Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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A spectator who was injured in a 2013 NASCAR crash at the Daytona International Speedway recently settled with the racing company, prior to the collection of depositions and other extensive discovery.carrace

The terms of the agreement are confidential, which means we don’t know how much the spectator received from the company for its alleged negligence. What we do know is that the move was most likely strategic by NASCAR, given that settling at this juncture meant it was able to avoid enduring driver depositions, as well as making fencing and crash reports public.

According to ESPN.com, plaintiff sued International Speedway Corp., parent company of the Daytona International Speedway. The complaint detailed how plaintiff, a resident of Florida, was seated in the upper deck, watching a race, when he was suddenly and unexpectedly struck in the head with a heavy piece of debris. As a result of the incident, plaintiff suffered catastrophic traumatic brain injury.  Continue reading →

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South Florida welcomes millions of visitors every year. Many of them rely on rental accommodations while they are here – whether that is a hotel or a resort or a private home or campground. Property owners who welcome patrons onto their site for the owner’s financial benefit owe the highest duty of care to ensure guests are not endangered by unreasonable hazards. When they fail, claims can be made under an area of law known as premises liability.shower

A hotel injury lawsuit was recently weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In Parker v. Four Seasons, plaintiff was injured when, as she exited the shower by opening the shower door, the glass exploded. Shards of glass covered her naked body, causing her to sustain injuries. Her sister, who had been in an adjoining room, called for help and the hotel engineer responded right away. He looked at the overhead track and remarked that the “stopper moved again!” He went on to say that several of the newly-installed glass doors at the hotel had shattered because the track stoppers weren’t properly working, which meant the handles of the doors crashed into the walls, causing the glass to break. The engineer noted the room the plaintiff was staying in had been on the “do not sell” list for this reason, and urged the sister to make sure hers wasn’t on the same list. It was later shown plaintiff’s sister’s shower door had the same defect. Evidence was presented later that showed the door in plaintiff’s room had already been shattered and repaired, and further that there were numerous rooms where this same problem existed.

When plaintiff filed her injury lawsuit, she sought both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are those paid for actual losses. Punitive damages are those paid to punish the defendant for egregious wrongdoing – and to prevent others from doing the same. The court must approve plaintiff’s quest for punitive damages, and here, the trial court did not, finding the evidence insufficient as a matter of law. On this point, the federal appeals court reversed.  Continue reading →

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A federal appeals court has affirmed an $11 million ladder injury verdict awarded to a suburban man who suffered severe brain damage when the ladder on which he was standing collapsed.ladder

The jury found in favor of plaintiff’s claim that the ladder on which he was standing while replacing gutter screws was defectively designed – as it was unable to withstand more than 200 pounds of weight – and thus caused him to fall. As a result, he sustained a traumatic brain injury. The damage award included $7.1 million for medical expenses, plus $2 million each for pain and suffering and loss of a normal life.

Defendant manufacturer argued it should receive a new trial because the district judge wrongly allowed two of plaintiff’s expert witnesses to testify, despite questionable scientific methodology, and that plaintiff failed to prove the ladder was unreasonably dangerous. The appellate court found defendant’s argument was predicated mostly on the weight of the experts’ arguments, which is within the discretion of the jury to consider, rather than its admissibility. Further, the court held plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to prove the design was defective and a reasonable alternative existed. Even though defense had presented evidence to the contrary, it was up to the jury to consider how much weigh to give that evidence. In Baugh v. Cuprum, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, ruled the lower court did not commit any errors.

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For many people, celebrations on New Year’s Eve are among the most highly-anticipated. There is usually exceptional food, copious drink and great company.party

But there is good reason our brave first responders and hospital emergency workers brace for the holiday every year. In the midst of all these parties, there is a spike in serious injuries and illnesses directly related to the revelry. A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine analyzed some 60 million hospital death certificates over a 25-year stretch. What they found was that, on average, 42,325 more people than expected died during the two weeks between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with New Year’s Day having the highest fatality rate of any day of the year.

These reported incidents weren’t solely due to drunken driving accidents, but those certainly didn’t help. Even when people suffered from health-related ailments, authors speculated the death rates were higher during this time because people delayed seeking treatment due to the holidays. Continue reading →

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has re-opened the door for an injury lawsuit against the makers of a chemical commercial paint removal that allegedly exploded while used by a consumer, resulting in serious burns. Plaintiffs – the injured man and his wife – are alleging the product was defective and the product maker failed to warn of the danger. can

The appellate court in Suarez v. W.M. Barr & Co. ruled that while the lower court appropriately rejected the failure-to-warn claim, the claims of design defect under theories of both strict liability and negligence should be allowed to move forward. Justices ruled that although the warning label on the product was adequate in identifying the product’s principle hazards and proper precautionary measures, the plaintiffs adequately showed the fire could have been caused by static sparks created when plaintiff agitated the chemical – as the warning label instructed. That means a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether an ordinary consumer would know to expect that a fire or explosion would occur under these circumstances, and also whether the product maker should have known that agitating the substance could cause it to ignite.

The incident in question happened in April 2012 when plaintiff purchased a one-gallon can of defendant’s chemical product, called “Goof-Off” to help him remove paint from a concrete floor in the basement of a building he owned. Plaintiff said he read most of the warning labels, which indicated the primary active ingredient is acetone, which is highly flammable and evaporates quickly at room temperature.  Continue reading →

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Attorneys’ fees are often a concern of personal injury plaintiffs, or anyone needing professional legal help. But when it comes to personal injury or wrongful death cases, almost always there is a contingency fee arrangement, which means the client pays nothing upparking bumperfront and the attorney is ultimately reimbursed a percentage of the damages awarded in a settlement or trial verdict. If the case is lost, the attorney isn’t paid.

There are some circumstances, however, in which attorneys’ fees might be paid by the opposing side. Per F.S. 768.79, plaintiffs who extend a settlement offer that is not accepted within 30 days may recover attorney’s fees if they prevail in trial and are awarded damages in excess of 25 percent of that settlement offer.

Plaintiff in Anderson v. Hilton Hotels Corp. was seriously injured when he was attacked by a gunman in a hotel parking lot. He later filed a lawsuit against the the hotel and three other defendants – including the management company, the investment firm and the security contractor – for premises liability/ negligent security for failing to keep the property safe for guests. The question in his case was whether settlement offers made to the separate entities should be aggregated before being compared to the final damages awarded. The Florida Supreme Court answered: No.  Continue reading →

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Written By: PJ Scheinero-COURTROOM-facebook-300x200

There’s an old myth about the practice of law. The gist of it is that nice lawyers aren’t good lawyers and good lawyers aren’t nice lawyers. Somewhere along the way, people started to believe that antagonism and deception were key ingredients to successful lawyering.

We’ve all seen the TV shows – the sly lawyer wiggles his client free of responsibility through shady legal maneuvering; that a little intimidation (or worse) is just part of the process – a “necessary evil” for the lawyer who wants to be the best.

Real life works a little differently.

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Written By: PJ ScheinerCourt-of-Appeals

Never did I imagine that the hardest questions I would have to answer as an attorney are “Do you know a good doctor?” or “Will anyone treat me without health insurance?”

I know lots of great doctors. I consider many outstanding physicians friends, valued advisors, and role models. My wife is a resident physician – on the verge of entering private practice. I’ve had my share of bumps and bruises which my trusted caregivers manage to straighten out in short order and get me right back into the Crossfit gym. More importantly, the lives and limbs – literally – of my parents have been saved by heroic doctors. Nine surgeries and months in an external fixator saved my mom’s arm. Therapeutic hypothermia may well have saved my dad’s brain after his massive heart attack and delayed return of spontaneous circulation.

I am surrounded by medicine, each of my clients has a unique story whose ending is heavily influenced by the care they receive. I study medicine to understand my client’s conditions – and to hold dishonest hired experts accountable by discrediting their medically unsound paid opinions. Medical journals are familiar resources for information on emerging research and best practices. I’m fascinated and energized by the incredible potential of regenerative medicine and pluripotent and multipotent stem cells. I learn the medicine of each of my client’s cases, because the better I understand my client’s condition and situation, the better the outcome I am able to obtain on their behalf.

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A haunted house injury lawsuit was recently settled for $125,000 after a California woman reportedly suffered serious injuries when a moving wall knocked her down onto a poorly-lit floor in an unlit location on site. Among her injuries: Severe fractures to one of her legs and soft tissue injuries to her back and spine.hauntedhouse

The Oakland Press reported the woman filed her lawsuit last year, which was one year after the injury in October 2014. Plaintiff alleged operation of the haunted house rendered it both unsafe and defective. This in turn resulted in a substantial number of injuries to patrons. The alleged negligence of the site owner/ operator reportedly involved:

  • Employees moving walls;
  • Inadequate lighting on the floor;
  • Fall hazards.

Of course, patrons who enter haunted houses do inherently accept some risk. But the question becomes what level of risk was inherent and what responsibility did the owners/operators have to patrons? As paying customers on site, patrons are owed the highest duty of care by the owner/ operator. That means the site has to be reasonably safe and patrons have to be adequately warned if there are any conditions that aren’t safe. Continue reading →

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The saturation of social media in modern society has been aided in part by the instantaneous gratification received via smartphone technology. People everywhere connect globally to automatically share anything from deep philosophical musings to the most mundane details of everyday life. It should come as little surprise then that it’s an issue that has come up in civil courtrooms across the country. Specifically: How do we keep jurors from publicly engaging about the cases they are charged with deciding, particularly while the proceedings are ongoing? phone

Part of the role of a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer is to carefully vet jurors who might oversee a case that goes to trial. We also have to occasionally monitor social media accounts to determine not just whether a juror may have engaged in misconduct by posting details or opinions about the case, but whether these actions may have prejudiced the plaintiff in a way that could warrant a mistrial or a new trial. We must be vigilant in protecting our clients’ rights.

In the recent case of Murphy v. Roth, before Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal, a plaintiff in an automobile accident lawsuit sought a new trial after it was revealed a juror in the case had been engaged on social media about his jury duty as well as his thoughts about the perceived greed of “everyone” trying “anything” to get money.  Continue reading →