When someone is killed due to the negligence of another party, the survivors of the deceased may be entitled to financial compensation for their loss through a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. In order to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that their loved one’s death was a result of a negligent act or omission of the defendant.

Signing a ContractOne issue that frequently comes up in wrongful death lawsuits, especially those arising in the context of nursing home abuse or neglect, is whether an arbitration agreement between the deceased and the defendant can be enforced against a survivor of the deceased when they file a wrongful death lawsuit. The short answer, in Florida, is “yes.”

A recent case in another state clearly illustrates the issue of derivativeness and its importance.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an important issue that Florida car accident victims should consider when preparing their case. The case involved a car accident, which the defendant admitted to causing. However, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense, based on the plaintiff’s inability to establish that her damages were a result of the accident.

Rear-EndedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the defendant made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s car, resulting in a collision. Approximately two years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the injuries she sustained in the accident.

Prior to the accident, the plaintiff had been suffering from back and neck problems. At trial, the defendant admitted that the accident was her fault and even agreed that the accident resulted in “some injury” to the plaintiff; however, the defendant took issue with the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s claimed damages.

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When a jury renders a verdict in a Florida car accident case, the jury’s decision regarding the defendant’s liability to the plaintiff is generally insulated from review, absent extraordinary circumstances. However, once the jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the award amount that the jury reaches can be subject to a judge’s review under certain circumstances.

Gavel and BookUnder Florida Statute section 768.74, a party can request a judge to review the jury’s award amount and ask that it be increased or decreased. If the judge agrees with the requesting party, the judge will order an additur (an increase) or a remittur (a decrease) in the award amount. Then, the party that requested the additur or remittur has the choice of accepting the revised award amount, or, if they believe the result to still be unsatisfactory, a new trial on the issue of damages will be ordered.

When a party asks a judge to order an additur or remittur, the judge will consider certain factors, which are outlined in section 768.74. Essentially, the judge will determine if the award was a product of “prejudice, passion, or corruption,” whether the jury considered evidence it should not have, and whether the award amount was supported by the evidence. A recent case illustrates a situation in which the judge agreed with a plaintiff that a jury’s award amount was insufficient.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case involving a claim brought by a plaintiff who suffered worsening symptoms of a pre-existing condition after being treated by the defendant aesthetician. The case required the court to determine if the defendant’s expert witness was properly prohibited from testifying, and whether the plaintiff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Finding that the lower court did not err, the court affirmed the verdict.

Spa DayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, who suffered from mild rosacea, arranged to have a chemical peel at the defendant spa. The plaintiff noted on her intake form that she had rosacea, but the defendant aesthetician failed to read the form prior to beginning the procedure. The defendant admitted that, had she read the form, she would not have performed the procedure or would have conducted a test on a small area of skin first.

After the chemical peel, the plaintiff’s skin began to scar, and her rosacea was significantly worsened. The plaintiff saw several doctors and took medication as prescribed to improve her condition, but in the end, the doctors recommended laser treatment.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents a valuable lesson to Florida car accident victims. The case involves an accident victim’s conflicting testimony and how courts resolve such conflicts. Ultimately, the court determined that it would be improper to credit either of the plaintiff’s statements, and it sent the case to a jury for resolution.

Rear-EndedThe Facts of the Case

In 2015, the plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck by another driver. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against that driver but later found out that he did not carry auto insurance. Thus, the plaintiff added the name of her father’s insurance company to the case, claiming that she was covered under the policy’s uninsured motorist protection.

After the plaintiff filed the claim, the insurance company sent the plaintiff a list of questions. When answering the questions, the plaintiff stated that she lived with her three children. She also stated that her father lived across the street.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations that an insurance company acted in bad faith when it failed to settle a case that later resulted in a substantial jury verdict. Ultimately, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to survive the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment, and the case was ordered to proceed toward trial.

Rollover AccidentThe case is interesting and relevant to Florida accident victims because it illustrates the difficulties that Florida personal injury plaintiffs may encounter when dealing with insurance companies after an accident.

The Facts of the Case

A motorist caused a five-car collision, in which he was killed and several others were seriously injured. This case involves just two of the victims, J.A. and J.H. The attorney for J.A. and J.H. contacted the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, inquiring about settling the case. The attorney expressed the interest of his clients to settle the case for the policy limit maximum but requested that additional information be passed. The letter asked for a response within 30 days.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the parents of a student who died while horseplaying with another student at school. At the time of the accident, the teacher in charge of the classroom had stepped out and asked another teacher in a nearby room to keep an eye on the children. The court was tasked with determining whether the teacher was entitled to official immunity.

ClassroomThe case raises interesting and important issues that often arise in Florida personal injury cases involving government defendants. These include Florida car accidents involving government employees and slip-and-fall accidents that occur on government property.

Official Immunity

Under both the Florida and United States Constitutions, government agencies and officials are entitled to immunity unless immunity is specifically waived by the government. Each state has its own tort claims act in which lawmakers determine which types of cases are exempt from the general grant of immunity.

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Florida has hundreds of thousands of acres of beautiful outdoor areas that are perfect for a number of recreational activities, including hiking, boating, hunting, and biking. However, much of this land is owned by various government entities or by private citizens. In the interest of persuading landowners to open up their land for the general recreational use of the public, Florida lawmakers passed Florida Statute 375.251, the Florida recreational use statute.

Stadium SeatsThe recreational use statute encourages landowners to allow members of the public to use their land by preventing anyone who is injured while using a landowner’s property from holding the landowner responsible for any injuries sustained. Importantly, the immunity conferred by the recreational use statute is not absolute, and immunity will not attach if the landowner charges a fee to use or access the land, or if the landowner engages in “deliberate, willful, or malicious” conduct.

A recent case illustrates how one court strictly interpreted a similar recreational use statute, rejecting the plaintiffs’ claim against a stadium where their daughter was seriously injured.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case requiring the court to determine if the defendant hotel had a duty to provide the plaintiff with reasonable assistance. Ultimately, the court concluded that there were issues of fact that needed to be resolved by a jury, and it ordered the case to proceed toward trial.

Hotel RoomThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff checked into the defendant hotel. Prior to checking in, the plaintiff let her husband know where she would be and told him that she would let him know when she arrived. However, the plaintiff never called her husband. Concerned about his wife, the plaintiff’s husband called the hotel to see if his wife had checked in.

The hotel confirmed that the plaintiff did check in, and the front-desk employee asked a maintenance worker to go to the plaintiff’s room to perform a welfare check. The maintenance worker had been employed with the hotel for several years but had never performed a welfare check before.

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Over the past decade, e-cigarette use has skyrocketed, with it being the most commonly consumed tobacco product among U.S. youth. The move toward e-cigarette use was due in large part to the fact that e-cigarettes were believed to be a safe alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Indeed, according to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, a significant portion of e-cigarette users classify themselves as “former smokers” who picked up the habit again once e-cigarettes became prevalent.

E-CigaretteAccording to a recent study, however, e-cigarettes may pose a significant risk to users’ health. The study was conducted by a group of researchers at the New York University School of Medicine. The researchers exposed lab mice to a vapor that contained nicotine, similar in both content and amount to the vapor that is released by e-cigarettes.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers discovered that the DNA contained in the lungs, hearts, and bladders of the exposed lab mice suffered DNA damage. What’s more, the normal DNA repair processes were hindered. After conducting further analysis on human lung and bladder cells, the researchers confirmed that the vapor had the same halting effect on the DNA repair processes.

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