Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Ladders for siding work

Most lawsuits settle out of court. There are many reasons for this, but one of the main incentives for a settlement is so that the parties can put the matter behind them and move on with their lives. It’s no secret that jury trials can lead to appeals and that appeals can delay a resolution to the issues for months or maybe even years.

In the case of Coba v. Tricam Industries, Inc., the state’s highest court was called upon to determine whether a trial court and an intermediate appellate court had properly addressed a jury’s allegedly inconsistent verdict in a product liability lawsuit brought by the personal representative of a man who fell to his death from a 13-foot aluminum ladder. The woman’s complaint against the defendants, the manufacturer and seller of the ladder, alleged both strict product liability and negligence.

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LawThe settlement of lawsuits is encouraged under Florida law, so much so that the so-called “Florida Settlement Rule” states that a party who refuses a settlement offer can be held liable for the attorney fees and costs incurred by the maker of the offer if the maker is successful at trial. Of course, there are many stipulations that come with the rule, and the issue of whether or not the rule was complied with is a frequent source of litigation in and of itself.

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cigaretteCivil lawsuits involving personal injuries are subject to a time limit, or “statute of limitations,” for filing. This time period usually begins to run on the date that a person is injured or killed due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another person or a business. Some actions are also subject to a “statute of repose,” which may place additional time restrictions on the filing of a lawsuit. The applicability of the statute of repose for fraud was at issue in the recent case of Hess v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.

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Waiting the brideIf you are asked to sign a release before engaging in a particular activity, you need to ask yourself whether you are truly willing to waive, in advance, any claims you may have against the party asking you to sign the release. Unfortunately, many people sign such documents without giving a second thought to their actual significance under the law. This can be a huge mistake. The case of Sanislo v. Give Kids the World, Inc. illustrates the point.

The defendant was a non-profit organization that provided seriously ill children and their families with vacations at a resort village. The plaintiffs were parents who applied for a vacation for their child. During the request process, the parents signed a form that purported to release the defendant from “any liability for any potential cause of action.” The defendant approved the parents’ request. When the family arrived at the resort (located in Kissimmee, Florida), the plaintiffs again signed a liability release form. Neither release specifically said that the plaintiffs were waiving any negligence claims that might arise.

During their time at the defendant’s village, the family participated in a wagon ride. The wagon had a lift in the back for the benefit of persons confined to wheelchairs. While on a ride in the wagon, the family stepped onto the lift to pose for a picture. The lift collapsed, and the mother injured her hip and back. The plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court for Osceola County, asserting a negligence claim against the organization. In response, the organization asserted that it was entitled to an affirmative defense due to the release signed by the plaintiffs. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment on the issue of the release. The trial court granted the plaintiffs’ motion, and the matter proceeded to trial. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them damages. Continue reading →

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Crash Injures

The Raiders, the women’s basketball team of Northwest Florida State, is dealing with the shock of its coach’s injuries sustained in a violent car accident on SR 75. The head-on crash affected all lanes of northbound traffic in Okaloosa County on State Road 85. Three people were injured, including the drivers of both cars. Patrick Harrington, the coach of the Raiders, was taken via helicopter to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola in critical condition. His legs were badly injured. Immediate surgery was performed in effort to repair them.

Crash InjuresThe accident occurred when Patrick Harrington and his wife, Lori were traveling down SR 85. Arthur Clyburn veered across a median and three southbound lanes before striking the couple head-on. Head-on crashes multiply the speeds of each traveling vehicle. Eyewitness accounts describe the crash as truly horrific both drivers were extracted from their vehicles via the Jaws of Life. Patrick Harrington was driving a Ford Fusion and Clyburn was driving a Nissan Versa—each was essentially totaled with over $20k in damage. While Mr. Harrington was listed as in critical condition, his wife, Lori was listed as in serious condition at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, to which she was transported via ambulance with cracked vertebrae and ribs. After several hours she was released to join her husband.

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Team Stands Behind Coach

The Raiders team was shocked to learn about the horrific crash and injuries suffered by their beloved coach. Several members of the team turned to social media to offer get-well messages. Harrington is a popular coach with the Raiders, having led them to two consecutive quarterfinal appearances in the NJCAA Division, as well as a record of 100-25. According to Raiders team members, Mr. Harrington’s focus on treating the team like family was evident through their success on the court.

Contact the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith Now

For some, full recovery is not attainable and life is forever altered; for many, injuries, such as those to the neck and back, continue to cause physical pain and mobility issues throughout their lives. If a friend, loved one or family member has experienced trauma as a result of a car accident, it is vital they seek representation to help them receive restitution for pain, suffering, and financial costs. The goal, when battling the challenges that come with surviving a serious accident, is to mitigate those challenges as much as possible. Call the law offices of Cohn & Smith today at 954-320-6328 for a free consultation.

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Dog Bite Attorney Fort Lauderdale

Why Dogs Bite and What to Avoid

They don’t call a dog a man’s best friend for nothing. Dogs are great companions and wonderful partners in crime. Unfortunately, dog bites happen more often than not, and some can even lead to serious infections or diseases, particularly if a dog is unhealthy.

While sometimes a dog’s behavior can become unpredictable, it’s important to do whatever is necessary to ensure your dog does not bite another person or is not put in a situation to do so. Though it can be a spontaneous reaction, a dog’s bite is usually never unwarranted.

However, there are ways to avoid a dog bite and taking steps to prevent this violent attack from occurring can keep you and your dog happy.

Body Language

Sometimes we forget that our loving pets cannot respond to us – or even talk for that matter. Since our canine friends are unable to speak, the way they often communicate is through body language. Their body language can express urgent messages, so paying attention to them is the key to preventing a dog bite.

If you pay attention to what their bodies are saying, you can see when they are feeling uncomfortable, stressed out or upset. Some of the signs a dog may be getting close to biting include:

  • Tense bodies
  • Growling
  • Stiff tails and fur
  • Long and intense staring and overall aggressive demeanor

Appropriate Housing

Giving your dog or pet proper housing can also prevent dog bites from occurring. If you own a dog, it may be a wise investment to build a fence or a kennel in the backyard. A fence can allow the dog to run and play freely without running the risk of the dog wandering into the street and feeling threatened. A kennel can give the dog a place to lay outside in the shade if you’re away from home for the day or an extended period of time.

Be a Responsible Owner

Unfortunately, since dogs cannot talk their way out of a confrontation, a dog bite can only be prevented by being a responsible owner. Since it is a dog’s natural response to a situation, you must take steps to ensure your dog does not bite another person or child. It may seem easiest to lock your dog in the house and the backyard to prevent any violent attacks, but being cooped up inside is unhealthy for a dog. Dogs require a lot of social interaction with people, dogs, and their environments.

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Educate Your Family

Doing the best you can to educate your family about the importance of taking care of the family pet as well as teaching them the warning signs of a dog that may be about to bite is one way to prevent dog bites on your family, other people and children, and to keep your family and others protected, and even keep your pet happy and healthy.

Contacting Fort Lauderdale Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog or any other animal, please contact Fort Lauderdale dog Bite Lawyer at Cohn & Smith today at (954) 687 – 0503 for a free consultation and case evaluation, or visit our online contact form and a member of our professional team will respond to your query within twenty-four hours. We are here to help, and provide legal advice and assistance and to ensure that a settlement is granted in the event of a dangerous dog bite or attack.

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Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers

A personal injury, depending on how severe and life threatening, can be devastating. It can negatively and even permanently impact a person’s life and turn it upside down. If you or someone you know has been recently endured a personal injury, then you may be entitled to a legal settlement, especially if a personal injury is sustained due to negligence on a third party.

Here are some key steps to make sure you take if you are ever involved in a personal injury situation.

Report it. The first thing to do after being involved in a personal injury occurrence is to report it to local or immediate authorities. This could be the police or security official, a building or business manager, or even an employer, in some cases. Having a report on record is crucial should the personal injury case ever be reviewed by a licensed attorney or should the case undergo a legal proceeding.

Seek medical attention. Don’t wait! If you do not seek medical attention immediately after a personal injury—even if you don’t feel like there was a serious injury or you do not experience any pain or discomfort—you may run the risk of hurting your claim, especially if initially you did not feel there was a severe enough injury to report.

Keep detailed records. The second most important piece of advice is to keep detailed records of each phone call, text message, email, item purchased, the date and time the injury was reported, and even a copy of the police report. In addition, information can also include the names of any witnesses that were present during the accident, the date of any medical treatment and receipts, and any other necessary correspondence. The more documentation and evidence gathered to help your case, the better. This will also make the licensed attorney’s job much easier.

Do not fight the insurance companies alone. Even after seeking medical attention, your medical insurance provider may try to dissuade any individual who reports a personal injury case. The good news here is that you don’t have to fight the insurance companies alone. By having a knowledgeable and trustworthy personal injury attorney on your side, you don’t have to go at it alone. Do not agree to anything with the insurance companies until you consult with a personal injury attorney first.

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While the Law Offices of Cohn and Smith, P.A. have over thirty-three years of experience in representing individuals and families with accident-related cases—particularly in the area of personal injury—a good attorney will be upfront with clients on the cases and areas that he or she is considered an expert. Therefore, you should be careful to choose a knowledgeable and experienced legal representative and counselor to help you and your family in what could be a stressful and life-changing experience.

Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have questions about a personal injury claim that was caused by another third party’s negligence to either yourself of a loved one, do not wait to act. The items above should help aid you in considering the next steps to take to file a personal injury claim. Contact the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Cohn and Smith, P.A. at (954)-320-6328 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can help you with your personal injury claim today.

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Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, P.A. - Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Fort Lauderdale

Pedestrian accidents in Florida are more common than one might think. In the state of Florida, where there are often many tourists walking, riding bicycles, and enjoying the nice weather, more accidents are likely. However, if an accident involving a pedestrian occurs, that doesn’t mean that the offender isn’t liable in some way. This is when it is important to have an experienced and professional Florida pedestrian accident attorney on your side.

It’s obvious that if a pedestrian is hit by any type of moving vehicle, industries can be pretty severe. Pedestrians who are struck in some way by vehicles are often distracted by the environment, whether they are sightseeing, walking a dog, or talking with a partner. Therefore, when he or she is hit abruptly, the results are often catastrophic. At the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, P.A., Our Florida pedestrian accident Lawyer understands what individuals and victims need to focus on healing after an accident and works to represent him or her legally and ensure rights are protected, such as involving medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and other expenses.

Working with an experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help any pedestrian accident victim get a fair settlement that will secure his or her future and ensure that they get the treatment and healing they need.

Most pedestrian accidents in Florida occur due to the following reasons:

  • Talking or texting on a mobile device. While technology has done a lot of great things for society, it has also hurt us significantly. Today’s digital world has led society believe that we can multitask, which includes walking and texting or talking on the phone. Unfortunately, this can cause a person to miss a change in the stoplight or crosswalk light or for the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. Accidents can happen in a split second.
  • Jaywalking. In many states jaywalking is outlawed. This is to protect pedestrian accidents.However, pedestrians who choose to cross the street in unmarked or dangerous sections of a street can put themselves at greater risk of injury. Crossing in a designated crosswalk or pedestrian-controlled street signals is always a smarter move.
  • Children. Motor vehicle operators should always be cognizant of children playing in or near a street or road, particularly in thickly settled residential areas. Young children are often unaware of their surroundings and will “dart” into a roadway for a pet, toy or another child. When a child runs into a roadway, his or her parent or guardian’s first thought is to go after the child to rescue him or her and may also be unaware of oncoming traffic.

Regardless of the reason for a pedestrian accident, they are almost often severe. However, working with an understanding and knowledgeable Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help get an individual and his or her family what he or she deserves.

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Contact Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Fort Lauderdale

The law offices of Cohn and Smith, P.A. are highly trained and experienced in representing individuals who have been injured or harmed in any way in a pedestrian accident in the state of Florida. Our professional legal team understands the laws and what an individual needs or requires in order to properly heal from either physical or financial damages due to the negligence of another party. Contact the law offices of Cohn and Smith, P.A. today at (954)-892-6051 for a free consultation.

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Personal Injury Settlement and the IRS

Accidents on the road that involve vehicles like cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and/or pedestrians will inevitably lead to lawsuits that will be handled personal injury lawyers, or often will be handled by insurance companies in place of the insured parties. Parties or their insurance companies will also typically seek to negotiate a settlement to avoid a lawsuit where there is less certainty as to how a judge or jury will see the facts and assign liability. Whether by a judgment handed down by a jury or judge, or through a settlement amount, the party or parties who receive a judgment must be aware of possible tax consequences from that award. In many cases judgment amounts or settlement amounts will not be taxed, but this is not an absolute rule.

Important Notes About Tax Liabilities

Under Internal Revenue Service regulations, money received for direct compensation of actual physical ailments, including injuries, sickness or illness that is a result of the underlying action that led to the settlement or judgment, is not taxable as part of an individual’s gross income. This is irrespective of how the money is received, either through a lump sum or through a payment plan. In the area of mental and emotional distress that results in a physical injury or illness, so long as there is a provable resulting physical ailment, these categorical damages can too be excluded from income. Damages for pure emotional distress, however, are not excluded under the code. Punitive damages (damages to punish the liable party), which are rare in the event of vehicle accidents because those accidents are typically just the result of negligence as opposed to intentional acts, are not excluded under these rules and so will more than likely be taxed by the IRS. Thus the bottom line is that damages arising from physical injuries, or emotional distress specifically leading to physical injuries, will be exempt from federal taxes.

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More easily quantifiable damages will typically be compensation for medical expenses and lost income, among other things. Medical expenses will almost always be part of a car accident lawsuit judgment or settlement. These compensatory damages for medical expenses will usually not be taxed because this money is specifically supposed to pay the injured party back for expenses that they would not have faced if not injured. Naturally, since this is a reimbursement it does not count as taxable income, as that would be quite unfair to the injured person who should not have had to pay those expenses him or herself in the first place. This also goes for money received for property damage, including the vehicle, as well as the expense of having to find alternate transportation, such as a rental car. Another category of compensatory damages – lost income – is, however, taxable, because it is just that: income. These are payments that the injured person would have been receiving and would have been taxed had the accident not occurred.

It is In Your Best Interests to Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

The above summary of tax implications is merely a general description, and in large part only accounts for how the IRS will treat certain damages for the purpose of federal taxes. Each state may have its own specifics and nuances, and a person receiving a judgment or settlement award must be cognizant of what they owe in taxes. Having the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer and if appropriate, the right accountant or financial adviser, is important, call the Law Office of Cohn & Smith PA today

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Miami Beach and Sarasota residents and visitors were shocked when two small planes landed on the beach within two days.

Plane Crash on Beach in FloridaOn July 27, a man and his 9-year-old daughter were killed while walking on the beach in Sarasota on the west coast of Florida when they were struck by a plane.  Back on July 20, a Coral Gables man was killed when the Cessna he was piloting crashed into the ocean outside of Elliott Key in South Miami-Dade County.

All of the accidents in and around Fort Lauderdale and Broward County generally concern residents and tourists alike who may be unsuspecting victims to unusual, but potentially devastating, personal injuries.


Tragedy in Sarasota


Army Sergeant Ommy Irizarry and his daughter were struck by a Piper brand airplane.  Irizarry and his wife Rebecca were vacationing on the beach to commemorate their ninth wedding anniversary.  The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash to determine its cause.


Safe Landing in Miami Beach


Unlike the tragic landing in Sarasota, Jafet Cordeiro, another aviator who was piloting a Cessna plane that crash landed on the beach in Miami, was able to safely navigate and land the plane without injuring himself, the passengers on the plane or any passersby on the ground.


Torts and Airplane Manufacturers


A tort is a civil wrong, unlike a crime, which is considered a wrong against the “community.” Torts are filed against a defendant by the victim of a tort, while the local, state, or federal government will bring a criminal charge depending on which law may have been broken.  Most commonly a tort involves a personal injury, resulting from either intentional or negligent actions by another person.  An intentional tort is a tort such as assault, in which the defendant intended to intimidate or hit the plaintiff.  Common intentional torts include assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  A negligent tort includes activities such as failing to follow reasonable safe driving practices, leading to an accident.

Airplane injuries are certainly an unusual form of tort injury when compared to car-related injuries, but are significant nonetheless due to the amount of damage that can come from such large craft.  Small aircraft makers are protected by a statute, called the General Aviation Revitalization Act, which prohibits products liability claims for aircraft that were manufactured more than 18 years ago.  This law encourages pilots to be more careful in the maintenance and piloting of their aircraft as manufacturers of those small planes will not be held liable for any plane older than 18 years.


Personal Injury Victims That Still Need Help

If you have questions about a personal injury claim that was caused by another person’s negligence, you should act quickly to assert your claim.  You should also be careful to choose a knowledgeable and effective representative and counselor to help you in a very stressful time.  Contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Cohn & Smith, P.A. to guide you through a difficult time.

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