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Raymond Michael O'Donnell II

Raymond O'Donnell’s Answers

9 total

  • Can I sue a hotel for a 2nd degree burn from coffee

    The hotel offers a free continental breakfast and I got a cup of coffee which they had no lids for. I was walking to my room and stopped in the vending area to get a cup of ice. As I was getting the ice the coffee in my right hand spilled and burn...

    Raymond’s Answer

    It's interesting that the responses to your question by my legal collegues are inconsistent in answering your question and no one is technically wrong. This is the nature of negligence cases. There is an entire full length movie dedicated to a hot coffee case that resulted in a significant damages verdict for the Plaintiff who was later vilified in the media and the case was used as the poster child for tort reform. Google "hot coffee trailer" it's on you tube.
    Now here are some thoughts on your case. Some legal principles that apply generally to a negligence case. First, as an individual you are charged with acting in a reasonable manner to safeguard yourself. Next, a property owner is not responsible as an iinsurer for every incident that occurs on the property. However, an inn keeper does owe an invitee a higher standard of care.
    You self served yourself a cup of coffee and it's hot and common sense dictates you should take reasonable measures to protect yourself from injury. Your facts would turn off a jury as you were negligent if we accept the facts as you describe them. Your juggling more than one item e.g. while getting a cup of ice you are holding a hot cup of coffee. In Florida, on the jury verdict form a jury would assign a percentage of your own negligence to this case versus the premises owner's negligence and your damages would be reduced by the percentage of your negligence. We call this comparative fault. Your comparative fault would be significant. Now, we're they negligent and should they have provided lids? Yes, but you could have just as easily chosen not to take a coffee without a lid if you were walking with it or set the cofee down when you went to get ice. In your scenario, even with a lid you still might of been burned, but likely not as bad. In the hot coffee case the Plaintiff's lawyer discovered that the coffee maker thermostat had been tampered with and it was over 180 degrees "scalding" if this is true in your case then the coffee becomes unreasonably hazardous and liability is much easier to prove as if the item is inherently dangerous then the premises owner may be strictly liable. If you were burned and scarred it's possible the coffee maker was set too hot. You need to hire a lawyer and send the hotel a spoliation letter to preserve the coffee pot for testing by an expert. So yes, this could be a case where you are entitled to significant damages over six figures and yes, this may be a case where you were already offered full value. It all depends on the facts. And this is what we trial lawyers all know every case turns on the facts that you can prove! I am sorry you had a bad experience and do consult with a lawyer specializing in personal injury in the state where the incident occurred. This is hardly a full or complete legal analysis it just a few thoughts and the law of each state differs this is from a Florida law perspective. And all the lawyers on both sides are technically correct hopefully this helps clarify why both answers could be right.

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  • I'm at AC mechanic in Florida I was injured at work Dr placed me on light duty .

    the same day the owner called me and told me that he read the doctor report and he was going to send someone to pick up the van and he will return it once I'm back on regular duty and he asked me what kind of work can I do in the meantime I told ...

    Raymond’s Answer

    Confirm that your employer has worker's compensation coverage through their human resources department. Insist that your employer fill out a DWC-1 "Notice of injury" form. You should consult with an attorney who specializes in worker's compensation. It does take the carrier a few days once notified of your loss to pay and there is a short waiting period, but this assumes there is coverage. If your employer is required to carry WC coverage, but does not you can elect remedies and sue your employer for WC or elect to sue under general negligence law. Under a negligence theory you have to prove your employer was negligent, however you get additional rights to recover pain and suffering damages. I would contact your bosses HR department and explain your concerns and ask if the claim was reported to the WC carrier. Then get a claim number and call the insurance company's adjuster. If you get the run around look for a lawyer specializing in Worker's Compensation.

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  • Suing for pain and suffering in small claims court?

    If you sue and win, would your judgment be subject to med pay from your insurer? If my insurer paid 5k in medical bills, would they ask for the 5k back if I get a judgment in small claims? I know if I sue in civil court, that they have a lien and ...

    Raymond’s Answer

    I would agree with my colleague that the insurer may recover Medpay "sometimes" . This concept of recovery is called subrogation, that is paying back money paid on your behalf under a contract. In Florida where I practice the carrier must include subrogation recovery into the insurance contract in order to recover. Not all carriers will write a med pay subrogation clause into their contracts. Other jurisdictions may be different. There are common law concepts that can also apply, generally the law does not allow you the plaintiff to be compensated twice for the same damages. You can't get paid twice for the same damages and here your medical bills were paid by your ins. carrier. If the Jury awards you those damages in a small claims trial you are not entitled to collect them "twice". However, there are various types of damages and this subrogation only applies to your medical bills. You can argue you have pain and suffering, or wage loss and those damages are not subject to subrogation.

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  • Is it legal for an insurance company to change policy?

    Recently, my insurance company changed my policy from full coverage to liability without me knowing. This caused my lien holders insurance to kick in which is significantly higher. The change was because they claimed that my license was suspended ...

    Raymond’s Answer

    Generally, questions like this are governed by the laws in your state and the insurance contract language . Generally, the answer to your question is no the insurance carrier can not materially change your policy without notice. Notice means they sent you something by e-mail or letter at the address you provided to them. If you do not update your e-mail or address and the notice is sent to the old address tha notice will count evenif you did not receive it. It sounds like you were made whole after pointing out the error so you do not have much in the way of contract damages in this instance.

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  • Can I bring a lawsuit against Aflac for breach of contract?

    I obtained a policy from a Aflac agent from my work. I had to call and ask for a copy of my policy since they never sent it to me. The policy wasn't what I believed it was so I sent the policy back for a refund of the money I had paid them up to t...

    Raymond’s Answer

    When you buy insurance your premium covers you for specific periods of time. When you purchased the policy and paid premium you were covered pursuant to the terms of the contract. Your premium purchased coverage as stated. If you later want a refund they can only return your unearned premium. If you were mislead as to the benefits you purchased by the agent you may have a legal claim depending on the representations of the agent you can prove and the laws in your state that apply to purchase and sale of insurance contracts. Also if the contract has language that authorizes a refund and you meet the contractual terms you may be entitled to a legal recovery under a breach of contract theory. Hiring a law on a hourly basis is not cost effective for your claim. You need to find a lawyer who specializes in insurance and will take your claim on a contingent fee basis I if permitted I your state.

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  • I was assaulted by a doctor whom I was referred to by Social Security for an evaluation - I have a police report.

    I am being interviewed by the Medical board because I made a complaint against the doctor. Do I need an attorney? Who is responsible?

    Raymond’s Answer

    As a former deputy prosecutor I learned that nothing ever happens in a vacuum. What this means is the likelihood the doctor randomly assaulted you is remote. It's of course possible and I was not there. In such instances independent witness identification is very important to corroborate your version of the events. Get names addresses and telephone numbers of any witness who favor your version of the events recorded now if you can. The doctor who is being evaluated by a disciplinary board and whose livelihood is at stake should be taking the issue seriously. This means he will likely have a lawyer and will offer legal reasons to justify his or her actions if any. In this context it is wise to have a lawyer. Since you are not charged with a crime you are not entitled to a public defender. You would have to retain counsel. If the assault caused you injuries and you were not the first aggressor you should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine your rights. The PI lawyer may assist you in collateral proceedings such as the medical boards investigation depending on his or her discretion. A Medicare doctor has no additional protections from law suits that I am currently aware of. The doctor may blame you for the incident which could lead to criminal Prosecution be prepared for that possibility, although it is not likely if the complaint has a gap in reporting to the authorities such cases are infrequently pursued unless very severe.
    Stay calm and cooperate in the investigation.

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  • Where do i get settlement from?

    Ok i was in horrific. car accident six months ago i was in front passenger seat in my mothers car.A teenager was texting & crossed double lines & hit us headon doing 70 mph.i was airlifted to.hospital spent two weekks there.I have huge permanant s...

    Raymond’s Answer

    The reason the other lawyers cannot answer your question about the umbrella policy is related to many factors that are unknown. The language in the policy will determine whether you are a named insured or an omnibus insured that is to say someone who is eligible to collect from the various policies. There are different kinds of coverages on an umbrella policy bi covers the insured for bodily injury that the insured negligently causes to another. Uninsured motorist coverage covers a named insured if the at fault party has no insurance at all or is under insured and occupants in the insurers vehicle depending on the policy language. If the umbrella has um you may be able to collect up to 1 mil and may have to share this sum with others also injured in the accident. If the driver of your vehicle was negligent and has a bi umbrella you can collect your money damages up to the amount of their fault. (Fault is assigned by the jury). Also in a case like yours if your state has a a bad faith statute and the carrier fails to timely tender the 50k you may after a jury trial and an award of a verdict in excess of the 100k coverage 50 plus 50 you may have the opportunity to recover excess from any carrier acting in bad faith. Such claims are not uncommon in high damage cases. It is best to call and schedule an appointment with your lawyer to discuss these issues. Set an appointment to provide your lawyer time to address specific questions at the appt. You have the right to change lawyers if you deem it necessary but your lawyer may retain a lien for services actually performed. Also, texting and driving can lead to punitive damages if proven, your lawyer can amend the Complaint if evidence in the case supports gross negligence. There are strategy issues involved in whether this type of amendment may or may not be appropriate.
    It is a slow process, keep a pain journal daily so you remember the low points for trial or mediation lets hope you have full access to all coverages and than your friend for being wise enough to purchase an umbrella policy.

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  • Do I have a right to file a cross motion for summary judgment to be heard at the same time as a MSJ of the opposing party?

    Defendants filed a MSJ over a year ago. Simultaneously, they filed a motion to set it for hearing, without ever contacting me about possible hearing dates. I filed a written opposition to the motion to set if for hearing. I filed a notice of un...

    Raymond’s Answer

    You should research whether your case is "at issue" for a jury trial while there is a Motion for Summary Judgment pending. You might not be able to notice for jury trial with the MSJ motion pending. You could also move for an ex parte motion to shorten the time for filing your moving papers on the Motion for Summary Judgment. The Judge has discretion to shorten the time for filing in certain situations. Be sure to check the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to be sure this applies to Motions for Summary Judgment. The judge might permit the motion to shorten but is not correct this could cause appellate issues later. Good luck.

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  • Can a trial happen if I have no attornrey

    Can they try me with no attorney for me present

    Raymond’s Answer

    You did not clarify the question to let us know if you are facing a criminal charge (jail time or fine) or a civil trial (money damages). The right to the assistance of counsel is a fundamental right guaranteed to all criminal defendants facing jail time exceeding one year. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution provides that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the assistance of counsel for his defense." This right is repeated in the FLA. CONST. art. I, § 16(a) ("In all criminal prosecutions the accused . . . shall have the right . . . to be heard in person, by counsel or both . . . .")
    In civil proceedings you do not have a "right" to an attorney. However, certain legal organizations such as "legal aid" may assist or provide you with an attorney when serious rights are in jeopardy such as the custody of a child. "Legal Aid" is free if you qualify and provided by the financial support of the Florida Bar its members and the community at large. You can find a listing for legal aid in the the front section of the traditional white pages of the telephone book or use 411 and or your computer to find your local office. Here is the contact information for West Palm Beach Florida: The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County 423 Fern St #200, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 Phone: 561-655-8944 - or on the web www.legalaidpbc.org. If you need a criminal attorney contact the local public defenders office in West Palm Beach to see if you qualify.
    Regards,

    Michael O.

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