Mike Winer is senior partner of the Law Office of Michael J. Winer and serves as “of counsel” to and in collaboration with Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. Mr. Winer represents numerous professional athletes in numerous sports in workers’ compensation claims involving specific injuries, as well as repetitive and cumulative trauma injuries, brain injuries, and concussions. The legal team at the Law Office of Michael J. Winer and Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A.. work closely with the players, their families, their agents, and the players’ union to ensure that the professional athlete receives all the benefits to which he is entitled for injuries sustained while engaging in professional sports. We represent athletes in matters concerning medical care and treatment, workers’ compensation disability benefits, and protection of their rights under the terms of their sport’s CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).
The experienced attorneys at Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. have successfully represented injured workers for over 40 years in complex workers’ compensation trials and appeals. Richard Wagenheim and Barbara Wagner have obtained favorable decisions in numerous permanent total disability cases, the most significant and longest lasting disability benefit available to injured workers. Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. represent numerous professional athletes in workers’ compensation claims involving specific on the job injuries, as well as repetitive and cumulative trauma injuries, brain injuries, concussion claims and union grievances. In the 1980′s professional football players began seeking compensation for their injuries. The NFLPA (players’ union) formed an elite panel of attorneys from around the country to assist and represent the players. Richard Wagenheim was appointed to the panel to represent injured members of the Miami Dolphins. When the Tampa Bay Bucs and Jacksonville Jaguars joined the NFL, Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. firm began representing injured players from those teams as well.
In the 1990′s, the Professional Hockey Players’ Association placed Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. on their Workers’ Compensation panel to assist minor league professional hockey players. Subsequently, Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. as been asked to represent professional athletes on behalf of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Arena Football League Players’ Association.
The Law Office of Michael J. Winer and Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. firms have taken a leadership role in this unique area of workplace injury law. We have successfully represented injured athletes from the NFL, NFL Europe, the Arena Football League. XFL, major and minor league baseball and hockey, and professional soccer.
The Law Office of Michael J. Winer and Wagenheim & Wagner, P.A. represent professional athletes in matters concerning injuries, wages, workers’ compensation benefits, and protecting the athletes’ rights under the terms of their sport’s CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement.)
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s initiative, the 2002 Florida legislature promptly passed Florida Statute section 768.0710, recognizing the duty of a business owner to keep the premises free of transitory foreign objects or substances which might forseeably give rise to injury. It provides as follows:
768.0710. Burden of proof in claims of negligence involving transitory foreign objects or substances against persons or entities in possession or control of business premises-
(1) The person or entity in possession or control of business premises owes a duty of reasonable care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the safety of business invitees on the premises, which includes reasonable efforts to keep the premises free from transitory foreign objects or substances that might foreseeably give rise to loss, injury, or damage.
(2) In any civil action for negligence involving loss, injury, or damage to a business invitee as a result of a transitory foreign object or substance on business premises, the claimant shall have the burden of proving that:
(a) The person or entity in possession or control of the business premises owed a duty to the claimant;
(b) The person or entity in possession or control of the business premises acted negligently by failing to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance, inspection, repair, warning, or mode of operation of the business premises. Actual or constructive notice of the transitory foreign object or substance is not a required element of proof to this claim. However, evidence of notice or lack of notice offered by any party may be considered together with all of the evidence; and
(c) The failure to exercise reasonable care was a legal cause of the loss, injury, or damage.
Thus, a customer injured in this manner must prove only that the business failed to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance, inspection, repair, warning or mode of operation of the premises. The owner’s actual or constructive knowledge is no longer a required element of proving such a claim, but evidence of notice or lack thereof may still be considered together with all the evidence. In Melkonian v. Broward County Bd. of County Com’rs, 844 So.2d 785 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), the court held that the existence of a foreign substance on the floor of a business premises that causes a customer to fall and be injured is not a safe condition and the existence of that unsafe condition creates a rebuttable presumption that the premises owner did not maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Thus, once the plaintiff establishes that he or she fell as a result of a transitory foreign substance, a rebuttable presumption of negligence arises. At that point, the burden shifts to the defendant to show by the greater weight of the evidence that it exercised reasonable care in the maintenance of the premises under the circumstances.