Fraud

Newton v. Caterpillar Corp. et al – Civil Lawsuit After Work Injury

If you work in construction, landscaping or health care, you know there are many hazards that come with the job. Those who are injured at work in Florida may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which are the exclusive remedy one has against his or her employer in such matters. However, there could be grounds for a third-party liability lawsuit if there was a person or entity other than the employer who was responsible for what happened. 
In the recent case of Newton v. Caterpillar Corp., plaintiff worked as an independent contractor (and therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation), assigned to help clear debris of the private lot of a residential area. He was hired by a hauling company to assist its agent in doing this job. Plaintiff and this agent used a Bobcat loader to assist in helping to clear the lot. The hauling company didn’t own the loader. It was leased from defendant Caterpillar. The loader was brought to the site in a box trailer to the property, where plaintiff and agent worked to clear the land.
At one point, while the two were trying to move a tree stump into the trailer, the agent was operating the loader and asked plaintiff to get inside the trailer to pack down the debris that was coming in. While plaintiff was inside the trailer, the agent released the tree stump. Plaintiff tried to warn the agent he was still inside, but he couldn’t be heard. He tried to climb over the wall of the trailer, but the stump dropped from the loader’s bucket and then rolled back onto plaintiff’s hand. As a result, his middle finger was severed. 
Plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging the owner of the loader was vicariously liable because the loader was a dangerous instrumentality.
In Florida, the dangerous instrumentality doctrine is one of common law that holds the owner of an inherently dangerous tool (a dangerous instrumentality) can be liable for any injuries caused by that tool’s operation. This doctrine was extended to motor vehicles in 1920, with the Florida Supreme Court decision in Southern Cotton Oil Co. v. Anderson. The doctrine imposes strict vicarious liability on the owner of a dangerous instrumentality when that device is entrusted to another person who negligently operates it and causes injury to another.
The question before Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in Newton was whether the loader could be considered a dangerous instrumentality. The trial court had determined it was not, and therefore plaintiff could not recover on those grounds. The appellate panel agreed.
Courts evaluate whether a device in question a dangerous instrumentality by determining if:
The object is a motor vehicle;
There is relative danger posed by the instrumentality;
Whether the instrumentality is operated in close proximity to the public.
No single factor is determinative and this list isn’t exhaustive. With this framework in mind, the court reviewed evidence weighed by the trial court, including several expert witness testimony. In this case, the loader was equipped with a continuous rubber track that was designed for off-road and unimproved surfaces. The loader was not designed to be operated on public highways, rights-of-way, golf courses, etc. It was also not to be used by the public. There were also 17 reported accidents involving devices sold or leased by this company. Only two of those resulted in serious injury. The injury rate was calculated at three people are injured for every 1,102 continuous loader operation.
The court considered all this information and found that the loader is not a motor vehicle and therefore is not a dangerous instrumentality. Based on this and other evidence, the court ruled this was not a dangerous instrumentality and affirmed the trial court.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Newton v. Caterpillar Corp., Dec. 14, 2016, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal
More Blog Entries:
Small v. Sayre – Importance of a Skilled Injury Attorney, Dec. 5, 2016, West Palm Beach Injury Lawyer Blog

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Bicycle, Pedestrian Deaths Up Sharply

An 11-year-old South Florida boy was struck and killed while riding on his bicycle about a mile from his North Fort Myers home recently. The driver of the pickup truck that hit the boy reportedly did not see him, as the stretch of road is not illuminated and the boy’s bike was not equipped with reflectors. The boy was also reportedly riding on the wrong side of the road. He’d been working at a friend’s yard sale all day to help his parents buy his baby sister’s formula. 
Fatal bicycle accidents in Florida – and across the country – are on the rise, according to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reports that in 2015, there were 13 million total crashes – 6.3 million of those reported to the police, 1.7 million resulting in injury and 32,200 of those being fatal (with a total of 2.44 million injuries and 35,100 deaths). It was the most dramatic increase in traffic fatalities in more than a decade. A major part of it had to do with an uptick in bicycle and pedestrian accidents, which are both at the highest in 20 years.
While the overall increase in traffic fatalities was up 7.2 percent, the number of pedestrian deaths was up by 9.5 percent and bicyclist deaths had increased by 12.2 percent. Meanwhile, passenger deaths were up by 5.7 percent and large truck occupant deaths were up by 1.7 percent. 
Specifically with regard to pedestrian accidents, that 9.5 percent increase represents the highest number of deaths in that category since 1996. More than two-thirds of those occurred in urban areas. Most occurred at non-intersections and most were at night. Seven in 10 pedestrians killed were males, most between the ages of 50- and 54-years-old.
With regard to bicycle accident fatalities, that 12.2 percent increase amounted to the highest number of bicyclist deaths since 1995. Here again, most occurred in urban areas and at non-intersections, though they occurred equally in daylight and the dark.
Back in 2006, the average age of bicyclists killed in fatal crashes was 41-years-old. Now, it’s 45, which is an indicator of the fact that people are becoming more active as they get older, and bicycling is better on the knees than running. Eighty-five percent of those killed in bike accidents in 2015 were male.
Bicycling accidents correlated strongly with warmer average monthly temperatures. The warmer it got, the more bicycle fatalities there were.
And whereas bicycle and pedestrian accidents comprised 13 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2006, they made up 18 percent in 2015. That means almost 1 in every 5 people killed in a traffic crash is either on foot or on a bike.
As far as the cost of these incidents, we know that the total economic impact for all crashes is $242 billion, while the society harm (which takes into account pain and suffering, loss of life, etc.) is calculated to be at $836 billion. If we consider that bicycle and pedestrian accidents account for 18 percent of that, we can estimate that these types of accidents cost us $44 billion in economic costs and $150 billion in societal harm.
Our bicycle accident attorneys seek to help families recover financially to some degree. It can never bring back a loved one lost, but it can help with financial stability and accountability.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
North Fort Myers boy dies after being hit by vehicle, Nov. 28, 2016, By Gabrielle Shirley, NBC-2
More Blog Entries:
Davis v. Baez – School Bus Driver Liability for Student Injury, Dec. 9, 2016, West Palm Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog

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DUI Driver Gets 12 Years in Florida Crash That Left Woman Paralyzed

Kim Smith had dedicated her 20-plus year career to helping the disabled as a therapist. Now, at 57, she is a patient. She will always be a patient, now that she has been rendered paraplegic and is now a resident of an apartment complex for seniors and the disabled after a drunk driver slammed into her two years ago. It’s been a year since she moved into the complex, following a year of being hospitalized after the crash. 
Recently, the man responsible for her injuries was sentenced by a Broward County judge to 12 years in prison. The Sun-Sentinel reported that while the 31-year-old defendant apologized to Smith, saying he is, “infinitely regretful,” Smith doubted his sincerity. She did however take comfort in the fact that he will be off the streets, at least for a time. It’s only a small measure of comfort, though, considering the daily pain she lives with. She calls the wheelchair, “exhausting.” She notes the pain that radiates from her back to her rear. She explained how she had fallen out of it several times just in the last month. She lamented that every system in her body is compromised, and will continue to be for the rest of her life, which is now expected to be much shorter.
She told the court about all the life events she missed due to being hospitalized after the car accident. She wasn’t able to say goodbye to her dying brother. She wasn’t there to help her 91-year-old mother transition into a nursing home. Meanwhile, defendant was a college graduate with honors who had started his own online marketing company. He didn’t fit the mold of most defendants, the judge noted. Yet he had a pattern of abusing substances and then getting behind the wheel, prosecutors allege. They sought 19 years. His defense lawyer sought to go below the minimum mandatory five years. In the end, he received 12 – three in county jail and nine in state prison. 
Although this case concluded with defendant being sentenced to prison, it may not be over for those involved. Civil litigation occurs independently of the criminal case, and is just as important for victims of drunk driving accidents to be able to turn the page and face the next chapter. That’s because while the criminal justice system is concerned with penalizing the offender, the civil justice system is concerned with compensating the victim.
Not all drunk driving accident cases will require a lawsuit. There may be some circumstances in which the auto insurance company agrees to pay the full amount of damages upon request. However, that kind of scenario is not common, even in cases where a person has suffered a severe and debilitating injury. That’s why it’s imperative to speak with an experienced DUI injury lawyer about your legal options. It could be that there is more than one defendant who might be liable. For example, the owner of a vehicle (if different from the driver) could be vicariously liable because cars are deemed dangerous instrumentalities. The bar where the driver consumed alcohol prior to the crash could be liable if the driver was underage or known to be an alcoholic.
If you are injured in a South Florida drunk driving accident, our attorneys will help you determine your legal options.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
DUI driver sentenced to 12 years in crash that left woman paralyzed, Oct. 27, 2016, By Erika Pesantes, Sun-Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Hollander Law Firm Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Chronicled by CVN, Dec. 14, 2016, Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer Blog

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Drunk Driving Accident Risk Spikes on New Year’s Day

It’s been one year since Matthew DeRemer was killed on New Year’s Day in South Florida. It happened on Jan. 1, 2016, just hours after the 31-year-old U.S. Marine veteran posted an inspirational message about the power of a positive mind set and moving on after a series of setbacks in 2015. Just a few hours later, he was struck by another vehicle while on his motorcycle. That other driver, 59-year-old Stephen Lee Clarke, was allegedly drunk. He is still facing DUI manslaughter charges. 
In DeRemer’s post, which was later shared tens of thousands of times, he reflected on the difficulty of the year, his renewed faith and his looking forward to a brand new chapter. He ended with, “I really don’t know where I’ll end up tonight, but I do know where I wind up is where I’m meant to be.” He died at the corner of 102nd Ave. N. and 98th Street in Largo, with the Florida State Highway Patrol finding that Clarke had turned left into DeRemer’s path, causing a collision.
New Year’s Day is widely known as the worst day of the year when it comes to impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more people are ticketed for DUI on New Year’s Day than on any other holiday throughout the year. 
Part of this, of course, is thanks to beefed up law enforcement presence. But hospitals and emergency crews too brace themselves for an onslaught of drunk driving accident victims.
The truth is, it’s not realistic to expect that people won’t indulge on New Years’ Eve. And as long as they are over the age of 21, there is nothing legally wrong with this. The problems occur when impaired drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Whether you are heading to a party this New Year’s Eve, or hosting your own gathering, Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers the following tips on how to ensure you and other guests will get home safely.
Prior to the start of the party, make a plan to get home safely. If you plan to drink alcohol, designate a sober driver ahead of time. Leave your keys at home so there is no temptation. Download a ride-sharing app or save the name of a local taxi service in your phone.
If you are aware someone has been drinking, don’t allow them to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. You don’t have to be confrontational. Have a couple of friends help if you are having trouble getting them to give up the keys. If they still insist, call police right away.
Don’t ever get inside a car with someone who has been drinking. If you spot a driver who is clearly intoxicated, call 911.
If you are the one throwing a party, make sure when guests RSVP to inquire about whether they have a safe way to get home. If not, work to arrange a sober driver or make a space so guests can sleep over if need be.
Keep in mind that the cost of an average DUI is $10,000. Cases that involve collisions, serious injury or the loss of life will result in even greater penalties, up to and including prison.
If you or your family is affected by a drunk driver this New Year’s Eve, we can help.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Tips to avoid a deadly New Year’s risk, Dec. 31, 2016, By Ashley Welch, CBS News
More Blog Entries:
Small v. Sayre – Importance of a Skilled Injury Attorney, Dec. 5, 2016, West Palm Beach Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog

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Study: Sleepy Drivers as Dangerous as Drunk Drivers

A lot of folks will be making long trips this holiday season to spend time with loved ones and ring in the New Year. Now, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a warning for those who get behind the wheel with too little sleep: You are imperiling yourself and others the same as if you just downed four drinks. 
Prior studies by the foundation established that as many as 13 percent of all serious crashes and 21 percent of deadly crashes involved a driver who was tired. This newest research delves into quantifying the relationship between sleep and driving ability. What they discovered was fascinating – and disturbing. Drivers who got less than four hours of sleep in the last 24 hours had a crash risk that was 11.5 times than someone who had gotten seven or more hours of sleep. That’s similar to drivers who have a blood-alcohol concentration of somewhere between 0.12 and 0.15 0 which is nearly twice the legal limit. Drivers who slept between 4 and 5 hours had a crash risk that was 4.3 times higher. That is akin to someone who has a blood-alcohol level that is just at or above the legal limit of 0.08. Those who were lucky enough to get between 5 and 7 hours had a crash risk that was 1.9 times higher. And even those who got at least six hours a night still had a crash risk that was 1.3 times higher.
Of course, this issue isn’t just a problem during the holidays. In the hustle of a go-go world, the reality is many people don’t get enough rest on a daily basis. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report approximately 35 percent of Americans get fewer than the recommended seven hours of shut-eye a night. Twelve percent say they are getting fewer than five hours of sleep daily. 
Study authors also note that the figures outlined here are low-ball estimates when it comes to outlining the scope of the problem. That’s because while researchers looked at a sample of 4,571 car accidents wherein law enforcement officials opined the cause to be drowsy driving, that figure did not include collisions that happened between midnight and 6 a.m. Information on those crashes was not available. However, we do know from previous studies that the effects of not getting enough sleep are amplified during that window of time, when the human body’s internal clock is pressing for sleep.
The report additionally examined whether a sudden change in one’s sleep schedule could contribute to a loss of sleep that could factor into a car accident. To do this, they looked at the crash rate of certain professions known to have varying sleep schedules: police officers, nurses and long-haul truckers. What they found was that these groups tended to have a crash rate that was 6 times higher than workers who did not have a fractured sleep schedule.
While approximately 97 percent of motorists responding to a survey indicated they believed it unacceptable and a threat to safety for drivers to operate a vehicle while very tired, a third of them admitted to doing just that in the last month.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Sleep-deprived drivers have plenty in common with drunk drivers, Dec. 6, 2016, By Ashley Alsey III, The Washington Post
More Blog Entries:
Small v. Sayre – Importance of a Skilled Injury Attorney, Dec. 6, 2016, Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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Bus Accident Victims to Sue for $115M for Catastrophic Injuries

More than a dozen victims and/ or their families have filed public notices against the state transit authority in New Jersey following a horrific bus accident in August that killed two and injured 12 others. The riders are seeking $115 million in damages, either for wrongful death or catastrophic injuries they alleged left them permanently disabled. 
As one injury lawyer noted on behalf of one client, “every single aspect of her life” has been adversely impacted. That particular attorney, who has not yet detailed the full extent of his client’s personal injuries, has filed a claim for $35 million in damages. So far, that’s the largest potential lawsuit the authority faces following the crash. No lawsuits have actually been filed as of yet. With the notice of intent to file, the state and other defendants will have the opportunity to respond and, if they choose, to issue a settlement offer. Plaintiffs have to wait six months after filing the notices before they can file a lawsuit, though they do, under New Jersey law, have at least two years to file a lawsuit.
Plaintiff attorneys say they simply want to help their clients regain some semblance of a normal life after the transit bus they were on was broadsided by another bus whose driver allegedly ran a red light around 6 a.m. The 70-year-old driver of the commuter bus was pronounced dead at the scene. One of his passengers, a 49-year-old woman who was on her way to work, died later that day. 
Each plaintiff is seeking millions of dollars in damages.
Family members are suing the agency, the state of New Jersey and the alleged red light-running driver.
One of the plaintiffs, who according to NJ.com, was seated just behind the driver, on the opposite side of where the bus was hit, reportedly suffered a broken pelvis, neck and back. She was in the intensive care unit for a full month. She had to undergo numerous surgeries that required the insertion of metal plates and screws. She had to learn how to walk all over again.
One passenger reportedly suffered a total severing of the nerves in his right leg, which has left him unable to role his foot heel-to-toe, which means he can no longer walk normally. Debris in the crash also left him with deep lacerations on his face and chest.
Although bus accidents don’t happen as often as car accidents, the problem is by no means unique to New Jersey. Recently, The Sun-Sentinel reported the Broward County Commission intends to crack down on accident-prone mass transit bus drivers, who traditionally had enjoyed a fairly forgiving disciplinary system. The county had reportedly been pressing for changes for some time, but had met resistance from the driver’s union, which has been without a contract for almost three years now. A union representative said it became known that without some movement on this issue, there would be no new contract.
A previous investigation by the newspaper revealed the transit repeatedly allowed drivers with a long history of traffic violations and accidents to remain on-the-job. The county has reportedly faced a number of lawsuits for bus accident injuries, and has paid out settlements on most of them.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Newark bus crash victims to sue for at least $115M for ‘catastrophic’ injuries, Dec. 5, 2016, By Craig McCarthy, NJ.com
More Blog Entries:
Davis v. Baez – School Bus Driver Liability for Student Injury, Dec. 9, 2016, West Palm Beach Bus Accident Attorney Blog

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Wal-Mart Under Pressure to Improve Safety for Workers, Customers

Many millions of people are at a Wal-Mart every day, whether to work or to shop. The world’s largest box store sees an influx of customers around the winter holidays. Recently, questions have arisen as to whether the store is doing enough to ensure customers and workers are reasonably safe. Property owners/ managers who invite the public on site for the financial benefit of the business owe those people the highest duty of legal care in making sure they are safe from an unreasonable risk of harm. This includes not just property defects (i.e., slippery floors, perilous walkways, improperly stacked merchandise), but also from foreseeable criminal assaults. 
An investigation in August by Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that the retailers efforts at aggressive cost-cutting come at a steep price: Safety. The researchers delved into police and hospital records to reveal that hundreds of violent crimes happen at Wal-Mart stores every day, including attempted kidnappings, shootings, stabbings and murders. It breaks down to about one violent crime every day. Some police chiefs have actually spoken out against the retailer, arguing that taxpayers are effectively subsidizing security for the stores. One chief in Arkansas remarked that despite the fact that this is the world’s largest retailer, half is squad is there for hours on end throughout each shift, responding to calls. These problems were far worse at Wal-Mart, as compared to the chain’s rivals.
Now, a group of labor organizations are pressing for the company to do more to improve security in stores and surrounding parking lots. The groups have met with local and city officials in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Minnesota, asking that they declare the Wal-Mart stores in their communities to be a public nuisance, which increase the pressure on the company to improve security. 
The labor groups accuse the chain of having inadequate security, jeopardizing the safety and well-being of both workers and customers.
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart insists it is making efforts to improve the situation. Specifically, the company has been moving more workers onto the sales floor and near the exits, with more being responsible to conduct spot-checks on receipts. Employees are also being positioned at self-checkouts. It has installed a data analytics program to flag fraudulent returns. It has also initiated a program that allows first-time shoplifters to avoid arrest if they agree to undergo a theft prevention program. In some higher-crime stores, the chain has hired private security officer sand some off-duty police.
These changes have resulted in a reduction of police calls by 35 percent, according to a Wal-Mart representative. That’s a start, but it may not be enough in some cases. There have been a number of recent incidents, including:
A Florida man beaten with his own walker at a store in Florida;
A good Samaritan shot and killed trying to stop a woman from being beaten in a store parking lot in Texas;
Two carjackers beating a woman with a baby in Kansas.
As our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys can explain, there is no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to adequate security. What might be necessary at one location won’t be needed as another. The key to a successful claim for damages is being able to show a pattern of certain crimes and subsequent inaction by the controller of the premises.
If you have been injured at a business in Fort Lauderdale, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Wal-Mart Is Under Pressure to Fix Its Crime Problem, Dec. 7, 2016, By Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg
More Blog Entries:
Deadly Warehouse Fire Likely to Spur Premises Liability Lawsuits, Dec. 12, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Attorney Blog

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Study: Black Beauty Products More Likely to Contain Dangerous Chemicals

A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a not-for-profit think tank, revealed cosmetics marketed to black women are more likely to contain possibly harmful ingredients, as compared to those marketed to the general public.
The analysis explored the listed ingredients in some 1,180 beauty and personal care products sold to black customers. Of the products on that list, less than one quarter received good scores in a rating system developed by the researchers to measure potentially dangerous ingredients. Compare this to beauty products marketed to the general public, in which 40 percent received good scores.
About 1 in 12 products marketed to black women was ranked “highly hazardous.” Similar figures existed for products marketed to the general public, but the disparity with regard to the “good” – i.e., “safe” – products suggests black women have far fewer options when it comes to beauty products that aren’t linked to cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage, infections, allergies and other adverse health effects. 
As our West Palm Beach injury attorneys know, injuries from beauty products can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Responsible parties may include anyone in the chain of distribution. Primarily, this will be the cosmetic company that designed and manufactured the product. It could also include the store that sold it. These claims will typically assert one of two main legal theories: Product liability and breach of warranty.
In product liability lawsuits, one can assert either strict product liability (plaintiff was injured, plaintiff was the kind of consumer defendant intended to use the product, defect did not occur after product was sold) or negligence (defendant created/ sold the product, defendant should have known product could be dangerous, defendant failed to warn plaintiff, plaintiff was injured by use of the product as intended or reasonably foreseeable).
In breach of warranty cases, the assertion is that defendant either expressed or implied that the product was fit and safe for a certain use, and this proved not to be true, resulting in injury to the plaintiff.
There may also be some cases in which liability could be asserted against a salon or other beauty care professional where application of the product was improper, resulting in injury. An example would be leaving hair dye on for too long, resulting in scalp burns and hair loss.
Although some of these cases may be asserted as class action lawsuits, individual claims can also be successful and often more lucrative.
The EWG study revealed that while black consumers comprise about 13 percent of the total market, they buy 22 percent of the $42 billion in cosmetic products that are sold annually in the U.S. So there is a significant market for these beauty products, yet fewer safe options.
Of the 1,180 products reviewed by the researchers, about 280 contained hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as parabens. Another 30 products – including powders and foundations for the face and styling products for the hair, contained a preservative that releases formaldehyde.
The very worst products in terms of safety were hair relaxers. These products scored an average 8.1 out of 10, with 10 being issued for the most dangerous products. Hair color and bleaching products scored 7.9 out of 10.
The research showed that some labels fail to disclose all the chemicals that are found in these products, which could open the door for a claim of failure to warn.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
BIG MARKET FOR BLACK COSMETICS, BUT LESS-HAZARDOUS CHOICES LIMITED, Dec. 6, 2016, Environmental Working Group
More Blog Entries:
Who Is Liable for Severe Food Allergy Illness? Nov. 23, 2016, West Palm Beach Defective Product Attorney Blog

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Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc. – Trip-and-Fall Injury Lawsuit Weighed by 7th Circuit

Trip-and-fall injuries can occur on a myriad of different walking surfaces, and are usually caused by an uneven walkway or some type of non-obvious obstruction or hole. These type of incidents can result in severe and sometimes disabling injuries, so it’s important to explore all potential legal options that could assist victims with medical bills and compensate for pain and suffering. 
Still, as our Boca Raton injury lawyers can explain, the fact that an injury occurred is usually not in and of itself enough to secure compensation. There must be evidence that the negligence of the property owner or property manager caused the fall that resulted in injury. Property owners have a duty of care to those invited on their site, especially if it is for business purposes. Companies that invite customers on site for the benefit of the company have a responsibility to regularly inspect the site and to keep it reasonably safe of potential hazards. Where such hazards exist and cannot be immediately addressed, customers are owed a warning.
In the recent case of Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc., the assertion was that plaintiff tripped and fell on a couple of small rocks that she did not see in the store parking lot. She fell hard on the concrete and sustained serious injuries. She alleged the store owner was liable for her injuries. But she had a tough time proving that it was the negligence of the store that caused her fall. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reviewed. 
According to court records, plaintiff went with her husband to shop at a home improvement store in Illinois. While walking in the parking lot toward their vehicle, plaintiff stepped on one or two small walks she hadn’t seen and fell – very hard. She described the rocks as oval-shaped, larger than marbles. When she fell, she was in an area outside the entrance of the store that was used for vehicle drop-offs. Approximately 50 feet away, there was a large concrete planner with a small tree and bush in the center, surrounded by decorative river rocks. The store sold these river rocks as well. The manager testified these rocks were added whenever the planter started to “look a little bare.”
Plaintiff alleged the rocks on which she fell were from this planter. Children had been seen playing in this area, and she speculated they had taken rocks out and either dropped or thrown them in the area where she fell.
The manager and employees testified that they walked the store’s premises – including the parking lot – every day. It was part of his duties as a general manager and he also had other workers designated to check the parking lots at routine intervals throughout the day, checking for any possible hazards.
Plaintiff’s injury lawsuit against the store was later decided in favor of defendant store in a summary judgment handed down by the trial court. On appeal, the 7th Circuit affirmed. The central question was whether the store’s negligence caused plaintiff’s fall. The trial court had found there was no triable issue of fact as to whether the placement of the rocks on which plaintiff fell was due to defendant’s negligence. Under Illinois law, plaintiffs have to prove the substance was either put there by defendant, or defendant business had actual or constructive notice of the substance. This is a similar standard to that which is followed in Florida. In this case, the court ruled, plaintiff presented insufficient evidence on these points.
Of course, it’s important to point out every case is different and should be weighed in an attorney consultation on its own merits – especially if the injuries in question were severe. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall in Boca Raton, our injury lawyers can help.
If you have been injured in Boca Raton, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc., Nov. 29, 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
More Blog Entries:
Rogers v. Martin – Liability for Injury of Party Guest, Nov. 4, 2016, Boca Raton Premises Liability Lawyer Blog

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Hollander Law Firm Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Chronicled by CVN

The Hollander Law Firm, one of the most trusted injury law firms in South Florida, has taken on a challenging and legally complex case that has garnered the interest of Courtroom View Network, a legal news and analysis source founded by Michael Breyer, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
We represent the plaintiff in Silkworth v. Boca Raton Regional Hospital, where the key question is causation. Specifically, what – or who – caused plaintiff’s paralyzing spinal cord injury in June 2012? Defendants assert the injury was the cause of a violent car accident, wherein plaintiff was seated in the back seat of a taxi. However, our claim is that while the plaintiff’s injuries at the time of the crash were indeed serious, it was the negligence of health care professionals who treated her that resulted in her paralysis.
Emergency health care workers are specially trained to be extremely cautious in their initial assessment of someone with spinal trauma. The standard of care almost universally dictates that when there is a clinical concern of a possible spinal injury, workers must immobilize the patient. That is, if there is any indication whatsoever that there could be a spinal cord injury, medical personal must immobilize. Generally speaking, proper immobilization will not hurt a patient who is not suffering a spinal injury. However, if a patient with a spinal injury is not immediately and properly  immobilized, it could cause profound and irreversible damage. 
Failure to immobilize the spine following an axial spine injury could either cause or worsen a spinal cord injury. Immobilization of the entire spinal column is deemed necessary in patients with suspected unstable cervical spine injuries after a trauma, until the spinal cord injury has been excluded or appropriately treated. As noted in a 2005 study by medical technology analysis group Elsevier, it’s estimated that up to 25 percent of spinal cord injuries may be aggravated after the initial insult – either during transport or early in the course of treatment.
In this medical malpractice lawsuit, as reported by CVN, the question is whether staff and doctors at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital failed to follow appropriate procedure in immobilizing plaintiff’s spine, and whether this ultimately resulted in her paralysis.
As Injury Attorney Gregg Hollander explained in opening statements, medical reports from immediately after the crash indicate plaintiff was able to move her arms and legs and that no symptoms of paralysis were noted until well after her arrival at the hospital. She underwent a series of tests and treatments while at the hospital  – without the protection of immobilization.
A number of expert witnesses will testify in this case that had plaintiff been treated with spinal immobilization from the time she got to the hospital, she would have preserved the neurologic function and, most likely, the ability to walk again. However, in breaching the accepted standard of care in the protection of her spine, as we allege, defendants caused plaintiff to sustain complete paraplegia.
Plaintiff is asking for damages that exceed in the millions of dollars, not only for coverage of medical bills now and in the future, but for past and future pain and suffering and her son’s loss of parental support.
If you have been injured in a Boca Raton accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Additional Resources:
Hospital Negligence Paralyzed Car Crash Victim, Attorney Says as Med Mal Trial Begins, Nov. 30, 2016, By Arlin Crisco, CVN
More Blog Entries:
Cardiologist Seeks $27M From Doctor for Brain Damage During Electroshock Treatment, Oct. 31, 2016, Boca Raton Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog

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