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FIU Bridge Collapse: A Fatal Mistake

On March 15th, 2018, South Florida witnessed a terrible tragedy. The bridge connecting Florida International University’s campus to their off-campus housing spanning seven traffic lanes suddenly collapsed. 950 tons of solid concrete slammed down at an incredible speed injuring dozens and killing six. The bridge was fairly new, as the pedestrian portion had just been completed five days prior to the accident.

The bridge was designed and constructed by two of America’s top engineering companies, Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Group. They were to build this bridge through a modern approach, the Accelerated Bridge Construction method (also known as the “ABC method”). This plan would cut their time spent constructing this megastructure in half – only having to shut major roads down for a few hours, beneficing the University and several local politicians.

So far, our knowledge as to what caused the collapse is very limited as the National Transportation Safety Board will not publicate it’s findings until the official report is ready. What we do know is mainly put together by engineer analyses from dashcam footage and the political benefits and costs of building this bridge as fast as possible.

What we know:

  • The construction crew had just finished adjusting tension rods at the south end of the bridge.
  • Two days before the collapse, a lead engineer from FIGG Bridge Group called the Florida Department of Transportation to notify them of some cracks that had formed, claiming that they “did not pose a safety hazard.”
  • The “critical positioning” of lift trucks was shifted from their original positions during the lifting of the bridge, leaving large areas unsupported.

In the coming months, we will find out the true causes of the bridge collapse. This terrible tragedy has affected the families of those injured and killed, as well as all of South Florida. If you or a loved one have been victims of the FIU Bridge Collapse or any other construction disaster, make sure you have the right attorneys by your side. The team at Jeff Davis Law is prepared to handle your case and fight for justice.

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In the Eye of a Turf War

Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. recently concluded a medical malpractice action against an Optometrist.  The case involved the failure of the Optometrist to properly and timely recognize that our client’s condition was not responding to the medicines being prescribed.

The Optometrist thought the patient had a bacterial infection (Bacterial Keratitis).  The patient actually had a fungal infection of the cornea (Fungal Keratitis).  The treatment for these conditions involves completely different medicine (antifungal v. antibiotics).  The delay in discovery caused the patient to suffer unnecessarily and sustain significant scarring of the cornea and decreased vision.

In handling this case, the law firm learned a good deal about “eye doctors”.  The term “eye doctor” is too general to be accurate.  An optician is a technical practitioner who designs, fits and dispenses corrective lenses for the correction of a person’s vision.  An Optometrist provides primary vision care, they are Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) but are not medical doctors (M.D.)  Optometrists attend four years of optometry school after completing college.  A licensed Optometrist performs eye exams, vision tests and prescribes and dispenses corrective lenses.  They detect certain eye abnormalities and prescribe medication for certain eye diseases.

An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (or Osteopathic physician D.O.) who specializes in eye and vision care.  They typically have eight years of schooling and training after college and some, with sub-specialization have even more.  An Ophthalmologist diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and fits eye glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.

In Florida, the legislature has passed laws known as the Optometry Practice Act (Florida Statute 463.001) which regulates the scope of practice and provides rules of the road for Optometrists.

For example, Optometrists are prohibited from performing surgery (F.S. 463.014) (4).  Optometrists have standards of practice that are set out in the laws of Florida (F.S. 463.0135).

In our recent optometric malpractice suit, the law firm placed great emphasis on Florida Statute 463.0135(3), which states, “when an infections corneal disease condition has not responded to standard methods of treatment within the scope of optometric practice, the certified Optometrist shall consult with a physician skilled in diseases of the eye and licensed under Chapter 458 or 459.  (meaning an Ophthalmologist).

Eye doctors – Optometrists and Ophthalmologists and even Opticians fit patients for glasses.  Both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists perform eye examinations, vision tests and treat some conditions.  Patient care is a primary source of revenue for many of these practitioners.  All three kinds of practitioners can also make income selling eye glasses and eye care accessories.  There is an obvious financial interest in maintaining the patient in the practice – the turf war.

As silly as it sounds – patients do not seem to ask their doctors enough questions.  Asking a physician about their training or degrees is proper.  People do all kinds of research before buying a car or appliance but hardly ever check out their healthcare providers.

A person with a serious or lasting eye problem needs to see an Ophthalmologist.  A reasonably prudent Optometrist needs to know when to refer the patient out to the Ophthalmologist.

At Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A., we pride ourselves on complete and thorough representation of our clients.  We handle claims involving Ophthalmic and Optometric malpractice and are available for free case reviews.  Jeff Davis is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer in practice since 1986.

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Do You Owe Outrageous Medical Bills?

Are you the victim of an outrageous hospital or other medical bill? Are you uninsured or under-insured? Or, are you an international insurer, self insured company, or similarly situated third party payer expected to pay unreasonably inflated, full billed charges for your members’ medical care? Don’t despair. Whether you’ve just received your bill, your bill is in collections, you’ve already been sued, or even if you’ve already paid, we can help.

Medical and Hospital billing practices and issues are complicated, often making negotiation of a reasonable bill difficult or impossible without the help of medical and legal professionals familiar with billing, coding, and the laws relevant to both. Providers often demand several hundred percent more than you are legally obligated to pay, but accept a reasonable amount as payment in full from more than 90% of their patients. Be among that majority. We are committed to ensuring that you don’t pay more than a reasonable amount, simply because you cannot interpret your bills or defend your well settled legal rights.

We will locate non-compensable errors, double-charges and other overcharges hidden in your confusing, coded medical bill then negotiate your bill, or litigate your rights. If we can’t negotiate a reasonable amount, we will have the Court determine the reasonable value of the care you received. No one pays full billed charges and you shouldn’t either. Call us today and we’ll fight for your right to a reasonable medical or hospital bill. Or, call to schedule a free, no obligation initial legal consultation and we’ll quote you a reasonable rate based on the savings we achieve for you. Medical providers and Hospitals have collection lawyers working against you. It’s time to level the playing field.

Our team has litigated hundreds of hospital accounts across the State of Florida, including a successful appeal in which the Second District Court of Appeals adopted the Federal reasonableness factors. We access a team of medical professionals including medical doctors, nurses, hospital coders and forensic auditors who provide the data and forensic analysis needed to calculate the reasonable value of medical care, and we co-counsel class action and other complex matters with attorneys across the state. By utilizing this team of professionals, and tapping our deep and proven negotiation and litigation experience, we will negotiate with your providers until a reasonable release is agreed upon, or bring suit if those negotiations reach impasse.

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Make the most of Online Reviews – Law360.com

Law360 (March 5, 2018, 3:55 PM EST) — Getting a one-star Yelp or Google review from a client can be devastating to a personal injury attorney who relies on such evaluations to drum up new cases, but having a minimal online presence out of fear of getting negative reviews is just bad business in the internet age. Here, experts share tips on how to get glowing online client reviews and how to handle the haters.

Treat Your Clients Well

While this may seem obvious, a client who does not receive good customer service from a personal injury attorney will be loath to write a favorable review, according to Los Angeles-based personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg.
Educating a client about how the lawsuit will play out, taking and returning client calls promptly and charging fees that are fair and reasonable are the foundation to generating positive reviews, he said.

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Drunk Driving Liability

Are you in danger of being arrested if your child throws a “getty”? Picture this:

Your 18 year-old son or daughter is throwing a get-together, or “getty,” at your house. One of the now-drunk friends leaves and causes a major accident on the road, killing a couple. Who is to blame here?

Florida Statute 768.125, otherwise known as the Dram Shop Law, states that if an establishment gives or sells alcohol to a minor or someone who is “habitually addicted” to it, that establishment is to blame. Florida is one of the few states that allows for the victims and intoxicated parties to charge the establishment.

However, these rules only apply to a “vendor,” or someone that is selling alcohol. Meaning that if you were to throw a party at your house or go to a get-together, the host that provides alcohol to someone that is underage or “habitually addicted,” is not responsible. He may be made responsible if the injury is obtained in the house in an “unreasonably dangerous” area.

While a social host may be shielded from liability for serving alcohol to a known alcoholic for injuries caused by his intoxication (Dowell v. Gracewood Fruit Co.,559 So. 2nd217 (Fla.1990) and from third-party injuries caused by serving alcohol to a minor (Kirkland v. Johnson,499 So.2nd 899 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986), Florida Statute 856.015(2), enacted in 1988 should be carefully considered. FS 856.015(2) , “OPEN HOUSE PARTY RULE” states; “No person having control of any residence shall allow an open house party to take place at said residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at said residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at said residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage or drug” This is a criminal statute . Violation of this statute could impose a civil cause of action against this social host (negligence per se)See Newsome v. Haffner,710 So. 2nd 184 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998).

This law is not crystal clear and is very delicate for all parties involved. It is suggested that if you are any of the parties involved in this type of accident, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The professionals at Jeff Davis Law are prepared to handle this case from any perspective, call us at (305)377-5777 or fill out our contact form for a prompt response from our team.

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Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. Recently reported another case in which justice was served

Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. recently reported another case in which justice was served. The firm represented a 90 year-old pedestrian that was bumped by a car in a store parking lot and caused to fall and twist an ankle.

In this case, the client sustained a non-displaced lateral malleolus fracture – which translates to a fracture in the bone on the outside of the ankle joint. The treatment required 9 weeks in a CAM walker, followed by physical therapy. The defendant driver was insured by GEICO and the defense denied liability and disputed the existence of a fracture and that the Plaintiff sustained a permanent injury.

After a three-day trial before Hon. Jeffrey Levenson in Broward County, Florida, the jury returned a verdict in the Plaintiff’s favor with a finding of permanency. The net verdict exceeded the Proposal for Settlement which will entitle the Plaintiff to an award of Attorney’s fees as well as compensatory damages.

This is another example of how Jeffrey Davis, P.A. is willing to go beyond the call of duty for their clients. They are determined to get their clients what is rightfully owed.

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Decreasing the Chances of an Accident at Night

Personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg has handled thousands of car accidents and has noticed that many night-time accidents can be avoided with a little planning.  After age 30, a driver’s eyes become less acute and more sensitive a night especially to on-coming headlights.  There are some simple tips that will decrease your chances of a night time auto accident.

1. Shift Your Gaze

When facing on-coming headlights, never look at those lights directly. It may take several seconds for your vision to adjust and an accident could occur.  Always “shift your gaze” down and to the right.  Try to use the edge of the road line, lane line or lane markers as a guide.

2. Be Seen and Predictable

You are not the only one having difficulty seeing at night! So, be predictable.  Always check you mirrors often and know where the other traffic is located.  Try using your turn signals much earlier than you normally would during daylight. When you are preparing to stop, tap your brakes lightly at least 3 times as an additional warning that you will be stopping.

3. Prepare Your Vehicle for Optimum Night Driving

Most cars today have a manual or automatic rear view dimmer which should be used.  I have noticed that many drivers either do not switch on the rear view dimmer or refuse to turn the auto-dimmer to the on position. The rear view is very important during night driving and a high beam can blind you for several seconds.  Switch the rear view dimmer on tonight!

Many drivers complain about brightness across the entire windshield at night.  This can be aggravated by a dirty windshield which refracts light. Always drive with a clean windshield inside and out. Finally, most vehicles today have dimmers for the interior gauges as well.  Again, no one seems to bother using them.  The bright gauges in the cabin interior can make it difficult to focus on dark objects in front of your car.  Tonight, try dimming the interior gauges slightly.  You may be surprised how safe you feel!

As an experienced personal injury attorney, Barry P. Goldberg can assure you that the most valuable car accident is the one you avoid.  Try uses the simple techniques listed above and enjoy your drive more this evening.