Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Florida jury dutyJurors perform an essential role in the system of American justice, with jury service considered an integral duty of citizenship. Yet every year, about 3/4 of those summoned for Florida jury duty don’t show up, according to The Sun-Sentinel.

In fairness, some of those who skip out are legitimately exempt. What many fail to realize is that skipping out on jury duty is against the law and carries a penalty.

So what happens if you miss jury duty? As our Fort Myers civil trial lawyers can explain, there are two different answers to this: The possibility and the actuality. That said, it is not a service we would advise blowing off lightly. Continue reading

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Southwest Florida car accidentThe recent emergency closure of a major national east-west thoroughfare (the I-40 Mississippi River Bridge in Tennessee) due to a critical crack in a bridge beam has drawn attention to the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package proposed by the White House for road renovations nationally. Florida, which was given a C grade for overall infrastructure, has more than 400 bridges and 3,560 miles of highway considered to be in “poor condition.” Although strengthening of infrastructure makes us safer in the long-haul, road construction could well increase Southwest Florida car accident risk in the short-term.

Florida Road Construction Projects

Florida has seen exponential growth in recent years, placing increased burdens on our roadways and traffic infrastructure. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Lee County has been among the fastest-growing regions in the country.

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florida-slip-and-fall-300x200

Whether you are a construction worker, nurse, or teacher, if you are injured on-the-job in a Florida slip-and-fall, workers’ compensation may be your sole source of financial recovery. Workers’ compensation is considered the exclusive remedy for most work-related injuries in Florida, meaning it is the only recourse one has against an employer. Workers do not need to prove negligence so long as they were hurt in the course and scope of employment, and in turn the employer covers the cost of treatment and a portion of lost wages during recovery.

However, workers’ compensation tends to fall short of the damages (pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, etc.) one could recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Because the exclusive remedy provision of Florida workers’ compensation law makes it almost impossible to win a personal injury case against one’s own employer, our South Florida slip-and-fall injury lawyers would primarily be concerned with the potential liability of a third-party property owner/controller or other liable parties. This would be someone other than your direct employer. (Note: Independent contractors are often not  considered “employees” for workers’ compensation purposes and thus may be allowed to pursue injury claims against the company for whom they were working.)

Slip-and-fall cases are a type of premises liability. Premises liability is a legal concept referring to an injury caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. To win, a plaintiff must prove negligence (failure to exercise reasonable care) in owning/maintaining the property. The mere fact of a dangerous condition or occurrence of injury does not automatically mean the property owner was negligent. In most cases, you must prove the property owner knew or reasonably should have known the site was unsafe and failed to take proper steps to address the danger. (The exact proof burden for slip-and-fall injury claims is spelled out in F.S. 768.0755.)

It is important that if you are seriously injured at work and believe a third-party was at least partially responsible that you speak with an experienced injury lawyer about your legal options. You may have grounds to pursue additional damages beyond workers’ compensation.

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Florida large truck accident cases

In the last decade, the number of deadly Florida large truck accident cases increased nearly 75 percent, with almost 300 reported in the most recent year, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Administration. On average, more than 3,000 people lose their lives in U.S. truck accidents annually. Federal data released last month indicated the number of people injured in large truck crashes – occupants and non-occupants – spiked 5.3 percent to 159,000 in 2019.

Trucks in Florida barrel daily down I-75 (including Alligator Alley through the Everglades), I-275, I-95, I-4 and I-10. They also rumble along U.S. 41 and on many rural routes in South Florida, posing a greater risk to other drivers.

Florida lawsuits involving large trucks such as 18-wheelers can be especially complex. As our Fort Myers truck accident lawyers can explain, you are not dealing with the just negligence of a single, private individual behind the wheel. Rather, like layers of an onion, there are likely to be numerous corporations, employees, vehicle owners, and insurers involved.

Further complicating matters is that Florida’s large truck accident cases tend to involve very serious injuries, much more so than the average car accident (perhaps unsurprising given that these vehicles can weigh up to 30 times as much as a car). Lives have been upended, shattered, or even lost. Meanwhile, companies know they have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on the line. Drivers may have their careers at stake. These defendants are usually well-funded inclined to invest heavily in protecting their own interests – no matter how tragic the circumstances. These are not the kind of cases that can be trusted to just any law firm.

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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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