Articles Tagged with West Palm Beach injury lawyer

Following a serious injury in South Florida, you may recognize the value of talking to a personal injury lawyer about a potential case. But how will a West Palm Beach injury lawyer evaluate your claim? More often than not, folks have no idea what to expect.

Here, we offer a bit of insight into how injury lawyers will review your case, what points will be most relevant, and what information/documentation you can have on hand to get the most out of your first meeting. West Palm Beach injury lawyer

What is an Initial Consultation?

First thing’s first: Explaining the initial consult. This can happen in-office. In some cases, we come to you. More typically, we begin our discussions over the phone or in a video conference, for everyone’s convenience.

Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. It’s a risk-free opportunity for you to ask questions, get a sense of whether you have a case (and what it might be worth), and obtain an outline of possible challenges you may encounter. It’s also a chance for the attorney to determine whether they have the skills and the resources to take on your case. In a sense, you’re both interviewing each other.

Personal injury cases in Florida are accepted by lawyers on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay attorney’s fees unless and until you win. If you win (usually in settlement negotiations, but sometimes at trial), the attorney will be paid a pre-agreed-upon percentage of what you won (somewhere between 25-40 percent, depending on case complexity, attorney experience, etc.). If you do not win, the attorney does not collect payment. For this reason, injury lawyers must be careful about which cases they accept.

The good news for prospective clients is that your lack of upfront payment will not deter you from pursuing a strong claim. You also get the benefit of a straightforward answer about the viability and value of your claim from the beginning.

Examining Fault

One of the most fundamental elements of any tort claim rooted in negligence is that of fault. When we get the rundown of events, we’re looking for evidence of which parties may be at fault, and to what extent.

That might sound fairly simple. But looking at your case through the lens of a personal injury lawyer means we’re considering how it looks to the insurers, as well as a potential judge/jury.

For example, if you were hit by a vehicle whose driver was drunk, you’re going to presume the driver is at-fault. And that could be. However, an injury lawyer will want to know more. Was the driver underage or known to be an alcoholic? If so, the bar that served him/her could be held legally liable under the state’s dram shop laws. If the driver was operating a vehicle that was owned by someone else, the vehicle owner could be held vicariously liable because Florida considers motor vehicles to be dangerous instrumentalities, per a 1920’s-era Florida Supreme Court case.

If you’re pursuing a medical malpractice claim, you might think clearly the doctor is at-fault. But we’ll be looking at who actually employed the doctor (and it isn’t always the hospital), as they may be vicariously liable under the legal doctrine respondeat superior, which is Latin for, “let the master answer.” Traveling nurse agencies may have some degree of liability. And facilities may have some responsibility if their processes and protocols fell short of the applicable standard of care.

It’s important to properly determine fault at the outset so that we can identify those responsible in the claim. Continue reading

Recently, a 29-year-old car accident victim was awarded $16 million+ following a protracted Florida legal battle against her own auto insurance company. Although multi-million dollar verdicts are not the norm for most Florida crash cases, our Palm Beach car accident attorneys are sometimes asked about what type of damages one can expect in a typical crash case.Palm Beach car accident lawyer

It’s important to note that every auto accident case is different. Still, factors that can play into the amount a person expects to receive can include:

  • The severity of injuries involved.
  • Who was at-fault (and to what extent – if at all – the plaintiff/injured person shares fault).
  • Whether the at-fault parties are adequately insured.
  • How many victims there were (the more victims, typically the less money available per victim).
  • Whether the injured parties are covered by uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Now let’s look at the facts of the recent $16 million car accident verdict, as detailed by The Florida Times-Union. Continue reading

Good Samaritan laws have been enacted throughout the country with the initial intention of protecting medical personnel from legal liability for rendering aid to someone in a medical emergency outside a traditional hospital setting. Here in Florida, F.S. 768.13 protects not only health care providers and those licensed to practice medicine but any person from liability when they gratuitously and in good faith rendered emergency medical care or treatment either in direct response to an emergency situation or arising out of a declared public health emergency. West Palm Beach injury lawyers

While a health care professional’s code of ethics might compel them to offer medical assistance in an emergency situation, the state’s Good Samaritan law does not require anyone to help others in an emergency situation. However if they choose to do so, they must exercise reasonable care. The law will impose liability when someone’s failure to exercise reasonable care exacerbates the risk of injury to another person. It doesn’t apply in cases where the victim rejects help or when the volunteer is somehow compensated for their help.

But what happens when the Good Samaritan is the one injured?

As South Florida car accident lawyers, we’ve come across this scenario more than once. Recently in Riverview, Florida, a Good Samaritan in his 20s was killed while assisting others just after a multiple vehicle crash on I-75 just before 3 a.m. Local news outlets reported a 19-year-old in a Toyota swerved out of his lane, striking the back of a semi-truck before overturning in the outside lane of the highway. The semi truck driver, who was not hurt, stopped and pulled over on the shoulder to assist. The driver of a third vehicle then slowed down to pull over onto the shoulder when a fourth vehicle failed to slow down and rear-ended the third vehicle. Then the Good Samaritan approached and pulled over to help the other motorists. Just then, a semi truck carrying plywood approached, struck the first vehicle that was turned over on its side, then the back of the next car which was shoved into the next car. The Good Samaritan was struck by that third vehicle. The semi truck pulling the plywood crashed into a guardrail, where the load separated and fell into a ravine. The Good Samaritan was the only one killed. Continue reading

Since 1988, parents of children who suffered a specific type of Florida birth injury – profound brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation or spinal impairment – could file no-fault claims with the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA. Such conditions occur at birth, impact the child for life, and are frequently the result of medical malpractice.West Palm Beach birth injury lawyer

Obstetricians had lobbied the state for a program like this decades ago arguing high insurance premiums would push them out of the state. The program might have seemed a win-win – had parents not been forced to fight for coverage of every expense. While parents were prevented from suing doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers for injuries caused by their negligence during labor and delivery, they were promised adequate coverage for expenses that were both necessary medically and reasonable. That’s not what they received, many now say.

Earlier this year, The Miami Herald teamed up with ProPublica to analyze the issue, finding that NICA, despite amassing billions in assets from doctors’ annual fees, often left families begging for assistance. As our West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys have learned, those findings have since been affirmed by at least two state investigations (the auditor general and Office of Insurance Regulation). Soon thereafter, state lawmakers passed a reform bill unanimously, upping parental damage awards to $250,000 (more than double what it was) and child death benefits to $50,000 – five times what it used to be. These benefits are retroactive. Another $100,000 per family has been allocated for guaranteed transport and home modifications.

The law also pledged to make the best interests of the child Priority No. 1. Also for the first time, a parent advocate and an advocate for disabled children were added to NICA;s board. There’s also now an ombudsman who will work directly with parents. The previous executive director of the agency resigned, and a new interim ED has been assigned.

Parents say they are still hoping lawmakers will approve increased benefits for those who set aside their careers to remain at home and become caregivers for their severely disabled children. Continue reading

Whether we’re talking about a slip-and-fall, dog bite, or amusement park injury, getting hurt on someone else’s property isn’t something for which people plan. It is, however, something certain property owners in Florida have a legal responsibility to anticipate and prepare for to some extent.South Florida injury lawyer

When they fail to do so and you’re hurt, you can pursue something called a premises liability claim.

It’s important if you’re injured to get prompt medical attention, document the scene and the injury and consult with an experienced West Palm Beach injury attorney before making any major decisions or moves.

What is Premises Liability? 

A premises liability lawsuit is a means to hold a property owner responsible for damages that arise from injury on the defendant’s property. In Florida, owners (and sometimes certain occupants) of a property are required to make a reasonable effort to maintain it to ensure it’s reasonably safe for lawful visitors. Failure to do so opens defendants to premises liability claims.

Some situations that may give rise to a Florida premises liability claim may include:

  • Slip-and-fall injuries.
  • Animal or dog bites.
  • Inadequate security.
  • Drowning or swimming pool injury.
  • Dangerous conditions for children (attractive nuisance).

Continue reading

Road rage puts motorists at high risk of serious injury and death. And studies show people are aware that aggressive driving behavior is a major problem that contributes to traffic fatalities – yet 75 percent of U.S. motorists admit to driving aggressively. A higher percentage than that admitted in a survey to experiencing anger, aggression or road rage at some point behind the wheel in the 30 days prior.West Palm Beach road rage

It’s most commonly punctuated with tailgating, honking or yelling, though it’s defined as any extreme anger or aggression intending to create or cause physical harm. It might also involve:

  • Speeding in heavy traffic.

If you suffer a Florida slip-and-fall injury, compensation requires more than proving you were hurt on someone else’s property. In fact, these cases are quite a bit more complicated than many people assume. A key element in a Florida slip-and-fall case is something called “constructive notice.” This is outlined in F.S. 768.0755, and was recently explained in a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (the federal court with jurisdiction over Florida). Florida slip-and-fall injury

The law requires those in slip-and-fall cases to prove the defendant property owner/manager had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. Actual knowledge would be proof that they knew about that particular spill or hazard and hadn’t taken reasonable steps to rectify it. This is often tough or impossible to prove. Constructive knowledge, however, can be established by showing that either:

  • The condition existed for such a period of time that the business should have learned about it if they were using ordinary care.
  • The condition occurred so regularly and it was foreseeable.

Continue reading

Do-it-yourself projects and repairs are common when you have the basic skills and would rather not pay a professional service fee. Still, very few of us have all the equipment and tools we need to get every job done. But some of these tools are expensive, and you don’t need them but maybe a few times. This is why many home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, U-Haul, etc.) here in West Palm Beach offer tool and equipment rentals.
tool rental injury lawsuit

Some examples of tool, equipment or special event items that may be rented for single-use or short-term use include: Bucket lifts, floor cleaners, floor strippers, saws, backhoes, scissor lifts, forklifts, air compressors, tree-trimming equipment, scaffolding equipment, wallpaper steamers, stump grinders, generators, drills & drivers, pressure watches, hitches, trailers, tents, flooring/staging, inflatables, tables/chairs, tents, food equipment (popcorn machines, cotton candy machines, grills, etc.) and more.

Consumers rely on these companies to provide them with tools and machines that are safe for use. If those products prove defective, the consequences can be serious, including broken bones, abrasions, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, electrocution, head injuries, amputation, etc. In these instances, it may be possible for the injured to hold the rental store as well as the product manufacturer liable for those damages.

In such circumstances, it is imperative to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer to weigh your legal options.

Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that a broad liability release in a rental agreement signed by a Home Depot customer doesn’t make the store immune from claims that a defective machine rental cost a man his finger. Continue reading

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers in Florida have a professional and legal responsibility to provide care to patients according to the prevailing standard for their education, experience and position. When they fail to do so resulting in patient harm, they can be held accountable with a Florida medical malpractice claim. Verdicts and settlements are typically paid out by insurers.West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyer

But in recent years, our West Palm Beach injury lawyers have noted a troubling trend of doctors and health care companies compelling patients to sign binding arbitration agreements before they receive care. Patients are given forms to sign away their constitutional right to have complaints of substandard care weighed in a court of law. If they decline, they are told to look for another provider.

It should be noted if you’re harmed as a result of substandard care, these agreements may not be enforceable, thanks to a 2016 Florida Supreme Court case. You should consult with an experienced medical malpractice law firm before deciding how to proceed. Continue reading

It’s a good idea to interview at least a couple different South Florida injury lawyers before deciding which to hire to handle your claim. But just as you are considering which attorney to hire, he or she is also considering your case potential. If your case is declined by one lawyer, ask why and don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. Most offer free initial consultations. South Florida injury lawyer

That said, there are several reasons why an attorney may decline to accept your case – and it may have more to do with them than the viability of your claim.

Here, our West Palm Beach injury lawyers explain a few reasons why an attorney may turn down your case. Continue reading

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