April 18, 2015

Study: Impact Absorbent Floor May Reduce Injuries to Nursing Home Residents

Swedish researchers recently tackled the issue of falls in nursing homes in an effort to explore outside-the-box ways of preventing serious injury.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report notes the incidence rate for falls in nursing homes is about three times the rate of those who live in the greater community. In fact, the latest figures show 1.7 falls every year per bed. That means more than likely, residents fall multiple times a year.

The consequences of these falls are serious. Between 10 and 25 percent result in a fracture, laceration or need for hospital care.

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April 16, 2015

Report: Texting Bans Lead to Drop in Car Accident Injuries

A new study reveals the numerous state-level bans on texting-while-driving may actually be having their intended effect.
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Researchers from the Texas A&M School of Public Health reported hospital emergency room visits within the 45 states that had enacted some type of texting restriction for drivers between 2003 and 2010 dropped by a full 7 percent.

Researchers did note that while they could not prove the legislation was the absolute cause of the decrease in critical injuries in those states, they opine it is likely a significant factor. As of today, two states - Arizona and Montana - still have no ban on texting for drivers. Three other states, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, have only partial bans on texting drivers.

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April 14, 2015

Florida's Bicycle 3-Foot Rule Largely Unenforced

In an effort to shield bicyclists from motorists who whiz by too fast and too close, the Florida legislature passed a law in 2006 that requires drivers to maintain three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists on the road. bicycletire.jpg

But in the years since, it's been shown that enforcement of this law is lacking.

The News-Press reports that in 2014, there were a total of 500 tickets issued statewide for the offense. Now, that is certainly better than the average of 100 tickets that were doled out in the first few years after the act passed into law.

But consider that in the same year there were 121 bicyclists killed in Florida. Thousands more were seriously injured. In fact, Florida has the highest rate of bicycle accidents and bicycle deaths in the country. This is something we must take more seriously.

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April 12, 2015

6 in 10 Teen Crashes Caused by Distraction, Report Says

In one of the largest studies of its kind, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety paints a very troubling picture of the problem of teen driving and distraction.
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The compelling new evidence suggests distractions - particularly using cell phones and talking to other passengers - play a significant role in causing teen crashes.

Researchers analyzed approximately 1,700 videos of teens in the moments just before a collision. What they discovered was that 60 percent of the time, when there was a moderate-to-severe crash, the driver had been distracted.

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April 11, 2015

Florida Lawmakers Seek to Close Rental Car Liability Loophole

A loophole in Florida law allows rental car drivers who live out-of-state to avoid providing proof of insurance when renting a vehicle.
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Rental car companies in the state have little incentive to require or even push for this because of a federal law known as the Graves Amendment, which exempts rental car companies from liability stemming from the negligent actions of those who rent or drive their vehicles.

But a lot of people from out-of-state rent cars. A fair portion of them don't have insurance or allow drivers without insurance to drive those vehicles. The result is innocent people are seriously injured or killed.

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April 10, 2015

Ludlow v. Wise - Car Accident Verdict Involving Comparative Fault Affirmed

In any negligence case that can't be soundly defeated on its merits, defense lawyers may try to assert the victim was in some way or to some degree responsible for his or her injuries.
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This is called comparative fault. In some states, a finding of comparative fault - no matter how much or how little - will result in a defense win. Not so in Florida, which recognizes a the pure comparative fault model. This essentially holds in the event comparative fault is established, plaintiffs overall damages will be reduced by their degree of fault.

So an injured pedestrian who was distracted as they crossed the road and was struck by a drunk driver may be found 20 percent at fault by a jury. Thus, an award of $100,000 would be reduced to $80,000.

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April 3, 2015

$10M Settlement for Fatal Truck Crash That Killed One Comedian, Injured Another

For the purported negligence of a fatigued Wal-Mart truck driver, the retail company has agreed to pay $10 million to the family of a man killed when its driver collided with a luxury van in which decedent was riding.
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The payout to the family of Comedian James McNair will be split between his two children, a 26-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.

It was in that same crash that Comedian Tracy Morgan was left severely injured with brain trauma. He continues to recover, and has yet to return to show business. Those close to him say it's not clear he ever will.

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April 2, 2015

Hodson v. Taylor - Paralyzed Victim May Pursue Litigation

Plaintiff in Hodson v. Taylor was a teenager when he ventured out with a group of friends on a private lake in a pontoon boat owned by one of the friend's parents.
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The group spent some time cruising around the lake and stopped a few times to swim. When they stopped at their final spot, plaintiff dove in. But the water was far too shallow. He struck the bottom and was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.

He now suffers limited movement of his shoulders and hands. Doctors say he will never walk again.

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April 1, 2015

Skaperdas v. Country Cas. Ins. Co. - Auto Insurance Agents Owe Duty of Care

Florida courts have long held that insurance agents/brokers owe a duty of care to the insured. This means the agent has a duty to insureds to explain the coverage and to explain when unilateral changes are made.
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The law also requires insurance agents to use reasonable care in the procurement of requested insurance. In some cases, the law may require the agent to make recommendations on specific types and amounts of coverage reasonably and prudently needed to meet the customer's needs.

Issues can arise where auto insurance customers believed they were covered for an accident, only to find they didn't know it fell under an exclusion, or when they believed they were purchasing one type of coverage, only to learn they were in fact getting another.

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March 31, 2015

Trek Bicycle Corp. v. Miguelez - Bicycle Injury Verdict Reversed

A bicycle injury verdict handed down by a Florida trial court has been reversed on appeal after it was determined failure to warn - the key argument in the product liability claim - was not the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries.
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The case of Trek Bicycle Corp. v. Miguelez before the Third District Court of Appeal was not a typical bicycle injury claim in that the defendant was not a motor vehicle driver, but rather the manufacturer of the bike itself.

According to court records, plaintiff was riding his new road bicycle on the shoulder of a major causeway when the bicycle stopped abruptly. The rider fell onto the pavement below, sustaining serious injury to his shoulder, jaw and face.

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March 30, 2015

Fatal Florida Truck Accident Highlights Big Rig Dangers

A horrific, fatal trucking accident in Palm Beach County was preceded by extremely foggy, dark conditions on U.S. 27.
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But that only compounded the bigger problem which was that, for reasons unknown, the trailer became unhooked from the truck in the middle of the highway. That was around 6 a.m. The trailer was blocking the road, but drivers approaching the hazard in the fog only had seconds to react.

Unfortunately, seconds were not enough for several of the drivers, and several crashes resulted, claiming the lives of four people and seriously injuring several others.

The first vehicle was a Ford Focus, whose driver attempted to swerve to avoid the trailer, but still hit the back corner. Then a large pickup truck slammed into the rig's other rear corner. Seconds later, another tractor-trailer came up fast, striking the Focus and launching both into a nearby swamp. The 39-year-old driver of the Focus and her three teen passengers, all between the ages of 14 and 17, were killed. Another passenger in that vehicle survived, but was left in serious condition.

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March 29, 2015

Study: Buyers Purchasing Vehicles With Outstanding Recalls

Last year, there were more motor vehicle recalls than any other year on record. This stemmed from a combination of issues, including the fact that years-old problems were finally being conceded and addressed by manufacturers, and regulators were beginning to take a hard line with the auto industry as new issues emerged. adriver.jpg

Now, a new study from Carfax (a firm that sells reports on vehicle history) reveals there are some 46 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. that were recalled at some point for a safety hazard, but never repaired. What this means is 1 in every 5 cars on the road has an unaddressed recall. Government data indicates it may be even more - that 1 in 4 vehicles has an unaddressed recall.

Bear in mind: These are major defects that have the potential to result in a crash, serious injury and possibly even death.

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