Blogs By K Ryan

What is the Difference Between Product Liability and Strict Liability?

what is difference between product liability and strict liabilityWhen you purchase and use a defective item that results in injury, who is to blame? Unfortunately, this can be a puzzling question to answer. Yet, when you want to hold someone accountable for the damages you faced from using your product, there must be a legal answer. Otherwise, it will be hard to bring forward a lawsuit when you have not determined all the parties involved. For this reason, there are two law terms you should know: product liability and strict liability. But what is the difference between product liability and strict liability?

Let’s discuss these two terms so that you have an easier time understanding which party is at fault for your product-related injuries.

Defining Product Liability

When a product that you use results in an injury, you will use a product liability lawsuit to hold the manufacturer accountable. Product liability cases require you to prove that the manufacturer’s negligence resulted in your injuries. There are three main ways that your West Palm Beach product liability attorney can do this.

Design Defects

First, you can prove negligence by showing that the product had a design defect. For example, let’s say that your vehicle’s accelerator gas pedal is too close to your brake pedal. One day as you are driving, you slightly miss the brakes. Instead, you press the gas pedal and slam into the car in front of you. This is an instance of a design defect. If your gas and brake pedals were further apart, you would never have injured yourself, nor damaged the car ahead of you.

Manufacturing Defects

Second, you can show negligence by proving that your product had a manufacturing defect. As an example, let’s say that your airbags are defective. As you cross an intersection, another vehicle slams into you but your airbags fail to operate properly. Instead, the airbag explodes and sends metal shards flying toward your face. In this case, a device that was manufactured to protect you made the accident worse. 

Failure to Warn

The final way you can prove negligence is by explaining that a product that injured you failed to warn you about its appropriate use. For instance, imagine that you are in your car driving to work. On the way there, you are rear-ended. During the collision, your car seat suddenly jolts backwards, injuring your head and neck. 

After an investigation, it is determined that your car seat only functions normally in a crash if you weigh less than 200lbs. If the product manufacturer was aware of this problem but failed to notify you, then the manufacturer has product liability.

These three examples would all prove product liability. If you could prove these details, you would be able to bring forward a lawsuit against a product designer, manufacturer, or retailer. But how does product liability differ from strict liability, and why does it matter?

Defining Strict Liability

In some cases, you can prove that another party is liable for an accident without showing negligence. This is defined as strict product liability. Unlike with cases of product liability, strict liability usually occurs whenever you are injured by a product or activity that is inherently dangerous. 

Under these circumstances, you can receive compensation even if a manufacturer warned you about the potential risks of using their product. Likewise, because there is a different burden of proof, you will not need to show that the defendant is at fault.

What is the burden of proof with strict product liability claims?

With these facts in mind, what is the difference between product liability and strict liability regarding burden of proof? Essentially, with product liability claims you must prove that your injuries were a result of a defect, carelessness from another party, or negligence.

With strict liability cases, you must prove that you used your product as intended. Your attorney will also need to show that the product was defective and resulted in your injuries. No negligence or carelessness needs to be proven.

Talk To a Product Liability Attorney Today

Understanding the difference between product liability and strict liability is important. This is especially true if you plan to bring forward a lawsuit due to injuries caused by a specific product. If you would like to speak about your case and receive a consultation, please contact the attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. 

Our experienced lawyers can help you recover damages in either a product liability or strict liability claim, and help you receive compensation for your injuries.

 

What To Do at the Scene of a Car Accident

what to do at the scene of a car accidentEvery year, millions of car accidents take place. While most result in property damage, around one-third result in injury to the drivers or passengers of the vehicle. Although you might believe that you know what to do at the scene of a car accident, your emotions may take over during such a traumatic experience. 

These helpful tips will help you remain safe and guarantee that you have everything you need to file an accurate car insurance claim. You will also discover why it is beneficial to work with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney.

Seek Medical Treatment 

One-third of vehicular accidents lead to injuries and nearly one in five are fatal. If you or another party needs immediate medical attention, call 911 and request an ambulance. Although it is generally a best practice to stay at the scene so that you can document the events, this is not possible if you are seriously injured.

Make the Scene Safe

In addition to taking care of your injuries and those of your passengers, help protect other drivers. You can do this by setting up lights or flares around the accident. Next, you should turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights if they are still functioning. After that, put as much space as you can between yourself and traffic. You can do this by sitting in your vehicle if it is in a safe location. 

If your car is too damaged, then situate yourself at the side of the road. This will help you protect yourself and others from further accidents.

Document the Scene

Once you have done what is necessary to protect the health of those involved in the accident, investigate the crash. This includes getting the name, address, and driver’s license number of those involved, as well as:

  • Taking photos of the scene, including the resulting damage, injuries, and weather.
  • Asking for witness accounts of the accident and receiving their contact information.
  • Searching for cameras in the area that may have captured a video of the incident.
  • Making sure the police are called to the scene to begin developing a police report.

Documenting the scene is an important part of the process for making an insurance claim. These initial details will also help should you go to court for this accident. By documenting the scene, you will be ready to provide evidence to your insurance company or your attorney. You will also have a better understanding of the events that occurred and why.

Start the Claim Process with Your Insurance Company

After documenting the scene, it is time to contact your insurance company. Your insurance representative will want to know where the accident occurred. They will also ask for details about the other drivers and passengers in the vehicles. Starting a claim is the first step to getting back on the road. The insurance agents will also conduct their own investigation and communicate with the other driver’s insurance company.

One important detail to note is that the other person’s insurance company will likely contact you after an accident. They may request a statement or ask you to sign a release form. Neither of these actions are in your best interest. 

Before you speak to the other party’s insurance company, it is always best to consult your car accident attorney. This will help you from paying too much if you are found at fault and can also maximize the amount you receive in damages for the accident.

Discuss the Accident with An Attorney

There are several things you should do outside of the scene of your accident. This can include beginning an investigation with an attorney to take legal action. It can also involve settling or filing a lawsuit. Both steps require adequate legal counsel. 

Contact law firm Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. Our experienced lawyers understand how to protect you after an accident and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Wrongful Death in West Palm Beach

west palm beach wrongful death It is always a traumatic experience when someone you care about passes. However, when the passing of a loved one occurs due to the fault of someone else, this can be even more difficult to process. A West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer can provide your case with the attention it deserves.

If you suspect someone else’s negligence contributed to the death of a loved one, set up a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in West Palm Beach. Until then, here is what you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit made when an individual’s death is the result of another person or entity. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to recover damages including:

  • The cost of medical expenses or funeral expenses.
  • Compensation for the family who experiences the loss of a loved one.
  • Recovery of the wages that an individual would be earning if they were still alive.

Several types of accidents may be considered a wrongful death, including:

  1. Vehicular accidents. A wrongful death vehicular accident might occur because of the negligence of another driver. Alternatively, a vehicle defect can also be to blame.
  2. Bike or pedestrian accidents. Wrongful deaths involving bicyclists or pedestrians most often occur due to the negligence of an automobile driver.
  3. Poisoning accidents. Some wrongful deaths are the result of poisonings and overdoses of prescription medications or illegal drugs.
  4. Medical malpractice accidents. When a physician or medical provider fails to accurately diagnose, misdiagnoses, or makes an error, this can result in wrongful death.
  5. Workplace accidents. Workplace wrongful deaths include both injuries at the workplace and the development of illnesses that result in a worker’s death.
  6. Drowning accidents. Most commonly drowning wrongful deaths are the result of swimming pools that are unsecured. Alternatively, a drowning accident can be the result of a boating accident where proper safety devices were unavailable.

Although this is not an exhaustive list of wrongful death situations, these are the most common in the United States. Likewise, any of these accidents resulting in death may not reach the level of a wrongful death if the individual or entity at fault was not negligible. 

It is up to a wrongful death lawyer in West Palm Beach to investigate and determine negligence for a lawsuit alleging wrongful death to succeed.

Which Parties Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

Each state has its own unique laws stating who can bring forward a wrongful death claim. Generally, anyone that suffers damages due to wrongful death can file a lawsuit. This might include spouses, life partners, immediate family, and distant relatives. Likewise, it can also involve those who are financially dependent on the decedent. 

Because of the differences in state laws throughout the country, it is important to work with an attorney that understands wrongful death liability in your specific area.

Who Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Suit Against?

Wrongful death lawsuits are often against more than the person or people with first-hand responsibility for the accident. For example, let us say that an individual is in an automobile accident with a negligent party, and their vehicle also malfunctions. In this case, the wrongful death suit might be brought against both the negligent driver and the car manufacturer. Notably, wrongful death suits in a similar event can also be brought against:

  • Employers found at-fault for an accident involving a vehicle operated for business purposes.
  • A retailer, business owner, or even a bartender that provides alcohol to an impaired driver.
  • The government agency that failed to notify drivers of a road hazard that caused the accident.
  • Builders who designed or created the roadway where an accident took place.

Should You Work With a Wrongful Death Lawyer West Palm Beach?

As you can tell, determining who is liable for a wrongful death can be quite complex. The liability for an accident may involve more than one party for several reasons. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney that has experience dealing with wrongful death lawsuits.

Finding a Wrongful Death Lawyer West Palm Beach

Do you believe that the death of a loved one is the result of the negligence of another party? The attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath are here to help. Contact us at (561) 655-1990 to discuss the events of your wrongful death claim. We’re here to help you identify and maximize the damages you receive for the wrongful death of a relative or someone that you depend on.

 

Malpractice Tail Coverage Explained

malpractice tail coverageNormally, a physician’s standard claims-made insurance policy protects them from medical malpractice lawsuits. But what happens if someone brings forward a suit after the physician’s claims-made policy expires? One way that doctors and other medical professionals protect themselves from these lawsuits is with malpractice tail coverage.

So, what exactly is malpractice tail coverage, what does it do, and whom does it cover? This article explains what you should understand about this type of insurance. As you read, you will understand how to protect yourself whenever you switch jobs or change insurers.

What Are Standard Claims-Made Insurance Policies?

There are two common ways for physicians to financially protect themselves from lawsuits. The first way is to use an occurrence insurance policy. Occurrence policies specifically protect medical professionals from medical malpractice lawsuits that occur over the policy duration. If the physician changes jobs and purchases a new policy, they are still covered by their previous policy, even if the incident occurred several years before.

However, most physicians usually opt for a standard, claims-made insurance policy. With this type of medical malpractice insurance coverage, the protection stops whenever the policy ends. Thus, if coverage ends in December of 2020 and a lawsuit is brought in January 2021, the policy no longer protects the professional. Even if the incident occurred in November of 2020, when the physician’s claims-made policy was in effect, they still would not be protected from financial liability, because the policy lapsed. 

This could be a costly event for a medical professional, who would suddenly be on the hook for potentially hundreds of thousands in damages. In this instance, tail coverage would protect the physician.

What is Malpractice Tail Coverage?

Although doctors can purchase occurrence insurance policies, most people opt for claims-made insurance policies. These policies are less expensive but have a limited life. One way that a physician protects themselves from claims after a policy ends is with tail coverage. Malpractice tail coverage will protect them from suits that are filed after an insurance policy is canceled or expired. Because of the period in which an individual can file a claim within the medical statute of limitations, a standard claims-made insurance policy may no longer be valid.

There are three key facts to note about tail coverage:

First, tail coverage protects both the physician and the patient. A patient is less likely to recover damages from a physician without insurance coverage. Likewise, physicians without tail coverage after a lapsed standard-claims insurance policy will be financially liable for any damages from a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Second, tail coverage cannot replace standard-claims policies. If there’s a claim made against a physician that took place during the time they only had tail coverage, then this doctor will not be protected from this lawsuit.

Finally, the tail coverage may only insure a physician for a portion of their claims-made insurance policy.

Who Needs to Purchase Malpractice Tail Coverage?

Although doctors with occurrence policies do not need to purchase tail coverage, those with claims-made policies should. However, tail coverage policies are usually expensive. In fact, it can cost up to three times more than a claims-made policy under certain circumstances. Yet, there are ways that doctors can save extra money on insurance, including:

  • Purchasing a limited-term tail policy. With this type of policy, the insurance company may cover less of a doctor’s liability. Likewise, limited-term policies may also expire sooner or fail to cover the whole term of an expired claims-made policy.
  • Opting for an extended reporting period endorsement (ERP). This is a form of tail policy that extends the insurance coverage period of a canceled or expired policy. With an ERP policy, doctors will have financial protection from claims made soon after their policy ends.
  • Having their new doctor’s group pay for nose coverage. Nose coverage is usually added to the physician’s new claims-made policy. It protects physicians from acts that occur before the insurance policy went into effect.

Should You Go Without Tail Coverage?

If you are a physician that has a lapse in your policy, one of the best ways to protect yourself is with malpractice tail coverage. Although this type of insurance is expensive, it will protect you from financial liability for incidents of medical malpractice that took place during your previous policy. 

If you are a physician without coverage that is facing a lawsuit from a previous policy and do not have tail coverage, then we can help. Contact the West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 to discuss your case and determine how we can help.

What Does Premises Liability Cover?

 

Couple Reading Letter About Husband’s Injury

How can you identify who is liable for an injury at another person’s property? What does premises liability cover? If you have recently been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, it is important to know what steps you can take. 

Fortunately, the law can protect you under certain circumstances. In addition, it doesn’t matter where this incident takes place, whether in a private home, office, apartment building, or park. 

Here is everything you should know about premises liability.

What Does Premises Liability Cover?

Premises liability holds a negligent property owner legally responsible for any damage or injury that occurs on their property. They will be found liable for any preventable injury a victim experiences due to defective or hazardous property conditions. However, a property owner is not automatically negligent when an accident takes place on their property. Instead, the injured party must prove that the accident occurred because the property owner failed to reasonably maintain the premises.

All property owners have a responsibility to keep their environment safe and hazard-free for visitors or residents. Where there is a hazard, they are expected to provide a warning for visitors or incoming residents until the hazard is repaired. 

If a property owner is aware of the danger on their property but fails to warn others and resolve the issue, then the owner might be at fault. A premises liability lawsuit is the best way for a victim to recover damages from a property owner when they are injured or killed due to owner negligence.

Explaining Property Owner Duty of Care

What would another reasonable property owner or property controller do to prevent accidents on their property? As a property owner or an occupant, you have the responsibility to protect visitors from unsafe or defective conditions. Failure to do so is a breach of a property owner or occupier’s duty of care responsibilities.

Further, there are specific duties of care an owner or occupier needs to abide by that are dependent on the injured party’s status. People invited to your property require a different level of care than someone who is trespassing on your property. Here are the three victim statuses to be aware of:

  • Invitee status. Invitee status includes anyone that enters a property when it is open to the public. It also includes those invited to conduct business on the premises. The owner or occupier has the highest duty of care responsibility toward members of this group.
  • Licensee status. Anyone that has expressed or implied access to a property is considered to have licensee status. For instance, this group can include dinner party guests. If a property owner or occupier knows or should know about a hazard on their property, then they should protect licensees from these dangerous conditions.
  • Trespasser status. An individual with trespasser status is someone that does not have expressed or implied consent to access a property. Although an injured trespasser does not have the legal right to visit a property, they still have rights. A property owner should not intentionally endanger trespassers and has a duty of care responsibility the moment they identify that a trespasser is on the property.

What are examples of premises liability?

Premises liability cases cover several personal injury cases including:

  • Slips and falls
  • Swimming pool accident, typically because a pool is unfenced or unsecured 
  • Dog bites
  • Flooding and water leaks
  • Fires
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Elevator accidents and escalator accidents
  • Failure to provide security to the premises

Premises liability cases cover a variety of situations that occur on the premises. In some instances, flooding, fires, and lack of security can injure people due to owner or occupier negligence.

What Should I Do If I’ve Suffered an Injury Due To Premises Liability?

If you have suffered an injury due to premises liability, it is important to work with a law firm that understands how to handle your case. Working with an experienced West Palm Beach premises liability attorney can improve the likelihood that you maximize your premises liability compensation. 

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath has experience investigating and representing people who have been injured on the property of negligent owners. Please call us today at (561) 655-1990 or use our contact form below to receive a consultation regarding your case.

How To Report Elder Abuse

How to report elder abuse- man with Asian nurse

According to the National Council on Aging, ten percent of those over 60 years of age will experience elder abuse in their lifetime. Moreover, it is exceedingly difficult for senior citizens to escape. This is true whether a senior lives with family or in a long-term care facility. So, do you know how to spot elder abuse? Here’s how to report elder abuse if you believe that you or someone else are the victim of an abusive caregiver.

 

What is elder abuse?

When someone causes harm or is negligent toward a vulnerable adult, they are committing elder abuse. Each state in the U.S. has different elder abuse laws, but it most often takes these common forms:

  • Emotional abuse occurs when someone acts in a way that affects a vulnerable senior’s emotional state or causes distress. This can take both verbal and nonverbal forms.
  • Physical abuse happens when someone causes physical harm to a senior or makes threats to do so. Deprivation of basic needs can be included in this category.
  • Sexual abuse is when a person makes sexual contact with a senior without their consent.
  • Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to maintain a standard of care that any other responsible person would provide.
  • Self-Neglect arises when a senior citizen can no longer provide themselves with a level of care. This is especially the case if the senior’s inabilities are a threat to their own safety.

In most cases, elder abuse is committed by family, caregivers, and other members of the community intentionally. However, elder abuse can also be a result of negligent acts or simply by knowing that abuse is taking place but failing to report it.

Why should you report elder abuse?

Anyone, including yourself, can become the victim of elder abuse. As adults grow older, many suffer from diseases like dementia or other cognitive issues. Additionally, elderly people are more likely to be socially isolated or in poor physical health. These effects of aging make seniors especially vulnerable to those they trust. 

Therefore, it is up to us as family and friends to take care of those who are the most vulnerable members of our society. You can do this by identifying and reporting cases of elder abuse to the appropriate authorities.

 

How do you identify elder abuse?

Knowing how to report elder abuse begins with identifying the abuse. Physical abuse can be identified by injuries such as broken bones, burns, or bruises. Emotional abuse may cause dramatic changes in mood, arguments with caregivers, or withdrawal.

Neglect is often the most difficult to hide. It can take the form of poor hygiene or result in medical needs going unattended for extended periods of time. Tense relationships between seniors and their caregivers can also be a sign of emotional or verbal abuse. These are just a few warning signs to look for and often the most indicative that abuse is occurring.

Important Steps to Take

If you do not know the senior that is experiencing abuse, then document and report the incident with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. However, if you do know the senior being abused, then you can take different actions to prevent further abuse. 

Regardless of whether you know the affected senior, if a vulnerable adult is facing a life-threatening situation, you should contact 911. This should always be the first step of the reporting process.

Reporting Elder Abuse of Someone You Know

If an elderly person that you know is not currently in a serious situation, here are the steps you can take to report elder abuse:

  1. Document the incident. This can include taking photos of living conditions. It may also include taking photos of injuries and labeling the dates that each injury occurred. Also, be sure to document changes in behavior by the elderly person. If you witnessed abuse take place, be sure to document the date, time, and abuser’s personal information.
  2. Speak to the appropriate authorities. If a family member is taking care of a senior experiencing abuse, speak to other family and elder care professionals about the incident. If they are in a long-term living facility, speak to supervisors and caregivers about the incident. Take notes of who you speak to and follow up with them to ensure that action is taken.
  3. Move the senior to somewhere safe. If these actions fail to change an abuser’s behavior, then you should remove this senior from the negative environment.

Report Elder Abuse in Florida – Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Do you suspect a vulnerable adult is the victim of elder abuse? Contact an experienced West Palm Beach elder abuse attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath.

Please call us today at (561) 655-1990 to receive a consultation regarding your loved one’s situation.