Most people assume that Florida slip-and-fall lawsuits are fairly straightforward. However, as our Palm Beach injury lawyers can explain, the truth of the matter is that South Florida slip-and-fall claims, which involve an area of law called premises liability, can quickly become quite complicated.

Some of the factors that are going to come into play as to how thorny a case can get:Palm Beach injury lawyer

  • How long did the hazard existed in the area where you fell (or how long you can prove it was there)?
  • Was the hazard something that occurred regularly at that location?
  • Who was responsible for maintaining safe walking surfaces at that location? (Were there multiple responsible parties?)
  • How open/obvious was the hazard that caused the fall?
  • What was your purpose on site? (Were you a business invitee? A social invitee? A trespasser? All of this will matter in a Florida premises liability claim.)
  • How badly were you hurt? Did you incur medical bills? Did the injury leave you unable to work for a time?

All of this is going to factor into the viability and value of your Florida slip-and-fall claim and how much it’s worth. This is why you’ll want to discuss your case with an injury lawyer.

That said, here are five questions that we’re frequently asked when approached about a Palm Beach slip-and-fall injury claim: Continue reading

Thanksgiving is all about gathering and good eats. Lots of folks are especially excited about this year’s festivities, as pandemic-related restrictions have increasingly eased. However, many holiday safety concerns persist year after year.Palm Beach injury lawyer

As longtime South Florida injury lawyers, the cases we handle almost all involve preventable injuries resulting from the failure of someone else to use reasonable care – not necessarily because they meant to cause harm, but simply because they weren’t careful. If at all possible, we want people to avoid associating joyful holidays like Thanksgiving with sadness or regret. That’s why we urge everyone to take a few minutes to ensure they’re being as safe as possible – behind the wheel, in front of the stove, through the stores, and at the table.

Driving Dangers on Thanksgiving

There are an estimated 39 million survivors of child sexual assault in the U.S. today. Of those, nearly one-third never tell a soul what happened to them. For many others, the truth isn’t revealed until many years later, often when they are adults who more fully understand what was done to them. Unfortunately, not all of our laws have caught up with this reality.

In Florida, survivors of sexual assault typically have a 4-year window in which to pursue a civil claim against the institutions whose negligence allowed the abuse to occur. After four years, the statute of limitations time-bars the claim. If the abuse was ongoing, the statute of limitations clock wouldn’t start until the last instance of abuse. There are a few exceptions, though, which is why it’s important if you’ve been sexually molested, abused, or assaulted – even if it was many years ago – that you discuss your legal options with an attorney.Palm Beach sexual assault lawyer

(Note that the statute of limitations in criminal sexual assault cases is longer: Within 7 years after the victim turns 18; within 4 years of the time a victim discovers the link between a related injury and the abuse; within 4 years of the time a victim abandons/stops depending on the abuser. In 2020, lawmakers passed “Donna’s Law,” which removes the statute of limitations for criminally prosecuting acts of sexual battery against children under 18. However, the law isn’t retroactive, and is only applicable to crimes committed on or after July 1, 2020.) 

The strict nature of the statute of limitations on civil sexual assault cases was underscored in a case before the Florida Supreme Court last year, R.R. v. New Life Community Church of CMA. In that case, the Florida Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations time-barred two women from pursuing a sexual assault civil lawsuit against a Florida church and other defendants over allegations the women were sexually abused as children by a church employee.

The trial and appellate courts had already ruled against the two plaintiffs, who reported they were molested as young children by the church worker between 1996 and 2005. The worker, currently in prison on unrelated child porn charges, isn’t a party to the case. Instead, the defendants include the church, the man’s parents (also church employees) and others. One of the women said she was molested between the ages of 4 and 11. Her attorney would later say she didn’t recognize abuse had occurred because she thought she was being punished for bad behavior. She therefore didn’t tell her parents until after she was an adult. The other woman alleged she was molested once when she was 4. She told her parents about it shortly after it happened.

Both the trial court and the 5th District Court of Appeal held that the statute of limitations on their claims had already passed. However, the Florida Supreme Court took up the matter because, as our Palm Beach sexual abuse attorneys can explain, other appellate courts ruling on similar cases had reached different conclusions. Specifically, the 3rd and 4th District Courts of Appeal had held that civil sexual abuse lawsuits filed by those who were minors at the time of the abuse don’t accrue until the minor reaches the age of majority OR “until a proper representative knew or should have known of the minor’s claims.” Continue reading

In Florida, property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their properties reasonably safe, and to warn visitors of any dangerous conditions. This duty, which falls under the umbrella of premises liability law, is applicable to hazards about which the owner knows (or reasonably should know), but which a visitor couldn’t have discovered using reasonable care.Palm Beach injury lawyer

Defendant property owners can sometimes win these types of cases by raising the “open and obvious” defense. This defense asserts that the danger was so open and obvious there was no need to warn guests of it.

As our Palm Beach injury lawyers can explain, though, this is not a complete defense. That is, a property owner isn’t going to win their case solely based on the fact that the danger was open and obvious. Rather, it’s considered a factor in deciding who is at fault. In Florida, plaintiffs may share a percentage of the fault (referred to as comparative fault) and still collect a percentage of the damages.

Recently in the case of Pratus v. Marzucco’s Construction & Coatings, Inc., an employee of an electrical subcontractor was hurt when stepping into an uncovered drain at a South Florida construction site. He conceded he’d seen the drain uncovered numerous times at work, but argued the general contractor was still liable for the dangerous condition on site. A trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant general contractor, on the grounds that the dangerous condition was open and obvious. But in its reversal, the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal underscored two significant points:

  • It is the danger, not the condition, that is obvious to the visitor. You might be aware that a dangerous condition exists on site, but you might mistakenly (and reasonably) think the landowner put some safeguards in place to protect against the danger. In the case recently before the 2nd DCA, the drain in question was covered and uncovered at various times. Sometimes the door that led to it was marked with caution tape. On the day of the incident, there was no tape over the door, despite the fact that the drain was uncovered that day.
  • Owners have a legal responsibility to anticipate the actions of those who enter the property. That’s not to say they need a crystal ball, but they need to consider the potential actions of reasonable and prudent persons on site. Construction sites can have SO many dangers. Those working at the site might need to get to a certain location, but the path they took, with its inherent dangers, may be the only option. In that case, even if they knew about the risk and it was open and obvious, they might be partially excused for failing to avoid it.

The bottom line is that where a property owner expects or should have known that a danger – however open or obvious – might pose a realistic threat to invitees, the jury can still hold the property owner responsible, even if the visitor/plaintiff shares some of the blame too. This is especially true if there is evidence of negligence per se, which would involve violation of a health or safety statute. Continue reading

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, the first step in pursuing civil damages is a demand letter. Palm Beach injury lawyer

Demand letters are the initial correspondence made by the plaintiff (person who was hurt) to the insurance company that provides coverage on behalf of at-fault or negligent parties. South Florida injury attorneys draft demand letters for cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and other claims.

A well-drafted demand letter can potentially help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries while avoiding a personal injury lawsuit altogether. This is why it’s imperative that you work with an experienced Palm Beach injury attorney. It is inadvisable for personal injury plaintiffs to write their own demand letters because often these cases are more complicated than they appear at first blush. A poorly-written demand letter can significantly damage your case potential.

An injury attorney will help you apply the law to your case, determine the full extent of your damages, identify all potential defendants/at-fault parties, ascertain causes of action for your claim, advise you of your case value and viability and draft the demand letter to insurers. Continue reading

A recent expose by reporters at The Palm Beach Post detailed the many alleged medical mistakes and lawsuits peppered throughout the 30-year career of a Palm Beach OB-GYN who retained his medical license until only recently. The watchdog reporting raises questions not only about how he was able to continue practicing with his track record, but also why obstetrics and gynecology specialists have higher rates of medical malpractice claims compared to other medical experts. Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

According to a survey of more than 4,000 physicians by Medscape, nearly 60 percent had been involved in one or more medical malpractice lawsuits during their career. For OB-GYN practitioners specializing in women’s health, that rate was 83 percent. On average, OB-GYN practitioners are involved in 2 to 3 medical malpractice claims over the course of their careers.

The OB-GYN featured in the Post article was reportedly:

  • Linked to at least 14 serious injuries of women and children, including six deaths.
  • Named in four disciplinary cases.
  • Named as a defendant in nine medical malpractice lawsuits.

Continue reading

Many people considering a Florida medical malpractice claim envision dramatic courtroom scenes of emotional testimony under a relentless media spotlight. The reality is the vast majority of these claims never even make it to a trial.West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Medical malpractice claims that prevail beyond the early stages of summary judgment motions will most likely be settled during negotiations between your attorney and insurers for the doctors, hospital, or other health care providers involved. It is imperative that you are working with a dedicated West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorney with extensive experience in insurer negotiations.

Here are some key things to know about South Florida medical malpractice settlement negotiations.

Florida Medical Malpractice Law

Medical malpractice claims in Florida are a unique type of personal injury case. State law requires attorneys to investigate these claims carefully before pursuing them. We must acquire expert witness testimony to assert the standard of care was breached by the health care professional, and we have to provide ample notice to the defendants of the claim.

Whereas most Florida personal injury cases have a four-year statute of limitations in which to file a claim, the time window for medical malpractice claims is just two years. Depending on whether there is a government defendant involved, notice requirements may be even shorter than that. There are very few exceptions, so it’s important to act quickly if you have the slightest inkling you may have a claim. Continue reading

Disney Cruise Lines is facing a Florida sexual assault lawsuit after the family of a 3-year-old girl alleges she was targeted by another child in the ship’s day care. The plaintiffs say the day care was poorly-staffed with employees who weren’t properly trained. The company denies the allegations and expressed their intent to the Orlando Sentinel to vigorously defend against them in court.South Florida sexual assault lawyer

As our West Palm Beach sexual assault lawyers can explain, cruise ship sexual assaults have been an ongoing issue that has rightly garnered much media scrutiny the last several years. Civil litigation in these cases argue premises liability and general negligence, though there are special considerations because of the fact it happened at sea.

Claimants in the most recent case are arguing children aboard the ship’s daycare should have been separated according to age groups to protect the younger kids. The 3-year-old, they say, should have been grouped with infants, toddlers, and other kids under 5. Staffers, they say, should have been better trained about how to prevent and react to improper touching of a child.

Cruise Ship Sexual Assaults

Cruise ships are often referred to as “floating cities,” with movie theaters, restaurants, private quarters – and crime. U.S. government data shows that sexual assaults are the most commonly reported crimes on cruise ships. It’s been revealed also that many victims of sexual assault aboard cruise ships are minors. One report by Congress in 2013 indicated one-third of sexual assaults on cruise ships involve a victim under the age of 18. Continue reading

The vast majority of Florida personal injury lawsuits – whether they stem from car accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, or product liability – will be settled before they go to trial. This is because trials are expensive, arduous, drawn-out affairs that are a gamble for both sides. That doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to settle and never a good idea to go to court. However, it does mean that you should be in regular communication with your lawyer, carefully weighing all the options on the table in your Palm Beach personal injury lawsuit.  Palm Beach personal injury lawyer

Understanding what recourse you have, the viability and value of your claim, is essential to making wise decisions. To do that, you must have an experienced personal injury lawyer – one who is prepared and capable of taking your case to trial if it comes down to it.

The primary reason to take a case to trial instead of settle is when the defendant and/or insurer refuses to pay fair compensation for your losses. Continue reading

Expert medical testimony is crucial in any Florida medical malpractice claim – for both sides. It’s required to even move past the early stages of a case (by presenting sufficient evidence the defendant breached the applicable standard of care for their profession and position). It’s also critical in helping jurors determine whether that standard was breached and if so, whether that breach caused the medical injury. Special medical knowledge is pivotal.Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

Per F.S. 766.202, a medical expert is defined as a person who is duly and regularly engaged in the practice of his/her profession AND holds a health care professional degree AND who meets the requirements set forth in F.S. 766.102. That provision holds (among other things) that the expert witness in a medical malpractice case must be able to speak to the prevailing standard of care that a reasonably prudent health care provider in the same or similar situation would abide. In order to do that, they need to conduct a complete review of the pertinent medical records, but they also need to be someone who specializes in the same specialty as the health care provider defendant. (For example, a general practitioner wouldn’t likely be able to attest to the purported negligence of an anesthesiologist.)

As our Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys can explain, the fact that a plaintiff’s expert medical testimony is so important has increasingly made it a target for defense requests to exclude it. The standard for admissibility of expert witness testimony is called the Daubert standard, after the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. Florida previously used the less-rigorous Frye standard, but adopted the Daubert standard in 2019. Continue reading

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