Florida Cities Top List of Most Dangerous Places for Pedestrians

A study published by Transportation for America reports that the state of Florida is home to the top four most dangerous cities for pedestrians. Orlando/Kissimmee, Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville are the four metropolitan areas that top the list of the organization’s “Most Dangerous Cities for Walking.” The list is based on injury and fatality statistics gathered between 2007 and 2008. During that time, Orlando had the most fatalities, averaging nearly 3 deaths per 100,000. That number is especially high, given the fact that only 1.3 in 100,000 people walk as a primary means of transportation to get to work.

Pedestrian Fatalities in the United States
Across the country, pedestrians account for more than 76,000 American deaths in the last 15 years. Children, elderly and ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in this figure, according to Transportation for America, but anyone can be the victim of a distracted or negligent driver, no matter what their age or physical ability. Speeding, drunk driving and driver error are typically to blame for pedestrian fatalities. In addition, dangerous roadways without sidewalks or dedicated crosswalks also increase the risk of injury and death for pedestrians.

Although there are several organizations like T4A that are fighting for safer streets, these accidents continue to occur daily. If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed by a negligent driver while walking, you deserve justice. A personal injury lawyer in Florida can help defend your case and get you compensation for your loss.

Protect Your Children Against Toy Choking Hazards

When it comes to children’s toys, choking hazards are very real and parents in Florida must exercise caution when allowing their children to play with toys that are poorly made and/or contain small parts. Although most toys are manufactured with child safety in mind, there are still countless products on the market today that present choking hazards to small children.

Steps to Safeguard Your Children
Parents must be proactive when it comes to safeguarding children against toys that may present choking hazards. One easy way to check for defective or dangerous products is to do an online search. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publishes an updated online database of recalled toys that is quite comprehensive. Recall.gov is a federally funded site that also contains a vast amount of information on toy recalls and safety concerns.

When you’re shopping for toys, be sure to examine each product and its packaging before you buy. Check for:
– Recommended age for use (is the toy age appropriate for your child?)
– Warning labels regarding small parts or choking hazards – Harmful ingredients (lead paint, BPA, etc.)
– Poor craftsmanship (i.e. the paint is chipped, parts are missing, etc.)

As a parent, these precautions can help save your child’s life. In case of an accident or injury, however, it is crucial that you contact a qualified lawyer to help you defend your rights. Large companies can often intimidate people and be evasive when it comes to taking responsibility for their actions. A lawyer can help you seek compensation for injuries or wrongful death caused by a defective toy.

Suing for Aggravated Injuries After An Auto Accident

If you have a previous injury that is aggravated after a car accident in Florida, what are your rights? Can you collect damages for medical bills incurred even though you already have a pre-existing condition? Can you collect ongoing payments for your long-term injury if it gets worse as a result? Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you figure out what is rightfully yours and fight the insurance companies to get it.

Many people suffer from pre-existing conditions at the time of an accident. Common injuries that can be aggravated by such an event include: arthritis, head and neck injuries, back injuries (herniated disks, bulging disks, spinal cord injuries, etc.), knee and hip injuries and more. Sometimes, though, an insurance adjustor will claim that your pre-existing condition precludes you from receiving compensation for your injuries.

Making Your Case Stronger
Generally speaking, the driver who is at fault for an auto accident is liable for paying for medical bills, lost wages and/or pain and suffering caused during the collision, even for people with pre-existing injuries. Proving new aggravation of old injuries can be tricky, though, and there are a few things you can do to improve your chance at recovery:

– Be sure to seek medical attention right after an accident.
– List all pre-existing conditions with your doctor or medical professional immediately after an auto accident.
– Carefully document all of your symptoms, doctor’s visits and other medical attention received after the accident. This documentation can help distinguish old health problems from new ones caused as a result of the accident.

Contact a lawyer as soon as you’ve been in a car accident. The insurance companies may offer you a settlement or they may deny your claim altogether. The only way to know if you’re getting what is fair is to speak to a legal professional today.

Gulf Oil Spill Continues to Affect Florida Tourism and Workers


Results from a new study of tourism in the Gulf region this week predict that the state of Florida will be the hardest hit economically in the wake of the BP oil spill disaster. According to the study conducted by consulting firm Oxford Economics USA and commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, Florida will have the biggest loss in travel spending amongst the Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Annually, visitors to Florida bring more than $22 billion to the state’s economy. The study estimates that Florida stands to lose $18.6 billion over the next three years, regardless of that fact that 90% of the states beaches remain unaffected by the oil spill. To help offset these predicted losses, BP has already funded a $25 million campaign to help boost tourism throughout the state, but its effectiveness remains to be seen.

Lack of Tourism and Employment Linked to a Rise in Work Injuries
Tourism all over the gulf region is expected to suffer for the next several years, says the Houston-based consulting firm. Across the region, more than 400,000 people depend on the Gulf for employment and the jobless rates in this region have already sharply risen. Many people are taking on temporary cleanup jobs to make ends meet, but reports of headaches, dizziness and nausea from chemicals, slip and falls and other injuries are increasing as the danger of the cleanup efforts begins to take its toll on many workers.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in cleanup efforts, its important that you hire a qualified personal injury lawyer to help you sort through any workers compensation paperwork and settlement offers before you accept them. Or, if you’re being denied benefits, a lawyer can pursue employers and third-parities responsible for your injuries.

End of Life Issues Raise Malpractice Questions

Perhaps nowhere more than in the state of Florida, end-of-life considerations for elderly or infirmed people are at the forefront in the medical community. CBS News recently reported that end-of-life procedures may actually cause more pain and suffering in the final weeks leading to death. More than 80% of the annual deaths in the U.S. are attributed to long-term diseases, such as cancer, heart failure and Alzheimer’s. In the final weeks of life, the vast majority of patients and their doctors attempt radical or intensive treatments in an effort to save their lives through chemotherapy, radiation or experimental procedures.

According to the CBS News article published June 28, 2010, these treatments can take a drastic toll on the body, causing more pain in the last days of life than the disease would have likely caused if left untreated in many cases. In turn, these experiences can lead families of loved ones to sue doctors and hospitals for malpractice when treatments don’t work or cause increased suffering prior to death.

Determining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be tricky to prove. Just because a treatment doesn’t work doesn’t mean that it was administered incorrectly or with negligence. However, attempting radical procedures recklessly or with knowledge of possible harmful interactions can sometimes be grounds for malpractice. It’s important to work with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney to determine what the best course of action is for your case.

Research Nursing Homes to Avoid Mistreatment and Poor Conditions

The decision to send a family member to a nursing home is not one that most people take lightly. As a matter of fact, many Florida families find themselves overwhelmed at the task of having to locate a nursing home that is suitable for their loved ones. Particularly given the urgency of some medical situations, some people find that they must make a quick decision about which nursing home to choose. However, a hasty decision can place your family member in danger of mistreatment or poor living conditions at a sub-par facility.

While many nursing homes operate with a high standard of care, there are others that simply do not provide adequate care for their patients due to lack of funding or poor management. While there are watchdog agencies cracking down on deficient nursing homes, it is crucial that you do your own research before choosing a home.

Resources for Choosing the Right Home
Medicare.gov also allows you to compare nursing homes in your area and see their Five-Star Quality Rating. This site also lists health inspection results, nursing home staff data, quality measures and fire safety inspection results for each facility in its database.

– The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration publishes a Nursing Home Guide that includes a Watch List that details care facilities operating under bankruptcy protection, as well as those that have been put under conditional status in the last 30 months. Further, this online data source is updated daily. Resources such as this can help Florida families locate the proper facilities for their loved ones with confidence.

Always be sure to visit a nursing care facility before you make a final decision. If you suspect there is abuse or maltreatment of any kind, be sure to contact a Florida attorney who can investigate your case and follow through with legal procedures to correct the situation.

Teen Bike Safety Tips Can Prevent TBI


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the leading dangers for teenage bike riders in South Florida. The National Bicycle Safety Network (NBSN) reports that the failure to wear a helmet is the direct cause of most head and brain injuries in bicycle accidents. According to the NBSN, well over half of those killed in bicycle accidents in recent years were not wearing helmets. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk for major injury and/or death by up to 88%.

In the state of Florida, the law requires bicycle riders under the age of 16 to wear helmets, although all riders are strongly encouraged to wear protective gear. The enforcement of the bicycle helmet law has helped to reduce the number of fatalities in South Florida since its inception in 1997. According to a June 29, 2010 report released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), bicyclist fatalities decreased 15% between 2008 and 2009 from 118 to 100.

Safeguarding Teens Against Injury
Most bicycle accidents involve careless drivers who fail to yield to bike riders. Sadly, a bicycle is simply no match for a 5,000-pound vehicle, and the results can often be devastating. Here are some helpful tips to stay safe on the roads this summer:

– Wear reflective clothing or attach reflective strips to your backpack, jacket or vest to allow drivers and pedestrians to see you at all times.
– Check your bicycle and equipment regularly for maintenance/repair. Check that all nuts and bolts are secure and that your tires are properly inflated and free of punctures.
– While riding, stay alert at all times. Ride on the right hand side of the road with traffic and always obey stop signs and traffic signals.

No matter how careful you are, though, some car drivers on four wheels simply aren’t as careful when it comes to looking out for those on two wheels. If you are injured while riding your bicycle, a personal injury lawyer in Florida may be able to help you recover damages for your injuries.

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Sparks Legislation, Concern Over Health Impact for Workers


On July 8, 2010, the New York Times reported that the Florida legislature has called a special session in order to pass a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling. The measure would be up for public vote on the November ballot in Florida, giving residents the ability to decide on drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other offshore locations near the state’s shores. Currently, offshore drilling is banned by Florida statute but not by constitutional ban.

In response to the growing concern for Florida residents and shores, the White House announced yesterday that the first lady, Michelle Obama, would be visiting Panama City Beach, Florida on Monday to meet with local officials and residents. She plans to discuss updates on the oil spill as well as how it is impacting the community thus far.

The Oil Spill’s Effect on Temporary Workers and Their Health Temporary workers being dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to clean up tar and oil deposits along the coastline are already complaining of flu-like symptoms, according to a June 4, 2010 article in USA Today. Dozens of workers have received treatment at local hospitals for symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, nausea and headaches.

Doctors presume these conditions are the direct result of exposure to chemical dispersants, solvents and other hazardous materials used in the cleanup process. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, workers complained of similar health problems. As the oil spill continues to grow, health officials cannot possibly predict the long-term effects on workers, so it is important that affected people seek legal representation for their injuries.

Safeguard Against Pool Injuries and Liability on Your Property This Summer

A recent study indicates that Florida children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk for accidental drowning and death. According to the Florida Department of Health, our state has the highest unintentional drowning rate in the nation for children between 0 and 4 years old (7.39 per 100,000) from 2000-2005. This number is nearly 50% higher than the next closest state (Arizona has a rate of 5.41 for the same age group).

As a result, many homeowners find themselves in civil lawsuits for wrongful death or injury. South Florida homeowners can take several steps to reduce the risk of accidental drowning on their properties:

1. An adult must supervise children at all times. Even stepping away for a few minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
2. A four-sided barrier, such as a fence with automatic gates, should surround the pool to keep out small children when the pool is not actively in use.
3. Install safety covers and gate alarms to prevent drowning while the pool is not actively in use.
4. Be sure that all adults and children who use the pool know how to swim.
5. Get basic CPR and first aid training to help victims in case of an emergency.
6. Install an outdoor phone line or keep a cell phone handy to quickly reach emergency services should an accident occur.

Pool injuries and deaths can be avoided by taking the proper precautions on your property this summer. If you or someone you care about has been injured at a pool or if someone has been injured on your property, it pays to have a qualified lawyer on your side. Some cases are very straightforward and others are very convoluted and it is important to have a legal professional working for you.

Permanent Disability from Spinal Cord Injuries


Spinal cord injuries can be temporary or permanent, and are very serious medical issues in either case. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are around 12,000 new spinal cord injuries every year in the United States. Of those, 40% are caused by motor vehicle accidents. Many of victims are young men between the ages of 16 and 24. Motorcycle riders are also at higher risk.

The Effects of Permanent Disability from Spinal Cord Injuries While some spinal cord injuries only are only problematic for a few days or months, most victims suffer lasting, lifelong effects from damage to the spine. A permanent spinal cord injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis and can completely change the ability of a person to live, work and function normally. The NSCISC reports that nearly 60% of spinal cord injury victims are typically employed full or part-time at the time of their accidents. After a year of recovery, only 11% were ever able to return to work. Loss of employment, exorbitant medical bills and ongoing care costs are just some of the life altering changes that a spinal cord injury victim may expect.

Because the physical, emotional and financial repercussions of spinal cord injury can be so severe, it pays to have a lawyer on your side who can defend your case and demand that the insurance company pay you what you deserve. You may be offered a settlement amount immediately after your injury, but it takes a skilled personal injury lawyer to be able to negotiate the costs of your long-term needs and medical costs.