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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Miami hearing tackles logistics of Takata product defect suits

On Feb. 20, a federal judge here in Miami held the first hearing involving potential class-action suits over defective air bags made by Takata Corp. The Japanese company's air bags have been the subject of government scrutiny for a flaw that reportedly causes their inflators to deploy so forcefully that they rupture and shrapnel flies at the occupants.

So far, 64 injuries worldwide have been blamed on the air bags in vehicles manufactured by ten auto makers. At least six fatalities have been reported. The plaintiffs seeking damages for injuries are outnumbered, however, by those asking for compensation for their vehicles' loss in value.

How can Floridians spot signs of possible elder abuse?

While it's not uncommon for people to live into their 80s and even 90s in the 21st century, many of our elderly family members require professional care, whether in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or from in-home caregivers. Sadly, when they are vulnerable and dependent, they can fall victim to neglect, abuse or exploitation by the people whose job it is to care for them and sometimes even by trusted friends or family members.

Elder abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or some combination of these. In some cases, caregivers, including medical professionals, may neglect to provide them with medical care, food, safety or other necessities. Financial exploitation of a person who may not understand that his or her assets are being taken is also a form of elder abuse.

Helping Florida victims of accidents involving commercial trucks

Floridians who are involved in auto accidents with trucks, particularly tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and construction vehicles, can suffer severe and long-term injuries. That is if they are fortunate enough to survive.

Driver error and negligence are often to blame. Accidents can result when truck drivers are tired, inattentive, intoxicated or reckless. However, some crashes occur because of a problem with the truck itself, such as poor maintenance and faulty equipment.

Why Floridians who suspect medical malpractice should act fast

For Floridians who believe that they or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it's essential to act in a timely manner. In our state, the statute of limitations for filing such a suit is generally two years. The clock starts ticking on the date that you either should have or did discover that you were injured by medical negligence or error. If the suit isn't filed by this two-year deadline, you may not be able to get compensation for the medical error.

Florida also a "statute of repose." This prevents malpractice suits from being filed if four years or more have passed since the error occurred. There are two exceptions to the statute of repose: if it expires before or on a victim's eighth birthday or if fraud and concealment prevented the victim from realizing that malpractice occurred.

Jury finds Toyota 60 percent responsible for tragic auto accident

Legal outcomes in cases where a vehicle is alleged to have a defect are not always black and white. Such is the case in a recent federal jury decision. The case involved a tragic accident in 2006 that killed three people -- two of them children. At the center of the case was a 1996 Toyota Camry.

The driver, who served prison time for vehicular manslaughter as a result of the crash, claims that he tried unsuccessfully to stop the car before hitting another vehicle. The plaintiffs in the suit included the driver of the Toyota, two of the other car's passengers who were seriously injured and the family of a 6-year-old girl, also in the other car, who was paralyzed and died the following year. The other car's driver and his 9-year-old son were also killed, but they were not represented in the lawsuit.

Another Florida company recalls meat products

It seems like deja vu all over again. It's been just a few weeks since the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of meat products produced by a Florida company because they may contain peanuts. The known allergen was not listed as an ingredient.

Now another Florida company is recalling some of its pork products for the same reason. Morrison Meat Packers, located in Miami, is recalling over 70,000 pounds of pork products. According to the FSIS, the cooked pork products may contain peanuts.

Florida flu vaccination program shows significant impact

In an average year, approximately 2,300 people in Florida die from the flu and 7,300 are hospitalized for it. This current flu season, which began last fall, is shaping up to be worse. According to the Florida Department of Health, over 3,000 of the state's residents have died from "pneumonia and influenza" so far.

Aside from the obvious human toll, the virus takes an economic toll on the state. It's been estimated that the state loses $540 million during the average flu season in lost wages and other costs.

Helping Florida victims of force-placed insurance

If you have a mortgage in Florida and do not have a homeowner's insurance policy or your policy has lapsed, your mortgage lender has the right to purchase an insurance policy and pass the cost along to you. However, certain lenders, including some well-known financial institutions, have been accused of sticking their customers with unnecessarily high premiums for this "force-placed" insurance and getting rewarded by the insurers for purchasing their products.

Many homeowners believe that they have no legal remedies if they end up with one of these policies if the mortgage documentation allows the lender to purchase insurance. However, consumer protection regulations in Florida and other states protect people from fraudulent practices like force-placed policies.

Is prescribing opioids to a pregnant woman medical malpractice?

The potential health dangers and risk of addiction posed by prescription opioids like hydrocodone, codeine and oxycodone are well known. However, for pregnant women, the drugs can also endanger their babies. Studies have shown that children whose mothers took opioids during pregnancy were more likely to have birth defects impacting their heart, spine and brain. They also risk developing neonatal abstinence syndrome. A newborn with NAS experiences drug withdrawal symptoms.

Therefore, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how many women of childbearing age are taking prescription opioids is particularly disturbing. The CDC found that from 2008 to 2012, over a quarter of women between 15 and 44 years-old with private health insurance filled an opioid prescription. That percentage was even higher (nearly 40 percent) for women enrolled in Medicaid. The data in the report, which was based on health insurance claims, found that opioid prescription rates were highest here in the South than in any other region of the country.

Florida company recalls meat products due to possible allergen

The health dangers inherent in some meat products are once again in the news. This time, a Florida company is behind the products in question. Holiday Foods, which is based in Hollywood, is recalling over 1,800 pounds of meat products.

The United States Department of Agriculture has classified this as a Class I recall. That means there is high health risk with a "reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."

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