A waiver of liability is an increasingly common way for businesses to throw up a shield against legal responsibility for patron injuries. They are especially common where activities might pose a higher-than-average risk. Examples might be trampoline parks, jet skiing or skydiving.South Florida injury lawyer

However, as our West Palm Beach injury lawyers can explain, signing a waiver of liability won’t absolutely sabotage the legitimacy of your injury claim. If you can prove the waiver failed to meet certain legal criteria or if there is evidence of reckless or intentional wrongdoing, you may still be able to pursue your claim for damages. The same goes for many claims involving children involved in commercial activities, as noted by the 2008 Florida Supreme Court decision in Kirton v. Fields.

While it’s true that waivers of liability can insulate organizations and businesses from legal responsibility for acts of negligence (i.e., lack of reasonable care) they can’t protect against gross negligence. Gross negligence is the deliberate disregard for someone else’s safety by an act or omission the defendant knew or should have known would put another in danger. Continue reading

When we talk about “damages” in a South Florida personal injury lawsuit, we’re referring to the monetary value of what you have lost as a result of the incident or accident. Some losses obviously have no price tag, but that doesn’t mean those responsible shouldn’t be held accountable for it. You have likely heard of damages for medical expenses, wage losses, pain and suffering and even mental anguish. One type of damage lesser known (but no less important) is specifically for those closest to the person hurt or killed. It’s called loss of consortium. South Florida personal injury lawyer

Loss of consortium, as defined by the Florida Supreme Court in the 1971 case of Gates v. Foley, is filed by the spouse of the person injured as a result of a third party’s wrongful conduct. It’s intended to compensate a surviving spouse for loss of affection, solace, comfort, sexual relationship, fellowship, society, household services and assistance necessary for a successful marriage.

(Minor children and parents of minor children might also have grounds for loss of consortium in some circumstances.)

It’s important to understand that while a claim for loss of consortium is a claim separate and distinct from the primary claim, Florida courts have long held it is nonetheless a derivative one. That means its success is dependent on the injured person’s underlying claim. However, it’s possible that an impaired spouse’s claim could be settled and the deprived spouse’s loss of consortium claim would still proceed to trial. Continue reading

A South Florida trucking accident has the potential to completely upend and alter innocent lives forever. The way you proceed in the hours, weeks and months that follow can have a big impact on your ability to recover damages for your injuries. In order to know what to do, you must know what to expect. South Florida truck accident lawyer

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 12.5 million commercial large trucks and buses are registered in the U.S., logging some 300 billion miles nationally every year. Of the more than 37,000 fatalities on our roadways every year, nearly 4,900 – or 13 percent – involve a large truck or bus. Annually, there are more than 450,000 large truck and bus accidents reported to police. Of those, 23 percent involve a serious injury – some 345,000 in all. The vast majority of those injured and killed in South Florida truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles. Pedestrians and bicyclists also face an out-sized risk against these highway behemoths.

Florida is among the top five worst states for large truck and bus fatalities nationally. Between 180 and 300 Florida truck accident deaths have been reported every year in the Sunshine State since 2007. Many more are injured. Continue reading

Active duty military members now have the right to sue for medical malpractice injuries after a December vote by Congress to enact a new provision to the National Defense Authorization Act. South Florida medical malpractice lawyer

As our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys can explain, long-held legal precedent has been that service members are prohibited from suing the Armed Forces for negligence during active duty that resulted in injury. This principle has come to be called “the Feres Doctrine,” after a watershed 1950 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Feres v. U.S. It’s been used to toss dozens of cases of serious medical malpractice injury suffered by service members – or discourage them from filing any claim altogether.

The soldier for whom the doctrine is named was a highly-decorated WWII veteran who parachuted into Normandy during D-Day. He prevailed through some of the worst fighting of the war – but died in barracks fire while on base in the U.S. His widow filed a negligence lawsuit against the Army under the Federal Tort Claims Act for its negligence in causing the fire (unsafe due to faulty heating system). The ruling that resulted denied her – and countless other active-duty soldiers and surviving family members – from holding the U.S. government accountable for negligence that occurred during active duty. Continue reading

The new hepatitis C drug was hailed as “miraculous.” Physicians on a panel of experts granting U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval enthused it was “a game changer,” able to cure a stubborn, painful disease in just three months. What the experts did not know was that the FDA’s own drug quality inspectors had recently strongly advised against giving the drug a stamp of approval. West Palm Beach drug litigation attorney

In a 15-page disciplinary report, FDA inspectors eviscerated the drug manufacturer’s primary testing laboratory for numerous failed quality control measures, including:

  • Improperly-stored samples;
  • Inadequately-reviewed failures;
  • Testing results vulnerable to tampering.

Our West Palm Beach drug litigation lawyers know that poor quality control for prescription drugs has been a noted problem where overseas-manufactured generic brands are concerned. However, what this instance highlighted was the fact that brand name prescription medications made by well-known, highly-profitable corporations in the U.S. are also plagued by these same concerns – and oversight appears to be lax.

Despite the fact that the FDA’s own inspectors sounded the alarm internally about the hepatitis drug, those issues were resolved confidentially – without any further inspection required before the medications were approved for marketing and sale to the American public.

This does not appear to be an isolated example, according to an ongoing investigation by Kaiser Health News. In fact, some drug companies pay expensive fees for expedient FDA reviews.
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For nearly 20 years, reports of widespread failures of more than 100 medical devices leading to scores of serious personal injuries were concealed from the public in a federal database about which few patients, doctors or regulators knew. medical device litigation

Earlier this year, a Kaiser Health News investigation revealed more than 5.7 million medical device-related injuries among patients across the U.S. Reports of those were filed through an internal FDA “alternative summary reporting” archive, rather than the more heavily-scrutinized public database known as MAUD. That database is used by physicians, public health advocates, medical device engineers and our own South Florida medical device litigation attorneys to identify patterns of problems with medical devices that put patients at risk. KHN reported that not even the FDA’s own commissioner was aware of the database, which included a voluminous list of devices like breathing machines, surgical staples, implantable defibrillators, breast implants, tooth implants and and in-heart balloon pumps.

And that wasn’t even the only “secret” database. The FDA also had a “registry exemption” that device manufactures could request to use for reporting injuries resulting from more controversial medical devices, such as pelvic mesh. Another allowed for “litigation complaint summary reporting,” where medical device manufacturers could send a single injury report that might detail thousands of pending lawsuits predicated on similar patient injuries. Continue reading

The widower and surviving children of a 36-year-old woman killed in a Florida car accident three years ago have secured a $13 million verdict against the estate of the driver who caused the crash by making an illegal pass. The family’s wrongful death lawyer says the next step is to pursue a bad faith insurance claim against the auto insurance company that acted in bad faith in failing to settle this claim before trial. West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyers

As our West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyers can explain, bad faith insurance claims are those stemming from an insurance company’s failure to act in a reasonable manner when processing, investigating and paying a claim. This remedy exists because legislators and courts recognized that when it comes to settling claims, insurers are in the driver’s seat. They have more expertise, negotiating strength and financial resources than any claimant. That makes good faith and fair dealing of insurers essential. But that doesn’t mean they always do.

Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help reduce the chances that an insurer will attempt to undercut you with a low-ball settlement or refuses to settle for a reasonable amount. If that doesn’t happen, a good lawyer can help you begin to gather evidence to build a solid case for bad faith insurance. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a hospital can be held accountable for the negligent treatment by independent-contractor emergency room doctors. Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers will be closely following the developments of this case, and a decision is likely to be handed down sometime next year. West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers

The case stems from a botched plastic surgery provided at an unlicensed clinic by a man posing as a Venezuelan doctor. The clinic was licensed to give massages, but advertised the services of certified plastic surgeons (which it did not have) to perform buttocks-enhancement injections. A 28-year-old woman was rushed to a local emergency room after suffering complications from the procedure in 2013. She was treated at the hospital’s emergency room and in the intensive care unit, but died within hours. The “doctor” was later arrested and the clinic shuttered, but her estate filed a lawsuit against both the hospital and emergency room doctors for negligence.

The hospital insists it cannot be held liable for treatment provided by the emergency room doctors, as they were independent contractors. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal agreed in a ruling earlier this year. However, this ruling conflicts with one by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals in a similar case.

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to review the conflict, but has yet to set a date for oral arguments. Continue reading

Although most tend to think of New Year’s Eve as the most dangerous for holiday travelers, the truth is Thanksgiving is typically far more perilous. Hundreds of people a year are killed in crashes during the Thanksgiving travel period. In fact, Thanksgiving Day was reported to be the single deadliest day on U.S. roads in several of the last 15 years.South Florida car accident lawyer

AAA reports the 2019 Thanksgiving travel season will see the second-highest volume of holiday road traffic since the agency began keeping track almost 20 years ago. An estimated 55 million people will be taking a trip of 50 miles or more, and 49 million of those will be driving. In Florida, there will be at least 3 million travelers.

AAA predicts major road delays throughout the entire week, peaking Wednesday afternoon the day before Thanksgiving. Orlando, Miami, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale are listed as prime national destinations for holiday travelers, which means Florida roads especially will be crammed – and dangerous. Continue reading

A $14.4 million verdict awarded in a catastrophic injury lawsuit was recently overturned by Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, citing the binding settlement agreement plaintiff’s father had entered prior to trial for just $10,000 and the insurer’s good faith effort to pay the policy limits. Plaintiff is in a vegetative state following a 2010 car accident in which he was a passenger.South Florida injury lawyer

The case is a cautionary tale in why it is critical for anyone acting on behalf of a loved one after a catastrophic injury to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Only certain individuals are authorized to handle financial and health care matters for someone who is incapacitated, but there is often confusion about how that process works.

It’s also not uncommon for insurers to swoop in as your “friend” early on in a case like this, trying to secure a low-ball settlement. Your case may be worth a great deal more than what they’re offering, but you won’t have the right to pursue it if you cash that check and release them from all future claims.

Why Catastrophic Injury Cases Require Experienced Plaintiff Lawyers

Catastrophic injuries are those that permanently prevent a person from performing work and enjoying life as he/she would have prior to the accident. Examples include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Severe burns;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Amputations;
  • Paralysis.

Most commonly, catastrophic injuries are the result of motor vehicle crashes, but they can also stem from construction site falls, medical malpractice or intentional acts of violence. Continue reading