Articles Tagged with personal injury

Proponents of tort reform are seizing on their opportunity with a GOP-controlled Congress to push forward with a series of measures that would make it harder to win medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits, as well as to obtain just compensation. congress

As The New York Times reported, one of those measures would impose new limits on lawsuits involving care that is covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act, with some limits applying to product liability claims as well as medical malpractice litigation involving physicians, hospitals and nursing homes. In effect, it is lower income and older people who would find it the most difficult to win lawsuits for injuries caused by defective drugs, defective medical devices or negligent medical care. This bill is part of the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Proponents of the measure say it is a necessary means to lower the number of “frivolous lawsuits” that drive up health care costs for everyone else. Of course, this assertion has been disproven time and again. Take for example the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in 2014 rejecting a 2003 medical malpractice law and lambasting the legislature for manufacturing an alleged medical malpractice crisis that didn’t exist to pass unnecessary tort reform. In a 5-2 ruling, the court suggested lawmakers created the crisis to cap damages on medical malpractice cases, which saves a modest amount of money for many at a “devastating” cost on a few – namely those who have suffered the most severe and egregious injuries due to medical negligence or defective medical products. The law was ultimately deemed unconstitutional under the state’s equal protection clause.  Continue reading

All businesses that welcome the public have a legal responsibility to discover any condition on site that may be dangerous, and to either promptly address that hazard or warn invitees of it. pallet

However, as noted in the 1952 Florida Supreme Court case of Earley v. Morrison Cafeteria Co. of Orlando, the business may assume that invitees will perceive conditions that are obvious upon the ordinary use of his or her own senses. Restated another way, there is no duty by the business to warn patrons of open and obvious conditions. So a business needs to warn about concealed dangers that are known or should be known to the owner and are unknown to the patron and can’t be discovered through the exercise of due care. The business also needs to use ordinary care in maintaining its property in reasonably safe condition.

These standards were all reviewed in a recent case before Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal, which considered the open and obvious doctrine defense in a trip-and-fall injury lawsuit against a Bay County grocery store. Before the court was a request to consider whether summary judgment in favor of defendant was appropriate when the injured man observed the dangerous condition, but failed to step around the obstacle.  Continue reading

When a worker is injured in a Fort Lauderdale construction accident, there are a number of possible avenues of compensation. The first, of course, is workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault insurance benefit afforded to almost all employees in Florida. Exclusive remedy provisions of the state’s workers’ compensation law hold that this benefit is the only compensation a worker can obtain against an employer. However, it does not prohibit third-party liability lawsuits against others who may have been negligent. construction

But in order to avoid liability, particularly after an accident that resulted in serious injury or death, a company may try to assert “employer” status, which would grant immunity from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. One way this might be asserted is via the Borrowed Servant Doctrine. This is more common following accidents on construction sites, where it is not uncommon for one employer to “loan” employees to another temporarily.

It’s common for a construction site subcontractor to loan out workers to another to ensure a particular job gets completed. If that “loaned” worker is hurt on the job, the question becomes: Which employer is entitled to workers’ compensation immunity? Unfortunately in some cases, the answer could be: Both. Continue reading

A man who successfully sued a hotel chain and several other defendants for third-party liability stemming from a criminal attack at a hotel has now won another victory for attorney’s fees before the Florida Supreme Court.parkingbumper

At issue was F.S. 768.79 and whether a trio of defendants – named as one entity in jury instructions – received sufficient offers of settlement to trigger the requirement that they cover plaintiff’s lawyer fees.

The statute allows that if an offer of settlement is made (by either side) and isn’t accepted within 30 days and the matter then goes to trial and is decided in favor of the opposite party (at least 25 percent less than the offer made by a defendant or 25 percent more for an offer made by plaintiff), the losing side has to pay the attorney’s fees of the other party. The goal is to encourage litigants to accept reasonable offers and thus reduce the time and expense of a trial. (It should be noted that most civil injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they are only paid a percentage of your total damage awards if you win, but nothing if you don’t win. An award of attorney’s fees means your financial obligation to your lawyer wouldn’t be taken out of your final damage award.)  Continue reading

The Sun-Sentinel described the cloudy conditions that hung over the road a “pea-soup fog.” It was there that two Florida Power & Light linemen, colleagues and also best friends, were driving. roadfog

They were there to pick up some overtime, and the chance to work together made it not feel so much like work. Both men were saving up for family vacations to Europe, so they had been together a lot lately on those extra shifts. 

But something happened. Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what it was, but they do know it was about 8:15 a.m. and it was extremely foggy. The pair were on a dirt road near U.S. 27. The vehicle overturned. The truck rolled into a nearby canal. It was nearly an hour before rescue crews responded to the scene, where someone had called to report a vehicle upside down in the canal. The men were both pulled from the truck, where they were pronounced dead at the scene.  Continue reading