Thursday, February 26, 2015

5 Ways That a Clearwater, Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You After an Injury

Millions of Americans are injured in accidents that are caused by the negligence of other people every year across the United States. These accidents can range from simple car accidents to those caused by defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed consumer products that cause injury to the innocent consumers that have the misfortune of buying them. While the injuries may vary, the law is clear; people who are injured because of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence have the legal right to obtain compensation for the various losses that they incur as a result of their accident.

In many cases, the people who are injured in these accidents are not lawyers and may not understand their legal rights. Unscrupulous insurance companies and other parties may try and take advantage of these victims by offering them an unreasonably low settlement offer in exchange for their right to sue, or in some cases may try and get them to unwittingly admit partial or full fault for an accident in the guise of trying to help them settle their case. Fortunately for victims, personal injury attorneys like those of the Dolman Law Group have devoted their careers to helping victims of accidents obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries and ensuring that their legal rights are protected.


Below is some information about some of the specific ways that a personal injury attorney may be able to help you.

Represent you in any settlement negotiations that may occur

Statistics indicate1 that the overwhelming majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to a lawsuit ever being filed. This fact should not be taken that victims should not hire an attorney, however. As mentioned above, potential defendants in a personal injury matter may try and take advantage of unrepresented parties in a variety of ways. In addition, the mere involvement of an attorney makes the threat of litigation a much more real possibility, immediately strengthening an injured party’s bargaining position. Consequently, having an attorney during settlement negotiations can often result in a much higher settlement offer than an unrepresented party would be able to secure on his or her own.

Investigate the cause of your accident

While some in personal injury cases fault is relatively clear, this is not always the case. When fault is contested, both parties often engage in significant investigation in order to obtain evidence either supporting or denying fault. Proving legal negligence can be a complicated matter, and an experienced lawyer will be able to know what kinds of evidence to gather as well as how to procure such evidence. During the pretrial phase known as discovery, you are entitled to obtain certain evidence from other parties that may support your case. This evidence can include documents, oral statements, depositions, and physical evidence. The rules of discovery can be fairly complicated, and it is highly advisable for anyone who has been injured in an accident to retain an attorney to represent them in the process.

File and litigate a case on your behalf

The Florida civil court system2 can be confusing even for out-of-state attorneys who have not worked in our jurisdiction before. In addition, the process of filing a lawsuit and trying a case in subject to many substantive and procedural rules, including the rules of evidence, constitutional law, case law, the rules of procedure, as well as many others. Consequently, retaining an attorney will almost always significantly improve your chances of bringing your case to a favorable conclusion.

Contact a Clearwater personal injury law firm today to schedule a free consultation

Individuals who have been injured in a preventable accident can often recover for the economic and noneconomic losses that they sustain as a result of their injuries through a Florida personal injury claim. Among the various types of losses that are often compensable are those that involve medical expenses, damage to personal property, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others. The Dolman Law Group is a team of highly skilled personal injury attorneys that are committed to helping their clients obtain the best possible outcome available under Florida law. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (727) 451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/

References:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Car Accidents Caused by Those Who Run Red Lights?

Our modern day traffic system bears the intricacies of clockwork in some areas, and is astoundingly imperfect in others. Most minds fail to ponder just how complex the inner workings of our roadways are; often taking it all at face value as a simple “stop and go” operation. What drivers fail to realize is how much of an impact their driving choices have on others that they share the road with. Sadly, an overwhelming amount of drivers have a selfish attitude when it comes to the roadways. They’re not “sharing” the roadways; they’re simply “tolerating” the presence of other drivers. That means that a good portion of traffic system consists of drivers who refuse to work as a team.

Imagine a distracted driver rapidly approaching his intended destination. He notices just moments before it’s too late. Instead of dangerously yanking the wheel to make a sudden right turn, he has options that could prevent otherwise serious or fatal accidents from occurring. From the driver’s perspective, his unexpected turn won’t cause any harm. Sure, his tires are going to screech, but that’s no big deal, right? Well, considering the turn came with such short notice, there’s no way the driver had time to consider all the consequences of his impending decision.  If so many of our drivers are like this, we’ve got a serious problem on our hands.

Interestingly enough, it’s a problem we’ve all learned to deal with—human error is incalculable and therefore unpreventable. Our traffic system currently consists of a massive amount of vehicles that simply enter and exit the roadways to get from place to place. Why is it so refreshing to see an act of kindness expressed by another driver? Shouldn’t coordination and cooperation be expected in a system built around team effort? Our traffic system works, and it has for a long time, but would we be so reclusive in an ideal traffic system? Furthermore, what is the ideal traffic system? I can imagine roadways replete with drivers who are confident that the intersection ahead is free of danger as they travel in coordinated groups that resemble an experienced marching band.

TRAFFIC PATTERNS CONTRIBUTE TO CONGESTION AND ACCIDENTS

I would imagine that’s how it’s always been pictured by the brains that created early roadways, advanced traffic regulation devices (and even simple ones like stop signs, which are advanced in their own ways), and the systemic approach to vehicular travel as a whole. I also imagine that they failed to include negligence as an altering factor in the first traffic light demonstration, but understandably so. In the early stages of our traffic system, there simply weren’t enough grounds for testing to have tangible crash statistics. Ideas needed to be tested before they could be dismissed; flaws needed to be found before they could be fixed. The foundation left behind by the masterful engineers of the past is what we have continued to build our traffic system atop for decades.

Unfortunately, making changes to public roadways is far more impactful than a car manufacturer altering its chassis for the next year’s model. Because of that, cars have become more advanced than the roads could ever keep up with. I strongly believe that when the advancement of cars and the technology in and around them settles, and our traffic system has a chance to advance and adapt to those chances, travel will be safe, fast, and affordable. However, creating a scene of the likes is a job better suited for a sci-fi special effects artist; our current traffic system is lacking in those areas.

Nowadays, negligence and accidents are expected to happen—and they are expected to happen in the most devastating of forms. Car manufacturing companies set up exaggerated crash tests to determine how well a vehicle can hold up to damage received from a collision. This is a great example of a step that has been taken to better provide safety in the event of an accident. In other words, a problem has been identified (i.e. collisions can cause serious damage to vehicle occupants), but trying to prevent the problem is illogical (i.e. it’s not possible to completely prevent all vehicle collisions), so they instead aim to reduce the harmful effects of these unavoidable crashes (i.e. by increasing the safety of their vehicles).

PRESENCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PREVENTS SOME NEGLIGENT ACTS

So where does our traffic system lack? Car manufacturers seem to be doing pretty well at reducing injuries sustained in a vehicle accident, but what steps has our traffic system taken to accommodate negligence and unexpected happenings? Well, the truth is, not many. The best form of “negligence regulation” that we have on our roadways are the men and women of law enforcement. They keep an eye out for careless drivers that put others at harm, but they can only do so much on their own—and even they are negligent at times.

But it’s not only the poor choices of people that cause motor vehicle accidents, and it’s not only motor vehicle accidents that cause devastating injuries and losses for unsuspecting individuals. Sometimes, just the pure force of Mother Nature can cause generally unavoidable accidents, but in the end, a driver’s choice to operate a motor vehicle in poor weather conditions once again leads back to human error. However, should there ever be a time when a driver is absolutely required to drive in poor weather conditions for whatever reason; they should view these bad-weather-driving safety tips beforehand.

In the end, it’s safe to assume that negligence will never be something easily determined or prevented. By definition, accidents are never meant to happen, so how can we ever expect to craft a traffic system that expels them completely? The best thing we can do is continue to create technology and devices that nullify or reduce physical damage. Only time can tell what steps will be taken to further prevent accidents, but for now, we’re forced to live with these accidents in all forms.

People are hurt in accidents every day that are caused by someone else’s negligence. It doesn’t have to be a motor vehicle accident; the act of negligence doesn’t have to be blatantly obvious; if you or a loved one has suffered any physical, mental, or financial losses due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek significant financial compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries, the amount of negligence that each involved party expressed in the accident, and a countless amount of other factors, your losses could be covered.

YOU CAN SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY TODAY

If you’re interested in discussing your personal injury case with an experienced attorney, you should do it in a timely manner. Believe it or not, the time you have to make a claim is limited and you could end up paying out-of-pocket for medical expenses or the funeral costs following the wrongful death of a loved one. Don’t give up your right to seek compensation; don’t accept a heartless minimum settlement agreement put forth by an insurance company.

Instead, call one of our Florida personal injury and civil trial attorneys today for a free consultation and case evaluation regarding your case. We strive to tell you what you need to know to ensure speedy compensation and a healthy recovery, so call us today 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Friday, February 13, 2015

Injured At a Gas Station? Know Your Rights

Gas stations are like pit stops for the public. With most offering a huge array of food, drinks, snacks, and other convenient products, it’s no wonder they’re a hit. Since consumers have the ability to swipe their cards for gasoline purchases, there’s no need to go inside the store itself, but we always want more. Should you decide to go in and grab a quick drink, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way more than you know. Just crossing the parking lot from the gas pump to the building is dangerous. A reckless driver that fails to spot a pedestrian in a gas station parking lot can cause serious injuries to both parties.

Once you’re inside, however, the setting changes. Sure, you’re indoors now, but the danger is still real. The kid that just walked away from the soda machine didn’t pick up after himself; ice cubes are scattered upon the ground. In just a couple minutes, those ice cubes will be a barely visible puddle of water—the one which could lead to a slip-and-fall accident for an unsuspecting customer. These slip-and-falls can lead to serious back and neck injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and other debilitating conditions. Who is there to be held responsible for your injuries? How will you recover?

No matter where you look, there’s someone doing something in a negligent manner. Sadly, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee your safety; instead, you should make yourself aware of the steps you can take to recover should you get injured due to someone else’s lack of care.

Do I have a legitimate claim?

There are a handful of key pieces of information that are required to make a personal injury claim. Determining things like who was involved, where the accident occurred, if the losses could have been prevented, and if the case is a civil or criminal matter are just a few of examples of what makes each personal injury case truly unique. The main area of law regarding personal injury in a gas station or any other specific place is known as premises liability. Basically, these laws aim to hold property owners accountable for injuries that take place on their property. Without these laws, those who were truly injured on a property other than their own may have a hard time recovering.

The laws are far from straightforward though. They go as far as actually categorizing attendees into certain groups based on their relationship with the property and its owner(s) or caretakers, their intent and/or reason for being there, and more. Personal injury cases are handled differently depending on which category the injured attendee in placed in. For the different types of property attendees, and to determine which kind of attendee you are/were during your personal injury, read our premises liability guide.

Once you’ve determined what kind of attendee you are, it’s time to look into the different acts of negligence that were expressed in your situation. For example, a negligent employee may have spotted but failed to clean up the puddle of water resulting from the dropped ice cubes. If the employee was too busy cleaning up the mess because there was a long line of impatient customers, the store manager(s) could be considered negligent for a lack of staff. It’s a long line of blame to get to the real culprit of a case like this. Because there are so many variables in a personal injury case that can affect the outcome or your amount of financial compensation, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible.

Why do I need an attorney?

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re most likely injured and actively seeking financial compensation for your losses. However, in the event that you aren’t sure what steps to take yet and you’re simply trying to educate yourself, consider this: take the same ice cube melting scenario again; the whole situation consisted of poorly timed circumstances with mostly innocent parties. It’s very unlikely that the child purposely dropped the ice cubes. Even though the employee is trained to halt everything and rush to put up a “wet floor” sign, he may have been truly overrun, both physically and mentally.

A true accident like this sometimes ends up best as a settlement between the injured(s) and the liable party(s). In other words, an agreement between you and the liable party that aims to please both sides in the end. However, it’s common for insurance companies to offer the lowest possible settlement to keep a plaintiff quiet. Don’t settle for this unfair behavior. The injuries which are visible after your accident aren’t always the ones that end up costing a fortune in medical bills. Occasionally, especially with the brain and other delicate internal organs, injuries will become worse over time, unexpectedly developing into something more serious and possibly life-threatening. If you settle too soon, injuries may appear later on which will leave you—once again—financially unstable.

Some cases have just got to go to court. If a settlement is not an option, you’ll want an aggressive attorney to litigate on your behalf in a court of law. By having an attorney, you can be sure that every method of recovery will be exhausted and it will be a vigorous battle to secure the compensation that you deserve. Insurance companies don’t give up without a fight; State Farm has proved that.

SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED PREMISES LIABILITY ATTORNEY IN THE CLEARWATER & TAMPA BAY AREA FOR FREE

It’s possible that you or a loved one has recently been injured on someone else’s property and you need help now. It can be hard to find the right party to hold liable; the insurance company isn’t going to help you, they want to save money. The property owner will want to avoid a court case, but they’ll also want to minimize their losses. If you feel like you’re running out of people to ask for help, look no further. The experienced premises liability and personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are here to help you make a claim and secure the most financial compensation for your physical, mental, and/or financial losses.

We offer a free consultation and case evaluation, meaning you can speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your case and learn what you need to know for no charge at all. For more information, visit our website or give us a call at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Is a Traumatic Brain Injury Treated?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),1 approximately 2.2 million individuals in the United States were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in emergency rooms in 2010 alone. An additional estimated 280,000 people required hospitalization for their TBI and/or related injuries, and over 50,000 TBI victims died from their injuries. Even if a victim survives a TBI, the treatment for this type of injury can be extensive, lengthy, challenging, and costly. The following is some information regarding common treatments for TBI.

Treatment immediately after a suspected TBI

When you arrive at a hospital with a suspected TBI, medical staff will focus on stabilization. Depending on the severity of your state, this may include resuscitation techniques, monitoring of vital signs, and other trauma care. For different patients, trauma care may include respiratory therapy, psychological education and counseling about your injury, as well as social work assistance to your family if necessary.

Acute treatment

Acute treatment is focused on keeping a patient stabilized, reduced swelling or hemorrhaging, and keeping the pressure low in and around the brain. This includes constant measuring of intracranial pressure2 and often mechanical ventilation to support breathing. Medications will likely be administered to prevent seizures and for sedation to limit brain function as much as possible. Sometimes, patients may be placed in a medically-induced coma to reduce pressure and limit any secondary injuries. Medications may also be used to control agitation, increase concentration, and address other cognitive effects of a TBI.

Surgical treatment

Whether you require surgery depends on the nature of your TBI. Different surgical procedures may include:

·         Draining blood or other fluid on the brain
·         Repairing or removing damaged blood vessels or brain tissue
·         Closing any wounds in open-head injuries
·         Repairing skull fractures
·         Insertion of an intracranial pressure monitor into the skull

Rehabilitative treatment

The goals of rehabilitative treatment are often to prevent any secondary injuries or complications and to help a patient overcome obstacles and symptoms. This includes restoring lost abilities and relearning how to perform basic, everyday activities such as talking, walking, using the bathroom, and more. Rehabilitative staff also often include psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and support for your family and caregivers. This treatment is aimed at helping you to cope and recover over the long-term from the effects of your traumatic brain injury, including regaining practical skills and movement abilities.

The expense of TBI treatment

If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you will likely require some type of medical treatment and may need long-term medical attention. Obviously, the cost of such medical care can be extensive and the bills can quickly add up and become overwhelming. In many situations, medical expenses can lead to other financial problems and even bankruptcy.

If someone else's negligence caused your traumatic brain injury, you should not have to suffer the financial consequences. Instead, Florida tort laws allow you to recover for your financial, physical, and emotional losses by filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party in court. Personal injury cases may often be complicated and involve several different legal issues, so you should always consult with an experienced brain injury attorney to discuss a possible case.

Contact an experienced Florida brain injury lawyer for a free consultation today

At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of attorneys has extensive experience handling brain injury cases and is committed to helping injured victims recover for their losses. Do not hesitate to call our office today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 N. Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900


References:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Are Servers and Bartenders Protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Authored By:  Heath C. Murphy, Esq

It is a regular occurrence in the hospitality and restaurant industry to pay servers, bartenders and other tipped employees less than the full minimum wage.  It is also common practice to force the servers and bartenders to split their tips with bus boys and hostesses, thereby supplementing the pay of those individuals to allow the restaurant owner to pay those employees at a rate lower than the full minimum wage.  Currently, in Florida, all tipped employees must be paid $5.03 per hour by the employer

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor regulates The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards that may affect full time and part time workers in private businesses and also State, Federal and local governments.  The FLSA provides protections to servers, bartenders and tipped employees.  For example, an employer cannot force a tipped employee to work off the clock for any reason.  Tipped employees are entitled to overtime wages. 

Every tipped employee has at least two parts to their job.  One part relates directly to earning tips.  Activities such as talking to tables, taking orders, running food, bussing table etc would fall in this category.  Then there are the behind the scenes responsibilities such as opening and closing sidework.  Some restaurants actually have server assist in the preparation of food.  A good general rule is that if more than 20% of your hours are spent doing the tasks not directly related to service of the customer then the employer must compensate the employee at the full minimum wage amount of $8.05.

TIPPED EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO OVERTIME PAY
Another big area where tipped employees are at risk is the payment of overtime hours.  Tipped employees are entitled to be 1.5 times the full minimum wage amount less the maximum tip credit amount allowed.  In Florida, that means that a tipped employee must be paid at least $9.06 per hour for each hour of work in excess of 40 during a particular work week.  Commonly, employers either refuse to pay overtime at all or attempt to pay 1.5 times the lower tipped employee rate.  Neither are acceptable solutions.

Another dilemma that is common to hear is that the employer is keeping a portion of the tips to pay the kitchen staff or to pool to pay for broken dishes.  This practice is also prohibited by the FLSA.  Tipped employees may be required to tip pool with other commonly tipped employees such bartenders, other servers and hostesses.  However, if the employer forces tipped employees to share tips with non-tipped employees or tries to retain tips for other improper purposes the employer will be forced to pay that tipped employee the minimum wage amount of $8.05.  Remember, the tips you earn are your property. 

An employee looking to file a claim for wage or overtime compensation must do so within a specified time period.  There is a statute of limitations in the State of Florida for filing such claims.  In Florida, you must file your claim within two years of the date which you were entitled to earn the pay. As an employee, you are eligible to recover wages retroactively two (2) years from the date of filing your claim.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYEE
There are certain exceptions to the general rules for tipped employees.  If you or someone you know are faced an employer paying tipped employees correctly, contact an experienced St. Petersburg wage and overtime attorney  for a free consultation to determine your rights.

If you feel that your employer has not paid you hours for which your are entitled or has misappropriated you tips, you should immediately call The Law Offices of Bobby Jones at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. I can be reached via email at hmurphy@bobbyjoneslaw.com

We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your unpaid hours.

The Law Offices of Bobby Jones
6570 30th Avenue North
St. Pete, FL 33710



Sunday, February 1, 2015

What is a Personal Injury Mill?





what exactly is a mill or volume shop? How do personal injury mills handle cases as opposed to their counterparts who focus more on quality as opposed to quantity? 


#personalinjury #personalinjurylaw #personalinjuryattorney #Tampa #Clearwater

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900