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The Florida court system allows for professional guardians to be appointed for those who are “incapacitated.” As defined by Florida law, a person who is incapacitated is an adult who has been determined by a court to lack the mental capacity to manage at least some of his/ her property or to meet at least some essential health and safety requirements on their own. It’s a process that is outlined in Chapter 44 of Florida StatutesFlorida guardianship attorney

As noted by the Florida Bar, any adult can petition the court to decide the incapacity of another person, establishing their case with factual information. As the case proceeds, the court will appoint a three-member committee (typically two doctors and some other expert, depending on the nature of the case). There is usually some type of examination of physical health and mental health as well as an assessment of one’s ability to function. The person alleged to be incapacitated will have an attorney appointed to represent them during these proceedings (though they are free to hire their own, if they choose). After analysis, the panel will submit their own report of findings to the court.

If two of three panel members conclude the individual isn’t incapacitated at all, the judge has to dismiss the petition. However, if the majority finds the person can’t exercise certain rights on their own, the court will schedule another hearing to determine whether the individual is partially or totally incapacitated. At the end of those proceedings, a guardian will be appointed at another hearing, unless there is some other alternative that is less restrictive.  Continue reading

A $3 million Florida bad faith insurance claim was affirmed recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which found the auto insurer refused to tender its $250,000 policy limits to a plaintiff, even though it was well-established her injuries were clearly in excess of that. Broward car accident attorney

As our Broward car accident attorneys can explain, bad faith insurance, as outlined in F.S. 624.155, occurs when an insurer either unreasonably refuses to pay or properly investigate a claim (first-party) or when an insurer unreasonably fails to defend, indemnify or settle a claim within policy limits or investigate for a different party (third-party). As outlined in the 1995 Florida Supreme Court case of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Laforet, an insurer’s duty of good faith involves the duty to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interests in settlement.

Claims for bad faith are separate and apart from the original negligence claim that is filed for crash liability, and can result in plaintiffs being awarded triple their actual damages.  Continue reading

Florida’s no-fault auto insurance coverage – also known as personal injury protection (PIP) – is controversial and the subject of ongoing legislative debate. Earlier this year, as reported by FloridaPolitics.com, a bill to repeal Florida’s no-fault auto insurance died in committee. Lawmakers haven’t given up on the prospect of reintroducing a similar, if modified, measure in the future. car accident attorney

As it now stands, PIP coverage, as outlined in F.S. 627.727, is required of all motorists and extends a maximum of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits – regardless of fault. It is only if one’s condition crosses the “serious injury” threshold that they may seek additional coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurer and/ or their own uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) carrier.

Recently, it was reported litigation filed earlier this month in the Southern District federal court alleges three separate medical clinics wrongly billed an auto insurer for services through PIP, ultimately cheating the insurer out of $4.7 million. Although the lawsuits don’t specifically allege fraud by crash victims, it’s incumbent on Floridians and car accident attorneys to be mindful of these developments, as they may impact the types of challenges auto insurers may raise to deny medically necessary treatment following a crash.  Continue reading

Following the stunning and tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge under construction over Southwest Eighth Street at Florida International University in mid-March, resulting in the death of six people killed and several others injured, a total of six lawsuits have so far been filed. It’s likely more will be forthcoming. probate litigation

Each plaintiff was represented by a different Florida personal injury or wrongful death law firm (with the exception of two plaintiffs represented by the same firm), each tasked with the massive undertaking of conducting their own investigations and gathering their own evidence as to what happened and who should be responsible. In some instances, law firms dispatched investigators on the ground while cleanup of the site was still underway, helping to gather critical evidence, while others joined in the weeks that followed. Some of the initial questions raised when there are negligence lawsuits involving that many people for the same incident are:

  • How closely will they work together? For instance, will they pool resources during the discovery process, which is likely to converge?
  • How many will file against the exact same defendants?
  • What degree of independence will they maintain in hiring experts and investigating what went wrong with the design, construction, installation and testing of the bridge?

Continue reading

It is an unfortunate reality that some people have no qualms using undue influence for the purpose of obtaining “gifts” from an individual who is elderly, ill or weak. Our Florida probate attorneys have seen these cases arise most frequently in cases involving nursing home residents, elderly parents or ailing grandparents. Those who allege “undue influence” (which is a specific charge in probate litigation) are usually surviving loved ones doing so with the intention of challenging the validity of a lost loved one’s will, trust or inter vivos transfer (transfer of property made during one’s lifetime).probate litigation

Proving undue influence is not a simple matter or low bar. One has to prove that the victim’s mind was “so controlled or affected by persuasion or pressure, artful or fraudulent contrivances or by the insidious influences of persons in close confidential relations” that he or she isn’t knowingly or voluntarily acting of their own accord, but instead carrying out the will of someone else. This was outlined in the precedential 1925 Florida Supreme Court case of Peacock v. Dubois.

In most cases, it is the plaintiff asserting undue influence who typically has the burden of poof. Prior to 1971, the burden of proof in these cases was reached with enough evidence to raise the undue influence presumption, at which point the proof burden shifted to the defendant, who then had to prove it didn’t occur. Then there was the key Florida Supreme Court case of Carpenter v. Carpenter, justices ruled that even the establishment of an undue influence presumption didn’t shift the proof burden to the defendant, at least as it pertained to will contests. About a decade later, the court decided the same rule in cases alleging inter vivos transfers. Continue reading

Trampoline parks have been cropping up in Broward County and throughout the country, offering children a chance to literally bounce off the walls to burn some energy. They are especially popular in South Florida in the summer, where parents and caregivers need something fun and active to keep kids occupied while still keeping them out of the crushing heat. trampoline injury lawyer

However, a recent investigation by NBC6 in Miami revealed child injuries at trampoline parks have become incredibly common. Just in the last two years in South Florida, there have reportedly been nearly 300 911 calls made regarding injuries and falls at trampoline parks. In roughly 70 of those instances, paramedics were required at the scene.

Those incidents included:

  • A 4-year-old boy who suffered a sprained ankle;
  • A 6-year-old girl left injured and bleeding when a larger boy jumped on top of her;
  • A boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a Broward County trampoline park.

Continue reading

Motorcycle accidents often leave operators and passengers suffering serious injury, facing huge medical bills and the inability to work for an extended period of time. Even so, the last thing many want to do is sue a friend or loved one. What you need to understand is that while you may need to bring a claim against your friend or family member, it’s not them who pays compensation for your injuries. It’s the insurer(s). motorcycle accident attorney

These cases are not unheard of, and in fact, are quite common. (If you think about it, as a passenger, with whom are you most likely to be riding? Not a stranger, but probably someone who is or once was close to you.) In a recent motorcycle accident case in New Jersey, the ex-girlfriend of a state assemblyman filed a lawsuit against him, alleging his negligence in exceeding the speed limit resulted in his losing control of the motorcycle when the pair approached stopped traffic ahead. Defendant told the local Daily Journal newspaper that allegation was untrue because there had been no citation issued. (This is not exactly true, however, because an investigating officer’s decision to cite or not for a traffic violation is not the final word on whether someone was negligent in a personal injury lawsuit; that call is made by the court.) Cases involving exes may be a bit more adversarial than others, but nonetheless generally do not involve plaintiff seeking direct compensation from defendant.

The reason defendants are named is because plaintiffs can’t directly sue insurers. They must file a claim for damages against the person who is actually negligent, and then obtain compensation from the entity required to indemnify/ cover those losses on behalf of the defendant.  Continue reading

This past Independence Day many went and enjoyed one of the numerous professional fireworks displace across the State of Florida.  However, many others went over to a barbecue at relatives or friends homes and capped-off the night with an amateur fireworks display.  This can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very dangerous, and for this reasons, authorities also warn fireworks are best left to the professionals.

Broward Personal Injury One thing many do not realize is fireworks are actually illegal to sell in the state of Florida if they are being used for what most consider their normal purpose of shooting them off on the Fourth of July.  If you want to legally purchase fireworks for public display, the buyer and seller actually need permits, but that is not what typically happens.  You may be wondering how all of these roadside stands are allowed to sell virtually any type of fireworks to consumers.  Continue reading

In an ideal world, our loved one will have written a valid last will and testament, and when he or she dies, the family will know where that will is and also know who was selected to executor of the estate.  The person chosen to be the executor (sometimes called an executrix if that person is a woman, or an estate administrator, or personal representative depending upon the state in which the will was drafted) will go the probate court and open an estate.

Broward Probate Lawyer The executor of the estate will inventory the estate and make an accounting of all debts and assets and provide notice to anyone who is listed in the will as a beneficiary, and also issue notice to all creditors who may still be owed money by the decedent at the time of his or her death. In many cases, the debt will be written off when the person’s whose name it was died, but in some cases, a creditor will still have a right to file a claim with the estate and collect money from the estate. Continue reading

A $19 million damage award for the widow of a fatal railroad car accident victim was affirmed in Missouri, finding the circuit court didn’t err when finding the railroad company 95 percent liable for failure to trim vegetation surrounding the railroad tracks. car accident attorney

The appeal from the railroad company stemmed from the argument a new trial was warranted due to an alleged error by the trial court of not granting a motion for a new trial based on the intentional nondisclosures of prior car accident litigation by a juror. Ultimately, the state supreme court determined that defense attorneys could have discovered the juror’s litigation history had they re-ran her name through a standard background search once they became aware (at the juror’s notification) that her name was misspelled by the clerk of courts.

The case is worth noting for the fact that this is one of those errors that could potentially happen to either attorney in this case, and there are so many technicalities can impact the outcome. That’s why it’s so important to have an eagle-eyed personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale working on your behalf. Continue reading

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