Personal Injury Lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida
From Our Family to Yours.
When you or one of your loved ones have suffered an injury in the State of Florida, the critical action you must take is to hire personal injury attorneys who understand the importance of getting back on your feet after an injury physically, emotionally and financially. Sawan & Sawan is a personal injury law firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Our team of personal injury lawyers stand ready to help. If you or your family needs a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville, call us today.
Dennis E. Sawan
Dennis P. Sawan
Christopher A. Sawan
Injured? We Can Help.
Personal injury cases involve many aspects of law and our team of personal injury attorneys can assist you in navigating those aspects. If you’ve been injured in Florida, you’ll need to understand the specifics of Florida State law in order to recover the compensation you deserve. In most cases, injury victims have to interface with insurance companies, other parties (usually with other attorneys), the court system, Medicaid (in some circumstances), hospitals, chiropractors and various other individuals or organizations. Let us focus on all of that. With over 35 years of combined experience – the Florida personal injury lawyers at Sawan & Sawan can help quickly and effectively negotiate and work with these parties to resolve your claims as soon as possible in order to allow you to focus on what matters most – your health and your recovery.
Wrongful Death Lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida
The Florida Wrongful Death Act is found at Section 768.16 -768-26. Under that statute, a person, company, or manufacturer can be held liable for the death of another due to negligence, intentional acts or even incomplete action in a crisis. The primary cause of these cases are automobile accidents but medical negligence kills a larger number of people. Other claims of wrongful death stem from: slip and falls; workplace injuries; truck and motorcycle crashes; amusement park ride accidents; boating and swimming pool accidents; fatal dog bites; birth injuries; nursing home abuse; criminal assault; and livestock entering on the highway.
A decedent leaves behind an estate which includes tangible items left to their beneficiaries by will (or if no will as found by the State of Florida). Thus, a personal representative of the estate can bring a wrongful death claim for recovery. This person works on behalf of the beneficiaries. Damages however are limited. That same person can also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the survivors of the decedent. Although survivors can also be beneficiaries, they are entitled to a different type of damages.
Survivors under the statute are: the spouse of the decedent; children (must be under 25); parents; and blood relatives(they must have been partially dependent on the decedent for support). This would include adoptive children. A child of any age may recover for lost support and services from the time the decedent was injured to the time of death. They can also seek future loss of financial support. If there is no surviving spouse, children of any age may be able to recover damages for the loss of parental guidance and companionship, as well as mental pain and suffering. If the wrongful death was due to medical negligence, those damages would not apply.
If a deceased child was over the age of 25 at the time of death, the parents can not recover pain and suffering. This would not apply if there are no other survivors. If medical malpractice caused the death, then again no pain and suffering would be considered. Medical and/or funeral expenses are recoverable by the survivor who paid those expenses.
Under the Florida statute, survivors may be entitled to the following damages: loss of companionship; instruction; guidance; potential earning from the decedent; mental pain and suffering; loss of protection; and medical and funeral expenses. When looking at these damages, factors such as: the decedent’s relationship to survivor; net income that would have been available to the survivor; and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor need to be considered. In addition, the life expectancy of the decedent as well as the age of minor children will also be considered.
The wrongful death statute’s purpose is to compensate the survivors for both the economic as well as emotional loss. These compensatory damages include: future loss work income, medical and funeral expenses. They often are entitled to pain and suffering for the level of grief experienced due to the death and loss of companionship. Punitive damages may be awarded if it is shown that the acts were intentional, grossly negligent, or reckless. The purpose is to punish the offender and discourage similar acts in the future by others.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death complaint is two years from the date of death. If it is not brought within this time period, the claim will be forever barred. There is a narrow exception in cases where the death was caused by homicide. In those cases, there is no time limit for the filing of the complaint.
As a practical matter, when all the required information is obtained, a demand for settlement will be sent to the insurance adjuster. If the claim is not settled, a complaint will have to be filed before the running of the two year statute of limitations. Discovery on both sides will occur. That means ordering all necessary documents, deposing all witness, and then setting a mediation to try and resolve the matter. If the matter can not be resolved, it will proceed to trial.
Finally, in order to proceed on a wrongful death claim in Florida the following must be established: a person has died; the loss was a result of another’s negligence or intentional act; there are survivors who have suffered both an emotional and financial loss. Once these conditions are established, a personal representative will be appointed by the probate court. Once appointed, the survivors can proceed on the claim.
Dog Bite Lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida
Section 767.04 of the Florida Dog Bite Statute creates a “strict liability” standard for dog owners. This means that if a dog bites and injures a person, the dog owner will be responsible for all proven damages. This type of liability provides a basis for monetary recovery without considering negligence by the dog owner. Strict liability means that recovery occurs even if the dog has never bitten anyone in the past or never exhibited violent or aggressive propensities. However, any negligent conduct by the injured person may reduce the owner’s liability. Dog bite law in Florida looks at the percentage of the victim’s fault. Moreover, strict liability would not apply in the following situations: trespassers, police or military dogs in performance of their duty, or property damage caused by a vicious dog.
Additionally, a dog owner may also be negligent if they do something that a reasonable person would not do or fail to do something that they should have done. Additionally, under “negligence per se,” a dog owner will be held liable when they violate a law or statute. This would include walking a dog without a leash, letting their dog roam in the neighborhood, or failing to properly contain the dog. An intentional tort claim would exist (assault and battery) if the dog owner incites or provokes the dog to bite someone. These types of claims apply on both public and private property.
Florida also has a dangerous dog statute that is meant to protect the public from a dangerous dog. In certain serious cases, an aggressive and violent dog can be declared dangerous. In these situations, the dog owner has specific precautions and strict rules they must follow. If violated, the dog owner can be criminally charged. In addition, the dog must be registered and kept in a secure place. That place must be marked with dangerous dog warning signs. If the dog leaves the premises, it must be restrained by a harness or leash and a muzzle. A dangerous dog includes one that has seriously injured or killed another animal, has chased or aggressively approached a person without provocation, or has aggressively attacked or bitten a person. This would include an attempt to do any of those things as well.
In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the incident. After that date, the victim is forever barred from filing suit in the Florida courts. A minor would be protected from the filing of the lawsuit until they reach the age of 18. As to damages, a dog bite can result in long-term catastrophic injury. These injuries include but are not limited to: cuts, bruises and abrasions, lacerations, bite marks, traumatic brain injury, scarring, fractures and broken bones, soft tissue injury, and permanent injuries to the body. Recovery would include: medical bills, wage loss, corrective surgeries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress. In Florida, several legal defenses are available. Trespassing, provocation, or assumption of a risk by the dog bite victim are a few defenses that can preclude recovery.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida
The first step in Florida medical malpractice cases is to determine whether medical malpractice has occurred. This requires a determination of whether a cause of action exists from either a rendering of, or a failure to provide, medical care or services by a health care provider. If a claim exists, there are certain pre-suit requirements that must be followed prior to initiating a complaint under Florida medical malpractice law. These health care providers under F. S. Section 766.101(2)(b) include: physicians, osteopaths, podiatrist, optometrists, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists, hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. It can also include those entities who, although not expressly included, would be vicariously liable for the acts of the healthcare providers.
The first requirement is to conduct a pre-suit investigation against any and all potential health care providers. At this stage, a petition should be made to the appropriate court. For statue of limitations purposes, a 90- day extension will be granted while the case is being investigated. This petition doesn’t need to specifically name any defendants. One must be careful, however, and attempt to name every potential healthcare provider. If necessary, they can be dismissed at a later date. This 90 day period is also intended to assist in early settlement prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Once the pre-suit is underway, you must give notice of intent to initiate litigation to every defendant before you can file a lawsuit. At this point, all healthcare providers must investigate and determine whether they have any responsibility for medical malpractice. Informal discovery can take place and if either person fails to follow the pre-suit notice, investigation, and discovery procedures, the court may dismiss the claims. Before the health care provider can reject the claim, they must submit a written medical opinion, supporting their position which is to be attached to the rejection letter. In a pre-suit investigation, requested medical records must be provided to each person at a reasonable charge within 10 business days.
As authorized by F. S. Section 766.106 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1650, negotiating parties may extend the statue of limitations by stipulation. However, once a person receives a letter rejecting the claim, that person must file suit within 60 days of that rejection. As to the statute of limitations, Florida has a two year statute of limitations and a four year statute of repose. Florida also has a seven year cap for medical malpractice cases involving fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation by a prospective health care provider. There is an exception if a minor is eight or younger at the time the medical malpractice was committed. In that case, the seven-year period would not bar a complaint brought on behalf of the minor on or before the minor’s eighth birthday.
As to damages, in 2003 the Florida Legislature approved a cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering). These caps were set at different amounts, depending on factors such as the number of claimants and types of defendants. Part of this law included $500,000 and $1 million damage caps against doctors. Those amounts were lowered when the cases involved emergency care. In 2017, the Florida Supreme Court ruled those damage caps to be unconstitutional. The court found that these caps did not cause an increase in malpractice premiums and unfairly penalized severely injured victims. The law violated the equal protection clause as “the arbitrary reduction of compensation without regard to the severity of the injury does not bear a rational relationship to the intended interest of the Legislature in dealing with the perceived medical malpractice crisis.” In March of this year, the Florida Legislature, has proposed a bill (PCB CJS 19-02) reinstating the caps on non-economic damages. In essence, the legislature is telling the Florida Supreme Court that the decision was contrary to our intentions! They argue that existing case law interpreting the equal protection clauses of both state and federal constitutions support their position. Our team of Florida personal injury lawyers is monitoring developments on this front closely.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida Below
Sawan & Sawan - Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
Sawan & Sawan is personal injury law firm with personal injury attorneys licensed to practice law in the States of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia. If you’ve been a victim of another’s negligence and would like to speak further about your specific legal matter, call Sawan & Sawan today at 1-866-INJURY-0 or 419-900-0955 to schedule a free consultation.