Articles Posted in Lawsuit & Litigation

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b5O_bNt_400x400The Miami Beach Gay Pride mission statement is aimed towards bringing together the people of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, as well as their allies, supporters, and friends to celebrate the incredible culture and spirit of the LGBTQ community. The event is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and organizers expect even more than the estimated 135,000 attendees of 2017.  While much of the focus remains on enjoying the event, it is also important to remain vigilant against all forms of hate crimes. We, as a community, must always remember that no one counts unless everyone counts.

At the Wolfson Law Firm, our hate crime injury lawyers in Miami have helped victims who were seriously hurt since 1963. Our service to the community has always included those who were injured or worse due to hate crimes.  All too often, crime victims who suffer injuries or families who lose a loved one to a criminal act feel that there is no possible way to get any measure of justice. But in some cases, knowledge of the law and how to conduct a thorough investigation will shine the light on a potentially responsible individual or company who was not apparent at the time of the crime.

If you need additional information on hate crimes and the organizations that exist to help, we would suggest you consider the following:

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In Florida, extensive statistics are kept by law enforcement. In theory, those statistics are used to measure performance, effectiveness and for the deployment of resources. In addition, crime statistics can be informative for political purposes. But it is always a good idea to look at any statistical analysis with a cautious eye. One must always consider what is being measured and, especially, what is not being measured. With that in mind, we look at Florida’s Crime Clock as promulgated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In the most recent version of the Crime Clock, the year 2016 is examined. Again, with a grain of salt, the results are interesting and informative. Crime clearly remains a serious problem here in Florida. Here are some of the results:

  • There is an aggravated assault committed every 9 minutes in Florida
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proof3-300x200Being a crime victim or someone close to a deceased crime victim is a difficult and life – changing experience. The world doesn’t look the same anymore. Suffering attack on your life, personal freedom, sexual freedom, safety, property, or anything else, means that the trust in others you once had is now shaken, or completely lost. After the unfortunate event, crime victims are in a very specific mental and emotional state: at the same time, they eagerly seek for justice, and criminal procedures are overwhelming for them. While they do their best to help the investigation, it is struggling to relive the criminal event repeatedly.

Overall, the United States provides a crime victim a significant position in the criminal procedure by entitling them to many rights. Each state can widen the scope of these rights further, and they often do that. Crime victims cooperate with investigation by giving valuable information to authorities, and later testify in court, but they also have the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, so long as exercising their rights doesn’t interfere with the rights of the accused.

It might look as if victims are in a very comfortable position in criminal proceedings, but the big picture is different. If you take a closer look at the laws, you’ll notice that in the US Constitution and every single state constitution have enumerated rights for accused and convicted individuals. Entitling them to these rights is in the spirit of modern civilization and democratic values, as it provides for fair procedure and shouldn’t allow anyone to be convicted in unfair trials. Whereas, the US Constitution and fifteen state constitutions haven’t enumerated crime victim rights yet. While accused persons have more than twenty rights listed in the US Constitution, crime victims have none yet.

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proof3-300x200Miami Beach could be the next town to promote usage of handheld panic buttons for hotel workers. Following the example of other cities, including Chicago and Seattle, hotel workers could be provided with an alarm for protection against sexual harassment and assaults. The proposal aims to introduce a portable panic button that will be connected to the hotel security system. In case of an assault or harassment, the push of the button will inform the security about the attack and will allow them act as expected.

Although sexual harassment and assault has always existed, now people speak about it louder than before. This issue has been put under the carpet for very long, but now many sexually harassed people raised their voice against predators. The #MeToo movement obviously encouraged many victims to speak out about things they’ve been silent about for various reasons. It added fuel to the smothered fire, making changes imminent. Panic buttons for hotel workers are just one of the changes that must be addressed.

Miami hotel workers understand that sexual harassment is very common in their everyday work. Acts vary from seemingly innocent compliments to massage requests and open sex requests. Hotel workers live under stress that the next guest they meet might behave inappropriately. Being mostly women and working alone are not the only reasons why hotel workers are particularly vulnerable to harassment.

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proof3-300x200It happens all the time. You go to an amusement park. You go to a tumbling facility for children. Maybe you take your kids to a horseback riding facility. Perhaps you’re even at one of those trampoline places where everyone jumps around with socks on. And this could even happen at a doctor’s office. What is it? Signing papers without reading them first.

What happens if you don’t get to do what you want unless you sign a piece of paper? It seems unfair that you could be stuck and held to an agreement that you signed in that sort of a situation. But when you sign something you need to read it. In fact, in all the situations above, if you sign away your right to sue if somebody else does something wrong and hurts you, then you can’t sue them no matter if the other person is negligent.

In fact, if the agreement says that you are releasing the location or person or company from any of their own negligence that means you can’t sue them if they’re negligent. Seems pretty straightforward. But nobody reads these agreements. Even lawyers will fail to read them. But you should think carefully about whether or not to even want to go forward with the activity. Because even if the other side is negligent, if you sign that paper, you can’t sue them.

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While you enjoy the insurance company commercials on television, you should also keep in mind that insurance companies do more than just advertise. They invest significant amounts of money in studying you and your behavior, actions and tendencies. One area that the insurance industry is most curious about is why people hire personal injury lawyers after car accidents.

The standard belief within insurance companies is that personal injury lawyers increase the cost of claims. Insurance companies measure the average cost per paid claim. This category is referred to as claim severity. Other measurements that every insurance company relies on include frequency and loss costs. Insurance industry executives are convinced that car accident attorneys negatively and significantly impact all claims costs and that results in higher premiums.

So, it is natural that insurance companies would spend some of their research and development money on trying to figure out why so many people hire lawyers after a car crash. Veterans in the industry believed for years that delays in processing claims often led people to hire attorneys. But a recent study brings that belief into question.

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court-room-300x198If you have a personal injury lawsuit in Miami, sooner or later you will likely end up in mediation. So what is mediation? It really doesn’t involve deep measured breaths, closing your eyes and focusing inward (although that might help during an actual personal injury mediation). Florida law and Rules of Civil Procedure provide for and encourage settlement of all legal disputes. The primary format for alternative dispute resolution in Miami is called mediation.

What is a Personal Injury Mediation?

Mediation is a basically a settlement conference with an impartial third party called a mediator who is trained and certified. It usually takes place at a neutral location like the mediator’s office. The parties to the lawsuit attend with their lawyers. Often in personal injury mediation, there is an insurance company involved. The insurance company will usually have a claim representative or adjuster attend the mediation with the insurance defense attorney. Some insurance companies will have designated field representatives who attend all the mediation conferences in the particular jurisdiction. On other occasions, an adjuster will attend the mediation by phone or Skype. In order to attend by phone or Skype, the parties would need to agree. If the parties do not agree, then a motion to allow the adjuster or representative to attend by phone can be filed with the court and a judge can rule on the issue. Typically in a Miami personal injury mediation, the parties will agree to allow the insurance company representative attend by Skype of conference call.

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courtroom-300x225-300x225Let’s start with the assumption that you are well-educated and charming. You are board certified and have all the specialist certifications anyone in your field could hope to have in a lifetime. You love your family and your country. You know your field. People call you an expert and seek your opinion. So, does that mean you are ready to be an expert witness? Not necessarily.

The Miami personal injury lawyers at the Wolfson Law Firm have worked with experts in Florida for more than 60 years. Here are the top 8 things our attorneys say you should know about testifying as an expert witness:

  1. You are what your records say you are. If there are any public records that might prove embarrassing, you can rely on a decent trial lawyer to find them. Understand that part of trial work is investigating the witnesses. That includes civil and criminal records; any state or federal records that are available; and even the property appraiser. If you are going to be an expert in court, then you should make sure your online presence in social media is pristine.
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court-look-300x300If you have a personal injury case, you might feel that you have no control. Everyone else has the power – the attorneys, the insurance company, the judge, or the jury. But that is not entirely true. You do have some power. You have the ability to avoid the mistakes that can cause you to lose your personal injury case. It doesn’t matter if you were injured in a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, motorcycle accident or any other type of serious injury. In every personal injury case, there are missteps you should avoid.

So what are those mistakes? Based on the experience of our Miami personal injury attorneys here are the top five:

1. NEVER TELL A LIE

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No ParkingA member of the well-known Miami Mas Canosa family has filed a class action lawsuit against Tremont Towing because his car got towed from a private parking lot during non-business hours. He claims that the towing company violated Miami-Dade County and City of Miami Beach laws requiring private property owners to authorize every tow with a signature. The lawsuit alleges that Tremont Towing cannot operate under a blanket request to tow vehicles without specific individual approval. The class action lawsuit also alleges that the City of Miami Beach gets a percentage of the tow fees and, as a result, the City is also named as a defendant. While taking such a position is popular (everyone hates towing companies until you need one), it is wrong and the class action lawsuit should be dismissed.

The County law clearly states that certain sections of the County’s towing laws do not apply in any municipality that has adopted and maintains in effect ordinances or regulations governing the same matters. Miami Beach has adopted its own local towing ordinance, including procedures for the removal of trespassing vehicles from private property. It specifically states that during non-business hours, a towing company does not need permission from the property owner to tow vehicles that are illegally parked. The lawsuit admits that the Plaintiff trespassed on the subject property for at least one hour and a half on an early Sunday morning. However, there appears to have been no business open during the hours that Mr. Mas illegally parked his vehicle and was towed. In other words, Mr. Mas’ vehicle was towed during non-business hours.

Tremont Towing attorney Ralph Andrade told the Miami Herald that he is confident that the class action lawsuit will be dismissed.

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