Get Faster Results

Get Better Results

Get Your Life Back

Life is way too short to be stuck waiting on insurance companies to pay you fairly

The way insurance companies delay paying claims is terrible. Don’t settle for less.

You were meant for more.

We don’t just care about personal injury law.

We care about you.

Isn’t it frustrating having to wait for your insurance settlement?

We understand the financial and emotional impact an accident can have on you and your family. It can be made even worse when the insurance companies won’t cooperate. It doesn’t have to be that way. We have helped hundreds of people overcome these obstacles. We are here for you.

We don’t just care about personal injury law.

We care about you.

Isn’t it frustrating having to wait for your insurance settlement?

We understand the financial and emotional impact an accident can have on you and your family. It can be made even worse when the insurance companies won’t cooperate. It doesn’t have to be that way. We have helped hundreds of people overcome these obstacles. We are here for you.

3 Steps to Success

1.

SCHEDULE
AN APPOINTMENT

2.

GET EXPERIENCED
LEGAL HELP

3.

GET YOUR
LIFE BACK ON TRACK

Morgenstern & Herd, PLLC | Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL

Contact us to request a free confidential case evaluation from the dedicated personal injury attorneys in Palm Harbor, FL and medical malpractice attorneys at Morgenstern & Herd, PLLC. Let one of our experienced attorneys fight for you and your family.

Morgenstern & Herd, PLLC

800 Tarpon Woods Blvd, Suite F-1

Palm Harbor, FL 34685
Phone: (813) 517-1414

Fax: (813) 540-8029

Hours of Operation

Monday:  9 am – 5 pm
Tuesday:  9 am – 5 pm
Wednesday:  9 am – 5 pm
Thursday:  9 am – 5 pm
Friday:  9 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday – By Appointment Only

Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL

Car Accident Lawyers Palm Harbor, FL

It can be entirely devastating to get into a car crash. We often forget that we could get hit at any moment because of the negligence of other people. If you were hurt in an auto accident, contact our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL to fight the insurance companies and get the compensation you deserve.

You are probably seriously injured, recovering, and worried about the medical bills you now have to pay because of someone else’s mistake. We understand how frustrating and scary this all can be. You are not alone. Give us a call today.

Fighting for Your Rightful Compensation

Road and traffic accidents comprise the most common types of personal injury cases in Florida.  The Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL at Morgenstern & Herd, PLLC fight for justice for those injured due to the reckless and negligent actions of a driver in any kind of vehicle.  Our attorneys handle all Florida automobile accident cases, involving:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Side collisions
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Rear-end collisions

The challenge with these cases, like most personal injury cases, is to find the liable or negligent party. Though Florida is a No Fault insurance state, meaning you can get your damages covered regardless of fault, if there was a liable party, you can bring a claim on them.

It is actually quite relieving to live in a No Fault state. You are protected by Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage no matter what happened to cause the accident. This will be a benefit you seek from your very own insurance. The downside of this is that PIP only covers 80% of your medical bills and you can only get 60% of lost wages. You will need to discuss your options with your attorney because you may bring a claim against the liable party under certain conditions.

The right attorney will be experienced in handling car accident cases in Florida. They will not shy away from preparing your case for trial, as the insurance companies will know who is willing to take your case all the way. It will, without a doubt, affect your compensation. Call our office to set up a free consultation with our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL handle all aspects of your claim so you can concentrate on recovering.  We attempt to settle your claim out of court by negotiating with your insurance company, and those who caused your injury, including their employer and insurance carrier.  If a settlement cannot be reached, we advise you on the feasibility of filing a lawsuit.  A jury then determines if a driver has been:

  • Negligent or careless
  • Disobeying traffic laws
  • Recklessly disregarding your safety

Common Car Accident Injuries

The most important thing you could do after your car accident is to seek medical attention. Whether you are taken on an ambulance or you make a visit to an urgent care center or your general physician, you need to make sure you are seen. The reasons are two-fold. The last thing you want is for your injuries to get worse or go completely undetected and put you into serious pain in the future. You should go to make sure you are healthy and getting the treatment that you need. You should also go to record your injuries to show the insurance company just how hurt you are. They won’t be keen to give compensation to you for injuries that have not been diagnosed or treated. If you feel at all in pain after the accident or even just a little sore, you absolutely should get to the doctor or ER as soon as possible. It is paramount to your health and your claim.

If you have suffered injuries—including spinal cord injuries, brain and head injuries, amputations, and less serious injuries like broken bones and herniated discs from an automobile accident in Florida, our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL are ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve for:

  • Medical treatment (past and future)
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

These injuries can be extremely debilitating and may qualify as a permanent injury in which you will be able to bring a claim for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, as well as any property damage. You may also be eligible to bring a claim against the liable party if your damages amount to over the amount of $10,000 in PIP coverage in cases where injuries are non-permanent.

This may be a bit confusing if you have never had to think about these types of things before. Therefore, contacting a competent Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL is so very important.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the First Steps After a Car Accident?

You need to determine if the police and an ambulance are notified of the incident.   You should also receive contact information of witnesses, and take photos of the scene.  You should seek immediate medical attention upon getting into an auto accident.  Under PIP Coverage, you can go to any hospital or doctor of your choosing.  Your bills will be covered under your auto insurance provider.

What’s Important to Know About Car Accident Injuries?

You will want to take down information about your accident, record witness information, take photographs, cooperate with police officers, and seek medical attention.  Anything you say to the police officer during investigation will not be inadmissible in court.

Why Should I Receive Medical Attention Within 14 Days of an Accident?

Under PIP, you will forfeit your benefits if you do not receive medical attention within 2 weeks of your accident.  Your PIP benefits will be reduced if you do not have significant injuries.

What Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Cover?

If your vehicle is damaged, it will be repaired at a reputable shop.  There will be no deductible, and the other party will pay for the damages.  If the other party is not insured, your vehicle will be covered under collision coverage, but you will pay any deductibles.  Any Injuries of damages you suffer include economic and noneconomic damages.  An individual, or their deceased love one, must have a permanent or significant injury in order to qualify for non-economic damages.

Am I Still Eligible for PIP if I Do Not Get Medical Attention Within 14 Days?

If you do not receive medical care within 14 days of your accident, your insurance company will not provide PIP benefits for your medical treatment. If you do not have an emergency medical condition, you will receive a smaller amount of benefits from PIP.

Who Pays for the Damages in a Car Accident?

In the state of Florida, everyone’s required to have property damage coverage. That doesn’t mean that everybody follows the law, however. If you are not at fault for the cause of the collision, often the adverse insurance company, the insurance company of the person who hit you, will accept responsibility and pay for your property damage. If that doesn’t happen or if there’s no coverage on the other side, then your car will have to be repaired out of your coverage. That would be your collision coverage if you have it. Many people aren’t aware that we’re not required to have that kind of coverage. If you don’t have it in the state of Florida, that’s something you need to have in order to protect yourself.

How Do I Know If I Have a Good Claim?

When you get in a car accident and you speak to Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL, they will ask you four questions:

    • Who is at fault for the accident?
    • Does the opposite driver have bodily injury insurance?
    • Do you have uninsured motorist insurance?
    • What was the amount of property damage?

Can I Sue the Other Driver for Injuries?

You can sue the other driver for your damages both economic damages and non-economic damages.  Examples would include unpaid medical bills, unpaid wage loss and things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, disability or impairment and loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.

What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident with a Drunk Driver?

There will be a claim for compensatory damages, medical bills, wage loss, and non-economic damages.  I advise clients as a Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL that the other claim will be for punitive damages, which will punish the drunk driver.

I Wasn’t Wearing a Seatbelt, Can I Still File a Claim?

Under these circumstances, you may still have a very serious claim.  Due to your injuries, you may be limited in recovery.

What is Recoverable in a Car Accident?

If you are injured in an automobile accident, there are basically two types of damages that you can receive. One, to repair your vehicle and the other for the injuries that you suffer in the accident under the damages available to repair your vehicle.  If your damage to your vehicle amounts to over 80% of the fair market value of your vehicle, your vehicle will not be repaired.  The company will provide you with a fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident, plus applicable sales tax so you can go out and buy another vehicle. In terms of your damages for your bodily injuries, you have two types of damages, you have economic damages which are unpaid medical bills, those that are not paid by your PIP and unpaid wage loss that’s not paid by your PIP. In addition there are non-economic damages to include pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, disability or impairment and also loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures. These non-economic damages are very subjective in nature and in order to be eligible for those you basically need to have suffered a permanent injury as a result of the accident, something that your doctor will render his opinion on in his reports and his records.

What Happens During the Discovery Phase?

At Morgenstern & Herd, after we complete a discovery phase and evaluation when we take your case – we’ll give the insurance company and the defendant an opportunity to resolve the case without filing suit. Once formal suit is filed, formal questions are served, and you provide answers. We help you formulate the answers. We provide those to the other side. Once that paper discovery is exchanged, then depositions are taken where you’re sworn in as a witness and you provide sworn testimony.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL Today

We offer free initial consultations to clients who want to figure out the next step for them. If you are at all concerned about your finances after your car accident, please call our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL today. You don’t need to be hassled by the insurance companies who will come calling to get a statement from you. Let that be our job. We will keep them from turning the fault on you. We will prevent them from withholding the compensation that you deserve. Please call our office today!

Slip and Fall Lawyers Palm Harbor, FL

Have you suffered a slip and fall in Florida and were seriously injured? We are very sorry to hear that. We know that these accidents can result in painful injuries and you deserve to be rightfully and fully compensated. Contact our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL today for a free consultation.

We are here to provide you with caring support during this difficult time. You don’t need to be hassled by the insurance companies when they try to pressure you into giving a statement that will make it seem like it was your fault that you fell and hurt yourself when their insured did not get rid of a hazard that caused your injury. We are here to protect your rights for compensation. Call us today to learn more.

Proving Fault for Slip and Fall

Often people are under on the assumption that just because they fell in a store, or at a business, the store is automatically responsible for their fall and for their injuries. That is not true. After a slip and fall in a grocery store, the managers of the store will claim they had no knowledge of the hazard on the floor and that’s something that needs to be promptly investigated.

 

In order to have a bodily injury claim from a slip and fall incident in Florida, you must prove some carelessness or negligence on the part of the business.  To have a good slip and fall claim, our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL must prove there was a dangerous condition in the building that the property owner was aware of prior to the incident, or that the property owner should have been aware of.  Once you seek medical attention for your slip and fall injuries, it is very important to promptly contact and retain our experienced personal injury lawyers.

Often after a fall it’s important to contact the store in order to get a copy of any surveillance video or any video that may show that you’ve fallen. That’s why it’s extremely important to contact our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL promptly so that any evidences is not spoiled, and the claim or that request can go out very promptly. Often the store’s surveillance tapes are taped over or are not kept for a very long period of time, so you should promptly contact us so that we can send out a spoliation letter and get that store’s surveillance tape which may be very important in proving fault for your claim.

Steps to Get Compensation

The first thing to understand is that you’re basically looking to be compensated through the negligent individual’s insurance. They will very likely have liability insurance either under a general liability policy if it’s a store or under a homeowner’s or renter’s policy if it’s a residential place where the fall occurred. The key thing to remember is that there are basically two types of damages. These are what we call economic damages, like medical bills, and any wage loss you have that’s both in the past and the future. There are also non-economic damages, which are things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience of running back and forth to the doctor, disability or impairment, or loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.

If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, there are several things that you need to do that are very important. The first thing you should do is ascertain on what you slipped and fell. What was the substance that you fell on?

You want to take photographs of the scene of the accident if possible, and that can be done on your cellphone. You want to find out if there are any witnesses, and if there are, you want to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. You want to give notice to the store or the property on which you fell. If there is a report that’s done, you want to get a copy of the report. Lastly and probably most importantly, you want to contact an attorney early on because they may need to get an expert involved to look at the information property.

Commercial businesses and buildings may have Medical Payments Coverage which provides benefits that will pay for your treatment. These benefits pay up to a certain time and money limit, regardless of whether you can prove responsibility of the owner or employees of the business.

Frequently Asked Questions | Palm Harbor, FL Slip and Fall Guides

What Do I Need to Know About My Case?

The first thing to understand is that you’re basically looking to be compensated through the negligent individual’s insurance. They will very likely have liability insurance either under a general liability policy if it’s a store or under a homeowner’s or renter’s policy if it’s a residential place where the fall occurred. The key thing to remember is that there are basically two types of damages. These are what we call economic damages, like medical bills, any wage loss you have, and that’s both in the past and the future. There’s also non-economic damages, which are things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience of running back and forth to the doctor, disability or impairment, or loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.

What Steps Should I Take?

Slip and fall accidents are one of the more difficult claims that an attorney can prosecute. The reason is that in effect you are saying that there was a dangerous condition that would or should’ve been obvious to the landowner that should’ve been corrected. Unfortunately, the comeback to that point of view is if the defect or the problem was so obvious and so visible, why didn’t the person that was injured see it and avoid it?

If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, there’s several things that you need to do that are very important. The first thing you should do is ascertain on what you slipped and fell. Was it water? Was it coffee? What was the substance that you fell on? You want to discern on what you slipped and fell.

If you’re involved in a slip and fall accident, you want to first, if possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident, and that can be done on your cellphone. You want to find out if there are any witnesses, and if there are, you want to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. You want to give notice to the store or the property on which you fell. If there is a report that’s done, you want to get a copy of the report. Lastly and probably most importantly, you want to contact an attorney early on because he may need to get an expert involved to look at the information property.

Is the Store Automatically Responsible for My Slip and Fall?

]

Oftentimes people are under the misperception that just because you fell in a store or at a business that the store or business is responsible for your fall, and that is not true.  You have to prove some carelessness or negligence on the part of the business or some dangerous condition in the building that the business owner was aware of priors. That’s why it’s very important to promptly contact and retain an attorney familiar with premises liability law.

Can I Make a Claim for a Slip and Fall Due to Rain Water at a Store?

In Florida, we have afternoon rains which can be tracked in to a grocery store by patrons walking into the store or by bringing carts into the store that have been out in the rain.  This is something that the store and its employees are aware of and they should take all necessary means in order to safeguard their patrons.

I Slipped at Store Because of a Leaky Cooler, Do I have a Claim?

The employees have created the dangerous condition upon which you are injured. In those type of cases it is not as important to prove where the dangerous condition came from, because the store or its employees actually caused the dangerous condition.

Can I File Suit if I Slipped on a Wet Floor at a Store?

One of the things that’s very important is to prove that the store and its employees had noticed the water or whatever substance is on the floor. Actual notice would mean that they knew that it was there and hadn’t yet cleaned it up or had done an inadequate job.

Slip and Fall on an Unsafe Sidewalk

If there’s a dangerous condition that’s not open and obvious, you may have a claim against the municipality or the county. Those two entities are governmental entities, so they’re considered sovereigns, which means that there are limitations on your recoverable damages, $200,000 per individual, $300,000 for you and your spouse, and there are certain requirements that you have to give notice to the governmental entity before filing suit.

How Can I Obtain the Store’s Surveillance Tapes?

How Can I Obtain the Store’s Surveillance TapesOftentimes after a fall it’s important to contact the store in order to get a copy of any surveillance video or any video that may show that you’ve fallen. That’s why it’s extremely important to contact the lawyer promptly so that that evidences is not spoiled. Oftentimes the store’s surveillance tapes are taped over or that the tapes are not kept for a very long period of time so you should promptly contact an attorney so that he can send out a spoliation letter and get that store’s surveillance tape which will be very important in pursuing your claim.

Can the Store Deny Liability for My Slip and Fall Injury?

After a slip and fall in a grocery store, the managers of the store will claim they had no knowledge of the substance being on the floor and that’s something that needs to be promptly investigated. We will request store surveillance video and we’ll be able to see how long the hazard remained.  At that point we can start pursuing your claim for a slip and fall.

Who Pays for My Medical Bills?

Commercial businesses and buildings may have Medical Payments Coverage which provides benefits that will pay for your treatment. These benefits pay up to a certain time and money limit, regardless of whether you can prove responsibility of the owner or employees of the business.

Protect Your Rights and Hire an Attorney

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL perform an extensive investigation to preserve evidence and provide the expert witnesses necessary to win your case.  Our firm is ready to take on the insurance companies and fully litigate your interests if we are not able to resolve your personal injury.

Bicycle Accident Lawyers Palm Harbor, FL

Have you been terribly injured after a bike accident in Florida? The fear you must have been in moments following your accident are indescribable. The frustration that you are probably feeling right now is completely understandable. We are here to help you take on the legal process of filing a bike accident claim so that you can focus your energy on your recovery. Please call us today for a free consultation.

Bicycle Accident Cases in Palm Harbor, FL Can Be Complicated

If you have suffered serious personal injuries and/or property damage in a bicycle accident which occurred in Florida, we offer our sincere sympathy. Due to their vulnerability on the road, bicyclists can suffer catastrophic personal injuries which require significant medical treatment, or even death.

Bicycle accidents involving trucks, cars, other vehicles, objects, other bicycles or pedestrians are unfortunately very common. Nationwide, hundreds of bicyclists are killed and tens of thousands are injured each year.

Florida bicycle accident cases can be complicated. Make sure you protect your legal rights and options by hiring the right Florida bicycle accident attorney, so that you may receive the amount of money you rightfully deserve.

Hire Your Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible

First, it is very important to hire a Florida bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible. As we will address in a moment, the filing deadlines to protect your potential No-Fault benefits and lawsuit award should be dealt with immediately by you and your attorney.

Hiring a strong Florida bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible can help your case by immediately performing a complete accident investigation, including taking photographs of the accident scene, and obtaining witness statements, police accident reports, and medical records.

Florida Follows “No-Fault” Rules for Bicycle Accidents

In Florida, if you are injured in a bicycle accident, your options to recover damages may be limited by the “No Fault” car insurance law.

Florida follows what is known as the “No-Fault” car insurance law. This means that if you are injured in a bicycle accident, no matter who is at fault for causing the accident, you must first file a No-Fault claim under either your own car insurance policy or the other driver’s car insurance policy if you do not have your own car insurance.

No-Fault insurance will pay accident benefits to you for only a part of your medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. In order for you to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover legal damages beyond what the No-Fault laws will pay, you must prove that you suffered a permanent or “serious” injury, such as either: significant scarring, disfigurement, loss of a bodily function, death, or where your medical expenses and lost wages are greater than $10,000.

Florida No-Fault insurance filing deadlines are short and require immediate action. Ask your attorney to help you file all necessary No Fault paperwork on time.

Determining the Liability and Case Value

If your injuries qualify as a “Serious Injury” and you decide to sue the defendant, or defendants in court for your bicycle accident, you and your attorney need to prove that the defendant or defendants you sue owed you a duty of care, that they failed to perform this duty of care either by their action or failure to act while driving, walking, or performing some other action, that the defendant caused your bicycle accident and is therefore responsible for your injuries and that your injuries resulted in money or other types of damages.

However, bicycle accident cases are complicated. For example, although a driver may have hit you, a second driver may have caused the first driver to swerve into your path. Road conditions and weather on the date of your accident also have to be taken into account, as does your own portion of fault in causing the accident, if any.

Florida Follows No-Fault Rules for Bicycle Accidents

Overall, the types of damages that may possibly be awarded to you in a Florida bicycle accident case may include: medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, damages to your bicycle, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, loss of companionship, emotional distress, disability, and pain and suffering, which is often the largest portion of damages awarded. Fortunately, Florida does not limit the amount of pain and suffering damages that may be awarded to you.

Also, if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk and acted with more than mere negligence in causing your bicycle accident, you may be able to collect additional “punitive” (or punishment) damages.

Please be aware that Florida follows a “Pure Comparative Negligence” rule. For example, this means that if you were found to be 70% at fault for causing your bicycle accident, then your damage award would be reduced by 70%. This would be defined as your proportion of fault, or “comparative negligence.” Therefore, your personal level of fault, if any, in causing your bicycle accident is a very important part of your case.

Hire Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL as Soon as Possible

It is very important to hire a Florida bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. In Florida, bicycle accident cases must be sued against the defendant or defendants who caused the accident within 4 years from the date of the accident. This 4-year period is called the “statute of limitations.” If you fail to sue your case with the court within the 4-year period, your case will be thrown out and you will be unable to obtain either a fair settlement or damage award at trial.

Also, if your bicycle accident case involves a Florida government (municipality) defendant and/or vehicle, you must serve a Notice of Claim upon the defendant and State within 3 years from the date of your bicycle accident. You may then sue the municipality in court for your bicycle accident personal injuries and damages. Ask your attorney about when you have to sue. This is the municipality “statute of limitations.” If you fail to follow these time-lines, you will be unable to obtain either a fair settlement or trial award against the municipality in Florida.

Please note that, if you are injured in a bicycle accident while you are riding your bicycle in your capacity as a worker or employee, you may also need to file a worker’s/workman’s compensation claim to protect your rights. You should ask your attorney about this.

Another reason to hire a bicycle accident attorney right away is that memories fade over time. The witnesses will have a different story to tell three months later as opposed to three days later. The evidence can disappear even faster than memories as people drive, walk, and bike through your accident scene. Prompt investigation of the facts by your attorney will help make sure your bicycle accident case’s evidence is protected for your benefit.

Finding the Right Attorney for Your Florida Bicycle Accident Case

Do not hire an attorney who is merely a general practice attorney or handles cases in several different areas of the law. The law has become very specialized and you need an attorney who specializes in Florida bicycle accident cases.

In addition, while interviewing possible attorneys to represent you, ask them how many trials they have personally handled in bicycle accident cases. The insurance company will be much more willing to make reasonable settlement offers to settle your bicycle accident case if they know your attorney is an extremely experienced Florida trial attorney in these types of cases.

When you interview possible attorneys, be sure to also ask them whether you will be regularly dealing with them directly, or mostly their junior associate, paralegal, or nurse.

Most Florida bicycle accident attorneys will expect to be paid roughly 1/3, or 33.3%, of any legal recovery you may receive, whether through settlement or trial award. However, you do not have to pay any money out of pocket to hire a bicycle accident attorney to represent you. It is the attorney who pays all of your case’s expenses and out of pocket costs up front, such as filing fees and office expenses as well as the hiring of expert witnesses to prove fault (liability), and/or the amount of your damages. Also, you do not have to pay your attorney anything if he is unable to settle your case or win at trial.

It is important to respond quickly to any question or request for information that your attorney sends to you. The faster you respond, the faster they can move your bicycle accident case along. However, if you feel that your attorney does not return your calls, e-mails or texts quickly, you should consider interviewing other attorneys.

Importance of Seeking Medical Attention

If you have suffered a serious personal injury as a result of your bicycle accident, seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries, pain, and limitations are not immediately noticeable and may take some time to develop. In some cases, you may not even be aware that you have suffered an injury at the time of your bicycle accident. But don’t worry, your Florida bicycle accident attorney will recommend a doctor to you so that all of your injuries may be properly documented and treated.

Remember, the longer you wait to seek medical attention, the harder it may be for your attorney to relate your current injuries back to your Florida bicycle accident and therefore prove your case.

The Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friends

If you are contacted by a representative of an insurance company, do not respond. The insurance company is not on your side. They want to pay you as little as possible for your bicycle accident. After you hire your bicycle accident attorney, ask your attorney to respond to the insurance company.

If an insurance company makes an early settlement offer to you in order to settle your bicycle accident case, you should understand that the offer will usually be very low and nowhere near the amount you could possibly receive through a later settlement or trial.

Other Important Things to Remember

Be careful – accepting an early settlement offer will prevent you from proceeding with your bicycle accident lawsuit for additional damages against the responsible defendant or defendants. On the positive side, insurance companies usually make much higher settlement offers once a bicycle accident case approaches its trial date, especially if your attorney is known to have a good deal of Florida bicycle accident trial experience.

Please remember that Florida bicycle accident defendants, their insurance companies and their attorneys are focused on only one thing – paying you as little as possible for your bicycle accident. And that’s not right. That’s why we will do everything we possibly can to make sure you receive a fair damage award in your bicycle accident case.

Although the legal process does not move along as quickly as we would like, we will do our best to push the insurance companies to move as fast as possible and will do everything in our power to make sure your case takes as little time as possible. If you need a strong and dedicated Florida bicycle accident attorney, please call us today to schedule a free meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have a bike accident claim?

I got a call yesterday from someone who was injured on a bicycle after being struck by a motor vehicle driver. She wanted to know how her claim differed had she been a passenger or a driver in another car. The main way that the claim differs is that because you’re not in a car, if you don’t own a car, you may not have access to personal injury protection coverage that would apply to pay for your medical treatment. You may, however, be entitled to, if you don’t own a vehicle, to collect from the personal injury protection coverage of the at-fault driver, but first you also need to check out, if you have a blood relative that you reside with who owns a vehicle, you may be able to recover under their personal injury protection coverage. What you need to do, because those claims not being in a car are slightly different, is contact a firm that handles bicycle accident injury claims.

How do I choose the right attorney for my case?

How do you hire the best attorney for your bicycle accident case? You want to make sure, in the state of Florida, that you have an attorney who understands the required coverage because obviously with riding a bicycle, you’re not required to have any insurance. The at-fault driver isn’t necessarily required to have bodily injury coverage in the state of Florida. You want to make sure you talk to an attorney. Research your attorneys; look online; there are several organizations that rate attorneys. Is your attorney a super lawyer? Is your attorney AV rated with Martindale-Hubble? Is the attorney that you’re considering highly rated with Avvo, where different people can get online and rate your attorney? Do your research and make sure you have the best attorney for your bicycle injury case.

What mistakes should I avoid?

There are probably three main mistakes that you can avoid if you’re injured as a bicycle rider by a motor vehicle driver. The first mistake is to talk to the at-fault insurance company. You do not want to give them a statement. The second thing is that you want to make sure that you go get treatment for your injuries, so that you know fully what your injuries are. Don’t speak to the at-fault carrier before you know what your injuries are. Don’t even speak to the policeman, and tell them you’re not injured. You need to be assessed to make sure that you know what your injuries are, and some injuries can be latent. I got a call just last week from somebody who had waited five weeks to call a lawyer, so most of those mistakes had been made before we got a chance to get involved. Seek medical attention first, talk to a lawyer before you talk to anybody else, and make sure that that lawyer is familiar with automobile accidents and bicycle accidents.

Do I have a claim if a pothole caused my accident?

Were you injured after hitting a pothole on a bicycle? Do you have a claim for that? That’s a complicated question to answer, but not necessarily impossible. If the pothole is concealed, by being full of water, you probably have a claim. If it’s latent or difficult to see and it should be not obvious to you, which would be a complete defense to a claim, then the maintenance department, usually with the county, for that roadway is going to be responsible for that.

I spoke to someone just last week who had received a check from the maintenance department because they hit a huge hole and it didn’t necessarily cause physical damage, but it caused a lot of damage to their car, to both the tire and the wheel, and it became very expensive, and the county automatically compensated them for that. You do have a claim for physical injury to your cars, or your bicycle, or your motorcycle, but also for any bodily injuries if the pothole is not open and obvious.

What compensation can I get?

There’s several different areas of damage that you can be compensated for if you’re injured while on a bicycle by a motor vehicle. If you’re just injured on your bicycle through your own fault, you probably don’t have a claim. If you’re injured by a motor vehicle, you want to make sure that you know what your physical bodily injuries are. If you’re now afraid to ride that bicycle or it has some mental impact, you want to get care by a psychologist or mental health provider, if you have mental health damages. If you’re out of work, you have lost earnings. If you’re taken away from your household and the normal household services that you provide, your children or family members have a claim for that, and your children and spouse also have a claim for the loss of your affections, companionship, and all of those things. Those are all of the elements of damages in a bicycle injury claim.

Will insurance protect me?

Recently, we got a call to our firm from someone injured on a bicycle wanting to know if their automobile coverage provided protection to them if they were injured by a motor vehicle driver. Your personal injury protection coverage, because your injury arises out of use of somebody else’s motor vehicle, is going to provide compensation for your medical injuries. You need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, if there is one, for compensation for your bodily injuries on the whole, and you can get coverage for treatment for your injuries from your insurance company.

Who is liable for the accident?

In Florida, if you’re riding a bicycle and you’re hit by someone driving a motor vehicle, you have a claim against that driver. There are certain requirements of coverage, but there’s no requirement of bodily injury coverage. Because that accident arises out of a motor vehicle collision, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorists’ coverage, you still have a claim and may have to make a first-party claim against your insurance coverage. Since this kind of information and inquiry involves an investigation, you want to make sure that you contact a lawyer whose familiar with auto negligence, bicycle accidents, and insurance law.

What if I partially caused the accident?

If you’re partially at fault for a bicycle accident that arises out of a collision with a car, you can still receive compensation for your injuries. The key is to know what all your injuries are, and then to make sure that you know how the accident is investigated and analyzed, and have a lawyer who can help you investigate that so that you minimize your responsibility and maximize the responsibility of the at-fault motor carrier driver, so that you get maximum compensation. In order to do that, you need to hire a firm that’s familiar with claims involving motor vehicles, bicycles.

How long will the case take?

Often, people want to know, “How long is this going to take?” There’s no easy answer because all of the time limits depend on your particular case. You want to make sure that your case is handled by somebody who’s going to treat you as an individual and not just a number. You want a lawyer that’s going to handle your case and not let a case manager or paralegal handle your case. It depends on how long your case lasts, depends on how obvious liability is, how strong it is, the extent of your injuries, and how long it takes for us to know and your medical providers to know how extensive your injuries are. The important thing here is for you to get with a firm, do your research, and find a firm that handles motorcycle and bicycle cases.

How long do I have to file?

Yesterday I was called by someone who was injured on a bicycle. They wanted to know, right off the bat, how long they had to file a claim. Any injury claim in the state of Florida is a four-year claim. You have four years from the time of the accident within which to file a lawsuit to make sure you preserve your claim, but you’re not going to have a claim to preserve if you don’t hire the right attorneys and you don’t go get immediate medical attention for your injuries. Although you have four years, if you wait four years to go get care, it’s not much of an injury claim. The first thing you ought to do is make sure that you hire the right attorney so that they can advise you of all the aspects of the law.

Call Our Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL Today

If you have been seriously injured in a bike accident, please call our Florida personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation. We are here to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Dog Bite Lawyers Palm Harbor, FL

In a matter of seconds, a dog can cause severe damage during an attack and no longer be man’s best friend. If you or your child were seriously injured in a dog attack, contact the experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL to hold the owners responsible for their negligence. We will fight for you and your family to earn the maximum compensation available.

After a dog bite, one of the first things to do is seek prompt medical attention. Often dog’s mouths have harmful bacteria and those bites need to be treated differently than let’s say a laceration you might receive from a car accident or slip and fall. Also, there should be a concern as to whether the dog has had all its vaccination and shots. That is something that needs to be investigated very quickly.

There are times the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement will get involved. Therefore, it is very important that you not only notify the dog owner or whoever is taking care of the dog, but also the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement to have them properly investigate the dog bite.

Compensation from the Liable Party

There are a few things that are important in terms of dog bite injuries that we advise our clients who want compensation. First, the severity of the injury. Secondly, the care that is provided in treatment of those injuries. Thirdly, whether the injuries will leave any sort of permanent scarring. Often an individual bit by a dog is either bit on the hand or the leg and those scars are going to be visible for a lifetime. Many times, there is permanent scar damages from those injuries. All of this will go into determining the value of your dog bite claim. If there is scarring, that is a huge part of getting compensation. It is a very upsetting and constant reminder of the attack.

 

In Florida, there is a statute that holds dog owners strictly liable, you don’t need to prove negligence in their handling of the dog. They will be strictly liable for any damages caused by the dog, including medical bills and scarring which should have you feeling relieved. The compensation will come regardless. It’s a lot easier than some states have it where they must fight to prove that the owner was liable and fight to prove that you were not.

The way you get compensation is through the liable party’s insurance. When we investigate a dog bite claim and find out that the owner does not have any insurance or assets, we can determine that it’s not practical or not cost effective to prosecute a claim for a dog bite. In that case we advise the client that they really do not have a claim that’s cost effective to pursue. Most people, however do have insurance, and those are the companies that we will fight to get compensation from and we will not let them bully you.

Questions for the Dog Owner

After a dog bite, the owner of the dog may not be very cooperative and perhaps be quite defensive and outright refuse to talk to you. There is important information you need to try to get from the owner that if they don’t give, they will eventually be forced to give. First, you need to know if the dog has its shots. Secondly, you may want to report the information to animal protective services. They may want to come out and do their own investigation. Often this can be helpful to us.

If the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement comes out and does an investigation, they’ll look into the history of the dog, where the dog came from, whether it was involved in any another aggressive incidents, whether the dog has vicious propensities, where the dog owner got the dog, how long the owner has had the dog, and whether he was aware of the vicious propensities. All this information is very valuable. So the Hillsborough County Animal Safety and Enforcement can be very helpful to your Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL in prosecuting your dog bite case.

Challenges with Filing a Claim

To reiterate, in Florida there is a statute that holds a dog owner to be strictly liable for any damages caused by a dog bite. In some states they have a one-bite rule. If a dog attacks the mailman, that state would say, “well, that’s the owner’s first notice that the dog had vicious propensities”. Therefore, the owner is not liable for that first bite because they had no notice that the dog had vicious propensities.

Fortunately, Florida is not one of those states. They have a statute that says that the owner is strictly liable for the economic damages. In the case of a dog bite, one of the things you want to do is first of all is find out who owned the dog. Take a picture of the dog if you can. You’ll want to report the dog bite to the facility or the owner where the dog bite occurred. You may want to make some notes about what you were doing because there may be a claim that you were taunting the dog, or you were trespassing. One of the key questions is if you were on the person’s property when the dog bit you. If so, were you there with the owner’s permission? All of this matters very much.

You may find out that the dog has bitten other individuals. This would be something very relevant to the negligence of the owner because they knew that this dog had vicious propensities as a result of them biting other people. Another thing you might want to do is talk to people that routinely go on the property. For example, the mailman or the newspaper boy, you may find that some of them have been bitten or snapped at. This all will help in prosecuting your claim against the owner of the dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

When people come into our office with a dog bite case one of the things we’re looking at is the extent of the injuries. If the injuries are extensive, the next thing we look at is the history of the dog.  In Florida, there is a statute that holds dog owners strictly liable, you don’t need to prove negligence in their handling of the dog.  They will be strictly liable for any damages caused by the dog, including medical bills and scarring.

Who is the Liable Party?

In Florida there is a statute that holds a dog owner to be strictly liable for any damages caused by a dog bite. In some states they have a one-bite rule. If a dog attacks the mailman, that state would say, “well, that’s the owner’s first notice that the dog had vicious propensities”. Therefore, the owner is not liable for that first bite because they had no notice that the dog had vicious propensities. Fortunately, Florida is not one of those states. They have a statute that says that the owner is strictly liable for the economic damages. In the case of a dog bite, one of the things you want to do is first of all is find out who owned the dog. Take a picture of the dog if you can. You’ll want to report the dog bite to the facility or the owner where the dog bite occurred. You may want to make some notes about what you were doing because there may be a claim that you were taunting the dog or you were trespassing. One of the key questions is if you were on the person’s property when the dog bit you. If so, were you there with the owner’s permission? You also want to notify animal protection. They will come out and investigate. You may actually find out that the dog has bitten other individuals. This would be something very relevant to the negligence of the owner because they knew that this dog had vicious propensities as a result of them biting other people.

Another thing you might want to do is talk to people that routinely go on the property. For example, the mailman or the newspaper boy, you may find that some of them have been bitten or snapped at. This all will help in prosecuting your claim against the owner of the dog.

What Questions Should I Ask the Owner of the Dog?

First of all, ask if the dog has had its shots, and then report the information to animal protective services, they may want to come out and do an investigation.  This can be very helpful to the lawyer if animal protective services comes out and does an investigation, they’ll look into the history of the dog, where the dog came from, an whether it was involved in any other incidents where it bit someone.

What Should I Do if the Owner of the Dog Refuses to Provide Information?

After a dog bite, the owner of the dog may not be very cooperative.  It’s a good idea to get animal protective services involved and they will investigate the accident and find out information relevant to your claim.

Is the Dog’s Owner Responsible for the Attack?

If an individual is attacked by a dog, the owner of that dog is strictly liable for any damages suffered by the individual that was bitten. In order to collect monies for scarring, it’s very important that we’re able to point out that the dog had vicious propensities. It’s important as to whether that person knew of the vicious propensities of the dog and kept it away from people. So the negligence of the person in charge of the dog is also very important.

What Is Animal Liability Exclusion Clause?

Normally when we talk about insurance coverage for dog bite cases, we’re talking about homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance.  One of our concerns when we contact the insurance company or the individual whose dog caused the dog bite is whether or not their insurance policy has an animal liability exclusion policy. Most homeowners and renter’s insurance are including animal liability exclusion clauses in their homeowners and renters policies.  This means that they are excluding any coverage for dog bites, dog bite injuries and dog bite damages under that policy.  Sometimes there are exclusions to certain breeds or it’s a blanket exclusion for all dogs residing with the owner.  It’s very important we discover early on whether there is an animal liability exclusion policy in the dog owner’s, homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

Can Someone Other Than the Owner be Responsible?

Absolutely. If a dog owner lives in an apartment building or rental property, and the owner of that home has knowledge of the presence of the animal and the vicious propensities.  That individual can also be held responsible for the dog bite victim’s injuries and damages.

What If the Dog that Bit Me Has Never Attacked Anyone?

In that case it’s important to know that in the state of Florida there are statutes that make the dog owners strictly liable for any injuries and damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether that dog has ever bitten anyone before.  It’s very important that you go seek out competent Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL to investigate even if the owner tells you the dog has never bitten anyone else, or displayed any sort of vicious propensities prior.

What If the Dog Owner Doesn’t Have Insurance?

When we investigate a dog bite claim and find out that the owner does not have any insurance or assets, we can determine that it’s not practical or not cost effective to prosecute a claim for a dog bite.  In that case we advise the client that they really do not have a claim that’s cost effective to pursue. In Florida, this state has statute allowing protection for homestead exemptions.

Do I Have a Claim if My Pet was Injured by a Dog?

One of the things that’s important to remember in Florida is that animals are treated as property and they are handled like a property damage claim. For example, if you’ve got a Yorkshire Terrier that you paid a thousand dollars for and as a result of a dog bite the dog needs extensive veterinary care, their insurance company and any attorney involved for the dog owner will argue that you are limited in your recovery to the value of your dog. In this case they will argue a $1,000 is enough even though the bills may greatly eclipse that.  It’s a law their trying to change in Florida, but currently the state of law is that animals are treated as chattel or property and thus the damages you can recover for injuries to your pet as a result of veterinary bills is limited to the value of your dog.

Aggressive Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL

If you or your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog in Florida, contact our experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL to fight for you. You deserve compensation for your damages. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and set up your free consultation. We are happy to help you in pursuing your claim.

Like Us on Facebook

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Palm Harbor, FL

We like control. We like to know what we’re eating and where our news is coming from. We like to think we can control our weight and control our habits. We like to control our environments, and the history of our inventions proves it, from air conditioning to clap-on lights to Netflix and Amazon Echo.

It can be unsettling, then, to enter a situation in which you give up all control. Sometimes we seek the thrill of this feeling – as on a roller coaster, or skydiving. Sometimes giving up control can be a merely boring and mildly anxious experience, as on an airplane. But there is probably no case of forfeiting control more extreme than when you entrust yourself to a medical professional’s care. Quite literally everything is at stake: your money, your time, your body, your mind – even your life, and your ability to provide for and be with the ones who love you. You are putting yourself in someone else’s care because you aren’t an expert. If you undergo physical therapy, you trust that it will heal and not hurt you. If you’re taking a new medication, you trust that whatever chemical processes it triggers within you will help and not harm. And if you’re going into surgery, you accept the anesthesia and become more object than individual, a fleshy machine to be fixed, while your mind swims in a suspended dark. You allow all this because you trust your doctor, your surgeon, your therapist. And in most cases you trust because you have no other option.

If you or someone you know has been harmed while in the care of a medical professional, you will be devastated – especially knowing that the injury or illness was beyond your control, in the hands of experts that you trusted. In this situation, though, you do have options. You have a right to the best treatment, practices, and attention modern medicine can provide. If you’re suffering because you didn’t get this, your healthcare provider may be liable for your suffering and your losses. An experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney can help appraise you of your rights, go over the particulars of your case, help you to set realistic expectations, guide you through a settlement or a trial, and give you back some of that lost control.

Knowing Your Rights

There are many – all too common – situations in which a healthcare provider could be liable for your injury, illness, or other suffering. Your medical professionals must provide you with care that meets the standard within your community under the same or similar circumstances of your medical condition. Any failure to provide this care is a breach of duty. Breaches of duty include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to obtain an accurate medical history
  • Failure to order appropriate tests
  • Failure to assess the patient’s condition
  • Improper training or supervision
  • Improper administering of medicine
  • Failure to maintain cleanliness of medical premises
  • Surgical mistakes or errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Birth injuries
    • Brain damage or permanent injuries to newborns
    • Injury or death of mother
  • Failure to intervene in a timely fashion
  • Incorrect application of a procedure

When you submit yourself to medical care, so much is “out of your hands.” With the right legal counsel, however, you may be able to recover damages including:

  • Monetary damages for future medical care and treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral costs

Fighting for your rights can be daunting and complex. Far more stressful than a lawsuit, however, could be struggling to cover new medical expenses resulting from a surgery gone wrong, stretching thin to pay bills when you can’t work, or providing for your family after a loved one’s avoidable death. You might need to file a medical malpractice suit. Luckily, holding medical providers accountable for mistakes and negligence can raise the bar on healthcare reliability and quality of treatment.

It’s important to know, though, that a bad result doesn’t mean you have a case, and doesn’t mean the doctor didn’t perform to the best of his or her ability and provide you with reasonable care. Only a Florida medical malpractice attorney and an independent expert can tell you if your case meets the standards and precedents for a malpractice suit.

Even if a physician admits it was his or her “fault,” that doesn’t mean it was a case of malpractice. If something goes wrong and your physician admits fault, immediately request a copy of your records.

In Florida, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims is two years from the point at which you knew or should have known that the incident occurred.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Palm Harbor, FL

In the State of Florida, you can’t jump right away into filing a medical malpractice suit. You have to go through a pre-suit process, during which time your attorney will gather all relevant medical records and send these to an expert for independent review. This expert will provide an affidavit, which your attorney will send via certified mail to the medical provider. That medical provider will have 90 days to consult with an attorney and malpractice carrier, and at the end of that period must either admit or deny the claim. If the medical provider denies your claim, your attorney will file a lawsuit.

To win your case, you need to do more than document substandard care. Substandard care per se does not cause damages. You need to prove causation – in other words, that the documented substandard care directly caused physical and/or emotional damages. In general, you also have to demonstrate catastrophic, long term, or permanent damages. If you recover before too far into your suit – and suits will, again, last years – you may only get enough in recoverable damages to pay your attorney and the expert witnesses you hired.

>> How long will a Florida medical malpractice case last?

In Florida, the pre-suit process (explained above) adds a 90-day waiting period before a case can even go to trial. Medical malpractice is one of the more frequently litigated areas of law, which means the courts are backed up. One case could take two to three years if mistakes or acts of negligence are well-documented or obvious, or to five to six years in cases that require deposition of experts from around the country, and conflicting evidence or testimony.

>> How does a court determine damages in a malpractice case?

If you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, you and your family need compensation. The complexity of malpractice cases, however, requires significant research and testimony from expert witnesses, all of whom must be paid. You can’t pay them out-of-pocket – you’re already struggling. This money has to come from your reward. Because of that, your damages have to rise to a certain level, so you can pay your attorney and expert witnesses and still have compensation left over. As such, it is not generally worth your time to pursue a claim for a minor injury.

>> Are there limits on damages in a malpractice case?

Before 2014 there were caps on noneconomic damages – intangible losses like pain and suffering or loss of companionship for a loved one – in a malpractice suit. A court overturned these caps, at least in wrongful death cases, as unconstitutional – though the precedent may in the future be applied to noneconomic damages in any Florida medical malpractice case.

If a physician admits that the malpractice in the pre-suit phase, the law imposes caps automatically. These caps are $350,000 if you proceed to a jury trial and $250,000 if you agree to arbitrate.

>> What will a Florida medical malpractice case cost me?

Most law firms will not charge you for a consultation, and will often take on the costs of obtaining your medical records and hiring an independent medical expert for you. There will be no cost for an evaluation and investigation, even if the attorney finds you cannot proceed. (But be sure to ask about this – not all attorneys have the same policy.) Most Florida medical malpractice lawyers use contingency fees, taking a percentage of the award or settlement. (That means that if you lose at trial, you won’t have to pay your attorney anything.)

Common Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

Florida Medical Malpractice Guide: Surgical Fires and Other Operational Mishaps

In a surgical situation, three elements are necessary for a fire: an igniter, an accelerant, and fuel. All three elements will be present in most surgeries. Your safety is at risk any time these elements come too close together. The anesthesiologist is responsible for the oxidizer element. The surgeon is responsible for the igniter element. The nurses are responsible for the fuel elements and for facilitating communication amongst the team members. There is an increased risk of fire for any procedure performed to the head, neck and chest.

Surgical fires are not common, but they do occur, and they can be severely damaging. Surgical fires can be either inpatient (inside your body) or onpatient (outside your body). Inpatient surgical fires aren’t always controllable – they might result from bowel gas or other variables. Outpatient fires, however, are unacceptable. If you’ve suffered from an onpatient surgical fire, contact a malpractice attorney. Anaesthesiologists, surgeons, and nurses are all responsible for avoiding these accidents.

All healthcare providers in a surgery should observe a “surgical time-out” before beginning to operate. This gives them a chance to verify that you are the correct patient and that they are going to perform the right operation on the right body part, as well as take measures to prevent surgical fires.

It will be harder to bring a malpractice case against an ER physician, because that physician has no prior history with you, and has no obligation other than to treat the emergency issue. You will need to prove reckless disregard if you are filing a claim against an ER physician.

Birth Injuries

A birth injury may occur when a physician or hospital nurse provides substandard care during the pregnancy or the birthing process.  Devastating effects like paralysis, brain damage, and even death may happen to the mother and/or child.  Other birth injuries that may occur include—

  • Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
  • Coumadin-related problems
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Injury due to forceps
  • Paraplegia and quadriplegia
  • Learning disabilities
  • Nerve damage, including Erb’s Palsy
  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Bone fractures
  • Bruising and skin irritation
  • Internal bleeding
  • Shoulder dysplasia

A birth injury may also be the result of the failure of the physician or hospital nurse to maintain cleanliness, communicate a patient’s condition to physicians, monitor and assess conditions, and intervene in a timely fashion.

In most malpractice cases you have two years from the time you knew or ought to have known that the instance of malpractice occurred to file a claim. With a young child that statutory period is extended to the eighth birthday, as children may not be able to understand or express that there is something wrong with them.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Some premature babies can develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina, causing the retina to detach and possibly leading to blindness. ROP is sometimes self-corrective, but other cases call for surgery. If a physician catches ROP soon after birth, an ophthalmologist can use a laser to prevent the abnormal blood vessels from growing, scarring, contracting, and detaching the retina.

In some cases, blindness from ROP is avoidable with proper screening and treatment. If your newborn becomes blind because of ROP, the healthcare provider can be liable. It will be necessary for you to consult with an expert Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Avoidable causes of blindness from ROP include:

  • Exposing newborns to toxins.
  • Improper use of oxygen therapy following birth.
  • Failing to provide timely, regular eye exams to high-risk infants.
  • Failing to diagnose retinopathy of prematurity when symptoms of this condition are clearly present.
  • Failing promptly or adequately to treat retinopathy of prematurity.

Heart Attack Misdiagnosis 

A heart attack per se is not actionable. However, you may file a potential claim for misdiagnosis. If a heart attack leaves you with permanent damages, or if you are no longer able to perform certain tasks, you might be able to file a claim for failure to diagnose.

Medical professionals need to address heart attack symptoms responsibly and in a manner consistent with proper standards of a care. Common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Fainting or lightheadedness
  • Arm, shoulder, or back pain
  • Chest pain and pressure that feels like a:
    • Squeezing sensation
    • Burning or crushing pain

As soon as you or another report your symptoms, your doctor or emergency room professional should immediately administer one or more of the following tests to avoid injury or death:

  • Cardiac enzyme tests
  • Echocardiograms
  • Stress tests
  • Angiograms
  • Electrocardiograms

Medication Errors

If a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or dosage, you may have a claim. If you think a doctor has prescribed you the wrong medication or dosage, confront the doctor immediately. Your concern at this point is your health, not a malpractice suit.

According to the Food and Drug administration, prescription medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States. A physician or pharmacist might be liable for:

  • Prescribing the wrong drug.
  • Prescribing the wrong dose.
  • Prescribing the wrong concentration.
  • Administering a drug too quickly.
  • Administering a drug by an improper method.
  • Being unaware of the other medications the patient was taking at the same time.
  • Failing to warn a patient of an expected drug interaction risk.

One of the most commonly misused medications is Coumadin, also called warfarin, an anti-coagulant or blood thinner used to prevent the body from forming dangerous blood clots. Patients who have atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) or artificial heart valves often take Coumadin. While effective in preventing strokes, heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), embolisms, and blood clots, the misuse of Coumadin can put patients’ lives at risk. Doctors must carefully monitor patients taking Coumadin.  There is a very thin margin between a patient being helped or harmed by Coumadin. If the level of the medication is too low, the patient is at risk for blood clot formation, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms. If the level is too high, the patient is at risk for severe internal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, and death.

Coumadin is of particular danger to pregnant or breastfeeding women. It can cause birth defects in an unborn baby that may include:

  • Central nervous system defects
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Stillbirth
  • Prematurity
  • Hemorrhage
  • Ocular defects
  • Fetal warfarin syndrome

Because of the serious need to monitor Coumadin levels, any negligence in this could make a physician liable for damages and suffering.

Other commonly misprescribed medications include Avandia for diabetes and the anti-inflammatory Vioxx (discontinued).

Pharmaceutical companies may be liable for damages. Likewise the pharmacist. The pharmacist filling your prescription also has an obligation to fill your prescription correctly and answer any questions you have. You may have a claim due to preventable errors including:

  • Poor handwriting on prescriptions.
  • Similar-sounding names of prescription drugs.
  • Confusion about correct dosage amounts and instructions.
  • Confusing labeling and package content on both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
  • Use of abbreviations.

Pharmacists are medical experts, too, though. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a gastrointestinal disease, mostly affecting premature infants where infection and inflammation cause destruction of the bowel or part of the bowel. This disease is the most common and serious gastrointestinal disorder among premature infants. It usually occurs during the first two weeks of life, after feeding has begun. Infants with this disease are more prone to infection and have some difficulty with blood and oxygen circulation and digestion.

The symptoms of NEC may include:

  • Poor tolerance to feedings
  • Bloating and tenderness
  • Bile-colored vomit
  • Bloody stool
  • Redness of the abdomen
  • Increase in stool
  • Lack of stool

Complications from Anaesthesia

If a patient is going to be fully sedated, the anaesthesiologist may or may not be present for the entire procedure. He or she is, however, responsible for the conduct of the nurse anaesthetist, who will be present the entire time.

Anaesthesia awareness occurs when a patient retains a level of awareness under anaesthesia during an operation. This could be because of insufficient anaesthesia or because of a patient’s resistance. Anaesthesia awareness is not grounds for a claim, but if the anaesthesiologist notices your awareness, he or she is duty-bound to correct it.

Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis

When you are injured or sick you will show physical signs and complain of symptoms, and your medical professional is obligated to recognize those signs and symptoms. If your condition worsens or leads to damages, you may file a claim. The success of that claim will depend on the particulars of your case. Failure to diagnose a new, rare, or relatively unstudied condition is not as much of a liability as failure to diagnose a common condition with symptoms generally understood.

You cannot, generally, file a claim against an Emergency Room physician for failure to diagnose. It is not the ER doctor’s responsibility to diagnose you; an emergency medical provider’s duty is only to treat emergency conditions. You may leave with instructions to visit your general practitioner or another doctor, who will have the responsibility to diagnose.

Wrongful Death

If you suspect that someone you love died because of medical malpractice, you need to arrange for an autopsy immediately. If you intend to file a claim, it will be your responsibility to prove the cause of death, and to prove that this resulted from a medical provider’s negligence.

If you do have a claim, you will have to create an estate for the decedent. Often the estate lawyer will wait for the conclusion of the malpractice suit to collect his or her fees.

However, if the decedent has not left behind a spouse or a child under the age of 25, there are no recoverable damages.

Palm Harbor, FL Medical Malpractice FAQs

>> What should I look for when picking an attorney?

Experience matters most. You aren’t just looking for an attorney with plenty of court time and peer recommendations, either, though these things are important. Generally, an attorney with some medical background will be more successful in Florida medical malpractice cases. All this information is available online, but you shouldn’t stop there. Remember that you may spend years working with this person. You should meet face-to-face before deciding. You need someone you can trust, someone you’re comfortable talking to, someone who won’t bully you into a course of action you don’t want to take, and, ideally, someone you like.

>> How do I know if my attorney is doing a good job?

When you contract with an attorney, that attorney will give you a “statement of client’s rights” outlining what you should expect. Make sure you understand this, and that your attorney lives up to the letter. You should also stay informed at every step of the process, and take an active role in decision making, especially regarding settlements.

>> What are the consequences of a malpractice case for medical professional?

In Florida, a healthcare provider can lose his or her license to practice after “three strikes.” What constitutes a strike, though, is not always certain. When you file a complaint, that complaint goes to the Florida Board of Medicine, which will generally not sanction an individual for an alleged medical error, but rather for documenting errors or serious, proven cases of malpractice. However, if a physician has multiple outstanding complaints, your case may directly result in the loss of a license.

>> Can I get an apology from my healthcare provider?

Aside from some peace of mind and a sense of closure, the only thing a civil trial can give you is a monetary reward. A jury cannot force an apology from anyone.

>> Do I have a claim if I suffered Florida medical malpractice but have recovered?

In this case, you would likely spend more to get expert witnesses than you would receive in compensation. You will have wasted your time. Still, if you feel strongly that you have a claim despite an improvement in your health, seek a consultation with an experienced attorney.

>> How can I help avoid or combat medical negligence and malpractice?

The steps you can take to preventing medical malpractice are, for the most part, the same steps you should be taking to help your healthcare providers treat you. Be an advocate for yourself (or for your loved one). Do research. Ask questions. Tell your healthcare providers everything. And keep documentation.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error made by a doctor or medical professional, contact Personal Injury Attorneys Palm Harbor, FL Betsey Herd for guidance on your case.