Articles Tagged with personal injury attorney

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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 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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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 →

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Jurors recently awarded $4.6 million in damages to a woman who suffered personal injury after she was stuck by a needle in a Target shopping center parking lot. hypodermicneedle

Initially, the woman’s attorney offered to settle with the retail giant for $12,000. That offer was flatly rejected, so the South Carolina litigator took the case to trial – with great success. Although it’s probably the retail chain will appeal, if the award stands, it will be one of the largest personal injury verdicts in that region, according to the local clerk of courts.

According to USA Today, the incident happened in a store parking lot in May 2014. Plaintiff said she had just gotten out of her vehicle when she looked up to see her 8-year-old daughter picking up a hypodermic needle. Swiftly reacting, plaintiff swatted the needle away from her daughter. As she did so, the needle struck the palm of her right hand.  Continue reading →

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The Florida Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on whether to revert to an older, less rigid system of vetting expert witnesses, or to keep the newer, higher standard imposed by state legislators three years ago. gavel21

The former is known as the Frye standard, while the latter is the Daubert standard. Both standards are named after court cases, and Daubert is the standard used by federal courts.

Now, before we lose everyone here, we fully concede this sounds like the sort of dry, technical legal argument no one but lawyers care about it. But in fact, it’s something all Floridians should care about. That’s because at some point in your life, you are probably going to wind up in court. Perhaps you will file a personal injury lawsuit. It’s possible you might someday be accused of some type of negligence as a defendant in such a case. Maybe you will be accused of a crime or perhaps you are the victim. Both the criminal and civil justice system often rely heavily on the testimony of expert witnesses – from forensic experts to car accident reconstructionists to medical doctors to mechanics. The standard the court chooses to apply to vet such witnesses will affect whether their testimony is allowed, which has the potential to swing an entire case.

Continue reading →

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Mandatory arbitration agreements have become so commonplace, it’s often almost a given that people will enter them any time they:

  • Purchase a product;
  • Renting a car;
  • Seek admission into a nursing home;
  • Enter a facility/ venue. sadsillouhette

These agreements serve to block access to a dispute resolution through the civil court system, instead requiring anyone with a problem to seek redress through a skewed arbitration system in which arbitrators view corporations as their “clients.” Continue reading →

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Most horse owners and caretakers do their best to properly restrain and confine horses and livestock. These animals are expensive to purchase and maintain and for many people, they are also beloved pets.horse2

However, if these animals do make their way onto a public road, they put the public at serious risk of injury or death. The average horse weighs between 840 to 1,210 pounds, and the average cow weighs nearly a ton. Striking an animal that size – even at a relatively low speed – can result in major damage to one’s vehicle and person.

In these situations, who is responsible? Injury victims may have several options, depending on the circumstances. But in the recent case of Manfre v. Shinkle, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal determined plaintiff couldn’t hold the local sheriff’s office accountable.  Continue reading →