Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Every once in a while our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys hear of peculiar news involving personal injuries in Florida. In early February the Orlando Sentinel published a story in reference to a dead dog biting a 7-year-old Casselberry boy. Evidently the dog owner has claimed that his dog had died sometime last summer after animal control officers showed up at his door in an attempt to pick up the dog. Prior to this event, the owner and the Seminole County Animal Control agency had gotten into a dispute which resulted in the animal control board voting to have its officers subject the dog to euthanasia.
The board’s decision came after the dog allegedly bit a 5-year-old girl in which a Florida personal injury lawsuit was filed against the owner. The girl was a granddaughter of a neighbor and suffered severe facial lacerations which would require 25 stitches to close the wounds. The owner settled the lawsuit with the plaintiffs for $25,000. However, besides these two incidents a more recent report surfaced claiming that the dog was alive and had bitten another person. But, the owner still claims that the dog died last August. Now, Seminole County has requested that the court issue an order to the owner for the dog’s surrender, and if he fails to comply he could face possible jail punishment.
In Florida, dog owners can be held strictly liable when their dog causes a Florida personal injury to another person. Under this legal theory, it is irrelevant if the owner knew or did not know of the dog’s propensity to bite or its viciousness. Although some owners will attempt to argue that a child was trespasser upon their land, but under Florida law, it is a generally recognize that owners can be held liable by failing to exercising reasonable care to remove dangerous conditions on their property or failing to protect a child.
Dog bites are a common cause of severe injuries to children, including death. In 2011, there were 13 children in the United States that died as a result of a dog attack. The treatment costs of serious dog bites can exceed thousands of dollars because stitches or sutures are often required to close deep wounds. However, these costs could be recovered if a personal injury lawsuit is filed against the owner of a dog. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys help parents and their children to recover damages and can file a lawsuit on their behalf. If parents are expected to be responsible for their children, so should owners of pets be held liable when their dog has caused harm, and it is our belief that a child’s life is more valuable than a household pet?
If your child has been recently bitten by a dog, your first response should be to seek medical treatment immediately. Not every dog owner is responsible person who keeps their dog up to date with its vaccinations and it is possible that the dog carries communicable diseases which can be transmitted to humans. Also, you should consult with our Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyers who can advise you of your legal rights or if you have a potential lawsuit to sue the owner for damages.
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Monday, February 27, 2012
Under Florida law, consumers who are injured or die as a result of a defective product can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. In Florida, there are thousands of people each year which are seriously hurt because an unsafe product was placed into the marketplace. Defective products have been associated with causing severe personal injuries, including burn injuries. Recently, a Pensacola man who had been smoking an electronic cigarette suffered significant burn injuries when the cigarette blew up in his face. “The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off,” said a division chief of the North Bay Fire Department when describing this Florida personal injury accident. Based upon several news reports it appears that the explosion was so forceful that the man sustained severe burn injuries to his face, a partial detachment of his tongue and all his teeth were knocked out. Additionally, the heat from the explosion was so hot that it melted some personal property in the injured party’s residence. He was treated at a burn center in Mobile, Alabama.
Firefighters say that they have never heard of an exploding electronic cigarette. Our Fort Lauderdale burn injury attorneys realize that this type of accident is rare; however, it is not uncommon for people to suffer from burn injuries caused by faulty products. Chemical hair dyes, defective curling irons and electrical equipment are common causes of burn injuries. So far firefighters have been unable to identify the brand of the electronic cigarette, but regardless, when a product is placed into the stream of commerce, consumers expect the product to be safe and in good condition when they are using it for its intended use. Since this is not always the case, when a person is hurt or die because of defective products the manufacturer or retailer could be held liable for negligence, strict liability or consumers may file a lawsuit based on breach of warranty.
In a Florida defective product liability suit based upon negligence, the consumer must prove that the defendant’s faulty product caused the injury and the defendant was at fault. Further the types of recoverable damages in a negligence action of this type typically include monetary compensation for personal injury or property damage. On the other hand, in a strict products liability action, the consumer must prove that the specific product was attributable to the defendant, had a defect and the defect caused the injury. Medical expenses, loss of income; and pain and suffering are among the common types of recoverable damages based upon strict liability.
Based upon the unique facts of a consumer’s claim, our Fort Lauderdale products liability attorneys may have to rely upon breach of warranty as the basis for liability. Under Florida law when a retailer sells goods of the kind involved in the transaction to a consumer a contract is formed. If the seller makes a statement which represents to the consumer about its product and is relied upon by the consumer there may evidence of an express warranty. Alternatively, an implied warranty is warranty assurance that the product is fit for its ordinary or intended purpose. Most warranty actions are based upon implied warranties, and if it is determined that the seller knows or has reason to know that the consumer has made a purchase for a particular purpose and has relied upon the seller’s skills, then there is an implied warranty.
It would be against public policy to allow manufacturers or retailers to escape liability when they have placed products into the marketplace that harms or kills a person. However, may attempt to do so by blaming and arguing that the consumer caused the defect. But our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys are committed to serving the safe interest of the public by helping those who have suffered personal injuries from defective products. If you believe that a faulty product caused your injuries or death of a loved one, contact our office to consult with an attorney about your case.
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Friday, February 24, 2012
At least 226 passengers and 63 crew members on the Crown Princess fell ill from the norovirus illness. It is the second reported outbreak of the gastrointestinal disease to hit the ship within three weeks. During January 29 to February 4, at least 364 passengers and 30 crew members suffered from the illness while on board this Fort Lauderdale cruise ship. According to the CDC, norovirus can spread from person to person through contaminated food, water or by touching an infected surface. Those who suffer from this from this illness will often experience acute gastroenteritis which causes them severe stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, this illness can be very dangerous and life-threatening for the elderly, young children, and those with a compromised immune system.
Our Fort Lauderdale cruise ship attorneys are very concerned about this recent outbreak, since representatives of the ship announced that they had worked with the CDC after the first outbreak to prevent any future spread of the highly contagious illness. Reportedly, crew members provided passengers with preventable safety tips to avoid becoming infected with the illness. They were encouraged to use their own restrooms, wash hands thoroughly and exercise caution when touching surfaces on the ship’s doorknobs and railings. But, this recent second outbreak prompted the cruise ship’s representatives to cut its passenger’s vacation short and returned to Fort Lauderdale two days ahead of the scheduled return date so that the ship can be sanitized.
Moreover, the CDC reports that noroviruses are the most common causes of epidemic gastroenteritis. It is responsible for approximately 50 % off all gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide, and it is estimated that on an annual basis approximately 21 million illnesses are attributable to noroviruses in the United States. Additionally, this is a food borne illness which is often found in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals and college dormitories. The CDC recommends that when an acute outbreak occurs, infected persons should be isolated and remain excluded from non-infected persons for a period of 24-48 hours after their symptoms disappear because of the highly infectious nature of the disease.
If you have a loved one who is a patient in a nursing home facility you should be aware that long-term facilities, including nursing homes are among the most common settings in which nirovirus outbreaks occur in the United States, and there have been cases in which people have died from the illness. Primarily the disease is transmitted from person-to-person, but contaminated food is also a common cause of niroviruses. If you were a passenger on board the Crown Princess, or any other cruise ship and have experienced severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should seek medical attention immediately. This is a life threatening disease and there have been associated deaths which have occurred in the United States. Correspondingly, if your loved one has recently fell ill due to this disease, you should contact our office to speak with one of our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys to obtain advice about a potential legal claim.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
One of the most frequents concerns among our clients are the amount of damages that could be awarded in their Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuit. The answer to this question is that no attorney can say for certain how much you a jury could award you for the injuries you sustained in an accident. The determination of whether or not to award any damages is a matter for the jury. However, usually the types of damages awarded are and in some cases punitive. Punitive damages are those damages which he jury awards a person is to punish a person for their wrongful conduct and to prevent this individual from future tortious acts.
Further, it is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the personal injury lawsuits end up going to trial. And according to a study conducted by a committee of the Florida Bar, civil jury trials are decreasing across the country, including in the state of Florida. The Florida Bar Special Committee to Study the Decline in Jury Trial was created in the year 2010 to examine the decline in jury trials in the state. Based upon research of the Office of State Court Administrator, statistics revealed that during the fiscal year, 1986-1987, there were a total of 155,407 total civil cases which were filed in the Florida Circuit Courts, and the number of disposition of trials by jury amounted to 2,413 or 1.6% of the total Court dispositions. However during fiscal year 2009 – 2010, there were a total of 401,463 Civil Court dispositions, but only 879 were disposed of by jury trial, or 0.2%.
Why is there a decline in the number of civil jury trials? According to the study, there are a number of factors which have contributed to this decline including alternative dispute resolutions, the time it takes to take a case to trial and settlement agreements. But, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys are very familiar with the Florida civil litigation process and conduct every phase of the litigation procedure with due diligence. In addition, once it becomes established that you have a valid legal claim, we will gather the evidence, complete a thorough factual investigation, or subpoena witnesses and collect any information in proving your claim. We only will discuss entering into a settlement agreement with you when the circumstances indicate that this may be in your best interest, and in some situations this may be the best solution in resolving your legal claim.
However, despite the decline in the number of jury trials in Florida, you should consult with one of our firm’s Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyers if you have been injured in an automobile accident, medical malpractice, slip-and-fall, or any accident in which you or a loved one sustained a personal injury. Depending upon the facts of your case, it is a possibility your lawsuit could result in a jury verdict. Nevertheless, this is a matter in which your attorney will discuss with you and advise you of the best legal alternative in disposing of your case.
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Monday, February 20, 2012
Priscilla Gratton, the widow of one of the powerboat racers who was killed during the Key West Super Boat World Championship last November has filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against the competition producer and two medical directors. In her civil suit, which was filed on Friday in the Broward Circuit Court, Gratton is alleging that her husband died as a result of the gross negligence of John Carbonell, President of Super Boat International Productions, Inc., and race medical directors Donald DiPetrillo and Brian Haff. According to the Miami-Herald, she is demanding damages of more than $15,000 and a jury trial.
On November 11, 2011, powerboat racer Joey Gratton was the throttle man of the Page Motorsports boat when the 38-foot caverman overturned on the first turn in the final lap during the second race. The Key West Super Boat World Championship is a three-day racing competition and last year’s race will probably remembered as one of the most tragic sports racing competition in the industry. During the competition, two Missouri racers were also killed two days prior to Gratton’s death.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Gratton’s death as an accident, but the widow alleges that her husband would still be alive but for the producer and medical directors’ negligence. In her lawsuit she argues that her husband was still alive and uninjured after the Florida powerboat accident. She claims that after the wreckage her husband survived for a few minutes on an emergency air tank when he was unable to free himself because of the harness system kept him refrained in his seat. But, the inexperience of the volunteer divers and the response time it took for them to get from their boat to her husband led to his death because the boat begun to sink and trapped the exit door which made it impossible for her husband to escape. Further, by the time the responders were able to open the door’s access, her husband had run out of air supply.
Moreover, she claims that her husband’s accident came just two days after another fatal boating accident and that the defendants did nothing to correct “the obvious defects and deficiencies in their policies after the first tragedy.” She contends that the producers were using volunteer divers as first rescue responders as a cost saving measure and in which they were not qualified to perform. Also, her attorney says that the defendants’ conduct deviates from industry standard practices and procedures. Page Motorsports owner and driver, Stephen Page survived the accident.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers reported earlier that the number of powerboating accidents is small in comparison with motor vehicle accidents. But, whenever you have a sporting activity which involves traveling at high rates of speed, there is an increased risk of accidents happening that can cause serious injuries or death. Therefore it becomes critical that industry standards, practices, procedures and protocols be followed thoroughly, and that skilled and trained personnel are employed as first response rescuers. Losing a loved one is traumatic experience and it is further disturbing when your loved one has died as a result of another’s negligence.
For that reason, our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys recognizes that it is during this difficult times families are overwhelmed, suffer from enormous grief and trying to move forward with life seems unbearable. But we are here to assist families in relieving some of their pain by helping them hold the responsible party for causing the death of their loved one accountable for their actions. If you have suffered from a recent experience contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys about your case, because you could have a legal claim to recover damages for your loss.
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Friday, February 17, 2012
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12 cases of the E. coli food poisoning has surfaced in five states from raw sprouts of the national sandwich chain Jimmy Johns. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys learned that despite Jimmy John’s having local restaurants in our community and the state of Florida is not among the states reported by the CDC, however this outbreak comes one year after raw alfalfa sprouts from one the chain’s suppliers was linked to 140 cases of salmonella illnesses.
The Associated Press is reporting that federal regulators issued an alert to the public warning them about the potential in acquiring food borne illnesses by eating all raw sprouts. Moreover, representatives of Jimmy John have declined to comment about this most recent outbreak, but have issued prior statements that the company would switch from alfalfa sprouts to using clover statements. Furthermore, although sprouts are believed to be good for healthy eating, they must have warm and humid conditions in order to grow. As a result, they can become very dangerous to the public to consume due to bacterial growth under the required weather conditions. Also, the government recommends that the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with weak immune systems not eat raw sprouts at all.
Apparently there has been three sprout outbreaks potentially linked to the chain which resulted in lawsuits being filed. It is usual for consumer complaints involving food borne pathogens to be settled outside of the courtroom and in which any compensation paid to those who were injured caused by these products to be held confidential. Nonetheless, since there are 40 different microbial pathogens which are commonly known to cause human illness, it is possible for a person develop a serious injury. Among these are fungi, parasites and bacteria and can often be discovered in food products such as eggs, lettuce and bean sprouts. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious illness, or death, you should contact our Fort Lauderdaleproduct liability lawyers to discuss your case.
Moreover it is familiar understanding that food handling errors are a major cause of the serious injuries and death among those who have experienced a food borne disease. Food can become contaminated due to employees not following the appropriate storage procedures or mishandling of food and their cooking utensils. While a substantial number of cases of food borne diseases can be traced to commercial or institutional establishments, it is often that these companies will attempt to shift fault to the consumer by claiming that it was the consumer who failed to properly handle their products. Nevertheless, it is a company’s responsibility to know about the potential risks of pathogens in their food and to take precautionary methods to prevent people from being harmed by their product.
It is important to contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers shortly after you have discovered that contaminated food was the cause of you or a family member’s personal injury or death. These types of cases are very complex and require thorough investigation of the facts. An attorney can assist you with identifying the entity that should be ultimately being held responsible for causing you injury. It is possible that you could have a legal claim and be awarded damages for your injuries.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Apparently during this staggering economy, three Floridians assume that they could stage a Florida motor vehicle accident in order to earn some quick cash. In January, Lee County law enforcement officers arrested a trio in a Florida insurance fraud incident. According to ABC news, deputies first responded to a reported accident between an Oldsmobile vehicle and a Nissan SUV at the intersection 5th Street West and Venice Avenue North in Lee County. Further, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s investigating report, the driver of the Oldsmobile informed deputies that he crashed into the Nissan because he failed to stop at the intersection. But, after a traffic reconstruction investigator found conflicting evidence and an eye witness statement, it was determined that the accident occurred at the intersection of 6th Street West and Venice Avenue North. Also, the driver of the Nissan admitted that the accident did in fact occurred at the intersection of 6th Street West and Venice Avenue North, but only after being confronted with the statement of the eye witness. And likely due to the behaviors and the statements of the drivers involved, Lee County law enforcement officers say that this was a case of insurance fraud. Staged accidents are happening more and more in Florida and it is causing Florida citizens to spend more money each year in premiums. Moreover, insurance fraud occurrences similar to this event are compelling the state’s lawmakers to crack down on fraud that leads to increased personal injury protection insurance.
On Monday, Senator Joe Negron, R-Stuart, filed Senate Bill 1860, which if it becomes law, hospitals will become priority standing in PIP claims, will close licensure loopholes for clinics and establish a fee schedule for reimbursements. Senator Negron’s proposal is a measure to address fraud issues that are leading to increasing insurance premiums in some metropolitan neighborhoods in South Florida. According to the Associated Press, Floridians pay an estimated $1 billion annually. Two House members filed similar bills in November.
In the state of Florida, if you are the owner of a registered motor vehicle with four wheels you are required by law to carry PIP insurance coverage. Under PIP insurance policies, also commonly known as no-fault insurance, regardless that is at fault in your automobile accident, you are protected up to the limits of your policy. PIP has a minimum of $10,000 for personal injuries and a minimum of $10,000 for property damage. In addition, our Fort Lauderdale motor vehicle accident attorneys want our clients to know that staging accidents is only one of several cases that are considered fraud. Other situations in which insurance fraud can occur involve filing false reports or boosting the amount of their actual expenses.
Therefore, do not attempt to file a false claim or inflate the cost of your actual damages. There are serious legal consequences you will encounter if you are caught, including the possibility of going to jail. Also important you should also retain any receipts or records of medical care appointments related to the injuries you suffered in a car accident. These types of documents can help you in proving the actual expenses you have incurred and can be used as evidence to show that you actually received medical treatment. Also, there are many medical clinics out there that have been associated with staging accidents in order to defraud the insurance system by getting people to do their dirty work. They will recruit individuals to stage car accidents in which no injuries occurred and have these people visit their office and file a PIP claim. If you have any questions regarding an insurance claim, you should consult with a FortLauderdale personal injury attorney who is available to help you with filing a claim, answer your questions about the claims process and can discuss with you about the best legal strategy in pursuing your lawsuit.
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Monday, February 13, 2012
Our Fort Lauderdalepersonal injury clients frequently have questions regarding how a potential bankruptcy filing could affect their motor vehicle, slip-and-fall, or medical malpractice lawsuit. The answer to these types of questions will depend upon a number of factors, including the type of bankruptcy protection a client is seeking from the bankruptcy courts. Typically, most clients file as consumers who request protection from the court by filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition. Basically, consumers seek to liquidate their debts under Chapter 7 because they have no assets for the trustee to distribute to creditors, as compared to a Chapter 13. Under a Chapter 13, a payment plan is filed in the case in order to pay off creditors.
You will need to consult with your Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers about your concerns of an unresolved lawsuit and how a bankruptcy filing will affect your suit. Also, your attorney is likely to refer you to an attorney who practices bankruptcy law to represent you in your bankruptcy case. These matters can become very complicated because once a petition is filed, a bankruptcy trustee is appointed to administer your estate and you are required to list all property and assets you own. And for bankruptcy purposes, any pending civil suits are considered as assets in which you own and must be listed in the bankruptcy schedules. Failing to disclose this information in your bankruptcy petition could result in a dismissal of your civil lawsuit to recover damages. Further, the trustee will determine whether or not the value of your pending lawsuit has a value which is worth administering. If the trustee determines that your pending claim has substantial value, then he or she will more than likely want to administer the personal injury case as an asset of the bankruptcy case.
But, before the trustee makes a decision to abandon its interest in a potential FortLauderdale personal injury suit, he or she will also consider any exemptions in which you are legally entitled to claim. Since bankruptcy is controlled by federal law, there are various federal exemptions in which you may claim to keep your property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. For example, under Section 522 (d) (11) (b) of 11 U.S.C., a debtor (in this case, the plaintiff with a pending personal injury lawsuit) is allowed to exempt a payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor. Also, there may be state exemptions under Florida law which will allow you to keep your property.
It is always best to speak with your Fort Lauderdale motor vehicle accident attorneys about any bankruptcy filing you may be contemplating once you have filed a cause of action based upon negligence, or any other areas of torts law. We know that when you or a loved one is seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash, a slip and fall accident, or harmed as a result of medical malpractice, you may face financial difficulties which arise as a result of the injury you sustained, and become unable to work. Consulting with an attorney can advise you of your legal rights and how to best handle your financial hardship.
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Friday, February 10, 2012
Two Florida CVS pharmacies were raided on Saturday by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to Reuters, although the details of the raids have not been released from the DEA agency, a news conference has been scheduled to take place on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. Florida time. Given the fact that approximately seven people living in the state of Florida die each day as a result of prescription overdose, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys have a strong interest in stopping prescription drug abuse in the state of Florida.
News of this recent raid comes just a couple months after other reports surfaced in mid-November that the CVS pharmacy sent letters to physicians in Florida that the pharmacy would no longer fill Schedule II prescriptions. Schedule II drug such as oxycodone, morphine, and cocaine are known to have a high risk for drug abuse which can cause the death of a person. Moreover, many of the deaths caused from the over dosage of these dangerous drugs have been linked to medical facilities which illegally prescribe or administer drugs, or as most commonly known as pill mills.
Disappointingly, it appears to be relatively easy for abusers to purchase from these pill mills. All they have to do is visit one of these facilities, receive little to no medical evaluation, and pay cash for their visit. More frustrating is the report from the Orlando Sentinel that reveals that during the year 2010, 90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing doctors were from the state of Florida. Drug abuse is a serious problem which destroys families and communities, and it is sad to see that our citizens have fallen into drug abuse from the negligence of unscrupulous doctors.
If your loved one has died as a result of painkillers you should consult with an attorney to obtain advice about filing a Fort Lauderdale painkiller lawsuit. The physicians and medical facilities which prescribe or administer these deadly painkillers owe a duty to their patients and breach this duty when they fail to adequately caution their patients to becoming addicted to these powerful mediations. And when death has occurred, eligible family members could be entitled to recover monetary damages for their harm.
Hopefully, the Florida prescription-drug-monitoring database will curtail this type of activity. Effective September 1, 2011 providers who dispense controlled substances are required to report to the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation program (E-FORCSE) by electronic means, any controlled substance dispenses within seven (7) days. The purpose of the database is to collect, store and monitor controlled substances which are classified as Schedules II, III, and IV drugs. Also, its goal is to assist health care providers with information about the dispensing of these medications as well as guide them in their decision to prescribe the drugs to their patients.
Our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys are here to answer any questions which you may have as a result of you or your loved one being seriously injured, or when death has occurred in your family as a result of dangerous painkillers. If you know of someone who is addicted to these medications encourage them to seek treatment immediately.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
On Wednesday night, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman who informed officers that she was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV and has been working as a prostitute while knowingly having this deadly disease. Michelle Weissman was busted during a prostitution sting and said that she contracted the HIV disease three years ago, according to The Palm Beach Post News. In 2009, the latest available statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were an estimated 6,120 persons in the state of Florida with a diagnosis of the HIV infection, regardless of the stage of the disease at diagnosis. HIV is deadly virus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Sadly, many people living with a Fort Lauderdale HIV infection will face humility and discrimination when they disclose to others their medical conditions. But, the state of Florida makes it illegal to knowingly transmit this virus to a sexual partner without disclosing to them about the HIV status, and without out a sexual partner’s consent to engage in sexual activities with an infected partner. Further, under Florida law, a person who commits or offers an act of prostitution while infected with the HIV disease and fails to notify a sexual partner could be convicted of criminal transmission of HIV. Also, across the nation, many states not only have criminal HIV transmission laws, but in some jurisdictions a person who becomes infected without their consent could also have a legal claim by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers recognize that the spread of HIV epidemic is a prevailing problem in Florida. In 2009, Broward County ranked number two in the nation, the 2ND highest in the number of new AIDS cases per capita diagnosed in that year. Additionally, approximately 125,000 people, or an estimated 11.7 percent of the national total, people with the HIV disease lived in Florida. Nonetheless, the Florida Supreme Court has held that a person infected with HIV can sue to recover damages in a civil suit when their HIV status is wrongfully disclosed. This means that if a medical provider, employees of a health care facility, insurance company, another person or an entity which has a need to know, discloses a person’s HIV status without their consent, they could be held liable and have to pay the infected person damages for the harm resulting from the wrongful disclosure. Specifically, the Supreme Court in Florida Department of Corrections v. Abril (2007) held, "an entity that negligently and unlawfully violates a patient's right of confidentiality and privacy disclosing the results of HIV testing of the patient may be held responsible in a civil action for damages caused to the patient by unlawful disclosure" [Florida Department of Corrections v. Abril, 969 So. 2d 201, 206 (Fla. 2007).
But on the other hand, since there are a myriad of legal issues involved, including possible negligence, when one has been exposed to the HIV disease, for example while in a healthcare or hospital setting, and are injured as a result, then a FortLauderdale medical malpractice attorney could become involved in your case. You should contact an attorney immediately after you have become aware of an exposure, and especially if you have signs and symptoms of an incurable disease such as HIV because there have been a number of cases in which a person or a family member has become seriously ill or event worst, died as a result of someone’s negligence.
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Birth Related Neurological Injuries and the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan
Monday, February 6, 2012
In a Florida personal injury lawsuit sometimes there are two or more parties who may be listed as defendants. Usually this happens when the plaintiff asserts that two or more parties’ wrongful conduct has caused the plaintiff injuries. How much liability each tortfeasor could be held responsible for will need to be determined by the fact finder since there are various rules that govern actions against multiple defendants. At common law, when two or more persons acted in concert it was said that the two were joint tortfeasors for causing the plaintiff’s injuries. However, if two or more persons, not acting an agreement, but causes the plaintiff to suffer a harm, then the injury was classified as an indivisible injury. For example, if two motorists acting independently of one another crashes into another vehicle causing the plaintiff to sustain a personal injury, the plaintiff could still sue both by bringing a personal action against each party. In short, to clarify, joint tortfeasors at common law could occur as a result of two people who acted an agreement to cause plaintiff to become injured, or acted independently but cause the plaintiff to suffer an indivisible injury. The legal effect was that each defendant, at common law, was considered joint tortfearsors and the plaintiff could sue any one of the responsible parties to recover damages for the harm she sustained.
Joint and severally liability could be an issue in a Florida motor vehicle crash which killed three people in December 2010. According to the Sun Sentinel, the Florida Highway Patrol department has issued non-criminal citations against two men whom witnesses claim “were staging to stage for a drag racing competition”. Although neither Angel Lazo nor Raymon Garcia are facing criminal charges, traffic citations were issued and reports of the state patrol’s office conclude that racing-related activities were involved in the accident. As to what exactly happened is not clear because according to Lazo’s lawyer as being reported by the Sun Sentinel, Lazo was having car trouble while traveling on U.S. 27 and instructed Garcia to follow behind him. Also, Garcia’s mother says that her son suffered a brain injury and has no recollection of the wreck.
Moreover, Lazo lawyers and family members of the passengers killed have pointed to a driver of a semitrailer. According to the official report of the FHP, on or about December 9, 2010 at approximately 12:30 a.m., the truck driver traveled south on U.S. 27 when he saw an Integra and Honda Civic make U-turns from the southbound to the northbound lanes of the highway. As he traveled northbound in the right-hand land, an unknown vehicle made a sudden lane change from behind his vehicle and into the left northbound lane. Apparently, the lights on the unknown vehicle was such that it blinded the truck driver who was unable to see that the Lazo and Garcia vehicles were at a standstill in the highway, and he attempted to break, but could not, and he was not able to swerve in either direction because of the several cars parked on the highway. He crashed into the Garcia vehicle and all three passengers in the vehicle died. Additionally, witnesses say that there were about 15 cars parked on the side to view the alleged car race. Lazo, according to his lawyer, suffered a skull fracture.
Nonetheless, the FHP cleared the truck driver of any wrongdoing. More so, under Florida law, if the descendants’ family members were to hire a Fort Lauderdale accident attorney to file a lawsuit on their behalf against Lazo and Garcia under a negligence theory, naming each as joint tortfeasors, and the fact finder determines that the plaintiffs were not at fault, they could be entitle to recover full economic damages as the court determines. Economic damages are those damages which can be quantified such as the loss of wages and medical expenses. Also, despite some states having abolished the joint tortfeasor rule, Florida has amended this common law rule by placing caps on economic damages recovery. In short, if it is shown that a plaintiff has comparative fault (the jury or fact finder finds that the plaintiff’s actions help created the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries), then the defendants would be responsible for the amount of damage based upon the apportioned fault.
Our Fort Lauderdale motor vehicle accident lawyers can give you the advice you need if your loved was killed as a result of two or more responsible parties, or you were injured in an accident from the negligence of more than one responsible party. When there are multiple defendants who could be named as defendants in a lawsuit, you will need the representation of a lawyer. You should contact an attorney immediately after an accident because if you delay filing a lawsuit for too long, you could lose your right to bring an action in court against the wrongdoer.
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Friday, February 3, 2012
Police impersonators still remain a problem in South Florida. On January 19, Miami Beach Police arrested 18-year-old Matthew Scheidt for impersonating a police officer. Apparently, Scheidt, acting as a law enforcement officer, pulled over a driver for not wearing a seat belt. However, one can picture the expression on the teen’s face when he became aware that the driver of the vehicle he pulled over was an actual undercover cop. Seemingly this is not the first time Schedit has run into trouble with the law because according to news sources, he was arrested last year for impersonating a physician’s assistant at the Osceola Regional Medical Center. Our FortLauderdale personal injury attorneys want our citizens to know that police impersonation is an increasing trend in South Florida, as well has across the nation.
Often when a person acts as a police officer or a government official they normally do not have good intentions. Usually it is to commit common crimes such as an assault, rape, robbery or kidnapping. Not only is impersonating a law enforcement officer a serious crime, but a person could also face civil liability if they also commit the intentional tort of false imprisonment. For example, when a person asserts legal authority and arrests a citizen without a legal privilege, he or she may have committed the tort of false imprisonment in addition to an underlying offense. False imprisonment is also a common law tort, which is classified as an intentional tort like assault and battery. When a person has been found civilly liable for this tort it is because the fact finder has found that by the preponderance of the evidence shown the individual acted with the intentions to confine another who was harmed by the confinement. Therefore, a false imprisonment occurs when a person has intended to invade the legally protected interest of another; the freedom of movement. Additionally, a confinement can be effected however short the time period.
Alternatively, our Fort Lauderdale false imprisonment lawyers want our readers to recognize the difference between false imprisonment and a false arrest. Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, a false arrest occurs under circumstances as we have previously described above; when a defendant acts under the disguise of a legal authority and commits an arrest in which he or she is not authorized to do. Further, a false arrest can be a method of committing the tort of false imprisonment. For example, if law enforcement arrests you without any legal justification or probable cause, you could potentially sue under the false imprisonment doctrine. Similarly, a confinement has occurred when a person intentionally locks another in a basement without a reasonable means of escape. However, in order to prevail on this type of claim, there are four elements which you will have to prove in court, those being the following:
The alleged perpetrator must have intended to confine you,
You must have not given your consent to be confined, but, physical force against you or a member of your immediate family; or threats of imminent physical harm to you or an immediate family can be the basis of a confinement, also if you acted under duress,
You must have been aware of the confinement at the time you were confined, or harmed by it,
And no reasonable means of escape were available or known to you
If you or a member of your family were harmed in a Fort Lauderdale false imprisonment incident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the particulars of your case and learn what legal rights you have.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The Broward County Sheriff’s office is asking anyone who witnessed or has information about the fatal motorcycle accident on Sunday along the 500 block of Dixie road at approximately 11:30 p.m. to contact their office. Peter Peco, a 63-year-old Lauderdale-by-Sea resident was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed it into a palm tree, according to a story in the Sun Sentinel. Sheriff investigators believe that Peco approached the intersection and struck the curb on the west side of the road which caused him and the motorcycle to thrust into a palm tree. He was later pronounced dead at the North Broward Medical Center.
First and foremost, our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys send our thoughts and condolences to the Peco family. We know that this tragic event can be an overwhelming and troubling time for the family. Unfortunately, this accident and those similar to this will now become a part of the Florida Motorcycle Crash statistics compiled by the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle. But on a lighter note, in 2010, the overall incidences of motorcycle crashes dropped approximately 10 percent in the state of Florida. In 2009, there were 8,313 motorcycle crashes which occurred in the state, and the 2010 statistics revealed that during that year, there were 7,484 motorcycle accidents which occurred. Sadly, the number of motorcycle passengers increased in 2010 from 2009. In 2010, 33 motorcycle passengers were killed as compared to 26 in 2009.
It is not clear whether or not Peco was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Since under current Florida motorcycle law, persons over the age of 21 have the option to wear a helmet, provided they have an insurance policy for at least $10,000 in medical benefits. However, riders 21 years of age and under are required to wear a helmet. In spite of most riders being safe drivers, a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident can occur at any moment. Further, often these accidents occur due to the recklessness and carelessness of other drivers, thus causing motorcycle passengers to become seriously injured, or worst; death.
Plainly, when a motorist operates a motor vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner he or she could face severe criminal consequences if someone is hurt or killed as a result of an accident. Also, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuit could be filed against that person to hold this responsible party liable for the damages an injured party has suffered due. When a driver is issued an operator’s license to operate a vehicle or motorcycle, they have given an implication to follow the rules of the road, including not driving in a carless and imprudent manner or to engage in unsafe conduct which they know will harm or injure others.
Our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys help individuals who have been seriously injured or harm during a motorcycle or vehicle accident. We also help family members who have lost someone they love to recover damages as a result of a crash. It is always best to consult with an attorney shortly after an accident in order to become aware of your legal rights.
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