A recent deadly scaffold collapse in Miami reminds construction companies to use caution when erecting and utilizing scaffolding on construction sites.  Construction companies use scaffolding frequently. The apparatus is more stable than a ladder and allows workers to move about more freely without worrying too much about losing their balance. However, scaffolding can create a false sense of security on behalf of those employees using it. Considerable attention must be paid to the safety requirements of scaffolds. Failure to do so can result in serious injury and death from collapsing equipment. A construction company may be held liable for the injuries suffered by workers from scaffolding failures. Miami construction accident attorneys with decades of experience will fight to hold construction companies responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death caused by scaffold collapses.

The recent deadly collapse occurred in Miami in mid-October of 2016. Construction workers set up scaffolding on the outside of a high-rise building. Without warning, the scaffolding failed. The collapsing scaffold cast debris in all directions injuring workers and passers-by alike. The person killed as a result of the collapse died from a heart attack as a result of fleeing from the falling structure. The debris crashed down on a worker’s head who, despite wearing a helmet, suffered a severe laceration to his head.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s primary function is to protect workers from unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.  Accordingly, OSHA issued safety standards for scaffolding use. The safety standards impose an obligation on employer and employee alike to make sure that they are using scaffolding appropriately and safely while on the job. The security requirements may seem so obvious that they need not be stated. Notwithstanding, scrupulous adherence to the rules can save lives and prevent injuries.

According to CNBC, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) uncovered a $1 Billion scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. As a consequence of this investigation the owner of more than 30 Miami-area nursing homes, Philip Esformes, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July of 2016. The DOJ also accused a physician’s assistant and hospital administrator for their role in stealing and laundering money from the federal government since 2009.  The depth and breadth of the fraudulent scheme shows how elders and the infirm are at the mercy of unscrupulous health care providers. Miami personal injury attorneys who have experience recovering damages for injuries and abuse in nursing homes will fight to protect your loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

The DOJ alleges that Esformes, with assistance from the other individuals involved, bilked the faltering health care system to fund a ridiculously lavish lifestyle. All at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people in our community: the elderly and the poor. Prosecutors alleged that Esformes subjected his residents to unnecessary medical treatments so that he could bill Medicare for the treatment. Additionally, and perhaps most egregiously, Esformes allegedly drugged some of his patients with prescription narcotics. The over prescription of narcotics renders the patient incapable of weaning themselves off of the drug. As a result, the patient remained bound to the facility because they were addicted to the painkilling drugs. Prosecutors referred to this abuse as a “cycle of fraud.”

Local law enforcement authorities are aware of the problem. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which represents the Miami-area, indicated that the South Florida area is replete with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Consequently, law enforcement is paying close attention to facilities in the hopes of preventing this type of wide-spread fraud in the future.

When we think about our smartphones, we think about devices that can potentially save our lives: we use them to call 911 after an accident, to let others know of our locations, and we even store our medical information in them to let others know of any allergies or health conditions we have. However, what if your phone causes you injury? Recently, it was discovered that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone would catch on fire—in fact, it would even reportedly explode—due to a malfunction with the battery. In these cases, Miami personal injury attorneys could sue the cell phone manufacturer, or any one in the stream of commerce on behalf of injured victims in a products liability lawsuit.

One Florida man has already filed suit against Samsung. The plaintiff, Jonathan Strobel, was shopping in Costco when his Galaxy Note 7 exploded, causing a second-degree burn. Strobel is seeking compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. And in fact, the number of lawsuits may grow. So far, Samsung has received 92 reports of issues caused by the batteries. Twenty-six users have reported burns, and 55 have reported property damage. As more reports trickle in, Samsung may have a number of claims to defend. Miami products liability attorneys file claims making at least one of the following allegations: that a product’s design was flawed, that it was manufactured improperly, or that it failed to properly warn consumers of the potential risks of using it. In a defective design case, a plaintiff argues that the design of the product itself caused the harm. For example, in the Galaxy Note 7 example, if the materials in the battery made it overheat and eventually ignite, the issue was in the design of the battery.

If the manufacturing of the product was the problem with the Galaxy Note 7, parties will argue that an issue in the factory caused the batteries to catch on fire. Perhaps the wrong materials were used by mistake in a certain batch of phones, which led to the overheating. If inadequate warnings were the issue, plaintiffs will allege that Samsung did not provide proper warnings about the risk of the batteries overheating and the phones igniting, if the company was aware that this was a possibility.

This week, news outlets reported that Matthew Apperson was sentenced to twenty years in prison for shooting at George Zimmerman during a 2015 road rage incident. Apperson allegedly followed Zimmerman in his vehicle while flashing his lights and honking his horn. At some point, Apperson moved into the lane next to Zimmerman and fired into Zimmerman’s vehicle. Zimmerman was not shot, but he suffered cuts from the shattering of his car window. Apperson was convicted of second-degree murder. Of course, criminal charges are appropriate in such a situation. However, civil claims may also be filed against an individual, regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed for an incident. Miami personal injury attorneys seek justice for injury, accident and road rage victims who were injured by the reckless or careless acts of others.

When are civil claims appropriate? Civil claims involving injuries typically require three parts: A legal duty was owed to the victim,  breach of the legal duty, due to that breach, the victim suffered damages. Generally speaking, road rage incidents are dangerous and can end up with serious or catastrophic injuries and in some cases fatal consequences.  One source reported that 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Two percent of drivers have admitted to trying to run another driver off of the road.

Aggressive Careless Driving and Following Too Closely- Violations under Florida law

Florida has some of the highest plastic surgery rates in the country. One survey showed that Miami alone has 10 plastic surgeons per 100,000 residents. Thousands of cosmetic procedures are performed in Miami and the rest of Florida every year. In some cases, surgeons make errors that cause severe injuries to their patients. Sadly, many patients die due to the injuries they sustained during or after a plastic surgery procedure.

Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex civil actions that attorneys file. Pursuing them requires an in depth understanding of not only personal injury laws, but also the anatomy and physiology of the human body. To successfully pursue such a claim, a victim should seek a Miami personal injury lawyer with years of experience in these cases.

In a medical malpractice case, the patient must demonstrate three things: that the medical professional had a duty to the patient; that this duty was breached when the medical professional acted negligently; and that, due to this negligence, the patient suffered harm. Establishing the duty is usually straightforward—when a patient consents to a procedure, the doctor-patient relationship is established. To demonstrate negligence, a medical expert will need to testify and explain what the standard course of conduct is for the procedure in question and how the medical professional deviated from that standard.

In today’s society, almost every driver has a cell phone. Whereas cell phones are often a lifesaver after an accident, or when a driver is stranded, they also pose a dangerous threat to motorists in the state of Florida. In 2015, approximately 45,740 accidents in Florida were attributed to distracted driving. About 24,560 of these crashes resulted in injuries, and, tragically, 198 resulted in fatalities. Nearly 200 individuals lost their lives in 2015 in Florida because a driver failed to pay attention to the road. Distracted driving accidents are on the rise and unfortunately will likely continue in the near future.

There are three categories of distractions on the road:

  • Visual, or taking one’s eyes off of the road;

Recovering for Slip and Fall Injuries in Florida

Slip and fall personal injury cases are included in premises liability personal injury claims in Florida. In a slip and fall case, injury victim needs to establish that  he or she was lawfully on the premises  and slipped and fell because the property of a dangerous condition on the premises. Negligence can be established by the showing that the Defendant property owner either created the dangerous condition, or that the dangerous condition existed on the premises for a sufficient length of time that the property owner either knew or should have known of the condition but failed to act in time to warn, or to correct the hazard. Under Florida law, slip and fall accidents and premises liability laws are found under Florida Statutes Section 768.0755, also known as “Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.  Under Florida law, slip and fall accidents usually arise from a wet, foreign or transient substances. These types of slip and fall injury claims are commonly filed against grocery stores, department stores, and other common areas in shopping centers, and other retail establishments.

In a slip and fall case, the accident victims must show that the property owner or operator had “notice” of the condition that caused the victim injury. And that that the owner or operator failed to act on this knowledge in a reasonable manner. Because the hazardous condition was not remedied, the victim fell and suffered injury. Consider a case where a woman is grocery shopping. She does not see a puddle of water on the floor. She slips in the puddle and falls, breaking her hip. After reviewing security footage and interviewing employees, it is determined that the water was on the floor for 30 minutes before the woman fell.  In this situation, one can argue that the store had notice of the spill because they should have known of the condition and did not discover it in time or take action to warn or clean it up. Therefore, the store would likely be liable for the woman’s injuries.

Miami Balcony Collapse Attorneys Discuss Legal Duties of Property Owners

Many people were shocked last year when six people died, and seven more suffered serious injury after a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a party at an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley.  While the incident was tragic, it was far from unprecedented.  57 people suffered injury, and 13 people died when a third-floor porch collapsed in Chicago in 2003.  These are just two of many such incidents that have caused injuries and fatalities over the years.  In this blog, our Miami premises liability attorneys discuss the types of negligent conduct by property owners that contribute to balcony collapse accidents.

In Florida, owners of commercial and residential property have a legal duty to maintain their property in a way that minimizes the risk of injury to visitors.  When the owner of a business or residence fails to pay attention to the number of people or weight load on a deck or balcony, the consequences can be broken bones, catastrophic injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and fatalities.  If you have been injured in a patio, balcony, or deck collapse, you should speak with a Miami personal injury law attorney with experience handling premises liability and balcony collapse claims who can protect your interests and pursue the fullest financial recovery.

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Traffic accidents involving commercial motor vehicles can cause substantial injuries. Unfortunately, these accidents occur all too often. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2014 there were 3,424 injuries in large truck crashes that resulted in at least one fatality while 82,000 of the accidents resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.

Commercial motor vehicles are subject to a variety of regulations both state and federal. Some of these include the number of hours a driver can operate and other physical conditions and limitations that passenger vehicles are not required to follow including acceleration, braking, and visibility-related issues which are all more likely to result in substantial injuries than accidents only involving passenger cars. There are several important factors to consider when analyzing why commercial motor vehicle accidents are more likely to cause injury than automobile accidents involving passenger cars. Our Miami injury and accident attorneys have years of experience representing clients injured in auto, truck, and commercial vehicle accident cases. Some other factors our lawyers will analyze in a truck or commercial vehicle accident case include:

  • Size and Weight: Commercial motor vehicles weigh between 16,000 to 20,000 pounds. For example, any commercial motor vehicle that weighs beneath 80,000 pounds in gross is permitted to operate without a special permit. Commercial motor vehicle collisions involve objects of much greater size and force coming to a stop, which greatly increases the likelihood of injuries occurring.

Rapes and sexual assaults on cruise ships happen often. Recently, 1,700 young students boarded the Luxury MS Galaxy cruise ship on a trip to Finland. What was intended to be a rewarding experienced turned ended in tragedy. Eight male passengers between the ages of 18 and 19 were arrested when the cruise ship landed.  Said men face charges of gang-raping a female student and aggravated rape. The attack occurred inside one of the ship’s cabins. One of these eight men has a prior criminal conviction. Two of these eight men are actually suspects in a separate high-profile murder case in Stockholm. Said murder occurred in November of 2015. As suspects to the murder case they were released pending trial and provided the opportunity to violently offend again.     

If you or a loved one have been attacked on a cruise, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The Miami maritime lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA have the experience and skill needed for your case. For a FREE initial consultation, call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905.  You can also contact us online at info@gslawusa.com.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery

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