Archive for October, 2011
October 28, 2011
What did F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Harrison, Babe Ruth, my grandfather and my grandmother all have in common? At first glance, not much. The first three were world-renowned champions of their instruments; Fitzgerald of the pen, Harrison of the guitar and Ruth of bat. Fitzgerald, Harrison and Ruth were (and are) internationally-recognized household names; the last two were only household names in my household. Regardless, the five share one unique similarity: they all smoked cigarettes, and as a result, they died before they should have. The first three died especially early: Fitzgerald at 44, Harrison at 58, and Ruth at 53.
Cigarette smoking is undeniably dangerous yet inexplicably prevalent. According for the Center for Disease Control, cigarette smoking accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths per year in the US—that’s one in every five deaths! More people die as a result of smoking cigarettes every year than from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol, auto accidents, suicides and murders COMBINED! Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than non-smokers. They’re 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke. They’re 18 times more likely to develop lung cancer and they’re 13 times more likely to die from lung disease. In addition to the plethora of typically-known diseases that cigarette smoking causes, it often leads to infertility, stillbirth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
You might say that smoking cigarettes is like playing Russian Roulette with a full chamber.
So, with such a dangerous product on the market, why aren’t the manufacturers of the deadly poison being penalized? The short answer is because they don’t say it’s healthy. The Food and Drug Administration tried to implement regulations, but in 2001, the Supreme Court said the FDA didn’t have the jurisdiction to do so. Seemingly, the FDA approves everything we ingest—from the Advil we take to for headaches to the turkey we eat on Thanksgiving. Justice O’Conner ruled, however, that because the tobacco industry didn’t market tobacco products as having a medicinal value it could not be classified as a “drug” and therefore it did not fall under the umbrella of the FDA’s supervision.
Still, the tobacco industry has got to be at fault, right? Certainly tobacco is a harmful product, not just to the inhaler but to the bystander. Second-hand smoke has proven to be deadly. That would mean that the tobacco industry can be regulated under the harm principle which dates back to the 1700s. The harm principle essentially means that if the action of an individual (cigarette smoking) is dangerous to another individual (via second-hand smoke) then the government has not only the authority—but the responsibility—to regulate it. The fact is that this argument has stood in court and there have been monumental judgments made against the big tobacco industry. It really depends on who the judge is and where they stand on government intervention in the private sector (if you ask me, there’s nothing “private” about having toxic smoke blown in your face).
Here are some of the most famous cases which penalized the tobacco industry:
- Burton vs. R.J. Reynold’s Tobacco (2002): a Kansas District Court awarded $15 million in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds, calling the company’s (mis)conduct “highly blameworthy and deserving of significant punishment.”
- Lukacs vs. Philip Morris (2002): a Miami jury awarded $37.5 million against three cigarette companies in a suit involving an ex-smoker who suffered losing his tongue due to tobacco-caused cancer of the mouth.
- Bullock vs. Philip Morris (2002): an LA jury awarded $28 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris.
- Frankson vs. Brown and Williams Tobacco Corp (2004): a NY jury issued $20 million to the wife of a smoker who died of lung cancer at the age of 57. This was a landmark case in that it was the first time that a NY court held a tobacco company responsible for an individual smoker’s death.
Tobacco is harmful. It kills more people than any of the other issues which we’ve blogged about all put together. It’s a controversial subject which is why the industry that supports it and profits from it hasn’t been penalized appropriately. It’s perpetuated in society despite its proven consequences. Most recently, GOP presidential contender Herman Cain ran a television ad in which his chief of staff began to smoke a cigarette and blow smoke into the camera. He might has well have aimed .38 caliber at the camera or injected himself with heroin. The facts say that guns and heroin are less deadly than cigarettes. So I guess we know where this particular candidate stands on the issue of regulating the tobacco industry. It’s only a matter of time until Mr. Cain’s campaign goes up in smoke.
If you’ve been injured by the harmful effects of tobacco products, you may very well have a case. As mentioned above, people have successfully sued the tobacco industry which profits off of a worldwide addiction laden with disease and death.
For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-255-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
October 17, 2011
As the 2012 Presidential Election gets closer, more and more media attention is given to those whose hats have been tossed into the ring. On a side note, why is that phrase still around? Since Joseph Lieberman ran for President there hasn’t been a candidate who’s worn anything on top of their head aside from their artfully crafted, professionally styled hair. Anyway, with Obama as a competent incumbent the Democrats have seen no reason to enlist another candidate for Office. But this pre-Election season has been a circus in the GOP with candidates from all across the country jumping into the race, each espousing their political ideologies as the solution to the nation’s many crises.
When thinking about buying property, it’s all about “location, location, location.” In terms of the pre-Nomination jungle that has characterized the last five months of the Republican Party, the issues are “economy, economy, economy.” Many conservatives have, for a long time, relished in the notion that the institution of tort reforming policies is a necessary step toward re-building a crippled economy. They say that with caps on damages in civil cases, especially those of a medical malpractice nature, insurance costs will plummet and the healthcare industry will thrive, creating jobs and exploring new areas of innovation.
The only candidate with true experience putting tort reform policies into action is Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. In 2003, he signed into a law a measure that limited damages awards in medical malpractice suits. However, in a blow to the theory of tort reform proponents, a national report that was released this past week says that the law has actually caused health care spending to rise and it has not significantly increased the number of doctors in Texas as it was intended to.
The report, a 24-page exploratory examination by the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, appropriately titled “A Failed Experiment,” asserted that the Texas tort reform model benefits doctors and insurance companies as opposed to the residents of the state (the insurance subscribers and patients). The report found that private health insurance premiums, as well as Medicare spending, have risen at a faster rate than that of the national average. In addition, increase in number of doctors practicing in Texas has slowed significantly ever since the 2003 law was passed (it has gone from 9.3% to 4.2%).
Gov. Perry has, on the campaign trail, touted his 2003 law as a model of success that should be implemented in the federal level. In support of his legislative measure, he has said that since the passing of the law, 21,000 new physicians have joined the work force in Texas. The report recognizes this figure as misleading, because only 12,788 of those physicians are practicing, and the increase is due to a spike in population growth, not the constricting tort reform law.
The most startling result of the 2003 law is that there are a higher percentage of uninsured Texans now than there were before the law was passed – and that’s the basis of tort reform, isn’t it? To make insurance more affordable and available? The fact is that not only do tort reform laws unfairly limit the amount of compensation that a victim is entitled to, but they place a financial burden on the residents of the state – because of tort reform, more doctors will get away with practicing rogue medicine and more people will become uninsured.
This is not to say that Gov. Perry’s tort reform approach is ill-intended. It’s just ill-advised and ill-informed.
If you have any questions about tort reform or any other legal matter, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 12, 2011
Despite the fact that the vast majority of personal injury cases stem from accidents that occur on the ground, there are still other places where torts are committed. As various other modes of transportation (and related machinery) develop, we have seen an increase in maritime accidents as well as aviation accidents. While people are well aware of the dangers that that exist on the road and in a violent sea, flying is generally regarded as the safest mode of transportation. Flying in an airplane, that is; not trying to fly using your arms as wings. That won’t work and you will get hurt.
While statistics show that there is a much smaller chance of getting hurt in an airplane than in a car or boat, accidents can still happen when you’re cruising through the sky – and they do. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were 86 commercial aircraft accidents in 2007. Fourteen of the accidents were fatal, resulting in 43 deaths. These accidents ranged from crashes to violent turbulence that affected the passengers. Take note that all fatalities took place in aircrafts with fewer than ten seats. So don’t use this blog as an excuse not to visit your in-laws – any airplane you’d typically fly on is still a very safe bet – even safer, statistically, than driving !
As is the case with many accidents, negligence is almost always a component of aviation accidents. And, like other tort cases, people hurt as a result of negligence on the part of the manufacturer, or pilot, or someone else involved, are often able to receive compensation for their associated losses. To receive a settlement or a court award for harm caused by an aviation accident, the injured party – the plaintiff – must demonstrate to the insurance company or the court that negligence was a factor. In the case of an aircraft accident, irresponsibility – negligence – is usually linked to facts procured from a NTSB investigation of the accident. To obtain compensation, the plaintiff must prove three things: 1) that the accident was the result of someone else’s carelessness, 2) that the accident caused the plaintiff harm, and 3) that the harm caused by the accident should be covered financially by the negligent party (the party at fault). Courts and insurance companies scrutinize the issues presented to them, so it must be made absolutely clear that the pain and suffering of the plaintiff is a direct result of the accident in question. Bodily injuries can be fool-proof evidence of such a link, depending on the nature of the accident and the viability of the sustained injury.
If there is more than one negligent party involved, courts often divide the responsibility between the parties. They base the respective responsibilities on a calculation of percentages of fault that can be fairly attributed to each party. Plaintiffs can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, psychological suffering, lost opportunities, etc.
The causes of aviation accidents can fall under a number of categories, the most common being that of “human error” and “equipment failure.” With human error, the accident is the result of an error made by a human, i.e. the pilot being distracted, inexperienced, fatigued, etc. Equipment failure has to do with the failure of the equipment to work as it was intended to, i.e. brakes failing, engines sputtering, etc. With accidents falling under these categories, it’s quite easy to determine who is at fault. Human error is generally the responsibility of the “humans” involved who breached their duty of care, and the equipment failure is the responsibility of the manufacturer of the equipment who breached their duty of care by producing a defective product.
As they say, wherever you go, there you are. Wherever humans roam, our tendencies will follow. The good with the bad; our positives with our negatives. And that means that there will be accidents wherever it is that we find ourselves. So it’s good to be aware of the dangers – and your rights – associated with any situation in which you might find yourself.
So the next time you’re sitting on an airplane and it starts shaking, rest assured, not only do you have the FAA looking out for you: you have the LAW, too!
For questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
October 10, 2011
Pre-emptive vigilance is one of the primary ways that society as a whole can serve to avoid injury. For example, alert driving is absolutely a crucial part of maintaining road safety, but making sure the vehicles we climb into are adequately safe and operational is just as important.
Approximately 42,000 people die every year on highways in the United States. Furthermore, not only are auto accidents the #1 killer of Americans under the age of 34, the healthiest of the bunch, but they are also the #1 cause of paraplegia in this country. Because of this, and the billions and billions of dollars spent each year in this country as a result, it is imperative that we go take any measures necessary to improve motor vehicle safety. One of the main ways we can do that is through recalling defective cars and associated equipment that is already on the market. Over the past 55 years, over 300,000,000 motor vehicles, 43 million tires, and 84 million other pieces of vehicle equipment (including child seats) have been rightfully recalled because of safety defects.
So, when is a recall in order? Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards have set minimum performance requirements for parts of the vehicle that most affects its ability to handle in a safe manner (the brakes, tires, lighting) or that protect people in the car from death or serious injury in the event of an accident (air bags, safety belts, child restraints, and energy-absorbing steering columns). These standards are applicable to all vehicles and associated equipment manufactured in the US or imported for sale in the US that are certified for use on public highways and roads. A recall becomes necessary if and when a motor vehicle or related equipment item does not comply with aforementioned safety standards and/or if and when there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act from 1966, when motor vehicle recalls began, gives the Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to issue motor vehicle safety standards as well as to require that manufacturers recall vehicles with safety-related defects (including those that simply do not meet safety standards).
A safety-related defect is basically a problem that exists within a motor vehicle or related item that:
1. Poses a risk to safety
2. May exist in a group of vehicles or items of the same design or manufacture
Examples of safety defects include but are not limited to:
1. Steering components that can break suddenly, causing loss of control over vehicle
2. Accelerator controls that may stick or break
3. Wheels that crack or break
4. Air bags that deploy improperly
5. Problems with the fuel system, specifically fuel leakage that can cause a fire
Essentially, vehicle recalls can begin because of two reasons: either the manufacturer voluntarily elects to recall the product or they are pressured to by NHTSA investigations and/or complaints by numerous vehicle owners. Most of the time, however, manufacturers dutifully conduct safety tests and discover defects with their product and issue a recall without any intrusion from the NHTSA.
Once a recall has been issued, the manufacturer of the product being recalled must contact, within a reasonable amount of time, all registered owners and purchasers of the affected vehicles by first-class mail. (If you lease your car, since the dealership owns the vehicle, they will be contacted by the manufacturer and they, in turn, will contact you). In these letters, the manufacturer must inform them of the recall and instruct them on how to go about correcting the problem. The manufacturer must remind them that corrections to the product are to be made at no charge, and inform then as to when the solution to the problem will be available, how long it will take, and who to contact if there is a problem obtaining the free work correcting the defect.
Upon determining the defect, by law, the manufacturer has three options for fixing the problem: they can repair it, they can replace it (with an identical or similar vehicle), or they can refund it (for the full purchase price, less a reasonable allowance for depreciation of the vehicle’s value). In the case of equipment, the manufacturer is allowed to do two of the following: either repair it or replace it. The refund option is available only to defective motor vehicles.
Hopefully this blog has given you some insight into the world of motor vehicle recalls as a result of safety defects. Just as is the case with any other product, when you buy a motor vehicle you’re entitled to a reliable product that operates within normal parameters of safety outlined by a government agency.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 7, 2011
With Halloween creeping upon us, we thought it might be useful to take some time in our blog to discuss different aspects of wrongful death cases. Spooky, huh? Maybe, but like lots of other things we choose to ignore in life, it remains an unavoidable element of the world we live in. While no death is “right,” per se, a “wrongful death” refers to a death resulting from unnatural causes: when an individual is killed due to the negligence (or misconduct) of another individual or company. Examples of this are, but are not limited to, medical malpractice resulting in a death, a car crash, a death at work, and a death that is the result of criminal behavior.
A lawsuit involving a wrongful death may only be brought by a representative of the decedent’s estate. The “action,” as it is called in legalese, belongs to members of the decedent’s immediate family (such as a surviving spouse, child, and sometimes even parents). For example, if somebody dies a wrongful death leaving behind no family members or dependents, there is not much “cause for action,” aside from possible post-death expenses and, in rare cases, pain and suffering by the decedent prior to his or her death. In the event that the decedent consciously suffered ante-mortem, as a result of the negligent party’s actions, monies awarded to him or her will be divided up among relevant parties as dictated by the decedent’s will or by law, if the decedent died without a will.
As is the case in other personal injury cases, there are some stipulations to bringing a successful lawsuit in this area. There are four crucial elements that must be present – and proven – to litigate a successful wrongful death case. First, you must prove the death of a human being. Then, you must prove that the death was caused by the negligence (or intentional misconduct) of another. Third, you must prove the survival of family members who are suffering financial injury as a result of the death. Finally, there must be a legitimate appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
In many other personal injury cases, there are damages such as loss of work, ongoing medical treatment, etc. In a wrongful death case, all of that is irrelevant, so the primary measure of damages is that of pecuniary injury which has to do with financial losses including loss of support, services, prospective inheritance, and funeral expenses – damages incurred by those who have the “action,” the immediate family members discussed earlier in the blog. There are a lot of factors that go into determining pecuniary loss. These include the decedent’s age, weight, health, earning capacity, life expectancy, intelligence, and all of the aforementioned factors of the decedent’s distributees – those close family members we keep talking about. A lot of stock is given to the circumstances surround the death. For example, if a primary wage-earning parent dies, a jury will award damages in the area of loss of income support and parental guidance to the surviving children and spouse. In addition to legal arguments, expert witnesses (economists, psychologists, etc) are often called to the stand to testify about the various areas considered when determining pecuniary damages.
When a wrongful death has arisen from a serious breach of duty of care or malicious wrongdoing, the issue of punitive damages arises. The basic purpose of punitive damages is to “punish” the wrongdoing party (i.e, make them suffer a financial loss so that they don’t engage wild misconduct again). Generally, this would only come into play in extreme cases. For example, if an out-of-date tractor-trailer was flying down the high-way without working brakes and crashed into a car, resulting in a death, punitive damages would be sought in a lawsuit against the company that owns the tractor-trailer. This is because it is grossly negligent to operate such a mammoth vehicle without having it properly inspected and equipped with appropriate safety mechanisms. Punitive damages can be hard to win, not only because of the fact that they’re usually reserved for extreme cases, but also because many states have begun enacting tort reform laws which limit and cap the amount of money that can be awarded in punitive damages.
The most heart-wrenching part of a wrongful death case is arguing for the surviving action on the behalf of the decedent. If the person in question was in a great deal of pain and fought for life until the bitter end, damages can be awarded for that pain and suffering. The components of a wrongful death case can be difficult to deal with – both emotionally and logistically. Knowing your rights, and the rights of those close to you, is an important part of always being prepared. And hopefully this blog will never be of any use to you.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com
October 6, 2011
Car accidents can, above all else, be downright dumbfounding. Amid the tears, out-of-pocket expenses, and complications that arise from a motor vehicle crash, nothing can be more mind-boggling than the stacks of insurance and legal documentation surrounding every car case in which someone involved retains an attorney – or doesn’t, and then things get even more complicated. One of the most important parts of post-accident recuperation is being compensated for a loss you’ve experienced. Paramount to hashing out the details is being able to prove who was at fault in the accident – showing who is liable for the damages.
It may be entirely obvious to the involved parties exactly who was at fault in the crash. Many times, following an accident, a driver will emerge from his or her car and say something like, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you. My insurance will cover this.” That’s all fine and dandy, but it means nothing to insurance companies who make a profit out of keeping their money, not giving it away. Be realistic: they’re for-profit corporations, not charitable organizations. They’re not there to sing “Kumbaya” to the people involved in the car accident. They want to keep as much of their money as they possibly can so they don’t care how obvious it might seem that their insured was at fault. To be compensated for your loss in an accident, you must prove fault, and to prove fault, you need evidence. Official evidence can be found in numerous areas, such as police reports and state traffic laws.
Police reports often name the “at fault” driver first in their listing of involved parties. Moreover, at the end of the police report, you will find a section where the police at the scene of the accident may make a note of the “at fault” driver. The police may also have issued a citation to the negligent driver, citing them for one of many possible infractions (such as “failure to yield,” “failure to observe stop sign,” etc.) Police reports are essential to making your case to an insurance company. The police are the first legal enforcers to respond to an accident scene, and their report is highly important throughout all stages of pre-litigation between lawyers and the insurance companies. In fact, most insurance companies will be lackadaisical about your claim until they have received a police report.
State traffic laws can also be immensely helpful in helping to prove who was at fault in an auto accident. There are strictly defined rules in each state that mandate how drivers are to conduct themselves when operating their motor vehicles on public roadways. If a driver has breached one of those laws, they can more easily be held liable for the accident because they broke a law in doing so – that is to say that if they had abided by the law, the crash wouldn’t have occurred in the first place. State traffic laws are easy to locate; like everything else, they’re located on the internet. Being part of the public domain, they’re accessible to you and can aid you in helping to prove your case.
Now, there are some accidents which even the insurance companies won’t argue too much about. Two major types of car crashes have assumed blame of one party and the insurance companies will, when working on those cases, try to settle immediately because if the case were to go to a jury trial, the plaintiff would almost always win. Rear-end accidents, as most people know, are almost always the fault of the driver in the back. This is because, per government regulations, drivers are supposed to maintain a safe following distance, and a rear-end accident is fairly clear evidence of failure to maintain a reasonable amount of space between the vehicles. Another common accident such as this is a left-turn accident. This is when a driver makes a left turn and is struck by another car. Almost always, in these instances, the driver making the left turn is at fault. That is, of course, they have a left-turn arrow and the opposing traffic has a red light. But almost exclusively, if you are turning left into traffic and you get hit, it’s your fault.
These are some things to be aware of as you deal with the aftermath of an auto accident, should be unfortunate enough to have been involved in one. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 5, 2011
Earlier today an outrageous claim was published in a local newspaper. The headline read “Personal injury lawyers blamed for our high insurance rates.” The article was actually an opinion based letter to the editor from a local resident. The letter claimed, without providing any justification other than a biased opinion, that “Florida has a reputation for high automobile insurance rates due to racket that the personal injury lawyers have created.” While it is true that comparable to other states, Florida does have high insurance rates, this has little to do with attorneys.
Florida, along with states like New Jersey, Washington D.C., New York, Connecticut and others, do typically have higher insurance rates than other states. However, it is common sense that the more densely populated an area, the more traffic, in turn equals higher insurance rates. South Florida is one of the most densely populated areas in America. It makes sense that an urban area would have higher insurance rates than a rural town. The fact the Florida has higher insurance rates has less to do with its attorneys and more to do with its location and population.
Furthermore, the author continued to talk of her own personal experience of a car accident, or “fender bender” as she refers to it. In truth, our hearts do go out to anyone who is involved in an automobile accident. They are a hassle, often the root of frustration, and sometimes the cause of serious injury. However, it is highly offensive that the author proposes that lawyers are irrelevant and unnecessary.
She continues by referring to “ambulance chasing lawyers” in saying that “these lawyers should invest their time in real cases and be advocates for those who really require assistance.” She again falsely accuses lawyers as being the source of high insurance rates. The slanderous nature of this letter is absurd and should be tossed in the trash.
In the letter, the author discusses being sued for personal injury even though at the time of the injury neither party reported to be injured. The audacity for her to make comments questioning as to how the other party could be injured is ridiculous. Any doctor can vouch that pain and injury are not always present immediately after an accident, but in fact can take up to months to appear. If there were no lawyers what would become of the situation then, a mere “tough luck” for the injured? Much of the time lawyers are necessary not only for corresponding with the other party, but also with the insurance companies. Insurance companies can try to bury the injured under loads of paperwork and hard to understand language before ever seeing a dime. If one is not familiar with the process, the act of seeking relief from an insurance company can be nearly impossible to navigate.
When the founding fathers founded the legal systems of today they intended for it to be an intricate system of checks and balances. Similar to the complexities of medicine and finance, a doctor or a banker must be well practiced in their area to navigate through the complexity of their field. Attorneys too are well versed and well educated to understand the complexity of the law. The complexity comes from that in which every American citizen is held to the same rights, and attorneys are present to see this carried out. Lawyers are the present day patriots, fighting to preserve justice and equality.
For more information please call the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
October 3, 2011
As cooler weather begins to sweep across South Florida, the temperature isn’t the only thing that is dropping; the value of one amateur investor’s Roth IRA recently hit rock-bottom. And judging by today’s financial climate, it’s safe to say that this particular worthless fund is just one of many.
The victim of the financial loss is a resident of South Florida who, over the past several years, has been inching toward retirement. After a career of steadily earning roughly $40,000 and saving like Mariano Rivera, he recently invested more than $100,000 in the stock of a small company at the imploration of her financial adviser. The small company in which he invested tanked roughly two months after the final investment. Subsequently, later that year, the small company then merged with another small company and the entire value of the investor’s shares essentially evaporated like things tend do during a scorching South Florida summer. He says the savings he lost are “irreplaceable.” Who can argue? It’s pretty difficult to come across $100,000, especially when you’re a single parent of three making under $50,000 a year in a booming economy, and even harder to do so in a plummeting one.
So what’s someone in his position to do? Some might scoff and say that the stock market’s just a big casino and people should invest at their own risk. That may be the case. But consider this: neurosurgery is a dangerous procedure, but shouldn’t you be allowed to hold accountable a doctor who acted irresponsibly during the surgery? Also, driving a car can be dangerous, but shouldn’t you hold your car’s manufacturer liable if the brakes in your car suddenly fail, causing an accident? It’s more or less the same thing here. This investor hired a financial broker to advise of the investments he suggested. The rules of financial brokerage, as governed by FINRA (the financial industry regulation authority) mandate that brokers must notify investors of the risks associated with a given investment. Apparently, the investment in the telecom company was a highly risky one with the chance for a great return. But with any chance for a great return is the chance for a great loss, and that is what this man’s broker failed to make him aware of.
FINRA has an arbitration program for people to file claims against investment firms. In addition, the agency serves as a supervisor for the industry, making sure that everything that goes on between brokerage firms and investors is legal and responsible, akin to the Bar Association in the legal world. FINRA gives people the ability to research financial firms to see if there have been any claims made against them. Tools like FINRA’s BrokerCheck serve as a good pre-business utility for people to check out before engaging in transactions with brokers they may not be entirely familiar with. Unfortunately for this investor, he found out about these tools a little too late. Now, he has filed a claim against his broker’s former firm, hoping to recoup the money he lost in the investment, legal fees, and interest.
FINRA operates on a federal and national level. Locally, we have the Florida Office of Financial Regulation which oversees the world of financial transactions on a state-wide basis. Checking in with both of these offices can save you a lot of time and money. Think of it as the “Angie’s List” of the world of financial trading. Trust me: a negligent stock broker can do a lot more damage than can an untrained plumber. Make sure you do research on anyone who may decide to trust with your money.
If you have been misled by a negligent financial adviser or broker, contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.