Philadelphia Eagles Player awarded $2 million

anklesprain2-thumb-333x224-69214The left defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles left tackle, Jason Peters, received nearly $2 million in a lawsuit after re-injuring his Archilles tendon when his rolling walker broke and collapsed.

The suit alleged that in March 2012, three weeks after surgery on his Archilles Heel, Peters was using a Roll-A-Bout knee walker when it snapped below the handlebar.

Peters had to undergo a second operation because of the setback. He missed the entire season.

Roll-A-Bout says the knee walker was sold for patients weighing up to 500 pounds. Peters weighed in at 340.

Because of the tremendous potential for wage loss by professional athletes the damages and exposure in this case increased resulting in an excellent settlement.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida child, 4, mauled by pit bulls at meth house

imagesCA3883IT-thumb-333x452-37667Deputies in St. Cloud, Florida, say a 4-year-old girl is recovering days after being brutally attacked by two pit bulls at a home used to make methamphetamine.

Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in St. Cloud, Florida, where they found the young girl with bites and lacerations to her face, back and head that required more than 50 stitches.

The girl’s mother, 29 years old, was arrested on child neglect charges because she did not report the child’s injures. Someone who came to the house and saw the child, called for help. The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating.

Investigators found materials to make meth at the house and inside the homeowner’s truck.

What a lovely combination — a meth house, two pit bulls, a wonderful mother and her young daughter. Once again the pit bull breed is involved in another unprovoked attack leaving the victim with serious injuries.

Homeowner insurance policies usually cover bites by the owner’s dog. The law in Florida imposes strict liability upon the owners of dogs in the event that they bite some one. Frequently, the injuries are quite serious and in most every case a visit to the hospital emergency room is involved.

If you have suffered a dog bite, you may have a claim for damages which is covered by insurance. It is important to act promptly. You should contact the police and file a report. You should take pictures of your injuries and the dog if you can safely do so. Doing these things could go a long way to helping you recover for your medical bills, disfigurement and pain and suffering.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida insurance companies seeking massive rate increase

Metropolitan_Life_Insurance_Company_Tower-original[1]-thumb-333x287-23076Two subsidiaries of Allstate Insurance Company, Castle Key Insurance Co. and Castle Key Indemnity, will request permission from the State Office of Insurance Regulation to increase their rates in the amounts of 31 and 36 percent respectively a state hearing. The net effect will be that homeowners insuring their homes with these companies will see a huge increase in their premiums.

Castle Key Insurance and Castle Key Indemnity insure over a quarter of a million households in South Florida.

Florida law requires the Office of Insurance Regulation to conduct hearing to approve rate hikes that exceed 15 percent. State regulators have 90 days after an insurance company’s request, to increase to reject it, approve it, or approve a smaller increase.

Given the current political climate in Tallahassee and in particular, Governor Rick Scott, you can expect these insurance companies to get what they want. The unfortunate reality is that the governor is more concerned with the profitability of insurance companies in Florida, than he is with Florida’s citizens who can barely afford to purchase insurance now under the current rate structure.

Some one needs to tell these insurance companies: “No.” But don’t count on our governor to protect consumer interests.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Landlord ordered to pay for spying on female tenant

3236539862_48ede9fbaf-thumb-333x249-14632A Broward County jury recently awarded a women $476,000.00 in damages against her landlord. The landlord, a 60 year old IRS agent named Kenneth Ryals, rented one of the bedrooms in his townhouse to the woman. In her rental room was a miniature wireless video recording camera that Ryals had secretly installed to videotape her.

The female tenant sued Ryals for invasion of privacy. The woman discovered the hidden camera just before she was scheduled to move out of Ryals’ townhouse when she noticed a small hole was drilled into the front of the DVD player in the room. She called Davie Police who examined the device and discovered a wireless transmitting camera inside of the player.

Although Ryals confessed to the police that he was responsible for the camera, misdemeanor criminal charges were dropped by the Broward County State Attorneys Office.

This invasion of privacy case reminds us of how easy it is to secretly videotape someone with today’s electronic gadgets. Cameras and other digital recording devices are so small that they are easy to conceal. The potential for this type of invasion of our privacy is not a very comforting thought, given the availability of these types of devices and how cheap they are.

In Florida it is a crime to record an audio conversation without obtaining the prior consent of all the parties to the conversation. In cases involving video, however, there is no prior consent requirement for videotaping someone. Nevertheless, you are not allowed to invade the video subject’s privacy, which obviously the landlord did.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

New Cruise Ship Law regarding Sexual Assault

DEN-Copenhagen-AIDAbella_cruise_ship_in_port-thumb-333x217-thumb-333x217In the past, women who have been sexually assaulted while on a cruise were not provided virtually any medical treatment or forensic services while on board the ship.

Recently more attention has been focused on sexual assault and other crimes committed against women on cruise ships. Various victims advocacy groups have contended that cruise ship crimes are a significant problem and have pushed Congress for better laws governing these types of crimes.

Congress recently enacted the “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.” This act requires the cruise ships to provide women with access to national sexual assault hotlines if they are claiming that they have been the victim of a sexual assault. These women would also be entitled to a sexual assault forensic exam and medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Cruise ships will also be required to install peep holes and security latches on cabin doors. The cruise lines will also be required to report these incidents to the FBI.

The practical effect of this legislation will be to help reduce the chances that a victim of sexual assault will contract a disease from the incident and increase the chance that the perpetrator will be apprehended. Previously, when a women claimed she was assaulted, the cruise ships did not have any kits available to preserve the forensic evidence and this made it much more difficult for allegations of assault to be proved.

The “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act” is a welcome change. Cruise ships, instead of being primarily concerned with avoiding civil liability to the victims of assault, must now address their medical needs and take reasonable steps to preserve the evidence and report the crime.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Former Miami Hurricane accused of rape

see all my photos from the Cowboys vs. Patriots game here.

Michael Irvin, a star football player for the University of Miami Hurricanes during the 1980s, was accused of rape by a woman in a civil lawsuit who claimed that she was attacked at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The lawsuit was filed in Broward Circuit Court. Irvin, an NFL Hall of Famer, grew up in Fort Lauderdale and was a wide receiver at the University of Miami before joining the Dallas Cowboys.

No criminal charges have been filed against Irvin, although the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale is currently investigating the case.

The woman in her complaint alleged the attack occurred around midnight during the early morning of July 5, 2007. The suit doesn’t identify the woman, merely referring to her as “Jane Doe.” Irvin, through his lawyer, has denied the charges.

In the civil complaint, the woman alleged Irvin bought her drinks, then took her to his hotel room. In the room, another unidentified man restrained her, while Irvin allegedly raped her. When Irvin was finished, the other man allegedly forced her to perform oral sex.

The woman reported the incident approximately two weeks later to the Seminole Police Department on July 20, 2007. A Tribe spokesman said that they inspected the room, but by that time there was no longer any forensic evidence or surveillance video. The woman also signed a waiver of prosecution because she wanted to avoid the publicity which would surround the charges.

The woman’s lawyer claimed his client had passed a polygraph test. Her attorney also stated that his client and Irvin’s lawyers had attempted to negotiate a settlement. Since the parties could not agree, the woman filed the lawsuit just days before the Super Bowl was to be played in South Florida.

Polygraph tests are not admissable in court unless both parties agree, which usually does not happen. These tests are still viewed as being unreliable because they are subject to manipulation, although they are frequently administered by police during the investigation of crimes.

The civil lawsuit against Michael Irvin also serves to highlight the difference between the criminal court and civil court systems. In criminal court, a defendant is facing a loss of liberty, i.e. jail time, perhaps even the death penalty. In a civil case, the defendant in the event of losing, is looking merely at adverse financial consequences in the form of a civil judgment for money damages.

Victims of sexual assaults have the right to make a claim in civil court for money damages sustained as a result of the attack. Such damages frequently include medical expenses as well as claims for “pain and suffering.” The emotional damages to victims of sexual assaults can be devastating and if the evidence warrants, juries in civil cases frequently award substantial verdicts for these types of claims.

A difficult aspect of sexual assault claims in civil cases is collecting money on a judgment that has been awarded. Typically, the perpetrators of these terrible crimes do not have the money to pay off the judgment, making many of these lawsuits economically unfeasible. There are situations, however, where a judgment for money damages may be collectible such as where the location of the attack did not have adequate security, then the property owner may be liable. Also, where the defendant who is alleged to have committed the assault has substantial financial assets such as a professional athlete or wealthy business man, these cases may prove to be “collectible.”

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

One Die, Two Sick from Legionairres’ Disease at Miami Hotel

A foreign visitor has died and at least two other people have become sick after staying at the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami, Florida. Health officials are blaming an unusual type of pneumonia called Legionairres’ disease.

Legionairres’ disease typically occurs after inhaling an aerosol containing Legionella bacteria. Such particles could originate from any infected water source. When the surface of the water is disrupted, small water droplets can result which quickly evaporate. If these droplets contain bacteria, the bacterial cells remain suspended in the air, invisible to the naked eye but small enough to be inhaled into the lungs. This has been found in inadequately ventilated areas such as prisons where a condensating air conditioner can spread it throughout the entire room, infecting anyone not immune to the strand of bacteria. Potential sources of such contaminated water include cooling towers used in industrial cooling water systems as well as in large central air conditioning systems, evaporative coolers, hot water systems, showers, whirlpool spas, architectural fountains, room-air humidifiers, ice making machines, misting equipment, and similar disseminators that draw upon a public water supply. The disease may also be spread in a hot tub if the filtering system is defective.

Guests at the Epic Hotel have been relocated to nearby Miami hotels to prevent further contact with the water, according to the Miami-Dade County Health Department. It has been reported that Doctors say there is no cause for alarm because only three cases of the bacteria have surfaced in the past two months.

One guest, a foreigner who stayed at the hotel this fall, died as a result of the disease. Case such as these can involve negligent maintenance by the hotel. If this should occur, the surviving family members may have a wrongful death case against the hotel, if they can prove that the death resulted from the negligence of the hotel. As to any other guests who may have become ill because of this, they may have a premises liability lawsuit for negligence against the Miami hotel.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the law partners at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.