Published on:

Although a property owner or occupier of the premises can be liable for a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the process of pursuing a settlement or judgment can be challenging because of the fact-intensive nature of fall-related litigation.  Successful resolution of a trip and fall claim requires careful investigation of the premises, circumstances, identity of owners and occupiers, and other legal and factual considerations.  The complex inquiry required to prevail in a case involving a fall caused by unsafe premises of another makes it imperative that clients be represented by an experienced slip and fall lawyer.

A recent case involving a trip and fall accident in the parking lot of a Florida discount store provides a primer for our South Florida trip and fall lawyers to explain the complexities of cases involving falls on the premises of a business.  Generally, property owners and occupiers of commercial property owe two duties to the public: (1) warn customers, suppliers, and others visiting for similar purposes of latent (non-obvious) hazardous conditions that are or should be known to the owner or occupier but not known or obvious to the invitee, and (2) keep the premises in reasonably safe condition.  The property owner does not necessarily have a duty to warn invitees about obvious and open hazards.  However, the obvious nature of the hazard does not relieve the owner or occupier of a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.  To establish constructive notice of an owner or occupier of an unsafe condition, the court will consider factors like the duration of time the hazard has existed, as well as whether it occurred naturally or because of conduct by the property owner/occupier. Continue reading →

Published on:

While the conduct of a motorist in disobeying traffic safety laws can constitute important evidence of negligence, Florida law generally bans the introduction of evidence regarding whether a traffic citation was issued to establish a party engaged in the negligent conduct.  Our lawyers understand that this distinction might seem confusing, but the illegal conduct and not the issuing of a citation provides the relevant evidence.  The rationale for this rule is that the judge or jury should make the determination of fault according to the relevant legal standard, rather than a police officer issuing a citation within his discretion and not subject to the same standard of proof.

Our personal watercraft injury lawyers would like to call attention to a recent decision that extends this principle to accidents involving vessels on waterways like a jet ski, Seadoo, boat, or other personal watercraft.  In Soto v. McCulley Marine Services, the defendants’ services were retained to construct an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico.  While performing the work, the defendants used a barge to transport materials.  The barge and accompanying tugboat were moored by a dock in the staging area for a 4th of July celebration near a park with a beach.  The area was filled with personal watercrafts because of the holiday and had a reputation for strong currents. Continue reading →

Published on:

 

The premises liability lawyers at our law firm frequently receive questions from clients about the process of selecting an attorney.  Some people assume that any lawyer licensed in Florida is qualified to handle a personal injury lawsuit.  Although technically any licensed attorney might be permitted to represent an injury victim, the misconception that all attorneys are equally qualified can be a costly error.  Because many injury victims have never had cause to retain legal representation until they are injured by the negligent or intentional conduct of another, the process of choosing the best lawyer to handle your lawsuit can be difficult and confusing.

Our Miami negligent security lawyers recently reviewed a case that reflects the importance of careful selection of legal representation in personal injury cases.  The Rhode Island Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming a ruling dismissing a complaint filed by the patron injured in a fight at a nightclub.  The complaint contained what appeared to be a clerical error in that it identified the wrong date for the incident. Continue reading →

Published on:

Our personal injury attorneys want to call attention to a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Texas that presented a good news-bad news scenario for a plaintiff who alleged her husband died because of postmortem medical malpractice.  While the court’s ruling in the case might well open the door to medical malpractice claims for errors or omissions that occur after a patient has died within the state, the plaintiff in the wrongful death action ended up having her case barred by the statute of limitations.

In other words, our Florida medical malpractice attorneys note that the court’s analysis was potentially beneficial to future plaintiffs, but the widow, in this case, might receive nothing for the harm suffered by her husband.

In the case of Christus Health v. Carswell, the husband of the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital with complaints of severe pain.  A doctor at the facility initially prescribed narcotics, but they were discontinued when the patient experienced an adverse reaction.  However, a subsequent medical provider re-initiated the narcotics after the patients again complained of intense pain.  The patient died a short time later. Continue reading →

Published on:

Our Miami personal injury lawyers express our condolences to the family of a teen who died in a fatal skateboarding accident.  The family members were denied compensation for the death of their son when the Supreme Court of California upheld summary judgment in favor of a public entity.  The boy was riding a skateboard up and down a hilly street while his parents visited a family living in a nearby condominium.  The fatality victim and his brother admitted they were skateboarding for fun to pass the time.  During one of the trips down the hill, one of the boy’s skateboard wheels got caught in a gap between the pavement and the edge of a manhole cover.  When the skateboard got caught, the boy was propelled from the skateboard and struck his head on the concrete.  He was hospitalized for several months with a severe traumatic brain injury before passing away from his injuries.

Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Note the Impact of the Assumption of the Risk Defense

The surviving family members of the boy filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming the public entity responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the roadway as a defendant.  The public entity filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that the claim was barred based on the assumption of the risk defense.  Because the boy was engaged in a dangerous leisure activity, the trial judge granted summary judgment and ruled the claim was barred because the boy assumed the risk of serious injury or wrongful death.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Medical malpractice claims constitute a significant number of the negligence actions filed in Florida state courts. The types of lawsuits are complex in nature and may invoke statutory provisions that govern the rights and obligations of parties involved. Because Florida statute tightly regulates medical malpractice claims, statutory definitions are critical, and as the case below illustrates, such definitions may determine whether plaintiffs can move forward with their claims.

In Townes v. National Deaf Academy, LLC, a patient in a residential treatment facility required a leg amputation after she was put in a disciplinary hold by a care provider at the facility. The place in question operated as both a residential treatment facility and a school for autistic, hard of hearing, or deaf individuals who possess behavioral and psychiatric conditions. The facility staff consists of nurses, therapists, and psychiatrists who provide medical and educational services. The patient in question suffered from multiple mental disabilities, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and impulse control disorder. As part of the patient’s care plan, staff members implemented Therapeutic Aggression Control Techniques where they restrained her physically after senior employees made a determination that such techniques were warranted after the patient experienced a behavioral episode. Continue reading →

Published on:

A defendant may be able to escape liability for injuries if the injured party executed a waiver that releases the defendant from liability. However, our Miami personal injury attorneys find that courts construe these waivers very carefully especially if they constitute a very broad release from all existing and future claims. Parties should take care in executing such broad waivers and must insist on clear language that defines the scope of the waiver. The case below illustrates how any ambiguity will usually be construed in the plaintiff’s favor and against a waiver’s broad applicability.

The case of Peterson v. Flare Fittings involves an incident where the plaintiff was injured when a 10-foot balloon made contact with his head while he was attending a trade show and sporting event. The balloon contained the defendant’s logo and was attached to a tree beside a tent operated by the defendant. According to the plaintiff, the impact caused his knees to buckle and caused him to be in pain and to be dazed. The plaintiff reported the incident to a manager, He then sought medical treatment and was discharged after receiving negative X-rays. He returned the following day to participate in the paintball competition that was a part of the event and was required to sign a waiver. The waiver stated, in relevant part, that it constituted a release from all past or future claims connected to participation in the event and related activities. The plaintiff signed the waiver. He participated in the competition and returned home shortly after that. Several years later, the plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the defendant for injuries arising from his collision with the balloon and alleged that the defendant was negligent. The defendant raised the waiver as one of its defenses to liability and filed a motion for summary judgment on that ground. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

Published on:

Our experienced personal injury lawyers have found the issue of damages can be one of the most contentious parts of an injury lawsuit. Generally speaking, damages is the amount of money that a plaintiff is entitled to from a defendant to compensate adequately for injuries. Damages can take the form of economic damages or non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the actual amount of money that a person is entitled to due to losses from an accident. This value is calculated based on bills incurred or records of payments and include medical fees, lost wages, fees to repair property, etc. On the other hand, non-economic damages are losses that have no inherent, concrete dollar amount. Courts do not usually calculate non-economic damages from hard bills or records that assign a specific number and, therefore, are harder to ascertain. These include damages for pain and suffering, emotional suffering or anguish, or loss of consortium with family members.

Some states have recently passed legislation to limit the amount that courts can award for non-economic damages, including Florida. The issue of legislative caps is what the court faced in Miles v. Weingrad. In Miles, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice suit against the defendant, her doctor. The plaintiff had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from her leg and asked the defendant for a second opinion. The defendant recommended a second surgery, which he eventually performed, for the purpose of ensuring that cancer was, in fact, removed. However, the plaintiff experienced many complications after surgery and experienced limited mobility. Continue reading →

Published on:

While it may seem trivial, our Miami wrongful death attorneys understand that a crucial part of any personal injury suit is ensuring that claims are filed before the applicable statute of limitations expires. Every cause of action has a statute of limitations, which is the amount of time that the law provides claimants for filing suit in court after the negligent act took place that caused injury. If a party fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations period, the result will often be the court’s dismissal of the claim outright as untimely. While there may be certain circumstances that will keep a claim alive as the case below illustrates, it is crucial that plaintiffs preserve their rights by observing the statute of limitations and pursuing claims in a timely fashion.

In Roden v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the initial plaintiff filed suit against a group of tobacco companies alleging that she suffered injuries from smoking cigarettes and that the companies were liable because of their actions. Shortly after filing the suit, the initial plaintiff died, and her daughter filed a motion to substitute herself into the lawsuit as the estate’s personal representative. The court granted the daughter’s motion. However, the tobacco companies then filed a motion to dismiss the case two years later, arguing that the initial plaintiff’s death nullified the personal injury claim against them. The companies contended that since the initial plaintiff’s daughter failed to amend the complaint to include a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit should be dismissed. The daughter tried to file an amended complaint to include a wrongful death claim, stating that she did not add a wrongful death claim because she thought her previous attorney filed another complaint with a wrongful death claim. The trial court dismissed the complaint in agreement with the tobacco companies, and the daughter filed an appeal. Continue reading →

Published on:

Our personal injury attorneys are finding the use of video surveillance as evidence in civil personal injury suit has gained more prominence as more sophisticated and easily-concealable video surveillance technologies become available. Ensuring the availability of this evidence is of particular importance in certain injury cases such as slip-and-fall claims inside commercial establishments where such video surveillance is regularly employed. For plaintiffs, in-store videos can become a crucial source of evidence for proving that the defendant’s negligence in maintaining the premises caused injuries and damages. Defendants must produce video surveillance footage and cannot unreasonably withhold such evidence.

One case illustrates this point well. In Target Corp. v. Vogel, the plaintiff, filed an injury suit against the company for a slip-and-fall accident she suffered in one of its Florida stores. During discovery, the plaintiff requested Target to produce a security video that showed the slip-and-fall taking place. Target refused to provide the footage, and therefore, the plaintiff filed a motion with the trial court to compel production. During a hearing on the motion, Target maintained that it was allowed to require the plaintiff’s deposition first before production of the video. Target claimed that the plaintiff did not portray the accident accurately in her medical records, which indicated that she told the doctor she fell on her back. However, Target argued that the video surveillance refuted this account. In response, the plaintiff argued that she should be allowed to use the video surveillance footage to refresh her recollection of events. The trial court ordered Target to produce the video. Target appealed. Continue reading →

Contact Information