The Florida claims bill process for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is once again coming under scrutiny for alleged lobbyist bias. This was after the Associated Press recently reported nearly half of the injury and wrongful death claims bills approved by state lawmakers in the last two years was awarded to victims represented by a lobbyist who is the brother of the state House speaker.injury attorney

For those who aren’t familiar with this process, it deals specifically with claims against state and local governments. Sovereign immunity laws can make it impossible to hold government agencies accountable for negligence resulting in injury, but Florida law typically allows such legal action to be brought pretty much the same as one would any other defendant. However, there is a damage cap of $200,000 for any individual person and $300,000 per incident. Those who have ever endured a serious injury know just how quickly one can burn through that amount – just in medical bills alone. Jurors may award damages far in excess of that amount, but that is all a plaintiff can collect – unless they can find a state lawmaker to file a claims bill on their behalf to present to the entire legislature for approval. Each damage award must be approved by lawmakers. It is a tedious process that tends to require a lot of “cooks in the kitchen,” but it can be an invaluable means of compensation for those serious injured. Cases can range from those injured in a car accident with a negligent city worker being harmed by the negligence of a nurse employed by a government-owned hospital.

Allegations of lobbying bias isn’t really anything brand new. In fact, back in 2013 and 2014, lawmakers didn’t approve a single claims bill, in part due to the firm opposition of the then-Senate president, who argued the bills were passing based on the effectiveness of their lobbyists, not the actual merits of the claim.  Continue reading

When someone dies as the result of medical malpractice in Florida, state law unfortunately limits the types of damages that can be recovered – and by whom. Florida injury lawyers have long railed the restrictions on who may proceed with a medical malpractice claim in the event the patient dies – restrictions for which powerful medical industry lobbyists pushed hard.medical malpractice lawyer

The result is provisions of the Florida Wrongful Death Act that restrict plaintiffs in medical malpractice wrongful death cases to:

  • A child under the age of 25;
  • An adult child who is dependent on decedent for financial support;
  • A spouse;
  • A parent of a child under age 25.

Unless decedent has a surviving loved one who falls under these narrow parameters, there is legally no claim allowed under law. Further, if a decedent dies while a case is pending and doesn’t have a survivor in this category to step in as a plaintiff, the case will die with them and the negligent health care provider is never held to account. That is something that should bother everyone who potentially needs medical care in Florida because it means facilities and providers providing care that falls below baseline accepted medical standards may never have to answer for it, leaving them free to practice and profit without consequence. Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court has upheld this as a legitimate means of reducing medical insurance costs.  Continue reading

When a patient goes to see their primary care physician, a specialist, or goes into the emergency room for immediate care, they are relying upon the expertise of their respective medical providers to diagnose what is wrong with them, if the cause of the illness or other medical condition is not obvious, and to advise them of the proper course of treatment.

medical malpractice attorneyIn some cases, a doctor will say they will not know the full extent of the medical condition until they perform some type of exploratory surgery or diagnostic test, and then at that point will know the best course of treatment.  There is nothing wrong with this type of approach and it is often necessary to successfully treat a patient, or even save a patient’s life.  Continue reading

A hospital system in Alabama was granted a new trial following a jury verdict for $10 million in favor of a man who sued for medical malpractice over his infant son’s treatment. The primary cause for reversal, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled, was the trial court’s decision to allow prior acts and omissions by the hospital system defendant. These facts were not relevant to the case at hand, justices ruled, and were ultimately highly prejudicial to the defense. medical malpractice attorney

Although this is surely not the news plaintiff wanted to hear, it does not mean the case is lost. It means medical malpractice attorneys will need to be fully prepared to thoroughly establish a failure to meet the applicable standard of medical care this scenario necessitated.

According to court records, the child ultimately suffered from seizure disorder, blindness and deafness as a result of misdiagnosed bacterial meningitis. Research published by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota revealed approximately 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the country’s top medical providers learned they had been initially misdiagnosed by their primary care provider. Study authors noted that correct diagnosis can be difficult because there are some 10,000 diseases and only about 300 symptoms. Our medical malpractice attorneys in West Palm Beach recognize that a misdiagnosis in and of itself is not enough to bring a case. One must show with expert witness testimony and other evidence that the physician’s diagnosis failed to meet the accepted standard of care for his or her specialty, region and facility. Expert witnesses must be vetted and hold the same general credentials as the defendant doctor or healthcare provider. Continue reading

A U.S. veteran died from blood poisoning, due to what his family alleges was medical negligence in the form of a misplaced catheter.medical malpractice attorney

According to MensHealth.com, the medical malpractice lawsuit filed by his survivors indicates the patient suffered from both a traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis when he sought treatment at a Veteran’s Affairs clinic in Missouri for a condition called neurogenic bladder, common with MS patients. The condition makes it tough for patients to control their bladder function. After his catheter was changed at the facility, the 52-year-old was returned to the facility where he resided, where caregivers noted he had a fever – and large amounts of clotting and blood at the end of his penis. He was rushed to the hospital, diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and also sepsis, a life-threatening complication of bacterial infection.

Plaintiffs allege a CT scan conducted soon thereafter showed the balloon in the Foley catheter inflated not in the bladder, as is the intent, but in the urethra. He died of septic shock last month. Continue reading

Walk into almost any hospital emergency room or intensive care unit – and what do you hear? There is the almost constant whoosh-and-honk of the ventilator. There might be an infusion pump, beeping in a high-pitch tone every six seconds or so. Blood pressure monitors will let out one single long tone after another. All these medical devices contribute to something we as medical malpractice attorneys recognize as “alarm fatigue.” medical malpractice

Although all of these monitors have their purpose, most of the time they don’t require any action. When medical professionals (nurses, in particular) grow accustomed to this constant din of noise – sometimes several hundred alarms daily – they can grow desensitized to it. Others, to avoid becoming overwhelmed, may turn the volume down. Some might simply ignore them. This could have serious and possibly deadly consequences to patients.

Patient safety advocates and medical malpractice attorneys have been raising concern about this issue for many years. However, it’s become an increasingly more pressing problem as technology evolves and the medical device community emerges with an increasing number of complex, loud machines – all intended to save lives, but contributing to this alarm fatigue issue.  Continue reading

In every negligence lawsuit in Florida, there are four basic elements plaintiffs need to prove: Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care, defendant breached that duty, the breach caused plaintiff’s injuries and plaintiff suffered monetary damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) as a result. Slip-and-fall lawsuits in Florida, however, are a bit trickier, thanks to a 2010 legislative update that enacted F.S. 768.055. This provision refers specifically to premises liability cases wherein there is a “transitory foreign substance” (something slippery that isn’t normally there) on the floor of a business establishment. slip-and-fall

This statute modifies the business’s duties when invitees are hurt by transitory foreign substances. It shifts the burden of proof in constructive knowledge negligence actions fully on the plaintiff. More specifically, the proof of the “breach” element here is statutorily constrained to those cases wherein plaintiffs can prove either actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the business owner.

What does this mean? Essentially, it is not enough that you were invited onto the site for the benefit of the business and encountered a dangerous condition that resulted in an injury. What you are also responsible to prove is that the store either had “actual knowledge” (the business/ its agents created the dangerous condition or was specifically informed about it) or “constructive knowledge.” Constructive knowledge is a bit trickier. It means the business knew or should have known about the condition because either it existed for a certain period of time during which the business – in the course of using ordinary care – should have discovered it OR it was a condition that occurred with regularity so the business should have foreseen it.  Continue reading

Finding that an arbitration panel handling a medical malpractice lawsuit erred in the way it awarded loss of companionship and guidance damages to a husband and child in the death of a brand new mother, a Florida appeals court reversed a $4 million award of compensation.birth injury lawyer

The ruling is disappointing, but the family will still receive compensation and it’s important for medical malpractice lawyers and plaintiffs to understand exactly what went wrong. The primary issue was the fact that damage awards of this nature are considered non-economic damages. Although the Florida Supreme Court has ruled caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional in medical malpractice cases (both personal injury and wrongful death), F.S. 766.207 holds that non-economic damages recoverable in arbitration proceedings can be limited to $250,000 per incident (serving as yet another example of one of the many ways arbitration agreements can harm injured or wronged plaintiffs). Here, the loss of companionship award was initially categorized as economic damages, and thus not subjected to the arbitration clause limit. It’s also worth noting that the court did not take issue with a finding that a loss of consortium award, finding it warranted.

According to court records from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, this claim involves the death of a wife and mother due to events that took place during an emergency C-section in August 2014. The mother had lost so much oxygen to her brain while in the hospital that she slipped into a vegetative state, from which she died three months later.  Continue reading

Suing the at-fault driver responsible for your South Florida car accident injuries is really just the first of what could be several legal options. The other driver might be liable for negligent operation of that vehicle, but the vehicle’s owner might be vicariously liable. So too might the driver’s employer, if the driver was acting in the course and scope of employment when they crashed. If the crash was caused in whole or in part due to a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part, the product designer, manufacturer and/ or marketer could be held responsible too.Palm Beach car accident attorney

Thoroughly investigating the case and identifying and naming potential defendants is imperative because failure to do so could result in you not receiving all the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled.

In any injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the court will be asked to apportion fault. The defendant driver shares a percentage (sometimes all) of the fault. Sometimes you, the plaintiff, will be assigned a percentage of fault (known as comparative fault, though thankfully in Florida, F.S. 768.81 does not bar you from collecting compensation, even if your damages will be proportionately reduced). Other named defendants may also be apportioned fault, and they will be responsible for paying their fair share. However, if the court finds that a non-party is responsible for some percentage of the blame, you may not be able to collect their share of the damages.

However, there is a bit of good news for plaintiffs who acknowledge there is another potential defendant, but don’t know his/ her identity. (We see this in hit-and-run crashes and so-called “phantom vehicle” cases). The saving grace there is uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) benefits.  Continue reading

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