Published on:

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 →

Published on:

In Florida, our personal injury lawyers have surprised people when we explain that law enforcement agencies could be liable for personal injuries and law enforcement agencies are not completely immune from liability. Law enforcement officers have a duty to the public generally. The duty owed to the public, however, is not actionable under Florida tort law unless the police take additional steps to place someone in harm’s way and create a special duty of care. Law enforcement officers are liable for damages when they are obligated to care for another person and fail to do so properly. Florida courts call this the “undertaker doctrine.” In short, the undertaker doctrine compels the police to perform reasonably after the begin to care for another person.  The undertaker theory of negligence avoids the sometimes harsh consequences of sovereign immunity.

As personal injury attorneys we have seen facts similar to those that gave rise to the case of Wallace v. Dean. In that case, a woman died after falling into a diabetic coma. The woman’s daughter, who lived out of state, could not reach her mother by telephone. Consequently, she called a neighbor for assistance. The neighbor went to check on the woman. The neighbor called 911 when she could not wake the woman. Two sheriff’s deputies arrived and examined the woman. They vigorously tried to wake her but could not. They determined she was still breathing and was probably just sleeping because she was snoring despite shaking her violently in an effort to wake her up. When questioned about the decision not to call an ambulance, one of the deputies responded by saying that people in a diabetic coma do not snore. The deputies left after determining that medical personnel need not be summoned. Later that morning, the woman could not be roused. An ambulance took her to a local hospital where she died a few days later after never regaining consciousness.  Continue reading →

Published on:

In Florida personal injury cases, an injured person can recover damages if two separate forces caused harm. The legal theory is known as the concurring cause theory. The concurring cause theory surfaces in many types of cases. For example, the concurring cause theory appears in medical malpractice cases, products liability cases, and sometimes in car accident cases. However, our personal injury attorneys report that a Florida Court of Appeals recently analyzed the rule when used in trial accusing tobacco companies of causing the wrongful death of a Florida resident.

As experienced Miami personal injury lawyers, we have seen cases which we used the concurring cause theory to maximize our client’s recovery like the plaintiff did in Phillip Morris U.S.A., Inc. v. Tullo. The plaintiff was the wife of a man who died from lung cancer. He was a life-long smoker of various brands of cigarettes. The jury found the tobacco companies liable for the lung cancer. The plaintiff argued that the tobacco companies were responsible because the decedent was a smoker and the tobacco companies knew cigarettes were highly addictive from the high amounts of nicotine contained in them. The tobacco companies countered by arguing that the plaintiff’s husband was responsible for his lung cancer for failing to quit smoking.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Our car accident lawyers report that a well know accident intersection is under scrutiny by Florida’s Department of Transportation after a crash recently claimed the life of an 82-year old Uber driver.  The fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Federal Highway and Northeast First Street in Delray Beach. This intersection is known as a very dangerous intersection. In fact, the city of Delray Beach hung signs warning drivers they were about to enter a notorious intersection. Unfortunately, a man tragically lost his life despite those warnings. If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a car accident in South Florida, Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano can win the compensation you deserve.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the man driving a Lamborghini luxury sports car remained hospitalized for a very long time after the crash. The sixty-year-old man’s condition continues to improve, but the timetable for his release from the hospital remains uncertain.  He is lucky compared to the 82-year-old driver of a minivan who was working for Uber at the time of the crash. That man died from injuries he suffered in the crash. Police have made no arrests to this point, and the crash remains under investigation. Continue reading →

Published on:

In South Florida, many people try to stay healthy and lead an active lifestyle. Walking, jogging, and bicycling are three common exercises people of all ages enjoy. However, our lawyers know that danger lurks around every corner. Hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed each year in Florida. This number hopefully will not go up, but one cannot be sure given the number of distractions people have while driving these days. Our personal injury attorneys know how to protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

As experienced Miami personal injury lawyers, we see many cases just like the one that appeared in the Miami Herald on September 25, 2016. A driver left the scene of a fatal crash with a person who was jogging according to Florida Highway Patrol. Unfortunately, the man did not have identification on him and police sought the community’s help identifying him.  The driver ultimately identified herself to law enforcement because she believed she hit something along the side of the road. The crash occurred around 6:30 in the morning on State Road 84 in West Broward. The initial investigation reveals that the right front portion of the car struck the jogger. Continue reading →

Published on:

The community of Miami woke on Sunday, September 25, 2016, to tragic news: beloved Miami Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was killed, along with two others, in a boating crash earlier that morning.  This incident is a terrible tragedy.  While the investigation is still pending and the final results will not be known for some time, the initial report indicated that alcohol or drugs were not involved in the crash. The experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have represented numerous personal injury clients.

As Miami-based personal injury attorneys, we see facts similar to these frequently. While fun and exhilarating, boating is still an inherently dangerous activity.  Many people each year suffer fatal or substantial injuries from boating accidents.  Numerous boating accidents are caused by excessive alcohol intake or ingestion of drugs, while negligence causes others, inattention, carelessness, or inexperience. Boaters must also contend with rapidly changing weather, changing tides, and winds as well as other boaters. Low visibility, especially boating at night, substantially increases the dangers inherent in boating. Continue reading →

Published on:

A July 2016 decision by the Florida Court of Appeals demonstrates why you need highly skilled, experienced, and professional attorneys representing you if you suffered personal injuries through no fault of your own.  The trial judge allowed a bio-mechanical expert to testify about the velocity change in an accident and forces applied to the human body in an accident.  That is only part of this story. The attorney’s behavior at that trial fell measurably below how an attorney should act. South Florida personal injury attorneys Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell for their professionalism and success.

The plaintiff in the case suffered injuries when a truck traveling in the same lane of traffic as she hit her car as she turned into her driveway.  The driver of the truck claimed that she swerved, and he could not avoid her. The plaintiff claimed permanent injuries to her shoulder, neck, and back as a result of the crash. The jury returned a verdict that the defendant truck driver was not negligent in causing the accident. The plaintiff appealed the jury verdict.

The plaintiff complained that a biomechanical expert testified at trial about the change in velocity of the cars at the time of the crash and how that change in velocity effects the human body. Change in velocity is called “delta-v.” Delta means change and “v” stands for velocity.  The change in velocity causes physical forces to be applied to the body. Courts allow biomechanical experts to opine how the changes in velocity affect the severity of the impact of the vehicles.  Courts do not allow a biomechanical to testify that an accident could or could not have caused certain injuries to be permanent because they lack medical training. Biomechanical experts can, however, give an opinion as to the car crash caused the injury. The plaintiff lost this argument on appeal. The appeals court ruled that the defendant’s biomechanical expert testified properly. The appeals court reversed the case on other grounds. Continue reading →

Published on:

In Florida, car accidents in which damages for personal injuries are at stake, the issue of whether the injuries are permanent is most often left up to a jury to decide.  Judges can take that decision away from the jury in very limited circumstances. Only when there is no issue of fact for the jury to decide, then the judge may make a finding of a directed verdict. Judges must make very detailed findings on this issue. We at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, a Miami personal injury law firm, as rated by the Miami Herald, have faced directed verdicts in the past and have persuaded judges to let the case go to the jury.

In the appeal court’s most recent decision in the James case, the plaintiff was riding in a car in the city of Tampa. A trash collection truck moved slowly in front of the car in which James rode. The trash truck backed up and collided with the car. James alleged that the trash truck struck the car once, but the City of Tampa claimed the truck hit the car only once. James suffered personal injuries from the crash with the trash truck. The City of Tampa contested James’ injuries. James suffered injuries in a car crash four months prior when another vehicle struck him broadside. James waited three months before seeking treatment for his injuries from the first crash. Continue reading →

Published on:

In Florida, for car accidents involving personal injuries, there arises a question of whether PIP applies to cover medical bills. Personal injury protection commonly referred to as “PIP” is set off from other damages in motor vehicle accidents.  PIP is a component of Florida car insurance policies and covers medical expenses up to $10,000 for an injured party. A person injured in a car crash receives PIP when the medical expenses relate to the crash in issue, are reasonable, and are necessary. In most instances, the PIP payment will be set off, or deducted, from the ultimate damage award. There are exceptions, but generally, the PIP set off prevents a plaintiff from receiving exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are damages, which are not related to the injury but are punitive in nature. Our personal injury lawyers in South Florida find that Florida law prohibits exemplary damages in most personal injury cases.

In the Carpenter case, the plaintiff, Chavez, suffered injuries in a car crash caused by Carpenter. Chavez argued that the medical damages she suffered exceed $203,000. However, the jury heard evidence that Chavez had a pre-existing condition.  Chavez suffered from a condition that caused four discs to bulge in her neck. The jury returned a verdict of $48,840 for past medical expenses attributed to the crash. The jury found that Chavez did not sustain any permanent injuries in the crash and did not award her for future medical expenses.  Continue reading →

Published on:

In Florida car accident cases, the issue of punitive damages arises in the context of whether the driver who caused the accident was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or is operating recklessly. Punitive damages punish certain behavior and reach beyond auto accident policies to a person’s pocket. A jury can award punitive damages in addition to an award of compensatory damages for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. With the combined 130 years of legal experience in South Florida, the car accident attorneys Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have handled many cases for clients involving reckless behavior and have asked for punitive damages. Our vast experience gives us an advantage over other personal injury firms.

In the State Farm case, the defendant was a physician who fell asleep while behind the wheel and caused a car crash that injured the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant took prescription sleeping medication before leaving on a three-hour drive. The defendant, however, said that he was just tired from a long day and drifted off to sleep while driving. The defendant also contested the extent and seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries.  The plaintiffs asked the court to separate the trial into two jury trials. The first part of the trial concerned whether the plaintiff proved that the defendant was negligent as well as the extent and the permanency of the plaintiffs’ injuries.  The plaintiffs asked the judge to hold a second trial on whether they were entitled to ask the jury for punitive damages because of the reckless act of the defendant taking sleeping pills before taking an anticipated three-hour drive.  Continue reading →

Contact Information