Florida slip-and-fall claims have an undeserved reputation of being exaggerated or a means to make an easy buck with an injury lawsuit . The truth of the matter is falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths nationally. Falls can occur at home, in health care settings, at work and in business locations (i.e., restaurants, hotels, retail stores, amusement parks, etc.). Work-related falls will most likely be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Falls involving patients in nursing homes or hospitals may be actionable if there is evidence of negligent care or supervision. Those injured in a fall while patronizing a business may have a cause of action if it can be proven the business breached a duty of care to its customers. That’s no minor hurdle. slip and fall attorney

In 2010, Florida lawmakers passed F.S. 768.0755, which makes it more difficult for those injured in a slip-and-fall involving a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment to obtain compensation. One must prove the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy it. Actual knowledge would involve a situation where employees either created the hazard or were put on notice of that particular spill. Constructive knowledge involves circumstantial evidence showing the dangerous condition existed long enough the business should have discovered it in using ordinary care or that the condition occurred regularly so was foreseeable.

Although Florida slip-and-fall lawsuits can motivate businesses to be proactive, these incidents nonetheless still occur. A recent CNA Slip and Fall Study Report found that inadequate flooring was the primary culprit in most of these cases. Of the thousands of sites analyzed, the insurance and risk management services provider found that roughly half failed in the dynamic coefficient of friction level (which per the American National Standards Institute is 0.42).  Continue reading

When it comes to the prevalence of medical errors, those involving missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are the most common. Information gleaned from the National Practitioner Data Bank (an electronic collection of all medical malpractice settlement payments made since 1986), diagnostic errors are the most common source of payments and often the most costly and dangerous to patients’ health. medical malpractice lawyer

It’s true that medication errors and on-site surgical errors are very real problems. However, in terms of the sheer volume of cases it’s substantial, with an estimated 80,000 to 160,000 patients suffering permanent disabilities from misdiagnosis annually.

One such case out of South Carolina recently resulted in a $10 million jury verdict to the husband of a woman who died of cancer after there was a communication error between doctors. This resulted in significant delays in life-saving surgery, The State newspaper reports. The doctor and the practice for which he works initially offered to settle her claim for $250,000 – an offer that was declined. Continue reading

A chain reaction tractor-trailer crash in West Palm Beach that injured one and killed two – including a 29-year-old medical student – recently resulted in a $45 million verdict in favor of the med student’s parents.truck accident lawyer

As our West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys can explain, these kinds of cases tend to result in higher verdicts and settlements than your typical car accident lawsuit for several reasons, including:

  • Because of the size disparity between large trucks and passenger cars, any collisions between the two are likely to result in severe injuries to occupants of the smaller vehicle. More severe injuries and deaths are a greater loss to the victim and loved ones.
  • Anytime a trucking company or construction firm is involved in a personal injury or wrongful death, there are usually numerous defendants, many with varying degrees of liability.
  • Trucking companies and construction firms – particularly construction companies that work roadside – carry high liability insurance policies. Although insurance coverage does not determine the amount of damages (courts are often careful to make sure jurors aren’t informed of the existence or amount of this coverage, as it’s considered prejudicial), the fact that it’s there improves the chances that if high damages are awarded, they will actually be paid. Florida requires passenger vehicle motorists to be financially responsible for a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury (which is paid in addition to personal injury protection – PIP – benefits of up to $10,000). Meanwhile, federal law requires all truckers to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Those that haul hazmat materials have to carry at least $5 million.

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An 80-year-old South Florida man was awarded $13 million after a botched cataract surgery that a jury concluded was the result of medical malpractice. medical malpractice

NBC-6 Miami reports jurors concluded the medical center where the surgery was conducted was liable in a case involving the negligence of an opthalmologist with whom the center contracted for routine eye surgeries. The surgery resulted in patient suffering total blindness in one eye.

As our medical malpractice attorneys in Miami can explain, normally medical centers (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc.) aren’t vicariously liable for the negligence of independent contractors. Instead, they are only vicariously liable for the work of employees. While it must seem to many patients that doctors who work at these facilities work for them, more often than not, this isn’t the case. However, in this case, the jury determined the physician was an actual employee of the center, even though he was practicing on contract.

Vicarious liability stems from a legal doctrine of respondeat superior, which  is Latin for “let the master answer.” It means an employer can be liable for the negligent acts of employees who were acting in the course and scope of employment. It does not require proof that the facility itself did anything directly wrong, only that it employed the person who was negligent and that person was acting as an employee at the time the injury occurred. Continue reading

A recent government audit revealed more than 1 in 4 cases of possible sexual and physical abuse of nursing home patients was never reported to police. The inspector general’s office for the Department of Health and Human Services largely placed the blame on Medicare for failing to enforce a federal law requiring immediate notification of authorities, including law enforcement and state health departments. nursing home abuse lawyer

The inspector general released an “Early Alert” on the matter, which is part of a larger ongoing investigation into nursing home abuse and neglect. Florida was among the states included in the large sampling of cases. Given the Florida Health Care Association’s report that the population of those over 65 will double by 2026 and that 69 percent of those are anticipated to need some type of long-term care, this is not an issue we can afford to ignore.

While the number of nursing home residents continues to climb – it’s currently at 1.4 million – issues with quality of care are ongoing. And even though there is an increasing awareness about the potential dangers, serious violations of patients’ rights continue.  Continue reading

Roughly 3 million people are injured annually in car accidents across the U.S. Meanwhile, there are approximately 800,000 bankruptcies filed every year, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In some instances, people who cause car accidents soon thereafter file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Except in cases of drunk driving injuries, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can effectively releasing a negligent driver from the obligation to pay for personal injuries they caused prior to the bankruptcy filing.car accident attorney

However, as a recent case weighed by the Alabama Supreme Court illustrates, that does not mean injured crash victims are without options. Although this is an out-of-state case, there is the potential for similar cases to arise in Florida, and justices are known to look to sister court rulings when weighing similar legal issues.

According to court records, a husband and wife (plaintiffs) were injured when their vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by defendant driver. Plaintiffs sued defendant, alleging her negligence caused the crash and their injuries. Their complaint also named their own auto insurer, as they sought to recover underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. Continue reading

Injuries that occur in hospitals are mostly matters of medical malpractice, meaning they stem from substandard care provided by medical professionals. However, some hospital injuries are the result of general negligence (often due to unsafe conditions on the premises). Although hospitals are providers of care, they are also owners of property, with a duty of reasonable care under premises liability law to the general public who enter. medical malpractice

This distinction is clear in some cases. For example, a visitor slips-and-falls in a just-mopped hospital lobby that isn’t marked with a sign. Clearly, that incident isn’t a matter of medical malpractice; the visitor wasn’t even being treated. However, when it comes to patients – current, prospective or leaving – the waters can get muddied.

It’s an important distinction to make because the proof burden for these two types of cases is very different. For general negligence cases, one must simply prove defendant owed a duty of care, that duty was breached and the breach resulted in an accident that caused injuries. However, Florida medical malpractice cases, per F.S. 766.102, require claimants to prove by the greater weight of evidence that alleged actions of health care provider(s) breached the prevailing professional standard of care for that health provider. This considers whether the level of care, skill and treatment in light of all surrounding circumstances is deemed acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers. In order to do this, one must present a qualified expert medical witness testimony – and that’s long before one ever gets to the trial phase. There is also the matter of the statute of limitations (the time in which one has to file a case). In Florida, general negligence claims can be filed within four years. Medical malpractice claims have to be filed within two years.  Continue reading

Attorneys for the estate of a South Florida woman who died during surgery have filed a notice of appeal to the Florida Supreme Court after a divided appellate court decision favored a defendant anesthesiologist. medical malpractice

The 3rd District Court of Appeal last month in a 2-1 ruling upheld a directed verdict for the defendant by the Miami-Dade County circuit judge. Although plaintiff attorney’s notice did not give any detailed information about the arguments that would be made before the state high court, the case originated with the 2009 death of a 45-year-old woman, who was undergoing a surgical procedure to remove a non-aggressive brain tumor.

According to court records, defendant anesthesiologist conducted an evaluation of decedent prior to the surgery. She later died during the operation due to what the majority appellate panel found was an extreme loss of blood. However, the dissenting opinion agreed with plaintiff that anesthesiologist erred in reading an electrocardiogram (EKG) prior to administering anesthesia. An EKG is a test that measures the heart’s electrical activities. While the majority justices found the doctor had acted properly, noting another anesthesiologist also conducted an evaluation prior to surgery, the dissenting justice sided with plaintiff in finding the results of that EKG were abnormal and should have been a red flag that there would be issues in surgery. That puts plaintiffs in a stronger position for the upcoming appeal.  Continue reading

One of the reasons Florida medical malpractice cases are so complex – and costly – is because they require at least one (and usually more) expert witness. F.S. 766.102(1) places the burden of proof in these cases on the plaintiff (person injured) to show the health care provider breached the prevailing professional standard of care, given the care provider’s care, skill and treatment in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances. The court will look carefully at what the accepted standard of care as viewed by “reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” medical malpractice

The mere fact of a medical injury doesn’t create the presumption of a health provider’s negligence (except in cases where a foreign object, such as a surgical sponge, is found). The way plaintiffs prove defendant care provider breached the standard of care is to have a qualified expert witness – someone of the same or similar experience as defendant – testify as to plaintiff’s position. While our medical malpractice lawyers in Naples work on a contingency fee basis (meaning we aren’t paid unless you win), expert witness fees are something plaintiff is responsible to pay, regardless of the outcome of the case. In many instances, though, when a plaintiff wins, expert witness fees will be covered by the losing party.

However, a recent ruling by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff who prevailed in a medical malpractice lawsuit was entitled to have the defendant pay the expert attorney fees, to the extent plaintiff is able to show the fees were both reasonable and necessary, even though one of those expert witnesses was also a treating physician.  Continue reading

Corporations love arbitration agreements. Whether it’s a cell phone contract or an employment agreement, compelling people to give up their right to take any future disputes to court is advantageous to these firms.

But as our nursing home abuse attorneys have come to know, people often don’t realize what they’re signing. Arbitration agreements tend to be buried in a mountain of paperwork. This is especially true in cases where nursing homes require new residents/ representatives to sign such paperwork upon admission. nursing home abuse

Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of nursing home arbitration agreements in the May 2017 case of Kindred Nursing Centers v. Clark, an Obama-era final rule via the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) prohibited nursing homes that accepted Medicaid (almost all of them) from forcing residents to sign one.

That is now changing with new directives from the Trump administration, much to the sharp consternation of elder care advocates.  Continue reading