Articles Posted in Workplace Accident

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The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment authorizes the imposition of liability on the owner of a dangerous instrument, such as a motor vehicle, for negligence by a motorist the owner knows or should know poses an unreasonable risk of harm.  The basic rationale for this legal theory is that a vehicle owner should exercise ordinary care when placing a dangerous instrumentality like a motor vehicle in the hands of another.  While actual knowledge that the person using the vehicle has a pattern of drunk driving convictions, citations for reckless driving, or a history of at-fault accidents can justify liability, vehicle owners cannot bury their head in the sand to avoid liability.  The legal relationship between the parties as well as known facts might give rise to a duty to inquire further.  In this blog, our Miami personal injury attorneys highlight a recent case where a Florida appellate court allowed a claim of to go forward based on the negligent driving of an employee under the legal doctrine of negligent entrustment.

An employer gave an employee permission to use a company car for the weekend to move a mattress as part of a move.  Permission was given to use the company car during off-work time and for the sole convenience of the employee.  The employee proceeded to down several alcoholic drinks before operating the vehicle and subsequently collided with the plaintiff.  The injury victim filed a personal injury lawsuit against the employee based on negligence and against the employer based on negligent entrustment.  The trial judge granted the employer’s request for summary judgment based on the grounds the company did not know of the employee’s pattern of unsafe driving. Continue reading →

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Miami Personal Injury Lawyers Explore the Ongoing Litigation Against the NFL

Former-NFL player Tony Gaiter, along with hundreds of other retired players, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the National Football League seeking workers’ compensation benefits for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Gaiter, like many other former players, reports that he was hit on the head numerous times during his career and now suffers from serious brain injuries.  Specifically, Gaiter suffers from constant head pain and cannot hold a job because he is unable to focus or remember basic things.  He and the other NFL players joining in the Fort Lauderdale lawsuit claim that CTE is an occupational hazard and players should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  Our brain injury attorneys are closely following the lawsuit as it could have serious implications for recently retired NFL players, along with current and future football players.

This litigation comes a year after a final decision was rendered in the monumental class action lawsuit of Turner et al v. National Football League et al. In that case, several former-NFL players filed suit through their personal injury attorneys against the NFL for the development of CTE.  In sum, over 5,000 players were represented in the lawsuit.  Judge Anita Brody reached a settlement that will apply to all players who retired on or before July 7, 2014.  The settlement provides up to five million per retired player for serious medical conditions related to head damage.  Total funds available to injured players amount to one billion.  Players have the option to opt out and pursue their own lawsuit.

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The Jones Act (“the Act”) is a federal law passed by Congress in 1920 designed to protect sailors who suffered injuries or fell ill during a voyage. The Act gives seamen an opportunity to sue their employers for damages if they are injured due to their employer’s negligence. The common law rules of maritime law obligate a vessel’s owner to care for and provide for the safe passage and medical attention for a sick or injured seaman. Furthermore, maritime law provides for the care of seaman from harm caused by ships that were not seaworthy. The injured seaman has an option, therefore, to bring a suit in admiralty or under the Jones Act. In certain circumstances, the sailor has the opportunity to seek punitive damages.

As Miami Jones Act attorneys we have seen cases like the case of Atlantic Sounding v. Townsend. This case originated in Miami and made its way to the United States Supreme Court. The question in Atlantic Sounding was whether a sailor who suffered injuries during a voyage could sue his employer for punitive damages for a willful failure of his employer for refusing to pay for the seaman’s maintenance and cure. In this case, the seaman fell on a steel deck while working as a deckhand on a tugboat. The seaman injured his arm and shoulder in the fall. The employer refused to pay maintenance and cure as provided for by maritime law and terminated the seaman’s employment. The seaman filed sued the tugboat company in United States District Court in Miami. The case then went to the United States Supreme Court for a final decision. Continue reading →

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Employees injured in a workplace accident generally must rely on the worker’s compensation system as the exclusive remedy against their employer.  Although worker’s compensation benefits provide an efficient avenue for obtaining wage replacement and free medical care, the amount of compensation typically falls short of a civil lawsuit which permits access to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other types of damages.  While an injured employee can seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit against a third party in Florida, the level of negligent conduct must be more egregious than in a personal injury lawsuit unrelated to a workplace accident or illness.

In Villalta v. Cornn International Inc., the court considered the level of negligence that must be established for a subcontractor (other than the employer of the injury victim) to be subject to third party liability.  The estate of a deceased worker sued a HVAC subcontractor seeking damages after the decedent fell from a scaffolding.  The decedent worked for a subcontractor hired to install drywall when he fell from a scaffolding that collapsed.  The HCAC subcontractor failed to cover a cut-out.  Safety standards mandated that coverings be fastened to the floor and painted to warn of the danger.  A wheel of the scaffold dropped into the cut out and caused the scaffolding to topple. Continue reading →

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