Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The potential for falls and serious injuries on ladders is a very real one, as more than 20,000 people are injured and nearly 135 die annually in the U.S. due to ladder falls just in the workplace. Although construction workers are the most at risk for obvious reasons, they aren’t the only ones. Any homeowner – particularly those who prefer to do household maintenance themselves, may find themselves at risk of a fall.personal injury

Whether these incidents can be grounds for an injury lawsuit, however, will depend on a variety of factors. For instance, if you were using a ladder on a property owned by another (say, a retailer), you might have grounds for a premises liability claim if you can show the ladder presented an unsafe condition and the property owner was aware of it or should have been aware of it and failed to warn you about it. If, however, you are injured by a ladder you are using at home, you may want to look into whether the ladder itself was defective. It certainly would not be the first time.

In fact, a jury in a federal court in Florida recently awarded nearly $5 million to a plaintiff who alleged injury as a result of a defective ladder. In the case of Ore v. Tricam Industries Inc. et al., a South Florida resident filed the personal injury lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He alleged at least one of the rivets in the ladder manufactured and sold by defendants failed while in normal use. The holes were reportedly punched in the wrong place in the fiber glass. The ladder was never properly inspected before it was shipped to the hardware store for sale. The hardware store also failed to look it over before selling it. Continue reading →

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The explosive power of fireworks is an effective means to evoke strong emotions – including excitement and patriotism. That’s part of why they are so popular around the Fourth of July. fireworks

But fireworks liability is an important topic of consideration this time of year too because all too often, negligent use or reckless mishandling of firearms can lead to serious injuries.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) reports fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fireworks in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires and 14,000 outside and other fires. In addition, hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks-related injuries just in a single year. The majority of those were burns. Injuries were inflicted mostly to hands and fingers, but also to head/ face/ ear and also to eyes. Arms, legs and trunks suffered the rest. Continue reading →

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In a ruling that will have a major impact on all Florida personal injury lawsuits, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected a more stringent standard of evidence known as the Daubert Standard, in favor of the less restrictive Frye Standard that it followed for years.

Florida legislators in 2013 voted to alter the Florida Evidence Code to a switch from Frye to Daubert, and Gov. Rick Scott signed that measure into law, with favor from the defense bar and big business clients. However, the courts never formally followed suit, and it seems with this ruling, they don’t intend to do so. The court cited constitutional concerns.

We recognize legal discussions on evidence standards can sound like dry jargon. But here’s tinjury lawyerhe reality: It’s likely to have a direct impact on your Fort Myers injury lawsuit. The reason is that the Daubert requires a higher standard of proof just to get a foot in the door. That can mean your case could be killed before it ever even gets started, which plaintiff attorneys like us view as an issue of access to the courts. Specifically, Daubert involves the admissibility of expert witness testimony. That’s not to say “Frye” is a free-for-all, by any means. However, it does give you a better chance of getting your valid case in front of a judge and reaching a favorable solution.  Continue reading →

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Proponents of tort reform are pressing forward with a series of bills that, if passed, would make it increasingly difficult to file an injury lawsuit, to pursue class action litigation or to obtain just compensation. gavel

The term “tort reform” is a tidy way of explaining efforts that make it harder for those who have suffered serious injury due to someone else’s negligence to seek and obtain justice. It’s wrapped in a pro-business agenda, and is predicated on the notion that plaintiff attorneys are greedy and frivolous claims are rampant and plaintiffs unfairly are awarded millions – even when it was largely their own fault for being hurt. This characterization overlooks the reality of our civil justice system and the fact that it can already be an uphill climb for many injury plaintiffs. Yet it’s been very successful. Look no further than the so-called “McDonald’s coffee case,” wherein an elderly woman was awarded $1 million (or two days’ coffee sales) after she was so severely burned by the company’s hot coffee that she nearly died. The fast-food restaurant was selling coffee far in excess of what would be considered safe temperatures and thousands of people had suffered burns in the year prior. Yet tort reform proponents managed to successfully rewrite the script for the American public, who now generally look back on that case as a class “frivolous lawsuit.”

Now, with politicians friendly to tort reform now controlling both houses of Congress and a president considered pro-business, tort reform supporters are pressing forward with their agenda.  Continue reading →

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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, 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

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 →