Articles Posted in Civil Law

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The State of Florida can now be liable for up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per tort claim, effective Oct. 1, 2011. That’s up from the $100,000 and $200,000 caps that had been in existence for lawsuits against the state, its agencies or political subdivisions.

While the increase is welcome news to victims of governmental negligence, the new caps may still be woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating a victim for a personal injury, wrongful death, or other injuries caused by t. Suing the State of Florida is a complex process, which includes extensive pre-suit requirements and as such; Government liability claims in Florida require an experienced law firm. As these relatively modest caps indicate, identifying other entities that may be liable for damages can be critical when it comes to securing a victim adequate compensation in the wake of a serious injury or fatal accident. The sovereign immunity limits in Florida apply to schools, police departments, counties, and many other offices and agencies under state jurisdiction.1232540_statue_of_wisdom

Florida Statute 768.28 sets the still relatively low damage caps, which were previously unchanged for nearly three decades. Lawmakers contend the caps have deterred claims against the state as there is also 25 percent cap on attorney fees which provide for a maximum fee of $25,000 (or $50,000 under the new cap). While that may sound adequate to some, bringing a serious personal injury, auto accident, or wrongful death lawsuit to trial can cost a law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whether in Fort Myers, Naples, or Fort Lauderdale, finding a firm with the resources to properly handle your case is an important consideration when choosing an attorney. Injured claimants must also consider that their lawyer will only get paid if they are successful in making a recovery on behalf of a client.

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2012 could be historic for injured patients if the Florida Supreme Court follows the lead of Georgia, Illinois, and other states who have declared caps on damages in medical malpractice cases to be unconstitutional. The courts have reasoned that limitations on damages violate an individual’s access to the courts, treat the medical profession different from all others, and often force the state taxpayers to absorb the cost of future care.

Medical malpractice law has always been a hot topic, especially in Florida, where extensive lobbying by hospitals, doctors, and the insurance industry has led to major changes affecting the rights of injured victims. While medical professionals have argued that malpractice lawsuits have caused billions of dollars to be wasted on unneeded medical tests; yet privately, they admit that these same tests would be ordered if the patient was their family member.

As Florida medical malpractice attorneys we have been closely monitoring the debate over medical malpractice caps, which is set to come before the Florida Supreme Court next year.

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The United States House of Representatives yesterday (10/7/09) took action that will hopefully lead to the end of discriminatory treatment of soldiers injured by medical malpractice.

Since the Feres decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1950, soldiers have not been able to bring actions for medical malpractice against the government; this is true irrespective of the level of disregard for their well being. Since the 1950’s untold numbers of soldiers after serving acting duty have been subjected to substandard treatment in military medical facilities. The House Judiciary Committee has now approved the Military Medical Accountability Act which would allow soldiers the same rights as  private citizens injured by medical malpractice.

The bill named after Marine Sgt. Carmelo Rodriguez, who served his country with honor for nearly a decade, including a tour of duty in Iraq, and died as a result of preventable medical negligence. A blotch on his buttock went untreated and misdiagnosed multiple times by military doctors.  By the time Sgt. Rodriguez learned it was a cancerous melanoma the damage was done. Sgt. Rodriguez, the father of a 7 year old son passed away shortly after a proper diagnosis.

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Back in June of 2007 attorney Jeff Garvin of Fort Myers and Wilton Strickland of Fort Lauderdale successfully argued that medical malpractice was committed when a Broward County otolaryngologist (ENT) failed to diagnose tongue cancer.

A Broward County Jury awarded the Garvin Law Firm client $6.4 Million Dollars after hearing two weeks of testimony. Garvin argued that the Pembroke Pines Doctor was negligent when he failed to notice several recognizable symptoms of tongue cancer. This argument was strengthened when evidence was presented that the client sought a second opinion and this doctor noticed cancer almost immediately. Unfortunately for the client, the cancer had already spread and required extensive surgery to remove the growth.

After this surgery, which required the removal of most of his tongue, the client was left with a difficulty speaking, can’t swallow, and is forced to eat blended food through a tube in his stomach.

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In Federal Judge rules that a City of Detroit Employee can proceed with her lawsuit which alleges that her co-worker’s perfume made it difficult for her to breathe and impossible to do her job.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff found that the employee’s case could proceed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Employee “has produced evidence that her breathing is significantly restricted” and has a potential claim under the Act.

In the Suit the Employee is seeking unspecified damages but states that the major goal of the lawsuit is not monetary damages but to educate people about the issue and seek voluntary compliance for disabilities in the workplace

We will probably hear more about this case as litigation has only begun. Check out the The Detroit News story for more news on the case.

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Any Florida resident who is currently suffering (or died from) a smoking related illness must register for their share of the $600 Million dollar trust fund by June 16th, 2008. In order to qualify you must have been a regular smoker prior to November 21st, 1996 and of course a Florida resident.

Please contact my office at (888) 524-2426 if you have any questions or would like us to handle your claim.

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