Blogs By K Ryan

5 Signs Your Elder May Be Experiencing Abuse

elder abuseAs our loved ones get older, they rely on their relatives, friends, and professional staff to help take care of them and keep them safe. However, it’s an unfortunate reality that many elderly people are mistreated, taken advantage of, and even abused. 

The first step that people can take to protect their relatives and friends is to learn how to recognize the signs of elder abuse. An awareness of these signs could save someone from potential neglect or abuse. 


Types of Elder Abuse

Many people wrongly assume that they would know if their elderly loved one was being abused because they believe the injuries would be obvious. Physical elder abuse sometimes results in visible injuries, but that’s not always the case. 

One of the reasons that elder abuse often goes undetected is that the abuse itself can be extremely subtle. Elder abuse can occur in many different forms:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse 
  • Neglect 

All forms of abuse have one thing in common: they result in serious and long-lasting damage to an elderly person. When the abuse happens without consequence, it puts them at risk of experiencing more abuse in the future. 


Signs of Elder Abuse

Knowing the signs of elder abuse is crucial to protecting them from individuals who are unafraid to harm or take advantage of a vulnerable person. 

Pay attention to these signs of elder abuse so you can prevent the abuse from happening again: 

1. Unexplained Injuries 

Physical abuse is a common form of elder abuse that can involve anything from hitting, pushing, kicking, or wrongly restraining an elderly person. This type of abuse most often results in injuries that are unexplainable to a witness.

If you see cuts, bruising, bleeding, burns, or broken bones, identify what caused the injury. Even if you think the elderly person might have hurt themselves by accident, you should still investigate. If you see the same injuries happening repeatedly, this is another sign of elder abuse and needs to be thoroughly investigated. 


2. Unexpected Depression, Anxiety, or Confusion

If your elderly loved one undergoes a sudden personality change, acts frightened, or is more withdrawn than usual, there is a good chance that they’ve been victimized by an abuser. 

Regardless of the type of abuse that has occurred, it’s not uncommon to see unexplainable symptoms of depression or anxiety. 


3. A Sudden Change in Their Financial Situation

A more subtle form of elder abuse is financial abuse. Elderly people are often targets of scams and people looking to take advantage of a vulnerable person for their money. 

Signs of financial abuse include unexplainable bank withdrawals or transfers, unusual credit card activity, or forged signatures on financial documents or checks. 


4. Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene is often a sign that an elderly person is being neglected in some way. Whether they’re unbathed, living in an unclean environment, or are suffering from bedsores or skin rashes, there’s a strong chance that these are signs of neglect. 

Neglect is a serious form of abuse that can complicate existing health issues. Elderly people deserve to live with dignity and self-respect. If they’re being neglected, they’re being deprived of that dignity. 


5. A Caregiver Doesn’t Want to Let You See the Elder Alone 

If your elder is living in a nursing home facility or with a caretaker, you assume that they are treated with respect. However, nursing home abuse is all too common. An alarming sign of elder abuse is if a nursing home staff member, caretaker, or other professional does everything they can to ensure the elder does not have visitors without them present. 

As a family member or close loved one, you should note if someone refuses to leave you alone with the elderly person. They may have something to hide and are intimidating the elder into silence with their presence. 


Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney Right Away

If you see any of these signs of elder abuse, it’s critical that you remove your loved one from the dangerous situation as soon as possible. For legal support, contact an experienced Florida elder abuse lawyer who can help you protect your elderly relatives and prevent future abuse from occurring. 

To speak to someone by phone, call our number (561) 655-1990.


Proving Worth: How to Claim the Wrongful Death of the Elderly

wrongful death of an elderLosing an elderly loved one is always a difficult experience. However, when the death was caused by negligence or wrongdoing by a nursing home or caretaking facility, it makes the death that much more painful. The wrongful death of an elder is a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented. 

Seniors and their families should expect high-quality care. This is unfortunately not always the case when it comes to nursing home facilities. In fact, these facilities could be responsible for the wrongful death of an elder. When this happens, the senior’s loved ones can file a wrongful death case on behalf of the decedent. 


Causes of Wrongful Deaths of Elders

When we entrust a nursing home with our aging loved ones, we expect that the staff will act with professionalism, respect, and kindness. While there are great staff members that do maintain these standards, there are others who do not. Some even commit various forms of elder abuse.

Carelessness, understaffing, and an ill-suited temperament can all contribute to the wrongful death of an elder. Common causes of death include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Neglect
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to meet the resident’s healthcare needs
  • Misdiagnosis 

When the wrongful death of an elder occurs, families may be able to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Not only could they recover financial compensation, but they can hold the responsible party accountable for their role in the wrongful death. 

Wrongful deaths of elders occur outside of nursing home facilities as well. Auto accidents, workplace hazards, product defects, criminal actions, and slip and fall accidents are also common causes of otherwise preventable deaths. 

Wrongful death lawsuits can bring awareness to the neglect and abuse that vulnerable, elderly people are at risk for and prevent others from experiencing the same heartbreak.


On what grounds can a wrongful death lawsuit be filed? 

According to Florida Statute 768.19, “When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person,” the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit.  

According to this statute, the following factors must be true: 

  • Duty: the liable party owed a responsibility of care to the decedent
  • Breach of duty: there was a failure to uphold the duty of care 
  • Causation: the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued
  • Damages: the person that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages

Liable parties will do everything they can to minimize their role in the death of an elder. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can gather the evidence needed to support your claim. 


Who can sue for the wrongful death of an elder?

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the situation and the state. Immediate family members (spouses and children) can file a wrongful death lawsuit in every state. 

According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, a representative of the deceased elder must file the wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, spouses, children, and dependent blood relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of an elder. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to medical malpractice cases, adult children (age 25 and above) of unmarried adults cannot recover damages in medical malpractice cases in Florida. 


Contact an Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Filing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of an elder can be a complicated and exhausting experience. Working with a Florida wrongful death lawyer can simplify the legal process and give you the best chance of recovering compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one. 

Contact our team today by calling (561) 655-1990. You can schedule a risk-free case evaluation and speak to one of our wrongful death lawyers. We can answer any questions you might have, learn more about your situation, and advise you of your legal options and rights. We look forward to assisting you. 


Shocking Florida Car Accident Statistics

car accident lawyerThe sad reality is that too many motorists fail to drive as carefully as they should. Despite how safely you and your loved ones drive, you can still end up in a car accident due to someone else’s actions. 

Florida experiences higher rates of accidents than many other states. To gain a better idea of how frequently car accidents in Florida occur, take a look at these Florida car accident statistics. They also serve as a cautionary reminder to stay alert while out on the roads. 


How many accidents happen in Florida every year? 

Every year in the United States, millions of people are involved in car crashes. Several state and federal agencies carefully track and analyze accident statistics to gain a better understanding of where the accidents occur and what caused them. 

With so many accidents to track and analyze, agencies typically cannot publish their reports for a couple of years. While we don’t yet have the 2020 data, we can take a look at statistics from 2019.

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles annual report in 2019, Florida alone accounted for 401,867 total crashes. While there was a slight drop in accidents from 2018 to 2019 (-0.44%), this is still a staggering number of accidents to occur in one state. Florida averaged over 1,100 accidents per day in 2019.


2019 Florida Car Accident Fatalities 

In 2019, 3,185 people lost their lives to crashes in Florida. Like any tragic passing, these accidents not only affected the deceased but their family, friends, and other loved ones.

What makes these deaths even harder for loved ones is that these accidents were often preventable. It’s not only motorists affected by crashes; take a look at these key car accident fatalities from 2019:

  • 521 motorcyclist fatalities
  • 734 pedestrian fatalities 
  • 156 bicyclist fatalities 
  • 19 other non-motorist fatalities 

Sadly, there was an increase in car accident fatalities in Florida from 2018 to 2019. Florida has one of the leading traffic fatality rates in the whole country at 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people. 


Key Florida Car Accident Statistics from 2019

Florida car accident statistics reveal a frightening scene of just how often crashes occur in the state:

  • Out of 401,867 total crashes, 2,951 were fatal
  • 59% of crashes resulted in an injury
  • 7.6% of injuries incapacitated the victim 
  • 21% of fatal crashes involved confirmed driver usage of alcohol or drugs 
  • Nearly 46% of all accident fatalities were suffered by vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists
  • 354 fatalities of drivers and passengers who were not wearing any type of seat belt. 
  • Drivers aged 21 to 24 were involved in 62,729 crashes


What You Can Do to Prevent Car Crashes

These statistics serve as a grim reminder of the importance of driving cautiously and defensively year-round. To help lower the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities, every Florida driver can do their part by doing the following:

  • Never text and drive 
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Ensure you’ve had enough rest before driving
  • Limit distractions in the vehicle
  • Follow posted speed limits and road rules 
  • Drive defensively
  • Maintain a proper distance from other motorists
  • Avoid driving through the night if possible 

These safety tips may seem like basic knowledge. However, they can go a long way in preventing future car accidents, injuries, and fatalities. 


Know Your Rights as a Car Accident Victim

If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, it can be an incredibly frustrating and stressful experience. On top of dealing with the aftermath of the crash including injuries, recovery, and dealing with insurance agencies, you may also have a mountain of medical bills waiting for you.

Rather than leaving your possibility of recovering compensation to chance, turn to a trusted and experienced Florida auto accident lawyer. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath, our goal is to fight for justice on behalf of car accident victims and ensure they receive just compensation for their injuries. 

Get help now by scheduling a risk-free case evaluation. Call us at (561) 655-1990. We look forward to assisting you. 

What are common birth injuries in newborns?

woman worrying about types of birth injuriesIt’s devastating and frightening when a newborn suffers one of the many types of birth injuries. There may be life-long consequences for the baby and a heavy financial burden for the baby’s parents. However, when a birth injury occurs as a result of a medical professional’s negligence, the family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

There is a high standard of care expected from professionals in the healthcare community. A failure to meet that standard of care can have severe repercussions for the newborn and their family. If you believe your child’s birth injury resulted from medical negligence, contact our experienced birth injury lawyers today. 


Common types of birth injuries and conditions

Our legal team has worked with clients whose babies have suffered from various birth injuries. Some common types of birth injuries include:

  • Brain damage
  • Bleeding between the scalp and skull (cephalohematoma) 
  • Head trauma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Facial nerve injury 
  • Spinal cord injury  
  • Klumpke’s palsy 
  • Perinatal asphyxia 
  • Brachial plexus palsy
  • Shoulder dislocation 
  • Fracture of the collarbone

These injuries can lead to long-lasting consequences for the infant and a world of stress and worry for their parents. The parents will also have to face hospital expenses, treatment, therapy, and special equipment to care for the baby. 

Not to mention, parents may also experience pain and suffering and possibly lost wages from missing work to care for their child.


What causes birth injuries in newborns?

When a child suffers a birth injury resulting from medical negligence, there could be a variety of causes. Some common causes include:


Hypoxia occurs when a baby’s brain is not receiving enough oxygen. During childbirth, hypoxia can be caused by a damaged or infected placenta or when an umbilical cord gets tangled around the baby’s neck. When hypoxia goes unnoticed or unaddressed, the baby can develop severe disabilities. 


Improper forceps use: 

Several types of birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, nerve damage to the baby’s neck, and fetal distress, are caused by improper use of forceps. If doctors aren’t extraordinarily careful, their use of forceps could lead to severe injuries.


Delaying a c-section: 

When a baby suffers from fetal distress, the doctor will often order an emergency C-section. When a doctor or other medical professional fails to recognize the urgent need for a C-section, their lack of attention may cause injuries to both the infant and mother. 


Failure to properly conduct prenatal testing: 

Even before a mother heads to the delivery room, a doctor’s negligence to properly conduct prenatal testing means they could miss a serious condition in the fetus that could lead to other injuries. 

While giving birth to a child should be one of the happiest days of a parent’s life, it can quickly turn into a traumatic event when a birth injury occurs. There is a wide range of causes of newborn birth injuries; all too often, these injuries happen because of a healthcare provider’s negligence. 


Schedule a Free Consultation with a Florida Birth Injury Lawyer Today

The experienced Florida birth injury lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath understand the enduring physical, emotional, and financial trauma that a birth injury causes a newborn and their parents. When a birth injury occurs due to negligence or wrongdoing, the family deserves justice through financial compensation.

Numerous costs come with caring for a child who has suffered a birth injury. Our lawyers can assess your situation and determine whether your doctor or healthcare provider took the necessary steps to protect your child. If not, you may be able to recover damages from a birth injury lawsuit. 

Call our experienced lawyers today at 561-655-1990 to schedule a risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you!


What are the 3 types of product defects?

types of product defectsWhen you use a product, you expect it to not only perform as promised but to also be safe and reliable. When a product turns out to be dangerous or poses a threat to its user, this is usually due to a product defect. There are three main types of product defects: 

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Labeling errors

At times, a combination of two or more of these types of product defects can lead to serious injuries and even death. Determining how and why a product caused an injury can be a complex battle to fight; in some cases, there are multiple parties in the chain of production that could have played a role in causing the product defect. 

If you believe you or a loved one were injured due to a product defect, we urge you to contact an experienced product liability lawyer right away.


What is a design defect?

Sometimes, a product defect is not a mistake, but rather by design. A design defect makes the product inherently dangerous even when used as directed. Inadequate or uncontrolled testing, negligence during the initial design phase, and a lack of oversight can all lead to a design defect. 

Even if a product uses high-quality materials, Inherent flaws in the design can lead to serious injuries, property damage, or death. Examples of design defects include:

  • Top-heavy SUVs that are prone to rollovers when turning a corner
  • Electric heaters that catch fire when the heat is set to a high level 
  • A crib with bars that are far enough apart for a child to stick their head through them 
  • Heavy machinery that fails to provide enough protection for the user’s hands while using the product

Companies have a duty to design products that are safe and reliable to use. A crucial component of this is having a design that’s been analyzed for possible risks and tested rigorously. 


What is a manufacturing defect?

Another type of product defect stems from mistakes made during the manufacturing process. Products with manufacturing defects might have been made with a safe design but are dangerous because of the way they were produced. 

Using poor quality materials, missing crucial pieces, or not creating the product according to the original design can all lead to manufacturing defects. Examples of manufacturing defects include:

  • Vehicles with faulty brake pads
  • Medication that has been contaminated or exposed to toxic substances
  • Electronics that were erroneously wired and catch on fire 
  • Installing electric circuitry incorrectly leading to electrocution 

Manufacturing defects happen all too often and can lead to serious injuries. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you hold the manufacturer accountable for the defect in a product that led to your injury. 


What is a labeling error? 

Many products must include instructions or warning labels. These labels inform users of how to use the product correctly and warn them of the possible risks and dangers of using the product. Labels should be clear, easy to read, and fully explain the intended use of the product. Warning labels should clearly outline the possible risks associated with the product. 

When a consumer unknowingly uses a product incorrectly or exposes themself to a risk that wasn’t outlined in the warning label, they often sustain an injury that would have been otherwise preventable. 

Examples of labeling errors include:

  • Toys that fail to warn users that there are components that pose a choking hazard to children
  • Medication that fails to list the possible side effects
  • Big Tobacco’s failure to warn consumers that their products contained cancer-causing agents 

Consumers have the right to know what risks and hazards are associated with the products that they’re using. Companies and manufacturers commit labeling errors through either a failure to warn or a failure to adequately warn the user of the dangers of their product. When this happens, they should be held accountable for the injuries that occurred as a result of using their product. 


Contact a Florida Product Liability Lawyer Today

If you were harmed or injured by a defective product, you may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit. Contact the experienced Florida product liability lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Our legal team can help you fight for justice by holding the liable parties accountable for their negligence or wrongdoing. 

Product defects cause serious injuries and can lead to a long recovery timeline for victims. Call us today at 561-655-1990 or send us a message to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to assisting you! 

Puddles and Rain: Make Them Go Away or Pay The Price

premises liability slip and fallAs one of the wettest states in the nation, Floridians are used to spontaneous rain and severe thunderstorms. It’s not uncommon to see puddles everywhere you go. While puddles may be fun to splash around in, they can turn into a premises liability nightmare for property owners.

Puddles can cost property owners and pedestrians alike a great deal. Learn more about premises liability, slip and fall accidents, and what to do if you find yourself on either end of this scenario.


What injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents?

Slip and fall accidents can cause more severe injuries than you might think. Premises liability slip and fall claims have been filed due to injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken arms and legs
  • Torn ligaments
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Back pain
  • Hip fractures
  • Skull fractures 

All of these injuries could happen because of one puddle. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for roughly eight million hospital emergency room visits every year and approximately one million of these were caused by slip and falls

Property owners would do well to take care of any puddles so they can avoid a potential premises liability lawsuit over a slip and fall accident. 


Common Locations for Slip and Fall Accidents

Have you slipped and fell on a puddle and injured yourself? If so, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for your damages. 

Many premises liability claims stem from slip and fall accidents caused by unattended puddles in the following places:

  • Grocery stores
  • Sidewalks
  • Parking lots
  • Theaters
  • Construction sites
  • Parks
  • Business offices
  • Private residences

When it rains, puddles can easily accumulate outside of an entrance, or even inside when water gets tracked in with foot traffic. Property owners, managers, and agents have a responsibility to take care of standing water as soon as they can to protect others from sustaining an otherwise preventable injury. 

The following questions are used to determine liability in a premises liability slip and fall lawsuit:

  • Did the property owner know about the puddle and fail to correct it?
  • Should the property owner have known about the puddle and take the steps of a “reasonable person” to prevent injuries from occurring? 
  • Did the property owner create a dangerous condition that led to the circumstances that caused the accident?

If any of the above is true, the property owner could be found liable for the injuries sustained in the slip and fall accident.


Did you slip on a puddle? Contact an experienced Florida premises liability lawyer today. 

If you sustained injuries from a slip and fall accident caused by a puddle or other unsafe conditions, you may have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Our experienced Florida premises liability lawyers can fight for your rights as a victim and help you claim the compensation you deserve.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 today to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We’ll learn more about your accident, answer any questions you may have, and inform you of your legal rights and possible next steps. We look forward to assisting you.  


Four Key Elements To Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

wrongful death lawsuitHas someone in your family died as a result of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions? If so, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the necessary next step. However, there are specific challenges to proving wrongful death in court. 

Fortunately, a legal professional can help you collect evidence, build your case, and argue it in front of a judge or jury. But what exactly will you need to prove to win your family’s wrongful death suit? 

Wrongful death and personal injury liability cases require that you prove the same four elements. Here are the four key elements you should be prepared to prove if you wish to recover damages for a wrongful death:

1. The plaintiff’s death was due to the defendant’s negligence.

Simply having someone die wholly or partially due to someone else’s actions does not mean that the situation is a wrongful death. 

For example, if a surgeon warns a patient about their risk of death and receives consent to perform the medical procedure, the death of the patient might not meet the criteria for a wrongful death. The patient’s death might be the result of medical complications, existing health conditions, or other factors that a surgeon has no control over. These circumstances do not rise to the level of wrongful death (or in this case, medical malpractice wrongful death).

Instead, the victim’s family would need to prove that specific reckless actions or negligent actions or inactions caused the death. In our example of a surgeon, this could include showing that the medical professional failed to adequately perform the surgery. Generally, if you could show that reckless behavior caused the surgery to fail, or that negligence led to a surgeon failing to take corrective actions when an error occurred, then you can show fault. 

Likewise, a victim’s death must be the direct result of situations that someone else could influence but failed to by acting reckless or negligent.

One example of a time when someone would be found liable for death is after a car accident. A typical car accident that’s half one driver’s fault and half the others would not normally reach the level of wrongful death. However, if one driver was under the influence of alcohol or impairing substances, then their choice to drive is reckless behavior. If you could prove that the driver’s actions led to your loved one’s death, then they will be found liable in a wrongful death suit.

2. Duty was owed to the victim, but there was a breach of duty.

Another factor you should prove in court is that there was a breach of duty by the defendant. For instance, a driver has a duty to other drivers, pedestrians, and the public to follow traffic laws. Failure to do so by driving under the influence is a breach of their duty to be a responsible driver. 

In any wrongful death lawsuit, you can identify a breach of duty. This might be a doctor’s duty to care for a patient, a manufacturer’s duty to supply safe products, or a motorist’s duty to obey traffic laws.

3. How the defendant’s actions resulted in death.

There must be a causal link between the actions the defendant takes and the victim’s death. If for instance, a driver gets into an accident with a drunk driver and a month later, the victim in the drunk driving case suffers from a stroke, there’s not a causal link. 

In other words, the car accident was not the cause of death, and therefore the drunk driver would not be liable. However, if the stroke was caused by injuries sustained in the drunk driving accident, then the drunk driver could be found liable.

4. The victim has quantifiable damages.

Several damages often come with wrongful deaths. These can involve hospitalization costs, burial costs, medical expenses, loss of life, loss of income, and several others. 

Your attorney can help all affected parties determine the types and amounts for damages due to the wrongful death case.

Do you need professional advice to help decide whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death suits require coordination from all relatives in a household. If you believe that a family member’s death was due to someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, it’s important to speak with an attorney right away. 

The law office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will be glad to discuss your case and inform you of your rights. During a free, no-obligation consultation, we will let you know whether you have a case based on the circumstances. From there, we will discuss the next steps for recovering damages for your loved one’s wrongful death. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use the live chat feature on our website to speak with a representative today.