Drunk driving is a major threat to Florida motorists, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reporting nearly 8,500 people were killed in Florida drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2012. The rate of people who self-report driving after having too much to drink in Florida is 2.1 percent, compared to the national average of 1.9 percent. Florida allows sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders, but there may be another way to combat the problem. It starts with targeting those repeat offenders.DUI injury lawyer

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that a person arrested for DUI once was 615 times more likely to be arrested again for the same offense compared to someone who was never arrested for impaired driving. Given that risk, authorities in Colorado (where 40 percent of DUI arrests involve repeat offenders) the state is trying something new.

The Miami Herald reports the state’s department of transportation distributed 475 personal breathalyzers to residents of the state who had previously been convicted of a drunk driving offense. These devices allow individuals to test themselves to determine whether they had surpassed the legal alcohol limit, indicating they were not safe to drive. That was over the summer. Continue reading

Failure to diagnose is the No. 1 reason physicians face medical malpractice claims. One study in 2013 published in the journal BMJ Open analyzed claims against primary care physicians in the U.S., Australia, France and Canada and found that between 26 and 63 percent of all medical malpractice lawsuits stem from a missed diagnosis. The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in adults were myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cancer, and meningitis in children.medical malpractice attorney

It was reportedly a failure to properly review a high school senior’s kidney ultrasound led to his death two months later on a class trip, according to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by his parents two years ago. Now, probate court records show the hospital involved has settled the case for $2 million. Valley News in New Hampshire reports the teen suddenly collapsed and died while changing planes en route to a youth leadership conference. An autopsy showed he had a large cancerous tumor on one of his kidneys, which had partially dislodged, passed through blood vessels and into his lungs and heart.

At issue was the fact that doctors had known about a calcified cyst on the boy since he was just 7-years-old. It was a condition that required yearly checkups. In May 2014, at age 17, he experienced blood in his urine, was admitted to the hospital and physicians performed a kidney ultrasound. The doctors ascertained upon review the kidney was stable and his condition unchanged. There was no extensive work-up of ultrasound results and he was discharged from the hospital that same day. He died in late June 2014. Continue reading

Most people assume the end of the road for a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit is the verdict. However, that is not the case as there is always the potential for appeal. The National Center for State Courts reports medical malpractice cases have an appeal rate of 18 percent. Those cases that tend to have the highest rate of appeal are those that involve serious injuries, complex medical and/ or scientific evidence and expert testimony. That’s why medical malpractice cases in Florida tend to have a higher rate of appeal than, say, a car accident injury verdict. What’s more, the center reported, defendants who lose medical malpractice cases are more likely to appeal than plaintiffs. medical malpractice lawyer

Most medical malpractice cases that are appealed involve:

  • Loss of mental function;
  • Facial scarring;
  • Loss of sight/ hearing;
  • Death;
  • Paralysis.

Because appeals can be so costly, it’s not unheard of for medical malpractice plaintiffs to end up back in negotiations with defendants – even after they have obtained a favorable verdict. The reason is if there is a good chance defendant will appeal (and may have a strong argument on appeal), plaintiff may agree to a settlement – ending the case then and there, albeit for a lesser amount – than go through the time, expense and ordeal of an appeal. It’s also possible that if a trial is bifurcated (split into separate issues, usually liability and damages) that a defendant will settle after liability has been determined, but prior to a finding of damages. Continue reading

We know that successful medical malpractice lawsuits are first and foremost intended to compensate victims of careless doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers. But the other function these claims serve is to alert both patients and state health officials to problematic trends with individual caregivers and facilities. medical malpractice attorney

The National Practitioner Data Bank, which follows medical malpractice lawsuits against active practitioners and their outcomes, reports that between 2005 and 2014, only 1 percent of doctors were linked to one-third of all medical malpractice settlements. Further, the greater number of claims the physician settled, the much higher the chances were the doctor would pay another in the future. Doctors who had previously settled two malpractice cases were more than twice as likely to be involved in a third settlement, compared to those who had one previous settlement.

These findings make a recent report from South Florida’s The Sun-Sentinel all the more troubling. Reporters revealed that when medical malpractice lawsuits are settled or even decided in favor of the plaintiff in a jury trial, those doctors and facilities are rarely penalized by officials with the state’s Department of Health.  Continue reading

In the midst of the bustle of the holidays, it’s not uncommon for drivers to sacrifice sleep to get where they’re going. While there is a great deal of (deserved) focus on distracted driving and drunk driving during the holidays, drowsy driving is another – often overlooked – catalyst for car accidents in Florida that deserves some attention.car accident attorney

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that 21 percent of all fatal crashes involved a driver who was fatigued, as did 13 percent of all car accidents in which a person was hospitalized for personal injury. That amounts to 109,000 injury crashes and 6,400 deadly crashes every single year attributed to a sleepy driver.

Although a number of states have enacted laws that classify drowsy driving as a criminal offense when it results in a death, Florida is not among those. However, drowsy driving can still be considered negligence if the individual knew or should have known they were too tired to drive. That’s because every motorist has a legal duty of care to other drivers to use reasonable caution behind the wheel. Driving while tired can be considered a breach of that duty because it is a failure to use reasonable care. Still, such claims can be difficult to substantiate, which is why it’s important to have an experienced South Florida injury attorney on your side who can carefully assess the merits and strength of your case. Continue reading

More than 10 years ago, Florida voters soundly agreed that “adverse medical incident reports” should be public knowledge to patients. That measure was known as “Amendment 7.” However, there is now an effort underway to limit access to this information once again, driving concern that physicians and other health care providers will be able to more easily conceal wrongdoing. medical malpractice

A former general counsel to the governor, now a member of the state’s Constitution Revision Commission, has formally proposed an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would place limitations on the kinds of records that could be used in medical malpractice litigation against physicians, hospitals and other health care providers.

The reason these records are so important is because they allow the public – and medical malpractice claimants in particular –  to slash through the red tape. Prior to the passage of Amendment 7 (which was done with an overwhelming majority), it was incredibly common for hospitals to make it difficult to obtain prior records of wrongs by a given physician or hospital, characterizing the data as privileged by risk management or peer review. Continue reading

A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit (or in a criminal case, a formal charge). If your injury or wrongful death claim is filed after that deadline, it will most likely be dismissed. The state of Florida sets the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases at two years, pursuant to F.S. 95.11(4). That means one has two years from the time the patient (and, in some cases, a family member or guardian) knew about or should have known about the fact the injury occurred and that there was a reasonable chance it was caused by medical malpractice. This differs from the general negligence claim deadline of four years. The wrongful death statute of limitations in Florida is two years from the date of death.medical malpractice attorney

Unless there is proof of misrepresentation or fraud or concealment, there is no way to pursue a medical malpractice case beyond four years. This is what’s known as the statute of repose. That means even if you didn’t know about the medical malpractice and there wasn’t any reasonable way to find out, four years is the absolute cut-off. If you can show fraud, misrepresentation or concealment, that statute of repose may be extended to seven years. However, that can be very difficult to prove.

All of this means that as soon as you suspect you or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you need to speak with an attorney to find out the best way to investigate and determine whether you have a valid claim.

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Digitization of medical records has been shown to improve patient safety. However, a new study by The Doctors Company, a physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, shows that electronic health records used by 90 percent of hospitals and 80 percent of doctors’ offices, are at the root of many new medical malpractice lawsuits.medical malpractice lawyer

The firm reported that an analysis showed the number of claims involving electronic health record errors as a contributing factor has risen steadily over the last decade.

The potential liability risks to the medical malpractice insurer were first noted beginning in 2007. Between then and 2010, there were 2 total claims wherein these records were a contributing factor. By 2013, there were 28 such claims. There were a total of 97 such claims closed between January 2007 and June 2014. Between July 2014 and December 2016, there were 66 claims involving errors with electronic health records. Continue reading

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