If you work in construction, landscaping or health care, you know there are many hazards that come with the job. Those who are injured at work in Florida may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which are the exclusive remedy one has against his or her employer in such matters. However, there could be grounds for a third-party liability lawsuit if there was a person or entity other than the employer who was responsible for what happened. gavel

In the recent case of Newton v. Caterpillar Corp., plaintiff worked as an independent contractor (and therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation), assigned to help clear debris of the private lot of a residential area. He was hired by a hauling company to assist its agent in doing this job. Plaintiff and this agent used a Bobcat loader to assist in helping to clear the lot. The hauling company didn’t own the loader. It was leased from defendant Caterpillar. The loader was brought to the site in a box trailer to the property, where plaintiff and agent worked to clear the land.

At one point, while the two were trying to move a tree stump into the trailer, the agent was operating the loader and asked plaintiff to get inside the trailer to pack down the debris that was coming in. While plaintiff was inside the trailer, the agent released the tree stump. Plaintiff tried to warn the agent he was still inside, but he couldn’t be heard. He tried to climb over the wall of the trailer, but the stump dropped from the loader’s bucket and then rolled back onto plaintiff’s hand. As a result, his middle finger was severed.  Continue reading

An 11-year-old South Florida boy was struck and killed while riding on his bicycle about a mile from his North Fort Myers home recently. The driver of the pickup truck that hit the boy reportedly did not see him, as the stretch of road is not illuminated and the boy’s bike was not equipped with reflectors. The boy was also reportedly riding on the wrong side of the road. He’d been working at a friend’s yard sale all day to help his parents buy his baby sister’s formula. bicycle

Fatal bicycle accidents in Florida – and across the country – are on the rise, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reports that in 2015, there were 13 million total crashes – 6.3 million of those reported to the police, 1.7 million resulting in injury and 32,200 of those being fatal (with a total of 2.44 million injuries and 35,100 deaths). It was the most dramatic increase in traffic fatalities in more than a decade. A major part of it had to do with an uptick in bicycle and pedestrian accidents, which are both at the highest in 20 years.

While the overall increase in traffic fatalities was up 7.2 percent, the number of pedestrian deaths was up by 9.5 percent and bicyclist deaths had increased by 12.2 percent. Meanwhile, passenger deaths were up by 5.7 percent and large truck occupant deaths were up by 1.7 percent.  Continue reading

Kim Smith had dedicated her 20-plus year career to helping the disabled as a therapist. Now, at 57, she is a patient. She will always be a patient, now that she has been rendered paraplegic and is now a resident of an apartment complex for seniors and the disabled after a drunk driver slammed into her two years ago. It’s been a year since she moved into the complex, following a year of being hospitalized after the crash. wheelchair

Recently, the man responsible for her injuries was sentenced by a Broward County judge to 12 years in prison. The Sun-Sentinel reported that while the 31-year-old defendant apologized to Smith, saying he is, “infinitely regretful,” Smith doubted his sincerity. She did however take comfort in the fact that he will be off the streets, at least for a time. It’s only a small measure of comfort, though, considering the daily pain she lives with. She calls the wheelchair, “exhausting.” She notes the pain that radiates from her back to her rear. She explained how she had fallen out of it several times just in the last month. She lamented that every system in her body is compromised, and will continue to be for the rest of her life, which is now expected to be much shorter.

She told the court about all the life events she missed due to being hospitalized after the car accident. She wasn’t able to say goodbye to her dying brother. She wasn’t there to help her 91-year-old mother transition into a nursing home. Meanwhile, defendant was a college graduate with honors who had started his own online marketing company. He didn’t fit the mold of most defendants, the judge noted. Yet he had a pattern of abusing substances and then getting behind the wheel, prosecutors allege. They sought 19 years. His defense lawyer sought to go below the minimum mandatory five years. In the end, he received 12 – three in county jail and nine in state prison.  Continue reading

It’s been one year since Matthew DeRemer was killed on New Year’s Day in South Florida. It happened on Jan. 1, 2016, just hours after the 31-year-old U.S. Marine veteran posted an inspirational message about the power of a positive mind set and moving on after a series of setbacks in 2015. Just a few hours later, he was struck by another vehicle while on his motorcycle. That other driver, 59-year-old Stephen Lee Clarke, was allegedly drunk. He is still facing DUI manslaughter charges. newyearseve

In DeRemer’s post, which was later shared tens of thousands of times, he reflected on the difficulty of the year, his renewed faith and his looking forward to a brand new chapter. He ended with, “I really don’t know where I’ll end up tonight, but I do know where I wind up is where I’m meant to be.” He died at the corner of 102nd Ave. N. and 98th Street in Largo, with the Florida State Highway Patrol finding that Clarke had turned left into DeRemer’s path, causing a collision.

New Year’s Day is widely known as the worst day of the year when it comes to impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more people are ticketed for DUI on New Year’s Day than on any other holiday throughout the year.  Continue reading

A lot of folks will be making long trips this holiday season to spend time with loved ones and ring in the New Year. Now, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a warning for those who get behind the wheel with too little sleep: You are imperiling yourself and others the same as if you just downed four drinks. car with keys

Prior studies by the foundation established that as many as 13 percent of all serious crashes and 21 percent of deadly crashes involved a driver who was tired. This newest research delves into quantifying the relationship between sleep and driving ability. What they discovered was fascinating – and disturbing. Drivers who got less than four hours of sleep in the last 24 hours had a crash risk that was 11.5 times than someone who had gotten seven or more hours of sleep. That’s similar to drivers who have a blood-alcohol concentration of somewhere between 0.12 and 0.15 0 which is nearly twice the legal limit. Drivers who slept between 4 and 5 hours had a crash risk that was 4.3 times higher. That is akin to someone who has a blood-alcohol level that is just at or above the legal limit of 0.08. Those who were lucky enough to get between 5 and 7 hours had a crash risk that was 1.9 times higher. And even those who got at least six hours a night still had a crash risk that was 1.3 times higher.

Of course, this issue isn’t just a problem during the holidays. In the hustle of a go-go world, the reality is many people don’t get enough rest on a daily basis. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report approximately 35 percent of Americans get fewer than the recommended seven hours of shut-eye a night. Twelve percent say they are getting fewer than five hours of sleep daily.  Continue reading

More than a dozen victims and/ or their families have filed public notices against the state transit authority in New Jersey following a horrific bus accident in August that killed two and injured 12 others. The riders are seeking $115 million in damages, either for wrongful death or catastrophic injuries they alleged left them permanently disabled. bus

As one injury lawyer noted on behalf of one client, “every single aspect of her life” has been adversely impacted. That particular attorney, who has not yet detailed the full extent of his client’s personal injuries, has filed a claim for $35 million in damages. So far, that’s the largest potential lawsuit the authority faces following the crash. No lawsuits have actually been filed as of yet. With the notice of intent to file, the state and other defendants will have the opportunity to respond and, if they choose, to issue a settlement offer. Plaintiffs have to wait six months after filing the notices before they can file a lawsuit, though they do, under New Jersey law, have at least two years to file a lawsuit.

Plaintiff attorneys say they simply want to help their clients regain some semblance of a normal life after the transit bus they were on was broadsided by another bus whose driver allegedly ran a red light around 6 a.m. The 70-year-old driver of the commuter bus was pronounced dead at the scene. One of his passengers, a 49-year-old woman who was on her way to work, died later that day.  Continue reading

Many millions of people are at a Wal-Mart every day, whether to work or to shop. The world’s largest box store sees an influx of customers around the winter holidays. Recently, questions have arisen as to whether the store is doing enough to ensure customers and workers are reasonably safe. Property owners/ managers who invite the public on site for the financial benefit of the business owe those people the highest duty of legal care in making sure they are safe from an unreasonable risk of harm. This includes not just property defects (i.e., slippery floors, perilous walkways, improperly stacked merchandise), but also from foreseeable criminal assaults. parking lot

An investigation in August by Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that the retailers efforts at aggressive cost-cutting come at a steep price: Safety. The researchers delved into police and hospital records to reveal that hundreds of violent crimes happen at Wal-Mart stores every day, including attempted kidnappings, shootings, stabbings and murders. It breaks down to about one violent crime every day. Some police chiefs have actually spoken out against the retailer, arguing that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing security for the stores. One chief in Arkansas remarked that despite the fact that this is the world’s largest retailer, half is squad is there for hours on end throughout each shift, responding to calls. These problems were far worse at Wal-Mart, as compared to the chain’s rivals.

Now, a group of labor organizations are pressing for the company to do more to improve security in stores and surrounding parking lots. The groups have met with local and city officials in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Minnesota, asking that they declare the Wal-Mart stores in their communities to be a public nuisance, which increase the pressure on the company to improve security.  Continue reading

A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a not-for-profit think tank, revealed cosmetics marketed to black women are more likely to contain possibly harmful ingredients, as compared to those marketed to the general public.makeup

The analysis explored the listed ingredients in some 1,180 beauty and personal care products sold to black customers. Of the products on that list, less than one quarter received good scores in a rating system developed by the researchers to measure potentially dangerous ingredients. Compare this to beauty products marketed to the general public, in which 40 percent received good scores.

About 1 in 12 products marketed to black women was ranked “highly hazardous.” Similar figures existed for products marketed to the general public, but the disparity with regard to the “good” – i.e., “safe” – products suggests black women have far fewer options when it comes to beauty products that aren’t linked to cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage, infections, allergies and other adverse health effects.  Continue reading

Trip-and-fall injuries can occur on a myriad of different walking surfaces, and are usually caused by an uneven walkway or some type of non-obvious obstruction or hole. These type of incidents can result in severe and sometimes disabling injuries, so it’s important to explore all potential legal options that could assist victims with medical bills and compensate for pain and suffering. pebbles

Still, as our Boca Raton injury lawyers can explain, the fact that an injury occurred is usually not in and of itself enough to secure compensation. There must be evidence that the negligence of the property owner or property manager caused the fall that resulted in injury. Property owners have a duty of care to those invited on their site, especially if it is for business purposes. Companies that invite customers on site for the benefit of the company have a responsibility to regularly inspect the site and to keep it reasonably safe of potential hazards. Where such hazards exist and cannot be immediately addressed, customers are owed a warning.

In the recent case of Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc., the assertion was that plaintiff tripped and fell on a couple of small rocks that she did not see in the store parking lot. She fell hard on the concrete and sustained serious injuries. She alleged the store owner was liable for her injuries. But she had a tough time proving that it was the negligence of the store that caused her fall. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reviewed.  Continue reading

The Hollander Law Firm, one of the most trusted injury law firms in South Florida, has taken on a challenging and legally complex case that has garnered the interest of Courtroom View Network, a legal news and analysis source founded by Michael Breyer, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.gregg hollander

We represent the plaintiff in Silkworth v. Boca Raton Regional Hospital, where the key question is causation. Specifically, what – or who – caused plaintiff’s paralyzing spinal cord injury in June 2012? Defendants assert the injury was the cause of a violent car accident, wherein plaintiff was seated in the back seat of a taxi. However, our claim is that while the plaintiff’s injuries at the time of the crash were indeed serious, it was the negligence of health care professionals who treated her that resulted in her paralysis.

Emergency health care workers are specially trained to be extremely cautious in their initial assessment of someone with spinal trauma. The standard of care almost universally dictates that when there is a clinical concern of a possible spinal injury, workers must immobilize the patient. That is, if there is any indication whatsoever that there could be a spinal cord injury, medical personal must immobilize. Generally speaking, proper immobilization will not hurt a patient who is not suffering a spinal injury. However, if a patient with a spinal injury is not immediately and properly  immobilized, it could cause profound and irreversible damage.  Continue reading