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It’s been four years since a 14-year-old was run over by a county bus in South Florida, resulting in serious and debilitating injuries that affect the young man to this day. Although he survived the month-long medical induced coma, traumatic brain injury and various internal injuries, his life, doctors say, is never going to be the same. bus

Now, according to The Sun Sentinel, his family has secured an $850,000 settlement from the county. However, only $300,000 of this is available immediately under a Florida statute that limits how much a government agency can be compelled to pay for personal injury in any one case. That won’t even cover half the $640,000 in medical bills he’s accrued up to this date. The remaining $550,000 will have to be secured in a claims bill, which has already been filed (SB 314). That could take some time, though hopefully will be expedited by the fact the county has agreed not to fight the bill, which the legislature will have to approve. No companion bill in the state House has yet been filed.

The mass transit system in Broward County, where this incident occurred, has come under particular scrutiny as a Sentinel investigation uncovered numerous cases in which drivers with multiple preventable bus accidents – some resulting in serious personal injury – were still allowed to continue driving. The policy, which is being revisited by the county’s commission, holds that drivers must have at least five preventable accidents over a rolling 24-month time frame before they can even be considered for termination.  Continue reading →

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In most work injury cases, including those stemming from Florida construction accidents, workers can expect to have a single remedy against their employer: Workers’ compensation. The workers’ compensation law is a trade-off of sorts. Employers agree to a system of no-fault benefits for workers injured in the course and scope of employment, and employees agree to forfeit their right to sue the company. fireextinguisher

However, while this provision generally also protects co-workers, it typically does not pertain to third-parties, such as product manufacturers, rogue drivers or, in some cases, other contractors on the same job site. The question recently considered in a work injury lawsuit by the Mississippi Supreme Court was whether a worker who obtained workers’ compensation benefits from a company was entitled to also sue that company, on the grounds the company wasn’t his statutory employer.

So why would a company that wasn’t his statutory employer pay benefits in the first place? According to court records, it had to do with an agreement between the defendant property owner and a contractor, which provided maintenance services. The terms of the contract were separate from state law, which did not mandate that the property owner pay workers’ compensation insurance. The fact that the property owner chose to do so as part of the contract did not mean it assumed the position of statutory employer, at least that’s what the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled when it decided plaintiff could proceed with his personal injury lawsuit against defendant, even though defendant/ defendant’s insurer had paid workers’ compensation benefits.  Continue reading →

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A valet company that did nothing to stop its drivers from cutting through alleys, barreling illegally across lanes of traffic and engaging in other reckless actions will pay $38 million to the bicyclist who was seriously injured by one of its employees. bike

According to The Seattle Times, injury attorneys for the bicyclist won the multi-million dollar case for their client after he suffered a traumatic brain injury, shattered hip, broken ribs and internal injuries. To this day, he can no longer ride a bike – which he used to do every day to and from work. In fact, he can’t even walk more than a short distance without the aid of crutches. Once an employee of the city’s traffic division, he is now permanently disabled. In addition to the surgeries and medical assistance he’s already needed – which has amounted to nearly $430,000 by the middle of 2015 – plaintiff is likely to need four or five more surgeries, his attorney explained.

At trial in Washington State, where the incident occurred, defendant valet company (a company that made $129 million in profits during the first three quarters of last year) had tried to argue the cyclist was at least partially responsible for his own injuries because he didn’t act sooner to the car crossing the street. But the car, driven by a 21-year-old employee of defendant, was reportedly moving across two lanes of travel at a perpendicular angle when he struck the cyclist. Jurors sided with plaintiff.  Continue reading →

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Three children became violently ill after visiting a petting zoo at a pumpkin farm in Minnesota. Now, one of those children has been awarded $7.5 million after her family sued the company. The exposure she suffered to the deadly E. coli bacteria resulted in her spending nearly a month battling a potentially fatal kidney disease. The young girl’s kidneys shut down. She required surgery and near-constant dialysis.pettingzoo

Jurors in the Minnesota District Court ruled owners of the farm were negligent in preventing their animals from transmitting that sickness and others to young patrons. The majority of the money awarded was allocated for future medical bills and pain and suffering. Her injury lawyer noted it is one of the largest verdicts nationally for an E. coli outbreak, and the biggest to date involving a petting zoo. As he noted in speaking to reporters with FOX9 news station, it’s not that the individuals running the farm were mean or wanted to hurt children. In fact, he called them, “decent people.” However, they failed to educate themselves on the risks of allowing farm animals to come into contact with small children without proper sanitation precautions.

Today, defendant pumpkin patch no longer operates a petting zoo. But the bigger concern is the lack of regulatory oversight on similar operations. Continue reading →

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In recent years, tens of thousands of woman have come forward to report they have suffered severe physical, emotional and financial losses and distress as a direct result of poorly-designed, improperly-tested transvaginal mesh products. The complications reported are devastating. An increasing number of courts are finding these companies liable for designing a defective medical device, failing to warn patients of the danger they faced and causing severe physical pain and mental/ emotional trauma. woman

Recently, one such transvaginal mesh lawsuit was weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the trial court’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $3.27 million.

Like so many victims in these cases, this started when plaintiff began seeking treatment for symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, or SUI. This involves unintentional urination during activities such as laughing, sneezing and coughing, and pain during intercourse. The condition continued to worsen, and her physician recommended a number of treatment options. One of those was surgical implantation of a transvaginal mesh device called the Tension-Free Vaginal Tape-Obturator, a device made by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The device is a sling made with laser-cut mesh, and was a second-generation version of an earlier device made by Ethicon, which meant it was able to bypass the kinds of rigorous testing the U.S. Food & Drug Administration typically requires for new medical devices.  Continue reading →

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Florida received one of the worst rankings for gaps in highway safety laws, which are costing lives on our roads every day. The ranking was issued by Advocates for Highway Auto Safety in its most recent report, 2017 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. The 58-page report begins by detailing the fact that we’ve had two consecutive years nationally of rising death rates on our roads. In 2015, there were nearly 35,100 people killed in motor vehicle accidents, an 8 percent increase over the previous year. That’s a bigger increase than we’ve seen in almost 50 years, and Florida has followed similar trends. car accident

The Florida Department of Transportation reported in 2015 that there were 374,350 total crashes that year, an increase of almost 9 percent from the previous year. As far as fatal crashes, there were 2,700 in 2015, which was an increase of 15.5 percent from the year before. There were an average of 1,025 crashes every day in the Sunshine State in 2015, versus 943 the previous year.

One of the main reasons, according to Roadmap researchers, has to do with the fact that states are failing to enact – or maintain – the kinds of legislation that we know can help save lives. Florida in particular is failing on this front.  Continue reading →

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When word spread that traffic deaths had increased 8 percent in the first nine months of 2016, continuing an alarming surge in roadway fatalities, one of the many explanations offered by traffic safety experts was that there were more people on the roads. However, as The Associated Press pointed out, this is only half the story.traffic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did note that drivers are logging more miles on the road these days than ever before. However, that doesn’t really give us the full picture because the increase in car accident deaths is actually rising faster than our collective increases in mileage. While crash deaths are up 8 percent, vehicle miles traveled only rose 3 percent during that time frame, according to the NHTSA.

In the first three quarters of 2016, there were nearly 27,900 traffic deaths nationally. That’s compared to the 25,800 recorded during the first eight months of 2015. Continue reading →

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Restraints in nursing homes are only to be used sparingly, for medically necessary reasons, for a very limited period of time and under close supervision. Unfortunately, too many nursing homes will initiate the use of physical restraints or chemical restraints without the proper justification, procedure or supervision, resulting in serious harm to elderly patients.wheelchair

This is what was alleged recently by the daughter of a nursing home patient in Virginia. According to The Virginian-Pilot, plaintiff alleges two nurses tied her elderly mother to her wheelchair with bed sheets and then injected her with a narcotic sedative in order to keep her quiet. The lawsuit alleges the victim was kept in that state overnight. When another nurse came on shift and wanted to free her and clean her up, the supervisor reportedly instructed her to, “leave her sit in it.”

An investigation by the state health department was initiated after authorities received two complaints alleging two different residents (this one included) were restrained at the facility. Plaintiff’s daughter only found out about the incident after she received an anonymous call from someone who reportedly worked at the nursing home. When plaintiff raised the issue with the nursing home, a supervisor reportedly told her it had already been investigated and there was no proof it had occurred. However, plaintiff now says that review was done quietly and failed to really scratch the surface of what allegedly happened.The health department ultimately formulated a correction plan for the facility.  Continue reading →

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The first question that often arises in injury litigation is whether the defendant was negligent in causing plaintiff’s injuries. But the second – and equally important – element is damages. That is, to what extent did plaintiff suffer? How can that suffering be quantified? car accident

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers do this with a number of approaches, depending on the individual circumstances. It could include production of medical bills. It could include testimony of expert witnesses, such as orthopedic surgeons. It will mean looking at how the plaintiff’s ability to earn money and make a living has been impacted, both in the past and in the future. It could mean delving into the effect the incident has had on plaintiff’s personal relationships and overall quality of life. The question of damages cannot be overlooked.

Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy to prove as it may seem. In the recent case of Gilliam v. Immel, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed a ruling in which plaintiff proved that defendant was liable for the crash, but failed to show her injuries should compel him to pay damages.  Continue reading →

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Usually when we hear about construction worker injury in Fort Myers, it’s because of some awful, dramatic accident, such as a roadside collision, major fall or electrocution. However, a new study conducted by The Center for Construction Research and Training indicated that the more pervasive problem for most construction workers is the risk of work-related injury to the joints, nerves, tendons and muscles. constructionsite

Sprain and strains are a constant source of workers’ compensation claims for construction workers, with study authors opining the estimated loss of wages for private industry construction workers in 2014 was about $46 million. The injuries are caused by a number of elements construction workers face on a regular basis, including:

  • Excessive exposure to vibration
  • Bending
  • Twisting
  • Awkward work postures
  • Overwork
  • Static posture
  • Poorly-designed tools
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Poor work organization (i.e., not enough rest breaks, poor supervision, not enough workers, etc.)
  • Repetition

Continue reading →