Tag Archive for: personal injury claim lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale Florida

boating crash injury lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Reckless and Careless Boating in Florida

Just like driving a car, it is important to exercise care when operating a boat. Unfortunately, every year there are accidents caused by reckless or careless boaters.

Reckless or careless boating in the state of Florida is governed by Florida statute § 327.33.

The state of Florida has no special boating licensing requirement and it has very few safety training requirements. Nonetheless, Florida law prohibits operating a boat in a reckless or careless manner. Florida statute § 327.33 defines reckless or careless boating as operating a boat, “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner as to endanger, or likely to endanger, life or limb, or damage the property of, or injure a person…”

The statute goes on to say that a boat operator must operate their boat in a “reasonable and prudent manner.” The operator must have “regard for other waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions, and all other attendant circumstances. . .” Further, it requires boat operators comply with
the rules of navigation.

Boating Accidents in Florida

Each year, the state of Florida has more boating accidents than any other state. The most common causes of these accidents are boat operators do not understand the dangers of boats vs. cars or do not understand boat’s rules of the road and safety laws. While it is not required by law, boating education is the key to limiting boat accidents. As a result of the lack of legal requirements, many boat operators do not have the specialized knowledge needed to operate the vessel they are behind the wheel of. Boat drivers also need to understand the operating characteristics of boats that are heading toward them.

There are other safety procedures that can be used to eliminate or limit boating injuries. These include wearing life jackets or using “kill switches.” Kill switches turn off the engine if the boat operator is thrown from the driving position.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, over 4,500 boating accidents occur in the United States each year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reports that 834 boating accidents and 73 boating related deaths occurred last year. This includes four missing persons who have not been accounted for. Florida has nearly 900,000 registered boats and nearly 1,000,000 non-registered boats. This makes Florida one of the top states for recreational boating. Not surprisingly, this also makes Florida one of the top states for boating accidents in the United States.

For example, in 2014, 51 boaters died. This included many that fell overboard. Drowning is the most frequent case of death while boating. It makes up 70 percent of all boating deaths. Boaters falling overboard are at significant risk of drowning, particularly if they are not wearing a lifejacket or other personal flotation device.

Have You Been Injured?

An operator of a vessel may be liable for damage caused while under the operator’s control. An experienced, qualified personal injury will assess the nature of your injury, the applicable laws and appropriate jurisdiction for your case. Whether your case is governed by the laws of Florida, or federal maritime law depends on the location of the accident. The statute of limitations and other rules vary between federal maritime laws and the laws of Florida. The attorneys at Madalon Law are well versed in both.

Poor decision making by boat operators can result in careless or reckless driving. One of the most common poor choices boaters make is operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other poor choices include, but are not limited to, the following:

Operating a boat at a high rate of speed, including slamming into a big wave at a high rate of speed;
Crashing into other boats or objects;
Weaving the boat through congested traffic;
Overcrowding the boat; and
Allowing passengers to ride where they are in danger of falling overboard.

Boat operators are required to have proper safety equipment on the boat. Boaters should also be aware that any violation of the Federal Navigation Rules is also a violation of Florida law.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, its officers, county sheriff deputies and other law enforcement officers may stop any boat to check compliance with safety equipment requirements. Those officers may also order the removal of any boat deemed a hazard to public safety and enforce all boating laws.

In the event of a boating accident, the boat operator must not leave the scene without first rendering whatever aid is appropriate. The boat operator must also provide notice to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the appropriate sheriff department or police chief of the municipality of the accident if there is a personal injury, death, disappearance of a person or damage to the boats or personal property of at least $2,000. Boat operators involved in an accident must provide his or her name, address and the identifying number of his or her vessel to the owner of the damaged property or other vessel.


Individuals that are injured as a result of the negligence of a vessel operator may be entitled to compensation. This includes damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. The laws governing recovery depends on a number of things, including the role of the plaintiff, was he or she an employee of the boat operator or a guest? It is also important to note that if the accident involves ignorance of the so called “Rules of the Road,” such a violation may give an injured party a rebuttable presumption that the boat operator is liable for any damages.

Boating Accident Attorneys

Qualified and experienced attorneys skilled in the area of Ft. Lauderdale boating accidents must be retained by plaintiffs involved in boating accidents. Maritime law is very different from land based law. It has its own pleading requirements and filing deadlines. The attorneys at Madalon Law have litigated boating cases in both state and federal court. If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your case. There is no fee unless we recover for you.

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.

personal injury attorney in Ft. Lauderdale Florida

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.

boating crash injury lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

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.

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.

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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.

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Do Florida Halloween Horror Attractions Present Injury Risks?

It’s the annual season of Halloween horror nights at theme parks in Florida and across the U.S. These parks, which during the day tout family friendly fun, turn into nighttime scare-fests more suitable for adult customers who thrill to the terrors of zombies, witches and ghosts that run amok, dripping blood and rotting flesh.

Amusement parks are huge operations serving up entertainment to millions of visitors every year. Add in the thousands of employees and vendors on the premises during business hours and you essentially have a small city with all the usual problems any city may have, including accidents.

Park injuries commonly reported by visitors include slip-and-fall, food poisoning, and harm resulting from being jostled on rides or being hit by debris flung off high-velocity juggernauts like roller coasters.

With the chills and thrills of horror nights, visitors may be exposed to additional dangers. Each year parks vie to outdo competitor parks and their own previous terrifying attractions, creating labyrinthine mazes where maniacs stalk every twist and bend and haunted houses where chainsaw-wielding spooks chase visitors through the halls.

Here are just a couple of examples of what theme parks have in store for visitors this Halloween: Universal Studios in Orlando will offer an “Immersive Paranormal Virtual Reality Experience,” where guests will wear VR headgear while exploring a horrific experience like no other. Similarly, Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America will offer FEAR VR: 5150, set in a hospital where guests are strapped into wheelchairs while wearing VR headgear and at the mercy of lunatic staff members.

Are Parks Liable for Injuries?

Special seasonal events like horror nights can be priced as add-ons to a general admission ticket, and the per-person cost can easily exceed $100. At these rates, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether parks are legally responsible for guests who suffer trauma when they are lost or abandoned in their mazes or faint when surprised by a costumed character jumping out of the shadows.


Often to protect themselves from lawsuits theme parks will require that their guests sign waivers relieving the park of liability if a guest is injured while at the park. Many parks that host special events like Halloween nights will prepare waivers written specifically for hazards guests may encounter while participating in the event.

For the waiver to be legally valid it must:

Be clearly worded as to the intent to relieve the park of any and all legal liability, including liability for negligence;
Prominently display the terms and not conceal them in fine print;
Signed by the each individual guest, though an adult can sign a waiver for each minor child;

A waiver pertaining to an amusement such as a haunted house, also may include warnings for guests who have high blood pressure, heart problems, artificial limbs, pacemakers, or other physical limitations.

Even where a guest has signed a waiver, the park can be found liable when shown it negligently failed to:

Maintain equipment and all attractions in a safe condition and regularly inspect the equipment;
Properly train the ride operators;
Properly operate a ride or amusement;
Properly display safety requirement notices warning guests of the risks and dangers; or/and
Provide guests with correct safety instructions.

Guest Conduct

It’s not only park management that is required to act responsibly; guests, too, are expected to behave properly.

When you knowingly engage in an activity or event considered inherently dangerous, you are presumed to have assumed the risk associated with that activity. Arguably, when you participate in a horror event you acknowledge and accept the risks. But the risks must be those you reasonably could know about. It is not reasonable to expect you to know about a defective or poorly maintained mechanism in a ride or to know of special safety rules if you were not instructed on them.

If you ignore posted age, weight, or height requirements or deliberately lie about such limitations, the theme park may not be liable for your injuries if they result from your disregard of the rules. The park could still be held liable if the ride/attraction operator should have realized a guest was too young or too small or recognized an obvious disability that could expose you to greater risk.

Disclaimers on Park Tickets

Amusement parks usually print disclaimers on admission tickets relieving the park of all liability when you enter the park, extinguishing your right to sue the park. Courts tend to reject such disclaimers for being vague and all-inclusive and therefore unreasonable. Courts accept that most guests don’t read the tiny print on the back of their ticket, and a ticket holder who is a minor lacks the capacity to waive legal rights merely by virtue of redeeming the ticket.

Know the Dangers and Your Responsibilities

To protect yourself and your family, before buying tickets and before arriving at the theme park you should learn what you can about the potential hazards and possible age and physical restrictions. Go to the website of the park you plan to visit. You will find in-depth information on ticket price, passes, add-ons and more.

Look for warnings and disclaimers, which may limit the age of guests permitted to attend horror nights and require minors under a certain age be accompanied by an adult. Typically, parks will not impose an age limit on admission to their horror show but will recommend that persons under 13 or other age not participate.

If the park provides a copy of its waiver through its website, you should print out a copy and read it carefully. Some parks my demand that your party arrive 30-45 minutes early so that you can undergo safety preparation of some kind. You also can visit www.saferparks.org to learn tips for making your trip to a park safe and enjoyable.

If you are injured during a visit to a theme park, our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys can help. Call our offices today for a free case consultation. At Madalon Law, our Fort Lauderdale attorneys will always put your needs first.