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Linda C Sweeting

Linda Sweeting’s Answers

4 total

  • Can my attorney request signatures on blank documents and notarize after i leave

    these were interrogatories being sent to the opposing attorney in a personal injury case

    Linda’s Answer

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    That is not acceptable. A document should be completed and you should have reviewed and approved all of its contents for accuracy before signing it. You should sign in the presence of the notary; and the notary should sign and seal the document in his/ her presence. This is not only an ethical issue for the attorney, but it is one for the notary as well. From the attorney's perspective, it really is not worth the "risk" to take such "shortcuts".

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  • I fell in a shopping mall from a fire sprinkler leaking above. I was visiting with family to recover from previous back injury

    I had surgery five weeks earlier. I am worried about medical care that would be included in a settlement with the mall. My lawyer seems to be willing to ask for a small settlement that seems not enough for problems with more existing back proble...

    Linda’s Answer

    I can only add that you should ask your attorney to help you evaluate your damages. Sit down with him or her and review the facts pertaining to liability as well as damages thoroughly. Any attorney representing you should be willing and eager to do that with you.

    Damages have to be considered in light of your pre-existing injury. You and your attorney will want to know if any qualified medical provider believes within reasonable medical probability that your fall at the mall has aggravated your pre-existing injury and/ or have you sustained any new injury as a result of the fall. If so, to what extent?

    At a certain point, when you have reached maximum medical improvement from any additional injuries you may have sustained as a result of the fall, your medical provider may be able to quantify the percent of impairment you suffered to the whole body from the pre-existing condition and surgery, and what additional percent of impairment you suffered to the whole body from this most recent fall (if any). However, since you had not reached maximum medical improvement from the pre-existing condition for which you had surgery five weeks earlier, a physician may not be able to separate the two. Then, if you go to trial on the fall in the mall case, that may end up being a question of fact for the jury to decide.

    Ask your lawyer to guide you through the entire equation of damages that are available to you in the State of Florida for personal injuries suffered as a result of another's negligence (past medical expenses, future medical expenses, loss of past wages or any future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, disability/ impairment).

    Your lawyer should also be able to guide you through the question of LIABILITY. The fact that you slipped and fell in a mall does not necessarily mean that the mall is liable or responsible in any way. And even if liability is clear, there is the question of CAUSATION. What injuries and damages did the fall at the mall cause (and which may have already been pre-existing). Also, which of the pre-existing injuries were aggravated or made worse by this fall and to what extent (if any).

    If the liability and causation picture is strong, then it should not detract from additional damages you may have suffered as a result of the fall. However, if there are questions as to liability and/ or causation, the evaluation (or probable value) of your damages goes down.

    If you are unhappy or uncertain as to your attorney's advice, then do by all means seek a second opinion. Make sure to disclose to any new attorney you consult that you already have an attorney and that you are simply seeking a second opinion. With that said, however, many (if not most) attorneys will probably not speak with you while you are represented by other counsel. There are ethical reasons for an attorney not to speak to a client already represented by other counsel. So, you will need to disclose the fact that you are seeking a second opinion; and if the second opinion attorney is willing to sit down with you to discuss your case, more than likely he or she will first get the written permission of your current attorney to do so. This occurs, but it is rare.

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  • How do I find out which attorney's have sued a local hospital in the past so I can find someone with experience......Thank you!

    Looking for experienced atty...

    Linda’s Answer

    It is as important, perhaps more, to find an attorney who has significant experience in the medical malpractice area of law as it would be to find an attorney who has previously sued one particular hospital. If you take that approach, you can call your local Bar Association or look on-line to see if the attorneys in your area list their practice areas. Remember that hiring an attorney is an important decision. Most attorneys who practice in this area will consult with you for no charge. So I encourage you to not only research what attorneys may have sued the hospital of interest in the past, but also research which attorneys in your area specialize or concentrate in medical malpractice or medical negligence cases. Meet with one or more before deciding which attorney and law firm might be the best fit. Also find out if the attorney is board certified in civil trial practice. Look at the attorney's rating through Martindale-Hubbell. Ask members of your community for recommendations as well. Some still consider personal recommendations the best versus advertising dollars that may raise the profile of a particular attorney. Ask a lot of questions; and don't forget that if you are concerned about a medical negligence case, there is a two year statute of limitations in the State of Florida. That gives you a very short period of time in which to act, or in which the attorney you hire can act to best represent your interests. Once two years has expired from the date you should have known that medical negligence occurred that caused you injury, your right to file a lawsuit is cut off in the State of Florida. Time is of the essence.

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  • Can i sue my doctor for failure to diagnose a cmv infection during pregnancy?

    when i was pregnant my ultrasound showed my baby was small and had fluid in the ventricles and wasnt forming properly.. when i went to the specialist he did a amnicentesis, those results came back fine... but he didnt check for cmv.. he recomem...

    Linda’s Answer

    Being a mother, it is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine how devastating it must be to have a child with such extensive, life-long health and quality of life issues. I am so sorry for your circumstance.

    Being an attorney who has represented people who have suffered injuries due to medical negligence for more than 2 decades, I agree that it is both urgent and critical that you consult with an attorney who specializes or concentrates in the medical malpractice area of law as soon as possible. My advice, however, would also be that you make a concerted effort, if at all possible, to personally obtain a complete copy of your medical records and those of your son.

    The law in Florida allows the patient (or the parent and guardian of a patient) to request and obtain copies of medical records "for continuing medical care and treatment". The medical provider(s) should (and is (are) required) to copy and provide a complete copy of both your records and those of your son AT NO COST to you as long as you make the request "for continuing medical care and treatment". (That means you do not mention that you may provide the records to an attorney for legal consultation.) Sometimes this tactic avoids entries being changed in the medical records (or records going missing), which unfortunately has been known to occur.

    If you choose to obtain your medical records (and those of your son), you should do so immediately. If you run into any obstacles in obtaining a copy of the complete records, then you should ask that your attorney immediately do so.

    Time is of the essence. The statute of limitations in the State of Florida for medical negligence claims is two (2) years. That means that you have two (2) years from the date that you knew or should have known that medical negligence occurred to FILE a lawsuit in Florida for medical negligence. The date that the statute of limitations begins to run is sometimes "debatable"; but the longer you wait to have your case reviewed, the less likely it will be that an attorney will want to represent you no matter how meritorious your case. The fact is that there are so many legal requirements and criteria that must be met before an attorney can even file a claim on your behalf (i.e. there is so much investigation that must be done and expert affidavits that must be obtained attesting to the medical negligence) BEFORE the two (2) years has expired, that many attorneys will not take on these cases when there is little time remaining before the limitation period expires.

    Whether you or your attorney obtains the records, I would also suggest that you obtain your OB/GYN and primary care physician records for a period of at least three (3) years (and five (5) if possible/ available) prior to the pregnancy period (in addition to the records of treatment and testing during your pregnancy, both the mother and the baby's records from the hospital, and your son's records since birth). If I were reviewing your record, I would want to know if there was ever a time prior to your pregnancy when you were tested for cmv and what those results may have been. Physicians are responsible to know the medical history of their patients both as reported by the patient and as may be available to them in prior medical records.

    Since your son is not able to walk or talk, I fear that some months, if not years have passed since his birth, because otherwise these "milestones" would not yet have been reached. So, please act now and use all due diligence to protect your legal rights and those of your son in having your potential medical negligence claim investigated and evaluated by a qualified attorney as soon as possible.


    Linda C. Sweeting, Esquire

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