personal injury claim lawyer in Florida

Following a Personal Injury Claim Through the Process

Unless you are a lawyer or work in a law firm, it is unlikely that you understand how a personal injury claim works its way through the system. This blog post seeks to walk you through the process from start to finish.

A Visit with your Florida Personal Injury Attorney

The first step in a personal injury case is determining whether or not you have a claim. Some common types of claims include the following:

Car accidents;
Motorcycle accidents;
Slip and fall accidents;
Medical malpractice;
Amusement Park accidents;
Dog bites;
Injuries due to negligent security; and
Hotel accidents.

This is just a list of examples of the types of injuries which could result in a claim. If you are unsure whether or not you have a claim, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney to assist you.

Proceeding with a Claim

Once your Florida personal injury attorney determines you have a claim, they will begin the legal process. Your attorney will require information from you, including medical records and statements from you, and others who have observed your injuries.

In addition to determining the extent of your injuries, your personal injury attorney may contact the attorney for the insurance company in an attempt to settle the case without the need for filing a case in a court of law. Alternatively, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, your attorney may proceed to filing a claim in court. The court will issue a scheduling order for the parties.

The Contents of a Scheduling Order

Once the scheduling order has been issued, the following steps will occur:

Plaintiff (the injured party) provides the defendant (frequently an insurance company) with “discovery” (Discovery is a legal term that basically means “the evidence that proves you were hurt, and how much money it has cost and will cost to make you whole,” also known as “damages”);
Plaintiff may be deposed (interviewed under oath by an attorney for the other side);
Plaintiff provides a preliminary list of witnesses;
Defendant provides preliminary witness list;
Expert witnesses are identified and disclosed to the other side;
The date of the pretrial;
Final witness lists;
The date of the trial.

Things that Happen Between Filing and Trial

It may come as a surprise that most cases do not actually go to trial. Rather, most cases settle at some point between the plaintiff providing the defense the evidence they have, and the time of the trial. This can happen based on a number of different factors and can include:

A negotiated settlement between the parties;
As a result of arbitration, either binding or nonbinding;
As a result of mediation.

A Negotiated Settlement

Many times, after a careful review of all the evidence, the lawyers for the insurance company will make an offer to settle the case. When this occurs, you can be sure your personal injury attorney will take that offer as an opportunity to attempt to negotiate a higher settlement. Once your personal injury attorney believes he has negotiated the best offer he can for you, your attorney will convey the offer to you. While your attorney is entitled to an opinion on whether it is a good offer or a bad offer, or whether you might be able to get a better settlement after a trial, it is your decision, and your decision alone as to whether or not to accept the offer.


Under the laws in the state of Florida, the court can refer civil actions, such as personal injury cases, to something called “non-binding arbitration.” Arbitration can include a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, who hear the case. While evidence is presented, including testimony, documents, and exhibits, the hearing is significantly less formal than a trial. The arbitrator or the panel of arbitrators will issue their decision in writing. Because arbitration is generally nonbinding, the parties may accept the decision or they may decide to take the case to trial.

The parties can also enter into binding arbitration. The procedures are the same as in nonbinding arbitration, but the arbitrator’s decision is final. It can only be appealed within limited circumstances.


Mediation is also an option which may lead to case resolution, except in cases of medical malpractice. The statutes in Florida specifically exclude medical malpractice claims from mediation. Mediation involves a neutral third party. The mediator’s role is to help the parties identify issues, and works towards joint problem solving. The mediator can also explore settlement alternatives that might best suit the unique facts and circumstances of a given case. Mediators, unlike arbitrators, do not issue a ruling. Instead, they decision making authority rests with the parties. Mediators can often help parties come to a voluntary, mutually acceptable resolution. However, they are not allowed to impose their will on either party.

What to Consider When Deciding Whether to Accept an Offer

There are many things to consider when deciding whether or not to accept the offer. The amount offered is one consideration. However, there are other factors that you cannot put a price on. For example, the stress of a trial is a consideration. Additionally, the fact that the case will continue on for weeks or months, instead of resolving now. When a case goes to trial, the jury or judge decides the appropriate dollar amount to award as damages. It may be higher than the amount offered, but it may also be lower than the offer. Finally, in many cases, an award made after a trial can be appealed by the insurance company if they don’t think the amount awarded was just. This will delay your claim even further.


If, and only if, none of these measures settles, the case will it go to trial.

What to Do if You Think You Have a Claim

If you have sustained an injury, or if you have lost a loved one in an accident, contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at Madalon Law. They will meet with you at no charge to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.

wrongful death lawyer in Florida

Understanding Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you may have a wrongful death case. A lawsuit alleging a “wrongful death” basically is a suit where the person who caused the death is sued for damages. “Damages” is a legal term that means “the amount of money that will compensate you for your loss.” Of course, no amount of money can compensate you for the loss of your loved one. That said, there are a number of types of damages you may be entitled to, that may at least begin to fill some of the gaps left by the death of your loved one.

Some people are hesitant to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You should know that the public policy of the state of Florida is specifically outlined in the Florida statutes. It states that when a wrongful death occurs, the losses should be born not by the survivors but rather, by the wrongdoer.

Right of Action – When Does One Have a Wrongful Death Case?

If a person dies in the state of Florida because of someone else’s wrongful act, default, negligence, breach of contract, or breach of warranty, there may be a cause of action for damages. These types of wrongful acts in the state of Florida include not only wrongful actions or breaches on land, but also those that occur on navigable waters.

Practically speaking, this could include – but is not limited to — deaths from car and motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and falls.

What if the Wrongdoer Also Died in the Accident?

You should know that you may have a wrongful death claim even if the wrongdoer who caused the accident is also dead (either as a direct cause of the accident, or due to circumstances that have nothing to do with the accident). This is because the dead wrongdoer has what is called “an estate,” which can be sued in place of the wrongdoer.

Who Qualifies for Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

Under Florida law, “survivors” are entitled to file a wrongful death suit. Survivors may include any of the following:

Children under the age of 25;
Children under the age of 25 born out of wedlock of a mother;
Children under the age of 25 born out of wedlock of a father who has recognized the responsibility for the child’s support;
Other blood relatives dependent on the decedent for support or services; and
Adoptive siblings that relied upon the decedent for support or services.

“Support” includes both money and “in kind” contributions. This could mean that a relative lived with the decedent, where the decedent paid the mortgage, the bills, or provided food. “Services” on the other hand, mean tasks, typically of a household nature, that were regularly performed by the decedent, which now becomes a necessary expense to the survivors. Obviously, damages for services will vary in each case, because it is dependent on the actions of each individual decedent.

Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Cases

In a case for wrongful death, all survivors are entitled to recover the value of the lost support and the lost services from the decedent. The damages are calculated from the date of death if the death was immediate, or, in cases where a loved one lives beyond the date of the injuries, but dies later as a result of the injuries, the date the injury occurred. Past damages are awarded with interest. Survivors are also entitled to future loss of support and services. Things that are evaluated when calculating loss of support and services include the amount of the lost loved one’s probable net income, as well as the replacement value of the loved one’s services to each survivor. In calculating future losses, the life expectancies of each survivor and the decedent are calculated.

Spouses. Spouses are entitled to also recover for the loss of their loved one’s companionship and protection. Spouses can also recover for pain and suffering back to the date of the injury.

Children. Children under the age of 25 can recover for the loss of the companionship, guidance, and instruction. If there is no surviving spouse, children of all ages may recover damages for the loss of companionship, guidance, and instruction. Children are also entitled to recover for pain and suffering back to the date of the original injury.

Parents. When parents have lost a child under the age of 25, they are entitled to pain and suffering from the date the child was injured that resulted in their death. If a child 25 or older dies as a result of a personal injury, and the child has no other survivors, parents may also recover for pain and suffering.

Medical Expenses. Medical expenses can be recovered by the person who paid the medical expenses.

Funeral Expenses. Funeral expenses, similarly, can be recovered by the survivor who paid the funeral expenses.

Net Accumulations. Net accumulations include the expected salary income or business income of the decedent. This includes pension benefits and the amount of money the decedent probably would have saved in his lifetime, to leave as part of his estate, if the decedent had been able to live to a normal life expectancy.

What to Do if You Have Lost a Loved One

Losing a loved one suddenly is shocking. The days and weeks after the accident can feel overwhelming, as the family seeks to adjust to a “new normal,” living without their loved one. Lawsuits can be the furthest thing from a family’s mind. Unfortunately, the state of Florida has a statute of limitations that governs wrongful death suits. If you do not file your claim in a timely manner, you may not be able to recover the damages you are entitled to.

If you have lost a loved one due to an accident, you may have a wrongful death claim. Contact the skilled Florida Wrongful Death attorneys at Madalon Law. Our attorneys are experienced in handling wrongful death claims. We will meet with you and your family at no charge to discuss the loss of your loved one and whether or not we believe we can recover damages for your loss.

personal injury claim lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Different Types of Compensation You May be Entitled to in Your Personal Injury Case

If you have been injured in an accident, or if you have lost a loved one due to a personal injury, you may be entitled to compensation. In the state of Florida, compensation comes in two forms: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include such things as medical expenses, past lost income, future lost income, the cost of repair or replacement for items lost, and other economic losses that would not have occurred but for the injury.

Past Medical Expenses

You may be entitled to be compensated for past medical expenses. Medical expenses include such things as the following:

The cost of your hospitalization;
The cost of your laboratory tests;
CAT scans; or
Any other procedure that was done in the hospital in order to treat your injuries.

It also covers ongoing medical care. This is not limited to seeing your primary physician. It also covers such things as seeing a physical therapist or, where appropriate, seeing a chiropractor to address your injuries. Your medical expenses also cover prescription medication, as well as durable medical equipment. If you are required to use crutches, or purchase a brace, or any other medical device to assist you in your recovery, this cost would be covered. Mileage to and from your medical appointments is also considered a compensable expense in the state of Florida.

Future Medical Expenses

Future medical expenses are also compensable. Your lawyer, in conjunction with your treating physician, will make a determination, based on the best evidence available to them, about how much further medical care you may need. This will be included in either a negotiated settlement or requested at a trial.

Past Lost Income

If you lost income because you were out of work for your injury, you are entitled to recover that income. This is not only limited to days that you were not paid, but also covers those days when you are required to take sick leave in order to either recover from your injuries, or attend medical appointments. We have previously discussed the importance of keeping a personal injury diary on this blog. Your personal injury diary will provide a clear indication of when you sought medical attention due to the injuries at hand, rather than the use of an ordinary sick day.

Future Lost Income

If it is evident that you will not be able to work for the foreseeable future, you are entitled to recover future lost income. Your attorney, along with an expert in future lost earnings, will calculate a reasonable estimate as to what your future lost earnings will be, based on input from your medical professional. They will consider the amount of time you will need to fully recover, based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.

Replacement Value of Lost Personal Property

If, for example, you were injured in a car accident, and your vehicle was totaled, you are entitled to the cost of the replacement of your vehicles. Similarly, if your car contained a set of golf clubs, and those golf clubs were destroyed in the accident, you are entitled to recover the cost of replacing the golf clubs.

Funeral Expenses

If you have lost a loved one due to a personal injury, you may be entitled to be compensated for funeral expenses.

Any Other Economic Loss that Would Have Occurred but for the Injury

Every case is different. You may have incurred other economic losses that you would not have incurred except for the injury. If this is true in your case, you are entitled to recover those losses. Talking to an attorney well versed in personal injury law can assist you in identifying whether you have suffered other economic losses.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are for such things as pain and suffering, and mental anguish. The idea behind non-economic damages is to compensate you for intangibles that rise out of your injury.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are not uncommon in personal injury cases. Your personal injury journal you will provide real-time information about how you are feeling each day, and how your injuries were and are impacting your daily life. Your personal injury journal will include important details that will be needed at your personal injury trial to illustrate the nature and extent of your pain and suffering. It’s very important that you are honest in your personal injury journal, both about the nature and extent of your injuries and the pain and suffering that you are experiencing. This is not the time to be shy, modest, or stoic. This information is critical in resolving your personal injury case for what it is actually worth

Mental Anguish

Just like pain and suffering, mental anguish is something that you are entitled to recover in the state of Florida. Determining the extent of your mental anguish, however, can best be determined by reviewing your personal injury diary. This will be a real time documentation of incidents and experiences that you will have had over the time between the day that you were injured to the time that you go to trial. It’s easy to forget small instances that cause mental anguish over the course of the year to 18 months that it may take for your case to get to trial. As such, it is best that you document them at the time.

What to Do If You Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you have been injured in an accident, or if you have lost a loved one due to an accident, you need an advocate on your side to assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to. The attorneys at Madalon Law are available to review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine what compensation you may be entitled to. There are statutory limitations to the time you are allowed to file your claim. Don’t wait until it is too late. Contact us today.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida workers' comp lawyer

Recognizing Hazards for Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace

Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace can lead to injury or death in some cases. The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a checklist for employers to review their work space to see if there are any hazards that could be identified and eliminated. Taking the time to review the general areas where slips, trips, and falls can occur can save an employer countless hours of lost employee labor due to injury and workplace shutdowns. It can also save an employer considerable amounts of money.

General Work Environment

It is critical for employers to have a functioning housekeeping or janitorial program in place. This service should be well documented, including what activities are (and are not) expected, how frequently, and by whom. Work stations should be sanitary, orderly, and clean. All workspaces should be kept dry and should be adequately lit.

Waste, debris, and combustible scraps should be identified as such. They should be safely stored. Paint soaked waste and oily waste should be disposed of in metal cans. There should be a regular schedule of removal of these items. In addition, all waste removal and discard should be done in accordance with local, state, and federal laws.

Dust should be recognized as a combustible substance, and should be routinely removed from surfaces that are elevated. A careful review of the work space should identify areas that require regular dusting.

Aisles and Walkways

Aisles and walkway should be adequately lit, marked as appropriate, and kept clear of debris. Where aisles and walkways are covered with rugs, mats, or carpets, it is essential they are properly anchored. Mats, rugs, and carpets should be examined periodically to assure that there are no worn, frayed, or upturned edges, which could lead to tripping. If there is an area of an aisle or walkway that is habitually wet, the surface should be covered with high traction material, with an eye toward a safer surface. The aisles and walkways should be free from protruding objects, cable wiring, open drawers, cords, and other obstacles

Spills should be cleaned up immediately. This should be coordinated with the housekeeping staff. It’s important that aisles and walkways have adequate headroom. If there is a change in elevation, this must be clearly identifiable. If the walkways elevated, guardrails must be present.

Stairs, Stairways and Ramps

Stairs, stairways, and ramps must be adequately lit. In case of an emergency, generator or battery-powered emergency lighting must be available to light the stairway. In all stairwells with four or more steps, handrails must be present. Handrails are also required on ramps. The handrails should be between 30 and 34 inches from the leading edge of the stair treads. Handrails should also be located at least three inches from the wall that they’re mounted on.

Stairway should be at least 22 inches in width. In staircases where the stairs change directions, there must be landing platforms. Stairs should be of uniforms shape and size. They should also have slip resistant surfaces.


The handrail on the escalator should be easy to hold. Escalator safety procedures should be posted at every escalator, at both the top and the bottom. Escalators should have under-step lighting both at the bottom landing and the top landing. This is to provide a clear visual indicator of both the starting point and ending point of the escalator. The side clearance between the step and the sidewall should be no more than 3/16 of an inch. It’s important that sidewalls are made from low friction materials. This is so shoes will not stick to the sidewalls. Every escalator should have emergency shut off buttons both at the bottom and the top of the stairs. There should be sensory devices installed on all escalators. These sensors are intended to detect foreign objects and should result in immediate shut off of the electric escalator.

Elevated Surfaces

Signs should be posted, clearly illustrating the elevated surface load capacity. On surfaces that are more than 30 inches above the floor or the ground, guardrails must be installed.

There must be a permanent means of egress and access to elevated storage and elevated work surfaces. Headroom must be appropriate for elevated surfaces. Any materials that are stored or placed on elevated surfaces must be put there in a manner that prevents them from tipping, collapsing, rolling, falling, or spreading.

Ladders and Scaffolding

Portable stepladders should not be higher than 20 feet. They should be equipped with a metal spreader or a locking device. Single ladder heights should be 30 feet or less. Where extension ladders are used, the height of the ladder should be limited to 60 feet or less.

Scaffolds and ladders must be free from loose rungs, cracks, and sharp edges. They should also be free from grease and dirt. Scaffolds and ladders should have slip resistant grips. Footings for scaffoldings must be sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the advertised maximum load. The scaffolding itself must be capable of carrying four times the maximum load. Employees should be carefully instructed about appropriate safety standards and safety procedures, prior to using ladders and scaffolds.

Parking Lots and Sidewalks

Parking lots and sidewalks should be maintained and kept clear of falling debris and loose gravel, as well as timber. Curbs and ramps must be color-coded properly. Speed bumps and tire stops must be clearly marked.

It’s important that parking lots and sidewalks be kept clear of snow and ice. Parking lots and sidewalks should be adequately lit. They should be free from upheaval, and other surface defects. Spills and fluids in parking lots and sidewalks should be cleaned up immediately. Where there are slight changes in elevation, these changes must be clearly identified.

If You or a Loved One Have Been Injured at Work

If you or a loved one has been injured at work, contact the experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Madalon Law. There is no fee unless we collect on your behalf! Contact us today.

personal injury claim lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Injury Case Damages and Structured Settlements in Florida

When you’ve been injured in an accident your focus is on getting the best medical care and recovering. But as the medical bills mount and your injuries have prevented you from returning to work so your income has dwindled, you have to start thinking about your legal options for having the person or business responsible for your injuries to help pay the costs of you care and the wages you’ve lost.

In Florida, when someone’s negligent actions have resulted in injury to you and loss of property, you are entitled to damages. Damages are monetary awards granted by the judge or jury in a civil lawsuit to recompense a person for pain suffered, medical expenses, and harm done to property.

You can recover for any bodily injury you sustain and any resulting pain and suffering, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life you experienced in the past or may experience going forward. The types of damages you may be awarded can be for economic and noneconomic losses.


Past and future lost income: Earnings, any working time lost in the past and any loss of ability to earn money in the future
Past and future medical expenses: The reasonable value or expense of past and future hospitalization and medical and nursing care and treatment
Replacement value of lost personal property: The difference between the value of the property immediately before the incident and its value immediately after; the reasonable cost of repair, if repairable, with allowance for any difference between its value immediately before the incident and its value after repair
Funeral expenses


Pain and suffering: The pain of actual physical injuries, including effects likely to be suffered in the future
Mental anguish: Mental pain and suffering from being physically injured, including anguish, emotional distress, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock


Punitive damage can be awarded in addition to economic and noneconomic damages. Punitive damages are meant to compensate the injured party beyond his or her losses and punish the defendant for offending societal and individual norms and expectations. In Florida, two common situations where punitive damages may be awarded are drunk driver cases and when a driver was on a cell phone at the time of the accident.

Structured Settlements

If the severity of your injuries is permanent and catastrophic, your damages could be considerable, amounting to several millions of dollars. In such a case, you may choose to negotiate a structured settlement with the person who injured you or the insurance company.

A structured settlement is an arrangement where you agree to resolve your personal injury lawsuit by receiving periodic payments on an agreed schedule and not a lump sum payment. Both parties to the suit must agree on the terms of settlement.

Structured settlements are widely applied in product liability or injury cases. The settlements are usually funded by investment in an insurance policy or other annuity, which pays you a monthly amount over the course of your life. Such settlements are favored because they can reduce legal costs by having the parties avoid trial, and the IRS has ruled that settlement amounts are exempt from federal income taxes.

Selling a Structured Settlement

Another attractive aspect of a structured settlement is that you can sell, or transfer, all or part of the settlement to third parties.

Selling a settlement can incur surrender charges as high as 10 percent, and depending on your age at the time of the transfer, you could face federal taxes and penalties—undoing the benefit of lifetime tax-free income.

In 2016 the Florida state legislature made changes to laws governing the transfer of the right to receive payments under a structured settlement agreement. Essentially, the law requires that:

The seller reside in Florida
A Florida court judge approve the transfer
The transfer is determined to be in the best interests of the recipient

Further, the law requires that at least the recipient of the settlement be given a written disclosure agreement at least 10 days before the transfer and meeting these criteria:

Be written in bold type, no smaller than 14 points in size
State the amounts and due dates of the structured settlement payments to be transferred
State the total amount of the payments
State the rate by which the payments are discounted and the value of the payments after the discount
State the total amount the recipient will receive in exchange for the payments
Include a list itemizing the all the broker fees, including commissions, service charges, application fees, processing fees, closing costs, filing fees, referral fees, administrative fees, legal fees, and notary fees
State the amount payable to the recipient after all the commissions, fees, costs, expenses, and charges are deducted
Include a statement in the specific language provided in the statute that notifies the recipient that he or she is in effect paying interest and expressly sets out the annual interest rate
State the amount of any penalty and damages should the recipient breach the transfer agreement

In Your Best Interests

In deciding whether the transfer is in your best interests, the court may want to know whether:

You are confident that you got the best deal
You understand that you are selling at a discount
You have any ongoing medical or physical needs, and if so, how will those needs be met if you sell some or all of your payments
You understand the disclosure agreement
You have reviewed the disclosure agreement with a professional such as your attorney

Get Legal Advice

If you are considering selling your structured settlement, speak with an attorney at Madalon Law to ensure you are getting the best deal and the disclosure agreement complies with the law and your financial interests are protected. Call today for a free consultation. The attorneys at Madalon Law know how to put forward the best case for you. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.

Auto Accidents Fort Lauderdale, FL

Know Your Rights as a Florida Bicyclist Injured in an Accident

According to statistics gathered by, 818 bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2015, an increase of 12.2 per cent and the highest number since 1995. The data for 2014 gives a more complete picture of the incidence of bike-related accidents:

Bicyclists killed in 2014: 726
Total injured: 6,000
Average age of a bicyclist killed on U.S. roads: 45
Males killed: 87 percent
Males injured: 83 percent
24 percent of the cyclists killed had been drinking
71 percent of fatal crashes were urban
About half of the fatalities occurred during daylight hours

These statistic indicate that bike accident fatalities and injuries are on the rise. As more bicyclists are favoring two wheels over four for reasons of convenience or conservation, the design and construction of our streets and roadways lag behind in safety features to protect bicyclists from automobile and truck drivers.

Bike Drivers Treated Same as Car Drivers

Florida bicycle law is pretty comprehensive and includes provisions regulating the conduct of cyclists. The law treats a bicycle driver the same as any other vehicle driver and makes clear that a bicycle driver in Florida has many responsibilities to uphold. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and like other drivers must obey the same traffic laws, such as stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

In addition, bicyclists must adhere to laws requiring they wear a helmet while driving a bike and use lights when driving at night among several other legal mandates.

Wearing of Helmets

A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that:

Is properly fitted
Is fastened securely
Meets federal safety standard for bicycle helmets

Use of Lights at Night

A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with:

A white light lamp on the front whose beam is visible from 500 feet to the front
A red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear

The lamps are permitted to flash though. Additional lighting is permitted.

Acceptable Number of Drivers on a Bike at One Time

A bicycle may not be used to carry more than one person at one time unless it is designed or equipped for more than one rider.

Carrying a Child on a Bike

An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.

Driving a Bike on Sidewalks

A bicyclist riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian
and may ride in either direction. At an intersection with a traffic signal, a cyclist on a
sidewalk must obey the instructions of any pedestrian control signal. Also, a bicyclist driving on the sidewalk must:

Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give audible warning before passing
Not propel a bike by any power other than human power

Headsets, Earphones

A cyclist may not wear a headset, headphone, or listening device, other than a hearing aid, while driving a bike.

Driving Under the Influence

It is unlawful to drive a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Bicyclists, do not, however, have to submit to a breath test. Consent to such a test is given only by a person with a driver license who is operating a motor vehicle.

Protect Your Rights After an Accident

Because operating a bicycle is considered the same as driving a motor vehicle, accidents involving bicyclists and cars or trucks or other cyclists are treated the same as other accidents involving cars or trucks. Florida law states that every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Vehicle drivers are expected to drive in a careful manner and pay attention to the width of the road and its corners, the traffic volume, and other factors to avoid injury to persons or property.

Report the Accident

Report the crash, even if you don’t have obvious injuries or believe you are not seriously hurt. Your bike may have been damaged and the extent of the damage may not be known until you’ve taken it to a repair shop. Report the accident whether it involves a car, truck, animal, another bike, or a pothole. In accidents with a motor vehicle where there are injuries or property damage that exceeds $500, Florida law requires that you report the crash.

If the investigating police officer doesn’t take information from the other party, make sure you get the person’s name, address, telephone number, and insurance company. If the accident involved a dog, learn who owns the dog and get the owner’s homeowners’ insurance information.

The Accident Report

After a bike accident, your crash report will include important details, such as road conditions, weather, any eyewitnesses, and maybe a drawing of the accident site. All this information will be critical to any case you may bring against another driver or an insurance company. Give the report to your attorney.

Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Take photo of your bruises, sores, road rash and scabs. Try writing down how your injuries limit your activities, and the aches and pains you experience.

Photograph the Scene of the Accident

Take photographs or videotape of the site of the accident. Note road and weather conditions. The conditions of the road when you had your crash may change over time as roads are resurfaced. If there are marks or debris left by the accident, photograph them.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision or other accident with a car, truck, dog, street obstruction or impairment, or another bicyclist, call us today for a free consultation with the determined personal injury attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced in bike accident law and will fight for your rights. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.

Fort Lauderdale FL personal injury claim lawyer

Bar Fight in Florida: Who’s Liable When You Get Hurt?

There are more than 3,000 bars and nightclubs in Florida, catering to locals and tourists and serving up alcohol along with food. In an industry that mixes lots of people and booze there’s bound to be disagreements, brawls and battles between customers or between employees and customers.

Fights in bars and nightclubs can be frightening and dangerous not only to the people directly involved in the brawl but also to other patrons and bystanders. A bar doing brisk business on a busy weekend night can be filled with hundreds of customers, all of them possibly exposed to injury from flying glassware or overturned furniture or floors slippery from spilled drink.

What happens when you’re injured during a bar fight? Does it matter whether you were consuming alcohol? Does it make a difference whether you were directly involved in the battle or merely a bystander? What kind of care and protection does the bar owner owe its customers? Is the owner responsible for your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses such as damage to your clothes or other personal property?

Premises liability

When you visits a bar, nightclub or restaurant, you are an invitee of the establishment. As an invitee, you have a legal right to enjoy the premises safe from undue harm and injury. The premises extend to cover the parking lot, alley, and all other property the bar sits on.

Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, the bar owner must do all that’s reasonably possible to ensure your safety and well-being. To determine whether the owner did indeed meet this standard, the facts of each individual case must be considered. Review of the circumstances of each case answers question of whether the owner could have foreseen that an injury could occur.

Bar Owners’ Legal Responsibilities

The bar owner has a duty to operate the bar with a mind to customer safety. Adequate security should be in place, depending on the size of the premises, the maximum number of customers the place can hold, the surrounding area from which customers are likely to be drawn and their propensity toward drunkenness and violence. The more likely the chance of a fight, the greater the number of security personnel required.

The security staff has legal responsibilities too. They are lawfully permitted to use force equal to the situation and not more. A bouncer or other security member must be careful not to use excessive force when ejecting a belligerent customer and be aware of bystanders who could be hurt during the bouncer’s tussle with a customer.

Keep in mind that your degree of culpability also will be a factor. If you instigated the fight or joined in a free-for-all after it began, for example, the bar is probably not going to be found to be negligent or responsible for your injuries.

Dram Shop Laws

Laws that imposes liability on bars and night clubs that serve alcohol to visibly or obviously intoxicated patrons are called dram shop laws. These laws provide that the bar may be liable to pay damages to third parties who are injured by the intoxicated person. The injuries can happen on or off the premises, should the drunken customer start a fight in the street after leaving the premises, or drive while under the influence and cause an accident.

Under Florida law, individuals or businesses that sell alcohol in general will not be liable for damages or injuries caused by a drunk person who they sold alcohol to. There are, however, two exceptions:

Bars and taverns will be held strictly liable for injuries caused by selling alcohol to a person under 21 years old. “Strictly liable” does not require knowledge or intent by the bar owner or an employee who serves or sells alcohol to a minor
A bar will be held liable if it serves alcohol to a person known to have a drinking problem – courts have held that such persons create a foreseeable risk of injury because they lack the capacity to make responsible decisions regarding their drinking

Who You Can Sue

If you’ve been injured in a bar fight, the person or persons who were involved in the fight with you are the likeliest people to file a lawsuit. If you can prove the fight was started by someone other than you and that person assaulted you, you can legally recover for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Also, you can sue the owner of the bar where the fight happened. You will have to show that

The bar was negligent
The negligence led to the fight and your injuries

Where the bar ignores a customer’s inebriated condition and that customer starts a fight with another customer or an employee or the drunken customer creates a situation where other customers, bystanders, or employees could be injured, the bar could be liable for those injuries and other harm that results.

Additionally, if a bar does not have on the premises adequate security for the usual number of customers and insufficient security means a violent fight between customers can’t be stopped, the bar can be found responsible.

If you have been attacked in a bar or club, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Proving Your Bar Injury claim

If you have been injured in a nightclub or bar, and you believe that the injury was a result of the property owner’s negligence, you will need to prove it. In order to prove it, you will need to demonstrate to the court that the bar owner owed you a legal duty of care; that the bar owner breached the duty of care owed to you; and that the breach of care resulted in your injuries. If you do not present sufficient evidence to prove this, you will be unable to recover compensation for your losses.

Consult an Attorney

If you have been injured in a bar fight or as the result of rough treatment by bar security, call for a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced in bar and nightclub injury law and will fight for your rights. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.

Ft. Lauderdale FL workers' compensation claim attorney

Construction Hazards, Accidents, Injuries in Florida

The construction industry accounted for 899, or 20.5 percent, of 4,386 worker fatalities in 2014. In other words, one in five worker deaths last year were in construction. The “Fatal Four” leading causes of private sector construction worker deaths were:

Falls (39.9%)
Electrocution (8.2%)
Struck by object (8.1%)
Caught-in/between (4.3%)

OSHA found that of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations, three were particular to the construction industry:

Fall protection, construction
Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
Ladders, construction

A construction worker involved in a work-related accident may have a claim against the general contractor or owner of the construction site. Several states have laws under their labor code that address the proper handling of construction site hazards such as scaffolding and cranes. Such laws specify the degree of care that managers must maintain on sites and whether safety training is required, and provide that injured workers can sue the property owner or general contractor when the standards are not met.

Additionally, architects, contractors, engineers, and equipment manufacturers may all be liable when an accident occurs. The general contractor and subcontractors are required to take appropriate safety measures to ensure that the site is reasonably safe. They are obligated to warn workers of hazards on the site, hire trained and safety-conscious employees, and monitor the quality and effectiveness of appropriate safety specifications.

Manufacturers of scaffolding, cranes, power tools like nail guns, ladders, and heavy equipment, also may be liable for designing and manufacturing faulty or defective products.

A worker injured in an accident on a construction site may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. States require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to provide compensation to employees who suffer a work-related illness or injury. While undergoing treatment and recuperating, the worker can receive benefits to pay for medical expenses and lost wages.

An injured worker also may want to pursue other parties connected with the construction job in a personal injury cause of action to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Worker’s compensation

Workers’ compensation is a state administered insurance program that employers are required purchase to provide compensation to employees who experience a work-related illness or injury. Workers are compensated for any out-of-pocket medical expenses and any wages lost while the worker undergoes treatment and recuperates.

Generally, an employee who is injured on the job can successfully apply for workers’ compensation benefits without regard to who may have been at fault—the employee, employer, coworker, or customer. The compensation paid may be considered in lieu of damages the worker may be entitled to if he or she were to sue in court.

OSHA Protections

The provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act ensures safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting safety standards, training, education, and assistance.

Employers must provide a workplace that is safe and without serious hazards. Employers are required to comply with OSHA safety and health standards, and identify and correct any safety and health problems. OSHA applies to most private sector employers and their workers and some public sector employers and workers.

OSHA outlines a process for eliminating or reducing hazards and specifies that employers should make feasible changes in working conditions such as changing to safer chemicals, arranging equipment or facilities to trap harmful fumes, or installing ventilation systems to clean the air rather than rely on protective gear such as masks, gloves, and earplugs.

OSHA states that workers have the right to:

Information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm
Information explaining the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace
Be informed of results from tests and monitoring that measure hazards in the workplace
Access to records of injuries and illnesses that occur in worksite
Access to their workplace medical records
Requesting that OSHA have their workplace inspected
Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak with the inspector
File a complaint asserting retaliation or discrimination by the employer in response to a request for an inspection
File a complaint if punished or otherwise retaliated against for whistleblowing as defined under the federal laws

Workers can file a complaint with OSHA asking for an inspection of the workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or have reason to doubt their employer is following OSHA standards. A worker can tell OSHA to keep his or her identity secret.

OSHA protects workers who report safety issues, request an OSHA inspection, or file a complaint with OSHA from employer discrimination, including protection from retaliatory acts such as:

Firing or laying off
Denying overtime or promotion
Denial of benefits
Failing to hire or rehire
Intimidation or making threats
Adverse reassignment
Reduction in pay or hours

OSHA can assess a maximum penalty of $7,000 for each serious violation and $70,000 for a repeated or willful violation.

Florida does not have its own OSHA plan, so Florida employers follow federal construction safety regulations.

Environmental Safety

The Environmental Protection Agency is a federal agency whose stated mission is to “protect human health and the environment.” The agency lists air, climate change, green living, chemicals and toxics, pesticides, health and safety, land and cleanup, waste, emergencies, and water among its concerns.

The agency conducts environmental assessment, research, and education, and enforces standards under a host of environmental laws. The EPA addresses topics of environmental concern such as acid rain, climate change, asbestos, greenhouse effect, and more. Its purview encompasses sectors such as:

Electric utilities
Oil and gas extraction

EPA enforcement powers include fines, sanctions, and other measures. The agency works with industries and government through voluntary pollution prevention and energy conservation programs. The agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance vigorously pursues civil and criminal enforcement in serious water, air and chemical hazards pollution situations.

Consult an Attorney

If you have been injured while working or visiting on a construction site or suspect you may have been exposed to hazardous construction materials, call for a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. The determined Florida workers’ compensation claim attorneys at Madalon law are experienced in construction injury law and will fight for your rights. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.