Articles Posted in Lawsuit & Litigation

When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, it can be a daunting experience. The physical pain, emotional stress, and financial burden can be overwhelming. In Florida, like in many states, personal injury attorneys often offer free consultations to help you understand your rights and options. To make the most of this opportunity, it’s crucial to prepare effectively and know what to expect. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to maximize your free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Florida.

  1. Understand the Purpose of the Consultation

A free consultation is your chance to discuss your case with a legal professional without any financial commitment. The attorney will evaluate the details of your case to determine if it has merit and explain the legal process involved. It’s also an opportunity for you to gauge whether the attorney is the right fit for your needs. This initial meeting sets the tone for your potential working relationship, so approach it with an open mind and clear objectives.

In the aftermath of an accident, navigating the personal injury claims process can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. From understanding the various stages involved to meeting deadlines and communicating with insurance companies, there’s a lot to consider. At Wolfson & Leon, our personal injury lawyers in Miami are here to demystify the process and provide you with the guidance you need to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Understanding the Stages of a Personal Injury Claim

1.  Initial Consultation: The process typically begins with an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer. During this meeting, you’ll discuss the details of your accident, injuries, and potential legal options. The attorney will evaluate your case and advise you on the next steps to take.

In a tort case (GISELLE GATTORNO and DAVID IGLESIAS, Appellants, v. STEVEN SOUTO, Appellee. 3rd District. Case No. 3D23-0639. L.T. Case No. 21-22353. March 27, 2024) involving a pedestrian struck by a vehicle, the plaintiff sustained permanent and severe injuries when he was pinned between two vehicles after the defendant reversed out of a parking space. The plaintiff sought punitive damages, alleging that the driver was intoxicated when she struck him with a car owned by a codefendant. The trial court permitted the plaintiff to amend the complaint to include the claim for punitive damages. Upon review, it was determined that the trial court appropriately considered and weighed the evidence presented by both parties, acting as a factfinder and fulfilling its role as a gatekeeper. Consequently, the trial court’s decision to grant the plaintiff’s motion for punitive damages was deemed appropriate, as the plaintiff provided a reasonable evidentiary basis for such recovery.

In Florida, punitive damages serve not to compensate the plaintiff further but to penalize the defendant for wrongful behavior and to discourage similar actions by them and others in the future (Manheimer v. Fla. Power & Light Co., 48 Fla. L. Weekly D1495, 2023 WL 4919540, at *2 (Fla. 3d DCA Aug. 2, 2023), quoting Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Ballard, 749 So. 2d 483, 486 (Fla. 1999)). Section 768.72(1) outlines that in any civil action, punitive damages can only be pursued if there is sufficient evidence in the record or presented by the claimant to justify such damages. Essentially, the statute requires the trial court to act as a gatekeeper, preventing claims for punitive damages where there is no reasonable basis for recovery (KIS Grp., LLC v. Moquin, 263 So. 3d 63, 65 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019)). This role is crucial because punitive damages significantly impact litigation, exposing the defendant to financial scrutiny and potential uninsured losses (Manheimer, 48 Fla. L. Weekly D1495 at *2). In determining whether punitive damages are warranted, the trial court must carefully evaluate the evidence presented by both parties, weighing each party’s submissions and acting as a factfinder (Manheimer, 48 Fla. L. Weekly D1495 at *3). However, the statute does not demand that plaintiffs prove entitlement to punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence at the pleading stage, as imposing such a requirement would undermine the statute and hinder a claimant’s ability to seek punitive damages (Deaterly v. Jacobson, 313 So. 3d 798, 801 (Fla. 2d DCA 2021)).

Giselle Gattorno and David Iglesias, who were defendants in the lower court, are appealing a nonfinal order that granted Steven Souto’s motion to amend his complaint to include a claim for punitive damages. The appellants argue that the trial court made an error in allowing the amendment, stating that Souto failed to present sufficient evidence to justify the claim for punitive damages, as required by section 768.72(1) of the Florida Statutes (2021). The lawsuit stems from an incident in which Gattorno, driving Iglesias’ car, reversed out of a parking space, causing Souto severe injuries. Souto sued Gattorno and Iglesias for negligence, alleging that Gattorno operated the car negligently and that Iglesias, as the car owner, was vicariously liable.

Selecting the right personal injury law firm is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the outcome of your case. In Florida, where accidents are unfortunately common, it’s essential to have reliable legal representation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. However, many people make mistakes when choosing a personal injury law firm, which can have serious consequences for their case.

It is a decision that is as serious as selecting the best surgeon or specialist for your child’s critical condition. In light of the importance of making the right decision, it is informative to look at the mistakes people make when selecting the best Florida personal injury law firm for their case.

Types of Claims and Injuries That You May Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

Miami cruise ship accident attorneys find themselves at the forefront of an emerging trend in litigation—a trend spurred by the vibrant tourism sector of the region. With the allure of sun-kissed beaches and crystal-clear waters, Miami has long been a hub for cruise ship travel. However, beneath the surface of this thriving industry lies a complex legal landscape rife with challenges and concerns.

Cruise Lines’ Responsibility for the Sexual Assault of Passengers

Whether a cruise line is legally responsible for a sexual assault of a passenger depends on various factors, including the circumstances of the assault, the actions (or inaction) of the cruise line, and the laws governing maritime and personal injury liability. Here are some key points to consider:

Walmart, with its numerous locations across Florida’s major metropolitan areas, is a ubiquitous presence in the lives of many Floridians. While Walmart strives to maintain a safe environment for its customers, accidents can still happen. Whether it’s a slip and fall, a merchandise falling incident, or a parking lot mishap, knowing what steps to take after being injured in an accident at Walmart is crucial. In this guide, we’ll outline specific instructions and examples to help you navigate the aftermath of such accidents, along with some historical context on Walmart’s presence in Florida.

Walmart in Florida

Walmart has a significant presence in Florida, with stores located in major metropolitan areas such as Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and more. Since opening its first store in the state in the early 1980s, Walmart has expanded rapidly, becoming a go-to destination for groceries, household items, clothing, and more for millions of Floridians.

The Importance of Hiring the Best Personal Injury Attorney in Florida After an Accident

Being injured in an accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience, and navigating the legal complexities of personal injury claims in Florida can add further stress and uncertainty. In such challenging times, seeking the assistance of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. In this comprehensive blog article, we’ll explore the reasons why it’s essential to get the best personal injury attorney if you’re injured in a Florida accident, highlighting the dangers of self-representation and the benefits of hiring a qualified legal professional.

Complex Legal Process

In Florida, if you’re involved in a car accident, it can have significant consequences, including high medical bills, time away from work, and physical and emotional suffering. Florida law allows victims to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver in such cases. You can seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and the overall impact on your quality of life. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the time constraints associated with seeking legal remedies, as Florida’s statute of limitations applies to auto collision claims.

As of 2023, Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, including auto accident cases, is two years, down from the previous four-year limit. Failure to initiate legal proceedings within this timeframe can result in the inability to recover compensation. There are exceptions to this rule, and different rules apply to child victims of car accidents, where the statute of limitations can be extended for up to seven years after the crash or two years after the minor becomes an adult.

Regarding medical treatment, there is no specific legal requirement for seeking care within a certain period after a traffic collision. However, prompt medical attention can be advantageous. The general guidelines are as follows:

Florida, a state known for its cultural diversity, holds a significant population of Spanish speakers. The importance of effective communication becomes paramount in this context, particularly when dealing with the intricate legal landscape of personal injury cases. This article delves into the indispensable role played by bilingual attorneys in personal injury cases, with a special focus on Spanish speakers residing in Florida. The spotlight shines on the accomplished bilingual car accident lawyers and slip and fall attorneys at Wolfson & Leon, a prominent law firm with multiple offices spanning Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral.

Clear Communication Breaks Barriers: Effective communication forms the cornerstone of any attorney-client relationship. In personal injury cases, where the minutest detail can make a significant difference, the importance of ensuring that an attorney fully comprehends the client’s situation cannot be overstated. A bilingual attorney, fluent in both English and Spanish, can bridge the language barrier, enabling Spanish-speaking clients to articulate their concerns, recount their experiences, and grasp the legal proceedings with crystal clarity.

Cultural Sensitivity and Understanding: The value of a bilingual attorney goes beyond language proficiency—it extends to an astute understanding of cultural nuances. Culture molds perspectives, values, and behaviors, all of which can substantially impact the trajectory of a personal injury case. A bilingual attorney attuned to these cultural intricacies can effectively advocate for the client, navigating the legal landscape while respecting cultural sensitivities.

When it comes to personal injury cases in Florida, the choice of your law firm is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Your future well-being and financial stability may depend on it. Here are three compelling reasons why selecting the best law firm is paramount:

  1. Expertise and Experience: The best law firms have a team of skilled personal injury attorneys with years of experience handling cases like yours. They possess in-depth knowledge of Florida’s complex personal injury laws, court procedures, and negotiation tactics. Their expertise allows them to build strong, compelling cases that can lead to fair and just compensation for your injuries.
  2. Proven Track Record: A reputable law firm will have a track record of successful settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases. This demonstrates their ability to effectively represent their clients and obtain favorable outcomes. By choosing a firm with a history of success, you increase the likelihood of achieving a positive resolution for your claim.
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