If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it’s likely that you can find an attorney to take your case, regardless of your financial situation. That’s because unlike many areas, in personal injury, attorneys are often paid on contingency. That means that you don’t pay them until and unless you win or settle your case.

5257679149_d4d0bdfb40

Contingency fee arrangements serve an important role for Florida consumers—they ensure access to courts. Someone who is injured does not have to worry about paying $100-$400 per hour for a qualified attorney, ensuring that even those with limited financial means can still hire the best attorneys in the state to represent them.

But an upcoming Florida Supreme Court case could put this fee system in jeopardy. It’s a case that Florida consumers should take an interest in.

Florida Supreme Court to Hear Attorneys Fee Case

The case is Castellanos v. Next Door Company, and although it is a workers’ compensation case, it could have an effect on general personal injury cases as well.

In workers compensation laws, attorney’s fees are capped at 20% of the first $5,000 awarded, 15% of the second $15,000 and 10% of amounts above.

In getting their client benefits against a particularly obstinate insurance company, the attorneys for the injured worker worked for 107.2 hours, an amount that both sides agreed was reasonable. This was to obtain a total award for the client of $822.70.

Citing the statutory requirements, the court awarded the attorneys only $164.54 in attorneys fees. This equates to $1.53 per hour—unreasonable no matter what line of work you’re in.

The claimants attorneys have now challenged the workers’ compensation attorney’s fee limits to the Florida Supreme Court, calling them unconstitutional.

The Workers’ Compensation Trade-Off

Many years ago, the legislature took away injured workers’ access to courts, forbidding them from bringing normal negligence actions against their employers. In return however, the legislature presumably made it easier for workers to get benefits regardless of negligence of the employer. In other words, the system was intended to trade the time, legal issues and expense of a traditional injury suit, for a quick, expedient process that quickly and fully compensated injured workers.

The claimant’s attorneys will be arguing to the Florida Supreme Court that restricting attorney’s fees makes it harder for injured claimants to find attorneys to represent them. Thus, the trade-off is, in fact, not a fair trade at all. Restricting the ability of injured workers to find attorneys by limiting attorney’s fees in effect restricts them from pursuing benefits at all when the insurance company doesn’t pay or cuts off benefits (which is often).Thus, the workers are left with no recourse under workers’ compensation or under general negligence claims.

Standard personal injury cases don’t have such restrictions on attorney fees. But should the Florida Supreme Court deem the workers’ compensation fee restriction constitutional, it’s not unlikely that it would open the door for an insurance lobbying group to try to pass such restrictions on general injury cases in the future, making the case one worth watching for everyone.

If you’ve been injured on the job or off, get help today. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case.

Photo Credit: ultraBobban via Compfight cc

If you are in an accident, and sue for your injuries, your case may not get to trial. In fact, few do. Many settle out of court, and when they do, there are settlement agreements to consider. In many cases, a settlement agreement may be exchanged early in the lawsuit process. Injury victims should be aware of what could happen if offers to settle injury lawsuits are exchanged before a lawsuit is actually filed.

318814437_2c5aa386b7

A new case, Thompson v. Estate of Maurice, is a reminder of some potential problems that could arise in these cases.

Attempted Settlement Before Suit

In Thompson, a minor was a passenger in a vehicle that sped out of control and hit a tree, killing him (along with every other member of the vehicle). The minor’s estate wanted to sue the driver’s estate and the driver’s parents.

It appears that there was minimal insurance coverage for the accident—only $20,000. So, the minor’s estate sent a demand letter to GEICO, the insurer for the driver, demanding the policy limits, and making a few other demands. The goal was to get GEICO to immediately tender that amount, and if GEICO did not, to sue for the full value of the claim (this is allowable under insurance bad faith law, which we’ll talk about in a later post).

Well, GEICO did tender the full $20,000. Except with their tender, they required that all parties, including someone that was not an insured, be released, and that the minor’s estate indemnify GEICO.

In other words, GEICO added additional requirements to the settlement agreement that the minor’s estate did not include in their offer.

The Lawsuit and Appeal

The minor’s estate sued in court, presumably for the full value of the injuries and death. GEICO of course defended by saying a settlement had been reached. The trial court agreed, and kicked the case out of court, finding that the minor had made a settlement offer, GEICO accepted, and that was the end.

The minor’s estate appealed the decision. The appellate court had to determine whether the parties had actually reached a pre-suit agreement, despite GEICO’s inclusion of the additional requirements.

The appellate court noted that settlements are interpreted like basic contract law. Under contract law, when a party makes an offer, the offer must be accepted almost identically to the terms to the offer. If someone accepts but adds requirements or changes material features of the offer, there is no acceptance—just a counteroffer.

The court sided with the minor’s estate, finding that GEICO’s requiring indemnification and  releases of parties that were not even insureds was simply a counteroffer. Because GEICO just counteroffered, and did not actually accept, the appellate court held the victim’s family could go forward with the lawsuit.

This case resulted in a favorable decision for the injured party. They don’t all do. It’s vitally important that you or your attorney understand the ramifications of partial settlements or bad faith settlement attempts in order to make sure that you don’t lose vital rights later on.

There are important steps in an injury lawsuit, even before a lawsuit is filed. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case.

Photo Credit: William Wilkinson via Compfight cc

Usually when the Florida Supreme Court adopts new procedural rules, they are of most concern to attorneys, and don’t have as much impact on injured individuals. The rules are procedural, and usually dictate how the lawyer must practice.

But the Florida Supreme Court has adopted a change to Florida’s appellate rules that’s worth noting because it could have an immediate and direct impact on injured victims who want to sue negligent government entities.

8572607587_fff58574bf

A Bit About Sovereign Immunity

The change concerns sovereign immunity. Generally, sovereign immunity is a law that says that the state and its agencies (including cities) can only be sued up to a certain dollar amount. Even if a jury ultimately awards far more than that amount, the injured victim will only receive the statutory cap—between $200K and $300K, depending on how many injured plaintiffs there are.

Sovereign immunity also prevents an injured party from suing at all for certain kinds of negligent acts.

Sometimes it’s not so clear whether a negligent party is covered by sovereign immunity. In many cases, a motion is brought in the trial court by a defendant being sued to determine whether the defendant is protected by sovereign immunity or not.

A Bit About Appeals

During a lawsuit, a judge may make many decisions on motions that are brought by parties. But those decisions can’t be appealed in the middle of the case. Generally a party cannot appeal a judge’s ruling until the case is over—meaning, it has been disposed of by a judgment or it has been dismissed by the court.

In the context of sovereign immunity, this means that if a defendant claims he is not covered by the immunity, and a judge disagrees and says that he is, the defendant must stand trial through judgment before appealing the decision of the trial judge about the sovereign immunity.

The New Rule

But a change to an appellate rule recently passed now modifies that. The change allows a defendant to appeal a judge’s ruling on sovereign immunity immediately—right in the middle of the case.

The practical result for injured victims, is that on top of the often intolerably long time it takes to normally litigate a case, get discovery, and get the case to trial, injured victims may now have to wait even longer, as defendants appeal judges’ rulings on sovereign immunity in the middle of the case.

Defendants really can’t lose by bringing a motion asking for immunity. If they win, they’re covered by immunity. But even if they lose the motion, they can file an appeal right there, and put an 8 month-year delay on the proceedings.

Some may do this, simply for leverage. Knowing a victim may be desperate and financially vulnerable, many defendants may use the appellate process to coerce favorable settlements. The prospect of having to wait even longer for a trial (or even a settlement) will be a difficult prospect for many injured victims, and the defendants may know that.

Contact an Attorney for Help in Your Case

If you’re injured, you want attorneys who understand the trial and the appellate process, and how they work together. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case.

Photo Credit: cplong11 via Compfight cc

Many families in Florida admirably and nobly care for children with mental disabilities, even into the child’s adulthood. Doing so can be a huge obligation, financially and emotionally.

Many of those children may have disabilities that make them dangerous. What responsibility does a parent of a dangerous adult child have towards others? And if you’re injured by an adult, what right do you have to sue the child’s parents if they knew the child was dangerous?

One case decided earlier this year has set some guidelines on these questions.

The Tragic Case of the Thanksgiving Murders

The case involved a family at Thanksgiving dinner. At the dinner was a young adult named Paul. While he lived with his parents, the police had been to Paul’s house on ten prior occasions for “extremely violent and aggressive acts.” Paul had attacked others, discharged weapons, and refused to take his medications. Paul had previously attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

6408534983_52887f25ed

Paul’s family provided for him, but they couldn’t prevent him from using the money to buy firearms. Eventually Paul was too much, and his parents bought him a condo, where a housekeeper reported that Paul had stopped taking medication and was refusing to leave the condo.

Despite all this, Paul’s parents invited him to the family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, without permission or consent from the hosts, some of whom knew of Paul’s background and did not want him there.

After dinner, Paul got a gun from the car, and killed numerous members of the family in attendance.

The Lawsuit and the Appeal

The family sued Paul’s parents, alleging they were negligent in inviting Paul given his background. The trial court dismissed the case, and it went to appeal. The appellate court agreed, saying that the family had no claim against Paul’s parents.

The court pointed out that generally a third party is not responsible for the acts of another (absent a special relationship, such as landlord-tenant). The court also noted there is no case holding a parent responsible for the acts of an adult child, even one that’s financially or emotionally dependent on the parents.

The court agreed that those who control those who are dangerous have a responsibility for their actions. But the court felt that was more in the context of an institution, not the kind of control (or lack thereof) exercised by parents of an adult child.

The court also cited public policy reasons to deny the claim. The state wants to encourage families to nurture, take care of, and include children with mental disabilities (presumably non-violent ones) in family and life events. Making parents insurers of acts of the child would discourage them from doing so.

The case is unique in that it can be seen both ways. Looking at the facts in the case, it seems incredible that parents could invite a known danger into a home, without liability. Yet at the same time, law that would encourage parents to isolate disabled adult children is no good either. The situation is lose-lose, at best.

Determining who is liable for your injuries can be a difficult, fact-specific question. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case.

Photo Credit: atl10trader via Compfight cc

If you are injured and file a lawsuit for damages, in many cases, the other side may settle with you before a trial is needed. In return for paying you damages for your injuries, the negligent party often may want a confidentiality provision in your settlement agreement.

A case from earlier this year demonstrates how seriously defendants can take these confidentiality agreements. It also demonstrates how mindful everyone must be in an age of social media.

61056391_31343afdc6

Man’s Daughter Violates Confidentiality

The case involved a man who had received a settlement from a defendant. The suit was over age discrimination, but there is effectively no difference between a discrimination suit and an injury suit when it comes to being aware of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements.

The settlement agreement required that the plaintiff not disclose to anyone, “directly or indirectly,” the existence of the settlement, much less any of its terms or conditions.

Feeling like he had to tell his daughter something about what happened, the plaintiff told her “…it was settled and we were happy with the results.”

The problem was that after hearing this, the daughter posted this to her Facebook page:

“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

As you can imagine, that bit of information, broadcast to the daughter’s 1000+ Facebook friends, was enough for the defendant to refuse to pay the settlement agreement, claiming the confidentiality provision was violated. A motion to enforce the agreement was filed by the plaintiff.

The Dispute over Confidentiality

In depositions, the plaintiff understandably said that he had to tell his daughter something about the result of the case, but that he had not told her they “won,” nor did his daughter to go Europe. He, of course, never authorized her to say anything on Facebook.

But the court found against the plaintiff, and agreed the settlement agreement was violated, invalidating the settlement.

What’s most disturbing is that the court did not invalidate it on the basis of the Facebook post, but on the fact the father had told the daughter the case settled. The court said that if the father intended to tell his family, he could have and should have made sure that exception was in his settlement agreement.

The fact that a confidentiality agreement can restrict what we tell our loved ones, in the privacy of our own homes, is very concerning for settling defendants in all cases. That’s not to mention the privacy invasions, as the depositions of the family (including the daughter) no doubt inquired into their personal conversations.

Of course, had the daughter not posted on Facebook (much less, so crudely), it’s unlikely the defendant or anyone else would have ever known that the father told his daughter about the settlement.

But the lesson is still there: if you sign a settlement agreement with an included confidentiality agreement, those provisions are enforceable. And although nobody will explicitly tell you not to share information with your closest family members, if you do, make sure they know the ramifications of disclosure, and the seriousness of the agreement that you signed.

Personal injury suits can have numerous issues even after settlement occurs. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: Tracy O via Compfight cc

If you are injured as a result of medical malpractice, you probably have the expectation that you’ll get your day in court, the chance to tell your story to a jury of your peers, and the opportunity to confront those who have wronged you.

More and more, however, doctors are trying to use forced, compelled arbitration to deny you that right. It’s a practice that is very harmful to Florida patients and consumers, and unfortunately, the law is very unclear whether these arbitration agreements are permissible or not.

3681831618_f2b4553466

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a process where 1-3 neutral arbitrators will hear your case, and decide whether you are entitled to recovery for your injuries. These arbitrators are not judges. They may be attorneys, retired judges, or in some cases, have no relation to the legal system. Some people are “professional arbitrators.” Unlike judges, they are unelected, and take no judicial oath. And, of course, there are not your peers, as are jurors. Yet the arbitrators will hear and decide your case.

An arbitration is an informal process. There is limited ability to present evidence to challenge the other side’s evidence. It is a less formal procedure than trial, and the ability to get documents and evidence from the other side before hearing is largely reduced from what you would be entitled to get in a normal case in the judicial system.

The Use of Arbitration by Doctors

Many companies have long had arbitration clauses in contracts and agreements, requiring parties to arbitrate disputes instead of filing a lawsuit. But the practice of doctors requiring arbitration when you have a medical malpractice claim is relatively new.

Florida law has a complex statutory scheme on how medical malpractice claims are handled. The question in cases which challenge the validity of arbitration agreements is whether the statutory scheme “trumps” arbitration clauses in physician agreements.

Florida’s laws say that a dispute can be resolved through trial, or “voluntary” arbitration. Some cases have read that to prohibit a patient from agreeing in a contract to forced arbitration.  If the law says that arbitration can only be voluntary at the time the case is filed, a contract requiring it violates the law and is against public policy.

But other cases have found no reason why contractual arbitration clauses would be invalid. They argue the contracts are entered into with consent, and there is nothing in the statutes that can be read to specifically forbid arbitration.

It’s likely the Florida Supreme Court will have to resolve the dispute. Hopefully it will find these clauses unenforceable. Many patients are unaware of what arbitration is, or how it affects them, and the doctor’s office is hardly the place where a consumer can take the time and make an informed decision on arbitration.

Arbitration takes away our basic constitutional right to trial by a jury. By using arbitration, the medical community is only seeking to avoid the sympathies of juries, even though such sympathies are often well placed, and well deserved. If the Supreme Court of Florida approves of these clauses, it is likely their use will become universal, essentially depriving all medical malpractice victims from truly having a day in court.

The law in medical malpractice can be complex and unsettled. Make sure your attorneys understand the current state of medical malpractice laws. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: Aleera* via Compfight cc

In disputed injury cases, getting evidence that may be difficult to obtain can be the difference between winning and losing. When we think of evidence, we often think of witnesses and medical records and maybe even video camera recordings. But we often don’t think of cell phone records as evidence in injury cases.

420211012_3d248ba289

Cell Phones and Privacy

We often think of the information on our cell phones—texts, emails, pictures, schedules, etc.—as our private information. Because of that, we write very candid things on our phones, not expecting that the world could ever see them.

In Florida, we have a constitutional right to privacy, which is often used to protect the information on our cell phones.

But cell phone records can be a very compelling piece of evidence, especially in a disputed liability case. Contrary to what you may think, there are ways to get the confidential cell phone records and data of an opposing party—and ways that it can be used against you as well.

Recent Case Makes Cell Data Discoverable  

This was just the issue recently in a case involving the death of a woman who was hit by a truck. As a defense, the trucking company asserted the driver was distracted by her iPhone. They obtained records from the deceased’s cell phone provider, but those are generally just numbers and times of calls made.

There was evidence through witnesses that the decedent had been texting at the time of the accident. Thus, the trucking company wanted its expert to inspect the phone itself, to get access to texts, photos, or social media postings, as well as GPS data that would show where the vehicles were and how fast they were travelling when the accident occurred.

The court allowed the inspection, but only under certain conditions. Only a 9-hour window was allowed to be discovered, and the expert had to create a backup of the phone in order to preserve the data. Special software protecting the phone would have to be used, and the owner’s attorney could be present during the entire process, and the inspection could be videotaped. Once the data was gathered, the owner’s attorney had a 10-day window to file objections to protect sensitive or private data.

The court took special note that the owner’s attorney did not proffer any sensitive information that should be protected, nor did the attorney suggest there were other ways to get the information provided. In essence, the attorney agreed with the stated procedures. And, because of the pre-existing evidence that the driver was texting, this was not a “fishing expedition.”

Whenever a fact is in issue, and a party proposes reasonable parameters and safeguards as they did in this case, a court is always more likely to allow inspection. It’s important to remember that a decision like this cuts both ways. Here it was the victim’s phone that was being inspected, but there is no reason why a victim could not review a defendant’s phone records.

Obtaining difficult evidence wins difficult cases. Find an attorney that has the know how and expertise to do just that. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: Joi via Compfight cc

If you are injured in an accident, it is very possible that it may not be the first injury you’ve ever sustained. As we go throughout our lives, and our body ages, we may well have medical problems, whether they are related or not to negligence. But those prior injuries or conditions can cause complex issues in a personal injury case.

31355729_7990d51355

The Need to Show Causation

One way that defense attorneys who represent negligent parties try to defend cases is on the basis of causation. Even if someone is negligent, it must still be demonstrated that their negligence actually caused your injuries.

Practically, many defense attorneys will argue that whatever pain, injury or disability that you say you have from an accident actually “pre-exists” the accident, and thus is not caused by it. For example, if you have suffered from migraines your whole life, and someone drops a piano on your head, and your only injuries are the same migraines you had before, the defendant will argue there is a lack of causation, barring you from recovery.

This is a very easy defense to raise, simply because, as we go throughout our lives, we will surely have some sort of injury or ailment. Many of us live with routine daily aches and pains. Perhaps you’ve had a work injury, or an injury playing sports, or just have pains from the natural aging process. Almost nobody goes through life having no pain or injury at all, and that’s certainly true for older clients.

Defeating the Pre-Existing Injury Defense

Fortunately, a good victim or accident attorney knows how to defeat these kinds of defenses.

One way is simply using medical evidence to show that whatever injury or ailment you had before the accident is different than what you have now after the accident.

Back problems commonly fall into this category. You may have had back pain before and after your accident. However, before your accident you may have had a muscle strain, but afterwards, you may have a herniated disc. To you they may feel similar. But objectively, they are very different.

The law also allows you to recover for exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing injuries. This is given as a jury instruction at the conclusion of your case. This means that if an accident made your pre-existing condition worse, you still have a right to recover.

Often, this is demonstrated subjectively. For example, you may have had a herniated disc that you were living just fine with before, but after the accident you’re in traction and need therapy.

Again, medical experts will be used to show exacerbations of prior injuries, but your medical treatment frequency is also good evidence.

If you had a bad shoulder that you saw a doctor once a year for beforehand, and now you’ve had 10 visits, therapy, and a surgical consult, the increased level of treatment is evidence that the defendant has exacerbated an injury.

Don’t let others tell you that you don’t have a right to recover just because of your medical history. Find attorneys who understand how to deal with this common defense. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: Andrea Marutti via Compfight cc

In all kinds of cases, witnesses can provide vital information that can lead a jury to enter a verdict for damages in favor of an injured person. Witness information is of particular importance where facts are disputed. A single witness, especially neutral witnesses with no stake in the outcome, can be the difference between recovering for an injury and being left with nothing.

3090392251_911be4dfafIn many cases, witnesses voluntarily come forward. For example, someone who witnesses a car accident may remain on the scene, and provide their contact information to an investigating police officer, or a treating doctor may be expected to be called as witnesses. 

But what about witnesses that may not have come forward voluntarily? Or aren’t even aware they have information to provide? How does someone who is injured get their information to call them to testify at an injury trial?

The Privacy Balancing Act

There is a balancing act between an injured person’s right to get evidence to prove their case, and an innocent witnesses’ right to privacy. The Florida Constitution explicitly contains a right to privacy, and many businesses or health care providers that are asked to provide names of witnesses will often assert the privacy of the witnesses (who are often their customers, employees or patients) in order to avoid producing such information.

A recent case, for example, demonstrates these kinds of problems. In Sovereign Healthcare Port St. Lucie v. Fernandes a nursing home patient was injured while in the home. The victim’s attorneys requested the names of other patients, in order to get their testimony about how the injured person was treated. 

The nursing home objected, claiming that the information of their residents who were not directly involved in the suit were private and privileged. There is some merit to this. Surely, we have an expectation that our private information will not be turned over just because someone in the nursing home bed next to us files a lawsuit.

But the appellate court noted Florida’s rules which allow for parties to discover the names and identities of witnesses. In doing so, it determined that the nursing home would have to provide the names and addresses of the other residents to the victim’s attorney. 

More Detailed Information May Be Difficult to Obtain

It should be noted that courts may be less willing to compel production of more detailed witness information. For example, medical charts with personal medical information, or financial or bank records, often will not be allowed to be disclosed. 

In more sensitive cases with more sensitive witness information involved, a party may either have records redacted (blacked out), or may have a court review the records in question privately, to determine how sensitive the requested information is, and whether and how much will be produced. 

In all cases, an injured party will have to demonstrate that the information is relevant and can’t be obtained elsewhere. Courts usually won’t provide witness information if the injured party is just fishing for information. A demonstrable reason why the witness information is needed and why it can’t be obtained anywhere else will usually need to be shown before a court allows uninvolved witness information to be disclosed. 

Understanding how to get difficult or unavailable evidence can be the difference between winning and losing your injury case. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: davidsonscott15 via Compfight cc

If you are injured in a fall on a business owner’s premises, a crucial question will be whether the dangerous condition was “open and obvious” to you. The open and obvious doctrine can be a difficult hurdle to overcome for injured victims seeking damages for their injuries, but a case earlier this year may have made that hurdle a little lower. 

5208963157_9d6428bd8b

What is Open and Obvious? 

As the name implies, an open and obvious condition is one which is out in the open, and readily observable to anyone demonstrating due care. Generally, we all have a duty to look out for our own safety. This includes avoiding dangerous conditions that are open and obvious.

A bunch of boxes negligently left on a floor may be open and obvious. A spill involving a clear liquid may not be.

There are many cases denying recovery for injuries where victims fell over open and obvious conditions. It is a powerful defense. Fortunately however, one Florida Court has said that just because a dangerous condition may be open and obvious may not be the end of the inquiry.

New Case Still Makes Negligent Businesses Responsible

The case in question involves an experienced trucker who fell on a large oil spill. The trucker acknowledged seeing the spill (and cones blocking the area) even before falling on it. Hearing this, the trial court dismissed the trucker’s case, based on the open and obvious doctrine.

But the appellate court disagreed. The appellate court pointed out that a landowner owes two duties to those on its property lawfully: 1) A duty to warn of dangerous conditions, and 2) A duty to maintain the premises in a safe condition.

The Court agreed that because the spill was open and obvious, that there could be no claim under #1. There is no need to warn someone of something that’s obvious. 

But that does not mean that the landowner isn’t liable under #2. Even with open and obvious conditions, there is still a duty to maintain the premises safely. The Court overturned the trial court, and sent the case back for further litigation on whether the land owner maintained the property safely. 

Decision Benefits Injured Victims

The case is important for injured victims. Property owners cannot simply neglect their premises and allow dangerous conditions to exist, just because they’re obvious.

This makes common sense. Otherwise, a business owner could completely neglect a dangerous situation just because it’s obvious. Can you imagine a grocery store allowing a wine spill to sit for hours unattended, just because the wine is bright red and obvious? Or allowing a ladder to sit smack in the middle of a shopping aisle for days just because the ladder is easily observable? Any ruling other than this one would allow such absurd situations.

Victims who can prove that a business owner had improper procedures, or failed to clear or fix a dangerous condition, now still have an avenue to recover damages. And, defendants no longer can hide behind the open and obvious doctrine as a shield to protect themselves from liability for their negligent actions. 

Slip and fall injuries can be more complex than you may think, and small facts may have big legal ramifications to your case. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury or malpractice case.

Photo Credit: Mark Faviell Photos via Compfight cc