Miami Injury Lawyer Blog

file0001569965691Fleeing the scene of a car accident is totally unacceptable and is against the law in Florida. Our team of Miami car accident lawyers takes this issue seriously since a hit-and-run accident has ramifications long after the collision.

The consequences of leaving the scene of a car wreck are quite serious. Take, for example, what recently happened to former TV star David Cassidy. He is facing up to a year in prison after the actor-singer was cited for fleeing the scene of an auto accident in Fort Lauderdale, according to

According to Florida Highway Patrol records, Cassidy was traveling on I-595 “at a high rate of speed” and “in and out of traffic.” The front of Cassidy’s passenger side collided with the back of a box truck. After the collision, Cassidy immediately fled the scene hoping to avoid any negative repercussions. Fortunately, a witness saw the crash and provided state troopers with a picture of the license plate.

Cassidy was cited for an improper lane change, unknowingly operating a vehicle while having a suspended driver’s license due to a previous DUI conviction, and operating a vehicle with a expired registration, according to the aforementioned article. The Broward County State Attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor of the second degree charge against Cassidy for leaving the scene of the I-595 accident.

Obviously, Cassidy is facing some serious legal charges, but this incident could have been far worse. He could have collided with a vehicle and caused a serious physical injury to the other driver and/or passengers. Imagine leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in another human being suffering a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other significant trauma. It is wrong, plain and simple.

Why Fleeing the Scene is So Horrendous

As mentioned, some auto accidents result in significant injuries. When a driver flees the scene, he or she essentially signaling to the other driver, “I do not care what happens to you. I want to avoid any liability.” Unfortunately, many drivers are successful in evading responsibility in this way. In far too many car wrecks, a hit-and-run driver flees the scene and is never apprehended. In these unfortunate the situations, the burden falls entirely on the victim to pick up the pieces and pursue financial restitution for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What to Do If You are the Victim of a Hit-and-Run Accident

In Florida, drivers can immediately access up to $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits through their automobile insurance policies. However, if you are the victim of a hit-and-run incident and your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering exceed $10,000, you will face some difficulties in getting the restitution you deserve. If you have uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance policy, the process will be somewhat easier. This form of coverage is optional in Florida. Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended you obtain some amount of uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. Without it, any bills or expenses in excess of $10,000 will be your responsibility in a hit-and-run situation.

Speak to an Experienced Miami Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one is the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Florida, contact the Miami car accident injury law firm of Gerson and Schwartz, PA today. We offer free consultations where we can discuss your legal options and explore all forms of available insurance coverage. All case calls are kept strictly confidential.


Construction sites can be extremely dangerous, especially for the workers who are operating in and around the sites on a daily basis. With numerous contractors and sub-contractors at the site, there may be a number of different tasks taking place. Unfortunately, our team of Miami construction accident injury lawyers commonly discover that not all work tasks were being done in accordance with safety standards and protocols at the job site.

Injured on the Job – How to Get Compensated

Injured construction workers are entitled to apply for worker’s compensation insurance. Basically, worker’s comp allows you to receive financial benefits for your lost income while you are disabled and incapable of returning to work, along with reimbursement for medical expenses. In some cases, depending on the severity of the injury, you could be eligible to pursue lifetime permanent disability payments and/or a lump sum settlement.

Along with worker’s compensation, construction accident victims may be able to bring a personal injury claim against a third party and/or the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product.

Taking Action Against a Negligent Contractor and/or Sub-Contractor

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals recently decided cases addressing the issue of whether the personal injury claim immunity under the Florida worker’s compensation statute applied to a contractor and subcontractor. For context, Florida provides immunity (i.e. protection from personal injury litigation) to employers in exchange for the employers complying with the worker’s compensation system. The only exception is when your employer commits an intentional tort (i.e. consciously harms you) or commits gross negligence.

The family of a Florida construction worker who died while working at a job site challenged the application of this statutory immunity to contractors and sub-contractors. The worker was finishing drywall when his ladder slipped into a cutout left by a subcontractor. The worker fell and died. The cutout that caused the deadly fall was made by an HVAC subcontractor. This subcontractor failed to warn the other subcontractors of its presence or follow proper guidelines to ensure the area was safe. Workers’ compensation was available to the deceased’s workers family. However, the personal representative of the deceased worker’s estate brought suit against the contractor and all subcontractors associated with the project.

The HVAC subcontractor argued that they were entitled to immunity and moved to dismiss the personal injury suit. The Florida Court of Appeals ruled that it was for a jury to decide whether or not the events that led to the worker’s death were the result of gross negligence. This means the representative of the deceased’s employee get to move forward in the personal injury suit against the HVAC contractor.

Why This Case is Important

It is an indicator that the immunity afforded under the Florida worker’s compensation statute may not be as broadly applied as some contractors and subcontractors think. If you or a loved one was seriously harmed at a construction site, you should speak to an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer so they can help you assess which contractors, subcontractors, and any other third parties may be liable for your harm.


You are driving along I-395 in Miami when, out of nowhere, a huge 18-wheeler side swipes your vehicle causing you to veer off the road and crash into a tree. Your vehicle is totaled and you suffer serious, debilitating injuries including multiple broken bones, a lacerated spleen, and a spinal cord injury. In these types of situations, you need an experienced Miami truck accident lawyer.


Trucking Companies Employ Teams of Adjusters and Defense Lawyers

Some people think that if an accident occurs involving a tractor trailer, they can handle filing a claim themselves with the company and do not need to retain a truck accident injury attorney. This is a big mistake. Many trucking companies have teams and departments focused on reducing the company’s liability exposure and mitigating the value of any claims made against the company. In fact, if a major truck accident occurs, do not be surprised if the truck company sends out investigators and claims adjusters to examine the scene shortly after the incident occurs. This is because they want to examine the available evidence before your lawyer gets a chance to.  

You Need an Advocate to Investigate the Accident on Your Behalf

Immediately following a major trucking accident, you are probably looking at an extensive rehabilitation timeframe and may never be able to return to 100 percent. You do not need the added stress and pressure of investigating the cause of the big rig accident. You should retain a Miami personal injury lawyer to initiate the investigation and begin building your case. You need someone at the scene reviewing critical evidence before it mysteriously “disappears” after the trucking defense team arrives.

Along with investigating the scene of the accident, your Miami truck accident injury lawyer should review the truck driver’s record and see if there is a history of prior wrecks, the truck’s log books, black boxes, maintenance records, etc.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you or a loved one is involved in a serious commercial trucking accident, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in medical bills, an extended period of time out of work with no money coming in, a lengthy recovery period, and a totaled vehicle. You need someone on your side fighting to get you maximum compensation. You need someone who will consult with your doctors to identify the type of medical care you will need in the long-run and whether you suffered permanent damage from the collision. There may even be a need to consult economists and vocational experts to determine whether you will ever be able to return to your prior employment. You need someone on your side who will investigate and root out all of the available sources of insurance. In Florida, you have access to Personal Injury Protection benefits, but you could also potentially access the insurance policy of the tractor trailer.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Injury Law Firm Today

The Miami truck accident lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. are here to help. We offer free, confidential consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not incur any out-of-pocket costs while we represent you and we only get paid when you get paid.

DSC04655-2In most personal injury cases such as car accident injuries, truck accident injuries, and motorcycle accident injuries, the damages that are pursued by your Miami personal injury lawyer include restitution for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, there is another category of damages that goes beyond simply serving as a compensatory mechanism for the injured party. There is a special category of damages available that helps to make the injured party “whole” again and may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for their reckless and wanton conduct. This category of damages is known as punitive damages.

In Florida, punitive damages are also referred to as “exemplary damages.” As mentioned, these damages go beyond what is actually necessary to compensate you. They are meant to penalize the at-fault party if they committed gross negligence or caused intentional harm. They are awarded as a way to send a signal to the community at large that similar behavior will not be tolerated.

Punitive Damages Example

Punitive damages can be awarded when a drunk driver with a BAC of .18 hits and seriously injures a pedestrian causing him or her to suffer multiple broken bones and torn muscles. The injured pedestrian has $100,000 in medical bills and misses two months of work with lost wages totaling $10,000. In this scenario, a Miami car accident injury lawyer could seek punitive damages that go above and beyond the $110,000 in documented “compensatory damages” of medical bills and lost wages.

Florida Law on Punitive Damages

According to Florida statute 786.72, an injured party may be awarded punitive damages if they have clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party possessed “actual knowledge” of the wrongfulness of their conduct and the high probability of causing serious harm, or that the at-fault party’s conduct was so reckless or wanton that it constituted a conscious disregard of indifference to life or safety. As you can see, the threshold that must be met to get a punitive damages award is fairly high.

Punitive Damages Capped in Florida

Florida places a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury, wrongful death, or other civil claim. Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 at most. So, for our example above, the highest amount of punitive damages that could be awarded, with $110,000 in compensatory damages, would be $330,000.

If the conduct of the at-fault party is especially egregious, the court has the discretion to award four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or a max of two million dollars.

Contact a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Whether you or a loved one is seriously hurt in car accident, truck accident, or boating accident, you need to consult with an experienced Miami personal injury attorney. Do not take on the at-fault party alone. Contact Gerson and Schwartz, PA for a free, confidential consultation.

dui offense (1)Nearly 30 percent of deadly car wrecks in Florida are attributable to drunk drivers. That percentage translates to nearly 700 car crash deaths caused by drunk driving in the state of Florida. To our team of Miami car accident lawyers, that is 700 deaths too many.

Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving reveals that someone is seriously injured by a drunk driver almost every 90 seconds and an average of 28 people die as a result of drunk driving accidents.

How Florida Punishes Drunk Drivers

If you are charged with drunk driving in Florida, you are looking at a third-degree felony. This means you are probably going to be jailed for some period of time. In fact, according to section 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j) of the Florida Code, a first-time conviction can result in at least six months in jail. If your blood alcohol level is higher than a 0.15, you are looking at a possible nine-month jail sentence.

Punitive Damages

When it comes to jail time, probation, loss of driving privileges, etc. those are punishments in the criminal arena. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a drunk driver, you also have the right to pursue restitution in the civil arena through a personal injury claim (or wrongful death claim if you lost a loved one in a drunk driving wreck). In addition to pursuing restitution for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, a plaintiff can pursue “punitive damages” under Florida Statute 768.762. Punitive damages are an additional level of compensatory damages meant to compensate you and send a signal to the at-fault driver (and the public at large) that drunk driving will not be tolerated.  

To get punitive damages, a jury must find, based on clear and convincing evidence, that the at-fault driver was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. A defendant may be held liable for punitive damages only if the trier of fact, based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Intentional misconduct is defined as the drunk driver having “actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct.” In most drunk driving personal injury cases, you will not be focusing on intentional misconduct. Most drunk drivers do not intentionally become intoxicated with the intent of causing a deadly car crash.  

Instead, your punitive damage claim will likely be based on gross negligence. According to Florida law, gross negligence means that the at-fault driver’s conduct was “so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.” This is where most personal injury punitive damage claims are based. The drunk driver’s behavior was careless and showed a complete indifference to the safety of others.

Contact an Experienced Miami Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt by a drunk driver and you want to pursue punitive damages, contact Gerson and Schwartz P.A. today for a free case analysis. We take these cases very seriously. Since 2007, our Miami personal injury law firm has received the “Award of Honor” from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognizing our commitment to help victims get justice for harm caused by intoxicated drivers. Contact us today by phone or e-mail.

IMG_2767You have probably seen it time and again – a driver on a busy road or highway looking down at his or her phone or staring intently at a GPS device instead of focusing on the road. The clarion calls to not text and drive appear to fall on deaf ears. In 2013, over 3,000 people were killed in car wrecks involving a distracted driver. In addition, over 420,000 people suffered serious injuries in distracted driving-related accidents, according to Our team of Miami car accident lawyers find these statistics to be quite troubling.

On a bright note, some companies are taking action to combat distracted driving. For example, AT&T created advertisements for the “It Can Wait” campaign. Also, AAA released videos taken of distracted drivers causing serious wrecks.

Here is some shocking data – sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If you are traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour, that is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed, according to CBS Miami. When you text and drive you are 23 times more likely to be in a car crash.

What is Florida Doing to Fight Distracted Driving?

In 2013, the Florida legislature finally took steps to combat distracted driving by enacting state statute 316.305 (a.k.a. the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law). The law allows police officers to cite drivers who are found to be texting and driving. Though, it considers texting and driving to be a “secondary offense.” This means that a police officer cannot pull you over if they see you texting and driving. There must be a separate offense (e.g., speeding, failing to maintain your vehicle, etc.) enabling the officer to pull you over before they can cite you for texting and driving.

In addition to the relatively new state law, the Florida Highway Patrol partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to combat distracted driving. Their campaign is unique since it does not focus solely on texting and driving, but encourages drivers to avoid all distractions including eating, putting on make-up, staring at a GPS device, etc. while behind the wheel. The broader campaign is important since thousands of people are getting seriously hurt or killed in preventable accidents caused by drivers who simply failed to pay attention.

If You or a Loved One is Injured by a Distracted Driver, Contact a Miami Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

Distracted drivers can cause very serious, potentially life-threatening car and truck wrecks. If you or a loved one was hit by a distracted driver, contacted the Miami personal injury law firm of Gerson and Schwartz PA. We have been representing accident victims and their families for decades. The firm features a board certified civil trial attorney with years of jury trial experience. This experience have resulted in an impressive record of successful verdicts and settlements. Our commitment to our clients is paramount and we will fight tirelessly to get the restitution that you and your loved ones deserve.

IMG_0013_CCFar too often, our Miami personal injury attorneys read about a prescription drug causing serious, life-threatening side effects. Unfortunately, Xarelto continues this disturbing trend. Xarelto, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is a blood-thinning drug approved by the FDA in July 2011. Xarelto is a new type of anticoagulant drug that has captured the US drug market in recent years. Drugs like Xarelto were originally designed as an alternative to Warfarin, a similar blood-thinning medicine that has been in the market since the 1950s. However, recent research shows that Xarelto too, is coming with its fair share of problems.

Xarelto has led to an increased danger of blood clotting related injuries like gastrointestinal bleeding and severe internal hemorrhaging, especially during surgeries or following accidents. Two FDA “boxed warnings” (also known as “black box” warnings) have been prominently included on the drug’s box. One warning informs patients that stopping Xarelto early can increase the danger of building more blood clots. The other warning label states that Xarelto can add to serious head and spinal injuries (epidural and spinal hematoma).  

Xarelto manufacturers have been sued by numerous patients who suffered strokes, pneumonic embolisms, deep vein thrombosis, and heart attacks. Adverse Xarelto side effects can result in extensive hospitalization, lengthy medical bills and considerable time off from work. These damages are recoverable by victim who suffered Xarelto side effects or by the family of a loved one who lost their life due to Xarelto.

What are My Chances of Getting a Financial Recovery Against Xarelto?

This is a good question with no definitive answer. Johnson and Johnson is a huge corporation with a vast team of defense lawyers who fight product liability cases on a regular basis. Nevertheless, you will not have to take on a big corporation alone. Your lawyer will be there fighting for you and is capable of going toe-to-toe with a corporate defense lawyer. The chances of you receiving financial recovery depends on the strength of your case and the facts involved. To get an idea of whether it makes sense to pursue a claim, you need to sit down with a lawyer for a free, confidential consultation.

Is it Worth It?

Obviously, no amount of monetary restitution can make up for the loss of a loved one. Nevertheless, pursuing compensation through a product liability claim can help you cover huge medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income, loss of consortium, and other damages.

Contact an Experienced Xarelto Drug Injury Lawyer Today

The Miami personal injury and prescription side effect lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz P.A. represent victims and their families throughout Florida. The attorneys at the firm possess decades of experience handling all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases. They have law offices that are conveniently located near downtown Miami. However, our attorneys and investigators can visit you at home or in the hospital. We also answer questions from anywhere in the world.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety, there has been a sharp increase in railroad accident deaths – from 301 deaths in 2014 to 363 deaths in 2015. A total of 22 of these railroad accident deaths have occurred in Florida in 2015. 22 lives were lost due to accidents that probably could have been prevented. In fact, 80% of Florida public railroad crossings remain unprotected by lights and safety gates. Our team of Miami personal injury lawyers find those statistics to be simply unacceptable.

Railroad accidents in Florida may occur because of:

  • Mechanical failure of the train or related hardware
  • Negligence or distraction of a train administrator or other representative
  • Faulty train intersections or dated tracks
  • Two trains impacting
  • Collision with an auto, truck, transport, or person on foot
  • Not adhering to the speed limit
  • Unsafe outline or designing of a train or railroad
  • Manufacturing lapses or glitches in trains or related apparatus
  • Visual impediments, broken or missing signs
  • Inclement weather
  • Inadequate security
  • Inadequately prepared train administrators
  • Drivers affected by drugs or alcohol

Ramifications of a Train Accident

Along with heart-breaking deaths, railroad accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, debilitating lower back injuries, paralysis, and permanent loss of limbs. If there is evidence that a railroad operator was negligent by failing to provide adequate warning systems and safety measures such as safety gates and security lights, you and your loved ones should explore taking legal action and contact an experienced railroad accident attorney. In addition to possibly obtaining restitution for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, a claim sends a signal to the industry that it needs to make safety a top priority.

Take Action Sooner Rather Than Later

The statutes of limitations make it particularly critical for railroad accident victims to contact an attorney at the earliest opportunity. The statute of limitations dictates how much time is available for an individual to pursue a claim against another individual, corporation, or other entity. The statute of limitations varies based on the state you reside in and the type of claim you have. For example, the statute of limitations for a railroad accident personal injury claim in Florida is four years from the date of the incident, according to Florida Code § 95.11(3)(o). However, if a loved one was killed in a railroad collision, you only have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Florida Code § 95.11(4)(d). You read that correctly – if a loved one dies in an accident, you actually get less time to take legal action against the negligent party.

Speak to an Experienced Miami Railroad Accident Lawyer Today

A timely consultation with an experienced Miami railroad accident injury attorney will help ensure that your claim is filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations. A consultation with a lawyer will also help unveil all of the legal actions that may be available to you and your loved ones. Contact the experienced, aggressive legal team at Gerson and Schwartz, PC for a free, confidential case analysis.

You are in the front passenger seat of your friend’s vehicle. They are driving down Coral Way in Miami, Florida when another driver t-bones the vehicle. You suffer serious injuries including whiplash, a bulging disc in your L4/L5 region, and a sprained wrist. As a passenger, should you file a claim against the other driver or your friend’s policy? Our team of Miami car accident lawyers deal with this type of scenario on a regular basis.

When Another Driver Caused the Wreck

If another driver caused the accident (like the t-bone example above), you should pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. This would mean that you need to get the insurance information of the at-fault driver, either from the police who investigated the accident or possibly through your friend, if they exchanged insurance information with the at-fault driver at the scene of the collision.

When Your Friend Caused the Wreck

If your friend was careless and wound up causing a serious accident, you should consider pursuing a claim against your friend’s insurance policy. Obviously, this can create an awkward situation in which you are technically taking legal action against your friend. However, always remember that your claim will likely be paid from the insurance company, not directly by your friend. That is the reason we have automobile insurance – to make sure the parties involved are not ruined financially from the collision.

When Both Drivers Caused the Wreck

When both drivers are determined to be equally at fault for causing the wreck (e.g., both drivers were texting and driving) then you, as the injured passenger, may have grounds to pursue restitution through both driver’s insurance policies.

When Multiple Passengers are Hurt in a Wreck?

Another potential issue in passenger injury cases is when there are multiple passengers. Suppose a car with three passengers is rear ended and each passenger suffers serious injuries. In this scenario, you are likely going to run into a “limited coverage” issue. This is when the total amount of damages of the injured parties exceeds the amount of available insurance coverage. If you have underinsured motorist coverage through your own insurance policy, you can access that coverage in this situation.

Florida is a PIP State

In a no-fault state like Florida, you have access to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage enables you to access a fixed amount of funds to cover medical expenses, lost wages, etc. regardless of who is deemed to be at-fault for causing the collision.

Contact an Experienced Miami Car Accident Attorney Today

If you are hurt in an accident as a passenger, the insurance issues can be quite complicated. This is why it makes sense to speak to an experienced Miami personal injury attorney with Gerson and Schwartz, PA. We offer free, confidential consultations. We also work on a contingency fee basis. That means we do not get paid unless and until you receive compensation, either through a settlement or judgment.

You just arrived in Miami and are ready to enjoy some of the city’s amazing amenities. You are traveling down Coral Way when a careless driver t-bones your rental vehicle. Our team of experienced Miami car accident attorneys deal with this type of scenario on a regular basis. The following is a checklist of what to do and what not to do if you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a rented car in Miami.

First, it is important to know that Florida is a no fault state, meaning the drivers involved in a car accident are supposed to seek coverage from their respective insurance companies irrespective of fault. An owner of a Miami rental car is entitled to a maximum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits and $10,000 per accident in property damage coverage. The PIP coverage includes medical expenditure and lost wages and is applicable irrespective of whether you happen to be a tourist in Miami or a full-time resident of the state. However, while this sum may be sufficient to remunerate the rental auto organization, more often than not, car accident injuries result in long-term financial and personal losses that enormously surpass this inconsequential amount of money.

Rental car coverage in Miami is done mainly through four different ways, including:

  • The personal insurance policy of the renter – Sometimes personal insurance policies provides added coverage to policyholders when they rent a car.
  • The personal insurance policy of the driver – The negligent driver’s personal insurance policy may also cover such accidents.
  • Rental car company insurance – Rental car companies are compelled by law to provide state specific minimum insurance coverage. One may also buy additional insurance while renting the car.
  • Credit card companies – A few credit card companies offer automatic coverage when somebody rents a car using their credit card.

It is not required to purchase a separate uninsured motorist (UM) liability coverage at the time of renting a car in Miami, since the personal UM coverage of the rental car driver will also cover a passenger who is a resident relative. However, if you are not a resident relative, the driver’s personal UM shall not cover you. It is also important to remember to differentiate between rental insurance and rental reimbursement coverage. In Miami, rental reimbursement coverage is applicable for the cost of renting a car in case your own car is damaged and/or in the workshop undergoing repairing due to damage from an accident. Contrary to common misconception, it does NOT pay for damages resulting from an accident in a rental car.

Speak to an Experienced Miami Car Accident Injury Lawyer Today

As you can see, getting into an accident while driving a rental car can result in pursuing various forms of insurance coverage. Our Miami personal injury law firm is here to help. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured contact Gerson and Schwartz, PA for a free, confidential consultation.