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The number of surgical centers in the U.S. has ballooned in recent years to more than 5,600. These facilities started several decades ago as a low-cost alternative for patients undergoing minor surgeries. However, these centers now outnumber hospitals, and federal regulators are approving them for an increasing number of complex procedures. The goal is to reduce federal health care costs. However, it seems many patients are paying the price, according to a new report by Kaiser Health News and USA Today.medical malpractice

The report indicates that staffers at these centers are calling 911 thousands of times annually with complications that range from minor to deadly, but we don’t know exactly how big the problem is because there is no national authority that tracks these incidents. The journalists’ analysis, based on legal filings, autopsy records and medical reports contained in more than 12,000 federal and state inspection records, as well as interviews with physicians, patients and health policy experts, indicates that at least 260 of these patients have died in the last five years as a result of in- and out-patient surgeries at these centers. Some patients were as young as 2-years-old, with some undergoing routine surgeries, like tonsillectomies and colonoscopies. Others are undergoing complex operations like spinal surgeries.

These centers and physicians share in the reward for these surgeries because doctors can earn their own fee plus a cut of the facility fee when they own shares in the center. However, the biggest risk to patients occurs with the fact that while Medicare requires surgical centers to be within 15 miles of an emergency room, it can still mean up to a half hour can pass between the time a 911 call is made and the time one arrives at the ER. Some critics and medical malpractice attorneys argue that certain patients with underlying medical issues or those undergoing serious procedures should only be treated in a hospital in the first place – if they should have these operations at all. Many of these facilities lack the kind of lifesaving training or equipment needed to address a potentially serious complication. These can include simple things like tools necessary to open an airway or training necessary to stop a patient from bleeding to death. At least two dozen patients reportedly died within minutes or days of undergoing surgical center operations. Continue reading →

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The food truck industry has grown substantially in recent years, with industry researchers forecasting growth to generate about $2.7 billion this year – a 12-fold increase from the $650 million they made in 2012, according to the American Restaurant Association. But food truck liability issues may go beyond a case of food poisoning. Although they are acting as restaurants, they are still technically motor vehicles, and they move from place-to-place – sometimes constantly and sometimes to the same scheduled place every day or week. parking lot injury lawyer

This hybrid status can raise questions if someone is injured by a food truck accident. Obviously, if a crash occurs on the road with a food truck, as it did in a fatal food truck crash in Washington state last year, one might pursue a typical motor vehicle accident claim, with possible claims also against the owner of the business and/or vehicle if different from the driver. However, if an incident occurs in a parking lot, that can raise questions as to whether this is a straight motor vehicle claim or whether it may also give rise to premises liability claims, which hold property owners and controllers responsible for creating or failing to mitigate risks on their property.

An increasing number of businesses are welcoming food truck vendors on site to offer a variety of choices to patrons. This can leave the liability issue a bit murky, which is why if you’re injured, it will be essential to have the best injury attorney working on your behalf.  Continue reading →

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House fires have the potential to cause serious threats to our personal safety and welfare. The National Fire Protection Association estimates home fires kill 2,500 annually (accounting for 93 percent of all civilian structure fire deaths), which breaks down to an average of seven daily. They also injure some 12,300 people each year and cause more than $6.7 billion in direct damage. fire injury

The question of who is legally responsible for a fire can be a complex one, even when there is no evidence someone intentionally set the fire (in which case criminal arson charges may be applicable). More often than not, the cause is accidental, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t preventable or that someone shouldn’t be held liable. The NFPA reports cooking equipment is the No. 1 cause of home structure fires and injuries, followed by smoking and heating equipment.

But for those who live in rental properties, it’s important to consider the actions or omissions of the landlord. While such actions may not have caused the fire, they may have created circumstances that made the structure vulnerable to fire or exacerbated the risk of injury or death. Examples might include absent or broken smoke detectors, blocked fire exits, missing safety equipment and maintenance failures.  Continue reading →

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The horrific events of last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County left 17 people killed and dozens of people wounded. It also left the community, the state and the nation reeling, once again trying to make sense of the whys and the hows and who should be held responsible. Most notably, this has sparked another heated debate over access to guns and Second Amendment rights. However, it’s also an important time to examine what duty of care schools, law enforcement officials and other government entities have in keeping students safe, and who should be held accountable when those measures fail or aren’t enough. school injury lawyer

The Miami Herald recently reported that one 15-year-old student, shot five times in both legs, intends to sue Broward County and seek monetary damages to help cover the cost of his long-time recovery. The notice of intent to file a lawsuit names several entities, including the Broward County Public Schools, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the school resource officer who was on duty that day. In a briefly outlined statement, his attorney indicated actions by these entities and individuals failed to protect students (and this student in particular) from life-threatening harm, and further were unreasonable, callous and negligent. He asserted the defendants’ actions/ inaction were the proximate cause of plaintiff’s serious and lasting injuries.

Now, we must pause here for a moment to explain because it is a seemingly foreign concept that someone other than the person firing the shots could be legally responsible for the attack. Within the criminal justice system, absent any evidence of collusion or conspiracy, that is probably true. However, within the civil justice system we are looking at anybody who owed a duty of care to the person who was hurt, whether those duties were breached and whether those breaches allowed the perpetrator the access and opportunity to carry out his plots.  Continue reading →

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Disney is the “happiest place on earth,” but visitors are still sometimes at risk for serious injury. Obtaining injury compensation from an amusement park – or any large-scale corporation – can seem a daunting challenge. The good news is the civil courts are intended to be a level playing field, where no side has a greater advantage and all are subject to the same laws. While big companies do have deep pockets to hire some of the best defense attorneys, personal injury claimants generally pay nothing upfront in a contingency fee arrangement (wherein attorney’s fees are paid only if and when the claim is successful), meaning plaintiffs too have access to high-quality legal representation. injury attorney

It has been the experience of our personal injury lawyers in Orlando that sometimes the company will settle a case far in advance of trial if the facts are sufficient to support a case for negligence. However, ensuring plaintiffs are paid an adequate sum for their injuries can be more challenging. It requires extensive proof established through witness statements, medical records and sometimes expert witness testimony.

A number of recent Disney injury cases have been reported in local media outlets, who caught wind either via a public court filing or through the company’s own periodic injury report, which it releases voluntarily to the public (part of its deal with legislators to avoid state inspections).  Continue reading →

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The doctrine of avoidable consequences, sometimes referred to as the “duty to mitigate,” is an affirmative defense that can be raised by defendants in personal injury cases to argue the plaintiff was partially or fully responsible due to failure to exercise reasonable care to reduce the injury or damages suffered. injury lawyer

Sometimes, the doctrine of avoidable consequences is confused with the doctrine of comparative negligence. Both are issues raised by the defense, the main difference is while comparative negligence involves the allowance of a court finding that numerous parties contributed to the initial injury and therefore share liability damages, the avoidable consequences doctrine asserts plaintiff had a duty to prevent further injury after the the initial legal wrong occurred.

Plaintiffs must pay attention to this because it can substantially reduce damages (compensation you are owed) following a personal injury.  Continue reading →

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The sovereign immunity doctrine in Florida bars lawsuits in state court against a state government, as well as its agencies and subdivision, absent governmental consent. Although proponents of this theory say it allows for governmental discretion by allowing officials to engage in flexible decision-making without risk of liability and protects public funds, opponents say it fails to discourage wrong-doing and leaves injured parties with no viable remedy. injury attorney

Florida’s waiver of sovereign immunity is outlined in F.S. 768.28, a lengthy and complex statute that allows for various stipulations on suing the government or government employees for negligence. Even if you win, your damage award will be capped at $200,000 a person and $300,000 total per claim (no matter how many claimants), unless the state legislature passes a bill that allows for a higher amount in any given case. This doesn’t mean it’s never worthwhile to pursue compensation from a government agency or worker if you’re injured owing to their negligence, but it’s important to understand there will be a number of challenges, which is why hiring an experienced Orlando injury attorney is so critical.

A recent case considered by the Georgia Supreme Court considered a wrongful death claim involving the tragic death of a student engaged in horseplay in an unsupervised classroom. His parents alleged it was the result of negligence in whole or in part of the teacher who left the room. However, the teacher was a governmental employee, and as such, the question of official immunity was raised.  Continue reading →

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A Florida personal injury that occurs on someone else’s property can in some circumstances be compensated under the legal theory of premises liability. These theory opines that property owners owe varying degrees of duty to protect lawful visitors (and sometimes even lawful visitors) from unreasonable risk of harm. This could be a slip-and-fall, a dog bite, faulty stairs or negligent security resulting in vulnerability to a third-party criminal attack. One of the most common defenses in Florida premises liability lawsuits is the “open and obvious” doctrine. injury attorney

Essentially, as noted in the Florida Supreme Court’s 1952 decision in Early v. Morrison Cafeteria Co. of Orlando, a business property owner has a legal right to assume those invited to the site will perceive potentially dangerous conditions that are open and obvious to the ordinary senses. One has a duty to avoid these open and obvious dangers, and a business has no responsibility to warn patrons of these dangers. It’s the concealed dangers – those the business knows or should know about – that require warning. In any case, business property owners do have a responsibility to use “ordinary care” in keeping the site reasonably safe.

One premises liability case recently weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considered whether a teetering tower of rolled insulation at a hardware store customer loading area was an open and obvious hazard, or whether the business owed a legal duty to address or warn of the potential danger.  Continue reading →

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An appellate court in California recently reversed summary judgment in favor of a company that employed a maintenance worker accused by plaintiff of negligently failing to conduct an adequate check on her – a guest – at her husband’s urgent request. It turned out the wife had suffered a brain aneurism and was in dire need of medical attention. While the lower court found the hotel owed no legal duty to the couple (co-plaintiffs), the appellate court said the “negligent undertaking” theory of liability can be invoked where one comes to the aid of another but fails to do so with reasonable care.personal injury attorney

In Florida, this is sometimes referred to as the “undertaker’s doctrine.” Having nothing to do with funeral homes, it involves establishing a defendant owed a “duty of care” (a key element in any negligence case) to the plaintiff. As noted in the Restatement (Second) of Torts Chapter 323, anytime a person undertakes to provide a service to others – whether gratuitously or by contract – the person who undertakes to provide that service (i.e., “the undertaker”) assumes a duty to act carefully and not to place others at unnecessary risk of harm. A good West Palm Beach injury attorney recognizes that this applies to governmental and non-governmental entities, and not only to those parties who have a contract with one another, but also third parties, as noted in the 2003 Florida Supreme Court ruling in Clay Electric Cooperative v. Johnson.

These cases can be pursued when a person undertakes or renders services to another that he/ she should recognize as necessary for the protection of the third person and his/her things is subject to liability if the third person suffers physical harm resulting from failure to exercise reasonable care if:

  • Failure to do so increases the risk of such harm;
  • Harm is suffered because of the third-person’s reliance on this undertaking.

Continue reading →

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Nearly 2,800 commercial vehicle crashes were reported in Orange County, Florida in 2016 – a nearly 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Truck crashes like these wreak havoc on our roads, and cost hundreds of lives and thousands of serious injuries in Florida alone. Orange County tallied nearly 600 commercial vehicle accident injuries and 20 deaths just in a single year alone. truck accident lawyer

All of this makes the recent report from The Drive all the more troubling. The report indicates that a commercial driver licensing school in Florida (with locations in both Miami and Labelle) reportedly was severed from its contract with the FHSMV after it reportedly engaged in conduct that posed an immediate, serious danger to public safety and welfare. Specifically, the school allegedly left out key parts of the required three-part skill test that it gave to students, and further tweaked testing data it provided on CDL skill test score sheets. Once officials form the state began sitting in on classes and the testing process, the scores plummeted from a 60 percent pass rate to just 11 percent.

In addition to cutting off ties with the school, the state agency has informed some 1,500 licensed truckers in the state who received their licensing through the facility that they have just two months to redo their tests – and pass them – if they hope to hang on to their commercial licenses.  Continue reading →

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