Some car accident cases are more complicated than others. This is especially true of cases in which one of the driver was on-the-job, acting in the course and scope of employment and/or was operating a company vehicle. chef1

First, there is consideration that – generally regardless of fault – an employee injured while working can collect workers’ compensation.

Second, if the employee was at-fault and others are injured, those injured persons may seek compensation from the employer by alleging vicarious liability (via the legal theory of “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for, “Let the Master Answer”) or for direct liability (i.e., inadequate training, negligent hiring, inadequate supervision, unsafe equipment, etc.). Even if the employee wasn’t technically on-the-clock, there could be a claim for vicarious liability against the company if the worker was driving the company vehicle. That’s because in Florida, motor vehicles are known as inherently dangerous instrumentalities, and therefore, owners can be held responsible for the negligence of anyone entrusted to operate them.   Continue reading

Airbags are supposed to help save lives – not take them. airbag

That’s what has Jewel Brangman’s father, Alexander, so incensed about the death of his beloved child, whom he called “my best friend.” The striking beauty was a college graduate, a model and a gymnast teacher. She lived in San Diego, and her father had moved there from New York to be closer to her. But the last Father’s Day card he ever received from her was in June 2014. In it, she told him no matter what, she’d always be his little girl.

Just months later, she was gone. She was reportedly traveling in a rental car on the Los Angeles freeway when she rear-ended a van. It was a multi-vehicle collision, involving four cars total. But while all others involved walked away with no serious injuries, 26-year-old Jewel was killed. The Honda in which Jewel was driving was reportedly equipped with a faulty airbag. The vehicle had been recalled back in 2009, but it doesn’t appear the airbag was ever switched.  Continue reading

For victims of a crime, such as drunk driving or a violent assault, it’s not uncommon for there to be two cases moving simultaneously through the court system: The criminal and the civil. Criminal cases are pursued by state or federal prosecutors while civil complaints are pursued by the victims who have been harmed. The goal of the criminal case is to penalize the wrongdoer, while the purpose of the civil case is to make whole (to whatever extent possible) the person wronged. gavel7

It is not unheard of for judges in criminal court to order restitution to the victim, who may or may not have a pending civil case. However, that restitution is unlikely to cover the full cost of damages. Victims may be lucky if they get even a fraction of their losses covered – and that’s assuming the defendant even pays. Although criminal restitution isn’t dischargeable in a bankruptcy, it’s not uncommon for victims to walk away without ever seeing a dime of that money. On the other hand, civil lawsuit damages take into consideration not just medical bills, but lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Further, they are usually paid by insurance companies and other third parties, which increases the chances of the victim actually receiving the money owed.

This is why it’s imperative to discuss your case with an experienced Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer – even if the prosecutor pursuing action against the person who harmed you promises to also ask for restitution.  Continue reading

Catastrophic traumatic brain injury is a thief. It steals the remnants of a person’s identity. It takes away the lives they and their loved ones once knew. It robs them of the future they might have had. brainscan

When traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the victim deserves to be compensated, as do their loved ones. It won’t give them back the life they had. But a just outcome in an injury lawsuit can alleviate the stress of medical bills. It can ease the financial woes caused by that individual no longer being able to work. Although nothing can return things to the way they once were, it can help families begin to heal.

Recently, a jury in the Georgia case of Khan v. Moore Freight Service Inc., recognized this. As Courtroom View Network (CVN) reported, plaintiff as awarded $20 million in damages following trial. Continue reading

A car accident lawsuit trial is slated to begin soon in Georgia, where plaintiff alleges he was strapped with a six-figure medical bill after the crash left him with a fused spine.spinal

While many auto accident injuries can be serious, a fused spine is a lasting – and expensive – condition. It’s also extremely painful. When it results from another driver’s negligence, only an experienced injury lawyer should be trusted to handle the claim. Spinal fusion is a type of major surgery, often lasting several hours. It can involve bone taken from other areas and used to form a bridge between vertebrae or metal implants being inserted between sections until new bone can grow between them. Recovery time can take weeks and sometimes months. There are also risks that include:

  • Intense pain
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injuries
  • Graft rejections
  • Fusion failure

And of course, the surgery is extremely expensive.  Continue reading

In Florida, courts have established a rebuttable presumption when it comes to the negligence of rear drivers in rear-end collisions. However, this presumption is not without exception, though they are very specific.

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For example, a sudden stop by a driver ahead isn’t enough to overcome the presumption. The stop has to be both sudden AND unexpected. For instance, a driver on a suburban street who stops suddenly for a child who darted out into the middle of road – that’s not wholly unexpected. Neither is a driver who stops suddenly at an intersection because someone else ran a red light. However, a driver who arbitrarily stops suddenly on a four-lane highway – that might be both sudden and unexpected.

Still, drivers who are struck from behind should not assume these will be slam-dunk cases either. An experienced attorney can help you spy any potential hurdles to overcome. Continue reading

Uninsured motorist coverage is essential for all drivers in Florida, though it is not required by law. With 1 in 4 drivers in the Sunshine State not insured, uninsured motorist coverage provides a safety net if you are struck by one of those drivers. trucksontheroad1

In some situations, drivers may have more than one uninsured motorist policy that applies in an accident. Although some may see this as a good problem to have, warring insurance companies – each trying to get the other to pay – can delay payment to the injured car accident victim. An experienced injury lawyer can help to ensure your rights and best interests are protected.

In the case of Countryway Ins. Co. v. United Financial Casualty Ins. Co., recently before the Kentucky Supreme Court, two auto insurance companies were fighting each other over which should cover the damages incurred by an insured who was riding in the passenger seat of her son’s semi-tractor trailer when it was struck by the uninsured driver of a passenger vehicle.  Continue reading

There are times when personal injury law and bankruptcy law intersect. The recent case of Morton v. Scholtzhauer, before the Maryland Court of Appeals (the highest court in that state) was one of those.piggybankonmoney

In a personal, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual is able to discharge most personal debts that they are unable to pay. His or her assets may be divvied up to satisfy existing creditors to whatever extent possible. In the event that individual is the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, those debts may be included (though generally not if they arise from one’s intoxicated operation of a motor vehicle). In the event the individual is a personal injury lawsuit plaintiff, courts typically allow that individual to retain their standing in the litigation (as opposed to being forced to turn it over to the bankruptcy trustee) and keep whatever compensation they receive from that proceeding. However, injury victims generally have to ask the bankruptcy court expressly for permission in this. Failure to do so could result in a situation like what happened in Morton.

The court noted part of the price debtors must pay to have their debts more or less discharged and make a fresh start is to detail all their property interests so the bankruptcy trustee can dole out portions of it to creditors. Among these property interests that must be listed are personal injury claims of the person in debt.  Continue reading

Increasingly, anyone who engages in an activity with the slightest risk is being asked to sign a waiver of liability. Many people barely read the language and hardly understand what rights they are signing away. The fact is, they are forgoing the right to take legal action against the owner/organizer/manufacturer – even in the event that negligence on the part of those entities resulted in a personal injury. splash

But even with the presence of a valid waiver (and not all of them are valid, for a myriad of reasons), not even the most careful language in such a contract can sign away rights to legal action for gross negligence. This is a step above and beyond simple negligence, which is merely the absence of reasonable care. Gross negligence is the voluntary and conscious disregard for the need to use reasonable care.

A recent case out of New Jersey, Steinberg v. Sahara Sam’s, illustrates how evidence of gross negligence can help injured victims fight for compensation, despite the presence of a waiver. The case was recently considered by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Continue reading

In Florida, dog owners are liable for the injury or damages their animals cause, regardless of whether they the dog was formerly declared vicious or whether the owner knew about such viciousness. Per F.S. 767.04, negligence on the part of the person who is bitten or injured that contributed to the injury will play a role in reducing the dog owner’s liability, but it won’t eliminate it. dog5

Dog bite and dog injury cases make up a substantial part of homeowner insurance claims and payouts. According to the American Pet Products Association, some 78 million dogs are owned in the U.S. Last year, there were approximately 4.5 million people bitten by dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and of those, about 885,000 required medical care. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted last year for a third of all homeowner insurance liability claim dollars paid out, totaling some $570 million. On average, dog bite and dog injury claims are given about $37,200, which is a slight uptick from years’ past.

The recent case of Am. Family Mut. Ins. v. Williams did not involve a bite, but did allege a dog-related injury for which plaintiff sought coverage from the dog owner’s homeowner insurance policy.  Continue reading