Articles Tagged with personal injury attorney

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The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that “Stand Your Ground” immunity granted in criminal cases cannot be automatically transferred to civil cases filed in response to the same incident. injury attorney

The standard of proof in a criminal case – beyond a reasonable doubt – differs from that in a civil case – the preponderance of the evidence (which basically means it was more likely than not something occurred in a certain way). That’s why a person can be found not guilty in a criminal trial, but still be found liable for damages in a civil case.

Many civil injury lawsuits are predicated on wrongdoing based on negligence. That is, someone owed a duty of care, that duty of care was breached and injuries resulted. However, some civil cases involve intentional torts. These can include things like assault and battery, false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional distress. A single incident can be the subject of both a criminal case and a civil case, but the two are entirely separate, and the outcome of one should not influence the outcome of the other, though much of the same evidence may be presented.  Continue reading →

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A bicyclist who suffered a severe injury after his bicycle struck a pothole will receive a $6.5 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles, following lawmaker approval of a claims bill. The claims bill process involving public entities in L.A. is somewhat similar to how such matters are handled here in Florida, where damage caps per F.S. 768.28 allows for up to $200,000 per claim or $300,000 per occurrence, unless legislators pass a claims bill to allow for more. pothole1-300x225

According to the Los Angeles Times, plaintiff suffered severe and permanent brain damage when he encountered a pothole while on his bicycle. The impact tossed him from his bicycle, causing him to suffer several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

He alleged in his lawsuit that the street on which he crashed was poorly maintained, causing what was in essence a concealed trap for those on bicycles. Claimant presented evidence that he is likely to suffer some form of disability for the rest of his life. Members of city council agreed to approve the multi-million dollar settlement.  Continue reading →

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In a lawsuit against a fatal amusement park accident during a school outing that claimed the life of a child, defendant amusement park cannot seek indemnification from the school. However, according to a recent New Jersey Supreme Court opinion, defendant will be allowed to seek a verdict that allocates fault to the school, meaning it plaintiffs could ultimately receive less. wrongful death attorney

The issue in Jones v. Morey’s Pier was that defendant amusement park failed to give proper notice of claim to the school under the state’s Tort Claims Act. Still, the park will be allowed to present evidence during the pending trial against it that the school was negligent and that this negligence was a proximate cause of the girl’s death. If the jury finds credible evidence of this, it can allocate a percentage of fault to the school, which would reduce the park’s overall liability and the amount it would have to pay the child’s parents.

This question of common-law indemnification against a public entity was one of first impression in New Jersey, and although it has no direct bearing on the court process in Florida, courts often look to the decisions of their sister courts in reaching conclusions about similar matters.  Continue reading →

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Jurors awarded $148 million in damages to a former dance student who was permanently paralyzed as a result of a poorly-maintained pedestrian shelter at a bus stop of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. That amount fell shy of the $175 million plaintiff’s attorneys sought for her injuries, but it was far more than the $30 million defense attorneys suggested to jurors.injury attorney

According to The Chicago Tribune, the City of Chicago, which is responsible for maintenance at the airport, conceded liability in the case. The only matter to be decided by jurors was how much should be paid in damages.

In Florida, when someone has been injured in any type of accident, there may be grounds to pursue both financial (economic) as well as non-economic damages. Economic damages are calculated by determining the cost of things like medical bills, therapy and lost wages resulting from the incident. Non-economic damages, meanwhile, are intended to cover the kinds of intangible negative impact of an injury. For instance, non-economic damages would cover things like pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, permanent disfigurement or loss of consortium.  Continue reading →

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For the last four years, Florida has used the Daubert standard in civil trials as a means of testing the scientific validity of testimony by expert witnesses. Previously, the state courts adhered to the less strenuous Frye standard. Both standards are named for specific cases that set the criteria for what kinds of evidence would be admissible in civil cases. Federal courts have been using the Daubert standard for 20 years. Florida legislature’s passage of House Bill 7015 eliminated Florida’s reliance on the Frye standard, effective July 2013. Defense attorneys in particular were pleased with this because it meant more ways in which to attack expert witness testimony from plaintiffs, who bear the burden of proof.injury attorney

Now, a closely-watched case that will be weighed by the Florida Supreme Court by the year’s end could change that. In Delisle v. Crane Co., et al., plaintiffs, husband and wife, challenge several industrial manufacturers, alleging liability for the husband’s mesothelioma allegedly linked to defendant’s asbestos-laden products. Plaintiffs originally filed suit against 16 different manufacturers, but only proceeded to trial against two of those – and won an $8 million verdict.

Defendants appealed, arguing there was a lack of causal connection between their products and plaintiff’s illness. Specifically, they challenged the admission of certain plaintiff expert witness testimony. Defendants asserted causation testimony by a pulmonologist should not have been admitted because the expert failed to provide an adequate scientific basis for his opinion. Another challenge was that the “every exposure” argument presented by plaintiff had already been discredited by previous court decisions. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial.  Continue reading →

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We trust that the products we buy are going to be safe when used as advertised. This is true when it comes to everything from kitchen appliances to children’s toys to motor vehicles. Those who purchase certain items for medically-required uses may rely even more heavily on these devices, and need to know these devices are safe. injury lawyer

Unfortunately for a man with disabilities who used a wheelchair, the product he used for mobility was proven unsafe. Plaintiff reportedly suffered injury to his lower extremity when an inward facing bolt punctured his skin. A month later, that wound was aggravated when a screw seat and aluminum seat rail failed, causing the seat to collapse and plaintiff to be ejected out of the wheelchair. The aggravation of that original wound meant it did not heal for a full three years, and he now suffers a permanent nerve-related injury.

Plaintiff filed his product liability lawsuit, alleging the chair was defective in its design, manufacture, warnings and repair. He presented evidence in his California trial that the design of his wheelchair was dangerous, rending the chair defective, and that the instructions provided by the manufacturer were inadequate, and thus the maker was negligent. Plaintiff presented evidence at trial that his wound-related injuries and nerve injuries are going to require $5 million in care in the future, and might not ever totally be resolved.  Continue reading →

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Anytime personal injury lawsuits are settled, there may be terms and conditions that must be read carefully. There are some situations wherein the language could prohibit any and all future claims against other potential defendants – and that may not be a scenario you want, depending on the circumstances. mechanic

In a recent appellate case out of California, the language of an earlier settlement agreement became an issue in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit filed by a mechanic against a property owner. The question before the appellate court was whether plaintiff’s claim against these entities was barred because of a settlement with one defendant

Here’s what happened: In 2011, plaintiff, a mechanic, was hired by the auto sales company to figure out why a vehicle owned by the sales firm wouldn’t start. Unbeknownst to plaintiff, the towing company had recently towed the vehicle to the site and disconnected the transmission shift linkage when it did this. However, the towing company employee did not reconnect the shift linkage. Plaintiff said he put the vehicle in park and climbed underneath to troubleshoot. When he went to test the electrical connection to the starter, the vehicle ran over him and dragged him through the parking lot.

Plaintiff’s spine was crushed.  Continue reading →

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You were injured by someone else’s negligence. You hired an experienced injury lawyer. Defendant refused to settle so you took your case to trial. You won – and the jury has awarded you a sizable sum. Now you can put it all behind you – right? gavel

Not necessarily. In Florida civil lawsuits, the judge has the right to to order a remittitur. This is a ruling by a judge, usually based upon a motion from the defense to reduce or toss a jury verdict, that lowers the amount of damages awarded in a civil injury lawsuit. Typically, a remittitur is when the amount awarded is deemed “excessive” or unreasonable. If the motion for remittitur is granted, plaintiff has one of two options: Accept the reduced award or agree to undergo a new trial solely on the issue of damages.

In a recent case before Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals, one justice issued a dissenting opinion on the issue of remittitur, arguing, “Unless there is something that influences the jury outside the record, in my view, this verdict should stand.” He added, “The amount of damages in a civil case are well within the province of a jury, and a verdict is not excessive because it is above the amount the court considered a jury should have allowed.”  Continue reading →

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Jurors in Georgia awarded $5 million to a woman who suffered a paratransit van fall that caused her to lose her left arm and rendered her right arm useless. wheelchair

Deliberations lasted about 7 hours before finding the company that operated the non-emergency transport van was partially responsible for the 2012 accident that prompted the lawsuit, Smith v. Logisticare.

At the time of the incident, plaintiff was a left leg amputee and she was traveling in defendant’s van to get to a dialysis appointment. She reportedly was not properly secured into the van, and fell out of her wheelchair when the van hit a pot hole. Because she was not properly belted into position. Crush fractures suffered to her arms necessitated her left arm be removed and her right arm no longer functional.  Continue reading →

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Waivers of liability can be difficult to overcome in personal injury cases. Often, proof of simple, ordinary negligence will not be enough. Instead, what must be shown is proof of gross negligence.shower2

Gross negligence occurs when there is some kind of blatant violation of or clear indifference to a legal duty toward the rights and protection of others. It’s a kind of flagrant and conscious disregard for the use of reasonable care. It doesn’t mean showing the accident/ injury was intentional, but rather showing an extreme lack of care that is likely to cause foreseeable, serious harm to someone else. In some cases, an assertion of gross negligence will support a recovery of punitive damages too, though there usually needs to be evidence of willful, wanton misconduct.

In the case of Anderson v. Fitness International LLC, the question was whether plaintiff had sufficiently proven gross negligence to overcome the protection that his signed waiver of liability had afforded the defense. A California appeals court ruled: No. Continue reading →

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