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Fatal car accidents occur on the roads of Miami every day. Even when an accident was not caused by drunk driving, or texting while driving, or other behaviors which pose an obvious risk, it can still permanently change the lives of everyone involved. This is a lesson which tennis star Venus Williams is learning the hard way. Miami area residents and visitors have long trusted Gerson & Schwartz to protect their legal rights after any car accident. Gerson and Schwatz, PA  employ some of the best car accident attorneys  in Miami, Florida when it comes to negotiating and litigating injury claims arising from car, truck or motorcycle accidents, and many other types of personal injuries.

A Simple Accident That Changed Lives Forever

On June 9, 2017, Venus Williams was driving near her home in Palm Beach Gardens. She entered an intersection on a green light but was stuck in the intersection after the light turned red, due to stopped traffic ahead of her. Linda Barson, driving the opposite direction, drove through her green light into the intersection, where she collided with Williams’ sport utility vehicle. Witnesses initially told investigators that Williams ran the red light., Body camera footage from a responding officer showed him telling her that she had the right of way when she entered the intersection, but lost it when the light turned red. He declined to issue her a traffic citation because she “got stuck in a bad situation” and he felt she should “let the insurance companies work it out”. Barson suffered minor injuries, and her husband – a passenger in the vehicle – was initially conscious but disoriented. After fourteen days in the hospital, he died of internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and massive internal organ damage.

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

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 & 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

DSCN5905Injuries resulting from riding a motorcycle occur daily, and some of these are merely accidents. Some, however, are the result of someone’s negligence on the road. In the case of negligence, cyclists may have a case against the person who caused the accident. Automobile drivers who fail to respond or view the cyclists before it is too late are the primary causes of these accidents. Motorcycle riders can seek compensation resulting from medical care costs and/or lost wages in these cases.

If you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury or wrongful death related to a motorcycle accident, you may want to find an attorney that will help you obtain the compensation you or your family deserves. The Miami motorcycle accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, PA provide FREE initial consultations to discuss cases involving such accidents. Simply call (305) 371-6000 or toll free at (877)-475-2905. You can also contact us online at info@gslawusa.com.

Motorcycle Crashes

Tracks9The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to install fences around Amtrak train tracks in Seminole County after the death of two pedestrians in November. FDOT anticipates spending $300,000 to place a 6-foot high chain link fence around four miles of tracks that pedestrians commonly cross. The two separate incidents that instigated the fence project occurred when a pedestrian crossed the tracks and was struck by the train. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a railroad accident contact a Miami Railroad Accident Attorney.

The first fatal incident occurred in downtown Orlando when a man crossed the tracks in broad daylight. Despite the conductor’s best efforts at attempting to stop the train, the train struck and killed the man on the tracks. The Orlando police describe the incident as an apparent suicide.

The second death happened in Altamonte Springs, a town north of Orlando, when a woman crossed the tracks at night and was killed by an Amtrak train. Police are still investigating the matter and the cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

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

file000980994442You are driving down Coral Way in Miami and another vehicle t-bones your car. You smack your head against the driver’s side window and the airbags deploy. You have suffered serious injuries and will likely need significant treatment. When should you hire a Miami personal injury lawyer?

Answer: sooner rather than later. Why? Because of the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is a finite period of time which has been fixed by law. It is the window of time that a plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) must file a claim in order to be heard in a court of law. In other words, if a suit is filed after the statute of limitations expires, the case is likely to be dismissed irrespective of the seriousness of the injury or the amount of compensation claimed. Statute of limitations apply to virtually all civil cases, including personal injury cases.

A summary of the limitation periods for civil cases in the State of Florida, as codified in the Florida Statutes § 95.11 looks something like this –

Type of case Period of limitation Applicable section of the law
Injury to Person 4 years § 95.11(3)(o)
Injury to Personal Property 4 years § 95.11(3)(h)
Fraud 4 years § 95.11(3)(j)
Trespass 4 years § 95.11(3)(g)
Libel/Slander 2 years § 95.11(4)(g)
Professional Malpractice 2 years § 95.11(4)(a)
Medical Malpractice 2-4 years § 95.11(4)(b)
Written Contracts 5 years § 95.11(2)(b)
Oral Contracts 4 years § 95.11(3)(k)
Specific performance 1 year § 95.11(5)
Domestic Judgments 20 years § 95.11(1)
Foreign Judgments 5 years §  95.11(2)(a)

As you can seen, a plaintiff is required to file for a personal injury claim within four years of the date of accident. However, what most people are unaware of is that the limitation period in a personal injury case can differ according to the type of incident and injury at issue.

Personal injury can be of numerous types including car accidents, bicycle accidents, product liability, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, burns, spinal injury, dog bites, medical malpractice, etc. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a doctor, you may not have four years to take legal action. Your limitations period may be much shorter.

What to Do

The best course of action to avoid any issue with the statute of limitations is to contact an experienced Miami personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. An attorney can assess the merits of your case and initiate legal proceedings in a timely fashion so that valuable time is not lost.

The South Florida personal injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz P.A. are experienced advocates who represent victims and their families throughout Miami Dade, Miami Beach, the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, Broward, and West Palm Beach. Call us toll free at 1-877-475-2905 or contact us online to schedule your free case consultation.

A few weeks back, we discussed how the relationship between a defendant and the doctors or experts testifying on his behalf can be discovered by the Plaintiff to be used as evidence of bias. Generally, the longer and more sustained the relationship between a party and a doctor, the more likely it is that a jury will infer that the expert’s testimony is biased towards that party.

But defendants also like to use the victim’s lawyers relationship with physicians as a weapon as well, in an attempt to avoid its own responsibility for its negligent acts.

file000704919536How Clients are Referred to Doctors

When there are trials on television or in movies, it is common that they skip or edit out much of the evidentiary arguments, the direct examinations, and often even opening statement. But one area that seems to be a great point of entertainment is the closing argument.

The public seems to be fascinated with closing arguments, which appear to be a free-for-all, where attorneys can say what they want and act how they want, often moving a jury to tears. But in fact, there are rules about what can and can’t be said at closing, many of which are ignored by pop culture’s depictions of trials.

gavelThe Rules of Closing Arguments

When a lawsuit is filed for injuries that stem from a slip and fall, there are certain things that a personal injury lawyer expects to be questioned. Was the defendant negligent? How severely is the client injured and how do we show those injuries to a jury? But every now and then a personal injury case involves a question that you just can’t anticipate.

banana peel (sandman kk)Fall Occurs on Broward College Campus

In a recent case, a victim slipped and fell on a substance in an elevator at Broward College (BC)(formerly Broward Community College). She sued BC for negligence, alleging that BC knew or in the exercise or ordinary and due care, should have known, of the existence of the substance.

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