Articles Posted in personal injury

A new government audit points the finger at Medicare for failure to enforce federal law requiring immediate law enforcement notification of any sexual or physical abuse against nursing home residents. nursing home abuse

The Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General put forth an early alert on preliminary data on the issue, based on sizable samples from cases in 33 states. Just based on those results, the IG reports, there is a pressing and immediate need for rapid corrective action.

The IG is responsible for investigating abuse, waste and fraud within the health care system. This audit was part of a much larger investigation that is ongoing, so we can expect to hear more once researchers conclude their analysis.  Continue reading

The criminal and civil justice systems are separate and serve very different functions. While the criminal justice system seeks enforcement of our laws and ordinances, civil liability exists to allow individuals, families and businesses to be compensated for civil wrongdoings. In addition to serving different purposes, they also hold different proof burdens.injury lawyer

This is why a person can be deemed liable in civil court, even if they’ve been found not guilty in criminal court.

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that there must be separate determinations for immunity in civil Stand Your Ground self-defense cases and criminal Stand Your Ground self-defense cases. In other words, a finding of immunity in one does not automatically confer to the other. This settled the matter after several Florida appellate courts had reached different conclusions on this issue. Continue reading

To win a slip-and-fall lawsuit in Florida, plaintiff (the injured person) must prove defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard and failed to address or warn about it. slip and fall lawyer

Actual knowledge means the business was aware of that particular hazard in that place and time. Constructive knowledge, per F.S. 768.0755, is proven with circumstantial evidence that shows:

  • Dangerous condition existed for a period of time wherein, in the ordinary exercise of care, the business should have known about the condition;
  • Condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

The dangerous condition alone or even the fact that plaintiff was hurt – even severely – isn’t enough to prevail. One must show either actual or constructive knowledge. Most slip-and-fall cases are based on constructive knowledge, as actual knowledge can be difficult to prove.  Continue reading

A trucker deemed negligent in a trucking accident lost his appeal on a $3.3 million verdict favoring the driver of a minivan who suffered serious injuries in the crash. Part of that appeal was based on the assertion that trial court wrongly excluded evidence of plaintiff’s marijuana use prior to the crash. Defendant also argued against the medical necessity of future shoulder surgeries. The California appellate court affirmed.trucking accident

Although California was the first state to legalize marijuana as medicine (and one of a handful now to allow it for recreation), it’s not the only one now grappling with traffic-related issues involving marijuana – both in the civil and criminal courts. It is a much more complex issue than alcohol impairment of a driver because with marijuana (and many other drugs), traces are left in the system long after consumption. That means one may test positive for marijuana – even at a higher level – and not necessarily be impaired. One can have relatively high levels of marijuana in the blood and urine even if they have not consumed the drug within days or weeks – by which time the psychoactive effects would have worn off.

Therefore, determining when marijuana in the system is “active” versus “inactive” can be tricky. We are likely to see it play it an increasing number of personal injury cases here in Florida, now that the drug has been approved as a prescription for certain conditions.  Continue reading

Many personal injury lawsuits involve not just individuals, but also businesses. In fact, employers may be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of employees acting in the course and scope of employment. However, a recent decision by the state high court in Nevada held that individual members of a limited liability company cannot be held liable for the actions of a larger corporation just by virtue of being a member.personal injury lawyer

The decision does not directly impact Florida claimants, but state supreme courts often look to sister courts when considering similar legal matters, so it warrants review.

According to court records, plaintiffs filed their personal injury lawsuit after their son nearly drowned – suffering severe and lasting injuries – while at a wave pool at a water park. Plaintiffs alleged the water park and member LLCs contributed to their son’s injuries because the park failed to properly staff enough life guards. Continue reading

The state fair – and many of the other local fairs held throughout Florida and the country – are heavily anticipated and fondly remembered. However, the risk of potential injury and death cannot be overlooked, particularly when it comes to the safety of the amusement rides. From the Ferris wheel to the Fire Ball, these rides may be thrilling – but they can also be extremely dangerous, as highlighted recently after a tragedy in Ohio. fair injury

There, at the state fair, an 18-year-old U.S. Marine recruit lost his life when the ride he was on malfunctioned and he fell from his seat. Seven others, ages 14 to 42, were seriously injured. Investigation into the accident is ongoing, and fairs across the country have taken similar rides out of commission while they conduct more thorough inspections. The ride involved in the fatal accident had been inspected several times as it was being erected, and was permitted by an inspector the day of the accident.

Part of the problem, engineering experts and inspectors told USA Today, is that there are too few inspectors and a patchwork of safety regulations that are decided on a state-by-state basis. Congress relinquished control of fair safety oversight to the states back in the 1980s, so there are no concrete, uniform standards for fair and ride safety and inspections.  Continue reading

Florida has more fatal motorcycle accidents than any other state in the country. Data released earlier this year from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed 616 motorcyclists were killed in the Sunshine State just in 2015 alone (an uptick from the initial estimate of 557). motorcycle accident lawyer

Now, a new analysis from the federal agency examines the estimated cost of lives saved prevented when motorcycle riders don helmets.

Researchers say at least 1,772 lives have been saved by motorcycle helmet usage in 2015. In terms of economic costs, that was $3 billion in direct loses and $19 billion in comprehensive costs that were saved. However, another 740 people who died might have lived had they been wearing protective head gear. That amounts to $1.4 billion in economic costs and $8.3 billion in comprehensive costs. Continue reading

If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident in a Florida business, you may be entitled to collect damages. However, just because you fell and were hurt doesn’t automatically mean you are entitled to damages. injury lawyer

Each state has its own set of criteria for what must be proven, though it’s often similar. Florida updated its slip-and-fall statute a few years ago. F.S. 768.0755 requires plaintiffs to show that the business created a condition that was dangerous or was directly informed about the condition (this is known as direct knowledge) OR that the hazardous condition existed for so long the business should have discovered it or that it occurred with such a frequency that it was foreseeable to the business. Plaintiff must also prove defendant business was wrong in failing to correct or warn patrons about the danger.

Meeting this proof burden means having a Fort Lauderdale injury attorney who will advise and help you in collecting pertinent evidence and throughout the legal process.  Continue reading

A recent report by Harvard Medical School revealed the rate of medical malpractice claims paid out in the U.S. has dropped substantially over the last 20 years – by 56 percent. Meanwhile, the average payout for successful claims has climbed by nearly 25 percent, reaching about $353,000 between 2009 and 2014, up from about $287,000 in the 1992-1996 time frame. medical malpractice

Health insurance rates – one of the primary justifications for imposing damage caps and other limitations on these claims, making them harder to win – have risen astronomically. NBC News reported recently that health insurance has risen almost every year, and it’s gone up faster than wages and inflation. They have risen 213 percent since 1999 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Foundation. By comparison, wages rose 60 percent during that time while inflation rose 44 percent. Health care spending accounts for 17 percent of the U.S. economy, whereas in 1980, it was just half that.

The Florida Supreme Court addressed this very issue in its 2014 5-02 ruling in McCall v. U.S., where it ruled damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits ending in death are unconstitutional. The court cited the Eighth Amendment’s equal protection clause, but noted the wrongful death noneconomic damage cap did not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose, which was the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis in Florida.  Continue reading

According to a recent news article from The Florida Record, a resident of an apartment complex filed a civil personal injury lawsuit against the complex owners, claiming she tripped in a low spot in the grass and fell, causing her to suffer various personal injuries and other damages.

personal injuryThe accident occurred in December 2015.  This being South Florida, there was no ice or snow on the ground.  In her personal injury complaint, plaintiff alleged she was had left her apartment to go the building mailroom to check to see if she had any mail waiting in her box.  Continue reading