Miami Injury Lawyer Blog

warning-abstract-graphic-design-label-numbers-letters-construction-3041Hover boards were a highly popular gift, if not the most popular gift, during the holiday season of 2015. Yet, beyond their popularity lurks countless cases of personal injuries relating to the hover boards. Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital has seen over 10 hoverboard-related patients with injuries involving broken bones, concussions, and contusions. In one Miami, Florida case, a child was riding on a hoverboard when its batteries died and “locked up.” The child “snapped his arm in half and broke his wrist.” This injured child’s parents say the manufacturer should be held liable as they had knowledge that their hover boards were dangerous; “[t]hey know that there are issues of safety and they’re selling them anyway.”     

Product liability cases, or defective product cases, run rampant here in Florida. If you or a loved one are injured at the hands of a defective product, you should hire an experienced products liability attorney. The products liability attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz P.A. are well versed in the complex law of products liability and are here to help ensure that you are adequately compensated for you injuries or loss.

Florida’s Product Liability Law

Per Florida law, when an apparently defective product injures you or a loved one, there may be a cause of action under negligence or products liability theories. Though many products, such as hoverboards, are dangerous, this does not always automatically make them defective. For instance, stovetops become extremely hot when turned on, but that is for purposes of cooking food. By taking away the hot surface would make the product safer, true. However, it would significantly take away from the product’s usefulness or utility. Florida law holds that there must be a balance here. In reaching said balance, courts perform various tests to understand if a particular product is in fact defectively designed. Some courts will require the product be proved defective in design as well as unreasonably dangerous due to a particular defect. Courts ultimately differ in their definition of “unreasonably dangerous.” Some courts, for example, define this as a product that is more dangerous than a reasonably prudent consumer would expect it to be. Other courts define it as a product with risks high enough that a reasonably prudent seller would not place the product in the stream of commerce. Then there are other courts that define it as when the product’s risks outweigh its benefits.          

Statute of Limitations

Per Fla. Stat. § 95.11, you have up to four years to file a lawsuit after you are injured in a products liability case. Florida also has a 12-year statute of repose period. This means that your lawsuit must be filed no more than 12 years after the product was sold to its first purchases or lessee. These time limitations must be strictly adhered to. If you do not file within the deadlines, you are most likely barred from later doing so.

Take Action Before it is Too Late!

There are several highly complex laws involved with Florida’s products liability cases. Due to the complexities of the law, it is important that you hire an experienced products liability attorney of Gerson and Schwartz PA. We are experienced and knowledgeable with Florida’s products liability and will fight hard to ensure that you are adequately compensated. We have obtained justice in numerous defective product injuries and deaths from several types of products including defective automobiles, trucks and tires, medical devices, industrial equipment and even cigarettes. Contact our law firm for a FREE consultation.

kl;klklWho does not like to jump around on trampolines? It is fun, right? Albeit entertaining to most, trampolines can cause significant bodily injury and even death. For example, recently, in Oviedo, Florida, a 19-year-old boy died inside a trampoline park called Boing! Jump Center.  Seminole County Sheriff’s deputies said that the teenager was performing flips when he landed on his head. The doctor in this particular case, Dr. Elizabeth Davis of Arnold Palmer Hospital, stated that trampolines can be very dangerous and can easily cause catastrophic injuries, such as the one in this case.

The dangers of trampolines are obvious. Are there ways to make trampolines safer?  Consumers of all products, not only trampolines, expect the products they use to be safe. The product’s manufacturers are required to design the products to meet strict government and industry safety standards. When the product is not designed in compliance with such standards and someone is injured or killed, the injured victim or the victim’s family may sue for compensation. Due to the multiple complexities of Florida’s products liability law, you should hire an experienced products liability attorney of Gerson and Schwartz PA for your case.     

Defective Products in Florida and the Relevant Law   

In Florida, when a product injures someone, the injured victim or a family member may have a cause of action under negligence or products liability theories. A product that is unreasonably dangerous as designed may make it defective. However, please note that merely being a dangerous product does not make it a defective product. For example, a knife is sharp, this is obvious, and it is used to cut through things. Making a knife dull would make it safer, yes, but it would significantly take away from the product’s usefulness or utility.

We see that there must be a balance here. In researching this balance, courts will use tests to determine if the product is in fact defectively designed. In doing so, there are some courts that require the product be proven defective in design as well as unreasonably dangerous due to a particular defect. Courts differ in their definition of “unreasonably dangerous.” Some courts define this as a product that is more dangerous than a reasonably prudent consumer would expect it to be. Others define it as a product with risks high enough that a reasonably prudent seller would not place the product in the stream of commerce. Third, some courts define it as when the product’s risks outweigh its benefits.              

Take Action Before it is too Late!

There are several legal theories at play in product liability cases, with most being difficult to understand. Due to the complexities of the law, it is important that you hire an experienced products liability attorney of Gerson and Schwartz PA. We have obtained justice in numerous defective product injuries and deaths from several types of products including defective automobiles, trucks and tires, medical devices, industrial equipment, and even cigarettes.  Nonetheless, most of our cases have regarded defective automobiles and trucks. Defective automobile cases fuel system fires, rollovers, seats, seat belts, tires and other flaws have been the principal subject of our product liability work. Tobacco, soft drinks, fast food, drugs, medical devices, tires, and household products are included on the long and growing list of product defect cases we have handled.

Taken at Fairfield Waters Townsville Qld.© I retain Copyright.

Taken at Fairfield Waters Townsville Qld.© I retain Copyright.

Last December in Florida, a woman was traveling in the wrong direction and I-95 and hit a Chevrolet Cobalt head-on, killing herself and the four passengers in the Cobalt. Car accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere; even to the most reasonable drivers. As in this example, car accidents can be tragic and often fatal. If you are in an accident at the fault of another person, it is important that you know and understand your legal rights as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  

The Miami, Florida personal injury attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz PA have over 43 years of experience handling automobile accident claims. Our attorneys have successfully represented injured drivers and passengers in various automobile accident scenarios ranging from head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, motorcycle crashes, drunk driving accidents, hit and runs, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, even uninsured and under-insured motor vehicle accident claims. Additionally, our law firm handles complex car accident cases that involve insurance coverage disputes and product liability claims such as defective design and automobile manufacturing defects.

What to Do if You are Involved in an Automobile Accident

In the event that you are involved in an automobile accident, you should first call for help and seek medical attention. Your wellbeing is always top priority. You should try and stay calm; take pictures or videos of the scene and the cars, if possible. It is a good idea to document any skid marks, road debris, and any property damage. Make sure to document the events that took place before the vehicles are moved from the scene and before victims are taken away.         

From here, it is important that you get names and contact information of all potential witnesses.  Get written statements if possible. Of course, you need to get the name of the at-fault driver.  Also get said driver’s insurance provider’s name and contact information. You need to contact his or her insurance provider right away to file your claim. Once your claim is initiated, you will be in communication with the insurance claims adjuster. This person will want copies of all relevant medical bills, lost wages, repairs, etc. for purposes of settlement negotiations. When talking to the claims adjuster it is important that you do not give too much detail as to what happened as this may jeopardize your chances of obtaining a settlement.

Countless people attempt to handle accident claims themselves. Please note that insurance companies have their own lawyers. You should too! Personal injury attorneys will help ensure that you are adequately compensated for your injuries or loss. These injuries are referred to as “damages.” Damages may include financial compensation for past and future medical care, such as expenses from the initial hospitalization, emergency room care, diagnostic tests, and other reasonably related medical expenses such as physical therapy and surgery. Compensation also may cover your lost wages, loss of earning capacity, scarring, and disfigurement. In all, our firm is here to make sure that the full amount of your damages are recovered.

Take Action Before it is too Late

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident at the fault of another, our Miami, Florida personal injury lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz PA are here to help. Our message is powerful and effective. We fight hard to obtain maximum case results for all our clients and will pursue all legal remedies on their behalf. Contact us for a free consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

banana peel (sandman kk)The winter months are upon us. The winter months bring with them several holidays, including Christmas, that bring about millions of shoppers. People all across the state of Florida flock to stores. With the massive amounts of people out there shopping, personal injury rates significantly increase. This post will focus on one type of personal injury in particular: slip/trip and fall. At Gerson and Schwartz, PA our Miami slip and fall lawyers have more than 43 years of successful experience representing clients who are seriously injured from a slip, trip, and fall and other premises liability accident cases. The attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, PA obtain the advice from experts who use instruments to test floor slip resistance characteristics and provide further evidence of a property owner’s negligence. Our law firm thoroughly investigates each client’s case and will efficiently prepare a sound legal argument.

Florida Negligence and Premises Liability Laws

Slip and fall claims are based on negligence theories.  In Florida, as well as most other states, to succeed in a negligence claim, you must show:

  • That the property owner owed you a duty of care;
  • That the property owner breached said duty of care;
  • That the breach was the actual cause of your injury;
  • That the breach was the proximate (foreseeable) cause of your injury; and
  • That damages resulted from said breach.

In order to establish the first element, duty, you must delve into Florida’s premises liability law.  Suppose you suffer injuries from a slip and fall while shopping in someone’s store. Well, Florida’s premises liability law will deem you an “invitee.” Invitees are people that enter one’s property with the express or implied invitation. A common example is a business customer.  Invitees have the most legal protection per Florida’s premises liability law for injuries that they sustain on the property. Property owners have the highest duty of care and protection to those they invite to the property. The property owner is obligated to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and if there are places that are not reasonably safe, the property owner must protect an invitee by warning them of the dangers are making reasonable efforts to correct said dangers.    

Statute of Limitations

You must act quickly if you seek to pursue a personal injury claim. Per Florida’s statute of limitations law, a claim for personal injury must be filed no later than four years after the injury.  This time limitation must be strictly adhered to because if you do not file during this period you are most likely barred from doing so at a later time.

Take Action Now

Florida property owners maintain a strict duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for customers, invited guests, business people, and the general public such as you. The failure to adhere to safety regulations means that you may become injured and the owner may be legally responsible for your injuries. These are some of the reasons why it is critical to contact a Miami, Florida personal injury attorney of Gerson and Schwartz, PA if you are injured in a slip and fall. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation

file000465267258Imagine this horrible scenario: you drive your car up a parking garage in search of a parking spot. The only available spots are on a dark, non-lit, level of the parking garage. You park there.  On the way to the exit, you are assaulted and now fighting for your life! Situations such as this can happen to anyone. It is critical that you know and understand your legal rights if you or a loved one experiences similar horrific situations. You may be able to sue the property owner under theories of negligent security. The Miami, Florida negligent security lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA have the knowledge, experience and ability to make property owners pay for the harm done to individuals at the hands of criminals.

The Basics of Negligent Security Measures

In essence, whether it is at a shopping mall, parking lot, parking garage, apartment, etc., people have the right to be reasonably safe from foreseeable harm and criminal victimization. A case founded on negligent security principles relies on the failure to provide reasonable security measures for protecting individuals from preventable harms that a third party owes a legal duty to provide reasonably safe premises. This legal concept touches on premises liability grounds.  Per Florida’s premises liability law, landowners, possessors, landlords, business operators, and property managers have a duty to people lawfully on their premises to make the environment reasonably safe and to warn of latent danger.

Normally, cases involving negligent or inadequate security measures involve the failure to provide security guards, security cameras, adequate lighting, fencing, etc.  Property owners may also face liability here if they do not adequately train their employees or if they do not follow recognized security policies or procedures.   

Florida courts recognize that reasonable protection from “foreseeable crime” is one of many types of harms from which a duty should exist to protect against and to provide warning of. This concept is based on the property owner’s control or right to control his or her property. The property owner’s negligence is found when the harm was foreseeable. In simpler terms, it is the careless failure of the property owner to have foreseen the risk of harm to the plaintiff that is the heart of a case of negligent security. For a successful case, it must be shown by the preponderance of the evidence that the defendant property owner could have but did not foresee the victimization of the plaintiff.        

Statute of Limitations

Per Florida’s statute of limitations law, you have up to four years from the date of injury to file such a lawsuit. This must be strictly adhered to because if you do not file within this time limitations period, you are most likely barred from doing so.

Hire a Security Negligence Lawyer for Your Case

The Miami, Florida inadequate security lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, PA have been representing clients in all areas of negligent security claims for more than 40 years. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime, or if you or a loved one has been seriously injured on another’s property, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation on your case.

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In late December five people were killed in a car accident on 1-95 in northern Miami-Dade County when a woman traveled the wrong way down the opposite lane and crashed into a sedan carrying four people. The woman was driving southbound in the northbound lane when she struck the sedan, killing all four people in the car. Two of the passengers were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the vehicle. Both vehicles were moving at a high rate of speed and collided head on. Two more people were sent to the hospital in critical condition.

The four people inside the sedan were family members getting together for the holidays. Jose Martin Labrador, 52, and Gisela Gil-Egui, 48, were husband and wife and both worked at local colleges. Labrador was the director of education technology at Housatonic Community College and Gil-Egui was a professor of communications at Fairfield University.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact an experienced Miami Car Accident Attorney.

Wrongful Death Suits in Florida

Florida wrongful death claims are governed by statute section 678.18 which specifies wrongful deaths as those caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract of another person or entity. Wrongful death suits can be filed by the victim’s spouse, children, or parents. Blood relatives or adoptive siblings can also file these claims, but usually must be wholly or partly financially dependent on the decedent.

There are various damages for which the victim’s family can sue in a wrongful death case. Such damages include:

  • Compensation for potential earnings the deceased person potentially could have made had he or she lived.
  • Medical and funeral expenses.
  • Pain and suffering the death caused the family.
  • Loss of the deceased services like house work and childcare.
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection previously given by the decedent.
  • Loss of possible inheritance the deceased may have received if the victim had lived.

Filing a Civil Suit Against a Deceased Party

In the accident detailed above, the person who caused the wrongful deaths also died in the crash, which makes the legal proceedings slightly more complicated. In such cases the victim’s estate would sue the estate of the responsible party. This trial may be a little more muddled as neither of the affected parties can testify. If the plaintiff wins the case, then the damages awarded would be treated as a debt that must be paid off by the responsible party’s estate.

Contact an Experienced Miami Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you were so unfortunate as to endure the tragedy of losing a loved one due to a car accident or other negligent act, litigation may be your best option to seek justice. The personal injury lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA are located in Miami Dade County, Florida and have extensive experience reprsenting clients in wrongful death law suits and claims. All cases are conducted on a contingent fee so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Plane 23Two people died in Madison County, Florida from a plane crash. WCTV reported that 32-year-old James Swiggart and 18-year-old Maitland Harvey, who were cousins, both died in the crash. They were flying from Ocala to Tallahassee in an experimental RV-4 plane and lost contact with air traffic controllers before the crash. If you lost a loved one in a plane accident, contact a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney.

The crash occurred in a heavily wooded area and it took authorities a long time to both locate and reach the crash site. There were no witnesses of the crash, although some area residents reported hearing a noise.

Swiggart was a navy pilot although the plane he was operating was a personal aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the crash.

This crash is the second one in the area in less than two months. Despite advances in air plane safety the accident rate for personal flights has increased by 20% in the last 10 years, and the fatality rate for personal flights has increased 25% While large commercial flights are becoming increasingly more safe, small personal aircrafts still pose significant dangers to the pilots and passengers.

Airplane Accident Law

Pilots and airliners have a responsibility to meet a multitude of safety standards to make sure their passengers are as safe as possible. Failing to do so can hold them liable for injuries or deaths resulting from an accident.

Plane crashes can occur for various reasons and could leave you grounds to sue the pilot or airline company. These include dangerous conditions inside the plane, careless handling of the plane by the pilot, choosing to fly in unsafe weather conditions and general incompetence by the flight staff. Accidents can also be caused by a maintenance issue, where the owners fail to maintain the plane properly or by a design flaw in one of the plane’s parts.

Following any civil aviation crash in the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the accident. The findings of this investigation can prove extremely useful in any civil litigation that follows, as the board will determine the cause of the crash and whether any parties behaved negligently to cause the accident.

After a plane crash you can file a personal injury suit if you were injured or a wrongful death suit if you lost a family member. Damages you can be awarded include medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of wages, and property damage. You can also receive compensation for non-economic damages that include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement.

Contact a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you lost a loved one in a plane crash or any aviation related accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney. The Law Office of Gerson & Schwartz has a team of experienced wrongful death attorneys that are truly to committed to seeking justice for their clients, large and small. All our cases are conducted on a contingent fee so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Opened First Aid Kit

Opened First Aid Kit

If you were injured as a result of the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, you may be able file a medical malpractice lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries. While the damages you can receive can be substantial, the actual legal process is fraught with red tape and complications designed to discourage people from pursuing this type of litigation. While the hurdles are numerous, you deserve compensation for the many complications that result from medical malpractice and should seek all legal remedies. If you were injured or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, contact a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney today.

Statute of Limitations

In Florida the statute of limitations, or time limit in which someone can file a lawsuit, is shorter than for most other negligence claims. While the statute of limitations for most negligence claims is four years, for medical malpractice it is only two years after the injury occurred or after a person should have reasonably known that the injury was caused by medical malpractice.

Pre-Suit Requirements

In Florida, a victim of medical malpractice must follow strict pre-suit requirements if they hope to file a malpractice suit. If one does not closely follow these requirements, the litigant could be barred entirely from filing the suit.

Before filing the lawsuit, the attorney of the injured person must conduct an investigation to determine whether medical malpractice was the cause of the injury and that there are reasonable grounds to assume a medical professional was negligent in his or her duties. The attorney must also gather and review all medical documents related to the injury. Then the medical records must be reviewed by an independent medical professional in a similar field. This professional must provide a written statement swearing that he or she has reviewed the documents and that he or she believes them to be grounds to proceed with the lawsuit.

The attorney then must send a notice to the court containing the medical professional’s affidavit, the names of the prospective plaintiffs and defendants in the case and a summary of the injury. This notice must also be sent to the defendants that you are suing.

After all this, there is a 90-day pre-suit investigative period where both parties exchange questions regarding the injury, request documents and make unsworn statements. At the end of the 90 days or during, the defendant can either reject the claim, make a settlement offer or agree to arbitration. In arbitration, the defendant is assumed to have admitted liability and the arbitration will only be regarding the issue of damages.

As you can see the pre-trial requirements are extensive, costing considerable time and legal fees. This is clearly an attempt to disincentivize people from litigating medical malpractice, therefore you should never attempt this process unless you are certain certifiable medical malpractice has occurred.

Contact a Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

Suffering injuries from medical malpractice is never easy, and neither is filing a medical malpractice claim. At the Law Office of Gerson & Schwartz, we have extensive knowledge of Florida medical malpractice laws that can help you circumvent the bureaucracy and receive the damages that you are owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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In December, a Gadsen County jury reached a decision to award $11 million to a woman suing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company. The woman claimed that she contracted throat cancer from smoking their cigarettes. Although the $11 million figure may be reduced by the judge because the woman can be considered partially at fault, this case represents a huge victory for those suffering from nicotine addiction. If you have gotten sick or lost a loved one from tobacco product consider contacting a Miami Product Liability Attorney.

This case was argued in court as a product liability case. The 71-year-old woman’s attorney alleged that R.J. Reynolds was selling a defective product even though it was perfectly legal. The nicotine in the cigarettes caused the woman to become addicted reducing her fault for not being able to quit and prevent the cancer. The woman began smoking when she was just 14 years old.

The tobacco company’s lawyers argued that the woman was a willing smoker and not the picture of a hopeless addict she was portraying to the court. They also claimed that her cancer was not even caused by the cigarettes, but by the Human Papillomavirus, which at times is known to lead to cancer. The jury clearly did not buy the tobacco company’s arguments and decided instead to punish them heavily for selling such a dangerous product.

Tobacco Litigation in Florida

In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a class action lawsuit by Floridians who died or were the victim of smoking-related illnesses against tobacco companies but the court did open the way for individual litigation. The court upheld findings that tobacco companies intentionally misled the Florida public about the health risks and addictive qualities of cigarettes. They also found that smoking causes certain diseases such as lung and throat cancer, and heart disease. The verdict concluded that cigarettes are unreasonably dangerous and therefore tobacco companies may be liable for the illnesses and deaths caused by their products.

In product liability cases, a plaintiff can sue for a number of damages. These include medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and other punitive damages. The medical costs associated with the serious illnesses caused by tobacco products can be immense and can be compounded if the illness causes absences or an inability to work. Lawsuits against big Tobacco companies can be incredibly lucrative for the plaintiff and because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, there is already a legal precedent to win these cases.

Contact and Experienced Product Liability Attorney Today

Tobacco companies clearly sell a dangerous product that traps many Americans into a debilitating nicotine addiction. At the Gerson & Schwartz Law Firm, we can help you hold big tobacco companies liable for your illness. In 2002, we won a $37.5 million verdict for our client who became sick due to tobacco products. All our cases are conducted on a contingent fee so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Up Close 3The state of Florida has a serious work-related death problem, the causes of which are not entirely clear. With 221 deaths in 2014, Florida has the second highest rate of work-related deaths in the country based on population behind only Texas. Florida consistently ranks in the top three each year. If you had a loved one killed in a work-related incident, do not hesitate to contact a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction, transportation and warehousing, and administrative and waste services were the industries with the highest fatality rates in the state of Florida and nationwide.

Some of these work-related deaths were gruesome, such as one man being pulled into a wood chipper and another being buried alive at a construction site. But most work-related deaths could have been prevented if companies better adhered to standards and regulations set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. According to OSHA, the actual number of work-related deaths are probably much higher than the number reported because these figures do not take into account deaths due to long term, slow acting factors such as exposure to pesticides and other hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

What Can be Done to Prevent Work-Related Deaths

Many workplace deaths are completely preventable if the proper safety measures are put in place. OSHA advises that employers establish a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program to be taught to all employees. Obviously this program would vary greatly among industries as some jobs are far more dangerous than others.

OSHA also says to discontinue any policy that discourages the reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses or in any way shifts blame for these occurrences from the employer to the employee. This will allow a freer environment to report dangerous aspects of the workplace in order to more quickly address problems and find solutions. OSHA also tells employers to support any worker who is concerned with workplace safety and give them a platform to better advocate for more effective safety measures.

It is also the responsibility of communities and local officials to prioritize workplace safety and ensure that worksite evaluations and workplace safety training takes place. They should foster an atmosphere that does not give workers the impression that they must choose between a safe workplace and a reliable paycheck.

Contact an Experienced Miami Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Employers are responsible for making their workplaces as safe a place as possible and adhering to all state and federal workplace safety regulations. If they do not, tragedy may soon follow. If you had a loved one killed in a work-related accident contact the lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A Law Firm. Our lawyers have decades of experience ensuring you receive proper compensation for the tremendous amount of pain entailed with losing spouse or family member. All our cases are conducted on a contingent fee basis so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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