Everyone knows that a car accident can change your life in an instant. Whether it is a high speed collision or just a fender bender, the injuries can be physically, mentally, and financially devastating. Immediately after an accident, you should do the following:
Remain at the scene and wait for the authorities to arrive
Check yourself and others for injuries and call 911 for emergency medical assistance if needed
Take pictures of the vehicles and the accident scene
Safely move your vehicle out of the roadway if possible
Exchange information with the other driver(s) and complete an accident report with the Police
Gather possible witness information
If the accident happened in Florida, be sure to receive treatment promptly (within 14 days)
Contact your insurance provider and report the accident, however, avoid discussions with the insurance adjuster until you have had time to consult with your attorney
Be cautious when speaking with an insurance adjuster, even if they are from your insurance company. Insurance companies spend countless time and resources training their adjusters to elicit information from you that could negatively impact your case. We have yet to come across an insurance company that has their insured’s best interest in mind. By hiring an attorney, you are putting the insurance company on notice that you value your present and future interests. Remember, you get one shot at recovery. Do not waste it.
When consumers purchase a product, they expect that the company has taken all necessary precautions in designing and manufacturing that product to ensure its safety. This is not always the case. When a product is defective, injuries and even death can result. A company should never place its profits above the consumer’s safety.
There are two types of product defects: design defects and manufacturing defects. A design defect is usually a larger issue since all of the products will have that same defect, possibly affecting a larger amount of people. This defect arises at the first stage of the product’s development. The court weighs several factors when determining if a design defect exists and is actionable. A manufacturing defect comes into play during the assembly of a product, especially is machinery is used for mass production. Auto defects and medical device defects tend to have to most wide-spread and harmful impact.
Keep an eye on recalls that apply to any products you own, especially your vehicles. You can search for a recalled product at HERE.
If you have been injured by a defective product, you should try your best to preserve the product if it is safe to do so, seek medical attention, and speak with an attorney.
Property owners owe their guests certain duties to maintain their property in a reasonably safe manner in an effort to prevent injury. Sadly, not all property owners take the steps necessary to ensure that they fulfill their obligations. Common premises liability cases include the following:
Exposure to Toxic Substances
Incidents involving animals
There are three types of relationships that determine the degree of duty owed:
If you are on property because the owner invited you, either with an express or an implied invitation, you are an invitee. For businesses, an invitee is a person who has come there for a business transaction. For homeowners, an invitee is a person who is an invited guest.
Landowners owe the highest duty of care to invitees: 1) maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and 2) warn invitees of dangerous conditions the landowner knows about or should know about.Some Florida courts say a landowner has a duty to discovery the dangerous condition and fix it or warn the invitee.
A licensee is not on the premises by invitation, but is also not forbidden by the landowner. In a business setting, this might be a person who enters an electronics store to use the restroom, but not to buy anything from the store. Florida courts typically treat licensees the same as discovered trespassers.
An undiscovered trespasser has the least amount of protection under Florida Law. A landowner has no duty to warn an undiscovered trespasser of dangerous conditions on the property and will only be liable for injuries resulting directly from intentional misconduct by or on behalf of the landowner.
These laws do not extend to children due to Florida’s attractive nuisance law. Under this law, property owners must ensure that they close of any parts of the property that might be attractive to children like pools, trampolines, etc.
It is important that you contact an attorney soon after the incident to preserve the evidence involved.
A Wrongful Death action is often as tragic as it gets when it comes to what we do. The emotional toll on all involved is an incredible burden especially with the realization that the accident could have been prevented, usually in more ways than one. Family members who have suffered emotional and monetary damages after an accidental death of a family member can pursue personal injury claims under provisions of the Florida Wrongful Death Act.
In order to bring an action under this Act, a personal representative must be appointed to “step into the shoes” of the estate. The compensation allowable under the Florida Wrongful Death Act can get complex depending on a variety of factors such as the age of the children, the family dynamic, divorces, illegitimate children, etc.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 1.7 million Americans suffer a serious brain injury every year. More than 275,000 are hospitalized, and 52,000 die from injuries.
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), even a mild one, can disrupt the normal functioning of your brain. Brain injuries can be hard to detect and don’t always show up on diagnostic testing. Mot brain injuries start with concussions, but can quickly advance to more serious problems, especially if they go undiagnosed.
Symptoms of a serious brain injury include dizziness, constant headaches, blurred vision, memory loss, nausea and vomiting, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to light, impaired coordination, altered mood or behavior, reduced cognitive function, and seizures. Children who suffer from a brain injury often experience irritability, changes in eating and sleeping habits, loss of interest, unsteadiness, and vomiting.
Closed-head injuries are often less obvious, but they can be just as problematic. With a closed-head injury (like whiplash or any head injury that doesn’t have an obvious wound) the damage can be difficult to notice. But the increased pressure to the brain caused by internal bleeding can be serious. The biggest issue with this is that it can cause closed-head injuries to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
It is important to be as thorough as possible with any injury, but especially brain injuries. Be sure to let your doctor know each an every change that you have experienced, no matter how small you think the change is.
Studies estimate that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States just behind Heart Disease and Cancer. Medical professionals must meet stringent educational and clinical requirements, are held to a high standard of care, and have strict procedures they must follow to ensure patient safety.
In order for it to be considered malpractice, the physician must have violated the standard of care. Not all mistakes are considered malpractice. A doctor must had made a move that another doctor in a similar situation and circumstances would not have made. Even then, other factors can come into play that prevent a medical malpractice suit from being won.
Some examples of situations that might merit a medical malpractice suit involve misdiagnosis, some surgical errors, failure to monitor the patient’s condition, incorrect medication, failure to warn patients of the risk of treatments or failure to obtain informed consent.
Also, check this out if you have a few minutes: The Medical Malpractice Myth
Motorcycle cases often carry with them more serious injuries (and even death) than a traditional automobile accident. Because of this, prompt investigation to preserve all evidence and discover all potential sources of legal and/or financial responsibility become critical to a case’s success.
Motorcycle accidents are often caused by inattentive drivers, distracted drivers (texting), speeding, failing to obey traffic signals, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or failing to yield the right of way, dangerous construction sites, and road maintenance. In some cases, businesses that rent motorcycles to customers can be held liable as well.
We recommend that all Florida motorcycle operators and passengers use all available safety equipment available such as helmets and other protective gear available. Florida law also requires motorcycle operators to wear protective eye gear such as protective glasses and requires that motorcycles are equipped with proper safety equipment. Florida motorcyclist must also carry a valid endorsement on their drivers license.
More information can be found HERE.
The large size and weight of commercial trucks can cause them to malfunction, lose control, and severely injure others. Factors that commonly cause wrecks include the following:
Improper turns – larger trucks need larger clearance to turn safely.
Jackknifing – especially when road conditions are wet or icy.
Driver Fatigue – there are laws in place that regulate the amount of time a driver can be behind the wheel during a 24-hour period. Fatigue can cause all sorts of judgment errors that can cause serious accidents.
Failure to receive/pass safety inspections – regulations and policy specify that the vehicles must undergo constant safety inspections.
Inability to stop in time – the weight and size of these commercial vehicles require a longer distance to come to a complete stop.
The initial investigation is critical in personal injury matter, but it is even more important in a trucking accident. Contact us as soon as possible after a trucking accident so we can preserve valuable evidence.
More information can be found HERE.
Over 12,500 people sustain spinal cord injuries each year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Spinal cord injuries can cause significant personal and financial hardship for patients despite having health insurance. Additionally, the lost wages as a result of long hospital stays can add up quickly.
A spinal cord injury can cause a variety of symptoms that range from mild aching to physically debilitating. Some common symptoms include the inability to feel heat or cold, paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, impaired motor skills, difficulty breathing, intense pain, weakness, and numbness. Many of these symptoms can make it difficult or impossible for people to continue their careers, especially if standing or sitting for long periods of time are involved.
Florida law defines a catastrophic injury as a permanent impairment that seriously affects or restricts an individual’s speech, gait, vision, reproduction, or other motor functions. Common examples of catastrophic injury include severe burns, amputation, blindness, etc. The damages involved are almost always far greater and can include loss of earning potential, past medical bills, present medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life, the inability to participate in daily activities, etc.
Just because you receive a ticket, does not mean that you have to accept the consequences without contest. There are several situations and conditions that can affect the validity of the alleged violation. It is always a good idea to speak with an attorney before admitting guilt by paying the fine. If possible, make sure you call an attorney within 20 days of receiving the citation.
There are two types of defamation: Libel (written) and Slander (spoken). The elements of defamation are:
Defendant made a false and defamatory statement;
Defendant published (written or orally) to a third party;
Defendant made the defamatory statement with the requisite intent (negligence or malice); and
Plaintiff suffered damages.
If the statements made were true, then you may not be able to bring a claim for defamation. The statements must be presented as facts, not opinion or conjecture. Additionally, certain people and businesses are immune to such an action.
Kirilloff Jowers, PA charges the standard contingency fee (a percentage of the gross recovery) as stated by the Florida Bar (and the Georgia bar for our Georgia cases). The best part about a contingency fee is that if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a dime! The difference between our firm and the bigger advertising firms is that we don’t nickel and dime you for things like mileage, postage, ink, paper, etc. We also don’t charge you interest on the costs that we front for your case.
Feel free to call or email us if you have any additional questions regarding contingency fees.
Clients don’t often realize the value of their input in the case. You are the only one in our relationship with direct knowledge of what actually happened, what you noticed, and the way the injury has affected you and your family’s lives. Here are a few tips for helping us help you:
- BE HONEST. If a lawsuit has to be filed, you can bet the defense will find out everything about you and your case – it’s their job. I don’t care what the problem is, if you tell us up front then we can plan for it make it work. If you conceal anything or are dishonest and the defense finds out about it, it can kill your case and sometimes the court can impose sanctions. It is critical to tell the truth.
- Stay in touch. At Kirilloff Jowers, we pride ourselves in our unmatched communication with our clients. However, things may come up in between communications that is vital to the case. Let us know about these things as soon as they arise. Also, if you move or get a new phone number, let us know as soon as you can.
- If you don’t understand something or need further explanation on absolutely anything, let us know. We are here for you and have no problem taking the time to make sure you understand what and why we are doing certain things that pertain to your case. Sometimes we will get a phone call and the client will say “sorry to bother you.” You are never a bother to us and your calls do not annoy us.
In every state, there are time limits for the filing of lawsuits and other civil actions called “statutes of limitations.” Florida’s civil statute of limitations laws are largely in line with those of other states. Depending on the type of case or procedure, Florida’s statutes of limitations range from two to four years. The point at which the clock starts ticking typically is the date of the incident or discovery of a wrong.
Statute of limitation laws are an attempt to create general predictability and fairness when it comes to filing lawsuits. Potential defendants should be put on notice that they might have committed some harm against another party, but not have a legal matter hanging over their head indefinitely. On the other hand, plaintiffs must decide whether or not to press a lawsuit in a timely matter.
- Injury to Person – 4 years
- Libel/Slander – 2 years
- Fraud – 4 years
- Injury to Personal Property – 4 years
- Professional Malpractice – Generally, 2 years
- Trespass – 4 years
- Injury to Person – 2 years
- Libel/Slander – 1 years
- Fraud – 2 years
- Injury to Personal Property – 4 years
- Professional Malpractice – Generally, 2 years
- Trespass – 4 years
Apportioning fault is one of the most challenging yet important factors in the aftermath of an accident as it determines how much you can recover from that accident. Florida law requires that you establish that the other party acted in a negligent manner. Florida operates under a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that whatever amount you were negligent, your recovery will be limited by that amount. For example, if you are suing another driver and your actions are deemed to be 25% negligent, then your damages will be decreased by 25%. In other words, you will only be entitled to an award of 75% of your total monetary recovery. In this way, the doctrine of comparative negligence apportions negligence among the various parties involved in the accident.
Because every personal injury claim is unique, the types of damages that will be available depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. However, some of the types of damages that might be available in a personal injury cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Property damage (e.g. vehicle repair or replacement)
- Loss of companionship or a spouse or guidance of a parent
- Diminished earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Burial/funeral expenses (wrongful death)
- Punitive damages
Insurance companies spend countless time and resources to train their adjusters and staff to try to pay out the least amount possible to you after an accident. In some companies, adjusters will get bonuses based on the amount they saved their multi-billion dollar corporation by not paying you what you deserve. As attorneys, we deal with these insurance companies on a daily basis and we know their tactics. Not only that, but we have the ability to file a lawsuit against them.
We understand that people have trouble with the idea of a lawsuit. Sometimes a person will get hit by another driver and the at-fault driver will be apologetic and nice. The client will say “I’m hurt but I don’t want to sue the driver and ruin his life.” It is a rare occurrence when a driver or at-fault party has to pay money out of their own pocket to cover your damages. This is exactly why people purchase insurance coverage. Additionally, less than 7% of cases nationwide actually reach the trial stage and sometimes you case can be settled before a lawsuit even needs to be filed. Never feel badly about taking care of yourself and your family.
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection and under Florida law it is required that every vehicle owner and driver on the road have $10,000 worth of PIP insurance coverage. PIP benefits are paid by your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is what is meant by Florida being a no-fault insurance State. PIP insurance pays for 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. This means, you have to recover the rest of your out of pocket expenses from the driver that caused the accident. PIP covers any accident or injury that involves a vehicle, even if you are on a bicycle or a pedestrian and are injured by a vehicle.