table settingWhen you go to a restaurant, you expect the food you are served to be safe. However, this does not always happen. The United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida heard a case related to food poisoning. If you get sick or injured at a restaurant, an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Standards of Negligence

In order to recover damages, plaintiffs must generally prove that their injuries were caused by another’s negligence. Negligence has several elements: first, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. In order to owe someone a duty, you must have a certain kind of relationship. Businesses have a duty to their patrons to keep them reasonably safe and warn them of non-obvious hazards that they are aware of. Thus, proving that there was a duty of care should not be an issue in this case.

The second thing that must be proven is that the defendant breached their duty of care, which usually means that they acted unreasonably under all of the circumstances. Part of this element also requires that the plaintiff show evidence of what the standard of care for the particular industry or circumstances are. This can often be the most difficult part for plaintiffs as sometimes the business will be acting reasonably but accidents still happen.

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rainy nightOn July 1, 2016, there was a shooting at a nightclub in Palmetto, Florida. Three patrons of the nightclub were shot, and others were trampled in the ensuing chaos. Now, several of those injured in the incident have sued the nightclub for damages. Even though the nightclub owners were not the ones who did the shooting, the plaintiffs in this case allege that the owners were negligent in several important ways. A skilled South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine whether you may be able to recover damages for any injuries that you have suffered due to the fault of another.

Duty Owed By Nightclub Owner

When a business opens its doors to the public, whether a nightclub, grocery store, or offices, they owe a duty to the patrons of the establishment. Generally, the owners and managers owe a duty to keep things reasonably safe for patrons. However, what is considered reasonable in any given circumstance is dependent upon a number of different factors.

truckWhen you buy an insurance policy, you expect it to cover you in the event of an accident. However, you may want to exercise caution to ensure that it actually covers you, as this case warns. If you are injured in a car or truck accident, before you contact your insurer you should consult an experienced South Florida truck accident attorney to help protect you. Insurance companies will sometimes urge plaintiffs to settle for less than they deserve. Alternatively, as in this case, the insurance company may declare that unbeknownst to them, the policy holder is not actually insured.

Truck Accident Facts

The plaintiff in this case is a truck driver. He worked for a trucking company. While employed in this position he applied for an insurance policy through the National Independent Truckers and Contractors Association, Inc. Group Insurance Trust (“the policy.”) On May 13, 2015, the plaintiff sent off his application for the policy. The next day, he was injured in a truck accident. He spent six weeks in the hospital and incurred significant medical bills.

stairway fallIn order for a court to hear a case, they must have jurisdiction over that case. Sometimes there may be multiple courts that could potentially hear a given case. One situation that comes up is that a plaintiff will bring a case in a court that is inconvenient for the defendant. When that happens a defendant may ask for the case to be moved to a more convenient court by requesting a change of venue. The court will look at the facts and circumstances of the case as well as a number of other factors to determine whether they will grant the venue change. The case here illustrates this point and gives an example of a situation where the change of venue was granted.

Jurisdiction 

The instant case comes out of a slip and fall in a Florida hotel. The plaintiff was at the hotel and fell injuring her right leg badly enough to require surgery. She was a resident of New Jersey and the defendant hotel corporation is incorporated in South Carolina and has a principle place of business in Florida. There is a complete diversity of citizenship between the parties, meaning that all the parties are from different states. As the claim is also asking for more than $75,000 the parties meet the requirements for federal diversity jurisdiction meaning that the case can be heard in federal court. That is not the end of the inquiry though. There are federal courts all over the country. Which one should the case be heard in?

The specific state where the case should be located is called the “venue.” The plaintiff in this case originally filed the suit in the federal court in New Jersey. The defendant then asked for it to be moved to Florida. While both are permissible places for the case to be heard, the court will look at specific factors to determine whether they should grant the defendant’s petition. Continue reading

motorcycleIn the U.S., we have both federal and state courts. If you are involved in a car or motorcycle accident, a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine which court would be proper to file your suit in. Sometimes the suit may start in one court and then be moved – referred to as “removed”- to the other.

Motorcycle Accident

The underlying facts of this case involve a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when it shut off suddenly. This caused him to lose control of the motorcycle and he was injured. In the original demand letter, plaintiff asked for $275,000 plus “med pay benefits.” At the time the letter was sent, plaintiff’s medical bills had so far totaled $68,218.87. The plaintiff filed his suit in state court and the defendant removed the case to federal court. Now, the defendant is asking for the case to be moved back to state court. The case was decided by the Middle District of Florida, which is a federal court.

car accidentIf you are injured in a car accident, you may envision that the only person that you need to take legal action against is the driver who caused the accident. However, oftentimes insurance companies will also need to be brought into court in order for them to pay the damages that they owe. Even if your insurance company seems cooperative, they may just be trying to get you to settle for less than you deserve. If you are injured in a car accident, you should contact a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to decide whether you should take the settlement offered or if you need to involve the insurance company in legal action.

The Car Accident

A man was driving on a Florida highway with his friend in the passenger seat. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a cement barrier. While the driver was not injured, the passenger suffered serious injuries and was paralyzed from the waist down. To complicate matters even more, the car itself was owned by the driver’s father’s business. The insurance policy included a one million dollar garage liability policy and a two million dollar commercial umbrella policy.

witness standIn Florida personal injury cases, it’s often necessary to hire an expert to testify in court about different matters. The United States District Court in Southern Florida recently discussed what is required for expert testimony to be allowed to be presented in court. Since expert testimony is such an important part of proving a personal injury case, it’s crucial that the experts that your attorney hires is allowed to testify during your trial.

Underlying Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was on a cruise operated by the defendant when he fell and broke his ankle while using the onboard ice skating rink. One of the experts that the plaintiff wanted to call would provide testimony about the causes of other skaters falling on the rink, conditions of the skates and ice, and other safety factors such as the presence of a “skate guard.” In addition, the plaintiffs presented the expert testimony of a biomedical engineer who opined about the ankle fracture that the plaintiff suffered.

Legal News GavelAfter a man died from alcohol withdrawal and heart failure while incarcerated in a Florida jail, his representatives brought a wrongful death claim against several different parties. The deceased, through his representatives of course, alleged deliberate indifference, wrongful death, and excessive use of force. The defendants filed motions to dismiss these claims. At this point, in order for the case to move forward, the plaintiff only needs to prove that the claims he charged are sufficient on their face to make a claim against the parties. In other words, if the court takes all of the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true, the parties would be guilty of the violations alleged. In court the actual facts will be determined.

Deliberate Indifference

In order for a deliberate indifference claim to stand, a plaintiff needs to prove that there were “acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Essentially, a plaintiff needs to prove that the care or response they received was so bad that it constituted a wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain. This is a much higher standard than the standard for something like medical malpractice, which just requires negligence. For deliberate indifference the plaintiff also must prove that the people who acted cruelly were aware that there was a substantial risk of harm.

Generally, people injured at work are unable to sue their employers directly and will instead be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you or a loved one have been injured at work, you should contact a skilled South Florida workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. There may be benefits that you are entitled to receive.Legal News Gavel

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a program that shields employers from most kinds of civil liability. When someone is injured at work, instead of bringing suit against their employer, as they would in most kinds of personal injury cases, employees bring their cases to workers’ compensation. Essentially, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy for employers. They are required to pay into it, and then when a worker is injured, the program will pay benefits to the injured party. In many cases, it is beneficial to fall outside the workers’ compensation scheme because it allows a plaintiff to sue the employer or others in civil court. In this case, a man was working inside a cement mixing box when another employee started the machine, killing the man.

The Florida Third District Court of Appeals recently heard a case that addressed whether a gun manufacturer was liable for the death of a young man after a gun they manufactured allegedly had defects. The family of a young man who shot himself in the eye, causing his death, brought this action under a wrongful death theory. They alleged that the case should be able to move forward even though gun manufacturers are typically immune from wrongful death lawsuits. If a loved one has died due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may be able to recover damages. Contact a qualified South Florida wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.Legal News Gavel

Facts of the Case

This case came to the appeals court after a lower court granted a motion for summary judgment for the gun manufacturer. The parents of the young man who died after the gun discharged put forth the theory that his death was not suicide but instead caused by a defect in the gun. They argued that the gun had a defective design and did not have an effective way to prevent accidental discharge after it is dropped. The gun manufacturer argued that they were immune from this kind of suit due to a federal law barring actions against gun manufacturers for harm due to the criminal use of the firearms. The lower court agreed with the gun manufacturer and dismissed the case.