Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion dismissing a plaintiff’s complaint against the defendant, based on the fact that the plaintiff concealed prior injuries that he had suffered. The case is important for Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the importance of being truthful in all statements to the court.

Doc Holding X-RayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in an accident that he alleged was caused by the defendant. After the accident, the plaintiff claimed that he suffered injuries to his head, lower back, and shoulder. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for his injuries.

The case proceeded to the discovery phase, at which the parties were to exchange relevant requested information. As a part of discovery, the plaintiff was asked about his prior medical conditions in a set of written questions. In these questions, the plaintiff indicated that he had no prior back, neck, or shoulder injuries. However, when the defendant asked the plaintiff to sign a release to obtain his medical records, the plaintiff refused.

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In some Florida personal injury lawsuits, the defendant can claim that the plaintiff should not be able to pursue a claim for compensation based on the fact that the plaintiff assumed the risks involved in participating in the activity that ultimately caused their injuries. This type of defense is common in cases involving skiing, sky diving, jet-skiing, and bungee jumping.

Skiing the PowIn Florida, there are two types of assumption of the risk:  express and implied. Express assumption of the risk generally involves a party’s acknowledgement of the risks involved prior to participating in the activity, usually through a release waiver or some other contract. Implied assumption of the risk, however, does not require a signed release waiver, and it can be established through risks that were either known at the time or should have been known.

A recent case illustrates how one federal court of appeals applied the assumption of the risk doctrine to preclude an accident victim’s ability to recover compensation for his injuries.

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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.

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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;

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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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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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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Florida is known for its fantastic golf courses. Unfortunately, Florida is also known for its bad drivers. When Florida drivers get behind the wheel of a golf cart, accidents are bound to happen. This is especially the case when a golfer has a few drinks while on the links.

Golf CartFlorida golf cart accidents are more common than most believe. This is due in part to the fact that serious injuries are rare in golf cart accidents. However, golf cart accidents are very real, and a significant number of Floridians are injured in golf cart accidents each year.

A recent case brought by an injured pedestrian who was struck by a golf cart illustrates the difficulties accident victims may encounter when filing a claim after a golf cart accident.

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Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a case that was filed by the surviving family members of a ship worker who died after he fell 50 feet when he stepped through a hole in the ship’s grating. The case presents a relevant issue to Florida boat accident plaintiffs insofar as it discusses how maritime law applies to cases against the owners and operators of large commercial vessels.

Oil RigThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of a man who worked as an independent contractor for a recycling company that purchases steel structures, disassembles them, and sells the metal for scrap. The company that employed the plaintiffs’ loved one purchased a decommissioned oil rig from another company that was in charge of decommissioning the rig.

Prior to the sale, an employee for the selling company told the company buying the rig about a potential danger on the ship regarding the presence of oil in the ship’s pipes. However, no one warned the buying company that there were several holes cut in the metal grating on the rig’s deck.

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