Articles Posted in Holidays

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Dangerous toys are a problem year-round, but heightened concern is warranted during the holiday gift-giving season.

In recent years, both federal authorities and even toymakers themselves have initiated higher standards, meaning the majority of toys on the market are safer than they’ve been in the past. Still, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports toy-related injuries resulted in 200,000 hospitalizations last year.

The journal Clinical Pediatrics indicates the toy-related injury rate has spiked 40 percent between 1990 and 2011. According to their research, 3 million children were injured by toys during that time, which means there was a child getting hurt every 3 seconds. More than 50 percent of those were children under the age of 6.
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As the holiday shopping season nears a close, many people are hurriedly rushing from store to store in search of those last few necessities.

It should be noted, however, that there is a heightened risk of injuries throughout the year-end holiday period. These include slip-and-fall injuries, trip-and-fall accidents, falling merchandise from shelves or even a third-party attack by someone targeting shoppers exiting stores with expensive items.

In each case, owners and operators of these facilities owe their patrons the highest duty of care in ensuring their safety. Although not every injury that occurs at a store is compensable, many times these instances occur as a result of careless or negligent operators and property managers. You should not have to shoulder the burden of medical bills and lost wages because a store failed to maintain safe premises.
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With the Fourth of July holiday, we’re all looking for some time off with friends and family amid a fireworks show. Unfortunately, too many of those at-home firework shows turn into serious accidents. And that’s why, under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage.

In Florida, it’s also illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks. This includes firecrackers, rockets, roman candles, shells and mortars and multiple tube devices.

“If you choose to celebrate with fireworks, protect your family and friends by following the proper safety practices,” said Jeff Atwater, the Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal.

Our Lehigh Acres injury lawyers understand that there are going to be many families out celebrating this Fourth of July with friends and family members. If you’re going to be lighting off any kind of fireworks, make sure that they’re legal and safe. There were more than 270 fires caused by fireworks in 2011. Not only did these fires cost close to $750,000 in property damage, but they led to injury as well.

According to the Division of State Fire Marshal, there are over 2,000 fireworks that are approved for use in Florida. When you’re using these fireworks, you’re urged to follow these safety tips:

-Never allow children to play with any sparklers. These devices can heat up to anywhere between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees and can serve up some serious risks for injuries.

-Make sure that all pets are kept away from areas in which fireworks are being lit.

-You only want to light off one firework at a time.

-Never try to make or alter your own fireworks.

-Stay away from those lighting fireworks. They have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.

-Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.

-If a firework doesn’t go off, or is a “dud”, don’t attempt relighting it. Simply disregard it in a bucket of water.

-Make sure that you’re keeping a bucket of water nearby of a hose.

-Make sure that you’re only getting your fireworks from a licensed supplier.

-Always light fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface to insure the stability of the products. Grass is generally not suitable for any firework intended to be used in an upright position. If lighting fireworks on grass, lay down a flat wooden board for a shooting surface.

-Make sure you’re not lighting off any illegal fireworks. Florida law classifies it as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means those convicted could face up to a year in a prison, a $1,000 fine and court costs.

-Your safest bet is to attend a public fireworks show. This is your safest (and probably most entertaining) option.
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If you’re planning on serving cocktails at you holiday party this year, you’re going to want to make sure that your guests have a safe ride home. After all, you could be held responsible. Unfortunately, anytime there’s a celebration, the danger of drunk driving is always a possibility, as is a terrible car accident causing injuries to all involved.

Our Cape Coral accident attorneys want to make sure your party is successful — and safe! Go ahead and review the following tips when planning out this year’s holiday festivities. Be a good hosts and lookout for your guests.

Holiday Party Safety Tips:

-Don’t serve liquor. You don’t need booze to have a good time. We do understand that this may not be realistic, but moderation is key.

-Keep an eye on how much your guests are consuming. Open bar only encourages over-drinking. You could even provide guests with “drink tickets” with a certain amount for each guest.

-Make sure your guests are well fed. Consider serving food when the bar closes.

-An hour to two before the party ends, close the bar to allow for more time to “sober up.” Check up on all guests before closing down for the night.

-Consider having the party off-site. If the party takes place at a restaurant or a hotel with a liquor license – and the facility’s employees serve the drinks – you’re less likely to be held responsible.

-Make sure that cab rides are available for all guests. Keep company phone numbers at hand. Offer these numbers to guests without a designated driver.

-Keep an eye out for minors. You can get in some serious trouble if you’re busted by authorities serving alcohol to minors.

-In Florida, party hosts’ are responsible for their guests’ actions after leaving a party intoxicated only if the guests are minors or the person is addicted to alcohol.

-Consider hiring a professional bartender. This way they can monitor how much guests are consuming.

-As a party host, you’re urged not to get too intoxicated. You’re going to want to keep an eye on all aspects of your party. Stay sober and stay in the loop.

-Make sure there are plenty of drinks without alcohol on hand to not only encourage guests to stay sober, but also to offer guests a designated driver as needed.

-Make sure that all guests who are drinking have a designated driver or a safe way home.

-Allow guests to spend the night if they don’t have a safe way to get home. Have blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows ready.
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With the holiday season here, many people in the area have Christmas trees in their homes and businesses. While these festive symbols of the season brighten the holidays, they can also be the source of tragic accidents. That’s why it’s important to take appropriate safety measures to help avoid a Christmas tree fire in Fort Myers.

From 2005 to 2009, there were more than 200 home fires every year in the U.S. that were the result of a Christmas tree catching fire. These accidents kill more than 10 people and injure nearly 30 residents annually. If that’s not bad enough, the holiday fires cost more than $16.5 million in property damage each year. These accidents aren’t common, considering they really only happen in the months of December and January, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When they do happen though, they’re oftentimes serious.

Our Fort Myers injury lawyers understand that one out of every five tree fire accidents is started because someone put a heat source too close to the tree. These accidents are completely preventable. Following a few simple safety measures can help ensure Christmas trees do not catch fire.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

-If you’re one of those who like to ring in the holidays with an artificial tree, get one that has been labeled as fire resistant or fire retardant.

-If you like to celebrate the holidays with the smell of fresh pine needles, you should pick a tree that doesn’t throw its green needles on the ground when you touch it.

-After choosing the perfect spot for your tree, cut an inch or two from the base of its trunk before setting it in its stand.

-Place your tree three feet from walls, fireplaces, heat sources, candles, space heaters, lights or vents.

-You never want to set up your Christmas tree in front of an exit. If it goes up into flames, how are you going to get out?

-Give your tree lots to drink. Provide it with water daily.

-Make sure your tree lights have the approval label of an independent testing laboratory. There are some lights that are designed for indoor use and some for outdoor use, but never for both.

-You never want to connect more than three strands of lights together.

-Shut off the lights on your Christmas tree before you go to bed and before you leave the home.

-When Christmas is over and your tree starts throwing all of its needles on your floor, it’s time to get rid of it. Trees that are dried out pose as serious threats for home fires. Don’t keep old trees in your home or in your garage.

We wish everyone a safe, happy and fire-free holiday season.
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December rings in holiday cheer throughout the state, but it also rings in the deadliest season for car accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere. To help stop the number of deadly car accidents, a number of local officers, healthcare providers and nonprofits will be using the entire month to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving habits, according to The News-Press.

Commissioner John Manning recently announced at a press conference held at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office that the department will be launching the 4D Prevention Month campaign, which targets distracted, drugged and drunk drivers. The campaign is known nationwide as 3D Prevention Month, but local enforcement agencies have added another D to the mix, distracted drivers.

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys understand that you’re most likely to die in a car accident over the holidays than during any other time of the year. For this reason, drivers are asked to be extremely cautious, sober and alert behind the wheel. The number of traffic accident deaths has increased by nearly 20 percent from this time last year. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Lee County has already experienced nearly 70 deaths on our roadways so far in 2011. At this time in 2010, we had seen just about 50.

“We’ve all worked fatal accidents over the holiday season,” said Ft. Myers Police Chief Doug Baker. “Make this holiday season a safe holiday season.”

So far this year, the Lee Memorial Trauma Center has witnessed nearly 70 fatalities compared to only 65 for the whole year in 2010. Medical officials are worried that this year’s number will increase much more with the holiday season ahead of us.

The number of car accident-related fatalities in Collier County has seen a decrease from last year to this year though, seeing less than 40 in 2010 to only 28 this year.

Of all of the people who died in the trauma center because of car accidents during 2009 and 2010, about 50 percent of the drivers involved had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. About 30 percent of the involved drivers tested positive for marijuana or cocaine.

Alcohol and drugged drivers aren’t the only ones who are contributing to these high fatality rates though, distracted drivers are putting in their fair share, too. Drivers who text or make phone calls at the wheel are just as dangerous as drunk drivers, studies conclude.

“They’re no longer just texting. They’re checking emails, they’re Googling, they’re posting on Facebook. It’s scary,” said Jay Anderson of Stay Alive…Just Drive!.

There will be more sobriety checkpoints and routine traffic stops throughout the holiday season, conducted by the Fort Myers Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, to hunt down these dangerous drivers.
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With the Fourth of July holiday among us, Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyers wish you and your family a fun and safe weekend. But we urge you to stay safe from the injuries that often plague people during the summer months.
Kids are now out of school and clamoring for something fun to occupy their time. And as Florida Injury Lawyer Blog previously discussed, car accidents in Fort Myers and boating accidents throughout Southwest Florida are especially likely this time of year. There will be tens of millions of vehicles on the roads this weekend and thousands of boaters will be on the state’s many rivers, lakes and coastline water, so stay safe.

But for those not planning any travel this Independence Day, there are even safety tips to stay free from injury at home. Common dangers, such as swimming pool accidents, risks to children and fireworks injuries are more common than many may think, so think twice about safety to avoid devastating and life-altering injuries.

Fireworks injuries: Many people like to buy as many high-action fireworks as they can get their hands on during holidays such as the Fourth of July. Others prefer to go to the several city sponsored fireworks shows and watch them light up the sky.

On the one hand, professionals are handling the show and have years of experience operating high-profile fireworks. But in the other situation, it’s often children who hear the calling to pick up fireworks. If there is ever an area where parents should be extra cautious, it is with fireworks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven people died and more than 7,000 people were injured by fireworks in 2008. And it’s no shock that nearly 60 percent of those injured were teens and children under 20. More than 4 in every 10 people injured were under 15. Children injured by fireworks can suffer life-long effects that can be prevented with more attention to safety — or simply by obeying the law and leaving the fireworks to the professionals.
Bottle rockets, and other fireworks can cause severe injuries to the eyes, hands, fingers, legs and other body parts. In a year-long span from June 20, 2007 to July 20 in 2008, there were 900 injuries associated with firecrackers, 300 attributed to rockets and 800 with sparklers. Sparklers burn at 1,000 degrees.

Swimming pool accidents: But while fireworks may take precedence this weekend, swimming will be a popular activity throughout the summer months.

Tragically, Florida ranks among the top of all states in child drownings, according to the Florida Department of Health. Toddlers are especially susceptible, with 356 dying between 1999 and 2003, tops in the nation.

It only takes a few seconds for a parent or guardian to take on another task, return to the pool and see that the child has sunk to the bottom. Even drowning-related injuries can affect children for the rest of their lives. Don’t be another statistic. Use extra caution this summer and stay safe.
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The Fort Myers personal injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, wish each of you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Whether on the road, on a boat or elsewhere with friends and family, please stay safe and celebrate responsibly.
Law enforcement officials will be executing a number of traffic operations over the long holiday weekend. The Fort Myers Police Department will be focusing on those who drive while impaired as well as motorists who are not wearing their seat belt. The department also will be conducting vehicle safety checkpoints in an effort to reduce the risks of injury and car accidents in Fort Myers.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office joined the nationwide “Click it of Ticket” campaign that encourages all motorists to travel with their seat belts fastened. Their increased enforcement efforts began earlier this week and will continue on through the first week of June, according to Fort Myers Beach Talk.

“Your safety is paramount,” said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, “I just can’t urge driver’s enough to fasten that seat belt and make sure every occupant in the vehicle is properly secured, as well.”

Statistics for the Sunshine State reveal that we were ranked 26th in the nation for seat belt usage in 2009. Local officials believe that we will improve, particularly in the wake of the passage of the state’s primary seat belt law last year. The law now allows law enforcement to pull you over if you’re not wearing a seat belt. Currently we sit at a usage rate of just over 87 percent.

A recent survey of 12 Florida counties, showed that Lee County ranks second only to Collier County which current has more than a 90 percent compliance rate.

Florida saw more than 900 motor vehicle accident fatalities because of motorists not wearing their seat belts in the event of an accident last year. Nearly 20 of these deaths happened in Lee County alone.

This seat belt enforcement will be coupled with traffic stops aiming to crack down on drunk drivers, according to the News-Press.

The Fort Myers Police Department will be conducting a number of sobriety checkpoints at various undisclosed locations throughout the city.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the United States saw nearly 11,000 fatalities resulting from accidents that involved an alcohol-impaired-driver in 2009. These accidents accounted more than 30 percent of all of the traffic accident fatalities for the year. Florida alone witnessed more than 900 of the fatalities for that year.

In a last effort to crack down on the rules of the road this Memorial Day holiday weekend, Lee County deputies will be conducting vehicle safety checkpoints during the entire week. These checkpoints are aimed at checking for valid driver’s licenses, registrations and vehicle insurance. These stops are part of their initiative to inform and educate motorists about traffic safety rules and regulations.

Again, we urge all residents to be safe and cautious this Memorial Day weekend regardless of where you may be celebrating. Be sure to practice defensive driving skills, buckle up, do not drink and drive and make sure your vehicle meets all state and federal regulations.
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The month of March sees more fatal car accidents than any other month of the year according to a 5-year study analyzing Traffic Statistic Reports conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

A great deal of these accidents involved spring break vacationers or tourists here during the month of March, which has historically been South Florida’s busiest month. Fort Myers personal injury attorneys would like to remind locals and visitors to think twice before driving under the influence during your spring vacation. The stiff Florida penalties for intoxicated driving means you will face jail time, stiff fines and the loss of your driver’s license — in the best case scenario. What’s worse, is you could cause a serious or fatal accident that changes your life forever.
Florida DMV notes basic penalties for a first conviction DUI include fines, probation, community service, jail time, license revocation, license reinstatement, skyrocketing insurance premiums, monitoring and DUI school. The state encourages motorists to avoid drinking and driving this spring and avoid turning your spring break into “spring broke.”

In 2008, there were 55,278 people arrested for drunk driving in the state of Florida alone and more than 1,000 drunk driving accidents resulted in fatalities. The strict DUI laws are a direct result of these rates.

Drivers that are under the age of 21 that are caught with a Blood Alcohol Content of .02 or higher will have their license administratively suspended for six months among other consequences.

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) isn’t against having a good time. We just want spring breakers to celebrate safely so that no one has to go home in a body bag,” said Captain Mark Welch. “FHP does not tolerate impaired driving, so drive sober and drive safe.”

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles would like to offer you this poster, available for download, to remind spring breakers about costs and serious consequences of a DUI.
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Lee and Colliers Counties welcomed more than 7 million visitors last year. The substantial number of tourists on Southwest Florida roads surely caused an increase in Fort Myers car accidents.

Tourists may soon be able to keep their attention on the road with the help of AAA’s safe driving feature, allowing drivers to navigate their trips through the safest roads possible. These safe routes have been determined through years of analyzing data of serious injuries and traffic deaths, as Top Tech News reports. Eight states, including Florida, are currently on board with AAA to launch this feature for their state. More states are expected to join.
Fort Myers personal injury attorneys encourage locals to be on the lookout for lost visitors and guests and to practice courteous driving etiquette when sharing the road with our visitors. The safety of everyone on the road relies on practicing safe driving habits.

The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles offers you these tips for sharing the roads with drivers in unfamiliar territory:

-Do not tailgate other drivers. Regardless of where they’re from it is important to give yourself the two-second rule. Allow yourself time to respond to another driver’s any move.

-Don’t drink and drive. An unfamiliar driver and an intoxicated driver create a double-edged sword on the road, increasing the chance for an accident for everyone.

-Stay focused. The more alert you are the more apt you are to respond to sudden or unexpected movements.

-Don’t be an aggressive driver. Be sympathetic to the situations of others on the road. Aggressive driving only heightens the possibility of a serious car accident.
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