A catastrophic personal injury can be life-altering. In many cases, a personal injury results in death. Personal injury is an umbrella term for a civil practice area of law that allows an injured party, or the representative of a deceased party, to recover damages for injuries caused by the negligence of another. Some examples include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Products liability
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Workplace accidents
- Defamation of character
- Assault and battery
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Nursing home abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages
Car Accidents/Motor Vehicle Negligence
With over 290 million registered vehicles in the U.S., it is no surprise that traffic fatalities have sky-rocketed over the past decade. Factor in distracted, impaired, and careless drivers and it is a perfect storm for disaster.
For decades, Mitch Espat and Robert J. Johnson have helped motor vehicle accident victims and their families recover millions of dollars for physical pain and mental anguish. Our firm works to secure clients’ financial futures by holding insurance companies accountable for the long-term consequences of an accident, such as:
- Traumatic injuries
- Aggravation/Worsening of pre-existing conditions
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
The law office of Espat & Johnson seeks to maximize accident victims’ financial recovery while minimizing additional distress.
Florida property owners – both commercial and residential property owners – owe two duties to invitees (those individuals that property owners invite onto their property):
1. The duty to warn of dangers not easily visible, and
2. The duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.
If an injury was caused by a landowner (property owner) or property manager’s negligence, then the injured party or parties may have grounds to pursue a premises liability claim.
Common types of premises liability lawsuits include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Drowning and other swimming pool accidents
- Accidents caused by poor maintenance to include wet floors, loose handrails, and unstable flooring
- Inadequate or negligent security
- Escalator or elevator accidents
- Animal bites
Employers have a responsibility to take care of workers who are injured on the job. This is done through employer-purchased insurance coverage called workers compensation, or workers comp.
Under Florida law, regardless of who is at fault, injured workers may be entitled to workers comp benefits. Workers comp covers both work-related physical and psychiatric injuries, ranging from minor to catastrophic, including death, such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Legal fees
- Vocational rehabilitation
Many insurance carriers will deny workers comp claims for a variety of reasons, ranging from an injured worker missing filing deadlines, to the insurer disputing that an injury was work-related. There are strict rules that Florida employees must follow, and, Espat & Johnson is able to assist you throughout the entire process.
Whether your claim has been denied, or you were injured on the job and need to file a workers comp claim, the attorneys at Espat & Johnson will fight to get you the disability and medical benefits to which you are entitled.
Manufacturers and sellers of consumer products have a duty to produce products that are safe, free of defects, and do not place consumers in unreasonable danger. This includes design defects, manufacturing defects, and a failure to warn consumers of risks associated with a product, known as marketing defects. Should a manufacturer or vendor fall short in any of these areas, resulting in consumer injury, a manufacturer and/or vendor may be liable for damages.
In legal terms, a wrongful death is an unintentional death resulting from the negligence of another party.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought, and damages may be recovered by parents, children, spouses and siblings of the deceased. In Florida, a wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the date of death.
Common wrongful death claims arise out of the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Premises liability (drowning, slip and fall, etc.)
Contracts, and contract law, is a specialized practice area requiring attorneys with experience in a variety of disciplines. A binding, legally enforceable contract between parties —individuals or businesses — may be in writing or an oral agreement. When a contract is breached, financial interests are at risk. The attorneys at Espat & Johnson are skilled in all aspects of personal and commercial contract law, including:
- Contract drafting
- Contract procurement
- Insurance disputes
- Business disputes
- Commercial litigation
- Contract consulting
A malpractice lawsuit can be brought against a professional whose actions, or inactions, breached their profession’s generally accepted standards of care or conduct and resulted in harm to a client or patient. While medical malpractice is perhaps the most recognized type of malpractice litigation, professionals from various other fields are exposed to malpractice claims.
Malpractice litigation is complex by nature, so having experienced legal representation is essential. The law firm of Espat & Johnson is adept at negotiating malpractice settlements, and if necessary, trying these cases in court.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others in the medical field undergo intensive training before becoming licensed in their specialty. While everyone makes mistakes, if a patient is injured, harmed, or dies due to a misdiagnosis, a surgical error, or an incorrect interpretation of lab reports, for example, that may be considered negligence under the law. There are a myriad of errors under the medical negligence umbrella, however, in order for a plaintiff to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit, they must demonstrate the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- The doctor acted outside the scope of their profession’s established standards of care
- The doctor’s actions or inactions directly caused the patient’s injuries
- The patient suffered economic and/or non-economic damages resulting from the doctor’s negligence
Nursing Home Abuse
While the elderly and infirm are among society’s most vulnerable, those who reside in nursing homes are often preyed upon by people tasked with their care. More than 20 percent of Florida residents are age 65 or older, and as Baby Boomers age, the number is growing by the day. A 2018 study of for-profit nursing homes found that residents in these facilities were nearly twice as likely to experience health problems resulting from substandard care.
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms including:
- Physical abuse
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
Ensuring that those who abuse nursing home residents, as well as the facilities that employ them, are held responsible for their actions requires qualified counsel with expansive knowledge of elder law. Armed with the experience and skill set needed to handle these cases, our firm aggressively represents families and individuals so that they may receive the maximum compensation they may be entitled to and are in a position to find competent caregivers for their loved one.
Medical providers are not the only professionals who can be sued for malpractice. Malpractice claims may also be brought against other certified, licensed, or accredited professionals. As with medical malpractice, a litigant must show that a professional’s negligent actions or inactions caused damage, loss or injury. The specific elements required to prove these cases is unique to each profession, but all are rooted in a failure to follow established standards of care in their field.
Professionals who may be the subject of professional malpractice litigation (this list is not all inclusive):
- Insurance agents
Members of the justice system are not immune from errors either. At every stage of the legal system, judges are tasked with ruling for one side or the other based on the justice’s understanding of the law. If a party in a civil case believes there has been a material error, a mistake that was significant enough to affect the outcome of their case, they can appeal. In most cases, a panel of three appellate judges will review the case file, conduct legal research, and in some cases hear oral arguments, before issuing a written decision, which will generally be one of three findings:
- The lower court’s decision will be affirmed (upheld)
- The lower court’s decision will be reversed
- The appeals court will remand (return) the case back to the lower court for reconsideration
Espat & Johnson has a robust appellate practice that is a by-product of our attorneys’ extensive legal research, talent for crafting astute legal briefs, and delivering dynamic oral arguments.