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Articles Tagged with west-palm-beach-injury-attorney

In a perfect world, the truth would be the only thing that decided the outcome of a civil injury lawsuit. And of course, the truth is a critical element. But what also matters is how skillfully your attorney can present it. What facts, records, testimony can he or she bring to support your assertions? How well does he or she understand the technicalities and procedures? How well-equipped is their law firm to meet the requirements? gavel

In the case of Small v. Sayre, several car accident victims, injured in a collision, were awarded lower damages than what they believed they were entitled to receive, based on the weight of evidence at trial. However on appeal, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that because the verdicts were not first challenged before the trial court, all of the challenges were waived. This really comes down to a technical issue, and it illustrates why it is so important to have an experienced injury attorney.

According to court records, plaintiff was idling in traffic with his wife and daughter when defendant rear-ended his vehicle. Plaintiff, his wife and daughter were each transported to the hospital, where they were treated, prescribed pain medication and advised to follow up with their primary care doctor. In the months and years that followed, the family members sought treatment for a variety of ailments they asserted were the result of the crash. Plaintiff sought treatment from doctors and chiropractors for neck and back pain. His wife sought treatment from a half dozen medical providers, including neurologists, chiropractors, an orthopedic surgeon and physical therapists. She suffered from chronic migraines and upper body pain. She was recommended for spinal fusion surgery, but ultimately did not undergo it, first due to her pregnancy and later due to cost.  Continue reading

Statutes of limitations are pertinent to any personal injury lawsuit filed. Although these limits vary from state-to-state, the purpose is to avoid giving those injured an unlimited window in which to file a claim. In Florida, F.S. 95.11 allows for up to four years to file an injury lawsuit based on negligence (though only two years if it’s medical negligence). There are of course some caveats and exceptions, but usually, you’re not going to be able to successfully file anything beyond that four-year cutoff. cruiseshipdocked

Cruise ship injuries are different. Although these cruise ships are docked at Florida ports and that’s where most paying customers board, most of these companies are actually headquartered in other countries (usually the Bahamas). The applicable law that governs the statute of limitations would be Maritime Law, which usually gives injured persons three years to file a lawsuit. However, courts have said it’s perfectly legal for cruise ship companies to prohibit injury lawsuits against their companies after one year from the date of the incident. That is just one year for adults who are injured on cruise ships. Children may have up to three years, though if the child turns 18, he or she has to file the case within one year of turning 18.

The recent case of Chang v. Carnival Corp., recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, dealt with the issue of cruise ship injury and this statute of limitations, as well as the issue of the proper forum in which to file these claims.  Continue reading

American users of smartphones (which is almost everyone at this point) are rarely without these devices. According to Mashable Tech, the average person spends about three hours daily socializing on social network applications on their mobile devices – which is more than twice the amount of time they spend eating. Indeed, every passing thought – even mundane life experiences – have become the subject of user engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others. So it’s not at all surprising that jurors are tempted to post about the experience as it’s happening. After all, they do it with every other element in life. iphone1

The problem is that it can conflict with the constitutional right of parties in a lawsuit or criminal case to receive a trial by a jury that is both fair and impartial. Part of that means only considering the evidence presented to them in court. But when social media feedback and information on the case is readily available at their fingertips, some jurors find the temptation too much to avoid. The U.S. Supreme Court held in the 1982 case of Smith v. Phillips that it’s virtually impossible to shield jurors from every possible influence or contact that could theoretically affect their vote. Still, prejudicial influences and occurrences need to be prevented whenever possible. When they do occur, courts need to carefully examine the effect on the case and whether either party was deprived of fair proceedings as a result, which could be grounds for a new trial.

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal recently grappled with this very issue in Murphy v. Roth, a personal injury lawsuit filed after a car accident involving plaintiff and defendant.  Continue reading

The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled on the common law precedent of the original tortfeasor rule, which allows a person who is civilly liable to another for some injury may also be civilly liable for the negligence, mistake or lack of skill on the part of a doctor or surgeon who treats the injured person for that injury. doctorpatientrelationship

What is often considered is whether aggravation of the original injury or subsequent additional injury due to poor medical or surgical treatment was a natural and probable consequence of the original injury or a direct result of the original tortfeasor’s actions.

In Florida, this issue was weighed by the Florida Supreme Court in Stuart v. Hertz Corp., back in 1977. In that case, our highest court ruled that a rental car company whose vehicle injured a woman in an accident could be liable for injuries she sustained from medical negligence while she was being treated for her original injuries. The court further ruled the rental car company couldn’t introduce the doctor into the case and make him pay for his portion of the damages. (The federal Graves Amendment has since barred individuals from taking action against rental car companies for the negligence of their driving customers, though that is beside the point here).  Continue reading

Attorney fees in car accident and other personal injury lawsuits in Florida are based on a myriad of factors, including the degree of difficulty of the task, the amount of time needed, the amount of experience necessary and the skill of the attorney in that particular area of law. The Florida Bar Association reports overhead fees account for 30 to 50 percent of what a lawyer charges, and include things like equipment, maintenance and costs.courthouse

The good news for personal injury claimants is that:

  • Most injury lawsuits are accepted by lawyers on a contingency fee basis, which means plaintiff’s don’t pay attorney fees upfront – or at all if they lose;
  • In some cases, attorney fees may be paid by the defendant in addition to the damage award, so it won’t cut into the amount you receive. In some cases, this might be more or less than what you originally agreed to pay your lawyer. This possibility should be provided for in the initial fee arrangement.

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Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say medical errors should officially rank as the No. 3 cause of death in the United States. It reportedly claims more than 250,000 American lives annually, just behind heart disease and cancer, which each kill roughly 600,000 people a year.nurses

And yet, respiratory disease, which causes approximately 150,000 deaths per year has claimed the third spot ranking. The researchers sent a letter to the CDC to tack on medical mistakes to its yearly list of death causes. Researchers also called on local agencies to change the way medical error  cases are listed on death certificates. That way, the government could more easily keep track of the issue.

Medical mistakes run the gamut. They could be complications during surgery that aren’t recognized. They could be incorrect doses of medication. They could be overlooked doses of medication or the wrong medication. It could be an obvious diagnosis that a doctor simply failed to see. Continue reading

When choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you, it’s important to know that most attorneys accept these cases on a “contingency fee basis.” countycourthouse

What this means is that there is no attorney fee unless you win. This is important because many people injured as a result of someone else’s negligence do not have the upfront capital necessary to file a case, pay for a lawyer, hire expert witnesses and do the investigation that is critical to proving their losses in court. In a sense, a contingency fee arrangement opens the courthouse doors to those who otherwise would have no other means. Payments are made based on a percentage of the total awarded either through settlements or jury verdicts.

These percentages are typically fixed and they may vary depending on the complexity of the case and the length of time it will take to obtain a resolution. While these agreements are beneficial to both plaintiffs and their attorneys, it’s important important for both parties to be on the same page about them. That’s what the case of Chalfant v. Guardianship of Flannigan illustrates.

Reversing an earlier summary judgment from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in favor of a cruise line after a slip-and-fall injury, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit remanded the case for trial. cruiseline

That means the woman who fractured her risk after slipping and falling on the pool deck of the cruise ship will have the opportunity to have her case, Sorrels v. NCL, heard by a jury.

A previous ruling in favor of the cruise ship stemmed from the exclusion of expert witness testimony and related publications regarding the coefficient of friction on the surface of the ship. Sometimes referred to as COF, the coefficient of friction refers to the degree of friction on a given surface that provides slip resistance.

Expert witnesses play a key role in the outcome of injury cases, from car accident lawsuits to medical malpractice litigation to product liability claims. In many cases, a sustained opinion from an expert is required to establish plaintiff’s assertions before the case even makes it to the trial phase.adriver

For this reason, it’s imperative for personal injury attorneys to explore any issues that may challenge the credibility of an expert witness testifying for the defense.

One way that this can be done is by analyzing the witness’s bias for the defense. In many cases, defendant includes an insurance company. These are large corporations and they routinely will use the same witnesses or the same witness providers time and again. This means a substantial portion of these witnesses’ income is derived from insurance company testimony.

The Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled that an insurance policy covering student athlete travel should cover crash injuries suffered by a school soccer player who had been riding in the back of a teammate’s pickup truck on the way to a match.carcrash5

In the case of Rodriguez v. United Sch. Dist. No. 500, the 10th grader, once active with a bright future, sustained permanent traumatic brain injuries that rendered him in need of 24-7 care for the rest of his life.

The question before the court was whether a under applicable state laws, school district policies and administrative guidelines the crash, which occurred in a private vehicle driven by another student, was considered “covered travel.” That’s the phrase that’s listed in the insurance policy, and that’s what the court was attempting to determine. The insurer insisted the travel was not covered, while the injured student’s parents, suing on his behalf, argued that it was.

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