Articles Posted in Trial

  If you were injured in a car accident in South Florida, then you need a lawyer. But what kind of lawyer should you get? In personal injury, there are basically three types of lawyers: claim attorneys, litigators, and trial lawyers.

Lawyer and the law with a justice scale made of brass gold metal on a glowing background as a symbol of the legal advice, system in government and society in enforcing rights and regulations.

Claim attorneys can handle your case up to settlement or the filing of a lawsuit. They refer unsettled cases to litigators or trial attorneys.  Litigators file lawsuits and work to settle cases but do not go to trial. They will refer the case to a trial attorney if they cannot settle a case. Trial attorneys represent you before a jury and, hopefully, achieve the best result possible.

Generally, claim attorneys do not litigate and litigators don’t try cases. On the other hand, trial lawyers will handle your case from the beginning through settlement or trial. Generally, the referral of a personal injury case does not change or increase the amount of the attorney’s fee in accordance with the Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.

Imagine this: you’re involved in a serious car accident. Let’s further say that following the accident you were found to be largely at fault. Despite this, you face serious medical expenses, sustained injuries that will result in missed time at work, and are facing a lengthy recovery period.

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Can you seek damages for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages?

The answer is yes. Florida uses the Pure Comparative Fault rule when determining negligence and damages following a car accident.

We understand this question.  Everyone is trying to net the most they can from their settlement or award.  The short answer is that it is the only way that an attorney can get paid usually is by the contingency method.  Many people of means with money cannot afford to pay for an attorney to represent them on an hourly basis.  If this contingency method were not allowed, then it would very well close the doors to the members of society that are not rich.  

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Now, that said, in some less common instances, you may not have to pay.  First, this article is not about situations where you hire us to sue an insurance company that didn’t pay what they were contractually required to under the insurance contract.  In those cases, if you win, the law itself provides that the Defendant insurance company has to pay your lawyer.  This is about when someone hurts you and you hire us as your personal injury lawyer to recover money for your pain, suffering, etc. and we file a lawsuit. 

Now, in a case against someone who hurt you, we charge a contingency fee as set forth in our contract which we can send to you if you call.  In your case, we can issue a “proposal for settlement”.  This means that we make an official propsoal to the Defendant.  Statute 768.79 provides that if you make a formal proposal to settle a case to a Defendant that is lawful, and you proceed to trial and recover 25% more than the amount that you proposed to settle for, then the Defendant would be responsible for your attorney’s fees and costs. 

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a very serious health issue that contributes to a high number of deaths and permanent disabilities. It is also a hot topic right now because professional athletes are beginning to display the long-term symptoms of repetitive concussions.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2.5 million people suffered a TBI in 2010. The Brain Trauma Foundation even claims that TBI is the number-one cause of death and disability in Americans under the age of 44.

When negligence leads to a TBI, victims often file injury claims because brain injuries are expensive and difficult to treat. If you are planning to file a personal-injury lawsuit in Miami after suffering a TBI, you’re probably looking for an experienced attorney to help you plan, file and win your lawsuit. At Wolfson Law Firm, LLP, we have 50 years of experience helping Miami residents win their injury claims. To arrange a consultation with a personal-injury lawyer from our firm, please call 305-285-1115.

Law and public policy are often used simultaneously in determining case law. When it comes to judgments and collecting them, the law has now been made even clearer.  In Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of South Florida v. Bermudez, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1395b, the 3d DCA ultimately sided with a strong public policy argument in the wrongful death case, reversing the trial court’s judgment that allowed the plaintiff to add the Miccosukee Tribe as a judgment debtor, and allowed the plaintiff to collect the amount of the complete previous judgment plus interest from the tribe.

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The fine balance between law and public policy is loudly illustrated in this case where two members of the tribe caused the accident, which led to the death of the plaintiff’s wife, and the injury to his child and to himself. While it is blatantly obvious that the plaintiff deserves compensation resulting from the court’s final judgment, the two members of the tribe assert that they have no assets. The Plaintiff recently appeared in front of the tribunal for the tenth time.  And the 3d DCA decided that the plaintiff had no adequate legal basis to add the Miccosukee Tribe as a judgment debtor thereby reversing the trial court.

In ruling this way, the Third DCA relied upon three lines of authority in attempting to add the tribe as a judgment debtor, however the strongest of the three, which holds that a nonparty to litigation that funds and controls vexatious litigation can be added as a party for purposes of paying costs and attorney’s fees, was readily distinguishable from the fact pattern in Bermudez.

After a loved one dies, there is often more to worry about than just the emotional trauma of the loss. If that person was the financial provider, their family’s finances could be thrown into chaos as unpaid bills are stacked on top of medical bills and funeral costs. Personal-injury laws allow these family members to seek compensation when the negligent acts of another person or a business caused their loved one’s death.

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However, since 2003, the law limits the amount of compensation that victims can receive. In practical terms, this means that a judge may award a grieving family the amount that they deserve, but the family still receives far less due to the limit. These types of laws protect large businesses from needing to pay too much after a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The Families Of Patients Who Died Due To Medical Malpractice Were Most Affected

In 2012, billionaire real-estate mogul Jeffrey Soffer was involved in a helicopter crash that claimed the life of his friend Lance Valdez, an attorney from Florida. The crash occurred in the Bahamas at an exclusive club. The original story that emerged stated that David Pearce, who is a licensed helicopter pilot, was landing the craft when an unexpected burst of wind disrupted the landing, causing the crash.

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The story went on to detail that Valdez’s widow, Dari Pastouhkova Gogoleva, received a $2 million payment from the insurance company as compensation. She also signed a release, promising not to sue anyone onboard the aircraft. Since then, new details have emerged that could change everything.

Over the past few years, Florida health care regulators pressured parents of disabled children to place them in nursing homes, drawing increasing controversy. The U.S. Department of Justice views this as overreaching its boundaries and has filed suit against the state. But that’s not the only suit that state agencies have to worry about.

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The Miami Herald reports that Doris Fry filed suit against several agencies she says were complicit in the death of her 14-year-old daughter, Marie. Marie had severe cerebral palsy and suffered from seizures. Her mother worked hard to provide in-home care for Marie, but state officials decided that Doris wasn’t fit to care for Marie because of her own disabilities.

The state removed Marie from her mother’s care, but a judge disagreed with the decision and ordered them to return Marie to her mother. The judge also charged the Agency for Health Care Administration to pay for in-home care, but the money never came. Without the money that the judge earmarked for Marie’s care, child welfare workers returned to the home and decided that Doris couldn’t afford adequate care for her daughter. They went to a different judge, who ordered that Marie be taken to a nursing home.

If you are in a car accident, slip and fall, or are injured in any other accident and your case goes to trial in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach, we will want to cross-examine the Defendant at trial. But what if he or she didn’t show up? While it may seem odd, it happens. A Defendant may have an insurance company who they drop their case on. They may have a family emergency. They may have a commitment to a higher authority such as military, government, or otherwise. Or, they may just try to duck the whole thing. So, what happens if the Defendant doesn’t come to trial?  

As long as it is not a self-procured failure to attend and the Defendant is more than 100 miles away, the Trial Court has the discretion to allow the Defendant’s lawyer to read his or her client’s deposition to the jury. That means that, as long as the Defendant didn’t purposely cause his or her absence or not being there, then the Court could let the Defendant’s lawyer read his or her deposition at trial.  

That’s what happened in the case of Hutchings v. Liles, 2012 Okaloosa County. In that case, the defense counsel provided an affidavit showing his failed efforts to find the defendant for several weeks before trial and asserted that the Defendant had taken a job out of state with a federal military agency. Defendant had told her lawyer that she didn’t know whether she would be able to contact her attorney while on assignment. Her lawyer had been unable to obtain any information from her boss about where Defendant was located. Being called away for a valid reason was enough to establish the Defendant Deponent’s absence was not self-procured.  


blog-small-imageEvery case has two parts: liability and damages. And, to win your case before a jury, you have to prove both by the greater weight of the evidence. In fact, if you cannot show liability, the jury does not even consider damages. Your Miami Car Accident Lawyer explains:

The practical impact of this is that, if a case is being negotiated before a lawsuit has been filed, an adjuster will look to both parts in order to evaluate it. Likewise, if a case has been filed at the courthouse, the lawyer for the defendant will evaluate both liability and damages in order to report to his client what he, she, or it is facing.

Now, in a car accident case, rear end collisions are usually the fault of the rear-vehicle. In fact, once a case gets to trial, there is what is called a “rebuttable presumption” that the person who did the rear-ending in the car accident is at fault, or wrong. This means that the person who rear-ended you is presumed to be in the wrong. He or she can “rebut” or refute that presumption by showing one of four things. To avoid getting a directed verdict at trial on whose fault the accident was, the defendant would have to show (1) that there was something mechanically wrong with his or her car; (2) that the lead driver made a sudden stop; (3) the lead driver made a sudden lane change; or (4) that the lead driver made an illegal or improper stop. Dept. Highway Safety v. Saleme, 963 So. 2d 969 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2007). With regard to the sudden stop exception, a sudden stop, alone, is insufficient. Clampit v. Spencer, 786 So. 2d 570 (Fla. 2001).  Rather, for this exception to kick in, “the lead driver’s stop must occur “at a time and place where it could not reasonably be expected by the following driver”. Pierce v. Progressive, 582 So. 2d 712 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).

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