Archive for March, 2010

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Grocery Store Slip And Fall Injury Advice From a Broward County Injury Lawyer

March 30, 2010

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

Question:
Thank you in advance for any info you can give me.  I live in TX. This happened in a local grocery store. Short version of story.

I was going to get broccoli but had to go further down to grab a bag.  When I stepped on the rug, it slid and I started doing a balancing act.  I was able to prevent a fall, which I was told by doctors, I would have been better off falling. Before I left the store I was hurting.

I reported the water to the manager, who also nearly slid, and he only touched the edge of the rug.  He pulled it up to find water floating under the rug. The rugs were put down in the last few years as when they spray the produce there was always water getting on the floor.  He referenced this and that we try to check the area and I said that apparently it hasn’t been checked in awhile. He asked me if I wanted to file a report and I said I better.  His version of the report was taking my name and phone number.

There also was an elderly man and woman that were walking up and saw me.  I pointed them out as witnesses to him and he said he would get their info since I did not have paper and pen…he did not, as by the time he got the water tended to they were gone. My mistake for not following up but I was waiting for my daughter to come and did not realize I was going to hurt this bad later.

Muscle strain all over but the biggest problem has been a groin strain.  Dr said due to my age (51) that it would take a long time to heal and could be easier to get one again, especially since it was taking me so long to get treatments. I had doctors dropping from my insurance policy and kept having to make new appointments.I couldn’t even get my left leg in the car so I lost wages as well.

So do you think this is worth pursuing or not to get my medical paid?  I have heard these cases are hard to prove and I don’t feel good enough to deal with something if it is a waste of time.

Answer:
I am a Broward County injury lawyer in Florida, specializing in car accident claims, slip and fall claims, and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state, so the law for a Florida accident or injury such as a slip and fall may be quite different than the laws where you live.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you most likely have a claim for payment of your medical bills, and, a claim for your injuries and pain and suffering.  Claims in Florida are evaluated based upon the degree of liability that exists against the store, the specific nature of the injury, the amount and type of medical care and bills that you have had, and that you may continue to require in the future, and the amount of pain and suffering you have experienced in the past, and future.  Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity can also be recovered in Florida.

Its tough to say right now whether your claim is "worth pursuing".  It really depends on whether your injury goes away in a few days, or lingers. The problem with waiting is you don’t know right now whether the injury will go away, or how long it could take to heal.

Keep in mind, at least in Florida, just because a person slips in a grocery store, it does not automatically mean the store is responsible for injuries which result from the fall.  You have to be able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused the fall.  Generally, a property owner or store owner only 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.

Obviously there was a problem in the store, and it doesn’t look like the carpet on the floor fixed the problem.  It appears the store management and employees should have known that they had a dangerous condition and taken steps to eliminate the condition, or at a minimum, warn customers about the area.  While slip and fall cases are difficult, if you can establish the store knew about this problem, the case will be easier to settle, and easier to prove if you have to file a lawsuit.

The best advice I can give you is to speak with an attorney that specializes in premises liability claims, i.e. slip and fall.  The attorney can advise you whether the law is in your area is different than for Florida slip and fall accidents.

As a Broward County injury lawyer, my advice is that you should contact an attorney soon.  There are many steps your attorney should take now, i.e. notify the insurance company for the store, find out what types of coverage are available, including whether any medical payments coverage exists.  If the accident occurred at large grocery store chain, you’ll want to check to see whether there have been claims similar to yours that occurred at the location.  If the store copied down the names of any witnesses, you’ll want to speak to them to verify their observations.

You’ll also want to check to see if there is any in-store surveillance video.  The video may have recorded the fall.  It also may have recorded the 10-15 minutes before the fall which would indicate whether any store employees checked the area for water prior to you walking through the area.

Most attorneys specializing in premises liability, i.e. slip/trip and fall, claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. the 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. So, you have nothing to lose by at least speaking to an accident injury lawyer to see whether you have a claim, and also get a better idea of the value of your claim.

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

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Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer Offers Auto/Bicycle Safety Tips

March 27, 2010

Because the Sunshine State has such nice weather, many people enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, roller blading, and cycling. Along with great weather, however, Florida is also known for its high number of auto/bicycle accidents. In fact, Florida holds the dubious "honor" of being the state with the highest number of bicycle fatalities in the country. Part of the problem is that the state lacks bicycle lanes, part of it is due to cyclists sometimes neglecting to follow the rules of the road, and part of the problem is that motorists often don’t see cyclists until it’s too late. In short, drivers in South Florida need to watch out for cyclists.

Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus notes that many people are not aware that bicycles are classed as vehicles and cyclists are classified as drivers. Florida Statutes requires cyclists follow the same rules of the road as the drivers of cars, trucks, etc.in addition to the regulations specific to bicycles. For example, bicycles are required to have front lights that can be seen for 500 feet and both a reflector and a rear light that is visible from 600 feet away when being ridden at night. Over half of fatal bicycle crashes in Florida occur after sunset, even though most cycling is done during daylight hours.

Here are some tips to help increase cycling safety:

  • A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding – it’s the law! In addition to safety, a helmet helps make cyclists more visible.
  • It’s a good idea to tape emergency information (contact information, medical conditions, etc) inside the brim of the helmet.
  • A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and meets a nationally recognized standard.
  • Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic (with traffic).
  • At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars at all times while riding.
  • No person shall operate a bicycle while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.
  • It is unlawful to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can get a DUI for cycling while impaired by drugs or alcohol!
  • A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
  • Don’t follow too closely behind a cyclist.
  • Be careful when opening vehicle doors along roadways or sidewalks.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, especially for children. Every seventh fatality from a bike accident is a child. A cyclist’s head is hit in 38 percent of accidents. Riders who don’t wear helmets are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash then those who wear helmets, and head injuries account for over 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths. It is estimated that between 45 to 88 percent of a bicyclist’s brain injuries can be prevented just by wearing a helmet.

For more information if you have suffered an auto/bicycle injury, contact Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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A Shopping Cart Injury At Sam’s Club: Do I Need An Attorney?

March 26, 2010
The Following Q&A is from AllExperts.com. You can find more answers from Joe Maus here, or at AllExperts.com
Question:

Yesterday my wife and I went to Sam’s Club. Upon entry into the store in the “cart barn” I was struck by a load of shopping carts being brought into the area by two of Sam’s members. I was hit in the hip area.the Impact spun me around and I was in pain. The manager filled out an accident report and viewed the the security video and did show the accident. Today I am scheduled to see my doctor. Should I contact a lawyer or not? I am not a ambulance chaser. Thanks for your advice.

Answer:
Craig,

My advice on whether you should speak with an accident injury lawyer depends on the extent of your injury. If your injury looks like it is going to be with you for a while, and you’re going to need ongoing medical care to treat the injury, I would say absolutely consult with an accident injury lawyer.

The problem is, if your injury just happened yesterday, it is difficult to know what the future holds. You may wake up a few days/weeks from now and have no problems related to the accident, or you may find yourself in surgery several months from now as a result of the accident. There is no way of knowing now what the extent of your injury will be.

I would recommend you meet with an injury accident lawyer now, rather than waiting to see how the injury progresses. The reason is that there are steps you want to take now that can affect whether your claim is successful down the road. For instance, you want to get a letter out to Sam’s Club immediately asking that they preserve the videotape. If you wait too long, they will tape over the video, and the single best piece of evidence for your accident will have been destroyed.

I am a Florida accident injury lawyer, and can only advise you what Florida laws are. In Florida, the accident and injury you sustained would allow you to bring a claim. A store owner such as Sam’s Club, and its employees, are required to maintain their stores in a reasonably safe condition. Having two employees run a load of carts into you as you’re standing there is an unsafe condition which they have created, and for which you can make a claim. The laws in your state may be different, so please check with an accident injury attorney in your area if you do not live in Florida.

If you received injuries, you can recover money for the injury itself, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. The amount that you are entitled to recover depends on the seriousness of your injury(s). Most Florida accident injury claims get settled before a lawsuit is filed. Most Florida accident injury lawyers handle claims like yours on a contingent basis, meaning there is no charge for attorney’s fees or costs unless there is a recovery for you. The attorney’s fees would then be a percentage of the recovery, usually 1/3 presuit or 40% if the case goes into litigation. Because the claims are handled on a contingent basis, you have nothing to lose by speaking with an accident injury lawyer now, versus waiting until later.

When a client comes into my office to discuss a claim, I will tell them up front if I don’t think their claim is worth pursuing. There is no sense of creating false expectations, and usually the clients appreciate the candor. If you’re in Florida, I would be interested in speaking to you further about your claim. If you’re outside of Florida, I may be able to refer you to somebody to speak with about your accident and injury(s).

Good luck.
Joseph M. Maus
The Maus Law Firm

To speak with a South Florida injury attorney, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Follow Up To “Help – My Attorney Won’t Talk To My Witness! – Expert Advice from a Broward County Injury Lawyer”

March 24, 2010

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

Subject: Follow Up to "Attorney Won’t Talk To Witness"

QUESTION: Thank you for your quick reply. We dealt with this problem by actually paying the fire expert’s nominal retainer. We feel questions still need to be answered.  Problem is that he only wants to give his additional investigative report to our attorney. We haven’t even seen the initial report and photos that we had paid for.  I thought we have the right to see all these reports, being that it was our money. What is going on here? Seems like we are out of the loop.

Also, should our attorney prepare for this mediation the same as he would if this were the trial?  (Complete all necessary depositions, obtain expert reports, photos, etc.)  Are we allowed to express our opinions or ask questions during the mediation?

ANSWER: It is very difficult to second guess an accident injury attorney working on your case.  I don’t know the type claim you have, nor anything about what has happened to this point.  You really need to sit down with your attorney and hash these issues out.  If you’re not comfortable with the attorney, go meet with another one to get a second opinion, or discuss transferring the file.  If you are going to trial on an accident injury case, you have to be 100% confident with the lawyer, and the preparation that has gone into the file.

You do have a right to see copies of expert reports, especially if you paid for it, or any other documents in the file.  There are strategic reasons for not having the expert prepare a report prior to trial. Whenever an expert prepares a report, the report becomes discoverable by the other party.    An expert can provide his opinions verbally to you or the attorney, but the attorney may not want the expert to prepare a report just yet.  Depending on the type expert, he can testify at trial without ever producing a written report.

Not sure where you’re located, but in Florida (I am a Broward County injury lawyer), the client has an absolute right to look at his file, the work being done on the file, expert reports, etc.  If he won’t let you see the file, you can contact the state Bar Association, and maybe they’ll contact him for you.

Regarding preparation for mediation, you do not prepare for mediation as you would trial.  There are alot of reasons for this, primarily money and time. There is no reason to spend the time and money necessary to prepare for trial, if you don’t need to.  This is one of the main reasons that judges in Florida accident injury claims began making mediation mandatory – so that the parties would get together to discuss resolving the case prior to incurring all the costs of preparing for, and going through, trial.  You don’t need all discovery done at the time of mediation.  You need enough done to be able to intelligently, and accurately, discuss your claim, and give the other side enough information to evaluate the merits of your claim.

For more information or to speak with a Broward County Injury lawyer, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Help – My Attorney Won’t Talk To My Witness! – Expert Advice from a Broward County Injury Lawyer

March 22, 2010

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

Subject: Attorney Won’t Talk To Witness

Question: What do you do when your personal injury attorney will not communicate with your expert witness because he does not want to pay his retainer?  Our previous attorney hired this expert and my family personally paid a substantial amount for his investigative services.  This present retainer is a nominal fee in comparison to what we paid the expert.  Our present attorney pays for the services of experts according to his contingency agreement. We do have some notes that the expert took from interviews of witnesses.  I talked with him a few days ago about what was discovered by the expert witness and he brought up a possible spoilage of evidence issue.   There is also other crucial evidence we want him to investigate further.

The court ordered a mandatory mediation and we do not feel that the discovery has been thorough enough in order to present our case effectively. We feel our attorney should leave no stone unturned, however he has not even returned our expert’s emails.  How can we be satisfied with any settlement offered if we still have questions that we want answered?  What would you advise in this situation?

Answer: You need to sit down and have a detailed, face to face, discussion with your attorney on what is going on with the case.  Without knowing the history of your case, and all the details of what has happened through both your attorneys, I could not give you an opinion as to whether the current attorney is handling the case correctly.

Make a list of your questions.  Take the expert’s emails with you.  Ask about the presentation that is going to be made at mediation, and whether additional discovery would help your case at mediation.  And, ask about the settlement and verdict range of cases similar to yours.  Your attorney should be able to answer all these questions to your satisfaction, or you should find an attorney that can.

I can tell you from my own experience as a Broward County injury lawyer, clients sometimes do not appreciate the critical legal issues in a case, and focus on more emotional issues that may not have much bearing on the outcome of a case.  Expert witnesses sometimes do the same.  Your attorney needs to focus on the elements of the claim which need to be proven in court, including damages, and utilize expert witnesses for that limited purpose.  It doesn’t do you any good to have an expert run up costs on a file if there is no benefit or use to the opinions he/she will be able to provide.

For more information or to speak with a Broward County Injury lawyer, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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A Cruise Ship Injury Can Happen At Any Time – On Land Or At Sea

March 22, 2010

It’s cold and dreary out and most of us are starting to think about taking a vacation to a warmer climate. In many cases, this means we’re busy perusing cruise brochures and dreaming of romantic getaways to exotic places. More than four million people cruise annually and with such a large number of passengers on these floating hotels, it is no wonder that accidents and injuries occur frequently. Due to the size of ships today and the many activities they offer, and the thousands of passengers traveling on each ship, you will most likely encounter some potentially dangerous conditions while on your cruise. Some of the most dangerous conditions that can result in a cruise ship injury actually occur on ship-sponsored excursions in foreign countries.

Cruisejunkie.com is a website that reports on various cruise ship accidents that take place every year. Their website reports that 40 accidents occurred on just ONE cruise line in 2009 alone. A sampling of these accidents reported by Cruisejunkie.com show the accidents range from on-board accidents, to on-shore car accidents.

  • The Carnival Lines’ Legend‘s ship-sponsored shore excursion to the San Gervasio ruins outside of Cozumel culminating in a head-on collision between two jeeps in November, 2009. Because both jeeps were overloaded, some of the cruise passengers were hurled from the vehicles while others remained twisted in the wreckage.
  • The Royal Caribbean Lines’ Freedom of the Seas lost a passenger in Cozumel in April, 2009 when the man fell overboard from a ship’s shuttle that was docking in Cozumel. The ship was maneuvering to dock at the pier when the passenger was thrown overboard and was sucked into the engine turbine, severing several body parts.
  • The Royal Caribbean Lines’ Freedom of the Seas was involved in another shore-excursion accident in July, 2009. In this case, 30 of the 47 cruise ship passengers on an amphibious tour bus were injured when it veered off a road during a shore excursion in the US Virgin Islands.
  • The Celebrity Cruises’ Summit had sixteen passengers injured when their bus apparently lost control in Dominica and drove into a ditch while it was returning to the ship from a shore excursion. The passengers sustained injuries, including broken bones, bumps, bruises and lacerations, however, three people were more seriously injured.
  • The Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Majesty had an onboard incident which was reported by a passenger: “On March 20th at approximately 14:45 off the coast of Jacksonville, FL, following a boom or rumble like sound, large chunks of rusty iron matter jettisoned out from ship’s funnel raining down on guests on aft sundecks 10 & 8. This was followed by a spray of an oily substance and black soot that showered the entire aft section. Passengers were literally coated with this residue permanently damaging clothing and personal belongings. Crew members who witnessed just pointed and laughed.”

Your cruise ship injury attorney should be experienced with both State and Federal laws that may apply to your accident claim. Cruise ship accident claims, whether occurring on-board, or during an on-shore excursion, can be governed by State, Federal or Maritime laws and it is critical to identify which laws control your accident case. One important distinction for cruise ship accident claims involves the Statute of Limitations for on-board accident claims. Most Cruise Ship companies have a clause in the terms and condtions of its ticket which requires an accident claim to be brought within one year of the date of the accident, and in a specific court. For instance, Carnival Cruise Lines requires claims for on-board accidents to be brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami).

For more information about a 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 offers a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and let you know if you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced cruise ship injury claims lawyer who has handled 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. Mr. Maus is an AV rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

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South Florida Injury Attorney – Expert Answer: Ankle Injury Claim Question

March 18, 2010

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

Question:
I injured my ankle back in December 2007 while I was working. I was providing mental health therapy and injured my ankle while playing soccer with my client and mother in their frontyard. I was a healthy person before the injury.Work compensation was involved and I settled with them for $4,000 only because they said I was not a handicapped and I could drive to the settlement office. I put in a claim for personal injury in October, 2008 since I thought I was going to recover before that, but did not. I have seen 9 doctors and finally got surgery (arthroscopy). I can walk and stand longer but I can’t drive now. I used my left foot for 2 years using a left accelerator but now the left knee is hurting bad. Since I can’t drive with either leg, I was even thinking to use a hand control. At this point the lawyer has spoken with the adjuster and I believed they sent the demand on 10/20/09. The adjuster needs some record and then she will analyze the whole package. My concern is if the demand was actually sent in time since there is a statue of limitations here in Florida. I heard it is 2 years for slip and fall cases. Do you have to go to court with the demand in that timeframe or is that the time in which you submit it to the adjuster? Can you also tell me if getting the total policy can be a reality since it took 1 year and 2 months to recover but I did not recover 100%, then I went through surgery, 3 physycal therapies, had a significant emotional impact and the losses including loss of wages, second opinions and all the medical was $24.000.

Answer:

The statute of limitations in Florida for slip and fall claims is four years.  That means that within 4 years of the accident occurring, a lawsuit must be filed in court.

As for the value of your claim, that question is best answered by your lawyer.  Even though I am a South Florida injury attorney, not all cases are the same. The value of your claim is going to be based upon the severity of your injury, the amount of your medical bills – which includes whatever you have incurred to date, as well as any amount you may have to spend in the future, lost wages or loss of your ability to earn income in the future, and pain and suffering – both past and future.

In order for your lawyer to make the best recovery for you, you should sit down with him/her and discuss these types of damages, whether they may apply to your case, and try to quantify the amount for purposes of a settlement demand to the insurance company, and if the case does not settle before a lawsuit, an amount you can ask a jury for.

To speak with a South Florida injury attorney, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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