As West Palm Beach sexual assault lawyers can explain, many civil sexual abuse cases are filed against employers because predators too often gain access to victims while acting in their professional capacity. Claims of negligent hiring stem from Florida courts’ recognition that employers can be held liable for their employees’ willful negligence or even criminal misconduct (including sexual assault) if the employer knew or should have known prior to hiring that the worker posed a possible threat to the public. West Palm Beach sexual assault attorneys

When a company fails to properly vet its employees, this can be a breach of the duty of reasonable care owed to customers, clients, visitors, patients, students, etc. Thorough background checks may be especially important when the job is one of significant trust or involves serving vulnerable populations. Examples may include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Teachers
  • Police officers
  • Medical professionals
  • Nursing home staff
  • Hotel staffers
  • School sports organizations

A claim of negligent hiring asserts employer liability for failure to exercise due diligence in hiring someone, who in turn goes on to injure someone in the course of their employment. This sort of claim isn’t limited to sexual assault cases. For example, a trucking company that fails to check truckers’ past driving records could be fairly accused of negligent hiring if a driver with a spotty driving history later causes a serious crash.

Related torts include negligent retention (employer was negligent in continuing to employ the person) and negligent supervision (employer failed to adequately supervise employee). For each, plaintiffs must prove that the employer’s lapse proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury. Negligent security is another possibly related tort. Negligent security is when abuse or assault occurs on the premises of a property owner/manager that failed to provide an adequate level of security. Continue reading

Personal injury litigation is the most common type of civil action in Florida courts. Car accident claims in particular are ubiquitous. Many of these will be settled prior to trial, but it’s important to understand that unless your degree of injury meets something called the “serious injury threshold,” your case won’t gain much traction.South Florida injury attorney

Florida is one of the few states that adheres to a no-fault system when it comes to car insurance. Vehicle owners are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, as outlined in F.S. 627.736. This provides up to $10,000 in coverage for medical bills and lost wages incurred in a crash, regardless of who caused it. Property damage liability coverage is separate.

For minor car accidents, PIP coverage may be more than enough. But if someone suffers serious injuries, that amount won’t go very far. Still, Florida law sets a serious injury threshold for personal injury recovery in car accident cases. In other words, your injuries must meet certain criteria in order to pursue damages against the at-fault driver. Some bruising on your arm and face probably won’t cut it, but if you’ve suffered broken bones or torn tendons, it might. Continue reading

You faithfully pay your monthly or quarterly insurance premiums for your car, boat or house. But when it comes to paying losses in a covered accident or event, insurers suddenly aren’t quite so on your side. They do still, however, have a legal responsibility to act in good faith (fairly and honestly) in their dealings with you. If they don’t, they can face penalties for bad faith insurance. Florida insurance settlement lawyer

The question of whether to contact a lawyer to help you settle insurance claims is one that sometimes arises too late in the game. It’s true that most smaller, simpler claims you can probably settle on your own without too much hassle. But for claims that have already been denied, it should be noted that insurers, once reaching this position, rarely alter their position unless they receive new evidence. This is why for any sort of higher-stakes insurance claims, we recommend consulting with an experienced South Florida attorney before you start negotiating.

Some examples of insurance situations one might call for legal assistance include:

  • Claims that are expensive or complex.
  • Claims in which serious injuries are involved.
  • Claims in which you and the insurance adjuster disagree early on.
  • Substantial claims including major losses or extensive damages.
  • Claims where fault may be difficult to establish.

The fact is, insurers aren’t shy about denying claims with shaky reasoning – particularly if the client isn’t represented by a lawyer. They’re much less likely to pull a stunt and deny a valid claim if you have a lawyer working for you. It will also help you avoid unintentionally harming your case. (Seemingly innocent-sounding inquiries could actually be tactics to attempt to lower the value of your claim.) Insurance agents are experienced, well paid and know what to look for – and they’ll be looking for any possible weakness in your case from that very first initial call to open a claim. Continue reading

Any car accident can be traumatic and stressful. But when you are pregnant, all of this is compounded two-fold. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that car accidents are a top cause of injury and death for pregnant women and a leading cause of traumatic fetal death. pregnant car accident Florida

As our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys can explain, crashes can present unique and scary complications for both mother and child. Knowing some of these unique risks and what should be done immediately after can help empower victims and increase your chances for fair compensation from negligent drivers.

See a Doctor – Even if You Feel Fine

First thing’s first: If you’re in a crash, get to the doctor right away, even if you aren’t transported to a hospital via ambulance. This is a critical precautionary measure for both you and your unborn child. Continue reading

West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyerThe statute of limitations on Florida medical malpractice claims is two years from the date of the incident/cause of action. However, it’s important to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney review your claim much sooner than that deadline if possible. There are several good reasons for this, not the least of which is because the (not-always-obvious) federal status of some defendants could mean there are additional considerations that will require more time to prepare the case. There could also be shorter administrative deadlines.

Ensuring your case is not only timely and properly filed but in the correct venue is critical. 

This was one of the matters at issue in the case of P.W. v. U.S., recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Continue reading

Florida has two sets of legal justice systems: Criminal and civil. The sole purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish the offender. Prosecutors represent the government in pursuing charges. In criminal sexual assault cases, the survivor is a witness. In the civil justice system, the survivor is the driving force, with the primary goal of compensation to the victim for physical harm, emotional damages and other adverse impacts. In some cases, survivors can compel third parties (schools, hospitals, sports programs, etc.) to compensate them for any negligence that created an opportunity for the assault to occur. Civil actions can also result in third parties being ordered to to take certain actions to prevent future assaults. Florida sexual assault civil lawyer

As South Florida sexual assault attorneys, we represent survivors as they work their way through the civil justice system. We can also help protect their interests if there is a pending criminal case. We do believe that if someone else’s criminal or negligent actions caused you physical injury, pain and suffering and mental anguish, they should be accountable for it.

We fully recognize that no amount of money is going to erase the awful realities of what happened. But damages can help to offset the cost of things like medical bills, trauma counseling and the wages you have lost while trying to piece your life back together. It’s also a measure of justice for the loss of intangible things, such as your mental health and the damage to your personal relationships.

The decision to move forward with civil litigation is a substantial one, and shouldn’t be made lightly. It’s very important that you review the strength of your claim, the potential emotional impact and the best and worst case outcomes. Continue reading

Almost all legal actions in Florida are subject to a statute of limitations. This is a narrow window of time during which a case must be filed. In civil litigation, victims (not prosecutors) are responsible for pursuing claims. South Florida injury lawyer

There is no law that automatically requires people responsible for causing harm to compensate you for it. However, they (or their insurers) can be compelled to pay with a civil claim or lawsuit. But you don’t have unlimited time to do this. Depending on the circumstances, that narrow window of opportunity may be fast closing.

Even if you think you still have a decent amount of time, your legal team may need every spare moment to  investigate and build your case. Doing so could even help avoid a drawn-out legal battle. Often, strong cases settle sooner because insurers and defendants know it isn’t worth a protracted fight. Continue reading

If you suffer a Florida slip-and-fall injury, compensation requires more than proving you were hurt on someone else’s property. In fact, these cases are quite a bit more complicated than many people assume. A key element in a Florida slip-and-fall case is something called “constructive notice.” This is outlined in F.S. 768.0755, and was recently explained in a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (the federal court with jurisdiction over Florida). Florida slip-and-fall injury

The law requires those in slip-and-fall cases to prove the defendant property owner/manager had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. Actual knowledge would be proof that they knew about that particular spill or hazard and hadn’t taken reasonable steps to rectify it. This is often tough or impossible to prove. Constructive knowledge, however, can be established by showing that either:

  • The condition existed for such a period of time that the business should have learned about it if they were using ordinary care.
  • The condition occurred so regularly and it was foreseeable.

Continue reading

Do-it-yourself projects and repairs are common when you have the basic skills and would rather not pay a professional service fee. Still, very few of us have all the equipment and tools we need to get every job done. But some of these tools are expensive, and you don’t need them but maybe a few times. This is why many home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, U-Haul, etc.) here in West Palm Beach offer tool and equipment rentals.
tool rental injury lawsuit

Some examples of tool, equipment or special event items that may be rented for single-use or short-term use include: Bucket lifts, floor cleaners, floor strippers, saws, backhoes, scissor lifts, forklifts, air compressors, tree-trimming equipment, scaffolding equipment, wallpaper steamers, stump grinders, generators, drills & drivers, pressure watches, hitches, trailers, tents, flooring/staging, inflatables, tables/chairs, tents, food equipment (popcorn machines, cotton candy machines, grills, etc.) and more.

Consumers rely on these companies to provide them with tools and machines that are safe for use. If those products prove defective, the consequences can be serious, including broken bones, abrasions, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, electrocution, head injuries, amputation, etc. In these instances, it may be possible for the injured to hold the rental store as well as the product manufacturer liable for those damages.

In such circumstances, it is imperative to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer to weigh your legal options.

Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that a broad liability release in a rental agreement signed by a Home Depot customer doesn’t make the store immune from claims that a defective machine rental cost a man his finger. Continue reading

In Florida, as well as in every other state, it is an unlawful civil rights violation for guards or staff to engage in sexual relations with prisoners. In this dynamic, no sexual encounter can be considered consensual because prisoners cannot legally consent to sex with someone who has authority over them. It’s further understood that refusal invites risk of retaliation. jail-300x200

Unfortunately, the reality is sexual assaults occur far too often in prisons. Some callously view it as “part of the punishment,” but that is unequivocally false. As our South Florida sexual assault lawyers can explain, it can be grounds for civil litigation – against the guards, staff and the prison itself. Claims against government agents and agencies are not easy cases, but they can be successful. Accountability in these matters not only brings justice for victims, but helps reduce the chances that future inmates will be preyed upon in the same way.

Recently, the U.S Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded an investigation into the conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida, finding reasonable cause of Eighth Amendment violations for failure to protect prisoners from sexual abuse and assault by the staff. This is an express violation of provisions of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980, a federal statute that protects the civil rights of those in correctional facilities, nursing homes, mental health facilities and institutions for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Officials at prisons have a constitutional responsibility to protect prisoners from harm. Prosecutors for the DOJ say that incarcerated women at the Florida prison were frequent victims of sexual abuse by prison staff. Further, women were discouraged from reporting the abuse and some investigations were even handled by the abusers themselves. As reported by Courthouse News, there were numerous documented cases of sexual coercion and rape, as well as reports of daily sexual harassment, groping and actions like watching inmates shower and use the toilet. Threats of solitary confinement or withholding basic necessities reportedly occurred when inmates objected. Some inmates were allegedly beaten and physically assaulted when they objected. Continue reading

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