Articles Posted in personal injury

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

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

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

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

Florida wrongful death cases involving nursing home patients is often the result of sepsis, a blood infection that can stem from untreated bedsores – among other signs of abject nursing home neglect. That’s according to a recent analysis reported by Kaiser Health News, which took note that nursing home resident hospitalizations for sepsis-related care ending in death were much more common than those for other conditions. Nursing home wrongful death attorneys in Fort Lauderdale recognize that while no one is nationally tracking how often these infections turn fatal, one recent federal report by Definitive Health Care revealed care related to sepsis was the No. 1 reason given for transfers of nursing home residents to hospitals. wrongful death sepsis

Many Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawsuits stem from the fact that year after year, nursing homes are failing to prevent bedsores and other sorts of infections known to lead to sepsis. These patients endure, painful, stressful hospital treatments for sepsis, with injury and wrongful death attorneys often arguing it should never have happened in the first place.

The analysis examined data related to nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals and later died. Of those, roughly 25,000 suffered from sepsis (among other conditions), costing medicare some $2 billion a year (based on four-years’ worth of information). Of those who suffered from sepsis, 1 in 5 did not survive. The scope of such a public health problem, researchers say, is “enormous.” Just a single sepsis-related hospital stay at the end of one nursing home patient’s life cost more than $400,000.  Continue reading

Inflatable bounce houses, bounce pillows, space walkers, moon bouncers and slides – all are increasingly popular at community events and private parties in South Florida, a fun attraction for children to release some of that pent-up energy. However, there is a growing body of evidence that inflatable bounce houses and related amusements are anything but safe. Children have been seriously injured and even died. Product liability and premises liability claims may be appropriate.injury attorney

Recently, The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska reported a 2-year-old boy died on a recent afternoon when a strong gust of wind blew over the unenclosed inflatable bounce pillow on which he was playing at a pumpkin patch. The boy and his older sister, 5, were at a private event, playing on the pillow with their parents, who both slid off seconds before the gust of wind swept the pillow up, despite being tethered to the ground. The wind gust reportedly clocked in at around 60 mph. The pillow was ripped of its moorings and flew some 30 to 40 feet. The girl was thrown, but the boy reportedly became “wrapped like a taco” inside the inflatable.

The newspaper reported the pumpkin patch owner does carry the requisite liability insurance required of such operations. Such a claim would fall under the umbrella of premises liability, which holds property owners or controllers responsible for dangerous conditions on their property. Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers explain that while the number of defendants will be case specific, it’s plausible the child’s parents may have grounds to pursue claims also against the inflatable pillow manufacturer, as well as the event organizer, if a different entity than the pumpkin patch. Continue reading

Personal injury law is frequently characterized as something of a circus, full of malingering, greedy “victims,” ambulance-chasing, shamelessly self-promoting injury lawyers and feckless jurors who award outrageous sums for no good reason. These stereotypes are often furthered by those in favor tort reform, which does little to prevent frivolous claims or lower insurance costs. Instead, it makes it more difficult for those serious injured by another’s negligence to obtain full and fair compensation.personal injury lawyer

It’s important to revisit some of these myths and misunderstandings every once in a while, because we hear from injury clients who wait months or even years before exploring their legal rights, assuming to do so is somehow selfish or it was partly their fault anyway and they should have known better.

Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand these concerns, so we wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the most common.
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Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. Failure to do so may result in a fine by government regulators. Workers’ compensation – the exclusive remedy for employees against their employers for job-related injuries – is paid on a no-fault basis. That means workers who are injured in Florida don’t need to prove their employer acted in a manner that was negligent in order to collect compensation.work injury lawyer

Third parties, meanwhile, can be liable and compelled to pay damages to the person injured on top of what he/ she receives for workers’ compensation – but only if the plaintiff can prove the third party negligent.

Many serious Florida work injuries involve some type of fault from a third party, whether that’s:

  • A general contractor or property owner who fails to make sure the work site is free from an unreasonable risk of hazards (known or foreseeable);
  • A negligent driver who strikes a work crew on the road;
  • A product manufacturer that designed/ made/ sold a heavy machine that is unreasonably dangerous, even when operated as intended.

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Florida venue owners and operators and event organizers have certain legal responsibilities when it comes to keeping properties free of hazards that could harm those lawfully on site – especially if they are paying customers. All known and foreseeable dangers need to be eliminated or else warned of so people can (hopefully) avoid injury. This includes third-party violence, which increasingly across the U.S. includes gun violence – whether they involve individual targets or mass shootings.injury attorney

There is extensive legislative and judicial precedent allowing these kind of third-party violence cases against property owners, but prevailing can be challenging. Unlike, say, a slip-and-fall case where a restaurant patient is injured slipping on rainwater tracked in from an entrance at which employees failed to place a mat to absorb the water from wet shoes, shootings aren’t everyday or even yearly occurrences at most venues. That makes establishing the risk of danger as a reasonably foreseeable one to the property owner/ operator a bit trickier. Instead, establishing reasonable foreseeability of violence by showing some combination of:

  • Regular calls to police at the site/ prior events for other types of violent crimes. These may never have escalated to the point of gunfire, but given the concentration of firearms in the U.S., this pattern serves to alert property owners to the possibility of more problems if they don’t act.
  • High rates of violent crime in the nearby proximity. Prior crimes used to prove the risk should have been known need not necessarily have occurred exactly on site.
  • A pattern of similar crimes at the same type of businesses, even if they weren’t in close proximity to that location. If a business owner knows certain types of violence are more common in his or her industry, they have a responsibility to take measures to address it.

Every case will be different, but in many cases, it can be argued a venue owner/ operator had negligent security and failed to provide a safe and secure environment. An experienced Fort Lauderdale injury or wrongful death lawyer can offer more specifics once learning more of the circumstances in your case. Continue reading

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