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

David J. Halberg, Attorneys at Law, recently secured a $2.3 million medical malpractice settlement with Golisano Children’s Hospital, stemming from a brain injury and arm amputation of a newborn in 2013.medical malpractice

Halberg fought on behalf of the boy, who was born prematurely at his Lee County home before being whisked to the hospital. As noted in the original complaint, nurses at the hospital are accused of improperly inserting an intravenous line known as a PICC (short for peripherally inserted central catheter).

This medical mistake remained undetected for almost a full week. This was despite the fact the baby had signs and symptoms of serious issues due to impeded blood flow. By the time medical workers discovered their mistake, the newborn’s fingertips were black. His hand was shriveled. Continue reading

Every year millions of Americans go aboard cruise ships for a vacation and are unaware that accidents and sexual assaults on cruise ships are handled in a far different manner than regular personal injury cases.

Florida is a major cruise ship destination with most major cruise ship lines using our state’s multiple ports to take on passengers.

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Cruise Ship Accidents:

The South Florida medical malpractice law firm of David J. Halberg P.A. handles cases involving injuries from PICC lines (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter). These devices along with IV catheters and ports can be helpful if properly handled and inserted.

Unfortunately, if these devices are improperly inserted or handled there can be catastrophic damage to the patient, including infection, loss of limb or even loss of life.

Not only is it important how these devices are handled and inserted, it is also critical how the condition of the patient is followed on an ongoing basis. If warning signs of injury are ignored, the results can be tragic.
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According to the American Cancer Society in order to receive immediate and proper medical treatment, timing is vital in a patient who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected the sooner the appropriate treatment can be started which betters the survival rate and opportunity for a cure.

The survival statistics of many types of cancer are optimistic if the cancer is diagnosed early and timely medical treatment is provided. That’s why the window of opportunity is crucial and time is of the essence when dealing with this disease. Early detection is key.
Failing to diagnose and treat cancer in a patient who presents with signs and symptoms of the disease may be grounds for medical malpractice against the physician and/or healthcare providers.
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