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Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Archives | Osborne & Francis

What Are Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

What Are Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

By | Economic Damage | No Comments

When you suffer an injury that is a result of the negligence of another person or entity, you may be entitled to recover specific types of damages in the form of financial compensation. There are different types of damages, and there are different guidelines that are followed for each when they are awarded to someone in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive damages are not always sought by personal injury lawyers or awarded, but in some cases, they may be deemed appropriate.

Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Damages that are awarded in personal injury cases fall into categories, that sometimes overlap. While some compensatory damages may also be called economic damages, the categories are typically broken down as follows:

Economic Damages – These types of damages are financial losses and are sometimes referred to as actual damages. They include the expenses the injured person had as a result of the injuries he or she sustained. For example, medical bills lost wages, and the expenses of repairing or replacing damaged property.

Non-Economic Damages – These damages involve losses that have had a negative effect on the injured party but can’t be assigned a specific dollar value. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and loss of consortium.  

Punitive Damages – Punitive damages are designed to be a punishment to the party whose negligence caused the injury. Punitive damages are only awarded when the defendant’s actions (or inactions) are found to have been exceptionally reckless or malicious.

Understanding Punitive Damages

Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to make an injured person whole financially, punitive damages are meant to punish, or penalize, the responsible party for the behavior that is tied to the injury. In some cases, the injured person is able to seek punitive damages when the defendant is found to have been intentional, reckless, malicious, or grossly negligent.

For an individual to be found grossly negligent, it must be proven that he or she demonstrated a conscious indifference or disregard for another person’s safety, rights, or life. It is quite different from regular negligence, which is usually defined as a breach of a general duty to act with reasonable care, in that it adds the element of recklessness.

In a personal injury case, there must be a reasonable basis for an injured person to ask for punitive damages. If there isn’t evidence that supports gross negligence or intentional behavior, then the injured person and his or her lawyer may be subject to sanctions assigned by the court. This helps prevent frivolous lawsuits from being filed.

Some states place limitations, or caps, on how much an injured person can be awarded for punitive damages. In Florida, the limit is three times the amount of the economic and non-economic damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. Boca’s prominent personal injury attorney, Joe Osborne, can help you determine the best way to proceed with your case. Contact him today at (561) 293-2600, to get started on your case. Don’t delay, you have a limited amount of time in which to file your claim.

 

Can an Insurance Company Determine Fault when the Police Say No One Was to Blame?

Can an Insurance Company Determine Fault when the Police Say No One Was to Blame?

By | Auto Accident, Car Accidents | No Comments

Determining fault is at the heart of any car accident that involves injuries and property damage. It’s typically the first question that is asked after a vehicle collision. The answer that is determined can have a dramatic effect on the parties involved in the accident, including whose insurance will cover damages and repairs, and whether there is someone who is subject to citations, fines, or even criminal liability. So, what happens when the police who respond to an accident don’t issue any tickets, and they don’t assign fault to a specific driver?

How Police Determine Fault of a Car Accident

When the police respond to the scene of a car accident, they are responsible for creating a report about what occurred. They will interview the parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses who saw it happen, to attempt to piece together how the accident occurred. When they have determined that they have enough information, they will turn the report in to their department.

The report that the police file may contain a statement about who is at fault for the accident based on their professional opinion. But, many police reports detailing car accidents do not include a determination of who is at fault. It’s also important to keep in mind that even when they do state who they believe caused the accident, it doesn’t mean that driver will automatically be held legally responsible for the damages in a claim.

The police who respond to an accident may or may not issue citations to one or more of the drivers involved. While this holds those who are given citations to the responsibility of appearing in traffic court, it doesn’t necessarily prove who will be found liable in a car accident lawsuit. However, citations that are issued may be used as evidence that the driver was negligent, and they may play a part in the insurance company’s determination of fault.

How Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

Ultimately, the insurance companies of the parties involved in the accident will make a determination of fault. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to the claim, and will oversee an investigation into how the accident happened. There is usually more than one adjuster involved, as each insurance company has their own. They research the accident, talk to witnesses, review any medical reports, assess vehicle damage, verify coverage, and come to a conclusion about who was at fault.

At this point, there is sometimes an agreement that is made between the insurance companies to assign partial fault to each driver. Otherwise, one is determined responsible and their insurer will make a settlement offer to the other affected parties.

The problem is, insurance companies are not always right, and they are always looking out for the best interests of their company over the best interests of the insured. That is why consulting an auto accident attorney for any accident is important. Your attorney will perform an independent investigation of your accident and determine how best to proceed with your case.

Get Help from an Auto Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Insurance companies will not always provide you with the best representation, which is why you need to find the right car accident lawyer to handle your case. Contact Boca Raton car accident attorney Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to get the ball rolling on your claim.

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition

By | Personal Injury | No Comments

Most personal injury cases involve depositions. Because most of these types of cases are settled before they make it to trial, it may be the only time that you are questioned by the counsel from the other side. Having to participate in a deposition may be daunting, causing some nervousness, especially when you don’t know what to expect. The following outlines what normally happens in personal injury depositions.

What is a Deposition?

Basically, a deposition is a meeting where the opposing counsel is able to question you about the case. Your attorney is in attendance with you as you are questioned. There is typically a court reporter present and the session may be videoed as well.

Why is a Deposition Necessary?

In a personal injury lawsuit, both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s sides have a right to know what evidence the other side has so they can thoroughly prepare for a trial (in the event that the case isn’t settled). The opposing side is entitled to see all of the information that your attorney has collected regarding your case. Additionally, they are entitled to hear your thoughts and recollection of the accident.

What Will I Be Asked in a Personal Injury Deposition?

In a personal injury case, the questions involved in a deposition are usually background-related and accident-related.

Background-related questioning typically involves the following:

You will be asked about your current address and previous addresses for a specific amount of time.

You will be asked about your occupation and salary. You may also be asked about previous employers.

You will be asked if you have filed other lawsuits in the past, and if so, what types.

You will be asked if you have any criminal history.

You will be asked about previous illnesses and injuries and for your doctors’ contact information.

Accident-related questioning typically involves the following:

You will be asked to describe the accident that caused your injuries. The attorney will likely want you to describe every minute detail of the accident – so be prepared for this part to take some time.

You will be asked to describe your injuries. This too will take some time. You will be asked to provide information about every doctor who has treated you, how you came to see each doctor, the status of any medical bills, if you have been working since your accident, etc.

You will be asked to detail any limitations you have had since the accident (work, household duties, caring for family, etc.). These limitations will have to be supported by medical records.

Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

While a deposition can be tedious, when you have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner, you will be well prepared, and you will know that you have an advocate who is looking out for your best interests. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another party, contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to set up a consultation for your case. He will guide you through the deposition process as well as all the other aspects of your case.

What If My Child Is Injured at a Friend’s House?

By | Personal Injury | No Comments

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare — getting a phone call informing you that your child has been injured in an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and serious injury among children between birth and age 19. Each year, over 12,000 children die due to accidental injuries, and more than 9.2 million are seen in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries.

After a child is hurt, many parents don’t know where to turn for help. Obviously, the first priority is always getting immediate medical attention. Once your child has been treated, the next step is speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your legal rights. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Always Report the Injury

When a child is injured at a friend’s house or relative’s home, parents sometimes hesitate to report the incident. Understandably, they don’t want to strain relationships with close friends or loved ones. However, failing to report the injury can hurt a personal injury case down the road. The defense counsel, who is usually hired by an insurance company, will invariably argue that the delay between the incident and reporting the incident means the child could have sustained an injury during the gap between the accident and the report.

You should also avoid reaching any kind of informal agreement or “settlement” with the homeowner. If you accept compensation from the homeowner, it could prevent you from being awarded money in a personal injury case. Although you may be reluctant to report the incident, you never know how much an injury will cost over time. Keep in mind that homeowners insurance exists for a reason. If you end up having to file a lawsuit against the homeowner, the insurance company will take over and defend it. This means you won’t be forced to go to court against a friend or relative.

Homeowners Insurance Will Probably Cover the Injury

Many people worry that reporting an injury at a friend’s house or relative’s home will burden that person with debt. However, the majority of homeowners have an insurance policy that protects them in the event of an injury on their property. If you receive a settlement, the money won’t come out of your loved one’s pocket. Just as with motor vehicle insurance, homeowners insurance covers people against lawsuits brought about by negligence.

Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Kids and Injuries

Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne explains, “If your child is injured at school, it’s especially important to contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Because most schools are public entities, you may be required to file a formal notice of your intent to sue. In most cases, the time window for serving this notice is very short. Don’t miss your chance to get the compensation you deserve because you waited too long.”

Contact a Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If your child or loved one was injured at a friend’s home or relative’s house, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer. Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne today at (561) 800-4011.

Boca Raton Medication Error Lawyer Discusses Common Drug Mistakes

By | Medication Errors | No Comments

According to a study published in 2017 by the journal Clinical Toxicology, medication mistakes are on the rise. Estimates by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveal that about 1.3 million Americans are injured by drug errors every year.

Although accidents can happen with any kind of medication, certain drugs are particularly susceptible to errors. Here are three common medications that can be easily confused with other drugs.

Zantac vs. Zyrtec

Zantac is a drug used to treat heartburn, whereas Zyrtec is a medication used for people with allergies. Both drugs are sold over-the-counter, but both are also available in prescription strength. If taken improperly, both can also cause serious problems, including issues with the liver and kidneys.

Lamictal vs. Lamisil

Lamictal is an epilepsy drug. Lamisil is used to treat fungal infections. In 2013, a woman in Illinois developed painful and disfiguring blisters all over her body after her doctor prescribed a potentially deadly combination of Lamictal and Depakote. The rash was caused by Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a drug interaction that caused blisters to spread inside her lungs and left her fighting for her life. Although she recovered, she is legally blind and suffers constant lung infections. She saw several doctors before one finally identified the syndrome.

Celebrex vs. Celexa

While Celebrex is an arthritis medication, Celexa is used to treat depression. It’s easy to see how these two medications could get mixed up given the similarity in their names. However, it only takes one mistake in the chain of distribution from the drug manufacturer to the doctor and the pharmacist to bring about a deadly result.

Check Your Medications Carefully

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has issued a list of hundreds of drugs that have similar-sounding names to other medications. To avoid getting your medication mixed up with another drug, follow these safety tips:

  • Double Check Your Prescriptions – Don’t assume your prescription has been checked and triple checked. Pharmacists and doctors are human, and they can make mistakes just like anyone else.
  • Know What You’re Taking – If the doctor prescribed it, it must be safe, right? Actually, not always. If a doctor is in a rush, he or she may not ask you detailed health questions, including a family history of bad drug reactions. Always ask the doctor to explain what you’re taking and why.
  • Talk to the Pharmacist – Don’t skip your chance to discuss your medication with the pharmacist. Your health is too important to leave to chance.

 

Boca Raton Medication Error Lawyer Discusses Drug Errors

Boca Raton medication error lawyer Joe Osborne explains, “Drug errors can happen in the doctor’s office, in hospitals, and inside pharmacies. Whether it’s an interaction between two or more different drugs, or a mistake in which a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or mixes up two patients, drug mistakes can kill.”

Contact a Boca Raton Medication Error Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by a negligent doctor, hospital, or pharmacist, don’t wait to speak to a lawyer. Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne today at (561) 800-4011.

 

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Avoid Common Motorcycle Accidents by Boca Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | motorcycle accidents | No Comments

Some motorcycle accidents can be avoided if the rider has the right skills and avoids mistakes says  Boca motorcycle accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Riding a motorcycle is fun but dangerous. An accident involving a car may result in minor injuries or could cause severe injuries or death if the other person is riding a motorcycle. Some accidents are unavoidable, caused by negligent drivers of other vehicles. Other accidents might be avoided or their consequences lessened if a motorcyclist has the right skills and takes precautions says motorcycle accident lawyer Joe Osborne. RideApart has many suggestions (and lots of videos) for motorcyclists to ride safer.

Motorcycle Safety

If you’re a new rider complete a basic rider course and if you’re experienced there are advanced rider classes as well. Wear a helmet and wear bright colors to make yourself more visible.

A Vehicle Takes a Left In Front Of You

This is the most common motorcycle accident and caused by negligent, inattentive, distracted drivers. You can try to avoid it by preparing for it. Are you approaching an intersection, driveway or garage sale? Is there a gap in traffic that someone may want to suddenly fill? Are front wheels turning in your direction? Look around you to see if you have space for evasive action. The article advises against “laying down” the motorcycle but instead reducing as much speed as possible if a collision is unavoidable.

Gravel On A Blind Corner

If you’re riding around a corner suddenly there may be gravel or sand in your path causing you to lose traction and control. To avoid this slow down when approaching a corner so you can safely take action to protect yourself and if it’s safe accelerate out of the corner.

Entering A Corner Too Fast

You think you won’t make it around the corner without going off the road. To prevent this, don’t speed. Use visual clues like telephone poles and signs to get an idea of a road’s direction. If you’re in this situation try to ride it out. Look where you want to go, be as smooth as possible on the controls, don’t hit the brakes, chop the throttle or do anything that may upset the bike and cause a loss of traction. Don’t panic. Try to hold that lean angle, look for the corner exit and ride it out.

A Vehicle Changes Lane Into You

Be aware of vehicles’ blind spots and get out of them as quickly as possible. If you can see a driver’s eyes in their mirrors, they should be able to see you (if they look). Be aware of the overall situation. Is traffic slowing and those in one lane are going faster than the other? Are turn signals being used, wheels turning, a car wandering across the road?

Rear Ended

You come to a stop but the driver behind you doesn’t see you or is going too fast to stop in time. If you’re at an intersection you could, nicely, pull in front of a car (or line of cars) and use them as a barrier to anyone coming from behind. To be more visible you could also pull to the side of the lane and rapidly flash your brake light by tapping a brake lever, keep the bike in gear and your right hand on the throttle. Be aware of what’s going on behind you and of situations like bad weather, poor visibility or late nights when drivers are more likely to be fatigued or intoxicated.

No matter how safe a motorcyclist can be there are situations caused by negligent drivers where motorcyclist can be seriously injured or killed. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Boca motorcycle accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries