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When Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Apply

When Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t ApplyWorkers’ compensation is a type of insurance that almost every business has to buy once they have more than a handful of employees. It’s a no-fault insurance, which means that it pays out the same no matter who’s responsible for a workplace accident, and so long as an employee got injured on the job it applies.

Still, the world is never completely clear-cut and there are always exceptions to the rules or times when workers’ comp shouldn’t apply. In situations like those on this list, workers may want to waive their right to a workers’ comp claim or else demand compensation from a third party on top of getting workers’ comp payouts.

 
Third-Party Negligence
 

No business works in complete isolation. Everybody buys equipment and raw materials from everybody else, and in the United States vendors have a responsibility to make sure that their products are properly safe and come with enough warnings and instructions.

But not every product lives up to these high standards. Thanks to mistakes, bad designs, poor inspections, transportation damage, and other causes, a product can be dangerous and lead to accidents and illnesses. Badly washed vegetables can be covered... read article

mbabboni
Attorney Michael J Babboni

What Is The Real Cost Of Smoking?

 What Is The Real Cost Of Smoking? If you’re a smoker, have you ever considered how quickly the costs can add up? Between purchasing the cigarettes themselves and dealing with costly health issues down the road, your wallet is sure to feel the impact. A new report from WalletHub has revealed the “true per-person cost of smoking” for various states across the nation.

 
The Real Cost Of Smoking Report
 

WalletHub, a personal finance site, recently released a report titled “The Real Cost of Smoking.” In compiling the report, they conducted research and experiments to determine how much Americans will spend each year and throughout their lifetime because of smoking.

In addition to using figures for the cost of smoking in each state, the company also used data provided by various government resources, including the

 

• U.S. Census Bureau
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

They accounted for many different expenditures that could impact the cost of smoking, not just the cost of a pack of cigarettes. WalletHub also accounted for income losses, healthcare expenditures, and other similar costs.

 
Results Of The Report
 

The report found that smoking is very expensive, although it’s generally less... read article

rshapiro
Attorney M David Shapiro

Unsafe Vehicles On Florida Roads

Unsafe Vehicles On Florida Roads Every year, vehicle recalls impact millions of drivers across the nation. The figure seems to be increasing each year. Unfortunately, many Florida drivers are driving vehicles that have been recalled but not yet fixed. In fact, the state ranks in the top ten for vehicles with open recalls. Fixing a vehicle that has been recalled is important to keep you and your family safe.
Major Recalls In Recent Years
The number of vehicles that have been recalled over the past few years has risen dramatically, mainly in part because of a couple massive recalls. Although the numbers have not yet been fully compiled for 2017, auto recalls hit a record high in 2016, with 53.2 million vehicles being recalled. This surpassed a previous record high of 51.1 million, set the previous year.

This was mainly in part due to a recall on Takata Corp. airbag inflators. The inflators are faulty because they can deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. When this happens, the inflators unexpectedly blow apart a metal canister, which sends sharp, hot shrapnel flying throughout the car.

The faulty inflators have been responsible for nearly 20 deaths globally,... read article

dgoldman
Attorney David L Goldman

The Legal Nature Of Mental Anguish

the-legal-nature-of-mental-anguishNot every kind of damage in a personal injury lawsuit comes with a solid number attached. It’s easy to put a figure on something like medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages, but then you have damage claims like “mental anguish.” These are known as non-economic damages, and the numbers involved are arbitrary, at least to some extent.

Damage Development

Mental anguish claims weren’t always as common as they are today (and even now they aren’t as common as some might think). The first recorded instance may come from Roman law: if one party harmed another intentionally and maliciously, the plaintiff could get extra compensation over and above what they’d get if the cause was just negligence.

However, as the Middle Ages began, this bonus slipped from the books. The Catholic Church was there to help with your mental health, after all, and so Earthly laws were all about physical damages. But soon after England broke with the Catholic Church, defamation, libel, and slander showed up as punishable offenses.

Defamation is the root of mental anguish damage, since while defamation can have physical consequences, it also involves a lot of suffering as family members and former friends... read article

bwalsh
Attorney Bernard F Walsh

NFL Concussion Protocol Needs Improvement

NFL Concussion Protocol Needs Improvement If you’ve watched the NFL at all this year, you’ve likely seen or heard about the increased emphasis that’s been placed on the sport’s concussion protocol. The protocol is designed to protect players who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury while on the field of play.

The protocol is also important because it sets an example for other sports leagues throughout the country. If the NFL places emphasis on concussions and traumatic brain injuries, it makes sense that youth sports would begin to follow suit. Traumatic brain injuries are very serious and can have long-lasting impacts.

Unfortunately, the NFL needs to make drastic improvements to their concussion protocol to better protect their players and set an example for the rest of the country.

Changing The Stigma Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

In society, especially when it comes to sports, there has always been a stigma that exists regarding concussions and traumatic brain injuries. “You’re fine,” “tough it out,” and “rub some dirt on it” were all phrases we heard growing up. Football players especially have been instilled with the “get back out there” mentality.

This attitude toward injuries has trickled down to... read article

sfernandez
Attorney Stephen Fernandez

New Study Could Change How CTE Is Viewed

New Study Could Change How CTE Is Viewed CTE, short for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has become a hot topic of conversation in the news. As more information comes to light, scientists are realizing how devastating the effects of CTE can be. A newly released study, however, could potentially change how scientists view the disease and who could be affected by it.

What Is CTE?

CTE is a degenerative brain disease. It is commonly seen in military veterans, athletes, and others who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. CTE is not just limited to professional athletes either. Amateur athletes, including those that play high school and youth sports, are just as likely to develop CTE as any professional athlete. The disease has been identified in people as young as 17. Unfortunately, symptoms do not begin to appear until years after head impacts have occurred.

When CTE occurs, a protein called Tau clumps and slowly spreads throughout the brain, killing healthy brain cells in the process. As this occurs, a patient’s mood and behavior will begin to change. This typically occurs in their late 20s or 30s. Patients typically exhibit

• Problems with impulse control
• Aggression
• Paranoia
•... read article

mbabboni
Attorney Michael J Babboni

Is Asbestos Still A Problem?

Is Asbestos Still A Problem?Sadly, the answer is “yes.” Although we all know better than to trust asbestos these days, the material still makes its way into new products while old asbestos products still aren’t completely gone from our homes and offices. As a nation, we’ve seen exposure and cancer rates go way down since the 1970s, but if you contract mesothelioma, asbestos is still the most likely culprit.

How It Began

Asbestos is a kind of mineral that naturally occurs and can turn into fibers by just rubbing the stone. This is because the mineral crystals are long and very thin, just like cotton fibers and wool. You can add asbestos fibers to cotton and wool thread, you can leave them loose to make building insulation, and you can mix it into cement and roofing tiles.

The reason you would do this is because asbestos has a lot of useful properties. Since it’s a mineral it can resist fire, loose fibers can absorb sound and heat, and you can use it for flexible electrical insulation.

But just like lead, all those uses are nothing compared to one deadly downside. Asbestos fibers are stiff and fragile,... read article

rshapiro
Attorney M David Shapiro

Insurance Group Pushes Legislative Agenda

 Insurance Group Pushes Legislative Agenda The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has issued their recommendations for the 2018 Florida Legislative Session. PCI hopes Florida legislators focus on curtailing assignment of benefits abuse and outlawing texting while driving.

Assignment Of Benefits Abuse

Insurance companies saw a rise in the assignment of benefits abuse after Hurricane Irma struck this past fall. PCI Regional Manager Logan McFaddin indicated that contractors were able to take advantage of those who signed over their insurance benefits unknowingly. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done here from a legal standpoint. Contracts are often binding, and victims may have a difficult time proving that they were maliciously duped.

There has also been a sharp increase in abuse of benefits in auto insurance cases. This is considered a common problem with Florida’s no-fault insurance policy. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation indicated in July last year that there were 10,000 pending lawsuits throughout the state, a 33% increase from July 2016. A majority of those lawsuits can be found in three counties:

• Miami-Dade
• Broward
• Palm Beach

Statistics from the Florida Department of Financial Services also indicate that auto insurers had approximately 20,000 abuse... read article

dgoldman
Attorney David L Goldman

Gig Workers And Workplace Injuries

Gig Workers And Workplace InjuriesAmerica is seeing a rise in what some are now calling “the gig economy.” This means that fewer people are working as full-time employees or even part-time employees and more are getting by on gigs, short-term contracts and work-for-hire commissions that pay out for individual jobs and let both the employer and the contractor start and stop their relationship at a moment’s notice.

For instance, last year Florida passed a law regulating ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. For the drivers, ridesharing works by telling the company’s app that you’re available to drive people around. You then get paid per ride based on the length of the drive and the size of the rider’s tip. Since a driver can switch off the app at any time, switch to a competitor’s app, or work full-time in any industry, ridesharing companies classify drivers as independent contractors.

The Federal Limits

The problem with this approach is that not all drivers treat ridesharing as a part-time job. For some drivers it’s their sole income, and they spend a lot of their money on keeping their cars maintained, clean, and friendly. Some even buy ridesharing-friendly cars through... read article

bwalsh
Attorney Bernard F Walsh

Florida Lawmakers Are Looking At Repealing PIP Once More

Florida Lawmakers Are Looking At Repealing PIP Once MorePersonal injury protection (PIP) insurance has been around for decades, and for nearly as long Florida legislators have been wondering what to do about it. And with the start of the new year, the state congress is once again thinking about repealing it and replacing it with bodily injury coverage.

Why PIP Matters

Everyone who owns a vehicle with a Florida license plate needs to buy auto insurance coverage, which includes $10,000 of PIP coverage. This is a “no fault” insurance policy, which means that it pays out to the person who has the policy when he or she is physically injured by an auto accident. Even if that person was a pedestrian at the time, PIP will pay out. Or at least it’s supposed to.

No-fault insurance is supposed to save people time and money because you don’t need to go through all the legal hoops of establishing fault. That still happens for property damage coverage, but for injuries to people it’s important to get the money right away for hospital bills and treatments.

But Florida suffers from one of the highest insurance fraud rates in the... read article

sfernandez
Attorney Stephen Fernandez

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