personal injury claim lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Different Types of Personal Injury Cases

There are many different types of personal injury cases. Personal injury claims stem from either negligence or intentional acts. A qualified, experienced attorney can help guide you through the legal process and help assure you the best outcome for your case. If you have been injured through the negligence of another, you may be able to pursue one of the following types of personal injury cases:

Medical Malpractice

There are a number of issues to consider in a medical malpractice case. It is not enough simply that a mistake was made. Instead, a series of conditions must be met. First, there must be a doctor-patient relationship. Second, the treatment provided fell below the accepted medical standard of care. Third, the medical professional’s negligence caused the harm to the patient. And fourth, the patient suffered harm as a result of the negligence by the medical professional.

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicle accidents are a common source of personal injury cases. Both drivers and passengers may have a claim against an insurer if they have been injured in a car accident. Similarly, pedestrians are frequently entitled to compensation, with limited exceptions, if they are injured by a motor vehicle. Claims aren’t just limited to cars. Motorcyclists, and even bicyclists can both be injured in, and responsible for, vehicle accidents.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents are not treated like other personal injury cases. Instead, they are covered by workers’ compensation and the rules of that system. Both injuries and death incurred on the job are compensable under workers’ compensation claims.

Defamation, Slander, and Libel

Defamation is a broad category that covers both libel and slander. It occurs when someone communicates something that is harmful to a person’s reputation or livelihood. Slander occurs when that defamation is spoken verbally. Libel occurs when that defamation is written or published. It is important to understand that defamation is a false statement of fact, not opinion.

It is also important to distinguish between public figures and private figures. In brief, private figures claiming defamation need only prove that the defamer acted negligently, while public figures claiming defamation must prove the defamer acted intentionally or recklessly.

Wrongful Death

If a person dies and it is the fault of another person or business entity, survivors may have a claim for wrongful death. Wrongful death claims compensate for any survivors’ loss. This can include lost wages, funeral expenses and lost companionship.

Wrongful death claims can involve a wide variety of fatal incidents from a car accident to complicated medical malpractice cases. People, businesses, and government agencies can all be found legally at fault for acting negligently or intentionally.

Harmful Drugs

When drug manufacturers market harmful drugs, they can be subject to government fines and lawsuits by consumers injured by those drugs.

Lawsuits against drug manufacturers frequently arise when those companies market drugs for unapproved uses.

Product Liability

Dangerous and defective product cause thousands of injuries a year in this country. Product liability law hold manufacturers and others responsible for dangerous or defective products and is different from other personal injury law. These laws may make recovery of damages easier for an injured person.

In general, all sellers in the distribution line of the defective product can be found liable for the consumer using the defective product. The distribution line may include the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturer of the products parts, the group that assembles the product, the products wholesaler, and the product’s retailer.

The law requires products meet the ordinary expectations of a consumer. When this expectation is not met and the consumer has an injury as a result, a product liability claim may be appropriate. The injured party need not be the purchaser of the product to make a product liability claim.

Dog Bites

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States. Further, approximately one in five of those bites will become infected

Children and men are most at risk of being bitten by a dog. Over half of all dog bites occur in the home by dogs that are familiar to the victim of the bite.

Should you be injured by a dog bite, document as much about the bite as possible, including all medical treatment. This will assist your attorney in a future lawsuit and ensure that you receive a full financial recovery.

Slip and Fall

Business owners and employers have a responsibility to provide a safe premises to the public. Slip and fall accidents can occur in the workplace or in a public space, including businesses. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include slippery floors, improperly maintained sidewalks, construction site hazards and broken stairwells. Slip and falls can result in a wide variety of injuries from minor to fatalities.

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, seek whatever medical attention you need immediately. Medical reports will help your case by keeping a record of your injuries.

If you are able, use your phone to take pictures of the scene of your injury. If you are unable, ask a friend to take the pictures or return to the scene later to take photos.

Assault and Battery

While most personal injury claims are the result of negligence, assault and battery claims are the result of an intentional act. Assault and battery cases often involve criminal charges, but a civil lawsuit can also be brought.

Assault occurs when the defendant’s action cause a person to reasonably believe they are in imminent danger of harm. A battery occurs when one person actually strikes another, directly or indirectly, causing harm or injury.

Assaults and battery frequently arise from the same event, but that is not necessarily always the case. It is possible, for example, for there to be an assault without a battery. Similarly, particularly if attacked from behind, a battery can occur without an assault.

Contact Madalon Law

Whether you have been injured due to medical malpractice, a vehicle accident, a faulty product, a dog bite, harmful drugs, or slipped and fell, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Similarly, if you have lost a loved one due to one of these categories of injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the hard-working Florida personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we recover on your behalf.

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Protecting Yourself From Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has issued a report on protecting yourself from dog bites. According to that report, in the United States approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Making it even worse, roughly one in five of those dog bites will become infected. It is important that you take steps to avoid being bit by a dog. In the event you are bit, it is also important to treat it appropriately to avoid infection.

In the United States, dogs are in our homes, and play with our children. Dogs are proven to reduce stress, and they have been shown to increase the amount we exercise. However, dogs do bite humans. This can cause nerve damage, pain and infection. With just a few precautions, you can greatly reduce your chances of being bitten by a dog.

How Can I Prevent A Dog Bite?

If you want to avoid being bitten by a dog, there are some simple steps you can take. Here are some do’s and don’ts as described by the CDC:


If the dog came from a house, let an adult at the home know if their dog is behaving strangely;
Stay still if an unfamiliar dog comes toward you; and
If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball, tuck your head, put your hands over your neck and ears.


Bother a dog that is caring for her puppies, a dog that is sleeping, or a dog that is eating;
Approach a dog you are not familiar with in the first place;
Turn and flee from a dog;
Touch a dog before it has had a chance to see you and sniff you;
Make loud noises or panic;
Allow your dog to be aggressive toward other unfamiliar dogs; or
Allow small children to play with even a familiar dog unsupervised.

Which People Are Most Likely to be Bitten By a Dog?

According to the CDC, the following people are most likely to be bitten by a dog:

Children. The age group most at risk are children ages five to nine. Dog bites to children are more likely to require medical attention than dog bites to adults.
Men. Statistics show that dogs are more likely to bite men than women.

Where Do Dog Bites Occur Most Frequently?

Interestingly, most dog bites – over half – occur in the home by dogs known by the victim of the dog bite. Clearly, having a dog in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite in both children and adults. Further, additional dogs in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite occurring in the household. For example, according to the CDC, adults that have two or more dogs in the house are five times more likely to be bit by a dog than adults that have no dogs in the home.

What Should I Do if I am Approached by an Unfamiliar Dog?

There are steps you can take to avoid an interaction with an unfamiliar dog. The CDC recommends the following:

Do not make eye contact with the dog;
Do not move;
Remain calm and do not panic;
Using a firm voice, say “Go Home” or “No”;
Turn your body to the side – some dogs may think you are being aggressive if you face them, like you are trying to “square off”;
If you think the dog may attack, put your hands on your neck with your elbows in; and
Either back away slowly or wait for the dog to pass by.

What if I am Attacked or Bitten By a Dog?

If the worst case scenario occurs and you are attacked or bitten by a dog, the CDC makes the following recommendations to minimize the harm to you:

Try to protect yourself by using anything you have on hand. This could include a jacket, purse or bag;

As stated above, curl up with your head tucked in and your hands on your neck and ears if you are knocked down;

Once you are in a safe location you need to tend to any wounds. Do this by washing immediately with soap and water. If necessary seek medical attention, especially if:

The wound is serious. This would include: exposed muscle or bone, bleeding that cannot be stopped, extreme pain and loss of use;

If the bite is deep and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years; or

If you develop a fever or the wound becomes swollen, warm, red, or painful.

Contact your local police department or animal control agency to report the incident. If you are bitten by a dog, you are at risk of getting rabies. Reporting is particularly important if:

The dog is acting odd or appears sickly.
It is unclear if the dog has had its rabies vaccine.

Try to reach out to the dog owner, if possible. Find out if the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination. Get the owner’s name, address and phone number. You will also need the name of the veterinarian who gave the vaccine and the rabies vaccine license number.

Is There Danger of Disease From a Dog Bite?

Dog bites cause the obvious, visible wounds, that can be very serious. But the diseases that can be caused by dog bites can be just as serious. These can include, but are not limited to tetanus, rabies (one of the most serious diseases from a dog bite), MRSA (a type of staph infection), and Pasteurella (another form of bacteria). Watch any injury for signs of swelling, redness or tenderness. Do not delay seeking medical attention if there is any chance you are suffering from a dog bite related disease.

If You Have Been Bitten By a Dog

If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the dedicated and skilled personal injury lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law to discuss your situation at no charge.

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Consider the Coast Guard’s Boating App As Part of Your Safety Plan

If you are an avid boater, consider a boating safety app for your phone. The United States Coast Guard offers a boating app that has the following features:

The ability to report a hazard;
The ability to report suspicious activity;
The ability to report pollution;
The ability to locate the nearest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy;
Access to Navigation Rules;
A guide to checking your safety equipment;
The ability to request a vessel safety check;
The opportunity to review the latest safety regulations;
The ability to file a float plan; and
The ability to request emergency assistance.

The Coast Guard is the boating safety coordinator for recreational boating. They work to minimize environmental harm, property damage, personal injury and loss of life. This is the first app created by the Coast Guard for preventive boater safety. The app provides the information and essential services that are most commonly requested by boaters. The app is available in Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play for Android devices.

The Story Behind the App

This app was born out of tragedy.

At the age of 17, Mr. Julian Romero joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is an all volunteer group that supports the Coast Guard. At the time, Julian was the youngest Auxiliarist at Sector San Juan, according to his father. He studied at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy for one year, before transferring to the InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico. His plan was to join the active duty Coast Guard while studying to be a lawyer. On April 18, 2011, tragedy struck. Julian and his girlfriend went for a walk in the Old San Juan area of Puerto Rico. They were robbed at knifepoint by a 14 year old boy. Julian died of injuries while attempting to protect his girlfriend from the assault.

Because of Julian’s passion for the Coast Guard, his father Luis reached out to the Coast Guard and asked if he could sponsor a boating safety app for them. Julian did a lot of boat safety work in the auxiliary. Luis says, “In the Coast Guard, Julian found a great family. That same family was very good to us. When our son died they came to our help, and we came together to get through it as a family.”

The app was funded by Louis Romero, from Puerto Rico. Mr. Romero funded the app in honor of Julian’s memory. In addition to funding the creation of the app, Mr. Romero has committed to fund all updates and other support for the app’s lifespan. Mr. Romero notes that the app mirror’s his son’s drive to save lives and help others.

Location Services

Users have the option to enable or disable location services. When enabled, users can report locations of hazards on the water. They can also use location services to receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys. The location services feature also allows boaters to call the closest Coast Guard command center in an emergency. When the app is not being used, neither the Coast Guard nor the app track the user’s location.

Safety Check

The Coast Guard offers safety checks for your boat. With this, you can request that the Coast Guard Auxiliary come to you to perform a safety check. This can save you time and keep you and your family safe.

Safety Equipment

The Coast Guard app includes a list of safety equipment. The list is based on the size and the propulsion of the boat.

Float Plan

If you forgot to file your float plan before you left, it is not too late! With the app, you can file your float plan and send it to your friends and family alike. The app allows the filer to provide details such as the estimated time of arrival, the description of the boat, a passenger list, a list of food and water on board, and the checklist of safety gear available on the boat. These details can assist the Coast Guard if an emergency presents itself and a boater is in trouble. The float plan is not sent to the Coast Guard directly. Rather, the idea is to forward the plan to friends or family, who could provide it to the Coast Guard in the case of an emergency.

State Boating Information

You can use the app to find information about boating that is state specific. This can come in quite handy during long trips.

Rules of the Road

The app includes detailed information about the rules of boating and boating safety.

Reporting Abilities

You can report pollution, suspicious activities, and possible hazards directly to the Coast Guard. As an example, the Coast Guard cites a situation where someone reported a submerged vessel that was blocking their way. The app allowed the reporter to provide a picture, longitude, and latitude to the Coast Guard.

Cautionary Note

This app is not intended to replace a marine VHF radio. The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters have a marine VHF radio on their vessels. Additionally, this app is not intended to replace an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). This app is not a substitute for safe boating safety classes or the boater’s best judgment in a given situation. This app is simply designed to provide additional boating safety resources. According to Captain Joe Raymond, who is commander of the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, “The release of this mobile application is a step forward for the Coast Guard as we embrace new technologies. The intention is to make the information and resources more accessible to the boating public.”

If You Have Been Injured While Boating

If you have experienced an injury while boating, or if you have lost a loved one due to a boating incident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at Madalon Law to discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.

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.

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.

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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.

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Dog Bites Cause Serious Injuries and Owners May Be Liable

Dogs are intelligent creatures and wonderful companions, but they can sometimes be unfriendly and aggressive, especially if untrained and allowed to wander freely. Every day in the United States almost 1,000 people are bitten by dogs and require emergency treatment for their injuries. Injury from a dog attack can be serious, with some victims being maimed and some dying.

Dogs not controlled by their owners are potentially dangerous. Florida dog bite and leash laws reflect how seriously the increasing incidence of dog attacks is viewed. Communities across the nation are strengthening their laws to improve enforcement of leash laws and impose stricter responsibilities and penalties on dog owners who fail to adequately restrain their pets.

Florida does not have a statewide mandated leash law. The regulation of dog control is decided and administered by county or municipal governments.

Broward County

A leash law is a legal requirement that a dog be controlled by its owner when the dog is in a public space or on the owner’s private property. Control can be achieved by a fence, a leash, a chain, or other form of humane restraint. The purpose of leash laws is the reduce and prevent dog attacks. Governments recognize that dogs can be unpredictable, so even a well-trained animal must be leashed to protect children, adults, and other animals from being harmed

Broward County leash law prohibits dogs from roaming freely and at large on public streets, properties, sidewalks, or parks. Dogs cannot stray on to someone’s private property unless the property owner permits access. While in a public area, dogs must be retrained by a tether, such as a leash, chain, or cord, handled by the owner and of enough strength to control the dog.

Abiding by the applicable leash law does not exempt a dog owner from liability for harm his or her pet may cause. It is the legal responsibility of the dog owner to control the dog whether or not there is a leash law in effect.

Owner Liable for Injuries

Florida statute provides that a dog owner is liable for injuries his or her dog causes to people or animals. The law imposes liability on the dog owner when a dog bites a person on public or private property, including property owned by the dog owner. The dog’s reputation for viciousness, even when known by the bite victim, is not a defense to liability.

This means that Florida is a strict liability dog bite state, and as such, dog owners can be held liable for damages their dogs cause even if the dog has never bitten a person before.

Also, a dog owner could be liable to damage the dog does to someone’s property. Examples include a dog digging up a neighbor’s flower or vegetable garden; chewing on and damaging part of a fence on a neighbor’s property; or jumping up on someone’s car and scratching or gouging the paint finish. Dogs are not permitted to create noise pollution with habitual barking, growling, whining, or howling. Dog owners may be found liable to disturbing their neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their home.

Possible Defenses

A dog owner whose dog bites someone is under strict liability in Florida. That means that the owner will be liable regardless of whether he knew or should have known of the dog’s likelihood to bite. The bite victim does not have to prove the dog owner acted negligently or did not use reasonable care.

The law in Florida provides dog owners with legal defenses to charges levied following a dog bite or other attack. The dog owner is not held liable when:

The bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s private property. However, persons are presumed to be lawfully on a dog owner’s property if they are performing a legal duty, such as police work or postal deliver.

The owner displays a conspicuously posted sign easily read and clearly notifying persons with words such as “Bad Dog” that the dog is dangerous. Even where such a sign is posted, the dog owner remains liable:
For injuries to a child under age 6; or
When the dog owner is the proximate cause of the injury due to his or her negligence or omission

Provoked Dog Defense

Because strict liability is imposed on dog owners in cases of dog bite, the owner is liable for injuries to the bite victim, but the owner can present evidence that the victim’s conduct contributed to his or her injuries. Where the evidence persuades the court of the victim’s negligent behavior, the court can reduce the dog owner’s liability by a percentage equal to the percentage the victim’s conduct contributed to the injury.

Florida case law indicates, however, that the bite victim’s behavior must have been blatant and egregiously wrong. These are examples of behaviors the court could find shifts liability in whole or in part from the dog owner to the person who was bitten.

Careless risk: The person knew the dog was ferocious or skittish and prone to attack, but the person carelessly placed himself or herself within dangerous proximity to the animal despite the owner’s warnings or attempts to restrain the dog.

Teasing: The person repeatedly teased the dog by tempting the dog with food or a treat but withholding the item; chasing and cornering it; or interfering with the dog’s possession of or enjoyment in a toy or food/water bowl.

Tormenting: The person physically rough-housed with the dog; beat or kicked the animal; or repeatedly poked the dog or pulled its tail


In a dog bite case, the kinds of damages available to the victim include medical costs, lost wages, lost future earnings, therapy and nursing care, emotional distress/pain and suffering, and punitive.

If you or your child have been attacked by a dog and injured, you may have to bring legal action against the owner of the dog to recover the medical expenses of treating your injuries and for your pain and suffering. Call our law offices today for a free consultation with the skilled Florida personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced attorneys who competently handle dog bite cases and will put forth your best case. We are based in Fort Lauderdale, and serve clients in Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, and throughout Florida.

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Personal Injury in Florida Personal Injury Journal: What Is it and Why Should I Keep One?

If you suffer any type of personal injury, it is vitally important that you maintain a personal injury journal. A personal injury journal is where you document your injuries on a daily basis. It can come in many forms, including a simple notebook or a day calendar. The key is that you keep it with you so you can record information at any time. Do not delay recording. This should be done in “real time,” even updating your journal multiple times a day.

What Type of Damages Can I Collect in the State of Florida as a Result of a Personal Injury?

In a personal injury case in the state of Florida, you may be able to collect for the following:

Pain and suffering. This is payment for physical pain caused by an injury.
Loss of consortium. This is payment for an injury that results in a loss of familial relations.
Property damage. This is payment for damage caused to any property as a result of an accident.
Medical treatment. This is payment for medical treatment that arises from the personal injury, including past present or future payments.
Emotional distress. This is payment for any emotional pain suffered as a result of the personal injury.
Lost wages. This is payment for any wages lost as a result of the personal injury.
Defamation. This is payment for any damages in a slander or libel lawsuit.

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have sustained an injury. It is also critical that you document your injuries and the consequences of your injuries, so that a proper assessment of your damages can be performed.

What Should I Write in My Personal Injury Journal?

After you suffer a personal injury and start a personal injury journal, the first thing to include are the details of the injury. In short, what happened to you? Please provide as much and as many details as possible. Did you see the other party talking on his or her phone before the accident? Did they tell you they didn’t see you because the sun was in their eyes? The legal process can take a great deal of time in Florida and you may not be able to remember the details of your experiences during your time waiting for trial. If you can keep detailed notes about your injuries, you will help your attorney get the best results for you.

On a daily basis, track the level of your pain. Be as specific as possible including what area or body part is affected. Vague statements like “I feel miserable again today” are not very helpful. Also track days when you are not experiencing pain. In addition, record any difficulties in movement you experience. As time passes, you may find you have less to enter in your journal. Regardless, never go more than one week without recording an entry in your personal injury journal.

Privacy Concerns

Be advised that if your case goes to trial, your personal injury diary may be made available to the parties and the court. Keep your writing professional and courteous. Do not lash out in anger at the other parties involved. There may be times when part of or all of your journal may be considered privileged information. However, to be on the safe side, assume it will all be made available and public when you are writing in your personal injury journal. Writing about how you feel emotionally is best saved for your personal journal.

Keep a Record of Any Witnesses

Write down the names and contact information of any witnesses that saw the events that led to your injuries. Their testimony may be necessary and helpful if your case goes to trial. Also record contact information for any witnesses that could testify about your experiences after the injury, such as observers of your pain and suffering, loss of income and any other results of your injuries. This can include family members, friends, or coworkers.

Keep a Record of All People That Treat You

Like other witnesses, keep a record of the names and contact information of all treating physicians. Additionally, document the names and contact information of your physical therapists and physician’s assistants. It can be difficult to remember that information if your injuries require you to see multiple specialists, so add this information to your journal as soon as practical.

Keep a Record of Medical Treatments and Doctor Visits

Use your personal injury journal to record all medical treatments you receive. Also record all doctor visits. Keep track of the progression of your injuries. After each trip to a medical professional, record advice you receive from the professional. Further, record all medical bills and any related documentation.

Keep a Record of Your Emotions.

Some injuries and ongoing pain can affect a person’s emotions and feelings. It is important to keep an honest and open record on an ongoing basis. Try to avoid making extreme statements that can be easily contradicted. This includes statements such as, “I can never…” or “I always…”

Keep a Record of Any Loss of Earning Capacity, Income Loss or Other Wage Loss

Keep and make copies of income tax returns, W-2 forms, payroll stubs and any other income related documentation.

What Are the Next Steps to Take?

If you have I have sustained an injury and started a personal injury journal you may be wondering, “What should I do now?” An experienced, qualified personal injury attorney can help you get awarded all of the damages that you are entitled to. For an injury in Florida, please contact the experienced attorneys at the law offices of Madalon Law. We have offices throughout the state law Florida. We will speak with you about your case at no charge to you. We will also come to you if you are unable to come to one of our offices. If you hire our law firm, you will only be charged if we win. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida personal injury claim attorney

Social Media Evidence in Florida Injury Cases

Social media has become an omnipresent factor in the lives of most people. The profiles we set up on websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and others serve as our face to the world. We share images of and commentary on our daily lives.

While these social sites were created to facilitate communication between family, friends, and colleagues in a friendly, respectful way, we know from personal experience that socially shared information can be used for other purposes. Online profiles can be used as forums to bully or stalk a person. Prospective employers peruse user profiles for insight into a job applicant’s habits and behavior. And increasingly, prosecutors and defense and plaintiff’s attorneys can present images and impressions gleaned from a user’s social media profiles as evidence in criminal and civil cases.

A potent example of this is the Casey Anthony criminal case. Casey Anthony is a young Florida woman who in 2008 was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter. Though much of the case against Ms. Anthony was circumstantial, after photos of her dancing, drinking and partying at bars just days after her child disappeared were released through the news media, public animus toward her grew and many people became convinced of her guilt. Ms. Anthony was acquitted of the charges but lives in hidden seclusion as public hostility about her continues.

Evidence collected from social media also can be used in personal injury cases not only to show physical fitness contrary to alleged injuries, but also to prove that party’s injuries may be the result of bad habits or a reckless lifestyle.

Social media users have learned to protect their information by carefully applying privacy settings and being discerning about whom they accept as connections and circumspect about photos and details they post about themselves. As prudent as these precautions may be, they may not prevent lawyers from gaining access to profiles and using what they find as evidence in court.

Social Media as Evidence

In 2016, as much as 78 percent of Americans have a social media profile. Advertisers, salespeople, and employers would think themselves careless were they to ignore the enticing availability of that vast collection of personal lifestyle details when deciding which customers to target or which candidate to hire.

Similarly, a lawyer who does not explore the bounty that social media presents may be viewed as having failed to perform due diligence in representing his or her client.

You may consider your profile private, but the courts don’t agree and frequently rule that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy online. “Private” is not considered to be the same as “not public.” Once you share content—even with a select group of people—it is no longer private and becomes available for use in a legal case.

What Is Admissible?

Depending on the case and the evidential relevance, anything posted to social media can be presented in a court case, including photos, comments, posts, tags, birthdates, nicknames, and locations. The party presenting the evidence must establish authenticity and comply with hearsay rules.

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provide guidelines pertaining to the discoverability of electronically stored information. The rules and Florida courts have confirmed that social media evidence is discoverable, but rules on how to determine the admissibility of social media evidence are not settled.

Like other evidence, items taken from social media are subject to interpretation, which can limit their effectiveness or result in their being ruled inadmissible. For example, a photo posted to a “wall” could have been cropped or otherwise modified by photo editing software, creating an image that may present a skewed or downright false impression of the person depicted. Comments taken literally may have been intended as jokes or posted by someone with an axe to grind.

How Can the Evidence Be Used

Social media evidence can be presented against or in behalf of a party to a lawsuit. But individuals are much more likely to be indiscreet about what they present on their profiles than, say, a business or other professional entity that has a team of lawyers and media experts to advise it on how best to preserve its online image and reputation.

In personal injury lawsuits, such as a slip-and-fall case brought against a chain of grocery stores, it is more probable that evidence from social media will be brought to bear against an injured plaintiff than the behemoth corporate defendant.

The defense in a personal injury case can submit online photos of the plaintiff playing touch football with a group of friends despite claiming debilitating injuries from a slip-and-fall; or present posted comments from friends wishing a plaintiff a speedy recovery from a similar injury that predates the injury alleged in the lawsuit.

Overall impressions of a plaintiff’s lifestyle as presented online can also be allowed. A timeline of photos showing the plaintiff with an ever-present drink in hand could be damaging even without allegations or proof of drunkenness.

How Social Media Evidence Is Authenticated

Authentication is the process of proving that something, usually a document, is genuine or true. Authenticating evidence gathered from social media presents particular problems since such evidence is electronically created, which puts distance between the creator and disrupts the chain of custody. Further, electronic documents are vulnerable to parody and deceptive presentation by users with malicious intent.

Questions that must be answered to establish authenticity include:

Whether the evidence is actually taken from the social media site at issue
How was the evidence collected?
Where was the evidence collected?
What kinds of evidence were collected?
Whether the evidence appeared on the website and accurately reflects what appeared on the website
Can it be shown that the evidence can was generated by the source alleged by the party presenting the evidence
Who handled the evidence before it was collected?
When was the evidence collected?

Hearsay or Prejudiced Evidence

For social media evidence to be admitted in a case, it also must pass tests for hearsay and prejudice.

Hearsay is a statement that someone does not make while testifying at a trial or hearing and is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

Social media evidence can be excluded if it is found to be more prejudicial than probative, meaning the evidence will more unfairly bias the case against a party than present relevant evidence of substantive value to the case.

Seek Legal Advice Today

If you are involved in a personal injury claim and fear that your social media presence could be detrimental to your case, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys at Madalon Law today. We can advise you on on things related to your claim, including the use of social media and more. Reach us today for your free consultation!

Boating Accidents Lawyer Miami FL

Suing for Boat Accident Injuries in Florida

Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard gathers statistics on recreational boating accident reports filed by boat operators. Every state submits accident report data to the U.S. Coast Guard. According to statistics compiled annually by the Coast Guard, in 2015 recreational boating caused:

4,158 accidents;
626 deaths;
2,613 injuries; and
Approximately $42 million dollars in property damage.

The top five factors contributing to boating accidents were:

Inattentive boat operators;
Inexperienced operators;
Improper lookout;
Machinery failure; and
Excessive speed.

Other major causes of boat accidents include:

Overloading or improper loading;
Man overboard;
Ignoring weather;
Unsafe fuel practices;
Passenger/skier behavior;
Reckless operation;
Failure to yield;
Congested waters;
Hazardous waters;
Alcohol use; and
Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Accidents can and often do cause serious injuries. When someone is injured he or she may need to sue the boat owner and/or insurance company to recover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses incurred while recuperating from an accident.

Boating legal requirements

In many states children as young as 12 are legally permitted to operate personal watercraft. The type of vessel and magnitude of its power may be limited for minors, but the fact remains that people considered too young to operate a motor vehicle on land are allowed to operated motorized watercraft.

The great majority of states have laws requiring that boat operators attend a safety course before being certified and being granted a license to operate watercraft. Also, most states and the federal government require that boat accident be reported.

Florida law mandates that a person convicted of a criminal violation or a non-criminal infraction resulting in a boating accident or two non-criminal infractions within a 12-month period must successfully complete education requirements. Until the requirements are met, the person is prohibited from operating a boat. Any violation of the law can result in a conviction a second degree misdemeanor.

Accidents Must Be Reported

Federal law requires the operator or owner to file a boating accident report with the state reporting authority when an occurrence involving a boat or its equipment results in:

A person’s death;
A person disappearance from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury;
A person’s injury that requires more medical treatment than first aid;
Damage to vessels and other property totaling $2,000 or more; and
The destruction of the boat.

Florida accident reporting laws require that a boat operator involved in an accident report the accident to either Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff of the county where the accident occurred, or the police department of the municipality in which the accident occurred when the accident causes:

A death or disappearance of a person;
An injury causing a person to require medical attention beyond first aid; or
Damage to the vessel and other property of $2,000 or more.

An operator involved in a boating accident must:

Stop his or her boat immediately at the scene of the accident;
Give assistance to anyone injured in the accident unless the action would endanger his or her own vessel, crew, or passengers; and
Give in writing his or her name, address, and identifying number of his or her boat to the other boat’s operator and/or owner of damaged property.

Failure to report an accident and failure to render aid are both criminal offenses.

Also, the law may impose a time period as short as 24 to 48 hours after an accident during which a report must be filed with authorities, particularly where the accident involves:

Disappearance of a person; or/and
Serious injury.

In Florida a boating accident report must be filed within 10 days of the accident–within 48 hours if death occurs or someone’s injuries are severe enough to necessitate medical treatment beyond first aid.

Reports generally require the name of the boat operator and details about the accident, including location where the accident happened, names and contact information on all passengers, losses such as injuries, loss of life, and property damages. The operator may have to summarize the facts of the incident, including date, time, place, people involved, and a description of the accident.

Leaving the Scene of a Boat Accident

Some states are enacting or strengthening boating laws to require that an operator involved in an accident stay at the scene and not leave, bringing the seriousness of and punishment for the offence up to par with leaving the scene of an auto accident.

The law in Florida requires that when a boat operator has been involved in an accident resulting in serious injury to or the death of a person, the operator must stop the vessel at the scene of the accident and remain there until medical care and/or law enforcement officials arrive.

Possible Liability

An operator involved in a boat accident may be charged with a crime such as manslaughter. The state may bring criminal charges if the operator was under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance, if he or she operated the boat recklessly or negligently. Criminal charges can result in large fines and/or jail time if the operator is convicted.

Also, the operator could face civil liability and be found liable for medical expenses, property damages, and other losses.
Was There Negligence?
In general, personal injury law will be applied in boat accident cases. Personal injury law recognizes that where a person owes another person a degree of care and has been negligent in maintaining that standard of care, the person may be liable when the other person suffers injury.

Accident law, or personal injury law, does not require that a person intend to injure the other person. The law asks:

Did the person owe a legal duty of care to the injured party?
Did the person fail to fulfill that legal duty through act or omission?
Did the person cause an accident?
Was someone injured or harmed in the accident?

Duty of Care

With the question of negligence, the standard of care is whether the parties acted reasonably under the circumstances. Did the boat operator, for instance, make sure to equip the boat with an adequate number of safety vests? Did the owner operate the boat at a reasonable speed?

The standard is subjective, which may account for the great differences in personal injury case judgments. The jury must take into account and weigh all the variables legally presented in the case and decide whether, in the example given, the host is solely responsible, the injured party is to blame, or the responsibility should be apportioned between the two parties, depending on each person’s degree of culpability.


Compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded in personal injury accident cases. Just as fault may be apportioned between the parties, so may the damage award.

If you have been injured in a boat accident, take the time to schedule a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. We are dedicated personal injury attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale who know how to put forward the best case for you. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Contact us today!