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South Florida nursing home abuse attorneyThe prevalence of Florida nursing home abuse is one of the primary reasons people have such a difficult time deciding to relocate a loved one there in the first place. One of the biggest indicators of whether a facility is safe is how well it is staffed. The government-run Nursing Home Compare website makes research much easier and more transparent by publishing everything from staffing levels in comparison to the state average to details contained in health and code inspection reports. Recently, it has gone a step further, with a bright red warning icon indicating nursing homes that have failed to protect its residents from being neglected, exploited, or abused.

There are reportedly 697 nursing home facilities in the State of Florida. Nursing Home Compare marked 25 of the state’s 697 nursing homes with the red-and-white “halt” hand icon on the first day the system went into use late last year. Two of those were in Southwest Florida: ManorCare Health Services in Fort Myers and Lakeside Pavilion in Naples. Both of those facilities were already at a two-star rating, indicating the quality of their care is below average. They have also both been on the state’s “watch list” of nursing homes that red flag facilities and that have been cited for failing to protect residents from Florida nursing home abuse.

The red warning icon is assigned to those nursing homes that have “severe abuse citations,” which usually involve serious abuse or neglect, typically leading to injury or death. However, less serious violations of “potential harm” could warrant a warning icon if it is repeated two years in a row. Continue reading

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Florida car accident lawyerA jury recently awarded a plaintiff $202 million in damages for a Florida car crash that left her seriously injured and her son with permanent, catastrophic injuries. Law.com reports the at-fault driver slammed into the passenger side of a vehicle, where the plaintiff, then 8-months-pregnant, was sitting, causing her to suffer placental abruption. She suffered serious injuries. Her baby, born prematurely, barely survived. The plaintiff reports the child, now 4, is blind and non-verbal with permanent brain damage and suffering some 20 seizures daily.

The defendant was convicted of drunk driving. He was negligent in the crash. Yet as the article notes, “The defendant … was uninsured and unrepresented, so the damages award of $202 million is likely unrecoverable.”

Uninsured drivers are indeed a serious problem in Florida. We have the highest percentage of uninsured motorists in the U.S. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 27 percent of motorists in Florida do not have auto insurance – even though it is required by law. Continue reading

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nursing home negligenceNursing home residents are one of the most vulnerable populations even in the best of circumstances. Currently, as the country is grappling with a global pandemic, nursing home residents are not only more susceptible to catching and succumbing to the virus, there is also a higher potential risk for nursing home negligence.

As our Fort Myers nursing home injury lawyers can explain, skilled nursing facilities have a legal duty to protect the elderly and vulnerable adults in their care. They do this in many ways, ranging from properly vetting employees to ensuring there is an adequate overview of care to stocking necessary supplies and medications. It also means having clear procedures in place for halting the spread of infectious disease and swiftly treating those who fall ill.

More than 7,300 nursing home patients in 19 states have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak was first reported in the U.S., but the reality is that infectious disease in long-term care facilities has been a problematic issue for years. Many patients in nursing homes and rehab centers are physically frail and their immune systems may be severely compromised. Nursing homes are responsible for developing disease prevention protocol and for enforcing it. Failure to do so, resulting in a serious or even fatal infection, may be grounds for litigation. Continue reading

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child injuriesThe novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented financial and personal challenges in Florida and across the country. Parents especially are under a great deal of pressure. With schools out and distance learning underway, parents are expected to stay informed, prepare meals, remain calm, care for basic needs, teach and often continue to work.

The problem is parents cannot work and provide adequate supervision, particularly for younger kids. This is why healthcare providers are bracing not only for an uptick in COVID-19 patients but also for child injuries.

Parents are essentially doing five jobs at once, schedules are less structured and children are doing what they often do best: Testing limits to see what they can get away with. That could mean climbing on things they are not supposed to, doing dangerous backflips on the backyard trampoline, riding scooters around the block without helmets or wrestling with siblings. Continue reading

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Fort Myers car accident lawyer

The novel coronavirus pandemic is dominating headlines – not to mention the lives of most Americans right now. But how might COVID-19 impact your Fort Myers car accident claim?

Our personal injury lawyers know several elements of your case could be affected by the pandemic, but the most important things to know are: You should not delay seeking medical treatment or consulting with an attorney. These are the quickest ways to jeopardize your health and reduce the value of your claim.

The silver lining in all of this is that with reduced traffic on the roads, we may see fewer crashes in total. However, pending cases will still proceed (even if delayed) and a crash during the pandemic is not impossible either.

That said, you should be aware of a few things that might be different. It is important to stay informed as we navigate this once-in-a-century national and global crisis. Continue reading

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side impact crashesChild car seat manufacturer Evenflo, maker of the “Big Kid booster seat,” promised parents on its website that the side impact tests the company had conducted to ensure safety were “rigorous,” and simulated realistic side-impact crashes. This may have been a key selling point for many parents, given that side-impact crashes are responsible for one-fourth of all deaths of children under age fifteen (15) in crashes. As our South Florida car accident lawyers have seen, side-impact crashes are more likely to cause severe injuries because the only thing separating the child from the intruding vehicle is the door.

For years, these booster seats were marketed as safe. In reality, according to a new ProPublica investigation, the side-impact crash testing fell far below what one might consider rigorous.

Internal video records show that Evenflo’s tests of child-sized crash test dummies in the Big Kid boosters in a T-bone crash scenario were thrown far out of their shoulder belts. One of the company’s top booster seat engineers conceded in a deposition that if an actual child had been sitting in that same seat, that type of movement could cause potentially catastrophic spinal, head and neck injuries. They would also be at high risk of death.

Despite this, Evenflo gave the booster seats a “passing grade” for safety in side-impact crashes. As ProPublica put it, “The company’s test bar was so low, the only way to fail was if the child-seized dummy ended up on the floor or the booster itself broke into pieces.” Continue reading

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Florida impact ruleMental and emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, anger, fear, and insomnia, are common experiences among those who have suffered a personal injury. Florida is one of just five remaining states that subscribe to something called the impact rule when weighing claims of emotional distress.

Also known as the physical impact rule (or Florida impact rule), it requires plaintiffs who are seeking financial compensation for non-economic damages (namely, emotional distress) to prove they also experienced some physical impact or that their emotional injuries somehow physically manifested. There are some exceptions to this rule such as a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress which we fill further detail below.

South Florida personal injury lawyers frequently request compensation for emotional distress as an element in injury lawsuits, but claims that solely involve emotional distress can be a bit trickier. This is not to say it is impossible, and the Florida Supreme Court has in recent years relaxed the guidelines for applying the impact rule. Still, it is important for anyone considering filing a claim for emotional distress in Florida to understand a bit about the legal standards that must be met. Continue reading

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Florida boating accidentsWe all know distracted drivers pose a serious threat on South Florida roads, but did you know distracted boating is also a significant and growing problem that sharply increases the risk of boating incidents?

A recent analysis of Florida boating incident statistics by Treasure Coast Newspapers revealed that operator inattention was by far the No. 1 cause of South Florida boating incidents – exceeding other factors like speeding, weather, failed mechanics, hazardous water and alcohol use combined. Nationally, operator inattention and improper lookout have accounted for nearly a quarter of all boating incidents over the last five years.

Distractions that Lead to Florida Boating Incidents

So what else has captured the attention of so many Florida boaters? Smartphones, mostly. Texting while boating has rapidly become a top concern of state and federal boating safety officials. The assistant director of boating safety for the BoatUS Foundation was quoted as saying, “If you’re texting from the helm, you’re likely not helming the boat.”

Our Key West boating accident attorneys note too that unlike cars traveling on a highway, boats have the potential to approach from all directions. They come in widely varying sizes and move at different rates of speed. Boat operators must be paying close attention at all times, especially when waves, wind, sun glare and vibration are factors too. Continue reading

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Fort Myers injury lawyerFlorida property owners owe a duty of care to protect invitees from third-party criminal attacks – where the assault was reasonably foreseeable. This principle was affirmed recently by the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s reversal of summary judgment favoring a Florida business owner accused of negligence in an injury lawsuit.

As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, key issues in these types of premises liability cases are:

  • Reasonable foreseeability of the attack.
  • Duty of care the property owner owed to the plaintiff (designation of invitee, licensee or trespasser, depending on the plaintiff’s purposes on-site). Age and special relationships can also be factors.
  • Whether the defendant property owner’s actions proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

The defendant in Bryan v. Galley Maid Marine Products, Inc. argued it owed no duty of care to the plaintiff, who was on-site drinking with the owner and three others when he was attacked, twice. He suffered a broken neck, nerve damage, and facial fractures. The defense asserted there was no way the property owner could have reasonably foreseen what would happen because it occurred suddenly and without provocation. Furthermore, the defendant argued the victim was a licensee rather than an invitee, meaning the only duty business owner owed was to refrain from wanton negligence, willful misconduct or intentional exposure to danger.

The court noted there were seventeen (17) minutes between the first attack, which left the plaintiff unconscious and with missing teeth, and the second attack, which resulted in another bout of unconsciousness and even more serious injuries. No one called 911, according to court records, because those present were reportedly afraid of the assailant (who was later arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison). Continue reading

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Florida personal injury lawsuitsMany people with strong claims to financial damages in Florida personal injury lawsuits are very reluctant to explore the possibility, and it largely has to do with some common myths and misconceptions of the process. They are:

  • Assuming it is going to be extremely expensive;
  • Thinking their injuries are not serious enough;
  • Hesitant to “punish” the at-fault person;
  • Reticent to seem “greedy”;
  • Presuming their insurance will cover it all anyway.

As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, while the individual facts and circumstances of the situation ultimately determine the viability of your claim, by-and-large: These notions are incorrect or exaggerated. Some of these myths are rooted in a simple misunderstanding of the law. Others can be traced to an aggressive push for tort reform messaging.

Let us address them one-by-one: Continue reading

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