A fatal automobile crash spurred a federal wrongful death lawsuit against a tire manufacturer that recently got snagged on the issue of trade secrets. The case illustrates why it’s imperative that those who have suffered a serious injury or death of a loved one due to a car accident seek legal advice from a law firm with extensive experience in handling complex litigation. This is particularly true when we’re going after the manufacturer of a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part. Product liability laws make these cases far more complex than your typical crash-related injury claim. vehicle defect

Here, in these defective vehicle tire liability case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit certified a question to the South Carolina Supreme Court, asking if the state high court recognized evidentiary privilege for trade secrets (and thus whether the federal trial court erred in applying federal discovery standards). The state court responded yes, it did recognize privilege for trade secrets, but that it was a qualified privilege.

According to court records in the wrongful death case, this all started with the 2010 automobile crash death of a woman in Calhoun County, S.C. The personal representative of her estate filed a survival and wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of an allegedly defective tire, asserting claims under state law for negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.  He alleged the vehicle in which decedent was riding was struck head-on by another car that had crossed the median after suffering a tire blowout caused by a defect in the tire itself, which was designed, manufactured and marketed by defendant.  Continue reading

Not every injury that occurs at the hands of a medical professional or inside a medical institution is considered medical malpractice. The Florida Supreme Court once again made this distinction in a recent case when asked to consider whether the trial court made the right decision in tossing a negligence lawsuit for failure to meet stringent medical malpractice lawsuit requirements, or whether the appeals court was right for reversing the lower court to allow the matter to proceed.medical malpractice attorney

Negligence versus medical malpractice is an important distinction because if a hospital or health care professional is successful in having the case designated as sounding in medical malpractice, plaintiffs must then abide by the state’s complex medical malpractice statutory schema, as outlined in F.S. 766.106. This includes specifications for pre-suit notice (including sending a copy of the complaint to the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration), to determine if conduct alleged subjects a licensee to disciplinary action. It also involves giving defendant 90 days in which to conduct a review of the allegations and either reject the claim, make a settlement offer or make an offer to arbitrate. (Settlement at this phase is rare.) Then plaintiff has 30 days from receipt of that response to give their own response. Then there is an informal discovery process, response to written questionnaires, collection of un-sworn statements by treating providers and more. Additionally, medical malpractice claimants must have an expert witness who is equally if not more qualified than the defendant to testify to a breach in the applicable standard of care. Finally, (save for some exceptions) medical malpractice claims have a two-year statute of limitations, whereas personal injury litigation has a four-year statute of limitations.

Negligence cases are much more simple. That’s why if a defendant can argue it’s medical malpractice, they will, because, as our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys know, it means more hurdles for you. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court recently sided plaintiffs in a dispute regarding witness testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a young child forced to undergo a kidney transplant due to alleged failure to diagnose a chronic illness by her primary care doctor.medical malpractice

In the case of Gutierrez v. Vargas, plaintiff reportedly suffered from a chronic kidney disease that went undiagnosed for six years, ultimately resulting in so much damage she had no choice but to undergo a kidney transplant. Defendant argues plaintiff suffered a different disease that could not have been diagnosed sooner. The case went to trial and plaintiff was awarded $4.1 million in damages.

Defendant appealed on the grounds the decision conflicts directly with those of other district courts on a question of law. Specifically, defense argued the lower court should not have allowed several of the girl’s treating physician to testify at trial about their diagnostic opinions or allowed rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. After the judgment was reversed and remanded for trial by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, the state high court ruled there was no abuse of discretion and affirmed the trial court’s conclusion. Continue reading

Auto insurers in Florida have two duties with regard to their insureds:

  • A responsibility to indemnify, or pay damages for which insured would otherwise be liable (up to policy limits);
  • Duty to defend insured from legal action (i.e., hire a lawyer and help mount a defense).car accident attorney

Even if an insurer argues it doesn’t have a duty to indemnify (the incident is not one that is covered or the person is not one for whom coverage should be extended), there is often still a duty to defend. Failure to adhere can be a form of bad faith insurance. This could ultimately be an issue for plaintiff to deal with directly if the at-fault driver assigns whatever claims he or she might have had against the insurer for this over to plaintiff as part of whatever settlement is ultimately reached.

Insurers are within their rights to outline the parameters under which they will provide coverage, and there are unfortunately a host of rules and exceptions in almost every policy. However, many times insurers will interpret their policies a bit more broadly than they should, which is why it’s important to have an experienced car accident attorney in South Florida who will fight for you and take them to task. Continue reading

The ongoing scourge of medical malpractice in Florida is reason the state legislature and health care professionals established the Peer Review process, as outlined in F.S. 395.0193. It’s a means of identifying potential problem areas for individual physicians by having colleagues review their work, with the stated goal being improvement of patient care and reduction in medical and legal expenses. medical malpractice

However, one of the aspects of the peer review process, per section 8 of that statute, is that the investigations, proceedings and records of the peer review panel, a committee of a hospital board, disciplinary board, government board or agent of one of these “shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are the subject of evaluation and review…” In other words, if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Florida doctor, the records contained in these peer review files – even if relevant – can’t be compelled. However, records pertaining to these cases from independent sources aren’t immune from discovery just because they were presented in peer review proceedings.

It can be frustrating as a patient who suffered a missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis or other medical error to know there are records that could help your case that you can’t use. However, as a recent case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revealed, this immunity may not extend to each and all circumstances. Pennsylvania has a similar peer review process and statutory immunity to protect information gleaned in these proceedings. However, in Reginelli v. Boggs, the court held that the performance file developed by an independent contractor (one that provided staffing and administrative services for a hospital emergency room) were not protected under the state’s peer review statute. Continue reading

By the end of last year, more than 2 billion people were actively using Facebook on at least a monthly basis. Instagram, meanwhile, serves about 800 million active users a month. Users of Snapchat upload approximately 10 billion videos daily. WhatsApp has about 1 billion users a month. So what does all this have to do with your South Florida injury lawsuit?personal injury lawyer

A lot if you have posted anything pertinent to:

  • The incident in question;
  • The people involved in the incident;
  • Any element that pertains to the incident;
  • Your mental/ physical condition or well-being prior to and after the incident.

Because a serious injury resulting from something like a car accident or a case of medical malpractice or a criminal attack is something that – of course – affects us very profoundly, it is understandable that many people share those details online. It’s almost become like second nature in this increasingly digital age.

But as the recent Congressional hearings of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveal, there is an increasingly limited expectation of privacy regarding what we share on our “personal” pages – even when we limit privacy settings and contact lists. Continue reading

“Never events,” according to the National Quality Forum, are those mistakes that occur during medical care that are:

  • Clearly identifiable;
  • Easily preventable;
  • Serious in their consequences for patients;
  • Indicate major problems in the safety and credibility of a health care center. medical malpractice

They include things likes mismatched blood transfusions, major medication errors, surgery on the wrong body part and pressure ulcers/ bedsores. They also include items, like surgical sponges, left inside a patient after surgery. Yet the Institute of Medicine estimates more than 100,000 such incidents occur annually, resulting in more deaths than car accidents and more than $9 billion in excess charges.

A recent analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine details a case wherein a 42-year-old woman reported to a primary care center with bloating – only to discover in a CT scan that two gauze sponges had been left inside her abdomen from one of two (or both) prior C-section surgeries – one six years earlier and one nine years earlier. CNN reports she’d had no prior abdominal or pelvic surgeries.  Continue reading

Every year, hundreds of thousands of patients undergo surgery at one of the nation’s rapidly proliferating surgical centers (estimated to be somewhere between 5,600 to 7,000). In fact, these centers now surpass the number of hospitals, as U.S. regulators trying to lower health costs are green-lighting an expanding number of outpatient procedures. However, according to a new in-depth report from Kaiser Health News and USA Today, these centers are too often are ill-equipped to handle emergency complications. As a result, hundreds of patients have died as a result of “routine” surgeries, such as tonsillectomies and colonscopies. medical malpractice

No knows exactly how many deaths, illnesses and injuries happen at these centers because no one is required to keep track.

Although any surgery carries a risk and some centers boast top-of-the-line medical equipment and well-trained staffers, journalists uncovered dozens of cases where a lack of training or basic equipment found at most hospitals made a difference in patient outcomes.  Continue reading

This flu season has been a brutal one, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting more than 60,000 cases since October resulting in hundreds of deaths. Although the flu is a fairly common viral infection, one of the most severe complications is sepsis. This is a type of bacterial blood infection that is the body’s overwhelming response to some other infection and can follow not just the flu but pneumonia, urinary tract infections, bedsores, surgery wounds, intravenous lines and other conditions.medical malpractice attorney

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Pale or discolored skin
  • Rapid breathing/ shortness of breath
  • Extreme pain/ discomfort
  • Sudden confusion
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Kidney failure

Sepsis can be fatal (it’s the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association) and must be treated rapidly and appropriately. Young children, the elderly, those suffering from chronic diseases and weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable. Even those who survive may have long-term complications, including kidney damage requiring lifelong dialysis.

A diagnosis of sepsis or septic shock alone is not proof of medical malpractice, even in cases of death. However, if the initial infection or the development of sepsis was hospital-acquired or if it was improperly treated, there may be grounds for a South Florida medical malpractice lawsuit.  Continue reading

A baby admitted to the hospital with the flu left with severe and permanent brain damage as a result of Miami medical malpractice by a nurse who was high on drugs. That’s the plaintiff’s allegation in a recently-filed South Florida injury lawsuit. medical malpractice attorney

The Miami Herald reports the child now has a feeding tube in his stomach and is unable to speak, swallow solid foods or walk more than few steps unassisted. He was just 4-months-old when admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in November 2015. His doctors today say he will likely need intensive, around-the-clock nursing care for the rest of his life. His mother has had to quit her job in order to help attend his needs. He is undergoing a rigorous treatment of pediatric therapies.

According to the lawsuit, defendant nurse bathed the child and on accident removed the boy’s breathing tube for a period of approximately seven minutes. During his shift, colleagues observed he was sweating, shaking and had bloodshot eyes. Despite this, no one apparently raised a red flag about her continuing to provide care to the facilities youngest and most vulnerable patients. Although the child’s mother noted the nurse was “anxious,” she assumed that was “his personality,” and tried not to worry because none of the other doctors and nurses on staff commented on it.

Both the hospital and the defendant nurse (in a written statement to the newspaper) vehemently deny the accusations, despite the nurse having previously admitted his addiction to methamphetamine and other drugs one year prior to this incident. At that time, he was under investigation by the Florida Department of Health and underwent treatment for addiction services. He was still under monitoring at the time of the incident but quit just two months later, costing him both his job and his nursing license. Continue reading