Abramowitz, Pomerantz & Coffey, P.A. – Notable Cases
Serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale, South Florida
Abramowitz, Pomerantz & Coffey, P.A. strives to achieve justice and the best possible outcome for each client. The accounts of recent trials, jury verdicts and settlements contained on this website are intended to illustrate the experience of the firm in a variety of litigation areas. Each case is unique, and the results in one case do not necessarily indicate the quality or value of another case. If you have any questions regarding any of these cases or wish to discuss a potential case, please contact us.
AUTO ACCIDENTS / WRONGFUL DEATHS
Improper Safety Procedures & Lack of Lighting Lead to Wrongful Death – $ 3,000,000.00 Recovery
Our firm represented the surviving spouse of a 64-year-old man who was killed in a motor vehicle accident. The decedent was traveling in a westbound direction on the inside lane of 1-75. A construction vehicle with an extendable boom operated by an employee of a painting company drove from the north shoulder of westbound 1-75 and stopped in the westbound lane at the underside of US-27 overpass bridge. The accident occurred in the evening and there was no immediate street lighting present. The construction vehicle had no lighting of any type. There were no warning signs, lane closures, or reflective orange barrels, which are required by Florida law when a construction vehicle is performing maintenance on a public road. There were also no reflective markers on the construction vehicle. The automobile being driven by the decedent collided with the stopped construction vehicle. The decedent had tried to avoid the accident and swerved to his right at the last instant, which saved the life of his wife. The decedent died at the scene of the accident from multiple head injuries. This wrongful death case was settled at mediation approximately eight months after the accident occurred for $3,000,000.00.
Rental Car Company Held Liable for Damages – $ 2,500,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 22-year-old female was injured while traveling though South Carolina as a passenger in a van with her boyfriend and seven of his family members. She was traveling to Miami from New York, where she attended architectural school and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. The van’s driver lost control, causing the vehicle to hit a guardrail and then veer across onto the median where it rolled multiple times causing our client to be ejected. Our client incurred injuries that included, but were not limited to a broken neck, broken wrist and fractured skull. She was hospitalized in a coma for more than a week and required a surgical repair of her broken neck. The long term effects of her injuries included memory loss, diminished cognitive function, depression and chronic pain to her neck, shoulders, back and elbow. She was also forced to withdraw from architectural school and claimed lost earning capacity of at least $1,000,000.00. The defense argued that only the driver’s minimal insurance would be applicable and that the rental company would not be liable due to the fact that South Carolina law applied because the accident happened there. South Carolina does not have vicarious liability laws similar to the state of Florida which hold the owner of a vehicle liable for any injuries caused by the driver of such vehicle. The defense also claimed that our client’s failure to wear a seatbelt primarily caused her injuries by allowing her to be ejected from the van. After lengthy litigation, the issue was ultimately resolved in our client’s favor, holding that the rental company would be liable for any damages sustained by the occupants of the van. The rental company subsequently filed bankruptcy out of state, which caused us to remove the case out of bankruptcy court and back to Florida state courts. The case was ultimately settled prior to trial for $2,500,000.00.
Failure to Yield to Right of Way Causes Wrongful Death Auto Accident – $2,100,000.00 Pre-Litigation Settlement
We represented the surviving parents of a 33-year-old son who was killed in a motor vehicle accident. The decedent was a seat-belted passenger in an automobile being driven by his 26- year-old friend, who was traveling northbound on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. The car the decedent was in was traveling in excess of the speed limit and the driver of that vehicle may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. A vehicle traveling southbound being driven by an 84-year-old man attempted to make a left turn onto Northeast 37th Street. The traffic signal at that intersection was a flashing red signal for the vehicle traveling southbound. The southbound vehicle made a left turn in front of the vehicle the plaintiff was traveling in. The driver of that vehicle failed to obey the traffic signal and failed to yield the right of way to the vehicle the decedent was occupying. As a result of those factors, the vehicles collided, causing critical injuries to the decedent who died approximately six days after the accident. The case was settled approximately five months after the accident for $2,100,000.00.
Rear End Collision – $1,005,000.00 Settlement
We represented a 42-year-old married man who was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended by another vehicle, causing a herniated disc in his lower back. Our client had been in a similar accident six months earlier and had just been discharged from treatment only days before the second accident. He underwent two back surgeries resulting in scar tissue impinging on nerve roots, causing chronic pain. An attorney who previously represented our client had recommended that he settle the claim for $ 50,000.00. We were able to settle the case during trial for $1,005,000.00.
Side Impact Collision – $1,400,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 19-year-old female college student on spring break, was a passenger in a car making a left turn which was struck by a vehicle going straight. She sustained a fractured hip and pelvis, which required total hip replacement. The case was settled for the full policy limits of insurance coverage available to both drivers and underinsured motorist limits available from all sources – $1,400,000.00.
Red Light Runner Hits Motorcyclists – $1,400,000.00 Settlement
Our clients, a husband and wife, were on a motorcycle which was struck by a speeding car that ran a red light. The husband‘s leg was amputated above the knee, and the wife had received multiple fractures. Both suffered closed head injuries (hard blow to the head from striking an object, but the object did not break the skull). The driver of the at-fault vehicle was driving a lease vehicle, which under the new long-term lease statute would have provided only $400,000.00 in total coverage to both of our clients. This case involved one of the first cases litigated under the new long-term lease statute. There was lengthy litigation to determine if there was additional insurance coverage on the part of the long-term lessor of the vehicle, which included certain issues determined on appeal. The case was settled during trial and resulted in a total recovery to our clients of $1,400.000.00.
Truck Driver Strikes Car which Collides with Motorcycle – $1,450,000.00 Recovery
Our client, a 20-year-old female, was a passenger on a motorcycle on interstate I-95 when a truck driver lost control and sideswiped a car in the next lane causing it to collide with the motorcycle. Our client suffered a fractured pelvis requiring a surgical repair and began exhibiting symptoms of multiple personality disorder, characterized by five separate identities, one of which caused self-destructive behavior. We recovered $1,450,000.00 on behalf of the client.
Pedestrian Crossing Street Struck by Car – $1,250,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 45-year-old woman, was struck by a car while she was crossing the street, returning from the grocery store on a Sunday morning. There was a dispute over whether our client or the driver had the green light. She suffered a fractured pelvis, fractured ribs, dental injuries and a closed head injury. We settled the case for $1,250,000.00.
Pedestrian Struck by Car – $1,150,000.00 Pre-Litigation Recovery
Our client, a self-sufficient 84-year-old woman, was struck by a vehicle while crossing a street. Our client was described by the police as being the cause of the accident. She sustained a right ankle fracture and left tibia and fibula fractures which required surgery, hospitalization and subsequent admission to a nursing home. While in the nursing home, she began suffering from progressive dementia, and it became questionable as to whether or not she would be able to live outside of an institutionalized setting. We recovered $1,150,000.00 on behalf of the client.
Rear-End Auto Accident – $1,100,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 54-year-old dentist, was injured while driving an automobile which was struck in the rear by another vehicle. Our client sustained severe back injuries, which included herniated discs at L3-4 and L4-5. Surgery was performed to correct the lumbar injuries (a hemilaminotomy and microdiscectomy). During the surgical procedure, our client sustained a minor stroke, which left him with a permanent neurological deficit. As a result, our client could no longer practice dentistry on a full-time basis. An attorney who previously represented our client had recommended that our client accept the sum of $100,000.00 to settle his claim. We recovered $1,100,000.00 on behalf of the client.
Long-Term Lease Statutes Tested in Auto Accident – $1,000,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 61-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries as a passenger in a car being driven by her husband. The husband was making a left turn into her employer’s parking lot, when his car was struck by a vehicle going straight. Her injuries included but where not limited to bilateral punctured lungs, rib fractures, pelvis fracture, fractured right femur and bilateral fractured ankles. The police investigation indicated that our client’s husband was the cause of the accident. The insurance company who was defending the driver who was traveling straight, claimed that their liability was limited to $100,000.00 based on the long-term lease statute, notwithstanding the fact that they had a $300,000.00 single limit policy. A lawsuit was filed based on the serious injuries sustained by our client and the amount of her medical expenses, which were in excess of $600,000.00. Our claim was also based on the fact that a $300,000.00 single limit policy did not satisfy the long-term lease statute and therefore the lessor of the vehicle (a major automobile manufacturer) could be liable for the full extent of damages awarded by a jury. It was further argued that although our client’s husband may have been primarily liable for this accident, the individual driving the other vehicle along with the owner of said vehicle, would be jointly and severally liable for the full amount of future and past economic loss sustained by our client. After extensive litigation, a $1,000,000.00 recovery was obtained on behalf of our client. The client retained a majority of the recovery proceeds due to the fact that our firm negotiated a full waiver of the outstanding medical liens.
Drug Overdose leads to Wrongful Death – Confidential Settlement
Our firm represented the family of a 62-year-old mother of seven who was injured while walking through a hospital for an outpatient medical appointment. Our client slipped and fell on water on the floor breaking her knee cap and breaking her shoulder. She was admitted to the hospital and died due to complications from her fall. Our client wanted know what happened to their mother and how a fall could take her life based on the injuries she sustained. The family was told that their mother suffered a stroke and was critically ill and that the family needed to make a decision to remove their mother from life support. The Medical Examiner’s office was told by the hospital that an autopsy was unnecessary because the death was due to natural causes. Medical evidence however revealed that their mother actually suffered a drug overdose of pain medication that lead to cardiac arrest and respiratory failure. Their mother was revived but suffered from severe, permanent brain damage. She slipped into a coma and remained in a persistent vegetative state until pulled-off of life support. The family filed a claim for loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance and for their pain and suffering due to their mother’s wrongful death. All parties reached a confidential settlement, just hours before jury selection. The defense demanded that the terms of the settlement and the identity of the hospital remain confidential.
Federal Court Holds Insurance Company Accountable – $5,000,000.00 Verdict
Our client, a 36-year-old man, was building a sand castle with his three young daughters on the beach when a woman caught in a rip current screamed for help. Our client attempted to rescue the woman, but both he and the woman drowned while his wife and three daughters looked on. We obtained a $5,000,000.00 verdict in Federal Court, upholding our settlement with a municipality, against an insurance company which wrongfully refused to defend the municipality in our lawsuit. The insurance company was ordered to pay the $5,000,000.00 plus over $1,000,000.00 in pre-judgment interest, plus attorneys fees, even though their policy limits were only $1,000,000.00. The drowning portion of the case was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled in our favor. It held that the municipality owed a duty, the same as a private land owner, to warn of dangerous conditions of which the municipality knew or should have known, such as the existence of dangerous rip currents, and that this portion of the beach did not have lifeguards. Users of the beach thought that it was a guarded, safe swimming area because there were concessionaires, licensed by the municipality, renting beach chairs, umbrellas and water craft, and who appeared to be lifeguards. There were also public restrooms, showers, fountains and parking, attracting people to use the beach at this location.
Maximum Policy Limits Recovered in Auto Accident- $2,000,000.00 Recovery
We represented a family of five, whose car was struck head-on, on a two lane road, by another driver who was distracted by a road sign. Both parents suffered multiple fractures; their six-year-old son was killed and their four-year-old daughter suffered brain injury. The case was settled for the maximum policy limits of insurance coverage available after utilizing Florida’s bad faith statute – $ 2,000,000.00 recovery.
Insurance Subrogation Recovery on behalf of Insurance Company – $1,500,000.00 Settlement After Appeal
This case involved legal issues of what notice must be given by an insurance company in order to cancel an insurance policy. Our firm was retained by a subrogating insurance company after a number of other firms had turned down their representation. After a fire loss to a commercial building, its insurance carrier asserted that the policy had been canceled for failing to pay the premium. Because the insurance carrier was unable to produce a return receipt as proof it had mailed the cancellation notice, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the cancellation of the policy was not effective and the insurance policy remained in force. Based upon that ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, the insurance company settled the matter for $ 1,500,000.00 on behalf of our client.
Failure to Warn Patient Caused 6-month-Old to be Quadruple Amputee – $16,150,000.00 Recovery
Our client, 6-month-old female, was born with a birth syndrome characterized by abnormal positioning of abdominal organs. Many children born with this syndrome do not have a properly functioning spleen and therefore must be placed on antibiotics to avoid overwhelming infection. In this case, there was a failure to recognize or check for the absence of a functioning spleen. The failure to put the baby on antibiotics and the failure to alert the child’s parent that children with such a condition must be treated on an emergency basis at the first sign of illness or infection, resulted in the baby developing a severe infectious process. This led to gangrene of her arms and legs. Our client is now a quadruple amputee with both legs amputated above the knee, her left arm amputated above the wrist, and several finger stumps remaining on her right hand. We obtained a recovery on behalf of the client with a present money value of $16,150,000.00 and with future payments to be made of over $70,000,000.00.
Failure to Refer Patient Causes Stroke – $4,305,000.00 Verdict
Our client, a 74-year-old man, suffered a stroke as a result of a cardiologist’s failure to refer him to a neurologist or vascular surgeon to consider surgery (carotid endarterectomy) to clear the blockage in his carotid arteries. The cardiologist in question had monitored our client regularly over a 10 year period and knew or should have known that the progression of the blockage in his carotid arteries should have warranted a recommendation by him to our client that the he see a neurologist or vascular surgeon to consider surgery. As a result, our client suffered a disabling stroke resulting in partial paralysis, aphasia and mental impairment. We obtained a $ 4,305,000.00 verdict on behalf of the client. On appeal, the case was remanded for a new trial and was re-litigated, which resulted in a defense verdict.
Medication Error Causes Respiratory Arrest & Brain Injury – $3,500,000.00 Recovery
Our client, a 14-year-old child with Down Syndrome, was hospitalized for bronchitis. The night before she was to leave the hospital, she was mistakenly given medication which the nurse thought was a sedative, but was actually a drug used to paralyze the lungs when a patient is placed on a ventilator. Our client went into respiratory arrest and suffered anoxic brain damage (lack of oxygen to the brain causing damage) before being resuscitated. This claim was brought against a physician and the hospital. We obtained a $ 3,500,000.00 recovery on behalf of the client.
Radiologists Miss Lung Cancer Diagnosis- $1,500,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 61-year-old woman had curable lung cancer that went undiagnosed / missed by radiologists for two years in a row on chest x-rays. By the time her lung cancer was found it had spread to other parts of her body, eliminating her opportunity for surgery and cure. We obtained a $1,500,000.00 settlement on behalf of the client.
Failure to Diagnose Bacterial Meningitis Causes Infant’s Profound Hearing Loss – $1,350,000.00 Recovery
Our client, a ten-month-old female baby developed meningitis which went undiagnosed and untreated for three days and resulted in the baby sustaining profound hearing loss. Two pediatricians and an emergency room physician failed to diagnose bacterial meningitis in the infant. We obtained a $1,350,000.00 settlement on behalf of our client during trial.
Cardiologists Failure to Prescribe Blood Thinners Cause Stroke – $1,350,000.00 Recovery
Our client, a 73-year-old man, was being treated by two cardiologists over many years for heart problems which included atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). The treating cardiologists failed to prescribe anticoagulants (blood thinners) to prevent the formation of blood clots. Our client subsequently developed a blood clot as a result of atrial fibrillation which caused him to sustain a serious stroke resulting in partial paralysis, aphasia (inability to speak) and mental impairment. We obtained a $1,350,000.00 recovery on our client’s behalf.
Defective Products leads to Leg Amputation – $1,350,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 19-year-old laborer, sustained a leg amputation at the hip socket. This product liability lawsuit was filed against the retail seller of an industrial hook which was sold without a safety latch for use on a barge crane, hoisting concrete pilings to build a sea wall. Because there was no safety latch on the hook, the crane holding the piling came loose allowing the piling to fall on our client. We obtained a $1,350,000.00 recovery on the client’s behalf.
Failure to have Automated External Defibrillator Causes Severe Injuries – $2,250,000.00 Settlement
Our client, a 42-year-old male, suffered cardiac arrest while exercising in a health club; and due to the delay in defibrillation before the paramedics arrived, he suffered severe and permanent brain damage. This case involved the negligence of a health club in failing to have an AED (automated external defibrillator) available to defibrillate patrons who suffered sudden cardiac arrest resulting from strenuous exercise. In addition, our client claimed that the health club in question failed to have adequately trained staff and failed to administer adequate life saving procedures such as CPR and/or oxygen in an emergency situation. The case was settled by a “high-low” settlement agreement for $2,250,000.00 at the conclusion of the trial.