Bicycle Verdict Reversed

As a bicycle injury lawyer Miami, FL, I have tried personal injury and medical malpractice jury civil trials across the State of Florida for more than 22 years.  And as in the recent trial of George Zimmerman, jurors are not always told only the facts of a given case in accordance with the Rules of Evidence. There are hundreds of rules and exceptions, but the basic concept boils down to the following: Is the alleged fact one that is more helpful or not for a juror to know in determining the truth, or as we lawyers are taught to argue, “Does the probative value outweigh the prejudice” of a given fact? One of the most debated and controversial issues as a personal injury lawyer Miami, FL  I see come up in most traffic accident claims in Florida involves the issue of collateral sources.  A collateral source set-off is the legal concept intended to prevent injured people from obtaining double payment for the same damages, usually medical expenses from two or more different sources—for example, making and getting a verdict for medical expenses in a car accident case from both the defendant and the injury victim’s own health insurance. I had imagined that virtually every possible combination of fact and law surrounding the concept of collateral sources had been litigated and ruled upon over the last 30 years. Recently, Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal faced a case of first impression, meaning an issue was presented for the very first time. A Florida man, John Joerg, a developmentally-disabled adult, sued State Farm for uninsured motorist insurance coverage after he was...

Whatever Happened to Florida’s Right to a Jury Trial? (Part Two)

Are jury trials for civil claims in personal injury and product liability cases simply disappearing? Studies have indicated that less than 5% of cases per year ever reach a jury. Certainly many factors are responsible for the decline in the number of cases that are filed and ultimately tried by a jury. In this series of posts we are examining several of those reasons. In our first installment of this series we looked at the financial and temporal obstacles to jury trials, and in this post we consider the effect our legislature has in the diminished number of jury trials. Candidly, it appears that Florida’s legislature and those who have voted with certain law makers have virtually no faith at all in the jury system. In fact, many of my clients who have been hurt by either a doctor or hospital have told me that they unwittingly voted for a Governor Scott or former Governor Bush without understanding the significant rights that these men were capable of removing from the injured and delivering into the hands of the insurance and health-care industry. Let’s consider the loss of the right to a trial by jury for those who have arguably suffered the most in our society from the carelessness of a doctor or healthcare provider–the newborns who are victims of traumatic birth traumas, along with their families. Let’s focus on how Florida laws and judicial opinions have reduced victims’ rights–specifically Florida Statute 766.31(1)(b)1, (2010), and the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion in the case of Angela Samples. In 2007, Mrs. Samples gave birth to Mackenzie, who suffered a catastrophic neurological injury...

Toxic Lead Found In Red Vines Licorice

Red Vines licorice has been found to have toxic levels of lead. The American Licorice Company of Union City California makes Red Vines. According to the FDA, Red Vines sold in the one pound bag with the “Best Before Date” of February 4, 2013 has been recalled due to dangerously high lead levels. Lead can potentially cause health problems, especially for small children and pregnant women. Lead poisoning can cause accidental brain damage. The symptoms of lead poisoning are vague and are often confused with other conditions. Some people have no obvious symptoms. The only way to know if there is lead in your body is to have a blood lead test. Red Vines are made from molasses, wheat flour, corn syrup, caramel coloring, licorice extract, salt, and anise flavor. I am not sure how lead found its way into the recipe. According to Red Vines, an internal investigation into how the licorice became contaminated with lead is already underway. The best lawyer advice I can give is that If you have Red Vines in your possession, do not to eat the candy and return it to the store your purchased it from. If you have accidentally consumed the recalled candy, our Permbroke Pines injury lawyers urge you to immediately contact your doctor to determine if lead poisoning testing is...

Suicide of Junior Seau and Brain Injuries

Our Florida accident attorneys are saddened to learn of the suicide of legendary linebacker Junior Seau. The act of intentionally taking one’s own life usually occurs when people suffer from a mental or emotional condition such as bipolar disorder, depression, alcohol or drug dependency or other stresses in life that seem inescapable. Certain risk factors have been identified and should be considered if you are concerned about an individual; such as access to guns, family members who have committed suicide and unemployment or financial problems. Most suicide attempts do not result in death and are often simply an attempt to cry for help. This occurs when the attempt is less likely to be fatal such as a drug overdose or superficial cutting. However, when, as in the case of Mr. Seau, a gun or other violent method is used, the result is most likely death. Typically, guns are used by males. The relatives of people who attempt or commit suicide are also deeply affected by the act. Family members sometimes blame themselves or become angry at others for not recognizing the signs and preventing the suicide. As more information is gathered surrounding the death of Mr. Seau, one question may never be answered, why? Many will never understand why a superstar NFL athlete with half of his life still ahead would have chosen to die by his own hand in such a violent and painful fashion. As a lawyer who sues Florida doctors for not diagnosing a patient who commits suicide under their care, I believe we may never know. I do think that there were undoubtedly signs and...

Post Traumatic Stress Order and Brain Injuries

Victims hurt in a Florida car crash, slip and fall or as the result of careless doctors usually seek immediate medical attention for their physical pain and suffering. Rarely is any focus put on the more difficult to diagnose trauma known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, P.T.S.D. As a Miami PI attorney, I am alarmed if I hear a client complain about sleep loss, terrible images being replayed in their head, or feelings of guilt or fear. Granted, the majority of our clients who suffer these normal post-trauma reactions to one degree or another recover and return to a relatively normal state within weeks or months of an accident. However, some do not. A small percentage of people get trapped in their trauma and experience chronic P.T.S.D. The way one copes with emotional trauma is far more complex than once thought. One of the challenges in diagnosing P.T.S.D. lies in the fact that the symptoms often do not surface for weeks or months after the event. Signs of P.T.S.D. can, according to the Mayo Clinic, take years to develop. Generally, P.T.S.D. is grouped into three classes: Intrusive Memories, Avoidance or Emotional Arousal. Symptoms of intrusive memories typically include flashbacks and nightmares of the event. Symptoms of Avoidance include feelings of numbness, hopelessness and memory problems. Symptoms of Increased Emotional Arousal may include. irritability, guilt, shame, trouble sleeping or self-destructive behavior. Often, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go. The symptoms can intensify when the person is under more stress in general. In addition, symptoms can be brought up by seeing a movie, the smell of a familiar scent...

How Traumatic Brain Injuries in Florida Can Affect Relationships

As a Miami brain injury attorney, I was pleased to see Representative Gabrielle Giffords recent appearance wherein she recited the Pledge of Allegiance with a stirring emotional reminder of the tragedy that took place in Tuscon and claimed the lives of six people and injured twelve others. As I watched her hobble to the lectern I appreciated the miraculous recovery that she was making. What I found equally, if not more touching, was watching her husband, astronaut Mark E. Kelly fighting back tears. In his words, “For the past year, we’ve had new realities to live with”…”pain of letting go of the past.” What Mr. Kelley has endured as the spouse and loved one of somebody who has suffered a traumatic brain injury is hard to comprehend. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are defined as a blow or jolt to the head, or in the case of Representative Giffords, a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Recent studies have shown that divorce and separation rates increase for couples when one spouses has sustained a brain injury. The University of Virginia’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation recently published a study that highlights the effect brain injuries have on typical marriages. The divorce and separation rate appear to be directly tied to the number of years that partners are together as well as their ages prior to the brain injury. One of the most common consequences of TBI is the strain it has on a relationship particularly the loneliness of the non-injured significant other. There is no research showing that special marriage counseling techniques should be considered...
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