2014

$1,000,000 bus crash settlement. This is the case that went to verdict, in Orlando, Florida, in November, 2013 (see below). The Defendants' post trial motions, including to set aside the jury verdict, were denied by trial judge Donald Myers. Defendants were prepared to appeal, a process that would have delayed a final result by upwards of a year. On the eve of having to post an appeal bond, Defendants agreed to meet Plaintiff's final settlement demand.

$27,500 car crash settlement.
$10,000 from the tortfeasor's bodily injury coverage, $17,500 from our client's UM. We convinced the UM carrier to pay a fair share by comparing pre- and post-accident lumbar MRI images. The pre-accident images, from a few years before our crash, showed two disc hernations, while the post-accident images showed those two herniations plus one more. This allowed us to argue that our accident caused the third herniation. We provided the adjuster with the actual images from both MRIs to have reviewed by the carrier's radiologist.

$175,000 workers' compensation settlement.
Our client, a 60 year old respiratory therapist, sustained a significant tibial fracture from slipping and falling in a stairwell at work. Once she was placed at maximum medical improvement (MMI) by the surgeon, we filed a workers' compensation claim for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. The case was settled ten days before trial, after two IMEs and a vocational assessment had been performed. Our client also qualified for Social Security Disability benefits. As a result, some of her workers' compensation settlement proceeds will be placed in a self-administered Medicare Set-Aside account.

$60,000 workers' compensation settlement.
Our client, a hotel housekeeper, injured her shoulder when she slipped while cleaning a bathroom.

$27,500 premises liability mediated settlement.
Our client slipped in wet paint in the stairwell of a Miami Beach condominium. Building maintenance failed to warn residents or prevent them from using the stairwell. One of the building's two elevators was out of order.

$450,000 Elderly Abuse & Medical Negligence settlement.
"Rabbit from a hat." That's the description I have given this case. I have blogged extensively about the indecent and dangerous protection afforded medical providers under Florida's wrongful death statute for the wrongful death of elderly individuals resulting from medical negligence. Thanks to Domnick & Shevin PL, we found a way around the statutory immunity ... sort of. Section 768.21(8) of Florida's Wrongful Death Act exempts medical providers from liability where the decedent dies without leaving behind a surviving spouse or any minor children. Our office receives regular inquiries from the adult children and  siblings of senior citizens whose deaths were caused by medical malpractice. Frequently, we are not the first law firm they have contacted. They have been told by other firms or we must inform them for the first time that they are prevented from pursuing a claim under the wrongful death statute. In most instances, that ends the inquiry. We are barred by Florida law from being able to help these people. In certain specific instances, however, relief may be available under Florida's "Adult Protective Services Act. "That's the avenue we followed in the "Rabbit from a hat" case. It began with a phone call from a gentleman who explained that his 77 year old father-in-law had recently died while in the care of a facility where he was admitted for rehabilitation after a heart surgery. Upon admission to the facility, he was incoherent with a diagnoses of confusion, dementia, encephalopathy, hypertension, history of transient ischemic attack, lack of bed mobility and requiring extensive assistance with activities of daily living. He was 77 years old, wheelchair bound and dependent on staff for pressure relief. He was unable to give a history or perform any activities of daily living due to his confusion, generalized weakness and infirmity of age. He was at high risk for skin breakdown. To avoid bedsores, his position needed to be shifted frequently. Since he was in no state to care for himself, this responsibility fell on facility staff, including trained nurses. It wasn't done. He quickly developed painful and debilitating bedsores that ultimately led to his demise two months after his admission for care and rehab. Prior to our receiving the initial call, the decedent's family had complained to The Adult Protective Services Program, which undertook an investigation. It's report recounted troubling instances of neglect and abuse. A lawsuit was filed against the facility containing claims for medical negligence and elder abuse. Only the elder abuse claim sought damages for the elderly man's wrongful death. The case was quickly settled.

$5,500 minor fender bender settlement. Our client was rear-ended while at a stop light on Biscayne Boulevard (Miami). She was a middle-aged woman with an extensive history of orthopedic injuries, including a prior shoulder surgery. We submitted her prior medical records to the carrier to show that she had not complained previously of the things bothering her now.

$30,000 Workers' Compensation Washout + $500 for General Release.
While unrepresented this gentleman had agreed to settle his workers' compensation case with the employer/carrier for a specified sum. However, he had misgivings and backed out at the last minute. At the initial conference I explained to him that I might not be able to increase the offer, but at least he would be comfortable with his decision after my assessment of the case. It took us about four months to gather enough information to fully evaluate the case and advise our client. I was able to nearly double the offer and give our client the peace of mind that he obtained a fair settlement.

$10,000 Uninsured Motorist Coverage settlement. While driving a friend's car, our client was involved in a serious crash with an uninsured driver. We determined that the only available insurance coverage to compensate our client for her pain and suffering was her own UM insurance. Unfortunately, the policy limit was $10,000. Once we provided the insurance carrier with the police report and the early medical records, it tendered the $10,000. This case demonstrates the importance of maintaining sufficient UM coverage. Many Florida drivers do not maintain bodily injury insurance, and most of those who do [have the coverage], have it in the minimum limit of $10,000. Having UM coverage means that you aren't relying on someone else to cover your needs. We highly recommend having the coverage.  

$3,500 and $3,000 Car crash settlements on the same day.

$20,000 Workers' Compensation mediated settlement.
Our client, who resided in northwest Florida, was injured on her way to the airport after undergoing training in another state.

$15,000 Workers' Compensation settlement. The case was settled after a fractured bone in our client's foot had fully healed. She received workers' compensation benefits up until shortly before the settlement.

$3,000 Workers' Compensation state mediated partial settlement. We reached a compromised settlement for past due indemnity benefits without washing out the case. We are scheduled for private mediation near the end of the year to consider a full settlement.

Three $10,000 policy limit car crash cases in the same week.

$22,000 Car crash settlement. Our client, referred to us by a former client, resided in Jacksonville, Florida. At some point in her treatment for neck and back pain, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We argued that the collision triggered the MS. While the adjuster disagreed, we believe the argument got him to pay more than otherwise to settle the case. Years ago our office was successful at trial in proving that a significant trauma had aggravated our client's underlying MS. While that case was far more compelling than the Jacksonville case, we applied the same arguments.

$7,500 Workers' Compensation settlement. Our client drove a school bus for a Florida school district.

$7,500 Workers' Compensation settlement. Our client, a young man from Santa Domingo, had the tips of two fingers torn and crushed by a press machine. We obtained pictures of the machine and its operators manual as part of an effort to bring a products liability case. Unfortunately, any modifications to the machine that may have contributed to causing the accident were made by the employer. While these changes may have constituted negligence, the conduct was not enough to overcome the steep immunity protections afforded employers under Florida Statute 440.11. After the employer/carrier paid for the two surgeries and nearly a year of lost wages, it concluded, correctly, that the lion's share of its financial exposure in the case had already accrued. Therefore, it held firm with its settlement offer over over two months of negotiations. The client finally agreed to accept the offer to move on with his life.

$35,000 Car crash settlement. Our client's vehicle was struck by another vehicle whose operator was having an epileptic seizure. Having a seizure can be a complete defense to an accident, however, the driver must prove that he has complied with Florida legal standards regarding medical treatment and things of that nature. Since the case settled pre-suit, we did not have access to the other driver's medical records. Since his insurance adjuster never argued the defense, we kept quiet on the subject but assumed that maybe he wasn't in full compliance with the law. Our client, a woman in her late 50s, had an MRI which showed some tears in her shoulder. She chose not to have surgery, which makes a big difference in the value of shoulder injury cases. With surgery, the case may have settled for $75,000.

$11,750 Workers' Compensation settlement. The employer/carrier also agreed to pay medical bills totaling $2,000 and reimburse for mileage.

$9,900 Workers' Compensation stated mediated settlement. As usual, the doctors selected by the workers' compensation insurance company claimed that our elderly client's injuries were preexisting.

$10,000 Car crash settlement. To our surprise, United Automobile Insurance Company agreed to pay PIP benefits even though there was an insurance application misrepresentation issue. This helped us be able to settle the case. 

$5,500 Minor impact car crash settlement. We used the medical records from this accident to our favor in a later case that we settled for $35,000 (see above).

$18,500 abuse of dead body settlement.
While the family's intent all along was to cremate the body, our client, the decedent's daughter, claimed that she requested a family viewing at the funeral home. A few days after the body was placed in the funeral home, our client was told that a viewing was not possible because of advanced decomposition. Our client asked to see for herself. What she saw was advanced decomposition. Naturally, this upset her greatly. Our lawsuit alleged negligence against the funeral home, the facility it used for refrigeration, and the crematorium. We have settled against the funeral home and the crematorium. The case against the company providing refrigeration services remains open.

$27,500 nursing home negligence settlement.
While residing in a nursing home, our elderly client (age 94) developed sores on her legs. Our lawsuit alleged that the sores were caused by negligence. With this nursing home, we were dealing with limited insurance policy limits and other parties making claims against those limits. This was a practical factor in our settlement decision.

$100,000 mediated workers' compensation settlement.
Our client is a licensed attorney, but switched careers to teach challenged children in public school. She damaged her rotator cuff by falling from a broken chair. The case remained open for 2-1/2 years while our client received medical care, including two shoulder surgeries, through the workers' compensation system. 

$10,000 policy limits settlement.
Our client was struck from behind when he braked his vehicle suddenly to avoid crashing into another vehicle. We negotiated his medical bills down so that he could walk away with a sizable amount.