Brain Injuries from Birth

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Almost all birth injuries that result in brain damage are caused by denying oxygen to the brain. Most are avoidable consequences of medical malpractice or negligence.
The birth injury attorneys at The Cochran Firm South Florida are prepared to help your family recover from the damages caused by medical negligence. We will fight to ensure you are compensated for ongoing medical expenses, special care and schooling your child will require, and the emotional and physical suffering these injures will have on both your child and your family.
There can be several causes of brain injury during delivery. Commonly, brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen supply to your baby during delivery. This can happen you’re your baby is trapped in the birth canal or otherwise has the umbilical cord pinched for a prolonged period during delivery. Healthcare professionals are trained to monitor the progress of your baby during delivery, but even one misstep can result in serious, life-long consequences.
Trauma to the head can also lead to brain injury. These injuries are also normally due to a lack of oxygen in the brain. When the head, skull, or brain is injured as, for example, by the improper use of forceps, swelling can cut off blood circulation in the brain, starving it of oxygen.
If your child suffered a brain injury during delivery in or around Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, or Ft. Myer, Florida, please contact the medical malpractice attorneys at the Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free initial consultation today.

How Old is Too Old to Drive?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

September 2011 – Florida Today reports that as the first wave of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers turn 65 this year growing questions about elderly drivers are being raised.  What age is the right age to hang up the keys?  And should the State of Florida play a bigger role in making that assessment?  Statistics show that in Florida the age group still most likely to be involved in an automobile accident are the group between 15 – 19, accounting for about 364 crashes per 10,000 licensed drivers.  The numbers for seniors are much lower, about 95 crashes for every 10,000 drivers 70 and older.  But are we looking at a possible shift in numbers as the popluation of older drivers increases?
AARP cautions that although many seniors still sport around town, with the same level of driving skills that they possessed when they first hit the road, age-related changes—reaction times, medical conditions affecting the heart, eyes, muscles, and brain, and the medicines used to treat those symptoms—can affect fitness to drive.  There are ways to keep loved ones safe on the road and warning signs to look for when deciding if the time has come to take the keys away.
Here are some warning signs that may indicate a problem. Does your loved one appear to be any of the following?

  • Uncomfortable, nervous, or fearful
  • Having difficulty staying in the travel lane
  • Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps
  • Not seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead
  • Having a hard time turning around to check over the shoulder while backing up or changing lanes
  • Getting honked at by other drivers
  • Having trouble paying attention to traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings

Is it the doctor’s responsibility to determine when their patient is too old to drive?  Currently, there are only six states that currently have mandatory reporting requirements for medical professionals – California, Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania.  The A.M.A. recently updated their Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers to assist physicians struggling with the issue of competing legal and ethical duties.

The Cochran Firm South Florida can provide you with all the answers you need after an accident. To talk to a skilled Miami car accident lawyer, please contact us right away at 1-800-The-Firm.

Is Failure to Diagnose Cancer Medical Malpractice?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

There are many forms of cancer that can affect almost every part of your body, but all share a single characteristic: proper diagnosis can save your life. Sadly, failure to diagnose cancer remains one of the most common medical malpractice issues in our country.
There can be several reasons for a failure to diagnose cancer. Ordering the wrong tests, misinterpreting test results, or failing to properly acknowledge a patient’s concerns are all reasons cancer may remain undiagnosed. In some cases, a doctor simply believes that a tumor or growth is benign and declines to investigate it further. All of these are examples of medical malpractice. All of these deserve aggressive legal representation from a medical malpractice attorney.
Why Hire an Attorney for Failure to Diagnose Cancer
There is a code of ethics and a standard of care that demands healthcare professionals address the unique concerns of each of their patients. When arrogance, negligence, or disinterest cause a physician to ignore or fail to detect the early signs of cancer, the results are all too often deadly for the patient. Yet proving negligence is a complex and difficult process.
The medical malpractice attorneys at the Cochran Firm South Florida have years of experience helping victims of malpractice recover their damages. Working with a team of medical experts, and applying our deep understanding of medical malpractice law, we can help you recover your damages, and get the treatment you will require to recover from your doctor’s negligence.
If you or a loved one has suffered the consequences of a delayed cancer diagnosis in or around Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, or Ft. Myer, Florida, please contact the attorneys at The Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Family of James Craig Anderson Files Civil Suit

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The New York Times reports that the family of James Craig Anderson has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the group of teenagers accused of killing him.  The lawsuit does not indicate a specific amount sought for damages but does include an accusation of negligence which may be a way to tap into the homeowner’s insurance policies of the families of the accused teenagers.
The Times article indicates the lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, depicts the death of James C. Anderson as a “racially motivated attack and outlines an evening of drinking that culminated with a caravan of teenagers from a largely white suburban county driving 16 miles to Jackson intent on harassing African-Americans.”   Out of the seven defendants named in the civil suit, two so far are facing criminal charges.  In order for there to be a charge of capital murder in Mississippi, the murder must be committed in connection with another felony.   Deryl Dedmon, has been charged with capital murder.  He is the man believed to be driving the pickup that killed Mr. Anderson and also the alleged theft of Mr. Anderson’s phone, ring and wallet, a felony.
Mr. Anderson, 48, died shortly after 5 a.m. on June 26. He had been leaving a motel, and had either lost his keys or locked them in his truck, the police said. Images from a security video show two carloads of teenagers driving into the parking lot. Some of them jumped out and approached Mr. Anderson, who was beaten and robbed. As Mr. Anderson staggered along a grassy strip at the edge of a parking lot, a teenager driving a Ford pickup truck backed up and then accelerated forward, running over and killing him, the investigators said.  The lawsuit makes public for the first time the names of all seven people who had piled into the two vehicles that night, charging that while some were directly responsible for assaulting and killing Mr. Anderson, others were negligent because they acted as lookouts and did not try to help Mr. Anderson.
The victim’s family has created the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance, but has not spoken much publicly about Mr. Anderson’s death but they are determined not to let the death of “Craig” be in vain. They pray that out of this tragic event, some good may come out of it. In lieu of giving money to the family, the family requests anyone wanting to honor the memory of James “Craig” Anderson, please contribute to the James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance. Please mail donations to: The James Craig Anderson Foundation for Racial Tolerance c/o The Cochran Firm 162 E. Amite Street Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 812-1000
In an interview with The New York Times last month, family members described Mr. Anderson as a good country cook, a gifted gardener and always genial. They said he liked his job on the assembly line at the Nissan plant, which he had held for about seven years.

Failure to Diagnose vs. Delayed Diagnosis

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Both failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis are medical malpractice issues, but their consequences can be very different. While either one can result in serious harm or even death, failure to diagnose is a much more serious issues as it may entirely eliminate any chance of treating the disease.
Difference between Failure to Diagnose and Delayed Diagnosis
A delayed diagnosis of a serious disease such as cancer can result in a poorer prognosis for the patient, and require invasive emergency medical intervention. By contrast, a failure to diagnose cancer will almost certainly result in death. This is the primary difference between these two types of medical negligence.
Failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis share similarities in how they occur. Either of these issues can arise from medical negligence including:

  • Ignoring patient complaints
  • Failing to provide adequate testing
  • Failing to follow-up on testing
  • Failure to communicate test results to all care providers
  • Misinterpreting test results
  • Failing to obtain a patient’s medical history
  • Assuming a problem is benign

Your healthcare provider has a responsibility to provide you with individualized attention. There is a standard of care that all medical professionals are required to follow. When they fail to do so, you have every right to seek justice and be provided with compensation for the subsequent injuries that occur.
If you or a loved one has suffer from medical malpractice in or around Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, or Ft. Myer, Florida, please contact the attorneys at The Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free initial consultation today.

What to do after a Car Accident

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The steps you take following a car accident will play an important role in your ability to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Taking time to carefully follow these steps will assist our attorneys in building a case to provide you with the full compensation you will require to recover from all of your damages.
The first step to take after a car accident is to check yourself and your passengers for obvious signs of injury. From there, if you are able, you should:

  • Call 911
  • Obtain the personal and insurance information of the other driver
  • Obtain the contact information from any witnesses
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Take pictures of the scene with your cell phone or camera
  • Seek additional medical attention, even if no injuries are apparent

In your interactions with emergency personnel, witnesses, and insurance companies, it is important that you do not admit fault or sign any statements. If you do, you may jeopardize your potential settlement.
You should also contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after even minor car accidents. An attorney will assist you in dealing with insurance, the other driver, and the police. Only a car accident attorney can determine the true value of your claim and make sure you are fully compensated for all of your damages.
If you have been involved in a car accident in or around Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, or Ft. Myers, Florida, please contact the Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Stop Foreclosure

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The first thing you should do if you miss a payment on your home is contact your lender and discuss your situation. Many people try to avoid their lenders, but this is the worst thing you can do. Believe it or not, your lender doesn’t want to foreclose on your home because foreclosure proceedings are expensive. If you communicate with your lender, they may be able to offer you options to resolve your payment problems. Your lender may also suggest alternatives, such as a loan modification, which can prevent foreclosure.
Make sure you are well-informed regarding Florida foreclosure law and your options to avoid foreclosure by speaking with foreclosure attorneys at The Cochran Law Firm – Florida Foreclosure Division.   In a recent Sun-Sentinel article it was reported that the owners of a Miami loan modification company were arrested on criminal charges for defrauding 500 homeowners out of $750,000.
At Cochran Law Firm, a foreclosure lawyer from our team can help you understand your rights and can work with your lender to help you avoid foreclosure. When you set up your free consultation with an attorney, we will discuss alternatives to foreclosure such as reinstatement, forbearance, and loan modification. After you are aware of your options, we can help you decide which course of action will meet your long-term financial goals.
Our team knows that no one wants to lose their home and we understand what you are going through. Our lawyers have helped thousands of homeowners throughout Florida stop foreclosure. We are confident that we can help you, too. Remember, the sooner you get The Cochran Law Firm involved, the sooner we can work with you to prevent foreclosure on your property. Call our law office today at 1-800-The-Firm or contact The Cochran Law Firm Attorneys online to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney at NO COST to you.

Do I Have a Sinkhole?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Sinkholes are a common occurrence in Central Florida. Limestone in Florida is porous which allows rain water to make its way through the ground.  Over time this fresh water will dissolve the limestone. Dissolving limestone has slowly created underground cavities that now exist throughout much of Florida.  When the surface ground collapses on top of the underground cavities the result is a sinkhole.  Due to activity such as withdrawal of groundwater, diversion of surface water, or construction of ponds, the sudden appearance of sinkholes have become more common over the past 25 years.  Sinkholes are not just huge pits swollowing up roads and bridges but are often found to be no more than 3 – 4 feet across and only a few feet deep.  Even a small hole case cause substantial structural damage to any building that happens to be sitting on top of it.
How do you know if your home has been damaged by the presence of a sinkhole?  Here are some signs to look for:

  • Previously hidden tree roots are exposed.
  • Doors and windows fail to close properly.
  • Areas of your property become depressed.
  • Well water becomes muddy or turbid.
  • Structural failure, including cracks in walls, floors, or pavement, becomes evident.
  • Small ponds of rainfall appear where water has not collected before.
  • Fence posts start sagging, or trees begin to slant.
  • Exterior footers are exposed, or soil separates from floor slabs.
  • The ground begins to crack, and vegetation becomes dry and wilted.

In the most recent legislative session, the Florida legislature passed a bill, SB 408, which allows insurance companies to deny sink hole coverage or to assess an additional premium for the coverage.  If you believe you have sinkhole damage to your home it is important that you contact your homeowner’s insurance to make a claim.  Don’t delay.  Once you have received the report or a letter from the insurance company with the results of their investigation, it is important to know your rights in relation to the insurance policy and the law.

Insurance Companies Allowed to Deny Sink Hole Coverage

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

In a recent legislative session, the Florida legislature passed a bill, SB 408,  allowing insurance companies to deny sink hole coverage or to assess an additional premium for that coverage.  If you have or suspect you have sink hole damage, don’t wait.
Often times a homeowner faces a catastrophic lose due to damage created by a sink hole.  This property damage can well exceed the value of the home.  This is not a small claim.  Florida law provides a very specific time period to report sink hole damage to the insurance company in order to obtain coverage.  Failure to report sink hole damage timely would result in your claim being denied.
In conclusion, in light of the catastrophic claims that Trapnell Ridge homeowners are presented with, it would be our strong recommendation that those homeowners  who experience sink hole damage report those claims to the insurance companies as quickly as possible.
Recently, The Cochran Firm, accompanied by a nationally acclaimed geologist, toured 7 homes in the Trapnell Ridge development in Plant City, Florida.  It was determined that all 7 homes were demonstrating signs consistent with sink hole damage and poor soil conditions.  The Cochran Firm is currently investigating available options for the homeowners of Trapnell Ridge.  These options include first party claims against their personal homeowners’ insurance company as well as potential claims against the developers and engineers who originally planned the community.  Preliminary research indicates that a proper investigation prior to construction should have alerted the developer to the soil problems in the area that is causing the ground to be unstable resulting in sink holes.
One question presented by many homeowners is “Why do we have to place our own insurance company on notice?”  Concerns underlying this question include increase in premium and possible termination of coverage.  However, the risk of failing to notify your insurance carrier is far outweighed by the benefits associated with making a claim.  In addition, a claim against your insurance company, generally speaking, is a much simpler claim and more likely to be resolved favorably and in less time.  In light of the new legislation, it is likely that any sink hole coverage contained in a homeowner’s policy will no longer be available once that policy renews.
If a homeowner has or suspects they have damage as the result of a sink hole, it is recommended that they report those claims to the insurance companies as quickly as possible.   If a sink hole claim has already been denied by an insurance company, there may still be other legal options available to homeowners, but action must be taken to protect their rights.