Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Florida dog bite injuries

The pandemic compelled many Floridians to stay closer to home in the last year, prompting many to turn to four-legged companions for comfort. In 2020, there was an unprecedented number of people in Southwest Florida who fostered or adopted a pet, according to The News-Press. Undoubtedly, pets are a salve against isolation and anxiousness. However, there has been one unfortunate unintended side effect: A surge in Florida dog bite injuries.

In an analysis published by the Journal of Pediatrics, physicians at some children’s hospitals reported a three-fold increase in the rates of visits to pediatric emergency departments because of dog bites. Rates of dog bite injuries in the spring were more than double the summer rates, when these types of injuries are typically most common. Some cities, like Minneapolis, ordered all dogs to be leashed after noting a sharp uptick in dog bites there.

As our Fort Myers injury lawyers understand, families with kids and dogs have endured some unique challenges over the last year. Kids were staying home, common outlets like school, sports and playdates were sidelined, and working caregivers may not have had the capacity to supervise every second of child-animal interactions. This can increase the potential for dog bites. Continue reading

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Key West injury lawyer tort claims

If you have ever done a cursory search on filing a personal injury claim in Florida, there is a good chance somewhere along the way you ran across the phrase “tort claims.” But what is a tort?

As a Key West injury lawyer can explain, “tort” is a legal term for a personal injury caused by civil wrongs. The goal of tort law is to right the civil wrongs by “making whole” (to whatever extent possible) the person who has sustained injury, suffering, unfair loss, or some other harm caused by someone else’s careless, reckless or criminal action.

The goal in most Florida tort claims is to recover financial losses and possibly prevent the same type of situation from happening to someone else. Financial Damages can include lost wages, mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, and medical bills. These are losses already incurred and those reasonably certain to occur in the future. Continue reading

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Florida personal injury lawyer

It is the most wonderful time of the year – unless preparing for or partaking in it lands you in a hospital emergency room.

From ladder falls to parking lot pedestrian accidents, an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer knows all-too-well how life-altering these occurrences can be.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were 18,400 reported injuries sustained by those decorating for the holidays in a single recent year. Many of these involved falls, often while hanging lights or other decorations from roofs or trees. Many suffered strains, sprains, and lacerations, but two died.

Further, the CPSC reported roughly 100 Christmas tree fires resulting in 10 deaths, 10 injuries, and $12 million in property loss. There are also 20 injuries caused by swallowing objects and dozens of burn injuries caused while cooking holiday meals.

On the road, injuries can result from drunk driving accidents caused by motorists over-imbibing at holiday parties. There are also pedestrian accidents at shopping centers, crosswalks, and other high foot traffic areas, often precipitated by distracted, rushed, or fatigued drivers.

Your health insurance may fully cover the costs of some of these injuries. However, if you are injuries are fairly serious, and someone’s negligence was at least partly to blame for what happened, you will want to consider talking to a Florida personal injury lawyer.

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Florida injury lawsuit

When considering whether to file a Florida personal injury lawsuit, it is important to ask: Who is going to pay?

Insurance companies often cover most injury claims. Typically, these policies cover auto accidents or injuries on someone else’s property (premises liability claims such as slip-and-falls, third-party criminal attacks, dog bites, etc.). But as our Fort Myers personal injury lawyers can explain, this is not always the only source of recovery. In some instances, it can be worthwhile to pursue a defendant’s personal assets in addition to collecting from the insurance policy.

It is not usually the first avenue of compensation we discuss for the simple fact that many personal injury lawsuit defendants simply do not have enough personal assets to make pursuing a claim against them worth the time. But if one’s injuries are serious and there isn’t enough insurance to cover the claim, it may be an additional avenue to pursue.

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Key West injury lawyer

In most Florida injury lawsuits, the injured person (plaintiff) needs to show the person or entity they are suing (defendant) violated a duty of care that was owed, resulting in the injuries and financial damages at issue. In some cases, however, the plaintiff can establish the duty of care and the breach of duty using the doctrine of negligence per se. The phrase “per se” in Latin means “in itself” or “by itself.” As a Key West injury lawyer can explain, negligence per se is a legal term that refers to a violation of some statute, law, or regulation enacted to protect individuals in the plaintiff’s same position. Where the doctrine applies, one need only prove the defendant’s actions were the proximate (legal) cause of their injuries.

A recent ruling by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal dealt with negligence per se in an elevator accident. In the case of Vogel v. Cornerstone Doctors Condominium Association, Inc., the question was whether the defendant property owner acted reasonably with regard to the safety of its elevator. In that case, the Defendant owned a two-story building that houses medical offices. Plaintiff was a patient who went to his doctor to give them his new insurance card. On his way in, he rode the elevator to the second level without issue. Upon departure, he approached the elevator again and found the doors were open. He stepped inside but soon discovered the elevator floor was not properly level, as it was about two feet below the landing. Unfortunately, he did not realize this until after he had taken a step in, and as a result, fell, suffering personal injuries to his neck and back.

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Fort Myers personal injury lawsuit

Aside from how much money a case is worth, Fort Myers personal injury lawsuit plaintiffs often want to know how long their case will take to resolve. Most are not thrilled to hear the ever-popular lawyer answer: It depends. But the truth is that determining how long a case will take to resolve can be more of an art than a science. First, know that settlements can often be preferable to litigation. They take less time and tend to use fewer resources. You may never even need to file a lawsuit if your injury attorney can successfully negotiate a fair resolution with the insurer(s) involved. While this is oversimplified for purposes of making this a brief blog post; for a settlement to be reached, both sides need to agree on two main issues: Liability and fair value.

Liability refers to which party is legally responsible for paying. Florida follows a system of “pure comparative fault,” essentially meaning a plaintiff (the person filing the case) could be 99 percent liable – and still collect the remaining 1 percent of damages from the other at-fault party. However, your damage award is going to be proportionately reduced by your degree of fault. So if you are 40 percent liable, your total damages will be reduced by 40 percent.

Fair value refers to how much your case is reasonably worth in light of the severity of your injuries, how much physical pain you suffered, the totality of your medical expenses (past and future), the time you had to take off work, the impact to your future wage-earning capabilities and the extent to which this has impacted your personal life. Understand that for cases involving serious injuries, it is probably impossible to resolve in less than a few months because it is going to take at least that long (usually longer) to accurately determine the full severity of your injuries, the long-term estimate of future medical expenses and how these injuries are going to impact the rest of your life.

It should go without saying that you or your attorney will need to prove causation, that is that the injury for which you are seeking “fair value” was actually caused by (or made worse as a result of) the crash or incident. This is an often contested area as many of us have some evidence of the natural aging process going on in our body at a time that we may become injured.

Needless to say, there can be more than a few points of disagreement. When those differences cannot be resolved, cases end up going to trial.

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Florida personal injury lawsuit

As it is with any type of litigation, there are certain risks associated when you pursue a Florida personal injury lawsuit. The good news is these risks are significantly mitigated by:

        • Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer with experience in successfully handling cases like yours.
        • Contingency fee arrangements that do not require plaintiff attorney’s fees to be paid upfront – or at all – unless you win.

An experienced attorney can provide you with an informed opinion about the strength and value of your injury case, giving you a good sense of whether it is better to accept a settlement offer or proceed to trial. The contingency fee arrangement is a safety net too. Not only because you are off-the-hook for your attorney’s fees if you do not win, but it also creates a clear incentive for your injury lawyer to be frank with you about your chances of prevailing – and the best way to do it.

That said, our Fort Myers injury attorneys are always straightforward with our clients about some of the potential pitfalls of personal injury litigation. These are general risks, though some may be more relevant for certain types of cases (i.e., auto accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, claims against government entities, etc.).

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Naples personal injury lawyer

Some people think they must suffer catastrophic injuries to recover damages in a Florida injury lawsuit. That is not always true. What is true is that when catastrophic injuries are involved, winning full and fair compensation can actually be an even greater challenge. In you have sustained life-changing injuries, it is highly recommended that you sign nothing until you at least consult with an injury lawyer. After that, you can then decide if you feel comfortable handling the claim alone or if you’d prefer a trial attorney’s help.

We know for a fact that no insurer is eager to pay the full sum of what is rightly owed in these cases.

As our Naples personal injury attorneys can explain, catastrophic injury claims (which typically involve severe damage to the spine (back), spinal cord, brain, or other extremities) are actually more common these days than they were even two or three decades ago. This is mostly because of the evolution of modern medicine. As noted by insurance industry research: “Medical advances are helping first responders better stabilize accident victims at a scene… Many who used to die are now living. … Advances in medicine (have also) significantly reduced complications that arise from catastrophic injury claims. This means longer life expectancies.”

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South Florida personal injury lawyer

Many South Florida personal injury lawyers offer up a wealth of information about things like, “What to do after a car accident,” or, “Ways nursing homes can be liable for neglect,” and, “Who can file wrongful death litigation?” This insight is valuable, but much of it presumes the person involved was not already disabled or medically vulnerable. There is a presumption that one day he or she is completely fine, then they encounter someone else’s negligence, and now they have serious injuries with long-term consequences. But what if you had a pre-existing condition? What if you were already medically fragile?

In Florida, this is an important consideration because it:

  • Ranks No. 2 nationally for having the highest percentage of the population over the age of 65. There are an estimated 73 million baby boomers nationally, with many vacationing in Florida or having second homes here, even if they don’t live here full time.
  • Reports of more than 28 percent of adult residents have some type of disability. That is higher than the national average of 25 percent.
  • Has nearly 1.7 million elderly residents with at least one type of disability.

Incidents that give rise to Florida personal injury claims, such as car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, dangerous product injuries – these do not just happen to young people who had zero health issues beforehand. People who are elderly or disabled may be at increased risk of certain types of injuries (falls in particular). Additionally, the extent of the injuries they are likely to suffer is often more severe, and recovery will take longer. Continue reading

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Florida personal injury lawsuit

If you file a Florida personal injury lawsuit, chances are your case will never go to trial. In fact, U.S. Justice Department data shows about 97 percent of all claims are settled or dismissed without a trial.

Even so, it is helpful to know the risks and benefits of both trials and settlements, something your South Florida personal injury lawyer should explain while reviewing your case. Ultimately, your attorney should not shy away from going to trial if it is what is in your best interest, but settlements can remove uncertainty and can often be the best course of action.

What is a Personal Injury Settlement? 

The term “settlement” refers to a kind of formal resolution of your claim or lawsuit before a judge or jury hears it. It means you agree to accept money in exchange for dropping your action against the person or business who caused your injury.

Settlement agreements can be reached at any point during litigation, up to the point that a case has been tried, but before jurors reach a verdict. In some instances, your case can settle before you ever even have to file a Florida personal injury lawsuit.

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