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While injury victims pursue personal injury lawsuits to obtain compensation for economic losses, pain and suffering, and other harm experienced because of careless or inattentive conduct, some forms of behavior merit a different form of damages.  Unlike compensatory damages, exemplary or punitive damages serve the function of punishing a wrongdoer and discouraging recidivism.  Although the amount awarded can be substantial, Florida law applies caps on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded and imposes a higher evidentiary standard.  In this blog, our Miami personal injury attorneys review a recent court decision wherein a Florida appellate court made the task of pursuing punitive damages even more difficult.

In Persaud v. Cortes, et al, the plaintiff in a lawsuit involving a rear-end collision sued a drunk driver.  The intoxicated motorist caused the driver of the vehicle struck from the rear to suffer serious injury while a passenger in the vehicle died.  The estate of the decedent and injured driver filed a lawsuit seeking both compensatory and punitive damages against the alcohol-impaired driver.  There was not much dispute regarding the fact the defendant was intoxicated since he had a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .32. Continue reading →

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When patients entrust medical professionals, facilities, and hospitals with their healthcare, an expectation of competent diagnosis and treatment consistent with the established standard of care in the community constitutes a reasonable expectation.  Many people are overwhelmed by the massive stack of intake paperwork they face as new patients.  Frequently, a waiver or release of liability often will purport to limit the legal rights and remedies of patients to seek financial compensation for injuries or other harm caused by the negligence of a health care provider.  Although many patients assume they cannot pursue a medical malpractice claim because their health care provider had them execute a document limiting the liability of the provider or facility, courts do not always enforce these types of provisions.  In this blog, our Miami medical malpractice lawyers review a court case decided a few weeks ago that allowed a plaintiff to pursue a medical malpractice claim despite signing a release of liability.

In Brooks v. Paul, the plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that her physician and other defendants negligently cut her ureter during spinal fusion surgery. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, but the defendants sought summary judgment by claiming that the release signed by the plaintiff shielded the medical providers from liability. The language of the release provided in pertinent part that the medical providers “will not carry any medical malpractice insurance.  Being of sound mind and sound body, I hereby acknowledge this fact and agree not to sue [the medical providers] for any reason.  My reason for doing this is that I realize that [the medical providers] will do the very best to take care of me according to community medical standards.” Continue reading →

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Since summer has arrived, kids will flock to swimming pools, lakes, and other bodies of water.  Although a swimming pool or pond can provide recreation, entertainment, and exercise, parents must exercise vigilance because drowning constitutes a serious risk to small children.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 10 people per day drown in non-boating related incidents.  Almost one in five of these drowning victims are children 14 or younger, so parents should be vigilant in the vicinity of swimming locations.  Tragically, drownings and near drownings resulting in brain damage can occur even when parents take precautions to protect their children.  In this blog, our Miami defective product attorneys review a case where parents unsuccessfully pursued a product liability lawsuit alleging a defective piece of safety equipment was a substantial factor in causing their toddler’s drowning.

In Coterel v. Dorel Juvenile Group, a federal appellate court from another state considered a product liability lawsuit brought by the grieving parents of their 23-month-old son.  The young child climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night and wandered to a nearby pond.  When the parents awoke in the morning, they discovered the door open.  The dad searched and found his son floating in the pond about fifty yards from the home.  The parents filed a wrongful death suit against the maker of a doorknob cover that the couple received as a gift.  The complaint alleged that the manufacturer of the safety device was defective because it failed to prevent the boy from opening the door.  The lawsuit contended the doorknob cover was negligently marketed and negligently manufactured. Continue reading →

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Although buses statistically provide one of the safest forms of transportation, the carnage and extent of injury can be devastating when Florida bus accidents occur.  Because passengers in Miami-Dade County embark on tens of thousands of trips covering hundreds of thousands of miles annually, serious bus accidents are predictable.  When bus drivers fail to exercise caution and remain attentive, or public entities and transit companies do not exercise care in screening, training, and supervising drivers, the risk posed to passengers increases dramatically.  While bus companies are considered common carriers who owe passengers a heightened duty of care, injured passengers seeking financial compensation from municipalities and other government entities that run bus lines face special challenges.  In this blog, our Miami bus accident attorneys review a recent settlement of a bus accident claim that focuses attention on these obstacles.

An article in the Sun Sentinel reported on the tragic story of a boy who suffered permanent debilitating injuries after being dragged by a bus.  The boy and his mom were approaching the bus when she fell, so she told her son to run to catch the bus.  A passenger on the bus informed the bus driver about “runners” approaching the vehicle.  While the teen was able to reach the bus before it pulled away from the curb, the driver closed the door on the boy’s arm.  The driver then pulled the vehicle away from the curb and dragged the boy for approximately seven seconds.  The teen fell and was then partially run over by the massive vehicle.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury and remained in a coma for more than a month.  The teen also was unable to return to school for 1.5 years.  The lingering effects of the bus accident included neuropsychological deficits in memory and processing speed, physical impairments, compromised motor dexterity, neurocognitive disorder, central auditory processing disorder, and adjustment disorder with depression. Continue reading →

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Although dogs can constitute loving pets, canine attacks occur every day throughout Florida.  If you have never been bitten by a dog, you might be inclined to assume that most dog bites inflict only minor injuries.  However, approximately 4.5 million people experience dog bites annually in the U.S.  Almost one in five of these individuals suffer an infection.  In 2015, 28,000 people suffered dog bite injuries so severe that they needed reconstructive surgery.  While dog bite victims in Florida might have the right to assert strict liability claims against a dog owner or keeper, the actions of the victim often are asserted as a defense.  In this blog post, our Miami dog bite lawyers analyze an appellate court decision from last year that allowed a lawsuit to move forward to trial after the defendant attempted to shift financial responsibility to the dog bite victim.

The plaintiff was injured by guard dogs obtained by the defendant company K-9 to secure the premises of a business in the neighborhood.  When a K-9 worker returned the next morning to feed the dogs, the employee discovered the business had been burglarized, which allowed the dogs to escape the premises.  The plaintiff discovered the guard dogs in her backyard.  She mistakenly assumed the dogs for friendly pets of a nearby neighbor.  She kept the dogs secured in her yard where she fed and sheltered the animals.  Although she had two pet dogs of her own they were kept segregated in her home.  In attempting to return the dogs to the owner, she notified the neighborhood watch and contacted the local animal shelter. Continue reading →

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Some people do not understand the difficult challenges injury victims must overcome when injured in a slip and fall on the premises of a business.  While premises liability law authorizes an individual injured in a fall to pursue a legal claim for financial compensation against the owner of a business or commercial property, Florida law makes the task of proving negligence challenging.  The difficult burden of establishing the appropriate knowledge by the business owner makes it important to seek prompt legal advice from an experienced Miami slip and fall lawyer.  In this blog post, we examine a recent federal court decision that reveals these evidentiary obstacles.

In Piotrowski v. Meanrd, Inc, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision for the defense in a trip and fall case.  The plaintiff tripped on rocks in a parking lot next to and operated by a large chain hardware store.  The complaint filed by the plaintiff indicated she tripped on rocks in the lot located close to the store exit.  The plaintiff also alleged that the rocks resembled or were identical to rocks sold by the hardware store.  The store, which sold the stones as decorative river rock, also used the rocks in a decorative planter positioned close to the site of the trip and fall accident.  The plaintiff suffered serious injuries that included multiple broken bones and torn ligaments.  Her injuries necessitated multiple surgeries and periods of hospitalization. Continue reading →

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The civil litigation process involves many technical rules, procedures, and deadlines that must be strictly adhered to by a plaintiff seeking financial compensation.  While these procedural hurdles might seem like “technical details” to many injury victims, the civil litigation process can be unforgiving when parties without legal representation try to navigate these traps for the unwary.  In many cases, this type of procedural misstep could result in dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit that is otherwise with merit.  In this blog post, our personal injury lawyers examine an appellate court decision involving a motion for dismissal based on a claim that service was not effective.

The plaintiff was involved in a collision with a school bus.  She believed the school bus driver’s negligence caused the collision.  The complaint filed in the personal injury lawsuit alleged the school district also was responsible based on a negligent hiring theory.  While a lawsuit against a public entity like a school district will involve special procedures and a timely notice of claim, the procedural issue raised by the defense in this lawsuit applies to all civil litigation. Continue reading →

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While pedestrian accidents often are caused by distracted, careless, or indifferent motorists, some collisions between motor vehicles and people who are walking, jogging, or running are the result of the faulty design of roadway features.  Approximately 13 people die per day by cars after being struck while on foot.  A report entitled “Dangerous by Design 2016” created by the pedestrian safety group Smart Growth America identified nine Florida major metros as among the 11 most dangerous metro regions in the U.S. for pedestrians.  While municipalities and other government entities can be liable for pedestrian accidents caused by poor roadway design, the process of suing a government body or agency poses special challenges because of the principle of sovereign immunity.  In this blog, our Miami pedestrian accident lawyers examine a Florida Appellate Courts decision that focuses on the important role sovereign immunity plays when people sue cities, counties, or the State of Florida for design defects that contribute to pedestrian fatalities.

In Gonzales v. City of Atwater, surviving family members of a 72-year-old woman who was run over in an intersection filed a lawsuit against the motorist and the municipality.  The motorist who slammed into the elderly pedestrian was executing a left turn at an intersection into a shopping center.  Evidence introduced at trial indicated the pedestrian had the right-of-way, but the driver testified he did not see her prior to crashing into her with his vehicle. Continue reading →

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Discovery is an important part of the litigation process in any car accident lawsuit because this permits the issues in the case to be narrowed and each side to investigate the facts and allegations made by the opposing party.  Skillful use of discovery tools and close attention to the information provided could mean the difference between a substantial settlement or verdict and an outcome favorable to the defense.  While a party might have valid objections to answering certain questions, providing false information, misrepresentations, or material nondisclosure could have dire consequences.  In this blog post, our experienced car accident attorneys review a decision from the Florida Court of Appeals reversing the dismissal of an injury victim’s claim despite allegations of fraud perpetrated upon the court.

In the recent case of Duarte v. Snap-On, Incorporated, a motorist suffered a serious injury after an intoxicated truck driver plowed into his car while traveling at freeway speed.  The trucking company did not dispute liability based on the actions of its employee, but the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries were fiercely contested.  The issue of damages was complicated by the fact that the injury victim was involved in a second collision between the time of the first crash and resolution of the lawsuit involving the initial accident. Continue reading →

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This is the house that Jack built.

This is the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built . . . .

Excerpt from the Nursery Rhyme “This Is the House That Jack Build”

Most people have heard this nursery rhyme which describes a long convoluted causal chain.  While this might seem line nothing more than a clever nursery rhyme, the principle of a chain reaction of events like this constitutes a real issue that arises in many personal injury lawsuits involving collisions.  The issue that often must be addressed in this context is whether the “cause” blamed for a crash and resulting injuries is too remote in the chain of events or time to impose liability.  In this blog post, our Miami motorcycle injury lawyers examine the issue of “proximate cause’ in the context of a chain reaction motorcycle accident decision. Continue reading →

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