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Many of those who suffer a Fort Lauderdale work injury are prescribed opioid medications to help cope with acute pain. However, a recent study revealed opioid prescriptions have an adverse affect on workers the longer they are used, ultimately increasing the duration of temporary disability claimed by workers with a myriad of injuries.construction accident attorney

The study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute analyzed worker back injuries in 28 states over a recent five-year stretch in cases where workers took seven days or more off work. Within these numbers, they analyzed whether the workers were prescribed an opioid painkiller, if they received multiple opioids and the duration of those medications (considering long-term use to mean prescriptions within the first three months of injury extending into the 12-month mark). Then they compared this data to the length of workers’ temporary disability.

They discovered that workers prescribed opiates long-term were on temporary disability three times as long as those who had filed claims yet not received opiates. Those who were only prescribed these powerful painkillers within the first three months, but not thereafter, did not show a substantial impact on disability duration. Study authors also concluded workers employed and residing in “high prescription” regions were more likely to receive a prescription for opioids, regardless of injury. Continue reading

Probate courts in Florida have substantial amount of discretion when it comes to the decision of whether to re-open an estate that was previously closed. In most cases, a probate estate is reopened when new assets are discovered that weren’t discovered at the time the original estate was administered.probate attorney

There is a provision of Florida law, F.S. 733.903, that expressly allows this process, called “subsequent administration.” It states that a “final settlement” of and estate and the discharge of the personal representative does not prevent further administration of the estate. However, the law also states that an order of discharge won’t be revoked on the basis of a newly discovered will or later will.

However, if such action is going to be taken, it’s very important to consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale probate attorney. Continue reading

Florida is somewhat unique when it comes to slip-and-fall cases (compared to other states and compared to other premises liability action here in Florida). Thanks to a 2010 move by the legislature (backed heavily by corporate lobbyists), people suing for slip-and-fall in Florida must prove not only that there was a transitory foreign substance on the floor of a business that caused a fall that resulted in injuries. They must also show, per F.S. 768.0755, that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the substance. slip-and-fall

Actual knowledge would be if the property owner/ controller created the mess or was directly informed of it. Constructive knowledge can be established with circumstantial evidence that shows the slippery condition had either lasted for a long enough time the property owner should have discovered it in the course of using ordinary care OR that it occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

This can be challenging, which is why the injury attorney you choose should be highly skilled and experienced with a track record of success in these cases in the last eight years since the law changed.  Continue reading

Many ranches, farms and other agricultural companies arrange for employee housing in addition to wages for their workers. This can raise some interesting legal questions if workers are involved in a collision traveling to-and-from work, especially if one or more is paid during that time.car accident

Typically in workers’ compensation law and with vicarious liability claims, the time in which workers are going to are leaving from work is subject to the “coming-and-going rule.” The coming-and-going rule holds an employee is not acting in the course and scope of employment while traveling to and from work. Therefore, injuries occurring during that time are generally not covered by workers’ compensation and vicarious liability lawsuits.

In a recent case out of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court weighed whether the lower courts had properly granted summary judgment to an employer in a fatal crash case. The court ruled that judgment was improper, reversed and remanded the case to trial for further proceedings.  Continue reading

In a multiple vehicle car accident, where witnesses may give widely varying accounts of what actually happened and who is at-fault and to what degree, the credibility of each witness and party becomes critical.  It’s not uncommon for defense attorneys to challenge the credibility of plaintiffs to challenge their own client’s liability.personal injury attorney

In a recent case before the Hawaii Supreme Court, this was precisely what the defense attorney did, via alleging at various points during the trial that plaintiff was not even in the vehicle, was not injured in the course and scope of employment (she was a home health aide reportedly helping transport a patient to a doctor’s office at the time of the crash) and that she had filed this personal injury lawsuit  as a money grab on top of her fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. He went so far as to tell the jury during closing arguments that if they sided with plaintiff, they should be ashamed of themselves as it would consummate plaintiff’s fraud. Mind you, this was not something of which she’d been formally accused or convicted.

Plaintiff sought a jury instruction that would stipulate they could not consider her motive in filing the case, but rather only whether defendant was negligent. Trial court rejected that request, and jurors returned an 11-1 verdict in the defense favor, finding defendant – the rear driver in a three-car pileup – was not the legal cause of plaintiff’s injury.  Continue reading

A South Florida attorney has filed three lawsuits in Palm Beach County against his siblings – one trust, one probate and one tort – and another in Broward Circuit Court – alleging his siblings committed fraud in influencing their elderly mother to alter her previous estate plan and give them millions of dollars in gifts over the course of her life. In addition to his siblings, he named a brokerage firm (which had frozen all accounts from the estate), as it held accounts for both the family-owned real estate companies and his siblings. undue influence probate

The siblings’ father reportedly left behind a real estate of fortune of more than $100 million. By coercing their mother, plaintiff alleges, the siblings engaged in something called undue influence.

Undue influence happens when someone close to the person who has or is making a will manipulates or pressures that person to alter that will in some legally significant way. We see a lot of examples of undue influence in cases against caretakers, close family members, nurses, agents – even attorneys. These cases often are tough to build because we must show whether the alterations or transfers were consistent with the person’s previous statements of intent (verbal or written). The court will want to see whether the person who wrote the will (the testator) truly intended to make those chances that unfairly impacted the plaintiff. It would be their right to do so, and it’s still important to note that even if there is some evidence showing the person was susceptible to undue influence, we still need to show the actions were not the true intention or free will of the testator.  Continue reading

Approximately 4.5 million dog bites are reported each year, with 1 in 5 of those bites becoming infected (according to the CDC), 28,000 requiring reconstructive surgery (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and accounting for one-third – or $700 million – of all homeowner insurance liability payouts (per the Insurance Information Institute). dog bite lawyer

Defendants in these cases can sometimes include not just the owner of the dog, but the property owner controlling the site where the bite occurred.

In Litke v. Munkoff, the Idaho Supreme Court recently upheld a $201,000 verdict in favor of a dog bite victim against his neighbors and their adult son after the son’s dog bit him, causing serious injuries. The defendants sought a new trial or in the alternative, a remittitur to lower the damages. The state supreme court found no reversible error.

According to court records, it started when an animal control officer responded to the scene of an allegedly vicious dog and found a pit bull aggressively charging any person who got near him. The officer had to call in a second officer to help capture the dog, an the pair eventually tasered the canine to subdue and capture him. The next day, the dog’s owner (defendants’ son) called animal control officers to report the dog missing. The officer informed him the dog was in animal control custody, had been declared aggressive and that he would need to sign paperwork indicating he understood his requirements under local ordinance before he could claim the dog. The owner told the officer his dog would be better controlled at his parents’ home rather than his apartment. The officer met the dog’s owner at his parents’ home and determined the fence was appropriate in height to meet the ordinance requirements, but that he must also post a Beware of Dog sign and if the dog left the premises, he’d need to be muzzled. The father arrived home while the officer was there and agreed verbally to follow the ordinance requirements. Continue reading

Some people consider estate taxes enemy No. 1 when it comes to their inheritance. However, what’s much more likely to become problematic is family conflict. These aren’t necessarily new issues, but they are becoming more prevalent as increasingly more American families are blended, life expectancy has stretched and baby boomers are aging into their golden years.probate litigation attorney

A recent poll by TD Wealth revealed 44 percent of attorneys, accountants and trust officers in Florida indicated family conflicts were the biggest snag when it comes to estate planning. Part of the problem is people have unrealistic expectations. While most expect to inherit more than $100,000, Ameriprise Financial reports most people receive less than that. Almost 7 in 10 of those expecting an inheritence were never told how much they should expect, which led to substantial confusion and conflict.

Another issue is people increasingly have multiple ex-spouses, one or both my have children from prior unions and one spouse may be much younger than the other. These are fact patterns we know have the potential to lead to trouble. Such is the case in probate litigation conflict in Indiana that the state supreme court in Indiana has just agreed to consider. In Gittings v. Deal, an adult woman claims she was removed from her father’s estate by her stepmother, and subsequently her stepbrother raked in more than $3 million in profits on property she claims they should have shared.  Continue reading

In any Florida wrongful death lawsuit, we’ll need to decide which claims are viable – and who the claimants should be, as only certain individuals and entities have a legal right to pursue damages after someone’s death. With some exceptions, these include the decedent’s:

  • Surviving spouse;
  • Children in being at death (with the law considering them minors until age 25 and no recovery allowed for adult children if action is based in medical malpractice);
  • Parents of a minor child under 25 (may recovery mental pain and suffering);
  • Decedent’s estate. wrongful death attorney

That last one can be tricky because it may ultimately benefit some of the same survivors who collected under other claims. While survivors may claim lost wages and loss of consortium, the estate in some cases may have a separate claim that might consist of lost earnings, lost net accumulations and medical or funeral expenses. An estate’s lost earnings of decedent would span from the date of injury to the date of death – less any amount of monetary support – that a survivor lost during that period. Continue reading

Social media has become such an integrated part of our everyday lives, it’s hard to believe it Facebook first launched in 2004, becoming open to the general public in 2006. Today it has 1.3 billion users. Twitter, which also launched in 2006, has more than 100 million users who post 350 million tweets daily. Instagram, used by 500 million people, didn’t get its start until late 2010. personal injury attorney

For many, it’s second nature to share random thoughts, photos, songs and more. We get into heated online debates and there are hundreds of thousands of “groups” to connect with those who share our interests. All of this can seem pretty benign. However, it has come to matter a great deal in our justice system. Specifically with regard to Florida personal injury lawsuits, you should know that anything you post – even if self-destructing or deleted – may come up in your case. Forensic investigators can usually recover transient data and use it in later court proceedings, sometimes becoming critical pieces of evidence in proving or disproving some material issue.

Although it might seem harmless to engage on these platforms, you must be careful not to post anything you wouldn’t want displayed and analyzed in a courtroom. Defendants in personal injury cases can use it not only to challenge the actual facts of the incident (if you post or share anything that runs counter to your previous testimony), they may argue your damages aren’t as significant as you allege. For example, if you’re seeking substantial damages for pain and suffering, but your social media pages are peppered with happy, smiling, action-shot photos, this could be used to show you aren’t actually suffering as much as you say. This is regardless of the fact that, of course, we all present our best selves on these platforms. Continue reading

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