In every negligence lawsuit in Florida, there are four basic elements plaintiffs need to prove: Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care, defendant breached that duty, the breach caused plaintiff’s injuries and plaintiff suffered monetary damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) as a result. Slip-and-fall lawsuits in Florida, however, are a bit trickier, thanks to a 2010 legislative update that enacted F.S. 768.055. This provision refers specifically to premises liability cases wherein there is a “transitory foreign substance” (something slippery that isn’t normally there) on the floor of a business establishment. slip-and-fall

This statute modifies the business’s duties when invitees are hurt by transitory foreign substances. It shifts the burden of proof in constructive knowledge negligence actions fully on the plaintiff. More specifically, the proof of the “breach” element here is statutorily constrained to those cases wherein plaintiffs can prove either actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the business owner.

What does this mean? Essentially, it is not enough that you were invited onto the site for the benefit of the business and encountered a dangerous condition that resulted in an injury. What you are also responsible to prove is that the store either had “actual knowledge” (the business/ its agents created the dangerous condition or was specifically informed about it) or “constructive knowledge.” Constructive knowledge is a bit trickier. It means the business knew or should have known about the condition because either it existed for a certain period of time during which the business – in the course of using ordinary care – should have discovered it OR it was a condition that occurred with regularity so the business should have foreseen it.  Continue reading

Finding that an arbitration panel handling a medical malpractice lawsuit erred in the way it awarded loss of companionship and guidance damages to a husband and child in the death of a brand new mother, a Florida appeals court reversed a $4 million award of compensation.birth injury lawyer

The ruling is disappointing, but the family will still receive compensation and it’s important for medical malpractice lawyers and plaintiffs to understand exactly what went wrong. The primary issue was the fact that damage awards of this nature are considered non-economic damages. Although the Florida Supreme Court has ruled caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional in medical malpractice cases (both personal injury and wrongful death), F.S. 766.207 holds that non-economic damages recoverable in arbitration proceedings can be limited to $250,000 per incident (serving as yet another example of one of the many ways arbitration agreements can harm injured or wronged plaintiffs). Here, the loss of companionship award was initially categorized as economic damages, and thus not subjected to the arbitration clause limit. It’s also worth noting that the court did not take issue with a finding that a loss of consortium award, finding it warranted.

According to court records from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, this claim involves the death of a wife and mother due to events that took place during an emergency C-section in August 2014. The mother had lost so much oxygen to her brain while in the hospital that she slipped into a vegetative state, from which she died three months later.  Continue reading

Suing the at-fault driver responsible for your South Florida car accident injuries is really just the first of what could be several legal options. The other driver might be liable for negligent operation of that vehicle, but the vehicle’s owner might be vicariously liable. So too might the driver’s employer, if the driver was acting in the course and scope of employment when they crashed. If the crash was caused in whole or in part due to a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part, the product designer, manufacturer and/ or marketer could be held responsible too.Palm Beach car accident attorney

Thoroughly investigating the case and identifying and naming potential defendants is imperative because failure to do so could result in you not receiving all the compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled.

In any injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the court will be asked to apportion fault. The defendant driver shares a percentage (sometimes all) of the fault. Sometimes you, the plaintiff, will be assigned a percentage of fault (known as comparative fault, though thankfully in Florida, F.S. 768.81 does not bar you from collecting compensation, even if your damages will be proportionately reduced). Other named defendants may also be apportioned fault, and they will be responsible for paying their fair share. However, if the court finds that a non-party is responsible for some percentage of the blame, you may not be able to collect their share of the damages.

However, there is a bit of good news for plaintiffs who acknowledge there is another potential defendant, but don’t know his/ her identity. (We see this in hit-and-run crashes and so-called “phantom vehicle” cases). The saving grace there is uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) benefits.  Continue reading

A fatal automobile crash spurred a federal wrongful death lawsuit against a tire manufacturer that recently got snagged on the issue of trade secrets. The case illustrates why it’s imperative that those who have suffered a serious injury or death of a loved one due to a car accident seek legal advice from a law firm with extensive experience in handling complex litigation. This is particularly true when we’re going after the manufacturer of a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part. Product liability laws make these cases far more complex than your typical crash-related injury claim. vehicle defect

Here, in these defective vehicle tire liability case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit certified a question to the South Carolina Supreme Court, asking if the state high court recognized evidentiary privilege for trade secrets (and thus whether the federal trial court erred in applying federal discovery standards). The state court responded yes, it did recognize privilege for trade secrets, but that it was a qualified privilege.

According to court records in the wrongful death case, this all started with the 2010 automobile crash death of a woman in Calhoun County, S.C. The personal representative of her estate filed a survival and wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of an allegedly defective tire, asserting claims under state law for negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.  He alleged the vehicle in which decedent was riding was struck head-on by another car that had crossed the median after suffering a tire blowout caused by a defect in the tire itself, which was designed, manufactured and marketed by defendant.  Continue reading

Not every injury that occurs at the hands of a medical professional or inside a medical institution is considered medical malpractice. The Florida Supreme Court once again made this distinction in a recent case when asked to consider whether the trial court made the right decision in tossing a negligence lawsuit for failure to meet stringent medical malpractice lawsuit requirements, or whether the appeals court was right for reversing the lower court to allow the matter to proceed.medical malpractice attorney

Negligence versus medical malpractice is an important distinction because if a hospital or health care professional is successful in having the case designated as sounding in medical malpractice, plaintiffs must then abide by the state’s complex medical malpractice statutory schema, as outlined in F.S. 766.106. This includes specifications for pre-suit notice (including sending a copy of the complaint to the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration), to determine if conduct alleged subjects a licensee to disciplinary action. It also involves giving defendant 90 days in which to conduct a review of the allegations and either reject the claim, make a settlement offer or make an offer to arbitrate. (Settlement at this phase is rare.) Then plaintiff has 30 days from receipt of that response to give their own response. Then there is an informal discovery process, response to written questionnaires, collection of un-sworn statements by treating providers and more. Additionally, medical malpractice claimants must have an expert witness who is equally if not more qualified than the defendant to testify to a breach in the applicable standard of care. Finally, (save for some exceptions) medical malpractice claims have a two-year statute of limitations, whereas personal injury litigation has a four-year statute of limitations.

Negligence cases are much more simple. That’s why if a defendant can argue it’s medical malpractice, they will, because, as our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys know, it means more hurdles for you. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court recently sided plaintiffs in a dispute regarding witness testimony in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a young child forced to undergo a kidney transplant due to alleged failure to diagnose a chronic illness by her primary care doctor.medical malpractice

In the case of Gutierrez v. Vargas, plaintiff reportedly suffered from a chronic kidney disease that went undiagnosed for six years, ultimately resulting in so much damage she had no choice but to undergo a kidney transplant. Defendant argues plaintiff suffered a different disease that could not have been diagnosed sooner. The case went to trial and plaintiff was awarded $4.1 million in damages.

Defendant appealed on the grounds the decision conflicts directly with those of other district courts on a question of law. Specifically, defense argued the lower court should not have allowed several of the girl’s treating physician to testify at trial about their diagnostic opinions or allowed rebuttal testimony from a second pathology expert. After the judgment was reversed and remanded for trial by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, the state high court ruled there was no abuse of discretion and affirmed the trial court’s conclusion. Continue reading

Auto insurers in Florida have two duties with regard to their insureds:

  • A responsibility to indemnify, or pay damages for which insured would otherwise be liable (up to policy limits);
  • Duty to defend insured from legal action (i.e., hire a lawyer and help mount a defense).car accident attorney

Even if an insurer argues it doesn’t have a duty to indemnify (the incident is not one that is covered or the person is not one for whom coverage should be extended), there is often still a duty to defend. Failure to adhere can be a form of bad faith insurance. This could ultimately be an issue for plaintiff to deal with directly if the at-fault driver assigns whatever claims he or she might have had against the insurer for this over to plaintiff as part of whatever settlement is ultimately reached.

Insurers are within their rights to outline the parameters under which they will provide coverage, and there are unfortunately a host of rules and exceptions in almost every policy. However, many times insurers will interpret their policies a bit more broadly than they should, which is why it’s important to have an experienced car accident attorney in South Florida who will fight for you and take them to task. Continue reading

The ongoing scourge of medical malpractice in Florida is reason the state legislature and health care professionals established the Peer Review process, as outlined in F.S. 395.0193. It’s a means of identifying potential problem areas for individual physicians by having colleagues review their work, with the stated goal being improvement of patient care and reduction in medical and legal expenses. medical malpractice

However, one of the aspects of the peer review process, per section 8 of that statute, is that the investigations, proceedings and records of the peer review panel, a committee of a hospital board, disciplinary board, government board or agent of one of these “shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are the subject of evaluation and review…” In other words, if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Florida doctor, the records contained in these peer review files – even if relevant – can’t be compelled. However, records pertaining to these cases from independent sources aren’t immune from discovery just because they were presented in peer review proceedings.

It can be frustrating as a patient who suffered a missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis or other medical error to know there are records that could help your case that you can’t use. However, as a recent case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revealed, this immunity may not extend to each and all circumstances. Pennsylvania has a similar peer review process and statutory immunity to protect information gleaned in these proceedings. However, in Reginelli v. Boggs, the court held that the performance file developed by an independent contractor (one that provided staffing and administrative services for a hospital emergency room) were not protected under the state’s peer review statute. Continue reading

By the end of last year, more than 2 billion people were actively using Facebook on at least a monthly basis. Instagram, meanwhile, serves about 800 million active users a month. Users of Snapchat upload approximately 10 billion videos daily. WhatsApp has about 1 billion users a month. So what does all this have to do with your South Florida injury lawsuit?personal injury lawyer

A lot if you have posted anything pertinent to:

  • The incident in question;
  • The people involved in the incident;
  • Any element that pertains to the incident;
  • Your mental/ physical condition or well-being prior to and after the incident.

Because a serious injury resulting from something like a car accident or a case of medical malpractice or a criminal attack is something that – of course – affects us very profoundly, it is understandable that many people share those details online. It’s almost become like second nature in this increasingly digital age.

But as the recent Congressional hearings of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reveal, there is an increasingly limited expectation of privacy regarding what we share on our “personal” pages – even when we limit privacy settings and contact lists. Continue reading

“Never events,” according to the National Quality Forum, are those mistakes that occur during medical care that are:

  • Clearly identifiable;
  • Easily preventable;
  • Serious in their consequences for patients;
  • Indicate major problems in the safety and credibility of a health care center. medical malpractice

They include things likes mismatched blood transfusions, major medication errors, surgery on the wrong body part and pressure ulcers/ bedsores. They also include items, like surgical sponges, left inside a patient after surgery. Yet the Institute of Medicine estimates more than 100,000 such incidents occur annually, resulting in more deaths than car accidents and more than $9 billion in excess charges.

A recent analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine details a case wherein a 42-year-old woman reported to a primary care center with bloating – only to discover in a CT scan that two gauze sponges had been left inside her abdomen from one of two (or both) prior C-section surgeries – one six years earlier and one nine years earlier. CNN reports she’d had no prior abdominal or pelvic surgeries.  Continue reading