Florida Personal Injury – What are Tort Claims?

Tort Claims

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Have you ever been hurt by someone who wasn’t being careful or wasn’t paying attention? Or maybe you’ve been hurt by someone acting in a completely unsafe way. If you or your children are hurt in this way, you have the right to file a tort claim, with the help of a Florida personal injury attorney, whether the action causing the damage was intended or not.

So if you are walking down the side of the road and someone shoots a gun off into the air and the bullet hits you, you can file a tort claim against the shooter. That’s because, even if that person didn’t intend to hurt you, they fired a gun in a way that was foreseeable someone could be hurt. They were negligent about their actions. A Florida personal injury attorney would be able to help you with this case.

This type of case would be considered a civil trial. That means that the defendant does not go to jail (though in cases like firing a gun at someone, there could also be a criminal trial) but may be ordered to pay you financial damages. That money is used to pay you back for medical bills, lost wages, and possibly pain and suffering if you suffered problems as a result of what the defendant did. Your  Florida personal injury attorney will help you compile all the information about your injury (your injuries may be mental or physical) and will help determine the appropriate amount of money damages that you will seek to recover.

If you have been injured by someone else’s carelessness contact Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore right away. They will give you a free consultation as well as legal advice. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the sooner they can help you put your life back in order.


Preventing Construction Site Fatalities

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One of the most common jobs in America is also one of the most dangerous. Every day, construction workers face a multitude of dangers; an accident on the job could result in serious injury or even death.  Out of 775 total construction fatalities in 2012, more than one-third were fall-related. Many of those deaths were preventable. At Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore, our personal injury attorneys in Tampa want to share some tips to help keep you safe from falls and other accidents on the job.

The best policy while on the job is the most common-sense one: play it safe. Contractors can prevent falls from heights on their worksites by following a few common-sense standards:

  • Plan ahead to ensure safety before starting every job.
  • Provide maintained and proper equipment for working at heights.
  • Train workers to use the equipment properly and to work safely on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other partners, launched the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction in April of 2012 as a government-labor-management program. The campaign encourages residential-construction companies and others in the industry to work safely at heights and use the correct equipment. Campaign partners are encouraged to participate in discussions amongst owners, managers, and other employees about falls and how to prevent them. For more information about joining the campaign, visit the campaign website at https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/

If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a construction fall or accident, click here or call Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore at (813) 225-4000 to speak to an experienced Tampa Bay accident lawyer. Our attorneys would be glad to discuss your situation with you and help lay out your options.

Product Liability

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At Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore, we have seen many product liability cases over the years. Product liability arises when a defective product injures a consumer who was using the product as manufacturers intended. There are generally three types of product liability: (1) defective manufacture; (2) defective design; and (3) inadequate warning or instruction for proper use of a product.

Defectively manufactured products were flawed at some point during the fabrication process. They are usually different from the other products on the shelf. For example, a tainted batch of cough syrup poisoned by a contaminate would constitute a defectively manufactured product.

Defectively designed products are inherently flawed as a group due to their dangerous design. The whole line of products is dangerous even when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed perfectly.  For example, a line of sunglasses which do not protect the wearer’s eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun would be considered a defectively designed product.

Inadequate warning or instruction claims arise when a product is dangerous in some way that is not obvious to the average consumer. For example, a corrosive, chemical paint remover that is sold without adequate instructions for its safe handling and use would fall in this category.

Product liability has again been in the news lately, this time involving General Motors, which has settled more than 300 claims of wrongful death or personal injury following32 accidents tied to a defective ignition switch. The defect, which can shut off the power while the car is in motion, disabling its airbags and impeding the steering and brake systems, has forced the company to recall more than 2.6 million of its small cars. There are currently 53 claims of wrongful death and 273 personal injury claims involving the recalled vehicles. While it is unclear if the underlying problem is a manufacturing defect or a design defect, GM has claimed responsibility and said it plans to compensate victims in the class action suit.


The Tampa accident firm of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore works hard to protect the rights and resources of individuals injured by defective products. Click here or call us today at (813) 225-4000 for a consultation with an experienced Tampa Bay personal injury attorney.

Injuries on Airplanes

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Many studies have demonstrated that passengers in airplanes are often more safe than they would be in their own kitchens. Still, while serious in-flight injuries from airplane mishaps are rare, they do occur. Injured passengers may pursue legal claims against the airline, its employees, aircraft and component manufacturers, or even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Here is a look at a few common in-flight accidents and some general information about what legal claims are available if you have been injured while on an airplane.

Many in-flight injuries are caused by loose items, such as luggage falling out of overhead bins or food carts rolling down the aisles. Some passengers suffer injuries from falling or bumping into objects as they move through the cabin. Turbulence also causes a number of in-flight accidents, especially when passengers are standing or walking as the pilot has allowed. .

Airplane injury claims are grouped according to what or who caused the accident.

  • Claims Based on Negligence. If the accident was caused by the carelessness or inattention of an airline employee—such as a pilot, flight attendant, maintenance worker, or ground crew member—then standard negligence requirements usually apply. Generally, for negligence claims, the plaintiff must show that reasonable care was required of but not performed by the defendant.
  • Common Carrier Standard. Entities that transport the public for a fee, such as airlines, fall under a legal category called “common carriers.” The law imposes specific and heightened duties of care on common carriers. In Florida, the reasonable care required of a common carrier for the safety of passengers is the “highest degree of care” consistent with the type of transportation and the practical operation of the business. All of the airline employees owe a heightened duty of care to protect passengers from potential harm as they board the plane, travel on the aircraft, and disembark from the plane.
  • Product Liability Claims. In some cases, the aircraft or a part of the aircraft is responsible for an injury. Even if the airline employees were acting with necessary care, injuries from a defective aircraft or equipment can befall a passenger. For example, if a design defect causes an overhead bin to become unlatched during flight and the passenger below is injured by falling luggage, they may have a claim against the overhead bin manufacturer. However, if an airline employee knew of the problem and failed to take steps to have the faulty part repaired or replaced, the airline may also be responsible.

If you or a loved one has been injured on an airplane, then you should seek an experienced attorney to help you determine if you have a claim against the airline or its affiliates. The Tampa Bay personal injury attorneys of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore fight aggressively to protect the rights of the injured every day. Click here or call us today at (813) 225-4000 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable Florida injury lawyer from WM.