Recently, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a case overturning a verdict that initially favored a surgical patient’s medical malpractice case. The reversal of this verdict highlights a primary element that is necessary for Florida medical malpractice plaintiffs. Here, the Supreme Court held that without sufficient evidence to show that a plaintiff’s injury was directly due to a preventable error, there is no way to ascertain causation.

SurgeryPreventable Injuries in Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical errors are now one of the leading causes of death in the United States and contribute significantly to non-fatal medical injuries as well. Although some differences exist among state-specific medical malpractice laws, the overriding definition is similar among all states.

In Florida, for a plaintiff to have a favorable outcome in a medical malpractice case, the first requirement is evidence that a medical professional was providing services to the patient. Following this, there must be testimony from a medical expert that the medical negligence was a result of a divergence from the standard of care. Most importantly, in Florida, it is necessary to illustrate that this medical negligence was the direct cause of the injury to the patient. If the plaintiff cannot illustrate that the prevention of this medical negligence would have also prevented their injury, the claim remains speculative at best.

Continue reading →

Florida is known for its picturesque terrain and numerous options for outdoor recreational activities. Some common activities are water sports, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, hiking, and biking. Although these activities are often advertised as “guided” and “safe,” there are always some inherent risks involved in participating in them. Prior to participating in one of these activities, companies that provide these experiences will almost always have the patron sign a waiver of liability in the event that an accident does occur.

HorseLiability Waivers in Florida

Although Florida recreation companies cannot waive away all of their liability, there is a fair amount that they can avoid. Florida has various statutes that limit the applicability of waivers for specific activities, but this does not apply to all activities. These waivers essentially require the patron to affirm that they are aware of the risks involved in participating in the specific activity for which they are signing up.

Inherent risks are generally considered those that are common to the activity in which one is participating. For example, an inherent risk of horseback riding session would likely be falling off the horse.

Continue reading →

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit that was filed against a Florida nursing home. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the validity of an arbitration contract that was signed by a resident’s wife prior to the resident’s admission into the nursing home.

Signing a ContractNursing Home Arbitration Contracts

When someone is admitted into a Florida nursing home, the nursing home will require that the resident sign a pre-admission contract outlining the expectations, rights, and remedies of the parties. More often than not, these pre-admission contracts contain a clause whereby the parties agree to submit any claims that may arise between the parties to binding arbitration, rather than filing a case through the court system.

What nursing homes rarely tell prospective patients is that an agreement to arbitrate claims cannot be forced upon a resident or their family. In other words, if a resident does not agree to arbitration but agrees with the remaining terms of the contract, the nursing home should not reject the resident’s application based on that fact.

Continue reading →

Most Florida personal injury cases are brought under the legal theory of negligence. That is, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care that was violated, and this violation resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. However, Florida dog bite cases are different in that they are analyzed under a strict liability framework.

Mad DogUnder a strict liability framework, courts do not assess the potential negligence of the defendant. In fact, it is irrelevant if a defendant was negligent. Instead, the plaintiff need only establish that the defendant owned the object or instrumentality that caused their injuries. In a dog bite case, this merely requires that the plaintiff establish ownership.

There is, however, a very specific defense to a Florida dog bite case. If a defendant dog owner can establish that there was a sign outside the enclosure where the dog was held, displaying the words “Bad Dog,” anyone injured by the dog cannot hold the owner liable. This exception, however, is quite narrow, as illustrated in a recent appellate decision.

Continue reading →

Under Florida law, all motorists are required to maintain a base level of insurance coverage in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that, in the event a motorist causes a Florida car accident resulting in serious injuries or death, the motorist has sufficient assets to cover the costs incurred by the accident victim.

Car CrashInsurance companies, however, are for-profit businesses, and like other businesses, they rely on making a profit to stay in business. This means that insurance companies must take in more money each month in monthly premiums than they pay out in settled claims. As a result, insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little a sum of money as possible. In some cases, insurance adjusters have taken advantage of less-than-savvy accident victims who may not know what their claim is worth. A recent case illustrates one court’s unwillingness to enforce a settlement agreement that it determined was unfair.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger in a friend’s car when she was involved in a car accident. Police cited both the plaintiff’s friend as well as the other driver. After the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in her neck and side.

Continue reading →

While dogs are known as man’s best friend, they can occasionally turn on humans and cause serious injuries. When a dog causes injuries to another person, the injured party may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries through a Florida dog bite case.

Dog BiteUnder Florida law, the owners of dogs are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their animals. This means that anyone who has suffered a dog bite injury will not need to establish that the owner was negligent in any way; it is enough to prove ownership of the dog. That being said, this only applies if the victim of the attack is lawfully on the property of the dog’s owner. Additionally, if the victim of the dog’s attack is deemed to have been negligent in bringing about their own injuries – perhaps by taunting the dog – the victim’s ultimate award amount will be reduced by their own percentage of fault.

A recent dog bite case illustrates how strict liability plays out in practice.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed, killing six and injuring nine others. While the cause of the collapse is still under official investigation, there were reports that one of the lead engineers noticed cracks in the bridge before it was even complete and reported the cracks to administration. However, nothing was done.

Cracked ConcreteAccording to one news report, one of the several people who were injured in the bridge collapse has recently filed a Florida personal injury lawsuit against several of the parties involved in the construction of the bridge, including the firm that designed it and the construction company charged with installing the bridge. Evidently, the recently filed case was brought by a man who was riding his bike near the bridge when it collapsed.

The lawsuit claims that as the bridge collapsed, a motorist swerved to avoid either the falling bridge or another motorist and struck the man while he was on his bicycle. As a result of the collision, the man sustained serious injuries.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case involving the aggressive acts of a third party, discussing how such acts can play into a landowner’s liability to its visitors. The case is important for Florida car accident victims to understand because it discusses the concept of foreseeability, which comes into play in many personal injury cases.

Food TruckThe Facts of the Case

The defendant owned a parking lot that he had designed and leased to a food truck. The food truck was open each day, and it was most crowded on the weekends. On a weekend evening, the plaintiff hoped to visit the food truck. As the plaintiff pulled into the lot, however, he realized that it was very crowded and that he would have a difficult time finding a place to park, so he decided to back out and find another place to park.

As the plaintiff was backing out of the lot, he bumped into another vehicle that was pulling into the lot. The driver of that car got very angry, despite the plaintiff’s apology and offer to exchange insurance and vehicle information. The other driver then got into his own car, put it in reverse, and quickly backed out of the lot. However, in so doing, the other driver ran over the plaintiff, who was standing behind the car. The plaintiff was seriously injured as a result and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the parking lot.

Continue reading →

Psychological trauma can be devastating, whether it stems from being involved in a Florida car accident or witnessing a loved one suffer serious injuries themselves. Unfortunately, the legal field has been slow to come around to the idea that psychological trauma can have a lasting impact on those who suffer from it. However, with research in this area of medicine continuing to evolve, courts are beginning to accept the concept that witnessing a traumatic event can cause serious harm to an individual.

DefibrillatorThus, in 1995, the Florida Supreme Court clearly outlined the elements of a relatively new cause of action called negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). An NIED claim is based on the physical injuries sustained by witnessing a very traumatic event. In the 1995 case referenced above, the court set forth the following requirements for an NIED claim:

  1. The plaintiff must suffer some physical injury;

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the theory of premises liability as it pertained to a case involving a child who was seriously injured when a metal stanchion fell atop his finger. The case presents an interesting issue for Florida premises liability plaintiffs because it brings to light how the state’s attractive nuisance doctrine may be helpful to Florida plaintiffs in a similar situation.

Espresso MachineThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a young boy who was playing on a series of metal stanchions that were used to create a line at a coffee shop. The stanchions were large metal poles, weighted at the bottom and connected by chains.

After the plaintiff and his family had ordered their drinks and used the restroom, they began to exit the store. However, as the plaintiff’s mother was walking out ahead of her son, she heard the young boy start to scream. She turned around to see that one of the metal stanchions had fallen on her son’s hand. Witnesses to the accident explained that the boy and his brother were playing on the stanchions and swinging from the chains.

Continue reading →

Contact Information