Archive for March, 2009

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McDonald’s Slip And Fall Case Question

March 31, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slip and fall case at McDonald’s

Question: Sorry for the many details of my story. At the end of last year (2008) I had just stepped into a McDonald’s and slipped and fell from a wet area on the floor. I landed hard on my left side of my body which included my arm, shoulder, hand, hip bone, leg, knee. I did get an accident report filled out but not on the same day it happened. I was not sure what to do. I was going to school full-time at the time. I did go to the hospital right after the incident because I already had problems with my left side of my body – mostly my arm and leg which are now still causing me constant and non-stop pain. I can’t use my arm the way I once was able to. It always stiffens up on me. I can barely raise my arm above my head without agitating my shoulder and feeling intense pain. Since this happened to me I had to give up my dream of working in the medical field. I was going to school for medical assistant and was just about to go on my internship when I knew my arm was too messed to be able to do the work  needed to be done in this field. I gave up on myself and continued my part-time job which I thought would not be that difficult. But eventually I had to leave there too because I was always in too much pain. Will I still be able to bring a lawsuit against Mc Donald’s because of my constant pain and suffering and depression? I am only 22 years old and should not have to go through this. Thank you for reading this!

Answer: Please keep in mind, your email doesn’t say where you are from. Laws vary fro state to state. I am in Florida, so I will try to give you a general perspective, but check with somebody in your area to get specific information about the laws in your state. Generally, the owner of a fast food restaurant owes two duties to its customers – maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn its customers of dangerous conditions that the customers cannot appreciate themselves.  In order for a property owner such as McDonald’s to be responsible for a slip and fall case due to water on the floor, the water must have existed on the floor for enough time that McDonald’s employees knew, or should have known, the water was there and had a chance to clean it up or at least put out a warning sign letting the customers know of the water.  You or your attorney will have to explore the facts of your case to see whether you can meet this standard.  Assuming the water was there for a long enough time for someone at the McDonald’s to do something about it, you have a claim against the McDonald’s.  Any claim you would make should include a claim for past and future medical bills, and for past and future pain and suffering.  At least in a Florida slip and fall case, you can also make a claim for lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity, i.e. your career as a medical assistant was going to pay you $35,000 per year but because of your injury you can only obtain employment earning $25,000 year. I can speak from my own experience at McDonald’s and watching how they clean their floor.  I was at a McDonald’s once and spilled a cup of water.  I told the manager that it was on the floor, yet nothing was done.  I went and told the manager again and he sent a high school age employee out with a mop. The employee basically made the problem worse by spreading the water out across the floor, and not putting a "wet floor" sign out.  As your claim only occurred at the end of 2008, you most likely have plenty of time to bring a lawsuit.  In a Florida slip and fall case, you have four years from the date of the accident to bring a claim.  However, you don’t want to wait that long as witnesses disappear and their memories fade, employee witnesses move on to different jobs, and evidence can be lost.  You should speak with an attorney specializing in slip and fall cases in your area to get the claim going. One of the first things you want to do is verify the type and amount of insurance coverage.  Most likely, many McDonald’s will carry "medical payments" coverage which will pay you money to cover your out of pocket medical expenses.  Also, an experienced slip and fall case lawyer is going to know the laws in your area and how best to proceed.  Most slip and fall lawyers handle cases on a contingent basis which means if the lawyer does not recover any money for your claim, there is no charge for costs or attorney’s fees.  If you are in the South Florida area, please give me a call. I have been specializing in personal injury claims including slip and fall cases for 16 years.  If you’re in an area other than South Florida, I can probably still refer you to an experienced slip and fall case attorney in your area.  Good Luck.  

For more information about a Florida slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Temporary Worker Job Injury Question

March 31, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida job injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Question: I had an accident at work where I fell through the ice that had built up from a sewer that does not drain properly. I tore my MCL in my left knee and sprained my lower back. I was a fill-in employee at the location where the accident occurred. I later found out from the regular store manager that the company had been on notice for 2 years that the sewer drain was an issue, and also that the company had the sewer drain looked at for repairs a couple of times but never had it fixed. I was outside because the company had sent out a fax to all managers to check the outside of their stores and storage barns for possible damage from the previous weekends high winds. I have been out of work on workers comp for the past 3 months, and my back doctor wants me to remain off work until I have had an MRI done on my back. Workers comp doctors say that I can return to work without restrictions, and have denied my claim to have an MRI done. Now my job requires me to stand for 12-13 hours a day, no break, no lunch, and only 1 employee on duty all day. I feel that with my back pain there is no way that I can perform my job duties up to the company’s expectations, and if I go back to work now and can’t do my job then I have let workers comp off the hook and I will be stuck with any future doctor bills. So, what are my options?

Answer: The answer to your questions depends on the law in your area for workers compensation claims.  I specialize in workers compensation and slip and fall cases but I am a Florida job injury attorney.  Laws vary from state to state so what happens in a Florida job injury case may not be the case in your area.  The fact that the employer knew about the condition for two years usually doesn’t matter as workers comp is on the hook for your injuries no matter who is at fault for the accident.  The best advice I can give you is do speak with an attorney that specializes in both workers compensation and slip and fall cases.  He can advise you what the law is in your area, and what your options are.  You apparently have a difference of opinions between the doctors and, at least in a Florida job injury case, there are ways to reconcile the differing opinions.  Workers Comp in most states is entirely a creation of the State’s statutes and as such, all rights you have, and obligations the employers insurance company have, are set out in the Statutes.  You may, and I emphasize "may" because I don’t know your State’s laws, have the right to change doctors, get a second opinion, get an independent medical opinion, or have your work restrictions changed.  In a Florida job injury claim, you can keep the medical portion of your case open for the rest of your life as long as you go to a workers comp authorized doctor at least one time every 12 months.  So, even if you returned to work, if you continued having problems with your injury you can continue going to the doctor.  You should contact an attorney in your area that specializes in  workers compensation claims, and do it soon. There are usually time constraints, known as Statutes of Limitations, for both workers compensation and slip and fall claims.  If you wait too long, you may lose your right to pursue these claims.  Most attorneys specializing in workers compensation claims handle the claims on a contingent basis, i.e. their attorney fees are a percentage of any money they recover for you.  If they don’t recover anything for you, you don’t owe anything.  Most workers comp attorneys also offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.    You may also want to look into a premises liability claim against the owner of the property, or the company/municipality responsible for maintaining the sewer drain. You may find out that you have two claims, a workers comp claim and a liability claim for failing to maintain the drain.  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me toll free. Good luck.

For more information about a Florida job injury claim, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Florida Work Injury Information

March 29, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida work injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Chair broke; I fell, hit my head on concrete floor at part time job in 2004

Question: In Oct. 2004, I was working at my part time job (gas station) as a cashier. While sitting in the old wooden bar chair with a back, the back broke off and I fell to the concrete floor and hit my head. I laid there for about a minute, then I called to my supervisor on duty telling him to come to the cashiers booth. Once he came, he noticed the bar chair, with the back broken on the floor. At that time I was getting up off the floor. I did go to the ER and my Primary doctor. Ever since this incident, I’ve had chronic headaches about 3 to 4 times a week which last all day and night. I have a injury to c3-c7; herniated disc in my back and no vision in my right eye. I received workman’s comp for about 6 months then they stopped paying me. The Workman’s comp. attorney I had seemed like he just gave up on me. I applied for SS disability and after 4 yrs. I just got approved. Now I have to have surgery on my neck c5-c6 due to all the complications I’m having with my neck pain, headaches, weakness and also sciatica. I wanted to file a lawsuit against my part time job for these injuries but I did not have that type of money back then. Now that I will be receiving my back payments from filling for SS disability, I should have the money to file a law suit. My question is, am I too late to file a law suit against my ex-employer since this incident happened in 2004?

Answer: It depends on where the accident occurred.  I am a Florida work injury attorney, so I can only advise you about the Florida work injury laws.  In Florida, if you have not been to a workers compensation authorized doctor within the last 12 months, or received wage or impairment benefits within the last 12 months, you may have waived your rights under workers compensation.  HOWEVER, YOUR STATE MAY BE DIFFERENT. Your message does not explain what happened with your attorney.  Does he still represent you?  Was the case settled? An experienced Florida work injury compensation attorney should have made sure your future rights were protected, i.e. your ability to get future medical treatment and/or surgery. Also, in Florida, the fact that an employer carries workers compensation coverage, in most cases, precludes you from filing a "lawsuit" against the employer.  Your sole remedy is usually to pursue your remedies under workers
compensation.  Please let me know if you have any other questions.  You should speak to an attorney in your area as soon as possible to get advice from a work accident compensation lawyer that knows the laws of your state.  If you are in Florida, give me a call, and we can discuss your Florida work injury case further.  

For more information about a Florida work injury, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Florida Boating Accidents – Boating Under the Influence

March 27, 2009

We all know it’s wrong to drink and drive on the road, but when you are out on your boat on a lazy weekend afternoon and you pop open a cold one as you are motoring along, do you put yourself into the same category as a motor vehicle driver who has been drinking? If you don’t, you should, because operating a boat while drinking falls under similar laws and restrictions as drinking and driving an automobile.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says:

  • It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.  A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence must submit to sobriety tests and a physical or chemical test to determine blood- or breath-alcohol content.
  • In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or above .08.
  • Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath-alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.

There is a good reason for the stiff BUI laws. According to the boatingundertheinfluence.org website, boaters who operate a vessel with a blood alcohol level of over .10% are 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than a sober boater. Also, BUI is the leading cause of fatal Florida boating accidents.

If you are charged with a BUI, you’ll be subject to the same penalties a DUI carries:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Probation
  • It’s a felony if you cause property damage, injury, or death while boating under the influence.

Also remember that medications you may be taking, the sun and wind, and the motion of the boat can make the effects of your drink more pronounced, so you can feel and act more inebriated more quickly than you might think. And, don’t forget the divers that may be in the water around you – many divers are hurt annually in Florida boating accidents by impaired boaters. If you are boating while drinking, you’ve also lowered the chances of noticing those dive flags.

The summer is coming up and more and more boaters will be taking to the waters around Florida. Boating accidents are going to increase as the waterways become more congested. Don’t run the risk of becoming a statistic: leave the alcohol at home!

If you’ve or a loved one has been injured in Florida boating accidents, contact Florida boating accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 for a free, no-obligation consultation, or email him today.

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Gas Station Slip And Fall Case

March 26, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Personal Injury Accidents Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Gas Station Slip And Fall Case

Question: While stopped at a gas station I used their restroom. After washing my hands I retrieved a towel from the towel dispenser. As I was walking to throw it into the trash I slipped and fell. As this fall happened I yelled out a few choice words very loudly. When I walked around the corner, a maintenance employee was standing by the opening of the ladies bathroom. There also was a customer in the doorway of the men’s bathroom. They both were looking into the doorway of the ladies as I came around the corner. I then told the employee that there was water in the floor and I just fell. There were no wet floor signs anywhere near the restrooms. My husband was waiting for me outside so I went to him and told him I was going to be a minute and explained the situation. I returned into the store and as I did I saw another employee and asked if she was a manager. She replied "no, he’s on lunch, is there anything I can do for you". I asked her to accompany me to the restroom to verify the water. When we got to the restroom approximately 5 minutes after the incident, the maintenance employee was already attempting to clean the water up. Both the employees and I noticed there was an abundant amount of water. The first employee noticed the water was pouring out of the wall so she went and got her manager and informed him of the situation. We then went to his office and filled out an incident report and I informed him of the possibility of me being pregnant. I then went to the emergency room for treatment. The doctor said I have a lot of bruising and that he didn’t see anything on the x-rays as of then and for me to follow up in a week if the pain doesn’t subside. This is not my first injury to the parts that were injured. The first injury was 7 years ago and was on the job. Before the first incident I had no problems. I have a frozen shoulder, back problems, neck problems, severe migraines and had Chiari Malformation type II surgery. Do I have a reasonable suit against this gas station or is it fighting a losing battle? What would a reasonable price be? Should I get an attorney to help resolve this and do you know a good one ?

Answer: The short answers to your questions are:

1.  Do I have a reasonable suit against the gas station?  probably yes;

2.  What would a reasonable price be?  no idea, in most states it depends on the extent of your injuries, medical bills, wage loss, and damages for pain and suffering;

3.  Should I get an attorney to help resolve this?  absolutely.

Please keep in mind, your email doesn’t say where you are from. Laws vary from state to state. I am in Florida, so I will try to give you a general perspective, but check with somebody in your area to get specific information about the laws in your state.

Generally, the owner of a gas station owes two duties to its customers – to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn its customers of dangerous conditions that the customers cannot appreciate themselves.  In order for a property owner to be responsible for a slip and fall case due to water on the floor, the water must have existed on the floor for enough time that the owner or staff from the gas station knew, or should have known, the water was there, i.e. and had a chance to clean it up or at least put out a warning sign letting the customers know of the water.  You or your attorney will have to explore the facts of your slip and fall case to see whether you can meet this standard.

Assuming the water was there for a long enough time for someone at the gas station to do something about it, you have a claim against the owner/management of the gas station.  Any claim you would make would include a claim for past and future medical bills, and for past and future pain and suffering.  You most likely won’t know the full amount of your damages until you have a better handle on the extent that your previous injuries were aggravated by this incident.  In Florida, we have a specific jury instruction which deals with aggravating a pre-existing injury.

You should speak with an attorney who would specialize in a slip and fall case in your area to get the claim going.  One of the first things you want to do is verify the type and amount of insurance coverage the gas station carries. Most likely, a gas station is going to carry "medical payments" coverage which will allow up front money to pay for your out of pocket medical expenses.

Also, an experienced slip and fall case lawyer is going to know the laws in your area and how best to proceed.  Most slip and fall lawyers handle cases on a contingent basis which means if the lawyer does not recover any money for your claim, there is no charge for costs or attorney’s fees.

If you are in the South Florida area, please give me a call at (866) 556-5529.  I have been specializing in personal injury claims including slip and fall cases for 16 years.  If you’re in an area other than South Florida, I can probably still refer you to an experienced slip and fall attorney in your area.

For more information about a slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Fast Food Restaurant Slip And Fall Case

March 23, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida personal injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slip/Trip/Etc and Fall Case?

Question: Hello. About a year and a half ago, I stopped with my family to eat at a fast food restaurant with my family in a small town while on a road-trip. Only one table was left, and being the youngest one of the bunch (15), I was expected to find my way to the booth side of that unnecessarily complicated and dangerous table set up. After eating, my family got up, and I, once again, needed to navigate out of the booth. Option A would have been to slide to my left lifting my legs over the table to avoid them smashing into a bar joining into the seat. It seemed a bit too dangerous, so I chose Option B: standing up and twisting my legs and body to the side in order to squeeze between the two tables that only a young child could fit through with out turning. As I did, the excessive strain on my left knee caused my knee to dislocate, which in turn caused me to collapse on the floor under the tables. My father had to call an ambulance, and I waited for it to arrive for 45  minutes. During that time the manager on duty came over with ice, insisting that I must have injured my knee previously. My father did not call to report the incident, neither did the manager. No names were taken down, not even of a witnessing family who offered to house us for the night out of concern. All in all, no surgery was required after my knee popped back in place. My leg was immobilized for a few weeks until I could walk on it. The orthopedic specialist told me that the chance of my knee dislocating again is extremely heightened, and that if it were to happen again I would need surgery. Now, a year and some later, I am still experiencing pain in my knee and am unable to participate in school sports or do any strenuous activity with my knee without debilitating pain. My mother and I would like to know if this is under the category of a slip and fall case, and if the fast food restaurant should be held liable. If it is, we would of course seek counsel. Though the incident was poorly documented, I believe that that table design in that fast food restaurant is still in use and could cause similar harm to others.

Answer: The answer to your question depends on the state in which you live.  You should contact an attorney in your area that specializes in personal injury claims to get specific information about the laws in your state, and whether you have a slip and fall case.  Generally, a restaurant owner owes two duties to it customers – to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn its customers of dangerous conditions which the restaurant knew of, or should have known of.  I am in Florida, so I don’t know how Courts in your area treat an incident like you have described. However, most, if not all, states have Statutes of Limitations.  A statute of limitations is a time period in which you have to bring a claim or you will be precluded from bringing the claim.  Since it has been 1 1/2 years since your slip and fall case happened, I would urge you to speak to an attorney that specializes in personal injury claims as soon as possible. Most Personal Injury attorneys will meet with you for a free initial consultation, and handle claims such as yours on a contingent basis. This means that you are not responsible for any attorney’s fees or costs if the attorney does not recover money for you.  As such, you have nothing to lose to at least speak to an attorney in your area about your slip and fall case.  

For more information about a slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Job Injury Question

March 21, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida job injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slip And Fall At Work

Question: I had clocked out for lunch and was on my way to my car in the employers parking lot (parking lot is owned and maintained by employer). I slipped on black ice, fell and broke my left hip. I received surgery that same day which required me to be hospitalized for 2 days. I have been off work for over a month and it looks like I will be off at least another month. Meanwhile, I filed a claim with workers comp and have found out that my employer did not have workers comp insurance, and the bills have just started coming in. I used my own health insurance to have the surgery and they are refusing to pay for the surgery since they say that I am protected under workers comp. The bills have reached about $30,000.00. Also I might have to have a hip replacement in the future if the pins in my hip do not work. The reason for this is the hospital should have had me in surgery within 3 to 4 hours of my injury and I did not receive the surgery until 10 hours later. The surgeon wanted to take a risk on pinning my hip because of my age I’m 38 instead of doing a hip replacement.

 I received a phone call from my office manager. She informed me that they were filing this injury with the property insurance. I’m wondering if they will pay on this since it is a workers comp issue, and if they do, I want to know if they will pay for any future medical needs. I am seeking an attorney but would like any suggestions or input as to what I should do or what to expect. Thank you

Answer: The answer to your questions depends on the law in your area for workers compensation claims and slip and fall accidents, and particularly how Courts treat slips and falls on ice.  I specialize in workers compensation and slip and fall cases but I am in Florida.  Laws vary from state to state so what happens in a Florida job injury claim may not be the case in your area.  I can tell you from my 16 years experience working with these types of Florida job injury cases, employers will not always be forthcoming about whether they truly have workers compensation coverage.

The best advice I can give you is do speak with an attorney that specializes in both workers compensation and premises liability claims, i.e. slip and falls.  He can advise you what the law is in your area, and how the two areas of law can interact.

Generally, a landowner owes two duties to persons lawfully on the property – maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn persons on the property of dangerous conditions that the person may not be able to appreciate themselves.  A slip and fall at work can result in having both a workers compensation claim, and a premises liability claim.  In Florida, if an employer that is required to have workers compensation coverage doesn’t have it, they waive immunity from lawsuits by an employee that is injured on the job due to the employers negligence.  Additionally,most commercial properties have insurance policies which cover it for accidents like yours.  Many of these policies will also have "medical payments" coverage which can cover bills from your medical treatment.

You should contact an attorney in your area that specializes in both workers compensation and premises liability claims.  Many attorneys say
they do these claims, but after asking around, you’ll find they take anything that walks in the door.  Ask how many claims like yours they have handled, and in particular what happens in your state if an employer doesn’t have workers compensation coverage.

You should also contact an attorney soon.  There are usually time constraints, known as Statutes of Limitations, for both workers compensation and premises liability claims.  If you wait too long, you may lose your right to pursue these claims.

Most attorneys specializing in workers compensation and premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. their attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.

For more information about a Florida job injury claim, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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