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Statute of Limitations For Florida Car Accident Claims

By Farah & Farah on June 20, 2017

Individuals who are injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence can recover compensation in Florida by filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. While injured parties are entitled to sue those who negligently harm them, this right does not last forever. This is because Florida has a statute of limitations which limits the timeframe within which personal injury claims resulting from car accidents can be filed. This article briefly explains what a statute of limitations is, outlines Florida’s statutes of limitation that commonly apply to car accident injuries, and notes some important exceptions to these limitations.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a law that affords plaintiffs (i.e. the person suing) a limited timeframe within which they are allowed to file their lawsuit. Many civil lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations, most of which are state specific. For example, one state may grant wronged individuals one year to file their claims, but a neighboring state may have a statute of limitations that affords plaintiffs with the same type of claim two years within which their claims can be filed. It is incredibly important to know how long you have to file a claim under your state’s applicable statute of limitations as failing to file on time will likely result in your claim being barred.

States generally enact statutes of limitation in order to encourage legal conflicts to be resolved in a timely manner and to help discourage fraudulent claims. However, in the interest of fairness it only makes sense that some types of civil plaintiffs should have more time to file their claims than others. Therefore, Florida has established several different statutes of limitation that respectively govern a variety of different types of cases including personal injury, libel/slander, injury to personal property, professional malpractice, trespass, and workers’ compensation lawsuits.

Florida’s Car Accident Statutes of Limitation

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a) applies to plaintiffs suing in Florida on a civil action founded in negligence (which includes nearly all plaintiffs with a personal injury case based on a car accident), and holds that plaintiffs have four years from the date of the accident within which they are permitted to file their claim. Failing to meet this deadline will result in the court refusing to hear your case, unless you are able to successfully argue that your claim falls under an exception to this statute of limitations. Some valid exceptions to Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations are outlined below.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits: If an individual is injured in a car accident in Florida and passes away from his or her injuries, their family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who caused the accident. However, surviving family members must act quickly because Florida’s statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits (Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d)) generally requires claims to be filed within two years of the deceased family member’s passing.
  • Injury Claims Filed Against the Government: Car accident victims in Florida who wish to file a personal injury claim against a city, county, or state government should be aware that they will generally only be granted three years from the date of their accident within which to file their claims.

Exceptions to Florida’s Four Year Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Lawsuits

It should be noted that under some limited circumstances a personal injury plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock can be delayed or tolled. It is important to know that these exceptions exist, but they should not be relied on before first consulting with a local personal injury attorney because determining whether or not a particular claim falls under a valid SOL exception can be extremely tricky.

In Florida personal injury cases, the plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock starts to run when their “cause of action arises.” In a personal injury case resulting from a car accident, the cause of action arises when the injury that is the basis of the lawsuit occurs (i.e. during the car accident). However, the “discovery rule” enables a plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock to be tolled (or paused) until the injured individual should have reasonably discovered their injury. Florida employes the discovery rule because it would be unfair to bar an injured plaintiff’s claim without giving them sufficient time to discover that they are injured and to get their claim filed.

Additionally, the court may also toll an injured plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock in the interest of justice if fairness requires the plaintiff to have additional time within which to file their claim. For instance, a court may permit an SOL to be tolled if the plaintiff was less than 18 years old when their cause of action arose and no one filed a suit on the minor’s behalf. Also, under some circumstances the court may toll a mentally incompetent individual’s statute of limitations clock until the plaintiff regains their mental competency, or until someone else has filed a lawsuit on their behalf.

Determining when a particular plaintiff’s statute of limitations begins and ends can be extremely complicated as there are many factors and exceptions that must be taken into consideration. Therefore, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your claim’s statute of limitations without delay.

Need Legal Advice?

If you were injured in a car accident in Florida be sure to get your claim started as soon as possible in order to best avoid being barring by our state’s statute of limitations. Discuss your case with an experienced  Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine when the statute of limitations will expire in your case and whether or not your case falls under one of the exceptions outlined above. Here at Farah & Farah our experienced car accident lawyers are committed to zealously fighting for our clients’ rights and would be happy to fight for you. Contact our Jacksonville office today via our online contact form.

Posted in: Auto Accident

Negligence, the Legal Definition in Florida

By Farah & Farah on June 12, 2017

Understanding the legal definition of “negligence” is key to understanding Florida’s laws concerning personal injury lawsuits as negligence serves as the basis for most personal injury cases. In other words, Florida personal injury plaintiffs (i.e. the injured person who is suing) generally argues that the defendant acted negligently in some way and that it was this negligence that caused their injuries. But how do we know when a defendant acted negligently? Negligence can encompass a great many actions in which a person acted unreasonably or without due care, however, jurors serving on civil cases in Florida are asked to abide by the legal definition of negligence provided in Jury Instruction 401.4 which states that:

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances. Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances.

Now that you’re familiar with Florida’s legal definition of negligence, read on to explore the important role that negligence plays in personal injury cases.

Proving Negligence

In order to win a personal injury case based on negligence the injured plaintiff must prove the following four elements:

  1. That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  2. That the defendant breached this duty by acting negligently,
  3. That this breach of duty led to the plaintiff’s injuries, and
  4. That the plaintiff’s injuries are compensable (i.e. the plaintiff must prove his or her damages).

In many personal injury cases, proving that the defendant acted negligently is by far the most difficult element to satisfy. However, there is a type of shortcut available in some case.  This shortcut is referred to as “negligence per se” and can apply under two different circumstances:

  1. When a defendant violates a law that is intended to protect the public from harm and which defines the failure of care required to constitute negligence, or
  2. When a defendant’s actions are so far beyond society’s definition of what constitutes reasonable behavior that the defendant’s behavior is negligent on its face.

For example, if a particular law states that driving in excess of a certain speed is considered to be legally negligent then an individual who breaks this law is considered to be negligent per se. Additionally, even if there isn’t an applicable driving law that dictates the speed at which a driver is considered to be legally negligent, a court would, for example, likely find that driving at a speed of 100 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood is negligent per se.

Pure Comparative Negligence in Florida  

The degree of a party’s negligence plays a critical role in personal injury cases in Florida. This is because our state acknowledges the reality that more than one party’s negligence often contributes to an accident. But who is held liable when more than one party is at-fault for causing a plaintiff’s injuries? And what if the injured plaintiff himself acted negligently and is partially at fault for causing the accident in which he was injured? Florida answers these questions by analyzing them under a pure comparative fault theory of negligence.

In a pure comparative negligence state, like Florida, a personal injury plaintiff can still recover damages even if he or she was partially at fault for causing the accident in which they were injured. However, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced in proportion to the amount of their fault. This means that a plaintiff may be 99 percent at-fault for causing an accident and may still sue the one percent at-fault defendant to recover one percent of their damages.

How is Negligence Punished in Personal Injury Cases? 

A negligent personal injury defendant who is found liable in a Florida court can be ordered to pay a variety of different damages to the plaintiff, depending on the nature of plaintiff’s injuries. Damages commonly awarded in personal injury cases include:

  • Economic Compensatory Damages. Economic compensatory damages are awarded in order to compensate the injured plaintiff for any financial losses that he or she suffered because of the liable defendant’s negligence. Economic compensatory damages commonly include compensation for the plaintiff’s medical bills, impaired earning potential, lost wages, etc.
  • Non-Economic Compensatory Damages. Like economic compensatory damages, non-economic compensatory damages are designed to make the injured plaintiff whole again. The difference is that non-economic compensatory damages compensate plaintiffs for their non-financial losses. Examples include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional anguish, etc.
  • Punitive Damages. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant. These damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury cases, and only when the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious. The idea is that punitive damages will help deter both the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

It is important to note that some states cap the amount of money that a successful personal injury plaintiff within their state can recover in damages. In Florida, there are no damage caps on compensatory damages, however, there is a limit on how much an injured plaintiff can recover in punitive damages. In most personal injury cases a plaintiff can only recover $500,000, or three times the amount of their compensatory damages, whichever is greater. However, Florida does impose a $500,000 damage cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases where the defendant is a medical practitioner ($750,000 if the defendant is not a medical practitioner).

Need Legal Advice?

Wondering if someone else’s negligence caused your injury? If so, contact the experienced Jacksonville personal injury lawyers of Farah & Farah. Our experienced lawyers have been fighting to help our clients and their families get what they deserve out of their personal injury cases for more than 35 years. We would be happy to put our expertise to work for you. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options via our online contact form today.

Posted in: Personal Injury

Which Occupations Are Most Likely to Cause Serious Work Injuries in Orlando, Florida?

By Farah & Farah on May 31, 2017

When you imagine a dangerous job, you might consider construction workers and police officers. These are certainly hazardous occupations, but the truth is that you can be injured on any job. Even office workers, teachers, and waitresses suffer from work-related injuries. Yet, when it comes to discussing the most dangerous jobs in Orlando, Florida, and throughout the US, there are absolutely some jobs that are more likely to result in serious injuries than others. In this article, we will get a snapshot of the most hazardous jobs in the United States and see how Florida’s most dangerous jobs fit.

Occupations with the Most Work Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States

With close to 130 deaths per 100K workers in the US, many people want to know which jobs are most likely to cause injury or death. In some cases, you may want to avoid such occupations. In other cases, you may simply want to know how much life insurance to purchase or how much your time and your risk ought to be worth if you take such a job. Following are the top ten most dangerous jobs in the US:

  1. Fishing Industry: You might not imagine that fishing would be among the top ten dangerous jobs in the US, but the fact is that the weather and equipment used can be hazardous. Keep in mind that the fishing industry is not much like your average recreational fishing experience. The fishing industry involves going out in all weather and collecting thousands of fish, rather than relaxing on a boat and waiting for a bite.
  2. Logging Industry: The logging industry is a hazardous job that probably doesn’t surprise you as one of the most dangerous in the US. Naturally, loggers are working at heights, in inclement weather, and with heavy machinery. Loggers are at risk of falling or having trees fall on them. They are also at risk of a multitude of different types of machinery malfunctioning.
  3. The Aircraft Pilot Industry: Naturally, anyone who is working at such a great height and with such a heavy and complicated craft as a pilot is at risk of injury. Whether it is the failure of the equipment, the bad weather, or the pilot’s mistake, this is a dangerous job.
  4. Agricultural Industry: The agricultural industry, including farmers and ranchers, is risky for multiple reasons. Not only do these workers use heavy and dangerous machinery, but they also work with animals that could quickly become an injury risk in the right conditions.
  5. Mining Industry: Another unsurprising entry on this list is the mining industry. This is not just because miners work in difficult and dangerous conditions, but also because they use complicated machinery that can be deadly if it malfunctions.
  6. Construction Industry: Construction is one of the first things that you think of when you think of dangerous jobs. The most at-risk workers in construction are the roofers, though any construction worker could fall from a height or be injured by machinery.
  7. Sanitation/Recycling Industry: This is one you might not have considered as being among the top ten dangerous jobs in the United States. Yet, the reality is that sanitation and recycling workers are at risk of auto accidents and machinery accidents, too.
  8. Commercial Vehicle and Delivery Industry: Any job that involves a lot of driving, or driving as the primary activity is going to be hazardous because of the potential for auto accidents. This is absolutely true of commercial vehicles and delivery drivers. It is even riskier in cases where the driver is operating a very large or difficult to maneuver vehicle.
  9. Machine Repair Industry: Machinery repair workers are often not thought of at all. We expect our machines to work the way they are supposed to, and we only think of the repair workers when things go wrong. However, once you consider these workers, it is easy to see why they would be at great risk of injury, working with complex and hazardous machines that are already malfunctioning or working incorrectly.
  10. Law Enforcement Industry: Finally, we come to another one of the most frequently thought of jobs that come to mind when you consider dangerous work. Police officers can be going through a typical and routine day without any cause for alarm when the worst case scenario happens. A simple traffic stop can become dangerous very quickly. When it comes to responding to distress calls and domestic violence situations, things become even more dangerous.

Are the Most Dangerous Jobs in Orlando, Florida, the Same as Those Throughout the US?

Many of the most dangerous jobs in Orlando, Florida, are the same as those that are most dangerous throughout the United States. However, there are some differences in order and a few that are not listed as the most dangerous in the US:

  1. Commercial Vehicle and Delivery Industry: This is number eight in the US and number one in Florida. Naturally, anyone who drives for their occupation is at risk of auto accidents.
  2. Construction Industry: This is number six in the US and number two in Florida.
  3. Grounds Maintenance Industry: This occupation is not listed in the most dangerous jobs in the United States, but is a hazardous job in Florida. This is in part due to dangerous animals that may be encountered during grounds maintenance in Florida, and in part due to the machinery.
  4. Law Enforcement Industry: Police officers are more at risk of injury and death in Florida than they are throughout the United States. On the US list, they come in at number ten. In Florida, they are in the fourth most hazardous occupation.
  5. Management and Sales Industry: This occupation may come as a surprise as number five on Florida’s list of most dangerous jobs. Unfortunately, supervisors, managers, and sales workers are at risk of injury from lifting heavy objects, slip and fall injuries, and even armed robbery.
  6. Furniture Moving Industry: Individuals who move furniture are at risk of injury from lifting, hauling, and dropping heavy objects. They are also frequently at risk for auto accidents.
  7. Electrician Industry: Orlando, Florida, electricians are susceptible to electrocution and electrical burn injuries. While they are trained to handle electricity in a safe manner, they are still working closely with a very dangerous hazard.
  8. Building Cleaning Industry: Occupations in the building cleaning industry include janitors, window washers, and building housekeepers. These individuals are at risk of falls, injuries from malfunctioning machinery, and even chemical exposure.
  9. Machine Repair Industry: This is listed at number nine in the United States and in Orlando, Florida, as a hazardous occupation. Naturally, those who repair machines are working with dangerous equipment and it is already malfunctioning when they arrive.
  10. Agricultural Industry: Listed at number four in the United States and number ten in Florida, the agricultural industry involves hazards related to animals and machinery.

Were You Injured on the Job in Orlando, Florida?

Regardless of whether or not you work in one of these most dangerous industries, anyone at any job can be injured. If you have sustained any work related injuries in Orlando, Florida, call Farah & Farah to learn about about your rights and options for recovering workers’ compensation benefits. Contact our dedicated Florida workers’ compensation lawyers today. We can help you!

Posted in: Workplace Accidents

What Are the Risks Associated with Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Orlando, Florida?

By Farah & Farah on May 20, 2017

There are many different types of personal injury claims that you can pursue in Orlando, Florida, in civil court. In many cases, these issues can be resolved without going to trial. If you are able to file a claim with someone’s insurance policy, for example, then you could recover compensation without having to litigate the case. However, if you do wish to pursue a civil lawsuit or if you cannot recover fair compensation through an insurance claim, then you need to know the risks that are associated with this and how to confront them. To begin with, you need to understand which scenarios allow for a civil lawsuit. If you can prove that another party is responsible for your personal injury for any of the following reasons, then you have a valid Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim:

  • The at-fault party failed to use reasonable care to prevent the injury, through negligence.
  • The at-fault party provided an unsafe or hazardous property condition, creating liability.
  • The at-fault party used words (written or spoken) to harm your reputation, as defamation.

It is important to understand how negligence, liability, and defamation work, depending on the type of claim you have. You can learn more about this by discussing your case with a skilled Orlando, Florida, personal injury attorney. It is also essential to be aware of the risks that come with litigating your Orlando, Florida, personal injury case. You need to know about motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and the overall costs of litigation in time and money.

The Risk of the Defendant Filing a Motion to Dismiss Your Orlando, Florida Personal Injury Case

Whenever you plan to file a lawsuit against someone whose negligence, liability, or defamation has caused you harm, the at-fault party becomes the defendant. The defendant is allowed to file a motion to dismiss the case. This means that they request the judge who is presiding over the case to review the case and dismiss it. If this happens, then there won’t be a trial, a jury verdict, or any further discussion in many cases. Sometimes, the case will be dismissed for a good reason, such as the fact that you failed to give a good reason for filing the lawsuit. It may also be dismissed because of a mistake, such as not properly serving the defendant with the lawsuit. The case may be dismissed without prejudice, meaning that you can get things sorted out and file again. Or, it may be dismissed with prejudice, and you will not be able to file again. In other cases, the motion to dismiss will simply fail because your attorney has ensured that the investigation of your case was thorough and complete.

The Risk of the Defendant Responding to Your Lawsuit by Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment 

Whenever the defendant in your personal injury claim in Orlando, Florida, is served with the lawsuit or complaint, he or she will have a chance to respond with a formal answer. Then, the discovery phase of your lawsuit will begin, in which both sides investigate the claim and request evidence and documents. You will have to share certain documents and information with the defense. Once this happens, the defendant may file a motion for summary judgment. This means that they are requesting the court to enter a judgment that favors the defense in lieu of actually carrying out the lawsuit. In some cases, this happens because the evidence gathered does not indicate liability or that negligence occurred. In other cases, a motion for summary judgment can be allowed because you have run out the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to how much time you have to file your Orlando, Florida, personal injury lawsuit. If you run out this statute, you no longer have a right to file the lawsuit.

The Risk of Spending a Tremendous Amount of Time and Money on Your Claim without Success

Although most personal injury lawsuits never actually make it to trial, because they are settled out of court, this is not always the case. It takes a lot of time and a lot of money to pursue an Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim. If you do not win, then you will be greatly discouraged by the amount of time and money you have invested into the process. Although most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid if you do, there are other expenses to consider.

For example, you may need to hire expert witnesses if you are going to take the case to trial. You have to prove your case, and getting the testimony from medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, and other experts can be costly. If you settle your case or win your case in court, then these fees are all going to come out of your settlement or judgment. In most cases, with an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis, the attorney will cover these costs up front. They will then come from your settlement or favorable judgment once the case is resolved. The attorney’s fees will also come from this.

When it comes to the time involved in pursuing an Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim, you must consider the discovery phase, the amount of time it takes to find expert witnesses, and how long it takes to investigate your claim. In many cases, it will be months before your case is resolved. Throughout this time, motions will be filed, hearings will be scheduled, and plenty of information will go back and forth.

What Can You Do To Minimize the Risks Involved in Your Orlando, Florida, Personal Injury Claim?

It is important that you don’t become discouraged with the risks associated with your Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim. You should discuss all of the risks with your attorney and pay attention to his or her advice. Your lawyer knows whether it is worthwhile to pursue your claim, whether the value of your claim is reasonable and realistic, and what you should do to resolve the issue. Contact the experienced Orlando, Florida, personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah to schedule a free consultation and learn more.

Posted in: Personal Injury

Cisson Mesh Case Tests Georgia’s Tort Reform Laws

By Farah & Farah on May 3, 2017

It must have come as good news for Donna Cisson. 

In August 2013, after a four-week trial, the jury believed her injuries were caused by a Bard Avaulta transvaginal mesh permanently implanted in her pelvic area. 

The jury awarded her $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1,750,000 in punitive damages.

Punitive damages are designed to send a clear message to the company – stop your bad behavior!

Shortly after the compensation was announced, it became clear Ms. Cisson would never see the majority of the punitive damage award.

That’s because she is a resident of Georgia.

Enacted as part of the Tort Reform Act of 1987, Georgia’s statutes now require that 75% of any punitive damage award be turned over to the state of Georgia. 

That is something the jury couldn’t possibly have known.

Cisson’s lawyers argued that the money grab amounted to an unconstitutional taking. They lost that argument when the state of Georgia prevailed in defending the law’s constitutionality in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Instead, the State Treasury of Georgia received $782,140.24, a nice windfall, minus the costs of litigation and attorney’s fees. 

In the last 30 years, a dozen state have enacted some form of split-recovery as the laws are known. Georgia has one of the highest split-recovery rates.

This is the first time in a decade that Georgia’s split-recovery laws have been enacted.

The only upside is that the plaintiff’s compensation for injury is not taxable, whereas punitive damages are.

Tort reform is pushed by industries such as asbestos and tobacco, insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Its intention is to curtail your right to have a civil court listen to your grievances and render a decision.

What person would face the rigors of trial if they would only receive about 10% of any punitive damage? 

At least on the surface, the enactment of tort reform is said to encourage both sides to settle their differences in some sort of post-verdict negotiation.   

That in itself is a slap in the face of our jury system which remedies civil injustice using 12 impartial citizens to listen to both sides of an argument and decide which position holds the most weight.   

Trying to modify the jury system and circumvent the wisdom of American citizens who listened to the evidence, undercuts the judicial system we rely on that is guaranteed by our Constitution.

PREMISES LIABILITY – STAY SAFE IN PUBLIC PLACES

By Farah & Farah on May 3, 2017

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue were recently called to a parking lot hotel off Baymeadows Road, where a man was found unresponsive, in life-threatening condition after being shot.

A robbery with injuries happened last month in the Jacksonville parking lot of a fast-food restaurant during the early morning hours.

If you are injured in the parking lot of a business, or inside the store, or on any portion of the premise, business owners and lessees may be liable.

They have a duty to maintain protect your safety.   

Legally this is known as premises liability.

You may think people should always look where they are going and just be careful. If they are hurt, it’s their own fault.

But consider what can happen at a business:

*Someone attacks you in a parking lot.

*You are stuck in an elevator or a child’s shoe is trapped in an escalator.

*A waiter spills hot coffee on you causing serious burns.

*You suffer a slip and fall caused by a substance on the floor that was never cleaned up.

*You fall through a cellar grate that was not properly secured.

*A fire exit is closed, preventing someone from leaving in an emergency.

*A swimming pool with no barrier allows a child to fall in.

*A big box store has not secured a large box on its upper shelves. It falls on you or a family member.

These are just a few examples that a concerned property owner must address.

In court, or during settlement discussions, the injured plaintiff must prove that the unsafe condition was caused by the carelessness of the property owner or that, at the very least, they should have known it existed.

If you are involved in an accident on a premise, you must immediately take pictures of the scene as it was.  Photograph, or have someone photograph with your cell phone, a broken grate, a spilled substance on the floor or a broken railing.

Something was on the floor and no one attended to it. 

If violent crime repeatedly in one location, the owner has a responsibility to have enough security on site and proper lighting.

Criminals don’t want to be caught so they go somewhere else.    

Instead, businesses often blame the victim. 

There is also something known as comparative negligence that can reduce the liability of the property owner. If, for example, you were drunk when you fell down the stairs, that could reduce any recovery you receive. 

Most juries can be convinced that when property or business owner does not take care of its invited guests, they should be responsible for the accidents that happen there.

MARITIME INJURIES AND THE HAMM ALERT

By Farah & Farah on May 3, 2017


When El Faro, a commercial shipping vessel, left Jacksonville heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 30, 2015, no one knew it would never return.

The El Faro drove into the path of Hurricane Joaquin and sank in the Bermuda Triangle taking with it 33 crew members. There were no survivors. 

When the storm swerved, the ship had no recourse and could not escape its 130 mile per hour winds. El Faro lost propulsion and power leaving it at the mercy of Mother Nature, like a cork in the sea.

Its final resting place is 15,000 feet at the bottom the ocean. 

The wife of one of the crew members has turned her grief into action.

Rochelle Hamm wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other vessel and crew.

Ms. Hamm is calling for the stricter regulation of maritime vessels.

She calls it the Hamm ALERT, named for her husband, Frank, who was lost at sea. 

In her Change.org petition, she asks Congress to give oversight to an impartial third party so one captain’s bad decision can be overridden.

El Faro left port as storm Hurricane Joaquin was building to a Category 3 storm.   

Ms. Hamm says the ship should never have left port and a third party could have determined the potential for harm at sea, not unlike an air traffic controller oversees safety in our nation’s skies.   

Her petition requires all commercial vessels to have Coast Guard-approved enclosed lifeboats and survival supplies. On El Faro, the lifeboats were antiquated, open and subject to the winds and waves. 

The 500-page transcript released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), tells the story of the ship’s final hours. The crew members openly questioned the captain’s decision to try and outrun the storm.

Frank Hamm’s last words. “I’m goin’ down!” he cries as his feet slip underneath him.

“I’m a goner.”

Mrs. Hamm’s mission has taken her to visit Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. So far she has more than 11,000 signatures supporting the Hamm ALERT which will be included in recommendations by the NTSB and U.S. Coast Guard. 

Recently, her husband’s helmet washed ashore on a Florida beach.

Ms. Hamm carries the green helmet that says “Frank,” that compels her to complete this mission, turning her pain into a purpose with power.

Posted in: Maritime Law

Nine Year Old Child Injured at CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort in Orlando, Florida

By Farah & Farah on April 17, 2017

Recently, on Saturday, March 18, a nine year old boy was injured at the CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort. In fact, he was unconscious when the emergency response team arrived and rushed him to the hospital. The managers of the resort declined to comment on what exactly happened, though it was revealed that the incident occurred while the child was playing in one the pools that are located at the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort.

Hotels and resorts are a common location for accidents that cause a substantial amount of damage and serious injuries in Orlando, Florida, frequently resulting in premises liability claims against the business. Those who stay at these locations are considered to be invitees, as paying customers, and the hotels and resorts are responsible for maintaining the property and ensuring that their guests are safe when enjoying the many features and activities of a resort.

Of course, the staff and management will not be inclined to comment on the issue as they are preparing to face the challenges of a legal situation in which it behooves them to be particularly careful about what they might say concerning what exactly occurred. The management at the Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort have, no doubt, instructed their employees to keep quiet on the subject as they converse with their own legal representation.

This then calls into question the potential liability of the resort and how the family of the child might be able to recover compensation for the injuries and damages sustained by their child, who, we can only hope is able to fully recover from those injuries. Meanwhile, as the business consults their attorneys, the family would be wise to consult an attorney of their own.

What Exactly Does It Mean to be an Invitee at an Orlando, Florida Resort?

When any kind of personal injury occurs, it is important to know what your status is on the property. You could be a licensee, an invitee, or a trespasser, and this will determine whether or not a duty of care was owed to you and what kind of duty that was. For example, if someone has trespassed, there may be no duty of care owed, or a much lighter duty of care on the part of the property owner. As paying customers at this hotel and resort, the child and his family are considered to be invitees, just as they would be at a grocery store or any other business that welcomes the public or paying customers onto their premises.

What Determines Liability in a Personal Injury Claim Against the Hotel and Resort?

There are multiple factors that could indicate liability in a personal injury premises liability claim against the Orlando, Florida hotel and resort. Because the guests are invitees, they are owed a duty of reasonable care by the management and staff. Failing to take reasonable care to prevent injuries from occurring can be the fault of the management for not having safe policies and procedures in place to prevent such accidents, or it could fall on the staff who failed to follow through with the procedures and policies in place. Still, it is the hotel and resort management and owners who are responsible for the employees. Thus, if an employee’s negligence led to the personal injury that occurred, the family will likely have a valid claim against the resort.

Establishing Negligence on the Part of the Hotel and Resort Management or Staff

The guests who wish to pursue a premises liability claim against an Orlando, Florida hotel and resort will need to prove negligence. This means that they have to prove that they were a paying customer, an invitee, who was owed a duty of reasonable care. They must also prove that the hotel breached that duty of care in some way through the action or lack of action on the part of their management or staff. They must then prove that their injuries were caused by this breached duty of care, and that economic damages resulted.

What is Constitutes the Reasonable Duty of Care Owed by the Hotel and Resort?

There are many things that a hotel and resort needs to do to maintain a reasonable duty of care towards their guests. This includes regularly inspecting the property and addressing any hazards, discovering and repairing dangerous conditions, and/or warning guests of the given dangerous conditions. They should also ensure that there is adequate security. In the case of a resort with pools and water activities, there should be a lifeguard present and/or notification that there is not a lifeguard on duty. They also have to take care when hiring staff, by conducting background checks and ensuring that their staff are responsible and law abiding. If a staff member were to fail in his or her responsibilities, due to intoxication, for example, the hotel might be found negligent if they did not conduct a background check that might have revealed a history of alcohol or drug abuse, and/or if they did not conduct drug tests prior to hiring.

What Happens When Hotel and Resort Employees Make Mistakes?

Even though a hotel and resort cannot entirely control the actions of their employees, they are still legally responsible for the actions of those employees while they are working. Thus, if an employee is required to complete maintenance and fails to do so, resulting in injury, then the hotel and resort is still responsible for this. However, if the employee acted in a way that was egregiously negligent, willfully harmful, and directly against company policy, there may be situations where the employee is liable for the injury themselves.

The Attorneys at Farah & Farah Can Help You With Your Orlando Premises Liability Claim

If you or a loved one has found themselves in a similar situation in which an Orlando, Florida hotel and/or resort is potentially liable for your injuries, contact a experienced premises liability attorney in Orlando at Farah & Farah to schedule a free consultation and discuss the merits and value of your premises liability claim.

Posted in: Premises Liability

Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Office Injuries in Orlando, FL?

By Farah & Farah on April 4, 2017

Work related accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses can occur in any kind of work environment in Orlando, Florida, including office environments. When people think about work related injuries, they tend to imagine accidents involving machines in a factory, construction workers falling from heights, or overexertion injuries in occupations that require heavy lifting. When you think of occupational illnesses, you might imagine someone who has been exposed to asbestos or another illness related substance. People rarely consider the hazards that are present in an office, yet there are quite a few different accidents, injuries, and illnesses that can occur when you are employed in an office environment.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Frequently Experience Fall Related Injuries 

Falling down is an extremely common source of injury in a variety of work environments, including offices. These kinds of incidents can occur because of poor lighting, damaged carpeting, spills, and various trip hazards. In some cases, office workers end up falling down stairs that are damaged or slick. The employer and management should make efforts to keep the work area safe by maintaining the floors and carpets, cleaning up spills, and ensuring that trip hazards like wires are placed in a safe and out of the way location.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Can Experience Heavy Lifting Injuries

While you might not associate office work with heavy lifting, there are plenty of injuries that occur from this very activity in offices throughout Orlando, Florida. In fact, the very point that you might not expect such injuries to occur is part of why they do. Office workers may not be properly trained in heavy lifting, because they aren’t expected to be lifting heavy objects in the course of their usual day. Yet, there are plenty of activities that occur in an office, which can include lifting heavy furniture, heavy boxes of supplies, etc. To prevent such injuries, office workers should be trained to lift with their legs instead of their backs, and seek out assistance from co-workers with any objects that are too heavy for one person.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Can Experience Injuries From Strain and Repetition

When you do imagine work related injuries occurring in an office, those that are caused from strain and repetitive motion are the ones you’re most likely to think about. This is because office workers spend a large amount of time sitting, often in uncomfortable or strained positions, and are subject to posture issues and repetitive motion injuries from using their keyboards and computer mouse to complete clerical work.

These issues often result in back injuries, neck injuries, shoulder injuries, and repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel. The best way to avoid such injuries is to ensure that the chairs are designed to provide optimal support, that the workers maintain posture, and have ergonomic tools at their disposal. Further, it is important for office workers who spend a lot of time sitting to take frequent breaks, walk around, exercise, and stretch.

Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Your Office Work Injury?

Whether or not it is in your best interests to accept a settlement in your Orlando, Florida workers’ compensation case depends on your unique circumstances, and is something that you need to discuss with an experienced attorney to make the best decision for you. However, there are many good reasons to consider accepting such a settlement, which we can go over and which you can learn more about from Farah & Farah with a free consultation.

The number one reason that many people choose to accept a workers’ compensation settlement rather than to seek the standard wage and medical benefits is because it takes the stress of the claim off of their shoulders, settles it entirely in one action, and allows them to close that chapter of their lives with peace of mind. This is because you no longer have to deal with a claims adjuster once you settle, you no longer have to see the doctor that your workers’ compensation insurance provider approves, and you no longer have wait for workers’ compensation wage benefits checks to come to you before you can pay your bills.

The ability to seek treatment from any doctor you choose is an important benefit for many people who are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim settlement. You may wish to see certain specialists which are not approved for coverage by the standard workers’ compensation medical benefits. It is also important to note that when you can only see an approved physician, you may have to wait longer for appointments and wait to for the insurance company to approve certain treatments and medications. Once you accept a settlement, you can choose any doctor you prefer to see and you won’t have to wait for approval for treatment. You also don’t have to worry about seeking further compensation for your prescriptions, medical devices, and mileage, or approval for these expenses before you can get the things you need.

Another common reason that office workers would prefer to accept a settlement, rather than continue with the typical wage benefits and medical benefits of workers’ compensation insurance is because they can have more financial freedom. This is because you get a settlement in a lump sum, and you can do what you need to with the money. Your bills don’t have to wait for the next check, and you can get the groceries you need when you need them.

Finally, many people who are dealing with a workers’ compensation insurance company are continuously concerned that their benefits may cease, that their checks won’t come, or that their treatment won’t be approved. Once you accept a settlement, all of these fears and concerns are eliminated, and you can finally relax.

Contact Farah & Farah for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Settlements

If you’re debating whether or not you ought to accept a workers’ compensation settlement in Orlando, Florida after your office injury, contact a dedicated Florida work injury lawyer at Farah & Farah to discuss your options.

Posted in: Workplace Accidents

Subway Chicken Class Action Lawsuit

By Farah & Farah on March 8, 2017

There is potentially a class action lawsuit facing restaurant chain, Subway, over chicken that may, in fact, not be chicken. On the 3rd of March, a lawsuit was entered in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut after news erupted concerning a DNA report that the “chicken” used in Subway’s chicken food products is actually only 53.6% chicken meat. The reported stated that some sandwiches came back with worse results than others, like the sweet onion teriyaki chicken sandwich, which was discovered to be 42.8% chicken DNA.

Per the report in the lawsuit, Subway is the only restaurant, among the ones tested, that had a quantity of plant-based DNA great enough to be recognized as a species of soy. The lawsuit, which is twenty-two pages, lays out the allegation that the Connecticut-based corporation pays a substantial sum of money to adequately deliver deceptive information to customers all over the U.S.

Craig Moskowitz, a Stamford resident, had the lawsuit filed on his behalf after claiming he is a regular consumer of Subway’s products.

As of Monday evening, no one has been available to comment from the fast-food chain, Subway, nor has a lawyer been appointed to the case. However, the chain did blast back on the claim using their own website and different social media outlets, stating that according to their own DNA analysis, the chicken is 99% chicken DNA and the soy DNA is not greater than a single percent. On the use of soy, Subway claims that the plant is added to keep food products full of flavor and moist.

Concerns have been raised by both scientists and the restaurant chain as to the procedure implemented in the original report. “[The report] used factually incorrect data to suggest the chicken Subway serves might not be all chicken,” stated on the restaurant chain’s webpage. “The claims made in the story are false and misleading. We use only chicken—with added marinade, spices and seasoning. Producing high-quality food for our customers is our highest priority.”

Attorney for the Plaintiff, Sergei Lemberg, gave a statement to the Connecticut Law Tribune that, as of Monday, he would be having his firm conduct their own study of the chicken, so as to determine the percentage of chicken DNA in Subway’s menu items. Lemberg, owner of Lemberg Law in Wilton, Connecticut, made the comment that it would be “a couple of months” before the study would yield any results. “We’ll wait for the results and for the discovery process to shed light on whether this chicken is or is not completely chicken,” Lemberg was quoted on the matter.

At this point, it is unclear how many individuals are eligible to join the lawsuit, according to the lawsuit, but it clear that the numbers could be in the millions. It has not been made clear what is necessary to be a party to the class action. On this Lemberg made the comment that it would have to be determined in the discovery, but that all that could be needed is a receipt from Subway indicating a purchase of a chicken product.

Compensatory, punitive and statutory damages are being sought in the lawsuit.

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The attorneys of Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida have experience with personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, social security, injury and negligence lawsuits. Eddie Farah and our team of Jacksonville attorneys are proud to represent working people and families throughout the country.

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