Photo of Richard Ansara - Attorney at Law
No Fee Unless SuccessfulCall Us 24/7 at (888) 267-2728
Richard Ansara Attorney at Law

An appellate court recently affirmed a Florida car accident victim’s right to uninsured motorist benefits from her insurer after successfully arguing a 12-foot ladder left in the road had fallen from a truck whose owner/ driver were not identified. This personal injury case before Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals was interesting for the fact that:

  • It involved a phantom motor vehicle;
  • The court inferred the ladder in the road had fallen from a pickup truck that had parked in the right emergency lane;
  • The court inferred the ladder had fallen into the road (causing a chain collision) due to negligence in securing the ladder.Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer

These conclusions were based primarily on circumstantial evidence and witness statements. Plaintiff’s uninsured motorist (UM) insurance carrier argued there was no proof of those last two points, the assertion relying wholly on circumstantial evidence and failing to exclude other possibilities. Defense sought a directed verdict in its favor. The court denied the motion and jurors decided the case in favor of plaintiff. The phantom vehicle was found 60 percent at-fault for the collision, while the soda company truck that rear-ended plaintiff’s vehicle when she made a sudden stop on the highway was 40 percent at-fault. The UM carrier is liable for damages caused by the “phantom vehicle. Continue reading

A South Florida injury lawyer can give you advice if you were injured as a result of negligence by someone who died in the accident itself or soon thereafter. A personal injury claim doesn’t die when the defendant does, though there can be complications because the case will be filed not against the person, but his or her estate. Typically though, it will still be an insurance company that stands in to represent the defendant and that ultimately foots the bill – especially in Florida car accident lawsuits.car accident lawyer South Florida

An appellate court in California recently addressed several issues that arose from such a situation in Meleski v. Estate of Holtlen, where a plaintiff sued the estate of a decedent, alleged to have been the at-fault driver in a crash in which plaintiff was injured. Although this was an out-of-state case, the same general principles apply with regard to Florida injury litigation.

In this case, plaintiff was injured when defendant ran a red light, colliding with her vehicle. Unfortunately, by the time plaintiff filed her lawsuit, defendant was deceased, apparently of unrelated causes. Decedent had no estate from which she could recover, but he had purchased an auto insurance policy for $100,000 that covered the accident. Plaintiff brought her complaint pursuant to the state’s probate statutes, which allowed her to serve her complaint on the insurance company directly and recover damages from that policy, though limiting recovery of damages to policy limits. Continue reading

It’s almost become second nature when something major happens to us: Update social media. However,  if you are injured in a Florida car accident, our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys urge caution,. The reality is you could inadvertently harm your claim for damages. personal injury lawyer Fort Lauderdale

We’re all familiar with those “gotcha” news clips of a person who claimed they were seriously hurt and video evidence showed it clearly wasn’t as bad as they’d alleged. We’re not even talking about those cases. The insurance company and other defendants, they will want to damage your credibility any way they can. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits can request the court grant access to review your page – your posts, your likes, your photographs, your videos and even private messages. (Some courts have held that privacy settings matter when it comes to these requests. For example, a federal appellate court ruled in Crispin v. Audigier Inc. that when a user’s settings are “private,” their posts there are to be treated as private and not-discoverable, based on a 1986 electronics communication law. Yet the Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, ruled just the opposite in Romano v. Steelcase, finding the court could compel plaintiff to consent to turning over all current and deleted contents from her social media accounts, absent any consideration for her privacy settings, so long as the information contained therein was “material and necessary.”

What you need to bear in mind is that everything has the potential to be used against you. This is true even among injury plaintiffs that are truthful about how the accident happened and the extent of the injuries they suffered. Sometimes, it’s as seemingly innocuous as emojis or “likes.”  Continue reading

Many people may have mixed emotions when they receive word about the death of an ex-spouse, but they generally don’t expect to end up embroiled in probate. This can occur, though, when there are loose ends on finances, assets and property. Ideally, Miami probate lawyers know these matters would be cleanly settled years earlier in the divorce agreement, but sometimes, depending on the circumstances, it’s not possible for former spouses to entirely extricate themselves financially when the marriage dissolves. Miami probate lawyers

This was the case before a Florida probate court and later Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals, which was tasked settling issues that arose when a former wife and the estate of her recently-deceased (but long-time divorced) ex-husband disputed financial claims and rights to a residence in which they had both been long-time co-tenants. Both the estate and surviving ex-wife consulted with Miami probate lawyers to help them duke out the details.

Per court records, here’s what happened:

More than four decades ago, when the pair were still married, they purchased a property in Miami-Dade County and resided there together as husband-and-wife. Then, in 1986, the husband moved out of the residence, and the wife continued to live there. The marriage wasn’t legally dissolved until 10 years later, in 1996. The husband never moved back into the home, though he did occasionally come by for mail. But otherwise from that date until husband’s death in January 2010 in the Haitian earthquake, the exes held title as “tenants in common,” each having a 50 percent undivided interest in the property, though wife had exclusive occupancy. (In 2005 the wife’s mother also moved in, becoming a second occupant.) Continue reading

When you are injured on-the-job in Florida – as thousands of workers are – you most likely will be entitled to compensation for medical bills, a portion of lost wages, retraining and perhaps a lump sum disability payout from your workers’ compensation insurer. The good thing about workers’ compensation is that it is part of a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove your employer did anything wrong or that you did not. Instead, one need only prove the injury occurred in the course of and arose from the scope of one’s employment. The trade-off is: It doesn’t cover everything. Fort Lauderdale work injury attorney

The exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law stipulates it’s your only recourse against an employer. If you are left seriously injured or permanently disabled, it’s important to discuss with a South Florida injury attorney whether any third parties were negligent and, if so, whether they could be held liable to pay additional compensation.

Construction workers, who tend to have a higher-than-average rate of injury, often have grounds for third-party liability claims because frequently, there are many different entities involved with various responsibilities pertaining to safety. If your co-worker makes a mistake that results in your injury, you probably won’t have grounds to pursue anything additional there. However, if a property owner, general contractor, subcontractor, tool manufacturer or some other party fails in exercising a duty of care owed to workers on site, you might have a third-party claim. Also, if your employer did NOT have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you should be able to pursue an injury lawsuit against them as well.  Continue reading

When a person dies and there is more than one will, it can come as a surprise to family. No matter which side you’re on, you will need to discuss your options with a Florida probate lawyer. A careful investigation will be necessary to determine whether a will contest is appropriate. It may be that one of the wills produced has a clear claim, or it may be necessary to initiate probate litigation to assert the validity of one will over another. Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer

Many people understand the importance of updating their will and other estate planning documents when important life events occur, such as when there is a marriage, birth, death or major falling out or formation of new romantic ties. Wills can be updated and recipients of certain assets can be modified. That’s why it’s not unheard of to have two or more versions of the same will. The problem with having numerous wills is that it can ultimately result in the assets of the testator (creator of the will) not being distributed according to his or her desires. A Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer can explain in more detail, but generally, the courts will seize on the most recent version of the will. Ideally, all copies of the previous version of the will would be destroyed and the updated version should distributed to all concerned so there is no confusion. Of course, real life is rarely so tidy, and Florida will contests are fairly common.

These were the facts of the case in a matter before Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal, though the exact issue before the court was whether a plaintiff’s claim should be dismissed for a technical defect. (This is another reason you should have a Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer on board – to ensure you don’t miss any key filing deadlines and that all claims are properly pleaded.) Continue reading

Work zone crashes are an incredibly serious problem that continues to plague our Florida roads and highways. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports in a single recent year, there were an estimated 97,000 work zone crashes, an increase of nearly 8 percent from just a year earlier – and a 42 percent rise since 2013. Although most only result in property damage, our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know that every single day, there are at least 70 work zone crashes resulting at least one injury and every week, at least a dozen deaths. Even while overall highway traffic deaths decline, work zone crash fatalities are rising. Of those killed, 85 percent were drivers and passengers in cars and 25 percent of those fatal crashes involved a large truck (compared to 12 percent of highway deaths overall).Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney

Recently, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a $3 million verdict for plaintiff in a highway construction zone crash lawsuit, after defendant construction company sought a new trial or alternatively a remittitur (reduction of damages).

Work Zone Crash Causes Serious Personal Injury

The work zone crash occurred in June 2010 on a two-lane U.S. Highway where the construction crew was replacing the bridge and approaches to it. The state Department of Transportation had prepared plans for the project, including traffic control, and had supervisors on site to ensure compliance. Defendant construction worker was operating a Caterpillar motor grader in the northbound lane. Plaintiff, with four passengers in his van, attempted to go around the motor grader by crossing the double-yellow line into the southbound lane. The motor grader then turned left, and the two vehicles collided. Plaintiff suffered a double-fractured jaw, broken leg and bruised lung.  Continue reading

When a Florida drunk driver causes serious injury to his or her passengers, occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, it is likely that driver will be named as a defendant in both a criminal and civil case. As Florida DUI injury lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm can explain, these are two totally different processes in different courts pursued for different purposes. However, that does not mean one will have no impact on the other. One of the most notable is the issue of compelling defendant’s testimony in a civil lawsuit, which then becomes public record that can be used against him or her in the pending criminal case. But of course, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives those accused of criminal wrongdoing the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. That silence and refusal to answer questions cannot be used against them for the jury to infer wrongdoing.Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyer

Courts in Florida have held that defendants in wrongful death lawsuits can invoke their Fifth Amendment right during the civil litigation process if compelling that testimony could potentially amount to self-incrimination in the pending criminal case. However, as noted in the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Baxter v. Palmgiano, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t guarantee negative inferences against a defendant in a civil lawsuit when they refuse to answer pertinent questions regarding the evidence against them. This doesn’t mean the judge or jury in the civil DUI injury lawsuit can simply point to defendant’s refusal to answer questions and declare that alone as basis for a decision in plaintiff’s favor. However, the court is entitled to draw inferences against a defendant who chooses to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to silence. In U.S. ex rel. Bilokumsky v. Tod in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, “silence is often evidence of the most persuasive character.”

Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyers can use this to their advantage in drunk driving civil litigation.  Continue reading

If you’re interested in filing a will contest in Florida, you do not have an unlimited period of time. The statute of limitations on will contests caps the amount of time in which you have to contact a Florida probate attorney and file any disputes as it relates to a will. Florida probate lawyer

This is the case with most legal issues in Florida, though the time at which your clock starts ticking may depend on a number of factors.

Unlike claims for things like personal injury or wrongful death, you have months – not years – in which to raise concerns.  Continue reading

Although medical malpractice is a frequent cause of litigation in Florida courts, plaintiffs in those cases understand there are stringent proof burdens that must be met, notices that must be filed and expert witnesses to be secured. A Florida injury lawsuit filed on the basis of general negligence is often less of an ordeal (and usually not so expensive from a litigation standpoint) than one rooted in a claim of medical malpractice. Because defendants in these cases realize the hurdles plaintiffs face in medical negligence claims, they will often argue that almost any injury that occurs in a hospital or any type of health care facility is medical negligence. Florida injury lawsuit

Recently, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal sided with a plaintiff in a Florida injury lawsuit, finding the hospital’s alleged liability for injuries sustained when another patient beat him up were not rooted in failure to abide medical standards, but rather those set forth in general negligence. In so ruling, the court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the case, reviving the claim and giving the injury plaintiff another shot at recovering damages.

Florida Injury Lawsuit Sounds in Ordinary Negligence, Not Medical Malpractice

According to court records, plaintiff was a resident patient at a psychiatric hospital operated by defendant in the fall of 2013 when a fellow resident entered plaintiff’s room and, armed with a metal handrail that had been removed form the hallway wall, beat plaintiff about the face and head. Plaintiff’s subsequent Florida injury lawsuit alleged the hospital was negligent in failing to provide him with security and for its failure to train staff to recognize and address emergency situations, such as the assault and battery that led to his injuries. Plaintiff asserted hospital breached these duties by failing to correct the situation or train its staff or control its patients prior to the assault.  Continue reading

Justia Lawyer Rating for Richard Ansara
Contact Information