Blogs By K Ryan

4 Types of Wrongful Death Cases

If you’ve lost a loved one to someone’s negligent or reckless behavior, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Florida law states that a wrongful death lawsuit is created when someone succumbs to an injury that would have warranted a personal injury lawsuit. The law allows certain parties to sue on behalf of a decedent whose death was caused by a wrongful act, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty.

Depending on your relationship to the decedent, you may be able to get compensation for mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of support, or loss of companionship in addition to funds for funeral or cremation costs.

Here are four common types of wrongful death cases.

Auto Accidents

Almost every Interstate 95 or US 19 trip involves lane shutdowns due to auto accidents. The sheer number of auto accidents and their resulting injuries makes this one of the main types of wrongful death cases. Federal data states that 36,000 people suffered fatal auto accident injuries in 2019 alone.

There seem to be countless causes for auto accidents, but recent data states that about 25% of fatal Florida auto accidents involve drunk drivers. Distracted or impaired driving is the sort of reckless and negligent behavior that underlies many wrongful death cases.

In a recent auto accident wrongful death case, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath won their client a $5.3 million settlement.

Medical Malpractice

This type of wrongful death case is created when someone dies because of a medical provider’s negligence. This negligence often appears as a medication error, surgical accident, or mistaken diagnosis that leads to someone’s death.

Medication errors can lead to fatal drug interactions. Surgical accidents can cause immediate or prolonged pain and death. A mistaken diagnosis can cause a fatal delay in life-saving treatment.

Though the avenues differ, the results are the same: a healthcare professional’s lapse in judgment or duty of care caused a preventable death.

Product Liability

Product liability refers to a manufacturer’s, wholesaler’s or retailer’s responsibility for any injuries or deaths caused by their products. While dealing with a defective product sometimes is as simple as waiting in line to make a return, some defects are serious and can cause fatal injuries.

In 2019, a Florida man using a semi-autonomous electric vehicle fatally crashed into semi truck. The family later filed a product liability wrongful death lawsuit against Tesla, alleging that the self-driving feature was defective. In 2016, a Tesla driver died in a similar crash.

In one Palm Beach product liability wrongful death case, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath won their client an $11 million settlement.

Workplace Accident

Employers are subject to premises liability, which requires them to take reasonable responsibility for ensuring worker and visitor safety. That means employers must take care to warn people of broken walkways, wet floors, or other potential hazards.

But workplaces are filled with dangers — and we don’t mean accidentally replying all to an office email or missing an important meeting with higher-ups. For example, a major risk for warehouse workers takes the form of their main mode of cargo transport: lift trucks.

Other work hazards may appear as unsafe conditions, lax adherence to safety regulations, or lack of proper equipment.

What if I’ve lost someone in a similar manner?

If you’ve lost someone you love to one of the above types of wrongful death cases, get in touch with a West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney right away.

Though it may seem like an insurmountable task when in the midst of grieving, you must file your wrongful death lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death. There are few exceptions, such as if a federal or state entity is involved in your loved one’s death. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney will know your options and how best to proceed.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free wrongful death case evaluation.

What You Should Know About Theft in Nursing Homes

It’s an ugly fact that Florida nursing home residents aren’t always able to care for or protect themselves or their belongings.

They often lose jewelry, clothing, books, or gifts from visiting relatives. But, just as often, these items are taken from vulnerable victims who don’t know where to turn for help. If your loved one has been a victim of a similar crime, here’s what you should know about theft in nursing homes.

The Theft May Not Be Obvious

Just like elder abuse, West Palm Beach nursing home theft can easily go unnoticed.

You may notice that your father is missing his beloved watch but staff may claim he misplaced it or gifted it to another resident or visitor. However, you may not notice that your father’s checkbook is missing random pages, that his important identification or financial documents are gone, that his credit cards have vanished, or that he never got his stimulus check.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement last year that warned of stimulus check theft in nursing homes with residents relying on Medicaid. The statement said the department had received reports of nursing homes requiring residents to wrongfully sign over the money to the facility.

Similar financial elder abuse may appear as suspicious charges, sudden changes in your loved one’s power of attorney, or unusual purchases.

Due to the complexity of theft in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, it’s important that you talk with your loved one about your suspicions. It’s possible that they decided to give away their beloved watch or that they gifted the cash in their wallet to a trio of visiting elementary school children.

But that may not be the case.

If your loved one isn’t able to grasp the allegations or suffers from mental disorders that prevent them from fully understanding the situation, you will need to be their advocate.

You May Be Dissuaded From Making An Official Complaint

Allegations of property theft in nursing homes can uncover business negligence and resident abuse. As such, nursing homes may want to avoid that level of increased scrutiny and try to dissuade you from making any official complaints or alerting police.

They also may say that they aren’t responsible for managing your loved one’s property or for the disappearance of any belongings.

Upon admission to a nursing home, your loved one might have signed documents that limit the facility’s liability when it comes to personal property theft. However, the waiver and the permission may not hold up in court, especially if your loved one was considered not in their right mind at the time of signing.

An experienced West Palm Beach elder abuse attorney will navigate such claims and fight for the safety of your loved one and their belongings.

Note All Inappropriate Behavior

Unfortunate as it is, nursing home residents are vulnerable to many different forms of abuse from various perpetrators, and theft in nursing homes is common. That’s why you must be vigilant about your loved one’s physical, mental, emotional, and financial health.

Inappropriate behavior may be what alerts you to serious abuse.

If another resident waltzes in and out of your loved one’s room without permission or care, pay attention to what they do when they notice you’re visiting. Do they immediately turn tail and leave? Do they ignore you and rummage through your loved one’s things? Do they sit down and introduce themselves while joking around with your relative?

Perhaps this other resident is a close friend. But it could also be someone taking advantage of your loved one’s vulnerable state.

If you notice staff acting inappropriately, consult with your loved one about their behavior. Do staff members often remove their jewelry without asking? Does your loved one remember getting their jewelry back or are they later accused of misplacing it?

Consider Gifting Your Loved One Some Tech

Technology may help with tracking down stolen or missing items. Your forgetful loved one can keep a Bluetooth tracking device in their wallet, helping them to immediately find it or learn that it’s no longer near the nursing home.

Technology may even help prevent future thefts. Just last year, a relative of a Florida nursing home patient witnessed a theft through an Amazon Alexa device. The relative alerted police, who said the accused man was believed to have robbed residents at several area nursing homes.

What if my loved one was the victim of theft in a nursing home?

After speaking with your elderly loved one, contact a West Palm Beach elder abuse attorney as soon as possible. Florida law limits the amount of time you have to file a claim.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free elder abuse case evaluation.

4 Ways Businesses Should Prioritize Your Safety

When you enter a Florida business, you can usually assume that you are reasonably safe from harm or injury. However, dangers still lurk in the most mundane spaces. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common causes of injuries at businesses.

Here are four ways Florida business should ensure your slips trips and falls safety.

Business Should Ensure Walkways Are Clear of Debris

You shouldn’t have to avoid puddles or broken sidewalks to navigate Florida businesses. In addition to the business itself, entry points to and from the business, including parking structures, also should be accessible and free of debris.

If you slip and trip on a “transitory foreign substance” at Florida business, state law says that you must prove the business should have known about the issue and taken action to fix it. A transitory foreign substance is any object, solid or liquid, that is in a place it shouldn’t be. This could range from construction debris to liquid leaking out of a fridge.

Though slips, trips, and falls may not sound especially dangerous, they can cause traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries.

Business Should Have Adequate Lighting and Security

Low lighting makes it difficult to navigate businesses that may have uneven terrain, including steps or loose carpeting. A lack of adequate lighting doesn’t help to protect your slips, trips, and falls safety and may also create opportunities for visitors to become victims of criminal behavior.

Certain businesses in Florida also are subject to security requirements such as silent alarms or security cameras.

Staircases Should Have Handrails

Businesses should outfit staircases with hand or guardrails. Any other structures, such as escalators, that create a danger of falling also should offer visitors a way to steady themselves as they traverse potentially uneven ground.

Elevators Should Be Regularly Maintained

Poorly-maintained elevators expose visitors to the risk of severe injury or death. Businesses should ensure their elevators are working and in good condition out of a reasonable duty of care for visitor safety.

If an elevator is out of service, Florida businesses should provide signs alerting you to the issue and directing you to a staircase or another elevator.

What if a business endangers your slip, trip, and fall safety?

Business and property owners are required to take action and warn you of potential dangers and then correct those dangers if possible.

You’ve probably seen signs warning about wet floors at your local Publix, which shows the business owners and workers took care to alert you to the potential danger and ensured your slips, trips, and falls, safety. Businesses also may offer alternative routes for pathways that feature substandard conditions.

Businesses also must stay up to date on requirements for a variety of business and building standards, including construction, electrical, and plumbing. If there are hanging wires or other obvious structure issues, the business may not be up to state building codes, which would open it up to further liability.

If a business’s negligence led you to slip, trip, or fall, you may be able to sue for compensation to cover medical bills and other costs.

Have you suffered an injury at a Florida business?

Florida businesses are subject to premises liability, which means they can be held responsible for any injuries you suffer while visiting their establishment. Premises liability law says that business and property owners owe you a “common-law duty of care,” which means they must take reasonable measures to ensure your safety.

Premises liability laws are complex, require specific evidence, and have few exceptions. A Florida premises liability attorney will know your options and how best to handle your case.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free case evaluation.

 

Surprising Florida Truck Accident Statistics

Florida may be one of the most beautiful states in the nation, but it also has one of the highest accident rates. Many people flock to Florida to enjoy the weather, beaches, and hospitality. There are also many people seriously injured or killed in auto accidents every year.

Truck accidents in particular are a significant concern in the Sunshine State and across the country. You may be surprised by some of these Florida truck accident statistics. Hopefully, they’ll serve as a reminder to exercise caution at all times on the roads.

If you have been injured in a Florida truck or car accident, you have the right to seek legal action to recover damages for your injuries. Contact the experienced Florida truck accident lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to get help with your claim.

How often do truck accidents occur in Florida?

According to the most recent annual crash report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida has one of the highest state averages for deadly truck accidents in the nation.

Florida ranks as the third-deadliest state for bus and large truck accidents, preceded only by California and Texas. In 2019, 202 people died in accidents involving large trucks and buses and 3,863 people suffered injuries ranging from incapacitating to capacitating – and this was just in the state of Florida. Nationally, there were 2,734 fatal crashes involving trucks and buses.

Truck accidents are unfortunately fairly common in Florida. As the population and number of visitors grow each year, it’s likely that the number of truck accidents will also increase.

Other Florida Car and Truck Accident Statistics from 2019

  • 401,867 total crashes
  • 1,101 average crashes per day
  • 2,951 fatal crashes
  • 3,185 fatalities
  • 152,768 injury crashes
  • 8,895 motorcycle crashes
  • 769 pedestrian fatalities
  • 165 bicyclist fatalities
  • 4,984 alcohol-confirmed crashes

Palm Beach County Accident Statistics

Boca Raton and West Palm Beach See Their Fair Share of Accidents

Boca Raton and West Palm Beach are especially popular areas for both residents and tourists alike. With many exciting events, restaurants, shopping, and great access to beaches, these areas are highly trafficked. Unfortunately, this leads to one of the highest accident rates in the state.

Although the fatal accident rate is lower in Palm Beach County than in the state as a whole, this county alone accounted for nearly 27,000 crashes and 174 fatalities in 2019. In total, Palm Beach County accidents resulted in 16,787 injuries, up from 16,046 injuries in 2018.

What causes truck accidents in Florida?

Many different factors cause accidents in Florida. Some of them, like poor road conditions or poor visibility due to rain, cannot be controlled. However, many causes of accidents are within our control and it’s critical that drivers do everything they can to minimize these factors:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driver fatigue
  • Inadequate training/lack of training
  • Poorly maintained trucks
  • Truck drivers driving for too long without breaks
  • Faulty truck parts
  • Speeding

Car and truck accidents can be minimized by putting cell phones away and paying attention to other motorists on the road. These few simple tips may seem rudimentary. However, they have the potential to save lives.

Injured? Contact a Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Our experienced Florida truck accident lawyers fight for justice on behalf of victims and help them claim damages for their injuries. Whether you were in a truck accident in West Palm Beach or were injured while riding your bike in Boca Raton, our accident lawyers are ready to work with you as you begin your journey of recovery.

Contact us today at (561) 655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to working with you.

Food and Beverage Product Liability: Be Careful What You Eat

The last thing anyone wants after they’ve enjoyed a meal is to become mysteriously and violently ill. If you’ve been hit with a bad case of food poisoning, you are unfortunately familiar with the horrible side effects that can come with eating contaminated or spoiled food.

While many people have experienced food poisoning, few are aware that there are legal remedies for victims. If you fell ill from food poisoning, you may be able to seek financial compensation with the help of a skilled food product liability lawyer.

Common Sources of Food Poisoning Our Firm Sees

In food product liability, there are two types of claims: food contamination and food poisoning. Food contamination refers to food that had a foreign object in it, like rocks, animal parts, glass, and more.

Food poisoning happens when food-borne pathogens make their way into the food. These can result from a number of conditions, such as:

  • Unsanitary food preparation conditions
  • Improper food storage
  • Improper handling of food
  • Not washing hands
  • Contamination from toxic chemicals, animal waste, polluted water, and other environmental hazards
  • Not cooking food for long enough
  • Leaving food out of the fridge for too long before preparing it

Food poisoning can occur from eating various types of food and at any location. Even if you’re eating at a restaurant that seems clean, it’s still possible that the kitchen is not maintaining the proper health code standards.

Many cases of food poisoning come from the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Seafood
  • Frozen foods
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products

Exercise caution when eating out. If a food or beverage seems off, it’s safer to avoid it rather than assuming it’s okay to eat.

When you eat at a restaurant, it’s reasonable to expect that the food you consume has been sourced from a reputable place and prepared correctly in safe conditions. However, parties in the food distribution chain cut corners to save time and money, leading to food-borne illnesses that cause people to become extraordinarily ill.

Who is responsible for a contaminated food claim or food poisoning?

It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly who is responsible for the food contamination or which party failed to properly care for the food. It could be anyone in the food’s chain of manufacturing and distribution, including:

  • The company that grew the food
  • The company that sourced the food
  • The food’s producer
  • The wholesaler
  • The retailer
  • The grocery store that sold the food
  • The restaurant that served the food

Investigating the exact cause and source of the food poisoning can be incredibly complex. A food product liability lawyer can help determine which party is negligible.

Common Illnesses from Food Poisoning

At best, food poisoning can pass within a couple of days, leaving the victim weak but in stable condition. However, at worst, food poisoning can lead to even more serious medical conditions including:

  • E. coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Botulism
  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Norovirus
  • Toxoplasma
  • Shigellosis
  • Salmonella

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience food poisoning. It’s also helpful to track what and when you ate and the location.

If you purchased the food, take note of which grocery store you bought it from and save the rest of the food and the packaging. Keep those until you have a chance to speak with a food product liability lawyer.

Contact a Leading Florida Food Product Liability Lawyer Today

If you have been the victim of food or beverage poisoning or contamination, contact our firm to speak with an experienced Florida food product liability lawyer. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will help you claim the compensation you are entitled to.

Call us at 561-655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation with one of our skilled product liability lawyers. We look forward to speaking with you.

Do I have a case for medical malpractice?

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we handle a wide variety of cases and seek justice for victims of elder abuse, premises liability, and car accidents, to name a few. We also represent victims of medical malpractice who have suffered at the hands of negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.

One of the most commonly heard questions our medical malpractice lawyers receive is, “Do I have a case for medical malpractice?” It’s a good question to ask, and not always easy to answer.

The Presuit Process

Unlike other personal injury cases such as auto accidents or slip-and-fall injuries, the state of Florida requires medical malpractice victims to go through a “presuit process” as outlined in Florida Statutes Chapter 766 Section 106. 

The presuit process requires the following:

  1. Conduct a presuit investigation that includes expert witness interviews
  2. Notify each prospective defendant by certified mail of the intent to sue for medical negligence that includes (if available) the following:
  • A list of all known health care providers seen by the victim for the injuries complained of subsequent to the alleged act of negligence
  • All known health care providers during the two-year period prior to the alleged act of negligence who treated or evaluated the claimant
  • Copies of all of the medical records relied upon by the expert in signing the affidavit
  • The executed authorization form

3. A presuit investigation by the prospective defendant

Before you and your medical malpractice lawyer can file suit, the prospective defendant has 90 days to investigate the claim.

When pursuing a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit, you must have a highly skilled lawyer who is familiar and knowledgeable in the presuit process.

How to Establish Medical Malpractice

Once we’ve cleared the first hurdle which is the presuit process, our medical malpractice lawyers will take steps to establish the following:

  1. You were in the care of a doctor or another medical professional that owed you a duty of care
  2. The medical professional’s actions were negligent or wrongful and breached their duty of care
  3. The medical professional’s negligent or wrongful actions caused your injury or the death of a loved one
  4. The injury sustained resulted in damages that can be recovered in a court of law

Proof of these four elements is required in a successful medical malpractice case.

Do I have a case for medical malpractice?

If you are unsure of whether or not you have a case for medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney. The best thing you can do for yourself after being victimized by a medical professional’s negligence is consult with a leading medical malpractice lawyer.

By waiting or seeking the guidance of a less experienced lawyer, you run the risk of the statute of limitations expiring or receiving an incorrect evaluation of the case.

Speak with a Skilled Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

As a victim of medical malpractice, it is your right to pursue legal action to recover damages for your injury. However, you’ll need the help of an experienced and highly qualified Florida medical malpractice lawyer to navigate the presuit process and prove breach of duty on the doctor’s part.

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we pride ourselves on aggressively seeking justice on behalf of our clients. Call us today at 561-655-1990 to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you.