West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney
Ben J. Whitman

Ben J. Whitman

Attorney

Biography

Ben J. Whitman concentrates his nationwide practice on catastrophic injury, products liability, trucking accidents and wrongful death cases with an emphasis on automotive defects including unsafe and defectively designed vehicles, vehicle components and roadways. His caseload involves cases of tire, airbag, seatback, and seatbelt failure, in addition to negligent design, maintenance, and engineering.

In addition to his automotive product liability practice, Ben handles cases involving electrocutions, explosions, construction site and industrial incidents, aerial and scissor lift malfunction, tip over incidents, and consumer products. He has secured multiple multimillion-dollar settlements for his clients, helping to ensure they can afford their current and future medical costs as a result of their injuries.

Ben is often referred cases by lawyers throughout Florida and the United States to handle significant litigation matters that require technical expertise and financial resources – both necessary for multi-party litigation and complex liability cases. He is currently handling cases resulting from catastrophic injuries in Florida, Georgia, New York, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona, California and Illinois.

Outside of his litigation practice, Ben is actively involved with various organizations devoted to protecting the civil justice system and the rights of injured citizens and consumers including the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Florida Justice Association (FJA), and the Palm Beach County Justice Association (PBCJA). Ben currently serves on the Board of Directors of the PBCJA and the FJA and regularly participates in FJA lobbying efforts in Tallahassee, Florida on behalf of consumers.

For two consecutive years Ben has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers®, a credential he shares with less than 2.5% of Florida lawyers. The Rising Star title honors lawyers under the age of 40 who have been practicing for less than 10 years. He has also been named “Top 40 Under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers.

Ben is also involved in his community with a focus on speaking to elementary aged school children about the practice of law and the justice system. As part of his pro bono practice, Ben has been appointed as a guardian ad litem in various cases where courts require an attorney to review a proposed personal injury settlement on behalf of a minor child to ensure the best interests of the child are protected by the settlement and the disbursement of the funds.

Prior to joining Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, Ben was an attorney at one of Florida’s most established insurance defense firms where he litigated cases on behalf of the world’s largest insurers. His tenure as a defense lawyer provides him with an insight into the mindset of insurance adjusters, corporate defendants, and defense attorneys in their valuation of claims and litigation strategies. He uses this background to maximize the value of his client’s cases and ensure they receive full compensation for their injuries. Ben’s family is deeply rooted in the practice of law – his father is a highly regarded trial attorney in Jacksonville and his brother maintains a wide-ranging aviation and business litigation practice in Dallas, Texas.

Contact Ben at bwhitman@clarkfountain.com.

Education
  • J.D., Florida State University
  • B.A., cum laude, University of Florida
Areas of Practice
Personal Injury,Wrongful Death,Accidents,Defective Products
Awards & Honors
  • Up & Comer Honoree, South Florida Business & Wealth, 2019
  • “Top 40 Under 40,” The National Trial Lawyers, 2018 (Civil Plaintiff)
  • Florida Justice Association YLS Chairman’s Award, 2016 - 2017
  • Super Lawyers® Rising Star, 2018 - 2019 (Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff)
  • Florida Justice Association Benjamin Franklin Award, 2017 - 2018
Bar Admissions
  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • Special Pro Hac Admission in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia
Professional Memberships
  • Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
  • Florida Justice Association
    • Board of Directors Member, 2018 - 2020
    • Law School Outreach (LSO) Committee, Past Chair
    • Young Lawyers Section, Past Board of Directors Member
    • Auto Insurance Committee, Member
    • CLE Committee, Member
  • Palm Beach County Justice Association
    • Young Lawyers Board, Past Chair
  • American Association For Justice
  • Attorney Information Exchange Group
Community Involvement
  • Guardian ad litem (GAL)
  • 2018 – Volunteer, Palm Beach County Bar Association Law Week Program (Roosevelt Middle School – West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • 2017 – Volunteer, Career Day (Liberty Park Elementary School - Greenacres, Florida)
  • 2017 – Volunteer, Palm Beach County Bar Association Law Week Mock Trial Program (Seminole Trails Elementary - West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • 2016 – Volunteer, Palm Beach County Bar Association Law Week Mock Trial Program (Panther Run Elementary School – Wellington, Florida)
  • 2016 – Volunteer, Pathfinder High School Scholarship Awards (Academic Excellence Category)
  • 2015 – Speaker, Ethical Governance Day (Miami Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust)
Personal

Mr. Whitman was born in Jacksonville, Florida.

Legal Victories
  • A confidential multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of a 50-year-old man who was rendered paraplegic after being electrocuted and falling 20 feet to the ground was successfully resolved by Attorney Ben Whitman. The firm’s client was trimming sabal palm trees with a chainsaw while on a ladder in a residential neighborhood on the west coast of Florida when a palm frond made contact with a 7,620 volt uninsulated utility wire and caused him to fall to the ground and break his neck. Whitman was retained to investigate any avenue of recovery and presented claims against the homeowner, the owner of the utility line, and multiple tree trimming / vegetation management contractors hired by the owner of the utility line. Various liability theories were argued including the property owner’s failure to warn, the utility line owner’s failure to employ appropriate vegetation management cycles, and the vegetation management contracts failure to appropriately carry out the assigned trimming plans. Due to the firm’s prior success in handling electrocution and utility injuries, the case was resolved at a mediation conference before a lawsuit was filed. The settlements will ensure the client will have appropriate health care and financial stability in the future.
  • A confidential settlement on behalf of two cousins was reached by Attorney Ben Whitman after they each sustained severe facial and head trauma while leaving a club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our clients were attacked upon exiting an elevator. The attackers were unknown to our clients and never identified or charged. After multiple attempts to reach the defendants went unanswered, a local attorney referred the case to the firm due to its complexity. The event space had multiple property owners and several lease agreements. Despite the complicated nature of the building ownership, and the original unresponsiveness of the defendants, Ben J. Whitman was able to demonstrate the companies that promoted the event and the owner of the event space failed to take appropriate measures to provide reasonable security and prevent harm.
  • A confidential multimillion-dollar settlement was reached by Attorney Ben Whitman on behalf of the mother of a young boy who was killed in a tragic motor vehicle incident in Nevada. The child was ejected from a vehicle that was uncontrollable due to a rear axle tire failure and was rolling through a median. The child was ejected from the vehicle and into oncoming traffic and killed by a semi-tractor trailer. Whitman brought claims against the driver of the vehicle, the manufacturer of the tire, and against the automobile insurance company that insured the driver. After extensive litigation involving depositions across the United States and multiple appeals to the Supreme Court of Nevada, the parties were able to reach a settlement prior to trial that appropriately compensated the mother for the loss of her child. The settlements included an extra contractual settlement paid by an insurance carrier for their failure to make appropriate offers to timely settle the case on behalf of their insured driver to avoid an excess judgement and a bad faith lawsuit.
  • A seven-figure settlement was achieved by Attorney Ben Whitman on behalf of a family who lost their husband and father in a tractor trailer incident in upstate New York. Whitman was retained by a grieving family in Connecticut to investigate why the client’s husband rear ended a tractor trailer on the highway. The firm’s investigation revealed the tractor trailer driver had been operating a truck in temperatures below zero with diesel fuel that was not treated for cold temperatures and began to gel in the tractor’s fuel lines – causing a rapid loss in speed – and posing a significant safety hazard to motorists on the highway. Despite this mechanical error, the truck driver elected to stay on the highway instead of pulling safely over the side of the road, causing the incident. The insurance company for the driver and trucking company denied all liability and placed 100 percent of the blame of the accident on the firm’s client. Several months after the incident, the firm filed a lawsuit in West Palm Beach, Florida and began extensive discovery. Forty eight hours after the deposition of the truck driver was completed, the insurance company agreed to settle the case for all of the available insurance proceeds, which will provide financial security for the family and especially the minor children. The settlement was finalized less than one year after the accident.
  • A seven-figure (full policy limits) settlement was achieved by Attorney Ben Whitman on behalf of a man who rear ended a car in front of him and was rendered an incomplete paraplegic when his vehicle’s airbag failed to deploy. The firm was retained after several attorneys turned down the case because the Statute of Repose on the vehicle (and its airbag system) had expired. The prior attorneys concluded there was no viable theory or path to recovery. The firm immediately hired experts to inspect the vehicle and its airbag system and sensors and discovered that the wires on the airbag sensor had been severed, which explained why the client’s airbag did not deploy. Further investigation revealed that the passenger seat airbag sensor system wires were severed while the employee of a service plaza was replacing the vehicle’s radiator. Whitman presented the claim and liability theory to the insurance company for the service plaza and the case was resolved for the total available amount of insurance in less than 30 days.
  • Attorney Ben Whitman resolved a confidential six-figure settlement during a pre lawsuit mediation in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a result of the firm’s past results and ongoing involvement in litigating complex injury and death claims in Nevada, Whitman was retained by an attorney in Las Vegas to present a claim against the insurance company for the driver and owner of a tractor trailer that failed to obey traffic signals and crashed into his sedan causing significant fractures requiring surgical intervention and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Prior to the firm’s involvement, the insurance company had denied liability and closed their file claiming that the firm’s client was 100 percent at fault in causing the incident. Through the use of accident reconstruction experts evaluating traffic light sequencing and analyzing the placement of all of the vehicles at the four way intersection where the incident occurred, Whitman was able to convince the insurance company to attend a pre suit mediation conference where they agreed to a confidential settlement that fully compensated for the injuries sustained.
  • A confidential settlement on behalf of the survivors of a decedent who was killed while using a scissor lift was obtained by Attorney Ben Whitman. The scissor lift was extended to its maximum height when it tipped over, ejecting the decedent. The firm filed a lawsuit and litigated the case for several years before a successful settlement that adequately compensated the survivors for the loss of their family member was achieved.
  • Attorney Ben Whitman achieved a confidential settlement with a nationwide trucking company and its employees for their negligence in parking a tractor trailer on the side of an active roadway in Marion County, Florida. Whitman advanced the theory that the truck company’s employee pulled to the side of the road late in the evening without placing warning / lighting devices on the roadway as required by Federal Trucking Regulations that would have alerted the firm’s clients the truck posed a danger to those in the roadway. Due to the defendant’s negligence, the client’s vehicle collided with the parked truck and exploded into flames, causing catastrophic injuries that resulted in medical bills exceeding $1.5 million dollars. The firm was also able to establish that the trucking company violated its own internal policies by failing to park the truck in the appropriate place on the roadway and provide other motorists with necessary warnings regarding the location of the truck. The truck company agreed to a significant confidential settlement at a pre suit mediation conference.
  • A $450,000 settlement was achieved by Attorney Ben Whitman with a trucking company and its insurance company for an out-of-state driver following a significant collision on I-95 in the Davie, Florida area. Whitman engaged the insurance company for the truck and driver very shortly after the claim and was able to convince them to agree to admit liability in order to obviate the need for expensive out-of-state expert inspection of the tractor and trailer involved in the incident. With that agreement in place, the firm’s client was able to negotiate the settlement with the insurance company based on the extent of her injuries and medical care, which included surgery to both knees and treatment for neck and back injuries.
  • Attorney Ben Whitman secured a series of successful settlements in a wrongful death claim on behalf of a family whose mother was killed because various tire servicers and retailers negligently failed to warn a 79-year-old woman that the tires on the rear axle of her vehicle were 13 years old. Tragically, both tires failed - within eight miles of each other - due to oxidation or aging of the tires. When the second tire failed, the vehicle rolled multiple times resulting in the woman's death. The firm was contacted and retained by out-of-state attorneys to handle this wrongful death case because of the firm’s prior experience and expertise in handling tire failures and roll over cases. Suit was filed against multiple parties and litigated extensively. More than 30 depositions were conducted in more than eight different states and multiple days of highly contested pretrial hearings were completed. On the eve of trial, the defendants finally agreed to pay a series of settlements that appropriately compensated the survivors for the loss of their mother.
  • A series of confidential settlements was secured by Attorney Ben Whitman on behalf of a retired couple who were operating their RV when a tire on the steer axle failed, causing the RV to leave the highway at high speeds and impact several large trees, resulting in significant injuries to both clients. Whitman brought and resolved claims against the tire manufacturer, the RV chassis manufacturer, the motorhome manufacturer, and the used re-seller of the RV without having to file a formal lawsuit.
  • Attorney Ben Whitman secured a successful six-figure settlement in a wrongful death case in Melbourne, Florida. One of the more meaningful cases he has been involved in, Whitman was hired by a family who tragically lost their 29-year-old daughter and sister when she was killed while crossing the street by an out-of-state motorist. The family had been advised by numerous lawyers that the liability was simply too difficult and that no recovery could be made. Whitman immediately investigated the circumstances of the accident, which included hiring an accident reconstruction expert who traveled to Pennsylvania to inspect the property damage to the vehicle in order to correlate the vehicle damage to the location of the impact with the decedent. Ultimately, the insurance company paid the full policy limits provided under the out-of-state motorist's policy.
  • Attorney Ben Whitman secured a policy limits recovery for a woman who suffered a significant arm fracture as the result of an overly aggressive airbag deployment during a very low speed and low impact collision. The woman was nine months pregnant at the time of the incident. Whitman was retained by another lawyer to investigate the possibility of a products liability case against the manufacturer of the vehicle and airbag system. The firm’s investigation revealed the vehicle was sold to the client’s family after being involved in multiple prior incidents and was likely rebuilt using untrained mechanics and after-market parts. Initially, the insurance company offered a nuisance value settlement. A lawsuit was filed against the used car dealership that sold the vehicle without warning of the potentially dangerous airbag system and shortly thereafter the case was settled for all of the available insurance proceeds.
  • A six-figure settlement on behalf of a 27-year-old man who had three fingers on his dominant hand unintentionally amputated due to a defectively designed meat grinder was successfully concluded by Attorney Ben Whitman. The product at issue was manufactured in Italy, imported to Canada, and ultimately the United States, where it was placed into the stream of commerce in New York. The client was utilizing the meat grinder in a commercial kitchen when the injury occurred. Whitman was able to negotiate a pre suit settlement with the importer and employer.
  • A series of confidential settlements was secured by Attorney Ben Whitman on behalf of the family of a loving wife and mother of three daughters who was tragically killed when a drunk driver rear ended the family’s van causing it to leave the roadway and impact a massive concrete pole. Whitman litigated this case with 17 parties regarding the engineering, design, construction, selection, manufacture, and placement of the concrete pole at issue.
Articles
  • Consumer Product Liability Cases: Getting Started, AIEG Voice Summer 2018
Speaking Engagements
  • Aerial Device and Landscaper Electrocution Case Strategies.” Broward County Trial Lawyers Association, Coral Springs, FL - May 7, 2019
  • “How to Spot Products Cases.” Palm Beach County Justice Association Facebook Channel via Facebook Live, West Palm Beach, FL - March 8, 2019
  • "Liability Theories and Litigation Strategies in Electrocution & Utility Cases." Florida Justice Association John Romano's Workhorse Seminar, Orlando, FL - February 20, 2019
  • "Tire Retailer Negligence (Negligent Sale, Service, Placement, Inspection, Failure to Warn)”. Florida Justice Association Ski Seminar, Park City, Utah - January 18, 2019​
  • “Consumer Product Liability: Cases Studies and Pre Suit Strategies.” Attorney Information Exchange Group (AIEG) Fall Conference, Lake Tahoe, Nevada - September 26, 2018
  • “Current Trends In Automotive Product Liability Cases: After Market Lift Kits and Vehicle / Tire Service Cases.” Florida Justice Association John Romano's Workhorse Seminar, Orlando, Florida - March 22, 2018
  • “Litigating Consumer Product Liability Cases.” Florida Justice Association Ski Seminar, Park City, Utah - February 24, 2018
  • “Practical Tips For Preparing For And Taking Depositions As A New Attorney.” Florida Justice Association Law School Outreach Seminar (Florida State College of Law) - March 23, 2017
  • “Debris or Defect? What to Look for to Determine if a Tire Blowout was Caused by Road Debris or a Tire Defect.” Florida Justice Association Workhorse Seminar - March 3, 2017

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