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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Court: Florida malpractice law doesn't violate patient privacy

The Florida Medical Association and Republican state legislators have racked up a victory in a legal dispute involving Florida's medical malpractice law. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this month that the law does not violate patients' privacy rights.

The federal appeals court decision overturns an earlier ruling by a federal judge in a case brought against a Florida physician. That judge determined that provisions in the law could allow medical professionals to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. That federal law, commonly known as HIPAA, limits the circumstances under which a patient's medical information can be disclosed.

Florida coach dies a week after head-on car crash

A Florida college basketball coach died a week after suffering injuries in a head-on collision on State Road 85 near Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The Florida Highway Patrol says that the 51-year-old husband and father of three was driving with his wife when they were struck by another vehicle that crossed over three lanes and the median into oncoming traffic.

The victim, who had to be cut out of his car before being airlifted to a Pensacola Hospital, had coached the woman's basketball team at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville since 2010. He was a beloved member of the college community according to the school's athletic director, who described him as an excellent coach as well as "a friend to all students, faculty and staff and the communities of NWF."

Do voice-activated systems reduce distracted driving, collisions?

If you buy a new car, it is more likely than ever to have voice-controlled, hands-free systems that let drivers do everything from making phone calls to texting to updating Facebook to getting directions to the nearest Starbucks. While hands-free technology has been touted as a safer alternative to the use of hand-held devices, a new study shows that drivers using voice-activated technology can become seriously, and perhaps dangerously, distracted.

The study, which was done at the University of Utah and sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that voice-activated systems could be not only distracting but infuriating. Drivers who were misunderstood by the system sometimes became so frustrated that they "curs[ed] the systems out," according to the neuroscientist in charge of the study.

Florida parents: Awareness of button battery danger is crucial

As all Florida parents know, children's toys are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Electronic toys, like all of our electronic devices, are becoming smaller, thinner and easier for kids to put in their hands and mouths.

Many toys, gadgets and even things like musical greeting cards are powered by button batteries. These coin-size lithium batteries can be particularly attractive to little ones if they take an item apart and discover them. However, they are extremely harmful if ingested.

What damages are you entitled to after an auto accident?

When a person is injured in an auto accident, the primary focus for them is recovering. For surviving family members of someone killed in an accident, their focus is probably on getting through the grieving process and working to move forward with their lives. Victims and their families may be able to recover damages from the at-fault driver and possibly other entities, such as the driver's employer, to help ease the financial burden caused by an auto accident.

These damages can extend far beyond the costs of medical care -- both short-term and long-term -- or burial expenses. For example, plaintiffs can sue for lost wages and lost earning capacity. This may include not just income lost immediately following an accident but any diminished ability to earn a living in the future due to injuries resulting from the crash.

What is Florida's Move Over Law?

A recent accident in St. Johns County has prompted the Florida Highway Patrol to remind motorists of the importance of our state's Move Over Law. The accident, as reported on Sept. 24 by News 4 Jax occurred on Interstate 95. A state trooper inside his car was injured, and the driver who reportedly caused the crash was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. It occurred when, reportedly unaware of the slowdown caused by an earlier accident, the woman rear-ended another car and then an FHP cruiser at the scene the accident.

The Move Over Law was designed to protect motorists and public safety professionals by requiring motorists to slow down and/or move over when they see a law enforcement or emergency vehicle along the road. This July, it was broadened to include utility service and sanitation vehicles.

Why Floridians should be concerned about doctor-owned businesses

It's been almost a year since we first discussed a wrongful death lawsuit against a spine surgeon. That case, as we noted, exposed a potentially-deadly phenomenon known as physician-owned distributorships. Because of their financial involvement in the companies that sell medical devices like the spinal implants in this case, critics of PODs argue that some doctors perform unnecessary and risky operations to boost sales of their products.

Now the federal government is taking action. A recent report on "CBS This Morning" discussed the Department of Justice's suit against the network of physician-owned companies to which the doctor involved in the wrongful death case belonged. Prosecutors say that some 35 doctors in these companies have performed unnecessary and dangerous operations.

What kinds of birth injuries result from shoulder dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a complication that occurs most often with larger babies. It happens in anywhere from 5 to 9 percent of babies who weigh over nine pounds at birth. It can occur in smaller babies, but not as commonly. Just 1 percent of six-pound newborns experience shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia occurs as the baby moves into the birth canal if the shoulders become trapped behind the pelvic bone of the mother. It will cause the delivery to stall once the baby's head is out.

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Florida For-Profit College Sued By Federal Government

A for-profit college with campuses across Florida may promise its students better careers and a better life, but according to the federal government, it's doing the opposite. 

Corinthian Colleges is being sued by the government for lying about job prospects and forcing students to pay exorbitant interest on their loans.

According to the lawsuit, Corinthian's loose definition of a career included students who got a job lasting one day, and providing high-interest private loans that caused financial ruin for most students. 

Most of Corinthian's 10 campuses operate under the Everest University brand, and runs its online operations out of Tampa. Currently, about 72,000 students are enrolled  and it has over 10 campuses in 26 states and Canada. 

The vast majority of Corinthian's revenue comes from taxpayers in the form of federal grants and student loans, receiving $1.4 billion each year. 

In a statement, Corinthian Colleges said the lawsuit focuses on isolated incidents and the loans criticized are only obtained by less than 40 percent of the student body.

The U.S. Department of Education has ordered the company to sell or close its campuses in six months. 

In February, the agency filed a lawsuit against ITT claiming predatory lending practices. 

In the past decade, enrollment for for-profit colleges has grown from 9 percent in 2003 to 12 percent. 

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