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The state supreme court in California has ruled that makers of brand name medications first of all owe a duty of reasonable care to make sure product labels have adequate warnings (regardless of whether the end user is exposed to the brand name drug or the generic version) and also that liability for failure to warn could be found even if the product maker stopped making the drug and no longer owns it.defective product lawyer

That ruling, which relied on a previous decision by a federal appellate court, could have big implications for product liability litigation in California. Although it doesn’t directly impact Florida cases, it’s common for state supreme courts to rely on their sister courts’ reasoning when faced with similar dilemmas. The decision is likely to open the doors to more product liability lawsuits against brand name drug manufacturers.

The case involves a woman who was prescribed a generic version of the brand name drug Brethine, which is prescribed to curtail premature labor. She was pregnant with twins at the time. The drug was originally an asthma medication, but was given for the off-label use of halting or slowing the potential for preterm labor. Both boys were born seemingly fine, but were diagnosed with developmental delays at age 3. By age 5, they were diagnosed with autism. A lawsuit filed on their behalf against the brand name drug manufacturer, Novartis, alleged the company was aware or should have known about the drug’s potential risk of adverse effects to fetal brain development.  Continue reading →

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A nurse was reportedly fired from her nursing home position after she reported alleged abuse of residents to authorities and now, a jury has awarded her $5.2 million for wrongful termination. nursing home abuse lawyer

Although this is technically an employment law case, it highlights the atmosphere that allows abusive, neglectful and negligent actions to persist in a nursing home setting. As our nursing home abuse attorneys know, employment actions pertaining to a nursing home can shed a lot of light into the kind of workplace it was, and therefore the type of care facility it was.

As the National Center on Elder Abuse reports, the prevalence of elder abuse today is roughly 10 percent of all seniors, who suffer physical abuse, psychological and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. One ground-breaking study in New York revealed that some 260,000 elder adults in that state (or about 1 in 13) suffered some type of abuse in the previous 12 months. Data from Adult Protective Services at the state level indicate these are increasing trends, and are likely to continue on this trajectory as the population ages without adequate care facilities to meet their needs.

Potential risk factors for nursing home abuse in Florida include:

  • Dementia;
  • Experience of previous traumatic events (i.e., domestic and interpersonal violence);
  • Being female;
  • Low income/ poverty;
  • No spouse/ partner.

Continue reading →

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Self-driving cars, while not yet fully autonomous, provide motorists with the opportunity to cede some of the control behind the wheel. There is much evidence that this is a whole lot safer, as driver error is the primary cause of auto accidents in Florida. However, it has also meant the question of liability has become a vexing one. If a crash happens, who was in control – the driver or the auto manufacturer? car accident lawyer

Recently in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced it would not adopt a rule (recommended by General Motors) that would allow manufacturers of automobiles to evade liability for car accidents wherein the self-driving vehicle hasn’t been maintained to the letter of the manufacturer’s specifications. Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog calls the decision a “major victory for consumers,” according to the Associated Press. The rules, as proposed by the automaking industry, would have effectively absolved producers of these vehicles of product liability for things like the owner’s failure to properly clean the vehicle sensors or having a tire that was slightly under-inflated or not precisely meeting oil change recommendations.

Although it is true that vehicle owners have a responsibility to adequately maintain their vehicles (or face potential liability when failure to do so results in an injurious crash), these kinds of stringent maintenance requirements don’t exist for the standard human-driven vehicle.  Continue reading →

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An Illinois city recently agreed to a $4.75 million settlement to a woman in a sport utility vehicle who was struck by an on-duty city worker driving a garbage truck. It was reported the garbage truck driver was traveling eastbound, crossed over the double yellow lines on the road and side-swiped victim’s vehicle, which was traveling westbound. She spun and was struck by another vehicle.garbagetruck

The 33-year-old victim explained to The Chicago Tribune that her left leg was broken and she remains unable to move her left hand. Her attorneys explained in her personal injury lawsuit that she had suffered serious and permanent injuries that will not only cost her dearly for medical expenses, but also have rendered her unable to carry out certain functions of daily living, such as returning to her job as a home care worker and cashier.

Accidents involving garbage trucks are sometimes described in media reports as being “freak” occurrences. The reality is, they are more common than one might think. One study reported by the New York Daily News revealed that over a three-year stretch, garbage trucks killed an average of 24 pedestrians per 100 million miles driven. Compare that to taxis, which were involved in 6 fatal accidents per 100 million miles driven. Researchers cited potential design flaws in trucks that may make it difficult for garbage truck drivers to see.  Continue reading →

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Florida wrongful death lawsuits can be tricky matters when it comes to who has the right to sue. One can pursue a claim as a representative of decedent’s estate or they can pursue action as a survivor of decedent. Claims by survivors may result in higher damage awards, depending on the circumstances, because there are different types of damages one can assert. Those with a right to claim damages as a survivor generally include (in descending order) the decedent’s:

  • Spouse;
  • Children (particularly those under 25);
  • Parents;
  • Siblings or other blood/ adoptive relatives who were at least partially dependent on decedent for support or services.wrongful death attorney Fort Myers

Still, it is incumbent on those who have the right to pursue such a claim to do so in a timely manner. For example, a spouse may have statutory priority over a decedent’s parents in a wrongful death claim, but unless the spouse actually files the claim within the wrongful death statute of limitations (2 years in Florida), they may not be able to successfully challenge a prior claim, settlement or verdict.

Such was the case in a matter recently before the Tennessee Supreme Court. According to court records, the mother of an unmarried man who died in handcuffs while in the custody of a retail store was able to secure a wrongful death lawsuit settlement in 2010, claiming to be the sole heir of the decedent. However, 20 months after the case was dismissed in lieu of that settlement, a woman who reportedly gave birth to decedent’s child filed a motion to set that order aside and substitute her (as her child’s representative) as the real party in interest, allowing the claim to relate back to the original filing. Continue reading →

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Although the majority of car accident lawsuits in Florida are either settled or dismissed prior to trial, it’s important to work with an attorney you know will be prepared for the possibility of a trial. In the event that settlement negotiations break down and defendants are unwilling to extend a fair agreement to our clients, our Fort Myers trial lawyers are willing to do exactly that, and have a long history of success in such matters. It’s important that when you’re looking for a car accident attorney in Lee County that you ask about their trial experience, even if it seems unlikely the case will proceed to that point. This is especially important in cases involving serious injury or death. car accident attorney

Recently in Miami, a wrong-way crash victim was awarded $4.7 million by jurors in a car accident lawsuit that advanced to trial.

The Daily Business Review reports the head-on collision occurred in 2012 on Interstate 95. Although fault in a case like this may seem relatively easy to prove, this case was made even more challenging by the fact plaintiff was adamant about not testifying in front of the jury. In fact, she didn’t even want to enter the courtroom during the proceedings, citing the immense trauma she suffered after the crash. Just 20-years-old at the time of the crash, plaintiff had been a passenger in her friend’s vehicle when they were struck in Broward County around 3 a.m. by the wrong-way car. Continue reading →

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When you are injured at work, chances are good you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which will help you stay afloat financially by covering medical bills and at least a portion of lost wages. However, unlike a personal injury lawsuit, you won’t be entitled to collect damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish or loss of life enjoyment. The trade-off is you don’t have to prove your employer was negligent, only that the injury happened in the course and scope of employment. injury lawyer

That said, you may have grounds to seek those other kinds of damages if there was a third party involved who was negligent. Be warned, though, that if you have already collected workers’ compensation benefits for these injuries, you can’t collect any damages twice. So for instance, if your workers’ compensation insurer pays $50,000 in medical bills, you can’t collect that $50,000 from the third-party defendant. But this does not mean the third-party defendant doesn’t have to pay. Instead, it means the insurer that paid those bills can stake a claim (or a lien) to those damages you obtain as a result of a third-party claim.

Disputes regarding these liens can arise occasionally, and an experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Myers can help you navigate them. Continue reading →

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The Kentucky Supreme Court recently considered the personal injury lawsuit of a man who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident when he encountered a large, downed tree in the roadway.motorcycle accident attorney

Plaintiff suffered serious personal injuries and sought compensation from the county’s engineer and public works director, arguing these individuals owed a duty of care to maintain the roads in reasonably safe condition, and were negligent in failing to remove the tree or warn motorists about the danger. Defendants filed a motion for qualified official immunity in their individual capacities, which the trial court granted for the public works director, but not for the county engineer. An appellate court later affirmed this decision, citing the state statute that specifically states a county engineer is responsible to remove trees or other obstacles from public roads when the road debris is a hazard to traffic. (Defendant argued he wasn’t aware of the statute and it was the county’s public work’s maintenance department that was responsible for tree removal). With qualified immunity protection not available for defendant, the case went to trial and lasted eight days. Defendant testified he was never responsible for tree removal and his team didn’t have equipment to do so, as it had always been the job of the public works department.

After all evidence was presented, defendant sought a directed judgment, which was denied, but the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendant, concluding plaintiff hadn’t proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the engineer failed to comply with his statutory duty.  Continue reading →

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A Florida woman was seriously injured when a car came crashing into her Orange County home one recent Tuesday morning as she sat at her kitchen table. The 61-year-old driver reportedly failed to negotiate a curve as she approached the house. The homeowner was pinned until first responders arrived. She was transported to a hospital for treatment, and is expected to survive, The Orlando Sentinel reported. car in building

The driver, who suffered minor injuries, was ticketed for careless driving and told authorities she has no memory of what happened.

Although it can be tempting to write off such an incident as bizarre and isolated, the reality is many homes, business and even government buildings are vulnerable to this kind of assault. Continue reading →

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Several years ago, Florida lawmakers decided to enact a measure that would alter F.S. 90.702 (testimony by experts) and F.S. 90.704 (basis of opinion testimony by experts), forgoing the so-called “Frye standard” (so named for the 1923 case of Frye v. U.S.) and instead adopt the more stringent and widely-used “Daubert standard”(so named for the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc.). Then earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court in the per curiam ruling of In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, decided NOT to adopt the Daubert standard – even though the legislature had passed a law enacting it – for two reasons:

  • Concerns regarding the constitutionality of the amendment;
  • Procedural concerns with the law creating a section that isn’t part of the state’s evidence code.injury lawyer

So why does any of this matter when it comes to your personal injury lawsuit? The truth is, it may have a significant impact in the type of evidence you are allowed to present in your case. The federal courts and most other states now follow the Daubert standard, while Florida is one of the few states that still follows Frye.  Continue reading →