Teen drivers are notorious for being accident-prone. Their biggest disadvantage is their lack of experience, but they’re also poor judges of risk and are more likely to engage in hazardous behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and texting. A recent survey by consumer motorist researchers at Co-Pilot revealed teens in Florida are among the highest risk nationally, being more likely to drink and text while driving and less likely to wear a seat belt. Palm Beach car accident lawyer

The analysis looked at numerous risky driving behaviors, and ranked Florida teens 13th in the country. Nearly 8 percent don’t wear their seat belts, 6 percent admit to drinking and driving at some point in the last 30 days and 36 percent confess to texting and driving. All of these are illegal and increase the risk of a crash (or severity of injuries).

Florida, like many states, has numerous safeguards to help reduce the risks posed by teen drivers. For example, we have a graduated licensing process intended to help teens work up their experience level on the road with guidance from an older, responsible driver and fewer in-vehicle distractions (fellow teen passengers).

Insurers are likely to charge much more for teen coverage too, which is understandable, but the high rates can backfire.

As longtime Palm Beach car accident lawyers, we know teens are also less likely to have adequate insurance to cover the damages if they cause a crash. Frequently in such cases, we pursue vicarious liability against the teen driver’s parents as owners of the vehicle. Vehicle owners can be held liable – even if they weren’t driving – because in Florida, vehicles are considered dangerous instrumentalities. Continue reading

When it comes to the dangers of medical devices or medications, the learned intermediary doctrine holds manufacturers responsible to describe the known risks to doctors, who in turn interpret those risks to patients. Patients then rely on the interpretations of their physicians to make informed medical choices. One effect of this, however, is that the manufacturer’s duty to warn of possible danger is to the physician who provides the medication, conducts the surgery or oversees treatment – not to the general public. drug and medical device litigation Florida

But what if the doctor in question is receiving some sort of financial benefit from the manufacturer for prescribing or using a particular drug or device?

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit weighed a request by plaintiffs to create a “financial bias exception” to the intermediary rule in a Florida product liability lawsuit stemming from a vaginal mesh injury. However, finding no such precedent or even discussion of it in previous decisions, the court declined to do so. Continue reading

If you’re considering hiring a personal injury lawyer in Florida, understanding the basics of attorney-client privilege is important. Your lawyer, or even one with whom you are consulting to possibly hire, is legally obligated to keep conversations about your case private. However, to ensure privacy is maintained, it’s necessary to know when and how to communicate and what kind of communications might not be shielded. Palm Beach injury lawyers

Privileged communication is a legal principle applicable in both civil and criminal cases. It involves interactions between two parties that the law deems protected because of the relationship between the two. Whatever is said or otherwise communicated between them is confidential, and neither can’t be forced or compelled to share it with anyone – including the courts or law enforcement.

Privileged relationships recognized by the law include:

  • Attorney-client
  • Doctor-patient
  • Therapist-patient
  • Clergy-congregant
  • Accountant-client
  • Spouses
  • Reporters (only applicable in some states and in some situations)

Continue reading

Many Floridians are tired, overworked or even exhausted. Behind the wheel, this can be deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 700 people are killed annually in drowsy driving accidents. The true number is probably much higher. Unfortunately, driver fatigue isn’t as easy to ascertain as conditions like alcohol impairment, even though the effects are similar. An earlier analysis indicated nearly 40,000 accident-related injuries in the U.S. annually are caused by sleepy drivers.West Palm Beach car accident lawyers

In Florida recently, three people – including two sisters – were tragically killed in an overnight highway crash while returning from vacation. Authorities speculated drowsy driving was the cause.

“We believe this driver may have been just tired,” an FHP official told the local news station. “Just drowsy. He did not state that, but that’s indicative of this type of crash that we see especially in the overnight hours.”

How Does Sleep Affect One’s Driving Abilities? 

As noted by the Sleep Foundation, drowsiness can have a significant impact on a driver’s judgment, coordination, attention, vigilance, decision-making skills, and reaction time. Continue reading

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

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