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Our Miami car accident attorneys report on a recent and horrific crash in Miami that killed one and sent seven others to the hospital.  The accident occurred when one vehicle was making a left hand turn and another was headed straight on Northwest Seventh Street.  One vehicle was left on its side from the force of the collision.  Miami Fire Rescue vehicles rushed to the scene and a total of eight people were transported to the hospital.  Two of those transported included an elderly couple.  The older man driving the Nissan that was making a left hand turn died at the hospital.  Six teenagers, ranging in age from 17 to 19, were also transported, with two being severely injured.

Personal Injury Claims

If you are injured in an accident and believe the other driver or drivers acted in a negligent manner to cause it, you can file a personal injury claim.  Typically, personal injury victims can seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering stemming from the accident.  Accident victims who are seriously injured in an accident and will experience long term disability or other effects due to their injuries could be entitled to additional compensation.  Disabled accident victims may receive long term future medical expenses, loss of income for future years, rehabilitation expenses, and more.  Those injured in a car accident will need to seek the assistance of an experienced Miami car accident attorney who will evaluate their injuries and determine the best course of action to recover the funds you deserve. Continue reading →

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In one word: maybe…According to the Tampa Bay Times, HB119 (as the measure was known while it made its way from the legislature to the Governor’s office) may initially have the opposite effect…

What Is The Purpose Of Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

A bit of history first: Florida’s legislature created PIP to make sure that people in this state at least had a $10,000.00 cushion to pay for the emergency treatment they may need after a motor vehicle accident. Because the majority of people in car accidents sustain minor injuries, PIP would theoretically help drivers involved in these accidents get back on their feet.

However, some unscrupulous chiropractors and providers of other medical services have made it a habit to plunder the $10,000.00 from PIP policies by frequently administering to accident victims treatments that are usually found to be unnecessary over the course of several visits. In essence, after an accident victim is “seen” at these providers’ offices, there is no money left for the treatment they really need: MRIs, therapy, hospitalization, orthopedics, even surgery.

Given this situation, the legislature decided to revise the law and came up with the new rules contained in HB119.

Limitation on Benefits

The most important change intended by HB119 is to bar some providers of medical services (i.e., massage therapists and acupuncturists) from charging accident victims under PIP. Similarly, the new rules limit the access that other providers (i.e., chiropractors and physical therapists) have to PIP funds. Under the HB119, chiropractors and physical therapists will only be able to charge for $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 available under each PIP policy. However, this limitation is removed if a doctor, a dentist, a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner determines that the patient has a medical emergency. This provision is prompting a Tampa based company to offer the services of doctors and even osteopathic physicians to chiropractors’ offices. These medical professionals can be “hired” just to prepare the paperwork required for declaring the emergency medical conditions necessary to gain access to the rest of the funds…

No Definition Of Medical Emergency

Moreover, both proponents and opponents have already identified another legal “loophole” that may tie up the courts for some time: HB119 fails to define what constitutes a medical emergency. Some fear that this omission may prompt insurance companies to simply deny coverage by naming most injuries non-medical emergencies. If that happens, it will likely prompt much more litigation and end up clogging the courts.

So, Will It Drive Insurance Rates Down?

Under HB119, insurance companies are required to reduce personal injury protection premiums at least 10 percent by October 1st of this year and 25 percent by the year 2014. Theoretically, the less money insurance companies have to pay out under PIP policies (by not allowing chiropractors to exhaust the $10,000.00), the fewer premiums they should charge for these policies. However, as mentioned before, it remains to be seen whether any money will be saved under the new rules. In fact, if more litigation ensues as a result of the omissions discussed above, premiums may go up, not down…
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A new study that looked at mild injuries to young athletes has found that traumatic brain injuries may happen even after what we would sometimes consider mild head blows.

Football Players Are Not The Only Victims of TBI

When parents in America think about sports that may cause serious injuries to their children, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, football is usually at the top of the list. Actually, it may be the only sport that comes to mind. After all, there is an extensive list of professional (as well as college and even high school) football players that serve as constant reminder of the dangerous nature of this sport. Unfortunately, we have even heard reports of injured professional football players committing suicide after years of struggling with the consequences of these head injuries. At least one such former player has donated his brain to science so that researchers may use it to better understand the nature of these injuries and come up with better treatments.

Yet, football is not the only sporting activity that may cause traumatic brain injuries to our children. Basketball players can get hurt as well. As researchers are beginning to realize, injury may happen even when an athlete does not lose consciousness. A small blow to the head can cause a victim to suffer headaches and memory loss. Repeated small blows can cause permanent head trauma.

Typical Injury of Soldiers and Car Accident Victims Too

Given the frequency of attacks perpetrated by insurgents with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), traumatic brain injuries, together with post traumatic stress disorder, have been called the hallmark injuries of soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When an IED goes off, the expansive wave goes through the head and hurts the brain by making it bounce back and forth inside the skull, a process that is repeated when the victim’s body hits a wall, a vehicle or the road. The same happens to motor vehicle accident victims.
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Traumatic brain injuries, concussions or blows to the head may have many more consequences than previously thought, even for small children that have suffered them at an early age, according to health.usnews.com. Traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of a blow to the head in a fall, a car accident, a sport activity or simply by getting hit by a moving object.

Long Term Consequences of T.B.I.

Two recent Australian studies looking at the long term impact of T.B.I.s in children as young as two years old indicate that this kind of injuries affected cognitive function, IQ and even behavior. Both studies indicate that contrary to popular belief, the fact that small children have soft developing skulls and brains actually puts them at greater risk of future problems.

Long Term Consequences Not Only For Small Children

The long term consequences of T.B.I.s are not limited to small children. Soldiers and professional athletes also suffer long term consequences of traumatic brain injuries such as headaches, vertigo, depression, dementia and memory loss which may lead, in extreme cases, to suicide. The latest of these extreme cases was that of former Miami Dolphins player Michael Current, who fatally shot himself with a shotgun last January 16. He followed in the steps of former Pro-Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the head a year ago after sending several text messages asking friends and family members to make sure his brain was examined for chronic brain encephalopathy, a condition linked to dozens other N.F.L. players. In both cases the players were unable to deal with the consequences of the concussions they suffered as N.F.L. players.

Soldiers Suffer From The Consequences of T.B.I.s Too

Another group that suffers from the consequences of T.B.I.s are our wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, traumatic brain injuries have often been called the signature wounds for those wars because of the number of bomb attacks (I.E.D.s) targeting our troops. Shock waves from these bombs pass through helmets and the brain. Also, as pointed in an article at npr.org, soldiers may suffer secondary trauma when the explosion throws them against vehicles or walls, causing the brain to shake again.

The official number of soldiers that have suffered some form of traumatic brain injury since the beginning of these wars is 150,000. However, independent studies have suggested that the number can be as high as 400,000. Both enormous numbers. Soldiers interviewed for the NPR article included a sergeant who used to command 60 men in battle, suffered a traumatic brain injury and after coming home became lost in a supermarket. It also included a soldier who used to plot sniper attacks and could not assemble a bird house after being wounded.

There Is Hope

Thankfully, many of these studies indicate that the faster we provide rehabilitation therapy to people that have suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury, the greater their recovery can be. Keith Cicerone, a leading rehabilitation researcher and director of neuropsychology at the JFK Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey has stated that “the longer you go without therapy, the greater likelihood there is of falling into what I would call a mental disuse syndrome, where the brain is not being used at the same level,” “The brain, he says, “is in essence going to develop bad habits.”

However, this brain or cognitive therapy does not come cheap, which is why victims that have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of another’s negligent actions need the help of an experienced lawyer to recover the funds they need to pay for their rehabilitation and ongoing medical and personal needs.
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The value of almost every car is diminished after it is involved in an accident, regardless of how well the resulting repairs are performed. This is because consumers are reluctant to buy a car that has been previously crashed. In fact, if they knew that the vehicle they were about to buy had previously been involved in an accident, some people would probably walk away from the deal, while most people would probably use that information to get as large a discount as they could.

Your Insurance Company Won’t Tell You About Diminished Value

Another interesting point is that your insurance company won’t tell you about the diminished value of your vehicle after it has been in an accident…At least not voluntarily. They will tell you (even boast) about their excellent claims service, about the quality of the repairs made to your vehicle, how these are “guaranteed for life” and, that’s it.
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Having represented so many injured people, as well as those that lost close family members due to other’s negligence or fault, I know the shock, grief, anger and pain felt by them. It does not cease to amaze me how often I get a call from someone that has been injured in an accident (or someone that lost a loved one) asking questions about the viability of a claim months or years after the accident from which it originates took place. Experience tells me that the best course of action for someone in that situation is to hire an attorney as soon as possible so that the necessary experts can be retained, evidence can be preserved and witnesses can be interviewed so that if there is a case, it can be filed with all the evidence necessary to obtain the best result possible.

Assisting The Daughters Of A Man Killed In An Explosion

In 2010 we were hired by the two young daughters of a man hospitalized in the intensive care/burn unit at the Orlando Regional Medical Center as a result of getting severely burned in a gas explosion. Friends of his daughters had advised them to help their dad by hiring a lawyer who could start working on the claim as soon as possible. The daughters reluctantly called and hired us.

We immediately hired a renowned expert who met us at the scene of the explosion and searched through the rubble to find the cause of the explosion. We arranged to meet with all the parties involved (Fire Marshall, adjusters and experts from the condominium association, a unit owner and the LP gas company) within 48 hours of being hired.

Collecting Evidence Soon After The Event

Everything was comprehensively examined by ALL PARTIES PRESENT. This was very important because it avoided later having issues of evidence tampering or the chain of custody of such evidence. In this case, the whole scene was inspected and photographed by each party at the same time. This proved specially important because within 2 days of this inspection, someone tampered with the evidence at the scene. Had we not inspected the scene earlier, we might not have been able to settle this case for a very substantial sum within a couple of months of the explosion.
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As a lawyer who has represented the injured and those who have lost loved ones due to the negligence or fault of others, I am very cognizant of the shock, grief, anger and pain felt by every injured party and their loved ones. I can’t tell you how many times I have been contacted by an injured person or a family member asking me a question about a possible case months or even years after the event took place. I have learned through experience, that the best way to serve oneself or a loved one, is to get a lawyer involved in the case as early as possible so that the attorney can retain whatever experts have to be retained, preserve evidence, talk to witnesses and make sure that if there is a valid claim to be brought, it can be brought with the evidence necessary to obtain the best possible result.

Helping The Descendants Of An Explosion Victim

Let me give you an example. In 2010 our firm was retained by two young women from Maine whose dad was in the intensive care/burn unit at the Orlando Regional Medical Center as a result of being severely burned in an LP gas explosion. People close to the daughters had told them that the best way to help their dad even though they were grieving and in shock would be to hire a lawyer who could investigate the claim early on and preserve the evidence. Reluctantly, the daughters called us and spoke to my partner and myself over the phone and decided to retain us.

We immediately went into action and found a renowned expert who would meet us at the scene and go through the debris and rubble in an effort to find the cause or causes of the explosion. Our firm and this expert made arrangements to meet with the Fire Marshall, adjusters and experts from the condominium association, a unit owner, and the LP gas company within 48 hours of being hired.

Preserving Evidence Early

A comprehensive examination of everything was conducted with ALL PARTIES PRESENT. This was very important because you never want to have an issue regarding tampering with evidence or the chain of custody of evidence. In this particular case, it became even more important, because not only was the whole scene inspected by each party, but photographed as well, all at the same time. Within 2 days following this inspection, evidence at the scene was tampered with. Had we not been able to do the inspection early on, the end result of the case might have been different. Because we were able to conduct the inspection early on, we were able to settle this case with all parties for a very substantial sum within 14 months of the explosion.
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The Wisconsin park where 12 year old Teagan Marti was injured last year will soon reopen with new owners, according to an article from The Associated Press.

Safety Devices Were Never Deployed

Last July 30, Teagan, who lives in Parkland, Florida, was riding Terminal Velocity, a ride where people drop on free fall for about 30 meters before nets and airbags catch them. The problem is that the safety devices were never deployed when Teagan’s turn came, causing her to hit the hard concrete and suffer extensive injuries to the brain, spine and pelvis, as well as other internal injuries. She spent more than two months at Jackson Memorial Hospital, from where she was finally released last October. She faces a long rehabilitation process.

The park, Extreme World, reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with Teagan’s family, despite being in foreclosure since before the accident. Apparently, the owners of the park next door, Alligator Alley, have now bought Extreme World.
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A German Shepherd mix breed recently attacked three children in Homestead. Apparently, it was the guard dog at a business across the street from where the children live and the business was closed for the day. Subsequent police investigation showed that the dog dug a whole under the fence, ran across the street to where the children were playing and attacked them.

Saved his younger brother

As soon as they saw the dog charging at them, the two smaller boys hid under a vehicle parked nearby. Then the oldest, 7 year old Timo Perez, blocked the attacking dog with his body, not allowing it to reach his younger companions. The children’s father heard their screams and grabbed a shovel, repeatedly hitting the dog until it left. Timo was bitten in his arm, shoulder and head and had to be taken to Miami Children’s Hospital.
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A dog attack is a terrifying experience for anyone….A dog attack to a seven year old boy can easily be deadly…Yet, the seven year old in this story not only managed to survive, but to fend off the dog and prevent it from getting to his 4 year old brother and a friend…

The dog, a German Shepherd mix breed, had escaped from a nearby business in the 100 block of Northwest Ninth Avenue in Homestead. The business was already closed for the day. According to police, the dog ran across the street to the home where the kids were playing in their unfenced front yard and attacked them.

Saved his little brother

When they saw the dog coming at them, the two smaller boys hid under a nearby parked van. Then 7 year old Timo Perez, blocked the dog with his body and prevented it from getting to his younger brother and to his neighbor. Upon hearing the kids’ screams, their father rushed out of the house, grabbed a shovel and hit the dog, who ran back to the business. Timo was bitten in his arm, shoulder and head and subsequently rushed to Miami Children’s Hospital from where he was released Saturday.
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