South Florida is slated to the site of the first major locale in the state to allow dockless, electric scooters on its streets. In Miami, however, not too many elected officials are excited about it, according to The Miami Herald. While those who voted in favor of the scooters say they provide a solution to the congested city’s traffic problems, offering something of a “last-mile” solution in between neighborhoods and public transit options. However, those representing neighborhoods of Little Haiti, Wynwood and Overtown don’t want the scooters back in the neighborhood after they were ousted earlier this summer.
Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer in the U.S. the No. 1 most common type of cancer in women – regardless of race or ethnicity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports its the No. 1 cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the No. 2 cause of death from cancer among others. Here in Florida, nearly 16,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year.
That means treatments like radiation, chemotherapy and surgery (namely, mastectomy and breast reconstruction) are among the most commonly-performed in the state. Of women diagnosed with early state breast cancer, more than one-third undergo mastectomies. Among women with more advanced stage breast cancer, nearly 60 percent undergo mastectomy, according to the American Cancer Society. Mastectomies increased 36 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, including a more than tripling of double mastectomies.
Fort Myers medical malpractice attorneys know there is a lot that can go wrong in any surgery, and it doesn’t necessarily mean negligence occurred. What we as medical malpractice attorneys must show is that the care received fell below the standard quality of care for that specialty and region. Product liability cases involving medical devices or implants must generally prove the product was defective and thus unreasonably dangerous, meaning there was a flaw in the design, manufacturing or marketing. (Marketing defects involve the manner in which the product was advertised or sold.) Every company within the chain of distribution can be held liable in a product liability case. Continue reading
The parents of a 25-year-old South Florida man who died after a seemingly routine IV line removal are suing for medical malpractice, alleging Palms West Hospital made a preventable medical error – and then tried to cover it up. That’s what’s been reported in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
His mother told the newspaper that almost immediately after the line was pulled out, her son began clutching his chest, complaining he was unable to breathe. His oxygen levels fell dramatically and he began to convulse. The doctor who rushed in immediately asked the nurse if she’d just removed the central catheter. The man never regained consciousness after that, and died after his family agreed it was time to take him off life support.
The young man was in the hospital after relapsing into his addiction to opioids. Plaintiffs say the hospital tried to steer them away from staffers’ mistakes by telling them their son had died of “broken heart syndrome,” because of his guilt for relapsing. Of course, no such condition exists, and his family would later say this led them to suffer the pain of believing they were somehow responsible for not reassuring him of their steadfast support. They were not aware until the medical examiner listed his cause of death what had really happened: A burst of air entered his vein due to improper removal of a central line catheter. This was a preventable medical error, plaintiffs in this wrongful death action allege. Continue reading
A golf club may be liable for a near-fatal wasp attack suffered by a patron in California, where an appellate court reversed a summary judgment in the golf club’s favor.
Although this is an out-of-state case, it’s an important read given that Florida has more golf courses than any other state (with Palm Beach County having more than any other county in the country). As a business, golf courses that invite patrons onto their property for the financial gain of the course owe the highest duty of care to those patrons, meaning they have a responsibility to regularly check for potential hazards and to either mitigate or warn of those about which they know or should know.
Here, the California First Appellate District, Division One, held that operators of golf courses must maintain their property in reasonably safe condition, which includes the duty to exercise reasonable care to shield guests from yellow jacket nests on their site. The measures a golf course operator is required to take may vary, so the court didn’t reach the issue of whether defendant golf course in this case breached that duty or caused patron’s injuries (those would be questions of fact for a jury, rather than a judge, to decide). Nonetheless, the case should move forward, as the course was not entitled to summary judgment before the trial even started. Continue reading
A patient who suffered a leg amputation was recently awarded nearly $5 million in damages in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor he alleged was negligent in failing to act quickly, given his medical condition.
Failure of an on-call physician to timely and completely respond to a call of a patient in distress with a potentially serious condition could be grounds for medical malpractice. If you believe a doctor’s failure to properly treat your condition may have fallen outside the scope of the accepted standard for medical care, our South Florida medical malpractice attorneys may be able to assist.
According to the Daily Business Review, jurors in Polk County delivered the verdict in favor of a plaintiff whose leg was amputated in 2013, when he was 61-years-old. Defendant was an on-call vascular surgeon at a hospital in Winter Haven who was allegedly negligent in treating plaintiff’s condition, which was acute lower-leg ischemia. Medical researchers characterize this condition as one that develops quickly when there is a sudden decrease of blood flow to a limb, resulting in a potential threat to the viability of that limb. Not only is one at risk for a possible amputation, patients are also at heightened risk of death because the condition results in issues that impair both heart and liver function, in some cases releasing highly toxic free radicals that further compromise critically ill patients. Medscape notes that therapeutic choices in these situations are often few, usually requiring surgery.
In this case, before the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Polk County, plaintiff alleged it was the surgeon’s delay in ordering the surgery – and not the underlying condition itself- that necessitated the removal of his leg. Had the physician acted with the urgency plaintiff’s condition required, the amputation would not have been needed. Instead, plaintiff alleged his condition could have been treated with something called an embolectomy, which is the surgical removal of the emobolus or emboli, or the blockages affecting blood circulation. Continue reading
The family of a girl killed in a drunk driving crash fueled by alcohol given to her and her boyfriend by a 22-year-old high school basketball coach sought to sue the school district for liability in the case.
However, the Washington Supreme Court held that the school district could be neither directly or vicariously liable in the case. That does not mean the family is wholly without options in pursuing a claim for wrongful death, but it does mean this is the end of the claim against the school district.
As our dedicated drunk driving death attorneys in West Palm Beach can explain, unlike most car accident lawsuits, drunk driving litigation usually involves more than one defendant, especially when the person who was impaired behind the wheel was a minor who couldn’t lawfully consume alcohol in the first place.
Proving that negligence caused an elevator accident injury does not require expert witness testimony, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled recently – echoing the precedent set by other state courts, including Florida.
The ruling is notable for the fact that a requirement of expert witness testimony (as necessitated in medical malpractice litigation) is often an expensive and cumbersome process. Although expert witnesses can undoubtedly be critical in establishing key elements of a personal injury or wrongful death case, a mandate such opinion be required to move beyond the summary judgment phase is a substantial hurdle.
Injuries and particularly deaths caused by malfunctioning elevators are increasingly rare (and on the whole, elevators and escalators are safer than stairs). Relying on a range of government data, the Center for Construction Research and Training and the National Institute for Occupational Safety concluded in 2006 that incidents involving elevators and escalators kill about 30 people and injury roughly 17,000 a year in the U.S. Improved technology – and particularly the cables, electronics and pulley systems – have improved drastically since, as noted in a 2013 report by The Washington Post. Those who install and maintain elevators have the potential to be injured due to falls, electrical shocks, muscles strains and other injuries related to confined spaces, scaffolds, cranes, rigging, hoisting heavy equipment and lock-out/tag-out accidents. The passenger safety profile, however, is much better, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluding the fatality rate is 0.00000015 percent per trip. Still, a 2008 study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention concluded after a review of 14 years worth of data, the injury rate was 7.8 per 100,000. Continue reading
A circuit court judge in Miami-Dade has ruled damage caps in a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit are unconstitutional and can’t be applied even when plaintiff previously rejected a defendant’s offer to voluntarily arbitrate the matter.
It should be pointed out that in two previous Florida cases – N. Broward Hosp. Dist.c v. Kalitan in 2017 and Estate of McCall v. U.S. in 2014 – that damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits are unconstitutional, based largely on the unfounded assertion that costs of medical malpractice insurance were out-of-control and needed to be curbed to avoid doctors fleeing the state to work elsewhere. The issue in this case, Defranko v. Poole, was whether that was still applicable despite plaintiff’s rejection of the defense offer to arbitrate, as outlined in 766.207(7)(k) and 766.209(4)(a). The laws stipulate that when a plaintiff is successful at trial but refuses a defendant’s initial offer to voluntarily arbitrate, claims for non-economic damages are capped at $350,000.
Plaintiff in this case had taken the medical malpractice claim to trial and jurors awarded $500,000. The defendants sought to have that award reduced by $150,000, a motion plaintiffs opposed on the grounds it was a violation of the Florida Constitution’s equal protection clause (as was determined in the Katilan and McCall).
The judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court declined to impose the cap (first implemented 30 years ago), finding it to be outdated and also agreeing with plaintiffs’ assertion that it is in violation of Florida’s Constitution by allowing a damage award to be lowered with no regard as to the severity of one’s injury. Continue reading
The claims bill process for Florida personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is once again coming under scrutiny for alleged lobbyist bias. This was after the Associated Press recently reported nearly half of the injury and wrongful death claims bills approved by state lawmakers in the last two years were awarded to victims represented by a lobbyist who is the brother of the state House speaker.
So why are personal injury and wrongful death cases handled in the legislature? Aren’t they handled in the courts? For those who aren’t familiar with the claims bill process, it deals specifically with claims against state and local governments that have already been through the court system. Florida allows exception to sovereign immunity (the idea that you can’t hold government accountable) so one can sue the government for negligence pretty much just like any other entity (with some exception). However, if you win, there is a damage cap of $200,000 for any individual person and $300,000 per incident. Those who have ever endured a serious injury know just how quickly one can burn through that amount – just in medical bills alone. So jurors at trial may award plaintiff damages far in excess of that amount, but that is all a plaintiff can collect – that is, unless they can find a state lawmaker to file a claims bill on their behalf requesting to be awarded more compensation to which they are rightly owed. That bill is then presented to the entire state legislature for approval. Each damage award is considered as a separate item by lawmakers. It is a tedious process that tends to require a lot of “cooks in the kitchen,” but it can be an invaluable means of compensation for those seriously injured.
Cases can range from those injured in a car accident with a negligent city worker to the medical malpractice of a nurse employed by a government-owned hospital.
Allegations of lobbying bias isn’t really anything brand new. In fact, back in 2013 and 2014, lawmakers didn’t approve a single claims bill, in part due to the firm opposition of the then-Senate president, who argued the bills were passing based on the effectiveness of their lobbyists, not the actual merits of the claim. Continue reading
When someone dies as the result of medical malpractice in Florida, state law unfortunately limits the types of damages that can be recovered – and by whom. Florida injury lawyers have long railed the restrictions on who may proceed with a medical malpractice claim in the event the patient dies – restrictions for which powerful medical industry lobbyists pushed hard.
The result is provisions of the Florida Wrongful Death Act that restrict plaintiffs in medical malpractice wrongful death cases to:
- A child under the age of 25;
- An adult child who is dependent on decedent for financial support;
- A spouse;
- A parent of a child under age 25.
Unless decedent has a surviving loved one who falls under these narrow parameters, there is legally no claim allowed under law. Further, if a decedent dies while a case is pending and doesn’t have a survivor in this category to step in as a plaintiff, the case will die with them and the negligent health care provider is never held to account. That is something that should bother everyone who potentially needs medical care in Florida because it means facilities and providers providing care that falls below baseline accepted medical standards may never have to answer for it, leaving them free to practice and profit without consequence. Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court has upheld this as a legitimate means of reducing medical insurance costs. Continue reading