Skip to main content


Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

By Tort, Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating experiences a person can go through, especially if their death was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. In Florida, when a person dies due to the misconduct or negligence of another party, it may give rise to a wrongful death claim. As a personal injury attorney based in Sarasota, I understand the complexity of these cases and the need for both legal guidance and emotional support during such challenging times.

Who can file a Wrongful Death Claim?

Florida law specifies who can file a wrongful death claim. Generally, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased are considered eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, then the siblings or other relatives who were dependent on the deceased person for support or services may have the right to file a claim. However, the process can be complex, and consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to ensure that all the eligible parties are included in the claim.

Seeking Justice for Loved Ones

When pursuing a wrongful death claim in Florida, several key elements need to be proved. These include showing:

  1. The death of a person occurred.
  2. The negligence or wrongful act of another party caused the death.
  3. The surviving family members or dependents have suffered measurable damages as a result of the death.
  4. A personal representative has been appointed to represent the estate of the deceased.

To seek justice for loved ones, it is vital to gather evidence to support these elements. This may include witness statements, police reports, medical records, expert opinions, and any other relevant documentation that can help establish the negligence or misconduct on behalf of the responsible party. Our team knows how to navigate this process effectively to build a strong case on behalf of the survivors.

Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims

If successful, wrongful death claims in Florida can provide compensation for various damages. These may include:

  1. Funeral and burial expenses.
  2. Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s injury or illness.
  3. Loss of financial support and services provided by the deceased.
  4. Loss of consortium and companionship.
  5. Mental anguish, pain and suffering, and emotional distress experienced by the survivors.

Each case is unique, and the amount of compensation awarded will depend on various factors. These factors include age, income, and relationship of the survivors to the deceased person.

Bringing a wrongful death claim can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Therefore, having the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal system and fight for justice on behalf of your loved ones is crucial. Contact our firm today to better understand your options and a path forward.

Who is responsible for dog bites on the job?

What to Do if You’re Bitten by a Dog on the Job

By Tort, Workers Compensation

Being bitten by a dog while working can be a scary and traumatic experience. Whether you work for a postal service, delivery company, or any other occupation that requires you to enter people’s properties, there is always a risk of dog bites. If this happens, it is important to know what actions to take next.

If you are bitten by a dog while working, it is typically considered a workers’ compensation claim. This means that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance would cover medical expenses and lost wages related to the injury. However, if the dog was owned by a third party and not related to your job duties, it may also be considered a personal injury claim. It is important to report the incident to your employer immediately and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Does Worker’s Compensation Apply?

Worker’s compensation is a benefit provided to employees who are injured at work as a result of their job duties. When it comes to dog bites, worker’s compensation may only apply if the bite occurred while the employee was carrying out their job. If an employee is bitten by a dog while working, their first step should be to seek medical attention immediately. Even small bites can quickly become infected, and it is essential to get appropriate care as soon as possible.

After seeking medical attention, the employee should inform their employer right away. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should cover any medical expenses and lost wages if the employee is required to take time off work to recover from their injury. However, a workers’ compensation claim may not apply if the employee was bitten while not in the course and scope of their work.

Personal Injury vs. Worker’s Compensation

In some situations, a dog bite at work may not be eligible for worker’s compensation and may instead be considered a personal injury claim. This is particularly true if the bite occurred on a property outside of the employee’s job duties.  If a dog bites an employee off the clock or during their lunch break, they may still seek compensation from the owner of the dog under the premises liability doctrine.

It should be noted that worker’s compensation cases may be paid out more quickly than personal injury claims. Personal injury claims can be lengthy, requiring extensive documentation and investigation. While the victim will likely recover more financial compensation in personal injury cases, these claims can take years to resolve.

Who’s Responsible?

Florida Statute 767.04 states that: “The owner of any dog that bites any person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness”

In plain terms, if a dog bites someone, regardless if it is a worker or not, the owner of the dog is strictly responsible for the injury caused. The responsibility extends to any medical expenses incurred by the victim, lost wages, and even damages for pain and suffering. If the owner has homeowner’s, business, or renter’s insurance, the claim would be made against the owner’s policy, which typically includes third-party liability.

To avoid dog bites in the workplace, employers should have proper training procedures and protocols in place for their employees. Employers must also be cautious when interacting with dogs and are expected to follow any policies imposed by building owners where the employee is working.

We Can Help

Ultimately, if bitten by a dog while working, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure medical treatment is received as soon as possible. Employees should inform their employers about the incident and seek medical attention immediately after the incident. The employer or employee should contact an attorney to determine whether the dog bite constitutes a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim against the dog owner.

If you or someone you know has experienced a dog bite while on the job, contact our office today, and our team will help you establish a path forward.


Close up of the definition of the word tort

The Florida Tort Reform Bill

By Law, Tort

Our team has been cautiously observing the developments of the New Tort Reform Bill. This new legislation imposes several changes to the current tort laws, which will decidedly impact how personal injury cases are litigated in the State of Florida.

Synopsis of the Florida Tort Reform Bill

The bill is a comprehensive reform in seven areas of the insurance claims process and the associated lawsuits filed by claimants in Florida. There are some “easy” examples as to how this will affect you and some extremely complex/nuanced examples as well that are hard to grasp unless you’ve been through a claim before. I will attempt to break down the two major changes of this bill that will affect every Floridian.

Examples To Help Understand Changes

Underpaid and Denied Insurance Claims

First, the bill is going to take away any practical ability for you to fight a denied or underpaid insurance claim unless you are able to afford an attorney out of your pocket. This means when a tree falls on your house that results in $15,000.00 worth of damage, the insurance carrier can (and will) offer any amount they want (say $5,000.00 in this example). When you argue with the insurance carrier about the fair value of the claim, their response will be “sue us.” Currently, when that happens if you prove there was an underpayment of even a dollar, the court awards you the rightful amount of claim and a separate amount for the attorneys’ fees that you incurred fighting the underpayment. During the debate on the floor, Representative Gregory (house bill sponsor) and Representative Hutson (senate bill sponsor said) said it is time for Florida to go back to the “pay your own attorney” system. This means that you will now have to either 1) pay an attorney out of your pocket without the ability to be paid back for that expense to pursue the insurance carrier’s underpayment or 2) agree to have the attorney take a portion of the claim for their fees (in the above example that means that you would agree to pay the attorney their fees and costs out of the $10,000.00 that you would recover in the lawsuit).

The practical ability of this is that the general public will not have the money to fight underpayments of claims. A similar (but significantly smaller) type of reform recently went into effect for hurricane claims, and the insurance carriers immediately started to underpay and delay claims since there was no practical way for the common Floridian to fight them.

The above example will apply to health insurance denials and underpayments, renters insurance claims, life insurance claims, total loss claims for vehicle accidents, repairs for vehicle accidents, and any other insurance claim that you may make directly against your insurance company.

When You Cause an Injury

Second, in claims where you did something wrong and are ultimately sued, the bill takes away the current protections requiring your insurance company to defend you and attempt to settle the claim within your policy limits. Using an auto accident example, if you rear-end someone your insurance carrier has a duty to defend you and attempt to resolve your claim within whatever policy limits you have (this is referred to as the “duty of good faith”). I can assure you unless you are vastly underinsured, every personal injury attorney in Florida will provide an opportunity for your insurance carrier to resolve the claim within policy limits at some point in the claims process (explained further below).

If the insurance carrier fails to settle your claim and your case proceeds to trial resulting in a judgment above your policy limits, you can then point the finger back at your insurance company and say “Why didn’t you settle my claim within policy limits when you had the opportunity to?” If the insurance carrier didn’t act in “good faith,” the insurance carrier will then be responsible for the full payment of the judgment, regardless of your policy limit (this is referred to as “bad faith”). The new law eviscerates the practical ability to raise any bad-faith argument, meaning that the insurance carriers will be off the hook for excess judgments. Under the new law, after a judgment is entered against you the insurance carrier will pay your policy limit, then you’ll be responsible for the remaining judgment amount. You will (practically) no longer be able to point the finger back at the insurance carrier for failing to settle the claim within your policy limits. Unfortunately, this is going to devastate small businesses when their employees cause accidents and also result in garnishments and asset forfeitures against people who cause accidents.

Other Provisions Included in the Tort Reform Package

There is a lot more to the bill, including limitations on medical damages recoverable in personal injury cases (without any ability for an injured person to apply those limitations to the bill they have to pay), takes away the attorney-client privilege in certain situations (meaning that you will not be able to openly speak with your attorney about certain aspects of your claim), creates an absolute bar to recovery if you are found to be 51% for causing your injury (this will apply mainly to premises liability/slip-and-fall cases which result in some of the worst injuries I see as an attorney), provides a pass to landlords who do not keep their property safe from known dangers as long certain, very minimal, security measures are met (locks and lights along with some other requirements), reduce the time to file a claim from 4 years to 2 years (candidly this is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme), and will make it virtually impossible for victims of crime to receive compensation for their injuries (the Parkland parents adamantly opposed this bill alongside Miya Marcano’s parents).


    1. The statute of limitations for all negligence causes of action accruing after 3/24/23 was changed from four years to two years;
    2. Safe harbors and a clearer standard for insurance bad faith claims were enacted, and, the insured’s and his representative’s conduct are now relevant;
    3. Efficient options were created for fast-tracking court or arbitration resolution of coverage disputes where a declination of coverage has been issued (and a reservation of rights does not constitute a declination for this purpose);
    4. Comparative negligence is now hybrid; if a plaintiff is more than 50% responsible, recovery is barred, and in a related provision, judges or juries may consider the liability of bad actors who cause intentional harm in their assessments of liability;
    5. Fee multipliers are largely eliminated, and one-way attorney’s fees opportunities are greatly restricted;
    6. Greater transparency about and reasonableness keyed to amounts actually paid or payable by health care coverage, CPT codes, and Medicare/Medicare schedules are mandated as to medical bills and Letters of Protection;
    7. New protections have been created for certain premises liability defendants who institute enumerated safety precautions; compliance with some is required now, and compliance with others is required by January 1, 2025.
    8. In addition to substantive changes, the new law addresses procedural issues as well; significant litigation is expected over whether some of the procedural changes will apply retroactively, even if the substantive changes do not.
    9. Legal challenges to the new law are expected and imminent;
    10. Different approaches will be required for cases filed before and cases filed after 3/24/23.

It is our belief that state legislators should propose legislation that focuses on protecting the rights of the people and ensuring that they receive fair compensation for injuries caused by others’ negligence. It is our obligation as lawyers to fight for our clients’ rights and advocate for justice, and we stand ready to do so tirelessly.

Still Have Questions?

To schedule a consultation, contact us using the button below, or call 941-559-GLAW (4529).