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Personal Injury

Personal Injury Litigation

Florida personal injury litigation attorney Reed Bloodworth, founding partner, Bloodworth Law, PLLC, handles cases brought by plaintiffs and defendants.

Car Accidents
Slip & Fall
Wrongful Death

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FAQs – Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

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L. Reed Bloodworth works with personal injury litigation attorneys and explains that a personal injury case is any situation where an individual or multiple individuals are physically harmed by the negligence or wrongful acts of someone else.

For example if you are driving in an eastbound lane and a driver in a westbound lane crosses over the centerline, hits your vehicle and you suffer injuries, that is a very good example of a personal injury case.

What is a car accident that we commonly see in great number? First, a car accidents occurs where someone has run a stop sign or run a red light and hit you. You can be in a vehicle and get hit from behind, from the side or head on.

A common car accident you could be involved in would be with someone merging into you on the interstate from the side when they’re not looking or they misjudge the amount of space they have. Another common car accident is when someone crosses the center line of a highway and hits or impacts you and often time hits you head-on.

A slip & fall injury is where a person falls and hurts themselves stepping onto a wet floor or a floor with something spilled on it. A slip & fall injury can happen very quickly and in seconds can cause severe injury and physical damage.

A fall may occur anywhere in a public place, in a private home or venue, in a business, anywhere there is a floor, walkway or aisle that people walk on and fall on or trip over.

The most common slip & fall cases are those that take place in department stores at a mall, any business where people walk and fall due to something that is on the floor that they slip on. It may be a spill from a soda, food, rain, ice, pain in a shopping mall.

A slip & fall typically happens in a grocery store like Publix, or at Walmart or Kmart, Target, a shopping center, a strip mall, a restaurant, a motel or hotel. You may fall on water, ice, snow, mud, a beverage or liquid of any kind. You can trip over a display, a brick, stairs, garden stones, you could step in a whole, a floor weakness or a hole that is not supposed to be there.

But the typical slip & fall case involves a liquid of some type that has been spilled or has fallen or dropped on a floor where people walk. You could expect to have some difficulty walking on a hiking trail or on a camping trip where the terrain is not consistent. But you should not have to navigate your way through the aisle at a grocery store.

If you go into a Winn Dixie, a Kroger, a specialty food store and the store has just mopped or cleaned a walking surface you can fall. There may be a sign, but if it’s wet or slippery that is wet on the surface, you may still slip and fall and can seriously injure yourself.

People often hit their heads in a slip and fall accident on the floor then hurt the front, the back, the forehead, the chin, or side of the head. Head injuries can be very serious and instances of brain damage, traumatic brain injury, brain injury or internal injuries can occur.

It’s very common to try to brace the fall with your arm, hand or arms, which can cause sprains, tears, broken bones, fractures, pulled muscles, pinched nerves, slipped discs, herniated discs, in your back.

The number of injuries that can occur from what you may first think is a simple fall to the ground can be life changing, painful and cause permanent damage.

If you have fallen in a store, it’s important that you first call 911, get pictures of the floor that is wet and show where you fell. Take pictures of your injury, the aisle or location where you fell.

Do not get up right away if you’re hurt. You could seriously hurt yourself. If you’re hurting stay put and wait for the ambulance and the EMT staff to help you. Do not let anyone pull you up. Do not fill out forms or answer any questions of the store staff. Of course they’re going to apologize to you. They may offer you something, they may try to take your phone or tell you to talk to their security staff.

You should not talk to anyone and if you’re uncomfortable or feeling pressured you should not be forced to talk to the store staff, store security or management. You can call a lawyer and if you don’t feel safe you should call the police.

If you were in a slip and fall and bumped your head you could be woozy, confused, dizzy, feel nauseous or have instant pain. Be sure to get medical attention from a doctor first. You can go to the emergency room, but if you’ve hurt your head or your body, you have to see a doctor. Don’t put it off because if you’ve gotten a head injury, internal bleeding or damaged bones, you could be seriously injured. Get medical attention immediately.

As the name implies, a wrongful death case is a situation where someone has died as the result of a negligent act of another.

There are various types of wrongful death cases and you see wrongful death cases arising out of negligence, medical negligence, out of many cases where a wrongful death can occur.

The important thing to know about a wrongful death situation is who an actually bring a wrongful death case?

In general in Florida there’s generally two categories of people that can bring a wrongful death case.

First Category of a Wrongful Death Case

The first category of a wrongful death case is the personal representative of the deceased person.

Second Category of a Wrongful Death Case

And the second category of a wrongful death case is the statutory survivors of the deceased person. I say statutory survivors because Florida’s statutes state that only a decedents’ spouse, or children under the age of 25 — in terms of children — can bring a lawsuit. The parents of a decedent can bring a wrongful death statute.

Or the other one that is sometime missed is the category of people who were dependent upon the deceased person.

For example a child over 25 years old, but that was fully dependent upon the deceased person may be able to bring a wrongful death statute.

There are various limits pertaining to wrongful death cases but that is something that would need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

FAQs – Car Accidents

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When I talk about a car accident, a car accident describes any accident that takes place in a car, involving a car hitting something, rolling over something, running directly into something, skidding into something, colliding with something.

A car accident specifically causes an injury, death, or damage to someone or something. A car accident is a civil action where a legal notice is given to formalize a complaint to appear in court to:

  1. determine who is at fault
  2. determine what court judgment or informal or formal settlement will be made to resolve the civil dispute

A car accident refers to a vehicle driven by a person that hits something else. A car is a motorized vehicle that may be an SUV, a van, or a pickup that is involved in an accident.

The most common car accidents include:

  1. a car running a red light or a stop light and running into another car
  2. a car crosses the median and hits another car
  3. a car rear-ends another car from behind

A car accident may also include a car hitting:

  1. other vehicles
  2. animals
  3. pedestrians
  4. bikes
  5. structures
  6. motorcycles
  7. large trucks (like a semi-truck or a tractor-trailer)
  8. trains
  9. buses

A car accident can involve a car hitting people, vehicles, structures or animals with severe injuries or death occurring. A car accident is a collision between a car and another vehicle, a person, an animal, or an object.

A car accident can occur without a person driving:

  1. a car parking brake doesn’t work and the car strikes something or someone
  2. a computer malfunction occurs and a car revs, rolls, starts, moves and hits someone or something
  3. a car can drag someone or something while rolling down a hill or sliding in water, mud, ice, snow or other act of nature

A car accident may involve you being hurt due to the movement of a car from a swerve, a loss of control, hitting water, ice, gravel. Something may hit a person coming through the window, floor, ceiling, door to injure you where you are inside a vehicle.

You don’t have to be the driver to be in a car accident. Passengers may be injured due to another vehicle striking the car. You can be a pedestrian, a skater, on a bike or in a place where you are hit by a car, an SUV, a van or a pickup truck.

Maybe you’re in your home and a car smashes through your living room. You could be on a bike trail and a car goes off the road and hits you on your bike or while you’re walking. Maybe you’re in an open market and a car or SUV or pickup or van hits you.

A car accident describes the mode of transportation involved in an instance where a person was hurt because of the car which was the cause or mode of transportation involved in a crash.

You may be sitting at a stop sign and another car slams into you. You may be crossing an intersection and another vehicle—a van, truck or train hits your car. You may be sideswiped, hit in a head-on collision in another vehicle.

A car accident involves a car hitting someone or something and causing damage in a motorized vehicle. The cause of the car accident is what is usually disputed in a personal injury case because there are many factors to determine who or what is to blame in a car accident.

Trying to prove or handle a car accident without an attorney in the state of Florida or anywhere else is not a good idea. The insurance company hires the best Florida attorney for a car accident and so should you.

The insurance company is often the party that will pay for damages and as one of the largest and oldest industries in the United States, it is not a good idea to try to negotiate anything with an insurance company.

Who is responsible in a car accident? Well typically the responsible party in the car accident is the party that committed a wrong.

For example if an individual runs a red-light and hits someone in the intersection, the person who ran the red light is the wrongdoer and is going to be responsible for your injuries.

Same thing if someone runs a stop sign or crosses the center lane or hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the negligent party is the person responsible for your injuries following a car accident. Now that person is according to Florida law responsible for having car insurance.

It is usually the insurance company which ultimately is going to pay for your damages. There are some circumstances where we file a lawsuit against a negligent party in the car accident, that their insurance may not cover all of your damages all of your injuries.

And in that situation we sometimes can pursue them individually meaning pursue them beyond the coverage. What this sometimes leads to is the insurance company paying even beyond their coverage to make sure their client is taken care of.

According to the Florida DMV, in Florida, there are close to 250,000 car accidents every year.

The Florida DMV says that the No. 1 cause of a car accident careless driving among the state’s 16 million drivers who are involved in more than 200,000 car accidents annually.

This could mean that the driver was speeding and couldn’t stop in time, the driver lost control of the car, or misjudged a turn.

Reasons for car accidents:

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Car malfunction
  • Gawking at accidents
  • Driving while tired
  • Distracted driving
  • Texting
  • Bad weather
  • GPS
  • Tuning sound system

All of the above activities should be avoided. While you might feel that you can go a few miles over the speed limit, text at the light, drive home from the corner bar, every time that you take a risk you’re increasing the amount of time that you’ll need to slow, stop or get control of your vehicle. Any of the above activities could cause a car accident and can be avoided.

If you’re driving the speed limit and someone is honking at you to speed up, you should signal to move over and get out of the way. Don’t slow down, slam your brakes or try to keep a car from passing you. If they want to speed, let them speed and let them pass so that you don’t increase the chance of causing what’s known as road rage.

The second most common cause of a car accident in Florida is distracted driving. Texting while driving is against the law in Florida. You can be fined and ticketed if you’re caught texting while driving. What a driver may see as inattention can actually be considered negligence and could draw civil penalties.

Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties and civil lawsuits can follow a car accident. If a victim dies, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Criminal penalties may include vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter particularly if a driver caused an accident while under the influence.

Drunk drivers can get prison, penalties, loss of license, suspended license, required breathalyzer on vehicle starter. If driver charged with DUI or DWI is fatal, criminal charges can include involuntary manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter.

FAQs – Slip & Fall

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A slip & fall is fairly self explanatory said Orlando Florida personal injury lawyer L. Reed Bloodworth. You slip on a foreign substance on a floor and fall and injure yourself.

These types of accidents occur most often in supermarkets, department stores, your Walmarts, Kmarts and various other places. Gas stations and restaurants are fairly common too.

It’s a situation where the business has something spilled on the floor. Say for example laundry detergent in the supermarket and they do not clean that up in a timely fashion.

You step on that laundry detergent and you slip, your feet fly out from under you, you fall down and the first thing to hit the floor is the back of your head. You can suffer many types of injuries from this.

I’ve seen people knocked unconscious, split their head open. Get concussions, break arms, break other bones in their body. You can suffer some pretty serious injuries in a slip and fall situation.

Yes a slip & fall can occur on public or private property but they are going to be different.

Typically something that might get categorized as a slip & fall is like a sidewalk for example or planters built into sidewalks. Often times a city when they remove a tree do not properly mark the hole that is left.

And I’ve had clients that have stepped in and broken ankles, twisted ankles, they’ve gone through a lot of bad things because the city doesn’t properly mark that.

When something of that nature occurs and you have a hole in a sidewalk, that should be marked. And particularly at night time, that’s when people can seriously hurt themselves.

What if you fall at a friend’s home or slip on their front steps, on a back porch or slipping down stairs in a home? First of all, you’ll have to take care of yourself. Make sure that if you need an ambulance that you call 911 before trying to get up so that if you seriously injured yourself, that you’re moved only by a professional.

Here, is what’s difficult for many people to understand…that you’ll need to take pictures in the location where you were hurt, when you were hurt. While your friend, family, co-worker or neighbor may be a close person to you, you have to take pictures of the incident from where you’re lying.

Take pictures of the stairwell, the porch, the backyard, the basement, wherever you fell or slipped and were injured. It’s uncomfortable, but if you’re seriously injured you may be in a predicament over how to handle the slip & fall. Better to be safe and maybe ruffle some feathers than to be sorry and have no evidence of what occurred.

What if you’re playing in a public place and slip and fall where there’s no signage warning you of the possible danger of a slip & fall? Are you liable for jumping in a public fountain if the fountain has no signs warning you to stay you?

What would you do if your son, daughter or a family member fell or was hurt slipping and falling at a public or a private pool? Who do you call? Should a lifeguard be allowed to help you to safety or should you stay put and wait for an ambulance to help you?

There are so many instances where you’ll have questions about a fall and it’s best to talk with a slip and fall lawyer who is local and near you, or at least within the same state. If you live in Nevada, but are visiting Florida and have a slip and fall accident at a Florida location, you’ll want a Florida slip and fall attorney.

FAQs – Wrongful Death

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When a person dies or is killed due to the negligence of another in Florida, the surviving immediate family members may sue the liable party for wrongful death.

A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if a person acts dangerously or with intent to kill or harm and an individual dies as a result of these actions. The death may be deemed wrongful and the responsible party or entity may be sued.

It is possible to hold the liable party accountable for actions that caused a death. If a party acts carelessly, recklessly, with an intentional or complete disregard for the safety and welfare of others, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. Those who were dependent on, or a beneficiary of the one who died could be entitled to monetary damages.

In Florida, immediate family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and this includes children, step-children and adopted children, spouses and legal partners, siblings, grandparents, or other family members who relied upon the victim for support.

  • Minor Children
  • Spouses
  • Relatives
  • Legal Dependents

There are circumstances when multiple plaintiffs can be party to a wrongful death case. Being a party to a wrongful death lawsuit and being a beneficiary of an award is not the same thing. There is a statute of limitations to filing a wrongful death case.

Florida personal injury attorney Reed Bloodworth explains that wrongful death cases occur when someone has died as the result of a negligent act of another. There are various types of wrongful death lawsuits and cases are filed predominantly due to medical negligence, medical malpractice, dangerous driving, and defective products. The important thing to know about a wrongful death case is who can bring a wrongful death case?

Personal Representative

In Florida there are generally two categories of people who can bring a wrongful death case. The first category is the personal representative of the deceased person.

Statutory Survivors

And the second category is the statutory survivors of the deceased person. Statutory survivors are described in Florida’s statutes which state that only a decedent’s spouse, or children under the age of 25 — in terms of children — can bring a lawsuit. The parents of a decedent can bring a wrongful death statute.

Or the other group that is sometimes missed includes people who were dependent upon the deceased person.

A dependent, which can be a child over the age of 25 years old, who is fully dependent upon the deceased person is able to bring a wrongful death suit. While there are various limits pertaining to age and dependents in wrongful death cases, these are issues that need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Doctor with 2 Children and Spouse

There is a great difference in the range of settlements and the financial amounts vary in wrongful death cases. for example, there’s a difference in the amount of money made by a doctor who’s made a good living who had 30 years of income in front of him, with a surviving spouse and two surviving children.

In a wrongful death case, wrongful death laws base payouts on potential earnings expected in a high revenue job, with surviving children who are under the age of 25 and with a surviving spouse.

Retired, 65, Grown Children

This can mean for example, a case involving someone who died in a wrongful death case who is over the age of 65 who has no spouse, or who has several children over the age of 25, but who was retired and living comfortably on savings and social security can vary from another person. This can be considered financially lower, or less viable.

And this is a difficult scenario for a family who lost a loved one in a surgery where the doctor was actually liable and responsible for the death of that person.

It’s the law, not the court or a jury. In any kind of negligence case where the person who died does NOT leave a spouse and children under the age of 25 dependent upon them and make a good living and with many years of income-producing or revenue-producing years ahead of them. These two scenarios are considered different because of the level of income the person was bringing in and the age of the decedents’ in the family left behind.

Every wrongful death case varies and you should talk with Florida wrongful death attorney Reed Bloodworth to clarify and explain what happened in your situation.

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Clients pay an hourly rate for a case.

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Clients pay a combination of an hourly rate and a contingency fee for a case.

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Clients pay attorney fees after a case is completed. 

Contingency Fee means a client pays legal fees when and if an attorney and case brings in money from the legal actions taken. Reed immediately begins work on the case to pursue a legal action that will yield financial results.

Clients meanwhile are not billed, don’t have to write a check, or pay by credit card, to get a case moving. Every case is reviewed and there is no guarantee it will qualify or be accepted as a contingency fee case, but you will find out by talking with Reed.

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