When Should a Child Brought In for Questioning Cooperate with Law Enforcement?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Your child should always cooperate with law enforcement, without admitting fault for any specific crimes. If your child is questioned as a juvenile offender by police officers, your child should not confess or deny any offenses that law enforcement asks about.

In Florida, your child can be questioned without you present. Law enforcement is supposed to contact the parents in this situation, but it is legal for questioning to begin before you arrive.

At the Cochran Firm South Florida, we represent juveniles charged with various criminal offenses, including:

If your child did admit to a crime when questioned, a judge must determine whether your child was aware of his or her rights. If not, the confession may be dismissed. Like an adult, your child has certain rights when suspected of a criminal offense. Our lawyers can determine whether these rights were violated at any point during your child’s questioning and arrest.

If you or a family member has been charged with a crime, please contact the Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free consultation with experienced criminal defense lawyers in Miami.

Choosing a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

After being injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. The services offered by a workers’ compensation lawyer may be vital to recovering the benefits to which you are entitled. Your workers’ compensation lawyer should possess:
  • Dedication to recovering the full amount of benefits you are due.
  • Extensive experience handling workers’ compensation claims.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Florida workers’ compensation laws.
If you attempt to file for your benefits on your own, you may soon find that the insurance company has offered you less than you deserve. When you consult a workers’ compensation lawyer, he or she should demonstrate a commitment to pursuing the maximum amount of compensation. To recover these benefits, your lawyer must have experience and pertinent knowledge. An experienced lawyer understands what steps need to be taken, and knows how to communicate with the insurance company and other involved parties. An experienced lawyer will not back down from these parties. A lawyer who knows the workers’ compensation laws in Florida can competently fight for the benefits you were promised. If you are searching for a workers’ compensation lawyer in Miami, please contact the Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule a free initial consultation.

Defining a Jones Act Employee

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The Jones Act is designed to protect the rights of seamen and provide for compensation in the event of injury. However, as used in the Jones Act, “seamen” is a term of art, not explicitly defined in the Jones Act, passed in 1920, or anywhere in the United States Code. However, in 1927 Congress passed complementary legislation to the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which covers workers other than a worker covered by the Jones Act, which it described as being “a master or member of a crew of any vessel,” which became the test for Jones Act employees. Courts further established the 30% rule, which basically says that to be considered a seaman for the purposes of the Jones Act, an employee must spend 30% of his or her employment hours on the ship. Other times, a stricter standard is applied: a person must have a more-or-less permanent assignment on one or more vessels and should contribute to the vessel’s function. Still not sure you’re a “seaman” under the terms of the Jones Act? We can help you figure it out. Please call 1-800 THE FIRM or email The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation.

Slip and Fall Accidents in Cruise Ship Restaurants

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you are dining in one of the numerous restaurants on a cruise ship, you have a right to expect that you will be reasonably safe before, during, and after your meal. However, there are significant slip and fall, as well as trip and fall risks associated with cruise ship restaurants.

One of the main risks is that cruise ship restaurants are often designed to look good, not necessarily to remain safe. One potential risk that can cause a cruise ship accident is that the beautiful, polished flooring in the restaurant may look nice and may initially be safe, but may become dangerous when wet. Polished stone surfaces are not generally recommended for areas where spills are likely to occur.

Another risk is that the ship may rock and tip excessively, making it a challenge to walk safely. This effect can be amplified by the location of the restaurants, which are often put at the fore or aft of the ship and off to one side or another. Excessive speed used by cruise ships to make ports of call on time can also increase this effect, and often occurs during mealtimes when all passengers are shipboard.

Finally, because the space on cruise ships is limited, engineers work hard to crowd as much as possible into a given volume, which can result in irregular floors and unexpected steps up and down, a serious tripping hazard.

If you have suffered a slip and fall or trip and fall accident on a cruise ship, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida in Miami for a free case evaluation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

In general, two years, but it may depend on the type of personal injury lawsuit you are pursuing. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit has a strict statute of limitations that begins on the date of death and expires exactly two years later.

Medical malpractice, however, is modified by what is known as a discovery rule. This rule means that the statute of limitations does not begin until you discover the malpractice or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice. However, you are further limited to bringing action only within four years after the date of malpractice, regardless of the date of discovery. Finally, this statute only applies to adults and minors age 8 or older. Below that, lawsuits are allowed up until the age of 8, even for some types of birth injury.

Products liability also have a discovery rule that allows lawsuits to be undertaken up to 4 years after the date of actual or reasonable discovery, but only if the injury occurred within the first 12 years after a product was first delivered to market. This 12-year “Statute of Repose” can be extended if there was an intentional concealment of a dangerous product defect.

As you can see, the rules governing how much time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit are complex. Because it often takes time to prepare for a successful filing in this type of lawsuit, is always best to act quickly once you suspect you may have a valid claim.

To learn more about your legal rights and options in a personal injury lawsuit, please call 1-800 The Firm or email The Cochran Firm South Florida and receive a free case evaluation.

Understanding Wrongful Death Law

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Wrongful death has not always been a recognized area in personal injury law. It used to be that when a person died, any claim they had to a personal injury lawsuit died with them. However, we have come to recognize that every person’s life is intertwined with many others, and that the death of a parent or spouse is an injury to the surviving family members.

To apply this understanding, the Florida legislature adopted the first statutes creating wrongful death law in 1899. At first, that may seem like a long time ago, but when you consider that many elements of personal injury law go back to English common law, which, according to scholars, developed during the period from 1066 to 1215, with the first major codifications coming under King Henry II between 1154 and 1189. And our current wrongful death statutes are much, much newer, being first proposed in 1975.

Why does it matter that wrongful death law derives from statute and not from common law? The difference is that many cases deriving from common law can be argued by parallels and general understandings among the community, but with statutory law, there is no authority but the statutes to apply to. The Florida Supreme Court has shown again and again that, except where provided by the articles themselves, it interprets the law very closely to what it perceives is the legislative intent.

To succeed, a wrongful death case must also be very closely based on the wrongful death laws.

At The Cochran Firm South Florida, we can apply the laws to help you understand whether you may be able to receive compensation after the loss of a loved one. Please contact us today for a free case evaluation. Helping clients in the Miami, Florida area.

Paralysis Injury Claims Lawyers

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you or a loved one has suffered full or partial paralysis as a result of an accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. The personal injury lawyers at The Cochran Firm South Florida are prepared to fight for you. After a spine injury, you not only deserve compensation, you need it just to be able to make ends meet.

After a paralysis injury, you need compensation for many reasons. First, there are the costs associated with your injury. Medical tests alone to determine the nature and extent of your injury can cost thousands of dollars, and you would be surprised at how much of it may not be covered by your insurance. Physical therapy and rehabilitative surgery also take years to complete, and are very expensive and are not often successful, requiring multiple re-treatments.

On top of this, your earning ability is immediately diminished. If you are lucky, you may be able to return to some position at your former place of employment with light duties and a reduced salary, but most likely you will have to look for another job, with dramatically reduced salary, and you may need retraining to be eligible for the type of employment you can take. Others may not be able to work at all. In these cases, just meeting your set obligations is a major challenge.

Finally, you deserve additional compensation for the impact your injury has on your life. After a paralysis injury, you may not be able to enjoy many of the activities you enjoyed before the accident. Your diminished quality of life cannot be restored with compensation, but perhaps there are some luxuries that can distract you from the dim realities of your injury.

To learn what compensation you may be able to receive after a paralysis injury, please contact a personal injury lawyer at The Cochran Firm South Florida in Miami.

Medical Malpractice: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you’re thinking, “Huh?” you’re not alone. Few people know about this approach to medical malpractice lawsuits. Res ipsa loquitur is Latin for “the thing speaks for itself,” and it’s an approach to proving medical malpractice that, despite its erudite name, is very commonsense.

The normal approach for proving medical malpractice is to show that there was an act or failure to act by the doctor that was inconsistent with the best practices in the medical community, and that act or omission led to your injury. This can be hard to prove when the doctor and others in the room at the time of your procedure are less than forthcoming about what happened.

We can, however, make a res ipsa loquitur argument, which shows: your injury doesn’t normally happen without negligence and your doctor or other medical practitioner was in control of the instrumentalities responsible for your injury. Your doctor or medical practitioner is likely the only one with sufficient knowledge to tell whether negligence is or is not responsible for your injury.

In response, the medical practitioner must then prove that they were not negligent. Essentially, we have reversed the burden of proof, forcing your doctor to give the clearest account possible of what happened to cause your injury.

Res ipsa loquitur is a powerful tool in some types of medical malpractice case, but not all cases can be handled this way.

To learn whether your medical malpractice lawsuit may be likely to succeed using this or another tactic, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation.

Wrongful Death as a Result of Medical Malpractice

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Sadly, it seems doctors may kill nearly as many patients as they save. Based on studies from a number of different research groups, including the Institute of Medicine, as many as 200,000 Americans may die every year as a result of preventable medical errors, legally described as medical malpractice resulting in wrongful death. That would make it the third leading cause of death in this country, after heart disease and cancer.

Part of the problem goes beyond doctors, but to a culture of for-profit medicine, where a doctor’s time becomes a commodity that has to be carefully invested, not too much in any one patient, but spread around. When we look at the common causes of death due to preventable medical error, it’s easy to see that a little more attention and time would go a long way:

  • Failure to diagnose or treat
  • Unexpected death in a low-risk hospitalization
  • Pressure sores
  • Pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis after surgery
  • Respiratory failure after surgery

More of a doctor’s time spent listening to patients and looking at their charts, could easily lead to more successful diagnosis and treatment of conditions that can be hard to identify. Better screening of patients for risk conditions would reduce “unexpected deaths.” Time spent turning bedridden patients, especially nursing home patients, will reduce the incidence of bedsores. And screening of patients before surgery and monitoring after surgery will reduce anesthesia errors that result in death.

Unfortunately, for-profit medicine doesn’t hear your cries of grief. It doesn’t care about your loss of a treasured loved one. For-profit medicine only listens when money talks. A medical malpractice lawsuit is a way to express your grief, your loss, and your anger in a language that for-profit medicine can hear and understand.

To learn more about seeking compensation with a medical malpractice lawsuit, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida, helping victims in and around Miami, Florida.

Symptoms of Mild TBI

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Mild TBI, also known as concussion or minor head trauma is the most prevalent form of traumatic brain injury. However, names such as “mild” or “minor” are misnomers as even seemingly insignificant injuries can have serious consequences. Up to  15% of people who suffer mild TBI will have symptoms that persist for a year or more. And once a person suffers an initial mild TBI, the risk of serious brain injury associated with additional minor head trauma goes up significantly. Furthermore, because mild head trauma doesn’t show up in imaging scans and may not present itself obviously at first, it is often missed at the scene of the accident, making it more crucial that you watch for symptoms of injury.

Some of the more common symptoms associated with mild TBI include:

  • Memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Visual disturbance
  • Emotional changes, including depression
  • Seizures

These symptoms may seem minor, but if you experience them after suffering a head injury, you should report them to a doctor.

Getting compensation for injuries that are classified as mild TBI can be difficult, since insurance companies will argue that your injuries are imagined or fraudulent, using evidence such as the speed of the crash or the damage to your vehicle to support their claim. However, with the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, it is often possible to receive compensation for these types of injuries.

To learn more about your rights and legal options, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free initial consultation.