of incidents create many problems, questions, and concerns. But hiring an attorney can not only help to increase your settlement, it can decrease your worry. We are here to take the stresses of filing a claim off of your shoulders while you worry about recovering from your injuries.

Contact us for a free case evaluation. We will be happy to review your case and answer any questions you may have. Call today at 727-222-6922   

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Were You Injured at a Resort?

With countless resorts, theme parks, and tourist attractions, Florida is a year-round destination of choice for many travelers—especially during the winter months when it is cold and dark in other parts of the country. However, Florida vacations may be spoiled when accidents occur on the premises of a resort or a hotel. These accidents, the most common of which include slip-and-fall accidents, can result in serious injuries and complications that may be permanent or lifelong.

Resort guests should expect that facilities at Florida hotels and resorts have been inspected regularly and that the premises are reasonably safe from all defects and dangers. This expectation also extends to attractions on the premises and to transportation provided by a Florida hotel or resort. Hotels and resorts have a legal duty to warn guests of known dangerous conditions on the premises and to protect guests from known hazards.

If you or someone you love has sustained serious personal injuries at a Florida hotel or resort, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. A knowledgeable St. Petersburg resort injury lawyer can investigate a personal injury claim on your behalf and may be able to assist you with obtaining monetary compensation for all your injuries and damages.

Hazardous Areas and Conditions at Resorts and Hotels 

Hidden hazards are unfortunately all too common on resort and hotel premises. It is important for hotel and resort guests to keep their eyes open and be aware of common hazards on these properties:

  • Indoor and outdoor resort areas: Some of the most common hazards on resort properties include slippery floors and walkways and poor security in parking lots. Failing to place the proper warning signs and placards on the premises can result in a finding of liability on the part of the hotel or resort. 
  • Attractions and rides at the hotel or resort: When injuries occur on amusement rides and other attractions that are located on resort or hotel property, the resort or hotel can be held liable under the law. These dangers are usually the result of improper maintenance, and in some cases, poorly trained staff or ride supervisors. Even when independent contractors provide or operate these rides and attractions, the hotel or resort may still be held liable for hiring or retaining these independent contractors.  
  • Transportation provided by the resort: Hotels and resorts often provide ground transportation on buses, vans, and shuttles for the convenience of resort guests. Guests are typically transported from the resort to the airport and back on these shuttles or taken on resort-sponsored excursions. When these modes of transport are not properly inspected, repaired, or maintained in proper working order, the hotel or resort can be held legally liable for any resulting accidents and injuries.  

Proving Liability and Damages in Resort Injury Cases 

Florida resort injury cases can be difficult to prove because insurance companies will generally dispute liability every step of the way, or deny liability altogether. For example, the insurance company may claim that the hotel or resort was not aware of the dangerous condition or was not notified of the defect in a timely manner. The insurance company may even claim that the injured plaintiff caused or contributed to the accident and is not entitled to any monetary recovery.

The owners and operators of Florida hotels and resorts owe an affirmative duty to their guests to provide a safe, clean property that is free from known dangerous hazards. When hotel and resort owners breach this duty of care, they may be deemed liable for any injuries and damages that result.

In every Florida premises liability case, the injured person must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care directly to the injured person and that a breach of this duty resulted in certain injuries and damages.

  • Duty of Care: The owner or occupier of hotel or resort property owes a legal duty of care to all resort guests who are present on the premises. Since a resort guest is on the premises to benefit the owner of the property, the guest is deemed a ‘business invitee’ under Florida law and is owed the highest duty of care. Premises owners and occupiers have a duty to warn business invitees of or correct known dangerous conditions on the premises—and to regularly inspect the premises for unknown dangerous conditions. 
  • Breach of the Duty of Care: This means that the hotel or resort owner violated the applicable duty of care, such as by failing to remove a spill from the floor or walkway in a timely manner or by failing to properly inspect or repair a broken railing or stairwell.  
  • Causation: The injured resort or hotel guest must be able to demonstrate that the hotel owner or operator’s breach of the applicable duty of care legally and proximately resulted in certain injuries and damages. 
  • Damages: Damages may consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can be calculated in terms of dollars and cents, while non-economic damages are more subjective in nature. 

Types of damages available to Florida personal injury plaintiffs in resort injury cases may include causally related medical bills and expenses (i.e., hospital, doctor, and physical therapy bills), lost wages and time missed from work, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of spousal or family support, inconvenience, causally related mental health treatment, rehabilitation expenses, loss of quality or enjoyment of life, loss of medical or disability benefits, death benefits (where applicable), and punitive damages, in cases of egregious or grossly negligent conduct.

Contact a St. Petersburg Resort Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation 

Florida resort accidents and injuries can have serious and potentially lifelong impacts. The knowledgeable resort injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve under the law.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg resort injury lawyer, please call us at (727) 222-6922 today or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922