What if I Can’t Afford Medical Care After My Injury?

When you’ve been involved in an accident, you just want to go home and concentrate on your recovery without thinking of the hospital and bills. Unfortunately, you cannot run away from adult life calls.

If you were involved in an accident in Florida and got injured, you probably have medical bills. Paying off medical bills is a big issue for most people, especially if you cannot afford it. It can be stressful, but working closely with a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney can help you discover the many options available to make sure you receive medical care without worrying about its cost.

Does Your Accident Fall Under a No-Fault System?

The first step to take if you are wondering how you are going to pay for medical care and treatment is to determine if the accident falls under the Florida no-fault system. If it does, like in a car accident, your insurance will cover your less severe injuries.

In a no-fault state like Florida, each injured driver will typically use their insurance to recover regardless of who was at fault. However, if your injuries are severe, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

PIP Coverage

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is no-fault car insurance in Florida, among other a dozen states. It is a requirement for all Florida drivers and will cover up to $10,000 of your medical bills if you’re injured and have an emergency medical condition. Unfortunately, Florida PIP laws require your insurance to pay only 80% of your reasonable medical bills. This means you’ll still be responsible for paying the remaining 20% using other means.

Pip is Primary

Florida law 627.736 recognizes PIP insurance as the primary payer following a car accident. Even with personal health insurance, your PIP insurance will pay first. However, remember that PIP will only pay your medical bills if you receive medical care within 14 days following your car accident.

What Does PIP Insurance Cover?

Florida laws are strict on what should be covered under this type of insurance. Medical, rehabilitative services, x-ray, dental, ambulance, hospital, nursing services, and follow up care are all covered. But you need to have a doctor’s order and the treatment facility be medically licensed for you to receive PIP benefits.

Any acupuncture or massage therapy are not covered. Moreover, you won’t receive any benefits if you were committing a felony or harming yourself when the accident occurred.

How to Get Payment

You need to submit copies of the billing statements to the insurer. They should pay the bills once they receive the statements. They will become overdue after 30 days of nonpayment.

What if the Insurance Company Won’t Pay?

As long as your accident falls under Florida’s no-fault laws, you will receive PIP benefits. However, you may find yourself in a situation where the insurance company won’t pay. If this is your case, you need to file a claim that will enforce your PIP benefits.


Medical payment insurance coverage or “MedPay” is another option that can help you cover your medical bills if you are unable to pay. Some property and automobile insurance policies have this coverage to cover any medical costs incurred for injuries caused by the insured.

Your MedPay can cover the remaining 20% that was not covered by your PIP insurance.

What if I Don’t Have MedPay and Need to Pay the Remaining?

You may still have additional bills even after your PIP, and MedPay benefits have been awarded. If this is your case, or perhaps you don’t have MedPay coverage to cover the remaining 20%, you should turn to your health insurance provider.

Your health insurance will pay for whatever is left according to your policy terms. If they give you any money, they may recover it from the at-fault party.


This is another option designed by the federal government for low-income people. If you are injured in an accident and don’t have insurance, visit Florida’s Medicaid office (under the Department of Children and Families) to determine if you qualify for these benefits.

Do Hospitals Have a Lien on a Personal Injury Settlement?

You can also work out a payment plan with a health care provider. Some hospitals in Florida will agree to care for you if you promise to pay. In this case, you will be offered a personal injury lien to sign.

Several hospitals in counties within Florida are allowed to have a lien on your personal injury settlement against the liable party. Your negotiations with the hospital will depend on this.

What if My Accident Was Outside the No-Fault System?

If your medical bills have gone through the roof because of severe injuries, your final option could be suing the at-fault party. Your Florida accident attorney may approach the other party or their insurer to get a fair settlement. You may need to pay the bills from your pocket as this process may take time. If that doesn’t bear fruit, your lawyer may pursue the case through the legal system.

Did You Get Injured at Your Workplace?

If you are injured while performing work-related duties, your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage should pay for your medical bills. These could also include any transport costs to and from your doctor’s appointments.

Premises liability accidents are treated differently in Florida. If you’re involved in a slip, trip, and fall accident, you’re generally required to pay for your medical expenses. But if you cannot afford it, you can decide to sue the property owner. However, this will depend on whether this property owner has a property insurance policy and can pay out any damages.

There’s always an option of filing for bankruptcy if all options have failed – although this might bear future financial implications. You can file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy where a portion of the debt is paid in a structured repayment plan, and the remainder is discharged (forgiven).

Legal Counsel in Your Difficult Moment

Payment of medical bills can be complicated and stressful, especially if you cannot afford it. During such a time, you need someone who will help you receive the benefits you deserve.

A Florida personal injury can help you discover ways to pay off your medical bills so that you can focus on recovery. Talk to a lawyer who has worked and helped clients with similar situations—Call 561-557-4546 for a free case evaluation.

Symptoms Of A TBI After A Car Accident (What To Do Next)

Each year in the U.S. over a million people go to their doctor due to an injury to their head. Over 100,000 will be diagnosed with TBI or brain injury, which can affect their lives seriously for a short time or possibly for the rest of their lives. An experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through some of the processes involved in recovery, but learning about a TBI might help start you in the right direction.

Even a mild TBI, can have the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and/or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds, or a few minutes or more
  • No loss of consciousness for feeling dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual

Signs and symptoms may appear at once, within 24 hours, or they may emerge days or weeks after the injury. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle. A person may notice a problem but not relate it to the injury. Some people will appear to have no symptoms after a TBI, but their condition worsens later. Whenever symptoms appear (no matter how mild), your doctor should be immediately called.

Also, depending on the details of the accident, the victim may be entitled to damages that could help immensely in the treatment and quality of their later lives. If you are diagnosed with a TBI, seeking the help of a personal injury attorney may be vital for you and your family’s financial and emotional future.

During a car accident (even what may seem like a mild one), your brain is subjected to extremely violent physical forces. It may be affected by bruising or bleeding, tearing or even swelling. The soft tissue of the brain may be violently pushed up against the hard bone of the skull.

When this occurs, the blood vessels in the brain may rupture or tear. This would result in blood flowing into sections of the brain where it should not be. An uncontrolled, unusual blood flow into the brain (a brain bleed) can cause extreme damage and also be highly detrimental to many cognitive functions. In a brain bleed, blood flows into the brain where there is no room for it to flow.

This creates pressure on the brain itself, causing parts to malfunction. Brain tissue is delicate and this pressure may cause the brain tissue to be damaged, malfunction or even die off. With excessive pressure, the affected parts of the brain may alter vital physiological functions such as breathing or heart rate.

The absolute first thing you should do after a car accident is get checked out medically. If there are symptoms of a TBI (even if mild), follow up with your doctor or possibly a specialist. Depending on the details of the accident and the diagnosis, get some informative advice from a personal injury attorney.

A car accident is a traumatic and complex event and advice from an attorney after an accident might be an important part of the process for you, especially if you suffered a potentially severe injury. You may very well be due money damages, and you may vitally need those funds for treatment, or to help with the changes to your cognitive function that affects the rest of your life.

What Other Types of Brain Injury can I Sustain in a Car Accident?

To be as simple about the matter as possible, there are essentially five different types of injury to the brain:

  • Concussion: This is a form of TBI that is due to the brain hitting the hard wall of the skull during a car accident, or other accidents that cause violent, instant movement. It may have many types of symptoms, such as: headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, amnesia about the accident, fatigue, ringing in the ears and others. It is a TBI and can have long term effects.
  • Contusion: This is for accuracy, a bruise on the brain. It also is caused by violent movement, such as a car accident. It may have different symptoms, such as difficulty forming sentences, slurred speech, difficulty forming new memories, numbness or tingling in the affected area, and finding it hard to concentrate.
  • Penetration: Debris in an accident may cause this type of injury. It usually is severe, and symptoms may include difficulty breathing, seizure, heavy blood loss, loss of bladder or bowel function, and even coma or paralysis.
  • Diffuse Axonal: This injury occurs usually in high speed accidents, and is caused by severe rotation or shaking of the head. The brain (and the rest of your body) keeps moving when the vehicle stops abruptly, and smashes into the skull. Signs include: headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and more.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: This injury occurs during violent accidents, such as a roll-over. Here the brain may be shaken severely and strike both the left and right side of the skull. Both sides of the brain may be damaged. This type of injury may result in a host of symptoms and damage, only some being: bleeding in the brain, swelling in the brain, skull fracture, memory issues, mood alteration, sensitivity to light and sound, tinnitus, and more.

After a Car Accident that results in a TBI, What Should I Do Next?

Always, as soon as possible, see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a car accident or other traumatic injury to the head.

The terms “mild,” “moderate,” and “severe” are used to describe the effect of the injury on brain function. However, a mild injury to the brain is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis.

TBI should never be ignored, and if you were not at fault or even suspect you were not, you should see a local personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Most accident lawyers will require no fee for discussion or unless damages are awarded.

They will look into all the details of your case, and help you receive the compensation for medical bills for your treatment and recovery. They also will work to get you the damages compensated for, so you and your family can have the life you deserve.

How To Stop Your Teen Texting And Driving: Our Top Tips

Raising teenagers is tricky at the best of times, but when they get behind the wheel, parental panicking can really kick into overdrive. From concerns about overloaded cars to angst over alcohol, there are a lot of potential risk factors. One of the most common causes of teen accidents is often overlooked however; texting while driving.

The stats in this area are alarming. Research shows that a whopping 55% of teen drivers believed that texting while driving was easy, while a worrying 78% admitted to the offense. With over 8 people killed every day in auto crashes involving a distracted driver, this is an issue most parents will want to eliminate as soon as possible. The trouble is, they could be part of the problem. The same study revealed that 48% of teen drivers had seen their parents talking on the phone behind the wheel, and 15% had seen their parents texting, citing this as an influence for their own behavior.

With so much at stake, parents must do everything they can to prevent their teens from being tempted to text while driving; for not only their own safety, but that of all other road users. A compassionate personal injury lawyer can help when you need us, but we want to help you and your family stay safe from the beginning. 

What Does The Law Say?

According to Florida law, “ A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message.”

This means that not only is grabbing your phone while behind the wheel a seriously bad decision; it is also illegal. Culprits may be punished with a $30 fine for first offenses, a $60 fine for second, and up to three points on their drivers license – not the best start to life behind the wheel.

What Can I Do?

It is important that your teen is fully aware of the dangers of texting while driving, and you should make sure you have this conversation before they get their license, with regular check-ins while they are learning, and once they have access to a car. Some of our top tips for helping them get the message include:

  • Open The Lines Of Communication

As with all matters involving teens, you cannot simply assume that they know the right and wrong things to do. Make sure that you have a real, in-depth talk with them on the topic of texting and driving, allowing them to ask questions, and laying out the consequences without flinching. The hard truth is that your teen could cause death or serious injury to themselves, their friends, or other road users, simply by choosing to answer a text. For some teens, this may be deterrent enough, while others may need temptation out of site; perhaps by leaving the phone in the glove box or trunk while behind the wheel. Open, honest communication is essential for keeping everyone safe.

  • Make Sure Rules Have Consequences

In addition to clear communication, you need to ensure that you set serious consequences for breaking the rules – and follow up if required. Your teen needs to understand that driving is a privilege, not a right, and so any infractions will result in the suspension of this privilege; perhaps ban driving for a set number of months or years, or revoke access to a family vehicle. By setting these rules out clearly in advance, you are helping to set your teen up for success.

  • Make The Law Clear

It is not enough that texting while driving is a no-no in your family, your teen also needs to understand the legal implications. Make sure that they are clued in on Florida law, and the potential consequences of breaking the rules; is answering that text message really worth losing their license over?

  • Model Good Behaviour

As we mentioned, 15% of teens have seen their parents texting behind the wheel, and this can have a significant impact on their own choices. With teens, it needs to be a case of ‘do what I do,’ rather than ‘do what I say.’ Your child will respect you, your advice, and the law far more closely if they see you modelling good behavior.

This also includes being aware of your own behavior when your teen is driving; make sure that you don’t call or text during this time. If you accidentally do try to get in touch while they are behind the wheel, make it clear in advance that you will never get mad or punish them for not answering – this reduces the temptation, and they know they can focus on the road.

  • Use The Power Of Technology

Technology can be dubious, but it can also be useful in helping to monitor and manage your teen’s behaviour. There are a range of apps which can be installed on your teen’s phone which work with the GPS, allowing the device or particular functions – such as texting – to automatically shut off if the car reaches a particular speed. You will be able to select and program options for speeds, and even set the phone to send an automated response to any messages once you hit a certain speed. This means there is no temptation to reply while in motion, and the other party will be aware that the teen is driving. Parents can also set up an alert, telling them if the app has been disabled while the car is moving, and this allows the consequences system to kick in.

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Scare Them

Teens often think they are indestructible, and that there is no way parents could possibly ever be right. In these cases, shock tactics can sometimes be the only way to deliver a clear, sharp message – and this is what anyone who is operating a vehicle needs. Be honest with stats – you are three times more likely to be involved in an accident if you are texting while driving. In addition, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for around five seconds – in this time, you could travel the length of an entire football field.

Look up videos often used in drivers ed classes, which can offer a sobering reality into the dangers of texting while driving, or track down interviews with real victims and their families. Sometimes, teens need to realize that their actions have heartbreaking, life-changing – or even fatal – consequences, and being a little too alert when driving is better than being tempted by distraction. Accidents can happen, and you may find you need a Florida car accident attorney on your side. We are here if you need us. Reach us at 561-557-4546. 


Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?

Sometimes it’s not easy to prove who was at fault for a traffic accident, but if you’ve been injured and you need compensation, proving who was liable is what’s required. To do that, you’ll need the advice and services of a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

In rear-end collisions, we usually assume that the motorist driving the rear vehicle was at-fault, but that may not always be the case. In Florida, if you’re injured in this kind of crash, what will you need to do to prove the other driver was negligent – and acquire the compensation you need?

If you’ll keep reading, that question will be answered in this short discussion of liability, rear-end collisions, and the rights of those who are injured by negligent drivers here in Florida.

How Many Are Hurt in Rear-End Collisions?

Rear-end collisions are not rare or unusual. More than 1.5 million rear-end collisions happen in the United States every year, resulting in more than 1,500 fatalities and roughly half-a-million reported injuries.

Blows to the head and traumatic brain injuries are often the result of rear-end collisions, but spinal cord and back injuries can be just as devastating and catastrophic. Victims who sustain these injuries will require the maximum amount of compensation that’s available.

In rear-end collisions, when a driver crashes or rolls into a vehicle that is legally parked or stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, the driver in the moving vehicle is almost always deemed liable for the collision.

Can Responsibility for Rear-End Collisions Be Shared?

Stopping a vehicle safely is perhaps the most important part of driving. A motorist who cannot safely bring a vehicle to a stop and causes an accident is usually considered the negligent party. Even so, in some cases, the other driver will have at least a share of the responsibility.

Drivers should leave sufficient space between vehicles so that, if a motorist suddenly stops in front of you for no obvious reason, you can stop your vehicle safely. But in fast-moving or heavy traffic, sometimes there’s nothing you can do if a motorist slams on the brakes unexpectedly.

In some rear-end crashes, the motorist in front can be held partially responsible if his or her brake or taillights were broken, if that driver makes a turn without a turn signal, or if he or she doesn’t use hazard lights or blinkers when stopping because there’s a problem with the vehicle.

What is the Role of a Personal Injury Attorney?

However, when you were the driver in the rear vehicle, it may be difficult to prove that the other driver had any share of the fault. In this situation, you will need the advice and guidance that a good south Florida personal injury attorney can provide.

A personal injury lawyer will review the police report, any photos of the accident site and the damaged vehicles, the records of your medical treatment, and any eyewitness statements to determine precisely how the crash occurred and which motorist should be deemed liable.

After identifying which motorist is liable for a rear-end collision, if the law entitles you to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and related losses, your lawyer will negotiate – or if the case goes to trial, ask a jury – for the compensation you need and deserve.

What Should You Do After a Rear-End Collision?

If a negligent driver crashes into you from behind and injures you, do not admit or confess fault. Don’t accept a settlement offer, and don’t sign any insurance documents or make any statement to the other driver’s insurance company before you’ve consulted your personal injury attorney.

Especially in rear-end collisions at low speeds, auto insurance companies have offered injury victims settlement amounts that are substantially below the actual amount the victim is entitled to. Don’t make a quick settlement for a sum that’s less than your injury claim is really worth.

Safety experts have found that in rear-end accidents, headrests provide the best defense against spinal cord, head, and neck injuries. Don’t set a headrest too low, however, as that could strain and hyperextend your neck if your vehicle is struck from behind.

Why is Having a Medical Exam Essential?

Some of the injuries sustained in rear-end collisions aren’t immediately obvious and could remain latent and undiscovered. Even if you don’t “feel” injured, if you’ve been in a rear-end crash – even at a low speed – have a medical exam as quickly as possible.

Every Florida driver should know about the “14-day rule.” Should you suffer injuries – including latent injuries – and you don’t have a medical exam within 14 days of an accident, a Florida auto insurance company may not reimburse you through your personal injury coverage.

The 14-day rule is a difficult-to-overcome legal obstacle to injured victims of negligence who don’t seek medical attention immediately. This cannot be stressed strongly enough: after any traffic accident in this state, you must have a medical examination as soon as possible.

The 14-day rule is not the only obstacle to compensation that a victim of negligence faces in our state.

Who May File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A victim may only file a personal injury claim if he or she suffers permanent loss of an important bodily function, has suffered substantial and permanent scarring and disfigurement, or if the injuries are permanently disabling.

A physician must make that determination, and you’ll need a south Florida accident lawyer to guide you through the legal hurdles required to obtain compensation. In some cases, if it’s necessary, your attorney may arrange for a second doctor to provide a second opinion.

If your attorney’s investigation of the accident indicates that a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part was the underlying cause of an accident, he or she may recommend filing a product liability lawsuit against the maker of the vehicle or the part.

Victims of Negligence Need Personalized Legal Advice

You’ve been reading a general introduction to liability for rear-end collisions in Florida. However, if the injury victim is you, you’ll want to know more, so you will need precise and personalized legal advice.

If you are injured in a south Florida traffic crash, now or in the future, after you’ve been treated by a medical provider, seek legal guidance at once from a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. If you expect to receive compensation for your injuries, you’re going to need that help.

How To Recover Compensation For Slip-and-Fall Injuries

What should you do should you slip, fall, and become injured because of a wet or slippery floor in a supermarket, a restaurant, or a shopping mall in south Florida? Seek medical attention first, but your second priority is speaking with a West Palm Beach premises liability attorney.

To be compensated for injuries after a slip-and-fall incident, you’ll need to prove, with your personal injury lawyer’s help, that the property owner was negligent. Keep reading, and learn exactly what steps to take, because anyone could be seriously injured in a slip-and fall accident.

Florida law requires property owners to maintain their properties in a way that eliminates or significantly reduces the risk to visitors. If a property isn’t maintained with the safety of visitors in mind, the owner may be held liable for injuries that others sustain on the property.

Owners aren’t held accountable for slip-and-fall incidents that they couldn’t reasonably prevent, but if a property owner was aware of a hazard – or should have been – and you’re injured, you have the right to file a premises liability claim and seek damages from the property owner.


If you’re injured on private property in a slip-and-fall accident, seek medical attention at once. You’ll need the medical paperwork and test results if you pursue an injury claim to seek reimbursement for your accident-related lost wages and medical costs.

Take photographs of the accident scene and your own injuries. Pictures are powerful evidence that can make the difference in a premises liability case. If there were witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. Your attorney may need their statements or testimony later.


Winning a premises liability claim requires the injury victim (the plaintiff) and his or her attorney to prove the three “elements” in a claim for premises liability:

1. The owner of the property (the defendant) owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiff.
2. The defendant breached the duty of care through negligence.
3. That negligence was a direct cause of the victim’s personal injury or injuries.

The duty of care differs in different circumstances. Homeowners owe visitors a basic duty; they are required to keep their properties reasonably safe, warn visitors about known hazards, and avoid creating hazardous situations for visitors.

A more demanding duty is owed to others by business owners, who must protect clients, customers, employees, and contractors. You can tell visitors to your home to use caution on a cracked sidewalk, but if that sidewalk is part of your business property, you must fix it promptly.


No duty of care is owed to a trespasser, but a property owner cannot intentionally create a hazard to hurt trespassers. Owners should instead count on locks, alarm systems, and security guards. If your business is guarded by a dog, a warning sign has to be visibly and clearly posted.

The duty of care to a visitor is mostly determined by the visitor’s purpose. If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you should be able to explain your relationship with the property owner and the reason why you were visiting when the accident happened.


Determining a property owner’s duty of care is merely the beginning of a premises liability claim. The alleged breach of the duty of care must also be considered, and that is often complicated to determine. You’ll need the help of a good south Florida premises liability lawyer.

A property owner breaches the duty of care when he or she fails to keep visitors to the property safe from a slip-and-fall incident that can cause a serious injury. Here are several instances of what could constitute a breach of the duty of care:

1. A failure to tell visitors about an aggressive dog
2. A failure to clean up spilled liquid – promptly – on a grocery store’s floor
3. A failure to lock a swimming pool area securely to keep children out
4. A failure to keep areas accessible to the public reasonably free of hazards and debris


The word “reasonably” comes up often in discussions of premises liability. Property owners do not have liability for every conceivable injury that may be sustained on their premises.

For example, if you stroll into someone’s barbecue pit or pool because you were looking at your smartphone, it’s your own fault, and you won’t have a liability claim.


Even if you and your attorney can prove that a property owner owed you a duty of care and breached it, that’s not enough to prevail with a premises liability claim. You and your attorney also must show that the breach of the duty of care directly caused the victim’s injury.

When a premises liability case goes to trial, if a property owner could have prevented a slip-and-fall accident, and didn’t – even when he or she was aware of the hazard and had adequate time to repair it – the property owner will be found liable and ordered to pay damages to the defendant.

Few of these cases actually go to trial. Most premises liability claims are resolved out-of-court when attorneys for both sides meet in private negotiations.

Of course, an injury victim also has to prove that he or she was genuinely injured. This is why it is so essential to have a thorough medical exam after a slip-and-fall accident. It’s also why, if you slip and fall but you’re able to get up and walk away uninjured, you have no liability claim.


Every case is unique. You’ve been reading a general introduction to slip-and-fall injuries and premises liability law. However, if you are the person who’s injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you’re going to need personalized legal advice about how the law applies to your own situation.

The statute of limitations in Florida gives you four years to file an injury claim arising from a slip-and-fall accident, but you’ll need to act promptly. Evidence and memories deteriorate over time, so the sooner you can put your attorney on the case, the better.

If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident in south Florida, seek immediate medical attention, and then take your case to the right West Palm Beach premises liability attorney. If you are injured in this state by another person’s negligence, the law entitles you to full compensation

How To Spot The Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse (What Families Need To Know)

Everyone deserves dignity and respect, but far too frequently, the elderly receive neglect and abuse instead. When that happens in a south Florida nursing home, concerned family members should arrange to meet with a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney.

Even if no one in your family resides in a nursing home right now, you’ll want to keep reading, because no one knows what tomorrow may bring, and we all need to be prepared.

State and federal laws govern nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Minimum standards for nursing homes are established by the Federal Medicare Health Insurance Program for the Aged.

Hundreds of licensed nursing homes and several thousand assisted living facilities currently operate in the State of Florida. Many of these facilities provide superlative care to the elderly. However, at some Florida nursing homes, the elderly are abused or neglected.


That abuse may be emotional, financial, or physical. However, nursing home abuse victims are legally entitled to relief. Under Florida law, victims may file a lawsuit and seek damages from their abusers – as well as from the owners of nursing homes who hire abusers as employees.

What are the causes of nursing home abuse? If your loved one is a south Florida nursing home resident, what are the signs of neglect and abuse, how can you spot those signs, and what should you do if you find abuse or neglect?


If your own elderly loved one is living in a south Florida nursing home, your first step is to make sure that the facility’s staffing is adequate. Some nursing homes simply have not hired the personnel that’s needed.

For several years, Florida nursing homes have been facing a shortage of qualified personnel that severely and negatively impacts the care that is provided to residents. Federal guidelines only require “sufficient” personnel and allow a nursing home’s owners to determine what is sufficient.

Still, Florida nursing homes have a legal responsibility – meaning they are liable – for each resident’s safety and well-being. Along with ensuring that a nursing home is properly staffed, families should also ensure that their loved one is in a nursing home that is properly licensed.


Families must be vigilant when an elderly relative resides at a nursing home. Speak frequently with the facility’s staff, get to know the families of the other residents, show up without calling ahead, and remain observant for any indications of abuse or neglect.

What constitutes nursing home abuse? Nursing home neglect and abuse may include but are not necessarily limited to:

1. medical negligence and malpractice
2. physical, verbal, or emotional abuse
3. malnutrition and dehydration
4. failure by staff to monitor residents
5. financial exploitation and theft


If your loved one resides in a south Florida nursing home, be alert for these signs of abuse: bruises, bedsores, scratches, cuts, unexpected mood swings, and rapid weight loss. Abuse includes any assault, verbal humiliation, unwarranted restraint, or sexual abuse.

Bedsores are a clear indication that the resident of a nursing home is being neglected. Bedsores are skin lesions which emerge after unrelieved, long-term pressure on bony parts of the body. Such pressure reduces the normal blood flow to those areas, killing the surrounding tissue.

Bedsores may appear almost anywhere on the body, but they most commonly appear on elbows, heels, ankles, the sacrum, and the coccyx (the tailbone).

Bedsores are easily prevented by simply turning residents regularly to ease the pressure on particular spots on the body. Failing to perform this simple procedure is inexcusable and is a clear sign of serious neglect.


In some nursing homes, dental health is also a negligence issue. Residents may suffer cavities, gum disease, cracked teeth, and a range of related dental problems. For the elderly, poor dental care can quickly turn into a serious health issue.

In recent years, the financial exploitation of residents in nursing homes has been rising. This includes stealing jewelry or cash, cashing checks without authorization, forging signatures, and bullying or tricking a resident into signing a contract, will, or another suspicious document.

In the most disturbing abuse incidents, which are quite rare, residents in Florida nursing homes have been assaulted.

In September 2019, for instance, the police in Clearwater arrested a certified nursing assistant who later confessed to battering sexually four elderly women in his care at four different Pinellas County nursing homes over a period of three years.


If you discover any sign of financial exploitation, abuse, or neglect, or should you suspect that your elderly loved one is suffering because of nursing home abuse, it is imperative to act. Schedule a meeting immediately with a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney.

Your attorney will review the details, advise you regarding the best way to move forward, and determine if the police need to become involved. Do not wait to act on a loved one’s behalf. Evidence can deteriorate or disappear, and the memories of any witnesses will fade over time.

Florida has established a two-year statute of limitations – from the discovery date of an abuse incident – for legal action arising from nursing home abuse. If the abuse is not discovered promptly, Florida law lets you file a claim within two years of the discovery.

However, no legal action may commence more than four years after the date of the abuse incident, unless “fraudulent concealment or intentional misrepresentation” prevented the discovery of the abuse, in which case the statute of limitations is six years.


If you believe that a loved one may be at risk in a south Florida nursing home, it will cost you nothing to consult with an injury attorney. If you take legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fees until and unless your family is compensated with a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement.

The right south Florida personal injury lawyer will explain your family’s options and alternatives and will fight for justice on your elderly loved one’s behalf. If nursing home abuse is happening, you will need personalized legal advice and an attorney who knows exactly what steps to take.


Many people try to avoid learning anything about trusts, wills, and probate. Who wants to think about something so closely associated with death? Nevertheless, you should take the time to learn the essentials about wills and living trusts, especially if your loved ones rely on you. If you are unfamiliar with the essentials you should sit down with a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney to get a better understanding.

For many people, living trusts are a practical tool for distributing property and assets to loved ones while avoiding the cost and inconvenience of probate. But is a living trust right for you? Keep reading, and you’ll find out why a living trust may – or may not – be the answer for you.

You probably know that probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s property and assets after death. Probate is conducted by a probate court, and it can be a long, costly procedure, especially if a deceased person’s estate is complicated.


Probate settles and completes a deceased person’s financial affairs. In Florida, if you die without a last will and testament or a living trust, probate is the process that identifies and gathers your assets, pays your taxes and debts, and distributes the remaining assets to your beneficiaries.

In Florida, non-probate property includes homestead property, bank accounts and homes with the ownership shared by more than one person, assets with designated beneficiaries (like life insurance policies and retirement and savings accounts), and any assets held in a living trust.

Probate assets include bank accounts and investment accounts in the decedent’s name alone, annuity contracts, personal assets such as jewelry or art, and real estate owned by the decedent (except for homestead property).


Living trusts have grown popular in recent years as an alternative to wills. A living trust allows you to skip probate, but depending on your marital status, your age, and the complexity of your estate, you may not need to create a living trust. A last will and testament may be sufficient.

Your last will and testament may be rewritten, modified, or revoked at any time, provided that you are not mentally incapacitated, but a living trust takes longer to create, involves more maintenance, and is more difficult to modify than a last will and testament.

In fact, if you create a living trust, it’s probably smart also to draft a last will and testament as a backup document. Whether you should create a living trust or a last will and testament – or both – will depend on your personal circumstances.

That’s one reason why you should have the personalized advice of a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney.


To determine if you need to create a living trust, consider these three factors, and discuss them with your estate planning attorney:

  1. Your age: The young and healthy probably have decades before they need to be concerned about probate. For anyone who is under 55 and in good health, creating a will is quicker, less costly, easier to maintain, and for most people, sufficient for your needs.
  2. Your estate: The more you own, the more your heirs could lose in probate. Especially if your estate is extensive and/or complicated, you should probably consider a living trust – at any age.
  3. Your marital status: If you and your spouse are leaving your assets and properties to one another, and your assets are, for the most part, jointly owned, a living trust probably is not necessary.


A last will and testament is a legally-binding document that lets you leave instructions for the distribution of your property and assets.

It also lets you name a guardian for your minor children – should the worst happen – and it lets you name an executor of your estate, so that your affairs are handled by someone you trust. If you have pets, a will allows you to leave instructions regarding how they will be cared for.

A last will and testament goes through the probate process, and as a court record, that process makes your personal financial business available to the public. If your estate is modest, privacy may not be a concern, but if your estate is substantial, you may need to establish a living trust.

In several ways, a living trust is comparable to a will. A living trust lets you leave instructions about how your property and assets are to be distributed and who will act as the guardian to your minor children. Living trusts also let you name a trustee to carry out your wishes on your behalf.


In south Florida, when you are ready to draft a living trust or a will – or if you want to learn more and receive some personalized advice – you will need to consult with an estate planning lawyer who is thorough, pays attention to details, and is committed to protecting your interests.

Why do you need the services of an estate planning lawyer when you can download or purchase blank forms to create your own last will and testament or living trust? Probate and tax laws, as you already know, are immensely complicated, and if you make a mistake, it could cost you.

In fact, all kinds of disputes and difficulties can emerge if you do not have the guidance and helpful insights that a good estate planning lawyer can provide.


Good estate planning requires a comprehensive familiarity with wills, trusts, tax laws, and Florida probate law. When you meet with an estate planning attorney, speak up, ask questions, and disclose anything that may be important to the estate planning process.

Consider putting a list of questions in writing for your first estate planning session. Estate planning is a process where the details can make the difference.

If you own your home and/or your own business, or if your loved ones rely on you, it might be wise to start the estate planning process now. Good estate planning cannot be done casually or quickly, and no one knows what tomorrow may bring.

A West Palm Beach estate planning attorney can help you with a living trust, a last will and testament, asset protection, probate advice, and other estate planning options and services.

Read more from our recent blog: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT A POWER OF ATTORNEY


Do you need to create a power of attorney? A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes someone (called an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to conduct personal business on behalf of another person (called the “principal” or “grantor”).

The abilities and powers given to an agent may be extensive, such as handling all of the principal’s financial affairs, or those abilities may be narrow, such as merely paying the bills each month on behalf of the principal. If you have questions about these specific roles you will want to seek out a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney.


People create a power of attorney for many reasons, but before any discussion of those reasons – and whether establishing a power of attorney is something you need to do with the help of a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney – it’s important to define some confusing legal terms:

  1. A general power of attorney authorizes an agent to handle all types of financial business on a principal’s behalf.
  2. A special or limited power of attorney restricts an agent’s authorization to certain dates, certain transactions, or particular types of transactions.
  3. A durable power of attorney is a power of attorney that is not voided if the principal becomes incapacitated. Typically, it is a healthcare or medical power of attorney. (You’ll read more about that below). It is a widely-used document in south Florida.
  4. A power of attorney in Florida goes into effect immediately, but a “springing” power of attorney only takes effect when a principal becomes incapacitated. A springing power of attorney is no longer recognized in Florida unless it was created before October 1, 2011.



Florida law requires a principal to have his or her power of attorney document notarized and to sign it in front of two witnesses, although the notary public who notarizes the document may be one of the witnesses. Powers of attorney established legally in other states are valid in Florida.

A power of attorney must be filed with the county clerk’s office in the Florida county where you reside if it authorizes your agent to purchase or sell real estate on your behalf.

Conducting business on another person’s behalf can be time-consuming. Florida law entitles an agent to receive compensation. Spouses, heirs, financial institutions, attorneys, and CPAs who are licensed or registered in Florida may be named as agents and paid for their efforts.


Filing a petition for divorce in Florida immediately removes the authority of a principal’s spouse to act as the agent under that principal’s power of attorney. The divorce merely has to be initiated, not finalized.

Florida law does not spell out what can or should be included in a power of attorney, except that a durable power of attorney must state, “This durable power of attorney is not terminated by subsequent incapacity of the principal except as provided in Chapter 709, Florida Statutes.”

Florida law requires your agent to be either a person age 18 or older or a Florida-based financial institution that is authorized to do trust business in this state. Your agent should be a person or institution that you trust to act in your interests and make sound business and financial decisions.


Under Florida law, any powers that are granted to an agent by a power of attorney must be spelled out precisely in the document. Broad grants of authority are not legally valid. The law lets an agent perform only those acts specifically allowed by the document.

In Florida, a healthcare or medical power of attorney is called a “Designation of Health Care Surrogate.” It lets you name a surrogate and an alternate surrogate to make healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes to healthcare providers.

What legally constitutes incapacitation in this state? Florida law defines incapacitation as: “The inability of an individual to take those actions necessary to obtain, administer, and dispose of real and personal property, intangible property, business property, benefits, and income.”


A financial power of attorney allows a person to designate an agent to assist with his or her finances. Specific powers granted to the agent may include the power to:

  1. conduct financial transactions, deal with legal claims or manage properties
  2. manage retirement and insurance benefits, submit tax returns, or fulfill contracts
  3. collect social security benefits, plan Medicaid, and manage a trust



An agent in Florida must act in good faith, maintain the principal’s estate plan, and may not delegate responsibilities to a third party. Agents must maintain comprehensive records of all disbursements and transactions made on behalf of the principal.

If the power of attorney gives an agent access to a safe-deposit box, that agent is required to complete an inventory of the contents whenever he or she has accessed the box.

An agent must adhere to a principal’s oral and written instructions – or the agent may be liable for damages. You should also name a secondary agent in case your agent dies, resigns, or suffers incapacitation.


Some third parties may hesitate to act or may even refuse entirely to do business with an agent. Often in these cases, the third party is uncertain about the validity of the power of attorney. Third parties may ask an agent to sign an affidavit affirming that the agent is acting properly.

In Florida, a third party must provide a written explanation regarding why he or she is unwilling to work with an agent. Third parties must offer this explanation within a “reasonable” amount of time. Third-party financial institutions have four days to provide a written explanation.

If a power of attorney was lawfully created and has not been terminated, suspended, or revoked, third parties in Florida may be ordered by a court to honor the document.

If a third party’s unreasonable or undue delay causes financial losses or damages to the principal, a third party may be held liable for those damages (as well as for attorney’s fees and court costs).


Powers of attorney may be created as single documents, but a power of attorney is also one of the key documents in a well-drafted estate plan.

Don’t try to write up your own power of attorney using the various forms or estate planning “kits” that are available online. The law is way too complicated in Florida, and if you make a mistake, it could cost you.

If you need to establish a power of attorney in South Florida, or if you need to learn more about estate planning, it’s important that you work with the right West Palm Beach estate planning attorney. It’s never too early to consider the future.



Do All Personal Injury Attorneys in Florida Charge the Same Contingency Fee?

If you were involved in an accident in Florida that was not your fault, you might want to hire an experienced and affordable personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach. However, you may also wonder whether or not you can afford to hire an attorney.

Read on to find out what you can expect to pay a personal injury lawyer that you hire to work on your case. 


Personal injury lawyers in Florida use a unique method to charge for their services. Most personal injury attorneys will charge a contingency fee for their legal services. 

In this arrangement, an attorney agrees to represent you and only gets paid once the case has been resolved in your favor. This means the attorney will only get paid if they are able to win either:

  • A settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company, or
  • A verdict in your favor

Basically, you will only have to pay the attorney if they are able to recover compensation for your injuries. If they cannot obtain compensation for you, they will not be paid for their services.


Your lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation you are awarded for your injuries.

The standard contingency fee is 33 percent, or a third, of your settlement or verdict. However, the percentage may vary between 25 and 40 percent, depending on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of your case
  • Whether your case goes to court
  • The value of your case

Make sure you discuss your attorney’s contingency fee upfront so you know what to expect.


There are a few reasons why a contingency fee arrangement is ideal for personal injury claims. These include:

  • The injured party may have to undergo costly medical care, leaving them unable to afford legal services. Fortunately, this arrangement ensures that victims will not have to pay for representation out of their own pockets.
  • The arrangement motivates the attorney to work hard in order to obtain as much compensation as possible. The more they win for you, the more they will be paid.
  • If you don’t win your case, you won’t be left with a huge bill for legal services.


Depending on the contract that you sign with your lawyer, you may have to pay other fees and expenses apart from the contingency percentage. 

Study your contract in detail to find out whether you’ll be responsible for paying for the costs associated with your claim. You may be responsible for paying for the cost of photocopying, hiring witnesses, filing paperwork with the court, and obtaining copies of your medical records. 

The contract may state that you are to pay these fees as they become due. In this case, you can expect to receive a bill as these expenses are incurred. 

However, some firms will cover all the fees and expenses as they arise. The firms will then add up their total costs and deduct them from your settlement or verdict. 

Your contract must also state whether the contingency fee will be calculated before or after the expenses are deducted.

For instance, let’s say your contract stated that any expenses incurred should be deducted from your final settlement. The contract also states that your attorney will take a 33% contingency fee that is calculated prior to the deduction of expenses. Your attorney wins $70,000 in compensation for your injuries and incurs $10,000 in expenses throughout your case. The $10,00o in expenses will be taken off of the top, leaving you with $60,000. Your attorney charges a 33% contingency fee, so they will receive $23,100, or 33% of $70,000, for their legal services. This means in total, you will pay the attorney $33,100 for their legal services and expenses. The remaining $36,900 will be yours. 

If the contingency fee was calculated after expenses were deducted, your attorney would receive $19,800, or 33% of $60,000. 


Some lawyers may choose not to use a contingency fee arrangement. For example, some attorneys may require you to pay a retainer fee upfront before they start working on your case. The lawyers may later collect their contingency fee after the case is settled. 

Make sure you understand how your attorney expects to be paid for their legal services prior to hiring them.


The contingency fee percentage is negotiable–just like everything else in your contract. Many injured parties usually want to get their compensation as soon as possible. As a result, they often fail to negotiate the attorney’s fees.

Don’t make this mistake. It never hurts to ask whether your attorney is willing to accept a slightly lower contingency fee for their legal services. Try to have this discussion during the initial consultation so you know you are both on the same page when it comes to payment.

Finally, always ask the attorney to outline the details of the contingency fee agreement in writing. If a lawyer isn’t willing to provide a written contract, this may be a red flag. Professional attorneys do not offer oral agreements.


If you were involved in an accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will do its best to minimize your injuries and give you a low settlement. After all, the company isn’t in the business of giving out money. 

A personal injury attorney will help you build a strong case and ensure that you get the highest compensation possible for your injuries. The value of hiring an attorney is even higher when your injuries are serious. For such cases, your settlement should be higher, and the insurance adjuster will try all they can to reduce this settlement. 

Rather than leave your case at the mercy of the insurance adjuster, get a personal injury lawyer that has successfully handled car accident and other personal injury cases in the past. Working with an attorney will increase your chances of securing the compensation you are entitled to by law.

West Palm Beach Parking Lot Attorneys

Did you know that you have a right to be compensated when you are injured in a parking lot in Florida? Personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach can help you recover the costs you incurred for medical expenses and other damages as a result of the accident.

During the summer, there is no better way to spend the day in Florida than at the beach or one of the state’s parks. However, everyone seems to come out to enjoy the great weather, and this means one thing: overcrowded parking lots. 

Most parking lots are usually crowded with pedestrians and vehicles. This explains why parking lot collisions are common in Florida during the summer.

Parking lot collisions can either be minor or severe. If you sustain serious injuries from a parking lot collision, you should hire an attorney to help you. 


Florida parking lots are usually full of vehicles and pedestrians. Therefore, it is no wonder that parking lot collisions are reported on a regular basis. Here are the most commonly-reported collisions:

  • A driver backs into another vehicle when exiting a parking space.
  • A driver collides with other vehicles that may be around when pulling out from a parking spot.
  • A driver rear-ends another vehicle in the parking lot.
  • Two drivers collide when trying to pull into the same space at the same time. 


It is important to know what to do if you are involved in a parking lot accident. Immediately after the crash you should start gathering as much information as possible. Thoroughly documenting the event can strengthen your personal injury claim.

Follow these steps after a collision:

CALL 911

The first step to take after a collision is to call Florida authorities. If the accident occurred on private property, a law enforcement officer may or may not be sent to the scene. If there are injuries, authorities will always respond to the accident.

If the accident was in a parking lot of a privately owned store of business, the police may not file a report. However, you should still call to report the accident.


In most cases, parking lot accidents occur at low speeds. However, they can still cause injuries. If you are involved in a parking lot accident, check whether you and the other passengers in your vehicle have sustained any injuries. Regardless of whether or not you have been seriously injured, go to the hospital or your doctor for an evaluation on the same day.

According to Florida’s no-fault laws, personal injury victims are required to get treatment within 14 days after the accident in order to qualify for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. It can be difficult for the insurance company  to know how much your claim is worth if you don’t have medical records outlining the extent of your injuries.


Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene. In particular, take photographs of the vehicles involved, showing where there is damage. Also, capture the surrounding areas. 

If the other driver is claiming that their view was obstructed, take a photo of the object that blocked their view. If you believe that poor weather or parking lot conditions contributed to the accident, take photographs to back up your claim. 

You can also take videos of the scene to get a 360-degree view of the aftermath of the accident.


Unless you were in the parking lot very late at night, it is likely that other people witnessed the accident. If there are people around, talk to them to find out what they saw. Record short statements from the witnesses and write down their contact information, if they are willing to provide it. 

Collecting personal information from the witnesses is important just in case you need to reach them in the future to ask them something about the accident.


After an accident, it is standard practice for the people involved to exchange contact information. At the minimum, ask for the other driver’s contact information, their license, and insurance information. To make your work easier, simply photograph the IDs or insurance cards that the driver provides instead of writing information down.


Some Florida parking lots do not have speed limit signs. However, the law states that drivers should not exceed 10 to 15 miles per hour when driving in parking lots. Apart from that, the standard traffic rules, such as obeying one-way traffic arrows and signage, apply when driving in a parking lot.


Unless someone has been injured, Florida authorities do not typically respond to minor accidents that happen on private property. Therefore, the parties involved have to determine who was at fault on their own. This is why it is important to take pictures and collect witness statements at the scene of the crash to build your case. If the parking lot has surveillance cameras, the footage will prove helpful in determining fault.

If you are injured in a parking lot accident in Florida, contact a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation. While you can file a claim without the help of a lawyer, you may find the process overwhelming. Moreover, the insurance companies will take advantage of your lack of legal experience, which can affect the outcome of your case.

The law affords you certain rights when you sustain injuries in a parking lot accident. However, to ensure those rights are protected, you need an experienced attorney on your side.


The damages you are entitled to after a parking lot accident will vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you had any role to play in the events that led to the accident
  • How quickly you want to settle
  • Your negotiating skills 
  • The total cost of medical bills resulting from your injuries

It is prudent to hire a personal injury attorney to take over your case and handle the negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney will keep your interests first and ensure you end up getting a fair settlement.