Articles Tagged with Palm Beach injury lawyer

As Palm Beach personal injury lawyers, our clients are those who have been impacted by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. However, we have occasionally heard of incredulous third-party defendants who wonder how they could possibly be held liable for someone else’s misdeeds. But there are quite a few instances in Florida injury law wherein statute allows for vicarious and third-party liability. Car accident cases may be among these. West Palm Beach injury lawyer

In general, there are three ways third parties can be liable for Florida car accidents:

  • Drunk driving accidents. In drunk driving accidents, third parties, such as bars or social hosts, can be held legally responsible per F.S. 768.125, if they either served alcohol to the impaired driver prior to the crash – knowing they were either under the age of 21 or habitually addicted to alcohol. This is called “dram shop liability.”
  • Employers of negligent drivers. If a tow truck driver is on the job and runs a red light, crashing into another car and causing serious injuries, the tow truck driver’s employer may be held liable – even if the company technically did nothing wrong. Employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees if the workers were acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the incident. This is based on a legal doctrine called respondeat superior, which is Latin for “let the master answer.”
  • Vehicle owners. This is where we sometimes hear the question, “Can I be sued in South Florida if someone else wrecks my car?” And the answer is: Yes. Florida is a little unique in this because of its recognition of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Basically, it was established in the 1920s by the Florida Supreme Court that motor vehicles are recognized as inherently dangerous instruments. As such, if you own one and you allow someone to use it (with express or implied permission) and that person goes on to operate it in a way that is negligent and causes harm to others, YOU can be held legally responsible. This is another example of vicarious liability for someone else’s negligence. However, it only applies if you have given that driver permission. If someone steals your car and then wrecks it, you would not be vicariously liable in that instance.

Sometimes, vehicle owners can be found directly negligent too – even if they weren’t operating the vehicle. As our Palm Beach personal injury lawyers can explain, there may also be grounds for negligence as well. Continue reading

Liability for Florida amputation injuries may be imputed to negligent doctor/hospital (medical malpractice), property owner who failed to correct an unsafe condition (premises liability), careless motor vehicle driver (auto accident claim), or product manufacturer/distributor who designed/manufactured/sold a defective product (product liability). There could be other liable parties too, depending on the facts of the case. Given the severity of amputation injuries and the extent to which one can impact the rest of your life, it’s imperative to discuss your legal options with an experienced Palm Beach injury lawyer to determine whether you may have grounds for a South Florida injury lawsuit.Florida amputation injury lawyer

Recently, a doctor and urgent care center were ordered to pay $7.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit for Florida amputation injuries suffered by a patient whose bacterial infection was initially misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain. According to the Pensacola News Journal, the case involved a retired firefighter, whose right leg had to be amputated after a medical mistake. Specifically, the patient’s leg became infected after he was exposed to contaminated water in the Pensacola Bay. The leg began to ache and turned blue. When the pain worsened, he went to the urgent care center. Blisters began to develop as he waited in the lobby. Despite these symptoms, he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle, given crutches, and instructed to ice and elevate the leg. The following day, the man saw a podiatrist, who immediately recognized what was happening, and correctly diagnosed the patient as battling an aggressive bacterial infection. He was rushed to the hospital and treated with powerful antibiotics. However, by then it was too late, and the leg had to be amputated to save the patient’s life. The urgent care facility and employee doctor denied liability. However, following an eight-day civil trial, jurors awarded plaintiff $6.8 million and his wife $787,000.

Florida Amputation Injury Cases are High Stakes

Amputation is when any piece of limb of the body is severed. They can be part of planned surgeries, but they may also be the result of an accident or medical mistake.

Losing fingers or toes, while seemingly minor, can be traumatic, resulting in unique challenges for the tasks of everyday life. When someone suffers the partial or total loss of a limb, the consequences can be profound. Continue reading

The process of pursuing a South Florida personal injury lawsuit can seem convoluted. If your injuries are serious, you really should be working with a dedicated personal injury attorney to help guide you through the steps and ensure you aren’t being taken advantage of by other stakeholders. In any case, having a base knowledge of the legal jargon you’re likely to encounter is important. One phrase you may hear frequently is “burden of proof.”South Florida injury lawyer

What is a Proof Burden?

The burden of proof is, at its core, a responsibility. It refers to the legal requirement that determines the viability of a claim based on the factual evidence produced.

A proof burden is indicative of both production AND persuasion. In other words, it identifies who bears the greater responsibility to produce the evidence, as well as the minimum standard one must meet in order for the court to consider a fact (or set of facts) to be legally proven. The difficulty of one’s proof burden depends on the type of case.

In criminal defense cases, the prosecution must prove their allegations of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is recognized as the most stringent proof burden in the legal system. The judge or jury must be convinced there is no other reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence at trial. The intention is for jurors to be virtually certain of the defendant’s guilt before rendering a guilty verdict.

In South Florida personal injury cases (handled in civil court), the plaintiff, or person who experienced the harm at the hands of the other, bears the proof burden. That means they, rather than prosecutors, must establish the truth of their claims, and they must do so by a preponderance of the evidence standard. This requires that the court find there is a greater than 50 percent chance the plaintiff’s claim is true. In tort matters (like injury lawsuits), prevailing will compel the defendant to pay fair compensation. Continue reading

If you’re considering hiring a West Palm Beach injury lawyer, one of the primary factors to weigh is the attorney’s track record of success in similar claims. That said, you should know that when personal injury lawyers agree to take on a case – whether it be following a car accident, medical malpractice incident, or some other injury – they’re often successful. There are a few reasons for this. West Palm Beach injury lawyer

First off, not many cases actually go to trial. Of course, movies and television shows may make it appear as if courtroom trials are the norm. They are not. Trials are incredibly taxing – emotionally, financially, and time-wise. They’re also unpredictable, so they can be a risk for both sides. Almost everyone involved, at least at the outset, is usually committed to resolving the matter without going to trial. Sometimes, claims can be settled without even filing a lawsuit. However, a good injury lawyer won’t shy away from proceeding to trial if it’s your best bet. Still, it’s generally considered a last resort when fair resolution through skilled, determined negotiation has failed. (Failure of either side to accept a fair, pre-trial settlement offer from the other can actually have financial consequences, per Florida law.)

Secondly, while no attorney can promise you a favorable outcome, the contingency fee arrangement through which injury lawyers are paid allows you to have greater confidence in the strength of your case. As outlined in F.S. 16.0155, contingency fee arrangements mean that the plaintiff’s attorney is not paid their attorney’s fees unless and until you win. If you are successful, your attorney’s fees are deducted as a pre-agreed-upon portion from the overall damages awarded in a final settlement or verdict.

To be blunt about it, Florida injury lawyers are not likely to take on cases with very long odds of actually winning. But this ends up having several key benefits for injury case claimants. 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

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

If you’re thinking of allowing someone to borrow your car, you may want to think twice. Florida’s longstanding dangerous instrumentality doctrine allows vehicle owners to be held vicariously liable for the negligent actions of those permitted to operate their vehicle. It can even apply to Florida vehicle owners when crashes occur in other states (more on that later).Palm Beach car accident lawyer

The dangerous instrumentality doctrine holds that an owner of an inherently dangerous tool can be legally responsible for any injuries that result from operation of that tool. Most people don’t consider cars to be “tools,” but they were established as such by the Florida Supreme Court in the 1920 decision of Southern Cotton Oil v. Anderson. The effect of that ruling was that vehicle owners could be subject to strict vicarious liability, meaning that basically the owner – and everyone whose name is listed on the title – could be held financially responsible for a crash as if they themselves were in the driver’s seat. Continue reading

With more children and families sticking closer to home this summer, the risk of a Palm Beach bicycle accident resulting in severe injuries is higher than ever. Safe Kids Palm Beach County reports that traumatic injuries suffered by children in Palm Beach County bicycle accidents has shot up nearly 170 percent in recent months. Eight kids were treated locally for serious bike crash injuries in just five weeks.Palm Beach injury lawyer

The non-profit kids’ safety organization indicated most of the bicycle accidents involved collisions with cars. More than 90 percent of riders treated at local hospitals weren’t wearing helmets and suffered some type of brain injury.

“Kids think they’re invincible,” the SKPBC director told WPTV recently.

That may be true, but our Palm Beach County injury attorneys want to stress it doesn’t give a free pass to drivers who are distracted, speeding or otherwise careless – particularly in residential neighborhoods where one would expect to see more children on bicycles right now. The failure of a child to wear a helmet won’t excuse a negligent motorist from liability either. Continue reading

Every year, more than 200,000 child playground injuries nationally prompt a trip to a hospital emergency room, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three-fourths of these occur on public playgrounds (schools and parks), and nearly 60 percent involve broken bones, contusions and abrasions. More than 20,000 are treated for traumatic brain injuries. Falls account for 70 percent of playground injuries. Slides and swings account for most injuries among children under 4, while climbing equipment is involved with most kids 5 to 14. Parents may be tempted to chalk up the incident to “just an accident,” but West Palm Beach injury attorneys know many times, these injuries occur because someone was negligent.playground injuries

When it comes to liability, our personal injury lawyers will look at the incident from all angles. Manufacturers and distributors can be liable when playground equipment is defectively designed or put together. Property owners can be held legally responsible if they failed to maintain the equipment as specified by the manufacturer. Schools, daycares and caregivers can sometimes be held to account when there is evidence of failure to adequately supervise (as accounts for 45 percent of playground injuries, according to the American Trauma Society).

In 2016, Florida legislators proposed Senate Bill 406, the Playground Safety Act, which called for requiring certain new and existing playgrounds to comply with specified safety standards and guidelines and authorized counties and cities to require playground permits and charge fees for the construction or renovation of certain playgrounds. Unfortunately, the measure died in committee. West Palm Beach injury attorneys can still refer to the fact that Florida public schools are guided by the State Requirement for Educational Facilities (SREF), provisions of which require separate kindergarten playgrounds and mandate all playgrounds and equipment comply with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Handbook for Public Playground Safety, which outlines ASTM specifications for just about every type of playground equipment imaginable. Playgrounds that don’t meet these guidelines can be dangerous. Continue reading

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