May 25, 2011

What an Honor -More Pedestrians Suffer Wrongful Deaths in Florida

As personal injury attorneys handling wrongful death cases throughout the State of Florida, we know too well how dangerous our roads are for pedestrians. Now, a report from Transportation for American and the AARP, confirms that Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, as over 5000 died between 2000 and 2009.

Florida's deadly accidents were more than 10% of the 47,000 pedestrians deaths confirmed nationwide from car accidents or truck accidents during the past decade. Not surprisingly, the four most deadly cities for pedestrians are Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

Incredibly, a means of reducing these needless deaths, including various proposals brought up in the Florida Legislature did not get enacted into law. Such proposals included fines for texting while driving and mandating classes for new drivers on the dangers brought about by texting behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, Florida remains one of the only states without such texting regulations. We can only hope that in the next legislative session, the carnage caused by such reckless behavior is finally addressed.

May 24, 2011

Click It or Tick It - Florida Highway Patrol Hopes to Prevent Wrongful Deaths

As personal injury lawyers representing victims of car accidents in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, we are glad to announce that the Florida Highway Patrol is joining police nationwide for the 2011 National Click It or Ticket campaign. In our practice we too often seen the deadly damage caused by the failure to use seat belts, so we certainly agree that everyone should take the effort to make sure their seat belt are properly used.

This year's campaign starts today and runs through the Memorial Day holiday until June 5. Florida Highway Patrol Troopers will actively cite drivers who ignore their responsibilities by failing to secure their seat belt. It goes without saying that many wrongful deaths would be prevented if drivers just used their seat belts.

As a reminder and plea, Florida Law requires all occupants of a vehicle, who are under 18 years of age, to use their seat belt, regardless of where they are seated in a vehicle.

May 5, 2011

Florida Legislature Protects Private Hospitals

As lawyers practicing personal injury and medical malpractice law in the State of Florida, we continue to be amazed by the ongoing erosion of the rights of Floridians who are injured due to the negligence of doctors and nurses. The legislature just passed a law which will provide sovereign immunity protection to all doctors and nurses working in private hospitals which are deemed to be teaching hospitals affiliated with medical schools.

This means that victims of medical malpractice by doctors at Jackson Memorial in Miami, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Shands Healthcare at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Orlando Health in Orlando, and Tampa General Hospital, will no longer be personally liable for their negligence. Injured victims will be limited in their recovery to a maximum of $200,000.00, regardless of how devastating their injuries are, or the amount their future medical bills.

When you elect representatives whose self-interest is helping business, at the expense of individuals, unfortunately, this is what you can continue to expect. We can only hope that those victimized by the doctors working at these newly protected hospitals will remember who caused their rights to be lost when its time to vote.

May 4, 2011

Florida Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Medical Malpractice Cases

As personal injury attorneys practicing medical malpractice law in the State of Florida on behalf of the victims of preventable medical errors, we are saddened that the Florida Legislature has again passed a series of laws which will make it increasingly difficult for injured Floridians to obtain justice for their injuries.

Yesterday, the Florida Senate passed the Florida House of Representative's bill, number 479, which among other burdens, requires out of state physicians to obtain an expert witness certificate, if they want to testify in a Florida medical malpractice case. As you can imagine, it is difficult to find local doctors willing to testify against other local doctors, no matter how egregious their conduct.

The bill will also exclude a doctor or hospital's failure to comply with federal requirements from evidence in certain cases. The bill also invades the injured patients right of privacy by requiring them to execute an authorization form for the doctor's insurance company; and, amazingly allows a medical malpractice defendant to interview an injured victim's other treating doctors outside the presence of the injured victim, or their attorney. The only purpose of such unsupervised meetings will be to coerce the treating doctors into rendering testimony which is favorable to the potential defendant doctor or hospital.

Too often injured victims or their surviving family members are shocked by the burdens they must overcome in order to proceed with an medical malpractice case. Unfortunately, these new protections for doctors and hospitals, at the expense of injured Floridians, will only serve to limit the rights of individuals, while doing nothing to insure that health care providers do what is needed to prevent their errors in the first place.