Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving several interesting issues that are relevant for Florida accident victims. The case required the court to determine whether a school could be held liable for the injuries sustained by a student while playing floor hockey in gym class. Ultimately, the court concluded that the school was not necessarily immune from liability in all circumstances involving gym class injuries, but given the facts of this case, the school was not negligent.

Field Hockey PlayersThe Facts

The plaintiff was a middle-school student at the defendant school. As a part of the physical education curriculum, all students were required to participate in team sports during gym class. One of the sports the students played was floor hockey.

Pursuant to school regulations, safety equipment was not necessary when playing floor hockey. However, the gym teacher instructed the students to avoid “high-sticking” and went over safety rules prior to beginning the game. However, during the game, the plaintiff was accidentally struck in the eye by another student’s stick. As a result, the plaintiff required eye surgery and several follow-up appointments.

Continue reading →

As a general rule, Florida landowners have an obligation to ensure that their property is safe for those whom they invite onto their property. The extent of this obligation depends on the relationship between the parties and takes into account the reason why the plaintiff was on the defendant’s property. For the most part, landowners must take action to clear known hazards or warn of the hazards that may not have been visible by the visitor’s naked eye. If a landowner fails to take the adequate precautions, they may be liable for a visitor’s injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.

CrosswalkIn some cases, a landowner can be held liable for injuries that occur off their property, although this is a much rarer scenario. That is because the general rule is that landowners are not responsible to ensure a visitor’s safety before the visitor enters the property or after they leave the property. However, if the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s conduct increased the dangers involved, or if it obscured the off-site hazards, a defendant may be found liable for injuries occurring off their property.

A recent case provides an in-depth discussion of landowner liability as it pertains to off-site injuries.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit requiring the court to determine if the lower court was proper to deny the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant was entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence showing the defendant knew about the hazard that caused her fall.

Gum on SidewalkThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a patron at a BBQ stand that was located on property owned by a sports club. After dining, the plaintiff slipped and fell on a public sidewalk near the stand. She sustained serious injuries in the fall and filed a premises liability case against both the sports club as well as the county that maintained the sidewalk.

The plaintiff claimed that the sports club was negligent in failing to clean a grease trap, resulting in grease spilling onto the sidewalk. The plaintiff claimed that the county was negligent in failing to clean up the grease on the public sidewalk. The case went to trial, and a jury determined that the sports club and the county were each 50% liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and that the plaintiff was 0% at fault.

Continue reading →

Medical malpractice cases generally present complex scientific or medical concepts that are beyond the understanding of must jurors. For this reason, nearly all Florida medical malpractice cases require the testimony of experts to explain some of the issues in the case to the jurors. Experts can also offer their opinions about whether the care provided by a defendant doctor fell below the generally accepted standard of care.

Examination TableDue to the complex nature of Florida medical malpractice cases, Florida law places certain requirements on plaintiffs filing this type of case. One of the most important differences between medical malpractice cases and other personal injury cases is that medical malpractice cases are subject to a shorter statute of limitations. In Florida, a medical malpractice plaintiff must file their claim within two years of the incident (or, if the injury is not discovered until a later date, within two years of the plaintiff’s discovery of the injury).

A recent case presented a Florida appellate court with the chance to decide whether a plaintiff’s slip-and-fall accident should be considered a medical malpractice case.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, the state’s Supreme Court issued a Florida medical malpractice opinion that will likely have a great impact moving forward. The case required the court to consider a patient’s right to privacy following an alleged medical malpractice event. Specifically, it addressed whether the patient loses their right to privacy in certain medical records once the patient dies. The court ultimately held that a patient’s right to privacy survives after death and may be asserted by a family member bringing a Florida wrongful death lawsuit.

Magnifying GlassThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving spouse of a man who died while in the care of the defendant physician. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctor, and in response, the doctor requested certain medical records pursuant to the rules of discovery.

The particular rules of discovery invoked by the defendant required the plaintiff to disclose all of the health care providers that her husband saw in the years leading up to his death. Furthermore, the rules actually allowed for the defendant to have secret meetings with the medical care providers in the absence of the plaintiff or her attorney.

Continue reading →

Back in 2004, Florida citizens amended the Florida Constitution to include a “right to have access to any records made or received in the course of business by a health care facility or provider relating to any adverse medical incident.” This amendment became known as Amendment 7. In a recent Florida medical malpractice case, the state’s Supreme Court issued an opinion discussing the breadth of the amendment and whether common-law privileges held by medical providers can override the reach of Amendment 7.

Medical RecordsThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure that was conducted by the defendant doctor. During the procedure, the plaintiff’s bile duct was severed. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the doctor was negligent in performing the surgery. The plaintiff also named the medical center where the procedure was performed as a defendant.

During pre-trial discovery, the plaintiff requested certain documents from the defendant, including records of other adverse medical events that occurred at the defendant medical center. The defendants objected to the plaintiff’s request for discovery, claiming that several privileges attached to the documents and that therefore they were not subject to the rules of discovery.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a nursing home case brought by the surviving loved ones of a woman who died while in the care of the defendant nursing home facility. The case presented a hot-button issue in many nursing home cases across the country:  the enforceability of an arbitration clause that was contained in a pre-admission contract. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff was bound by the arbitration clause because the person who signed on the resident’s behalf had the authority to do so, and the clause itself was not contrary to public policy or otherwise unenforceable.

ContractThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the daughter of a nursing home resident who died shortly after being admitted to the hospital while she was a resident at the defendant nursing home. The allegations were that the nursing home failed to implement a safety protocol to prevent residents from falling. The evidence presented suggested that the plaintiff’s loved one fell at least twice during her stay, resulting in injuries that worsened and eventually led to her premature death.

Prior to the resident’s admission into the nursing home, one of the resident’s daughters signed a pre-admission contract. That contract had an arbitration clause contained in it, which stated that the parties agreed to submit any claims between the two to binding arbitration, rather than handling them through the court system. At the time, the resident had executed a power of attorney document, granting her daughter power over her affairs “without limitation.”

Continue reading →

Florida landowners are responsible to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for those whom they invite onto the premises. This includes not just individuals, but also businesses and government entities. However, not all slip-and-fall accidents will result in the landowner being liable for the injuries of the person who was injured. In order to succeed in a Florida premises liability case, the plaintiff must be able to establish, among other things, that the defendant landowner knew about the hazard that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.

Parking GarageIn a recent slip-and-fall case arising out of neighboring Georgia, the court had the opportunity to discuss premises liability law as it pertained to a case involving a man who fell on a patch of black ice after exiting his car in a hospital parking garage. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of showing that the defendant knew about the black ice. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was dropping his wife off at the defendant hospital for a minor medical procedure. After the plaintiff dropped off his wife, he proceeded to the uncovered top level of the hospital’s parking garage.

Continue reading →

In most Florida personal injury cases, the judge’s role is to determine which evidence is admissible at trial, rule on any objections that are made during the course of the trial, and ultimately instruct the jury on the relevant law after the parties have rested. Judges also are responsible for hearing any post-trial motions and ruling on these motions.

Slip and Fall In most cases, once a jury returns a verdict in a Florida personal injury case, that decision is final. However, there are a few exceptions to that general rule. First, either party may be able to appeal a legal decision made by the judge during the course of the trial. For example, if one party believes that the court unfairly kept evidence from the jury’s consideration, they may appeal that ruling to a higher court.

Another example of this is when the trial judge determines that the jury’s verdict is against the manifest weight of the evidence. This is usually argued in a post-trial motion brought by the side that did not prevail at trial, arguing that the jury was wrong in its determination based on the evidence presented. In order to succeed in this type of claim, a party must show that the jury based its decision on evidence that did not exist or was not admitted. A recent case illustrates the courts’ general reluctance to override a jury’s verdict.

Continue reading →

As is often the case in many of life’s endeavors, preparation is crucial to the outcome of a Florida personal injury case. While this is true across the board – from the moment the case is filed to when the jury returns a verdict – preparation is especially important when it comes to understanding the other side’s case and anticipating which issues may arise. Such preparation gives a Florida personal injury plaintiff an advantage that cannot be overstated.

Rollover AccidentA recent case illustrates how an insurance company’s lack of preparation resulted in the company waiving an issue that would otherwise likely have been resolved in its favor. As a result of the company’s failure to raise the issue, the plaintiff was successful in getting an adverse lower court ruling reversed in her favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she was involved in a car accident that was caused by another motorist. The at-fault motorist did not have adequate insurance coverage to fully compensate the plaintiff for her injuries. However, the plaintiff was covered by two other insurance policies, both of which contained underinsured motorist protection. The plaintiff’s mother had a policy with Allstate that provided $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, the plaintiff’s father’s policy with Geico provided $20,000 in underinsured motorist protection.

Continue reading →

Contact Information