Articles Posted in Personal Injury

When a patient goes into a drug and alcohol detox facility, they expect to receive adequate care. In a tragic case out of Florida, a man died at a drug detox facility. His estate sued the doctor and the detox facility itself. Specifically, they allege that the doctor was negligent in his supervision of the nurse on duty on the evening before the plaintiff’s untimely death. If you are concerned that you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of the negligence of someone else, an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney can help you hold the wrongdoers accountable.

Events Leading up to the Patient’s Death 

The plaintiff was purportedly admitted to the detox center with noticeable track marks. The defendant physician is the medical director of the facility. However, the doctor acts as an overseer and it is up to the advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to do the direct supervision of patients at the facility. It is also up to the ARNPs to decide whether the facility is adequate for the patient’s needs or whether they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Before leaving for the evening, the ARNP allegedly checked on the plaintiff. At that time, he was sitting upright and talking and his vital signs were improving. She claimed that she planned to begin the detox process the next morning. Unfortunately, the plaintiff died sometime early that morning. The cause of death was endocarditis, a heart infection common in intravenous drug users.

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When 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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On 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.

In 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

In 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.

If 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.

In 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.

A woman was working at a hospital when she fell and hurt her shoulder. When she tested positive for marijuana, the law presumed that the accident was due to her drug use. The court held that she did not successfully rebut the presumption of the drugs being the cause of the accident. Therefore, she was denied workers’ compensation benefits under the law. If you are injured at work, it is important to contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, the woman in this case may have been able to successfully rebut the presumption and thus be eligible for benefits.

Facts of the Case

 Here, the plaintiff was working at her job cleaning hospital rooms when she slipped and fell as she was running to alert nurses on duty about a patient who was in distress. After she fell, her employer took her to the hospital to get treatment, and then took her immediately to a clinic, which gave her a drug test. She tested positive for marijuana during this test.

In a recent case before the Florida Supreme Court, the court decided what kinds of funds Medicaid was able to put a lien against. It held that only an award of past medical expenses could be used to satisfy the lien, and that Medicaid could not touch the award for future medical expenses. If you are injured in an accident, you should contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible! They can help you to make sure you receive – and keep – the recovery that you deserve.

Facts of the Case

The facts of this case are relatively straightforward. A man was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. He had extensive injuries. He did not have private insurance so Florida’s Medicaid program paid $322,222.27 for medical care to treat his injuries from the accident. Later, he settled with one of the alleged tortfeasors for one million dollars. Medicaid then said he owed them over $320,000 for his medical bills. However, of the million dollar settlement, only $13,881.79 was compensation for past medical expenses. Though the case never explicitly states what the other amounts are for, presumably it is future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensable damages under tort law. Thus, the victim’s representative argued that the Medicaid lien should only be for the $13,881.79 allocated to past medical expenses.

In any personal injury case, the injured person must connect the accident to the alleged injury in order to receive damages.  The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal recently assessed in a Florida car accident case, No. 4D17-1900, whether it was an error for the trial court to allow an expert witness for the injured person to testify about causation and permanency in violation of a trial preparation order.  The plaintiff sought damages for the bodily injuries she sustained due to an accident.  The driver of the other vehicle admitted fault but denied the accident caused the victim’s alleged injuries.  The case moved forward to trial to determine whether the accident did cause her injuries, whether those injuries are permanent, the reasonableness and necessity of medical bills, and damages.

The defendant objected to one of the injured person’s expert witnesses, an orthopedic surgeon, but the court allowed the expert to opine on the causation and permanency of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The surgeon testified the injured person’s shoulder was damaged as a result of the car accident and required surgery.  The physician described his course of treatment and provided copies of the total bill of $58,000 from his practice group.  The injured person also testified, discussing the multiple treatments she received to remedy the injuries from the accident.  The injured person went to an urgent care facility on the day of the accident to address pain and stiffness in the back of her neck and a numbing sensation starting at her shoulders and reaching through her arm to the fingertips.  The injured person additionally described seeking help for several months when she went to physical therapy and underwent an MRI.  Eventually, surgery was recommended by two separate physicians.  The injured person testified she underwent the procedure and had to follow up with additional post-surgical care to improve her strength and ability. 

On appeal, the defendant asserted the trial judge erred in the dismissal of his motions because there was insufficient evidence about the reasonableness and necessity of past services provided for the injured person’s medical care.  Florida requires an injured party to produce more than the mere bill for expenses to prove whether the amount was reasonable.  The defendant argued the physician’s testimony was unnecessary to show the necessity and reasonableness of the bill, but the injured person’s lay testimony was acceptable.  The defendant claimed that since there was no testimony from the injured person connecting each bill to the accident, there was no testimony meeting the burden set by Florida statutes and case law. The appellate court was unpersuaded by this argument and concluded the plaintiff sufficiently proved the reasonableness through her testimony and her expert’s testimony.