Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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Late last month, an appellate court in Indiana issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a bicyclist who was injured while riding on a government-owned trail. The case required the court to determine if the state government was entitled to immunity under the state’s recreational use statute. Finding that the state was entitled to immunity, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Bike Trail

Although this case took place in Indiana, it is relevant to Florida bike injury victims because it illustrates the difficulties that an accident victim may face when bringing a personal injury case against a government entity or employee.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his bike on a mixed-use trail that was owned and operated by the state park department. As the plaintiff was passing a pedestrian, the tire of the plaintiff’s bike got caught in a moderately sized crack in the pavement. This caused the plaintiff to lose control of the bike and fall to the ground. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries to his shoulder as a result of the fall and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the state government.

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In the initial aftermath of a Florida car accident, everyone’s adrenaline is pumping, and people are not often thinking about the consequences of what they say. Over time, memories tend to fade, and biases may creep into a witness’ thought process. Thus, there is an argument to be made that statements made in the immediate aftermath of an accident are the most reliable. In fact, it is not uncommon for a witness’ testimony at trial to differ from the statement they provided to police in the moments after an accident.

CrosswalkNormally, hearsay evidence is prohibited during a trial. Hearsay evidence is an out-of-court statement that is being offered to prove what the statement says. For example, a witness’ statement to police describing how an accident occurred is generally considered inadmissible hearsay. The proper way to get this testimony in would be to call the witness to testify at trial. But what happens when a witness’ testimony changes from the time of the accident to trial?

The Florida Rules of Evidence address this very issue in Rule 90.614. Under Rule 90.614, a party is entitled to cross-examine a witness regarding any prior inconsistent statements they made. Rule 90.614 acts as an exception to the general prohibition on hearsay. Thus, if a witness takes the stand and testifies to something different from what they told police in an accident report, that witness can be questioned about the inconsistency. A recent car accident case illustrates this concept.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine if a jury was within its right to refuse to award future medical expenses to the plaintiff when the defendant failed to provide contradicting expert testimony. Ultimately, since the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony was “far-from-conclusive,” the court determined that the jury was free to make the decision it did.

Neck X-RayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a Florida car accident that was caused by another driver. The at-fault driver either did not have insurance or had insufficient insurance to cover the plaintiff’s injuries, so the plaintiff filed an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim with her own insurance company. The extent of the plaintiff’s injuries were not conclusively established, but it was determined by her neurosurgeon that she suffered from degenerative disc disease.

The insurance company did not contest that the other driver caused the accident, but it claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident. In support of its position, the insurance company attempted to present three expert witnesses. However, the court prevented the jury from considering the experts’ testimony.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued an opinion in a personal injury case that discusses principles that often arise in Florida medical malpractice cases and other personal injury cases. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s evidence gave rise to a case of medical malpractice against the defendant pharmacist in the wake of a medication error. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s testimony failed to establish that the pharmacy violated any professional duty of care, and thus the medical malpractice claim was dismissed.Medication

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff suffered from serious medical issues requiring that he take certain medication. One day, the plaintiff’s wife went to pick up her husband’s prescription from the defendant pharmacy. The plaintiff’s wife was provided a single bag with two bottles inside. Neither bottle had the plaintiff’s name on it, and neither contained the proper medication.

The plaintiff’s wife, not noticing the error, gave the medication to her husband. Later that evening, she found the plaintiff on the floor near the front door to their home. The plaintiff’s wife did not notice anything that could have caused her husband to trip, and she concluded that he fell on his own. The pharmacy error was later discovered, and the couple subsequently filed a personal injury case.

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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.

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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.

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