Archive for July, 2009

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Florida Slip and Fall Case at Wal Mart – Expert Advice

July 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:

Question: The other day my daughter and I went to Walmart. After a while of shopping, my daughter who is almost 2 had to go to the restroom. After using the restroom and coming out of the stalls and walking up to the sink, I slipped on what must have been water. I hit my head on the sink and fell on to my daughter. When I emerged from the bathroom a few seconds later my daughter was screaming and I was dizzy. The customer service lady asked if I was all right  and called the manager at my request. I filled out a report and left . Since then, I have been going to the hospital due to an on-going severe headache. I have been seen 2 times in the ER.  My question – is my case good enough to sue over? Them bastards should have cleaned that nasty water up!

Answer: Your email doesn’t indicate in what state you live.  I am an attorney in Florida specializing in personal injury claims such as Florida car accident claims, Florida slip and fall case claims, and Florida workers compensation claims.  If you are in Florida, please give me a call and I can discuss your claim with you in further detail.  However, laws vary from state to state, so I cannot advise you on the laws in your area. My first suggestion is to speak with an experienced slip and fall attorney in your area.  The attorney in your area can advise you on specific laws and time requirements that may apply to your claim, and help you with medical treatment, medical bills, and how best to proceed with a claim against Wal Mart.  If you were to walk into my office, I would want to know more information about your claim before I could tell you whether you have a case against "them bastards".  More details on how the fall occurred, witnesses, the amount of water on the floor and where it came from, and more specifics on the nature of your injury, would help to evaluate your claims.

An experienced slip and fall lawyer can also help evaluate the "liability" aspect of your claim.  At least in a Florida slip and fall case, stores such as Wal Mart are not responsible for injuries arising out of a slip and fall in their store unless the condition that caused the slip and fall, here a puddle of water, was one that Wal Mart knew existed on the floor, or should have known it existed on the floor, and did not take reasonable measures to clean it up or warn customers of its existence.  There are different ways to show this, and different facts to examine to try and satisfy this burden of proof.  Water on the floor occurs all the time at stores like Wal Mart.  However, you have to be able to show that the water existed on the floor for a long enough period of time that Wal Mart knew about it, or should have known about it.

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

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Car Accidents Often Have Simple Causes

July 30, 2009

Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, just behind smoking and obesity. The latest government statistics show that there are more than 6 million auto accidents in the nation every year. That translates to an auto accident with injuries, every 14 seconds across the country! With odds like that, the chances are that you will be involved in a traffic accident at some point in your life.

About 25 percent of traffic accidents are due to driver distraction and that number is increasing every day. Because cell phones are so prevalent now, many people either drive while talking on their phones or, worse yet, drive while texting on their phones. The National Saftey Council estimates that cell phone use causes about 12,000 serious injuries and over 2,600 deaths annually. In addition, driver attention can be compromised by eating while driving, applying make up or shaving, or reading things like road maps (although we have all seen the driver who passes us while reading the morning newspaper in heavy traffic).

For the other 75 percent of accidents, simple things like sun glare can cause problems for drivers in South Florida and elsewhere, resulting in car accidents. Tailgating and trying to beat the traffic lights can cause accidents, too. And researchers have found that sleep-deprived drivers act almost the same as drunk drivers – with slower reaction times and increased errors in judgement regarding driving skills (meaning a tendency to think you have more room to change lanes or to stop than you do and a tendency to take more risks than you normally would). Sleep deprivation is common in trucking accidents because the drivers are trying to make deadlines and are often trying to catch up on their travel times.

Be extra cautious in weather conditions, too, when you are driving. Many South Florida car accidents have been caused when a driver did not take into account the heat of the day and the tiny oil slick that develops on the road as the heat bakes the asphalt. If just a little bit of rain lands on top of that oil and you are driving too fast for conditions, you may find yourself spinning and hydro-planing if you suddenly apply your brakes.

Defective vehicles are another cause of car accidents in South Florida and elsewhere in the country. Auto manufacturers recall cars with defective parts, but they won’t do that until a sufficient amount of accidents happen to warrant the cost of recalling a part. An example of this occurred recently on I-75 in Central Florida and happened when the driver of the car lost control. The car rolled seven times, killing the driver. At first, the accident appeared to be caused by a random tire blowout, but was later found to have been caused by a faulty tire valve that was cracked almost the length of the valve stem. A lawsuit has been filed against the distributor of the valve stem, which is made in China.

So, enjoy those picturesque drives along the beach, but be diligent when you are cruising along the highway. Keep in mind that driving while distracted adds about 20 percent longer stopping time if you need to brake quickly. For a car traveling 40 mph, that means about 120 feet of distance needed to stop in time to avoid car accidents. South Florida drivers are notorious for leaving much less distance than that between their car and the one in front of them. Put that cell phone down, watch out for the weather, and wait until you stop somewhere before eating or reading (even a map!).

If you have been involved in any car accidents in South Florida, contact car accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today. Attorney Joseph M. Maus handles car accident claims on a contingent basis.  This means that unless you recover money for your car accident, you do not owe any fees or costs.

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Scar Injury Claim Question – Expert Advice

July 27, 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: Scar Injury Claim

Question: I’m writing on behalf of my friend. She and her boyfriend were in WalMart late at night, when there’s typically a lot of stocking and cleaning,etc., being done. A young male employee was about to begin mopping the floor. When they approached the area he was about to mop, he told them not to walk on that part of the floor. My friend’s boyfriend said that was the only way they could reach the item they wanted to purchase and walked across it anyway, retrieved the item and tried to continue on to the cashier with it. The employee got mad and threw his mop down hard on the floor, and the mop bounced off the floor and hit my friend on her leg and hurt her.

She immediately cried, "He hurt me! Look at my leg!" etc., and there was a mark on her shin where the mop had hit her.

Her boyfriend was close to hitting the employee, but he did not, but he did make him apologize to my friend for hurting her.

They then called for a manager and the employee was called into the office where my friend and her boyfriend also were. The employee was fired on the spot, and my friend was given a claim form to fill out. She also took pictures of the mark on her leg, and noted that she was limping from this then too. There was at least one witness to the incident, an electronics department employee, who agreed with her statement of what happened completely, and she got his name at the time. She was also already calling up her lawyer on her cellphone at the time they were in the office being given the claim form.

Her lawyer told her the next day that she had a good case, and he would take it on contingency. But he’s not been very communicative since then, and she’s not sure what’s going on now. It’s been over 2 months. The mark is still very visible on her leg, and is sure to leave a scar.

She did get a call from WalMart saying they had a settlement offer for her, but she missed the call and just got this in a message from her teenage daughter and hasn’t heard what the offer is. Her lawyer has filed the case with the courthouse, but we don’t know what’s happening now. This all happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I’ve read thru many of these cases on this site that you all are answering questions about, and I haven’t seen any cases like hers, where the injury at WalMart was caused by an employee on purpose. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about how this fact might make things different than the typical "slip and fall" case that I’ve seen so many of in these questions.

Basically, we are just very curious to know how much she can expect to be paid from this, even a ballpark figure… are we talking hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands…?? Obviously we are clueless about this.

As I read thru the cases on this site, I noticed how some of these injuries people got are very serious, and this makes me wonder why my friend’s lawyer seems to think she has such a good case, when her injury was very minor, especially compared to some of these others. I do believe she will have a scar there forever, but she never had to go to the doctor for this, all it did was make her walk with a limp for a week or so and leave that mark on her shin. But the employee (former) obviously mistreated them and WalMart obviously agrees she should be compensated somehow for it, but can you tell us anything more at all about this, even if it’s just speculation?

Thanks for your help.

Answer: The answer to your question depends on the law in Oklahoma for this type of incident.  I am an attorney in Florida so I can’t advise you about Oklahoma’s laws.  Laws vary from state to state so what happens in Florida may not be the case in Oklahoma.

However, the amount of damages your friend can expect depends on the severity of her scar, and any other medical issues that resulted from the mop incident.  If it is a scar that is very visible and large, the value of her scar injury claim goes up.  If it is a scar that is not visible, and/or its a smaller scar, the value is smaller.  Your friend should document the existence of the scar through photographs in the event it disappears, or gets worse over time.

A scar injury claim is usually a valuable claim, particularly if the injured person is a woman, and the scar is visible.  For some reason, insurance companies don’t seem to be bothered if a man gets a scar, unless it is very visible, i.e. on his face.

Wal Mart is responsible for the incident as it occurred during the course and scope of the employees job, and while he was on duty.  I’m not sure why her attorney "has filed the case with the courthouse".  Usually, you try to settle claims "pre-suit" before filing a lawsuit.  I would guess approximately 60-70% of claims settle pre-suit in Florida.  Additionally, Wal Mart will usually consider a pre-suit demand letter and try to negotiate a settlement before suit is filed.  You may not be happy with the amount of their offer, but if not, you can always file suit.

You should check with her attorney to find out what the status of the scar injury claim is.  The attorney should be contacting Wal Mart if Wal Mart has indicated a willingness.

Again, its difficult to give you an estimate of the value, but if its a minimal scar, your friend can expect a settlement offer of thousands, not hundreds of thousands.  Your attorney should be able to tell you what the case is worth.

Good Luck.

For more information about a scar injury claim, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today.

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Cruise Ship Injury Tips

July 26, 2009

That cruise your are planning to your dream destination will probably be all that you are picturing: balmy seas, blue skies, and tropical beaches. You can see in in your mind, just like in a travel brochure – you and your family splashing in the pool, dancing in the nightclub, and going off to sightsee at every new port. But, what happens if you are injured while walking around on board the ship, while diving into the ship’s pool, or while on a shore excursion?

The cruise lines have many restrictions about how a cruise ship injury should be handled. In fact,  most cruise ship tickets contain seven to ten pages worth of restrictions, limitations, and requirements that a person must follow if they suffer a cruise ship accident or injury.  Although many people feel that they can resolve their cruise ship injury case by themselves, unless you are extremely familiar with the numerous laws that are unique to cruise ship accident claims, it is very easy to lose your rights to make such a claim. Be sure you retain your cruise ship ticket after your injury! Your attorney will need it because it details some of the "special" requirements" that cruise ship lines follow.

The smart thing to do is to retain an experienced cruise ship injury lawyer. You don’t want just any attorney – you want one that has experience with the cruise ship laws since many cruise lines operate under maritime law which is different from the laws on dry land. For example, even though large cruise lines depart from many different ports throughout the United States including Galveston, Texas, New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, and numerous other ports on the East and West Coast of the United States, most cruise ship tickets require any cruise injury claim to be brought in Federal Court in South Florida. 

An experienced cruise ship injury lawyer should be extremely familiar with many of the cruise ship laws which are unique to cruise ship accidents.  These include: 

    • a one year Statute of Limitations in most cruise ship accident cases;
    •  venue provisions which require most claims to be brought in Federal Court in South Florida;
    •  pre-suit notice requirements;
    •  choice of law provisions required by passenger tickets; and
    •  jurisdictional issues depending on whether the ship is in territorial waters.

Enjoy your cruise vacation and have a great time. But, be aware that if you are injured while on your vacation, you need to talk to an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer as soon as you get back to dry land so you can protect your rights.    

 

For more information about your cruise ship injury and advice about an accident claim, contact cruise ship accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Mr. Maus will provide a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions as to whether you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced cruise ship injury claims lawyer who has handled thousands of claims ranging from slip and trip and falls, sexual assault, cruise ship viruses and violations of safety and cleanliness standards, injuries during onshore excursions, and many other types of claims which are related to cruise ships.   His office handles claims on a contingent basis which means there are no attorney’s fees charged unless a recovery is made on your behalf. Mr. Maus is licensed to practice throughout the State of Florida, in the Southern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court, and is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is an “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

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Department Store Slip And Fall Case Question – Expert Advice

July 25, 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

Question:  I entered a Wal-Mart at North entrance, chose a shopping cart and started pushing cart to the automotive dept.  I started searching the aisles for hand cleaner.  I searched several aisles for hand cleaner and could not find any.  I eventually gave up my search and started walking and pushing the cart in front of me down the aisle between the automotive batteries (which are stocked on a very tall metal shelve/rack) and the automotive tires. After walking just past the batteries shelve/rack on my left and tires on my right, I slipped and fell hitting the floor. I had slipped in a water puddle located just south of (right after) the automotive battery rack. The water puddle was formed by water leaking through a hole in the roof. I did not notice the water leaking down through the roof and ceiling due to the battery rack on my left being so tall and I did not see the water on the floor because it was clear with no coloring. I also did not hear the water hitting the floor from the leak in the roof/ceiling because all I could hear was a heavy rain outside hitting the roof above me.  I laid on the floor for approximately five minutes until a Wal-Mart employee came to my aid. I asked if they could call an ambulance and they did. While laying on the floor, I learned from the Wal-Mart employees, that I had slipped in a large puddle of water created by a leak in the roof. At the time of my slip and fall it was raining very hard outside.

When I slipped and fell, my head was whipped backward. I landed on my right shoulder, my back, right hip, with my right leg and foot twisted up under me and I also landed on my right hand and wrist trying to break my fall. CMI sent me a letter the next day and the case manger gave me a claim number by voice mail, also listed on claim letter. I have been seen by three doctors. I suffered contusions, I now have constant headaches from whiplash and my back, shoulder and hip are in constant pain (I had back surgery three years ago and just recently I became disabled). I immediately started seeing a pain doctor and received six shots to neck, shoulder and back.  I lost my private insurance last year.  My doctor informed me if CMI doesn’t won’t pay the doctor bills, he can’t see me again. CMI says they are not responsible, the roof contractor is responsible for my bills. I need help! I talked to two lawyers and they would not take my case. Please help, what should I do? I am so stressed and confused and in a lot of pain.

Answer: Your email doesn’t indicate in what state you live.  I am an attorney in Florida specializing in personal injury claims such as Florida car accident claims, Florida slip and fall case claims, and Florida workers compensation claims.  If you are in Florida, please give me a call and I can discuss your claim with you in further detail.  However, laws vary from state to state, so I cannot advise you on the laws in your area.

My first suggestion is to speak with an experienced slip and fall case attorney in your area.  Wal Mart will not pay much attention to your claim without an attorney, and any offer they eventually make will not be a very good one. The attorney in your area can advise you on specific laws and time requirements that may apply to your claim, and help you with medical treatment, medical bills, and how best to proceed with a claim against Wal Mart.

An experienced slip and fall case lawyer can also help evaluate the "liability" aspect of your claim.  At least in Florida, stores such as Wal Mart are not responsible for injuries arising out of a slip and fall in their store unless the condition that caused the slip and fall, here a puddle of water, was one that Wal Mart knew existed on the floor, or should have known it existed on the floor, and did not take reasonable measures to clean it up or warn customers of its existence.  There are different ways to show this, and different facts to examine to try and satisfy this burden of proof.  Water on the floor from a leaky roof is usually a good sign that the condition has existed for a sufficient period of time for Wal Mart to correct the leak, or at least warn its shoppers of any puddles that may be in the aisle.

Keep in mind that most slip and fall/personal injury attorneys handle claims like this on a contingent basis.  If there is no recovery, you do not owe an attorney’s fee.  Also, most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose in getting an expert opinion from a lawyer in your area.

Lastly, most experienced Florida slip and fall case lawyers that do this type of work have handled cases against Wal Mart before.  I would imagine this holds true for other states as Wal Mart stores are everywhere.  Wal Mart handles thousands of claims on a daily basis.  An attorney will know that Wal Mart claims are handled out of Bentonville, AK by inhouse adjustors.  To speed up the process of hearing from Wal Mart, you need to call them in AK and find the claim #, and the name of the adjustor assigned to handling the case. BUT – if you’re considering getting an attorney, I would do it before you speak to Wal Mart.

Additionally, some Wal Mart stores carry "medical payments" coverage.  Thisis insurance that will reimburse you for out of pocket medical expenses.  I have had claims in Florida with Wal Mart where one store has "medpay" and another store down the street does not.  You need to get Wal Mart’s insurance information for the specific store to find out whether you may be reimbursed through medpay.

For more information about a slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today.

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Florida’s Seat Belt Law – Click it or Lose Your Auto Accident Case

July 24, 2009

Beginning July 1, 2009, police officers in Florida may now stop the driver of a car based upon a simple suspicion that the driver is not wearing a seat belt.  If the police officer’s suspicion is right, you can receive a citation that will cost you $100.00 under the new Florida law.  Before, motorists could not be stopped for just the seat belt violation.  A police officer would have to see some other type of traffic violation, and then could cite a person for failing to wear a seat belt once that person is pulled over.   

      Putting aside the financial reasons for wearing your seat belt, there are also safety and legal issues to consider.  Wearing a seat belt has been proven to save lives.  The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that Florida’s seat belt law will prevent approximately 1,700 serious car accident injuries, and approximately 140 car accident deaths on an annual basis.  In 2007 alone, of the 1,972 that were killed in car accident crashes, 61% of them were not wearing a seat belt.  You do not have to look far to find an auto accident in Florida where a person’s life was saved simply because they were wearing their seatbelt. 

      There are also legal reasons to wear a seat belt in Florida.  If you suffer an injury in a Florida car accident, and you pursue a car accident claim against the person responsible for causing the accident, the at-fault party can raise Florida’s “seat belt defense” in an effort to minimize any car accident injuries you may have suffered.  In order for Florida’s “seat belt defense” to be raised in a Florida auto accident case injury claim, that party must prove there was “an available and fully operational seat belt” that the injured person failed to wear.  Sometimes this is more difficult to show than it seems, particularly in serious car accidents where a car sustains a very large amount of property damage.   If a party can show that there is an available and fully operational seat belt available to the person that was injured in the car accident, Florida Law allows for a jury to reduce a damage award.   

      There are ways to counter the seat belt defense.  These include showing that the seat belt was not “available and fully operational”, arguing that the injury would have occurred even if the person had been wearing the seat belt, or attack the basis for the assertion that the injured person was not wearing their seat belt. 

      A motorist in Florida has many reasons to wear their seat belt.  It is obviously in their financial best interest to wear their seat belt or otherwise be subject to a $100.00 citation from a police officer.  If the driver is involved in a serious car accident or suffers a serious car accident injury, a seat belt is certainly going to give the person a better chance of walking away from the accident versus suffering a serious injury or death.  And finally, if you are injured in a serious car accident, any experienced Florida auto accident case lawyer will advise you that you will have difficulty overcoming Florida’s seat belt defense.   

     Joseph Maus has been specializing in representing those people who have a Florida auto accident case for over 15 years.  To determine whether you may have a claim, the lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A. offer a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions, and help evaluate your claim.  For more information about the seat belt law or a Florida auto accident case, contact Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today.

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Protect Your Rights: What To Do After a Car Accident

July 17, 2009

An auto accident can be one of the most traumatic, shocking, and devastating moments of your life. Though we all like to believe it will never happen to us, over 6 million auto accidents occur in the United States every year. Statistically speaking, it’s very likely that you will be involved in an auto accident at some point in your life, and the best thing you can do is to be prepared.

Moments after impact, many thoughts run through your head. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and evaluate the situation. Of primary importance is ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved in the accident. If needed, call emergency medical professionals. In the emotional aftermath of an accident, most people don’t want to think about legal or financial issues, however, the steps you take immediately following the accident can have great consequences on how the incident affects you in the long term.

Most car crashes, at minimum, cause potentially large amounts of property damage. Personal injuries are also common, leading to costly medical bills, lost wages, and potential damage claims. In addition to the emotional burden of a shocking accident, the financial costs can make a bad situation much worse. Thus, it’s important to know what to do when you are involved in an accident.

Most importantly, do not leave the scene of the accident. Wait for the police to arrive, collect the other driver’s name, insurance information, and vehicle information. If there were any witnesses, collect their information as well so you can have their names and addresses later on if you need them. Take detailed notes about the events leading up to the accident. Do not admit fault – you most likely don’t have all of the information about the accident immediately after the accident occurs.

Once you have all of this information, if you are concerned about financial or legal issues relating to the accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney immediately. Because auto accidents can result in death or serious injury, and can leave victims with large medical bills, potential lost wages while recovering from the accident, and personal and marital stress, a South Florida accident attorney can help to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. An experienced South Florida accident lawyer will help you recover damages against the person who is responsible for the accident and your injuries. An experienced South Florida car accident attorney will also negotiate with insurance companies to maximize your recovery.

Remember, insurance companies have thousands of attorneys working for them to defend Florida car accident claims.  Protect your rights by having your own South Florida accident lawyer represent you and your interests.  Attorney Joseph M. Maus, a South Florida accident lawyer, handles car accident claims on a contingent basis.  This means that unless you recover money for your car accident, you do not owe any fees or costs.

If you have had a car accident in South Florida, contact a South Florida accident lawyer at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit their website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email them today.

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