Monday, August 21, 2017

Slip and Fall Accidents: The Basics

slip and fall basics

At some point in all of our lives we have slipped and fallen for one reason or another. Usually it's because we weren't watching where we were going and slipped due to our own carelessness. But sometimes, slipand falls are caused by another person’s negligence. Imagine a scenario where you are visiting a grocery store and slip and fall because a store employee left a banana peel on the floor. This is the classic slip and fall case involving a commercial property. This article will walk you through the basic elements of a slip and fall case and what your attorney will be looking for when they evaluate your potential claim.

Was there a duty owed by the business?

It is important to establish that the person you are claiming caused your injury actually had a duty to protect you. A duty exists when a business owner owns, controls, or operates a business and consumers are invited onto that premises to conduct business. A business owner owes a duty to these customers to make sure that the premises are in a safe condition. If a business owner or employee fails to keep the premises clean and free of noticeable dangers, they may be found to have breached their duty to their guests, and that is when they could potentially face liability.

Was the store aware that the situation existed?

This is called the “notice” requirement. Was the store either actually aware that the condition existed or constructively aware? A store is actually aware when they discover the banana peel themselves and fail to take any action. If someone tells the store or a store employee about the banana peel they are also on actual notice of the condition. Constructivenotice can be established when a plaintiff can prove that the store failed to regularly inspect the premises when they know that it is likely that a spill could occur. If they know this probability is high, and they fail to take steps to inspect, they are said to be on constructive notice that a dangerous condition could be present.

Did the store breach their duty to keep the premises safe?

As discussed above, a business owes a duty to its customers to keep the premises in a safe condition. This duty is breached when they are put on either actual or constructive notice that a dangerous condition is present and they fail to take action to remedy the situation. If a business is aware that the banana peel is on the floor and they decide to ignore that notice and fail to pick it up, and someone slips on that banana peel, they have breached their duty to their guests. Likewise if a business fails to actually regularly inspect the business for dangerous conditions knowing that there is a chance one could appear at any time, they have breached their duty to regularly inspect and could be liable.

Were your injuries caused by the stores breach?

So you slipped and fell on the floor after you stepped on the banana peel, does that mean your case is automatically worth a million dollars? No. Most people do not realize that you must be able to pointto an actual injury which was caused by that slip and fall. This is known as the causation element. In order for you to claim damages, you must be able to show that the injuries you suffered were either caused by the slip and fall, or were preexisting conditions which were actually aggravated by the slip and fall. An aggravated injury is one in which an old wound once again surfaces and begins causing pain again. If you can show that your injury was caused by the slip and fall, or that a preexisting injury was aggravated by the fall, you stand a better chance of being compensated for your injuries.

Contact an experienced attorney for your slip and fall case

The personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group have decades of experience in negotiating and litigating slip and fall claims. They fight hard to protect Clearwater residents from injuries and ensure that they are fairly compensated when injuries do occur. Whether your slip and fall injuries were caused by the negligence of a grocery store or other kind or business, our experienced team has the legal expertise to ably handle your claim. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our experienced, aggressive attorneys will protect your right to be compensated for your injuries and losses.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher RoadClearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Umbilical Cord Problems Can Lead to Birth Injuries

Assisting Clients Who Have Been Affected by Birth Injuries Due to Medical Negligence

The umbilical cord is the lifeline from a mother to the child she is carrying. Without the umbilical cord, a baby would not receive blood, oxygen, or nutrients. The baby also would not be able to eliminate waste. The umbilical cord cannot be safely clamped and severed until after the baby is delivered; otherwise, the baby will not survive.

Due to the importance of the umbilical cord, you can likely imagine how dangerous it can be when a problem arises involving this cord. When certain umbilical cord issues arise, they must be addressed as soon as possible to prevent any injuries that can result from cutting off the baby’s oxygen or blood supply. In some situations, however, doctors fail to properly diagnose umbilical cord problems that they should have noticed. In such situations, unnecessary and preventable birth injuries may occur.

Having your child sustain an avoidable birth injury is a traumatic experience that will likely affect your family for years to come. Many financial and intangible losses can result from a birth injury. If your doctor’s negligence was to blame for the injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group regularly represent clients in medical malpractice claims and can help you after a birth injury in your family.

Umbilical Cord Issues that Should be Addressed

The following are some examples of problems that may arise involving the umbilical cord. These should be properly diagnosed and addressed whenever possible. Each doctor should have specific methods of addressing these umbilical cord problems should they present a risk to your child:

-Nuchal cord The nuchal cord is one of the most commonly-seen problems. It happens when the cord becomes wrapped around the neck of the infant. When the cord is wrapped loosely, there is little danger; however, if the cord is wrapped tightly around the infant’s neck, she may be deprived of oxygen and suffer brain injuries, cerebral palsy, or other birth injuries as a result.

-Umbilical cord prolapse - This happens when the umbilical cord passes through the

cervix in the labor and delivery process before the infant. When the infant follows, his head and body can compress the cord, or the cord can become wrapped around him. If not detected and addressed quickly, this can lead to severe oxygen deprivation and related birth injuries.

-Knots in the umbilical cord - Loose knots can form in the umbilical cord during pregnancy because of the way a baby moves around. However, during a traditional delivery, a loose knot can become tightened and constrict the cord, preventing adequate oxygen and blood flow from reaching the child during a sometimes long delivery.

-Cysts on the umbilical cord - Different types of cysts can develop on the umbilical cord early on in a pregnancy. If properly detected, these cysts can be treated relatively easily. However, if not diagnosed and treated, umbilical cord cysts can result in birth defects.

-Umbilical cord stricture - While one of the rarest issues, this is perhaps the most frightening of the umbilical cord problems. This is because it is not known why it occurs and it can happen to anyone during pregnancy. When the umbilical cord narrows, it can cause severe fetal distress and, if the condition is not diagnosed immediately, it can often result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Many umbilical cord problems happen on their own and there is nothing that even the best doctors could do to prevent them. However, a doctor should identify that there is an issue with the umbilical cord as soon as possible and take any steps necessary to reduce the risk of injury to a child.

If an infant is injured by an umbilical cord problem and there was no way to prevent the injury, a doctor will not be held legally at fault for that injury. However, if a doctor failed to diagnose an umbilical cord issue or did not take the appropriate measures to prevent injuries, the doctor may then be held legally liable for any birth injuries that occurred under Florida law.
The Birth Injury Claim Process
If your child was injured at birth and you believe your doctor’s mistakes may be to blame, you should discuss what happened with the Dolman Law Group as soon as possible. Our attorneys will use our resources to evaluate your situation and determine whether medical malpractice occurred and whether you have a valid claim.

Birth injury cases may either be resolved through a claim with the doctor or hospital’s insurance company, or by filing a lawsuit in civil court. In either situation, it is critical that you have an experienced birth injury law firm on your side to represent you through every step of the process. Our attorneys understand the complex insurance and legal negotiations and will seek to resolve your case in the most favorable way possible.
Find Out How Our Experienced St. Petersburg Birth Injury Attorneys Can Assist You
Umbilical cord problems are only one of many different things that can go wrong during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This should be a joyous time for your family and should not be marred by a birth injury that resulted in significant losses and trauma to your child. Doctors should be living up to their expected standard of care and doing everything in their power to protect both infants and mothers from birth injuries.

The legal team at the Dolman Law Group knows that unfortunately, birth injuries do happen on a regular basis in South Florida. Our birth injury lawyers understand the pain you have been experiencing and are here to help you by representing your rights. To learn more about the many ways we will assist you in seeking compensation for your losses, please call our office at 727-222-6922 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Role of Property Damage in a Personal Injury Claim

My clients are always surprised to learn the important role that vehicle property damage plays in a personal injury case. Specifically, the amount of property damage to the car can be critical. 

I suppose this line of thinking is understandable.

Imagine you have been in a car crash. You are hurt, you feel pain in your neck and back or maybe your arms and legs. You know you are injured. You go to the hospital and are seen by a doctor. Perhaps they run some tests, prescribe some medication, and send you on your way. You follow up with your primary care physician or the hospital-recommended physician and, due to your continued pain complaints, they recommend you begin physical therapy or chiropractic care. Eventually, someone recommends that you contact an attorney to pursue a personal injury case. You don’t want to be one of those “people who sue everyone,” but you figure you might as well meet with the attorney just to be safe. You get to the meeting, you tell the attorney about your pain and the crash and then he or she asks you about the damage to your vehicle.

It's understandable to be confused as to the relevance of this question; afterall, you're the one in pain, not the car.

Elements of Causation

There are four elements to any personal injury case: duty, breach, causation, and damages. 

To win a personal injury case, a Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant owed a duty to the Plaintiff to exercise reasonable care. 

Then, the Plaintiff must prove:

  • that the Defendant breached said duty (these two elements are often rolled into one overarching element called liability);
  • that the breach of said duty was the cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries;
  • and to what extent the Plaintiff was damaged by the Defendant. 
The damages element can include outstanding medical bills and the ever-famous pain and suffering. Of course, there are potentially other pieces to this element, but these are the most commonly claimed and/or asked about by clients.

While insurance companies will fight a personal injury case on any issue that they can (reducing or denying a claim), one of the go-to tactics of the Defense bar is to argue that the crash in question was simply not severe enough to cause the injuries that the Plaintiff is claiming. I often find that this line of thought perplexes my clients. 

They know that they are in pain and they know they didn’t feel this way before the crash. They have seen a doctor that has related their pain to the crash, and they’ve probably even had some diagnostic testing performed that revealed an objective injury of some kind. It doesn’t matter to them that a body shop repaired their vehicle for less than $1,000; they know that they are injured and that the car accident caused it.

However, the reality is that if the Plaintiff and the Defendant can’t reach a settlement on out of court, at some point the case will go to trial before a jury. That jury will consist of six people who do not know the Plaintiff, the Defendant, or any of the attorneys. 

In cases where the property damage is minor or non-existent, the Defense will blow up large photographs of the damage, show them to the jury and ask if they believe that the accident that caused such little damage to the Plaintiff’s car could have caused the injuries the Plaintiff is claiming. This is a powerful tactic and it is quite often successful, mostly because it's a simple logical step for a layman to make from “small damage to the vehicle to small damage to the person inside.” 

While there is some science that rebuts this line of thinking, it's often not strong enough to defeat the typical jurors’ own logic. Essentially, in these cases, injury attorneys are having to ask jurors, “Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

That is why finding out as much information as possible about the extent and status of a potential client’s property damage is vital to the building of a personal injury case. As with anything, the sooner your attorney knows about a potential issue or pitfall to a case, the sooner they can start building the case to rebut the arguments they know the defense will make.

Experienced Representation for your Personal Injury Claim

The personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group have decades of experience in negotiating and litigating personal injury cases. They fight hard to protect Florida residents from insurance companies and ensure that their clients are fairly compensated when injuries occur. Whether your injury was caused by a car accidentworkplace accidentslip and fall accident, or medical malpractice, our experienced team has the legal expertise to ably handle your claim

Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Our experienced, aggressive attorneys will protect your right to be compensated for your injuries and losses.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Four Degrees of Burn Injuries

Have you heard the trivia question asking what is the largest organ in the human body? The answer: skin! Your skin acts as your body’s natural protectant from infection, but burns are your skin’s natural predator. Because burn injuries completely destroy the affected cells, they are among the most serious, painful, and fatal injuries you can experience. If you or a loved one has experienced a burn injury, whether in a devastating fire, a workplace electrocution, or a chemical accident, it is important to seek help immediately, even if the burn seems minor.

The Four Types of Burn Injuries

People often assume that there are only three types of burn injuries, but there are actually four degrees of burn injuries. First-degree burns are among the most common, and they are classified as injuries that burn only the outer layer of your skin. Sunburn is the most common example of a first-degree burn injury, and for anyone who has experienced the heat of a Florida summer, you know what happens after a sunburn. The skin dies and begins to peel while a new layer of skin grows to take its place. Although first-degree burn injuries can be painful, with some antibiotic cream and care, you can recover from such without the need for medical intervention.

Second-degree burn injuries are those that burn down to the second layer of skin, which may cause oozing blisters. These types of burns are those you may experience if you accidentally touch a hot heating coil. Although second-degree burn injuries may also heal on their own, it may leave a scar, and if left untreated, second-degree burns may actually develop into third-degree burns.

Third-degree burns are classified as involving both layers of your skin as well as your underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. Your nerve endings and flesh will generally be destroyed if you experience a third-degree burn, and you must seek immediate medical attention for such. Depending on the scope of the burn injury, i.e., what percentage of your body is burned, such injuries may prove fatal.

Fourth-degree burn injuries are the most serious but are rare. These injuries occur when the burns extend through the skin, bones, and tendons and into the fat and muscle of your body. Due to the seriousness of such burns, immediate surgical intervention is generally necessary, and such injuries may prove fatal or result in life-altering disabilities. Serious car fires can result in such injuries.

The Most Dangerous Burn Injuries

Surprisingly, the most dangerous injury you can experience after a fire is not a burn injury, but rather a smoke inhalation injury, which is actually the leading cause of fire-related death. Such injuries occur when you inhale small smoke and fire particulars, and the danger is that the seriousness of the injury may not immediately manifest. In fact, some victims do not experience symptoms of smoke inhalation until 36 hours after exposure to fire particles. Injuries from

smoke inhalation typically occur from soot, asphyxiation, or toxicity from deadly carbon monoxide particles. If you were involved in a fire, you should monitor yourself for the following symptoms:
  • Cough;
  • Decreased breath sounds;
  • Wheezing; 
  • Retractions; 
  • Trouble breathing; and 
  • Dyspnea. 

One of the first injuries doctors treating you after a fire should check for is a smoke inhalation. If they fail to do so, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.

Infection After a Burn Injury

Second, third, and fourth-degree burn injuries are often the most fatal not because of the physical damage to your tissue, but due to the high risk of serious infection. If you experience any of the following symptoms, even with a first-degree burn, it is important to contact a doctor immediately:

  • The burn appears red and hot for an extended period of time; 
  • Change in the color of the burnt area and/or surrounding skin; 
  • Swelling with a purplish discoloration; 
  • Changes in burn thickness, i.e, your skin begins to harden at a deeper level; 
  • Green discharge and/or pus-like discharge; and/or 
  • Fever. 

If you develop a serious infection as a result of a burn, you may have to have debridement surgery, which is when a surgeon must remove the dead and infected tissue and bone because it is too damaged or serious to be treated with typical antibiotics. Sometimes surgeons will remove dead skin immediately after a serious burn, but the deeper the burn, the more susceptible you are to infection.

Risk Factors and Additional Symptoms of Burn Injuries

If you experience a serious burn over a large percentage of your body, you will lose a lot of fluid in your skin, which will result in dehydration that can actually be life threatening. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or thirsty after a burn, be sure to seek out medical help and IV fluids before you go into a special type of dehydration burn shock. Burns over large areas of your body can greatly decrease your percentage of survival due to complications involving dehydration, infection, and smoke inhalation, and you are at great risk of experiencing such burns if you are trapped in a car fire after a serious accident, scalding liquid is poured on you due to another’s negligence, or you are electrocuted. Further, if an emergency room physician fails to be on the lookout for and diagnose smoke inhalation, dehydration shock, or deep wound infection, you could end up with more serious injuries than those you came in with. This is especially true because serious burns are one of the few injuries that can actually manifest and get worse over time.

Contact a St. Petersburg Burn Injury Attorney with Questions

Due to the permanent scarring associated with serious burns, such an injury can forever change your life. If you were burned due to the negligence of another, including a driver or your employer, it is important to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical bills. Further, if you or a loved one suffered due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose an infection or smoke inhalation, you may have a case for medical malpractice under Florida law. Contact the Dolman Law Group, your premier burn lawyers in St. Petersburg. They are here to fight for your right to take back your life after a serious burn, and they can advise you as to whether you have a burn injury claim under Florida law. Contact them today online or at (727) 222-6922 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922