Riding is a year-round activity in Florida. While motorcycles are being stored for the winter throughout the northern parts of the country, motorists should expect to see them hitting the streets in large numbers here in Southwest Florida.

In fact, winter is the busiest time for bikers in our area. When the rain ends and cooler temperatures return, solo bikers and large riding groups make their way onto our local highways and byways. A number of large motorcycle events—from Cape Coral Bike Night to Daytona Bike Week —will also draw riders to our area from across the nation.motorcycle accident

For more than half a century, our motorcycle injury attorneys have been fighting for the rights of motorcycle riders and their families in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. Riders are often blamed for collisions in the court of public opinion, but statistics show that more than half of all crashes involving a passenger vehicle are the fault of the passenger vehicle’s driver.

 

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personal injury lawyerThe coronavirus pandemic has been isolating for many of us, but some populations have been more severely impacted than others. Perhaps most affected by pandemic-related isolation were the elderlyespecially those in nursing homes. This year will be the first near-normal holiday season in three years, as the last few seasons were marked by strict coronavirus policies that effectively suspended visitation time for nursing home residents.

News coming out of these facilities has not been encouraging. Large, nationwide, for-profit operators continue to consolidate the industry. A growing emphasis on the bottom line, combined with a critical shortage of skilled nursing care due to pandemic demands, continues to stress staffing levels in nursing homes and assisted-living centers.

Given the easing of restrictions as the pandemic wanes in severity, now is an ideal time to visit loved ones and survey their living conditions.

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We are entering the height of hurricane season in Southwest Florida, and all eyes are on the big storms. Activity in the Atlantic has local residents bracing for catastrophic property damage, flooding, and power outages. However, residents should not overlook more commonplace threats while prepping for “the big one.”  The near-daily thunderstorms that define fall in Florida make it one of the most dangerous times of the year for motorists. lightning11-240x300

Sudden storms are the norm in our state, often causing blinding rains, reduced traction, and flooding that can challenge even veteran drivers. Due to these hazards, we encourage you to service your vehicle and check your tires for adequate tread. Florida’s mild winters eliminate the early spring and late fall maintenance schedules followed by motorists in much of the rest of the country, and it is easy to be caught off guard by rapidly changing road conditions. In addition, intense summer temperatures and blistering asphalt can quickly degrade tires when tread and traction are most needed. Ensuring your car is ready for inclement weather is the best way to combat difficult road conditions due to Florida storms.

Weathering the Storm: Safe Driving in SWFL

While the winter months are most challenging for northern motorists, drivers in South Florida must cope with severe storm conditions from June until November, with some outliers striking in the off-season.

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Anyone who has been in a car accident knows just how frightening the experience can be. When the peaceful thrum of the road is suddenly replaced by a violent jolt, squealing tires, and twisted metal, anyone who walks away unscathed is apt to feel relieved—and rightly so. Many collisions in Florida result in serious injuries that force the victim into immediate and long-term medical care, often at very high cost. Once the smoke has cleared, therefore, one of the first decisions to make is which doctor to trust for your necessary treatment. medical malpractice

Confidence in your medical providers is always important, but in the aftermath of a jarring wreck, feeling comfortable and safe with your doctor is a prerequisite for proper recovery. Since most general medical providers don’t treat crash victims, it’s important that you understand the capabilities of your primary care physician and their policy regarding accident-related injuries. To receive optimal and timely care, you may have to seek out practitioners who specialize in treating your specific array of symptoms. If this is the case, due diligence is key: Verified online reviews, primary care referrals, and recommendations from friends and experts can augment your research into which practices are best suited for your needs.  

Keep in mind that you should get treatment for your injuries even if they feel insignificant at the time of the crash. The body’s shock response to trauma can leave you numb to acute pain at the scene, and many symptoms from common accident injuries—particularly those involving soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments—can take days to fully manifest. This means you may “feel fine” right after a collision and opt against seeking the medical attention you actually require.  

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Motorists in 2022 are facing a perfect storm of factors that make collisions with semis and large commercial trucks more likely than ever before. This is a particularly critical safety issue because of the extreme risks faced by occupants of passenger vehicles, many of whom are seriously injured or killed when a collision occurs with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial truck. Bicyclists and pedestrians are even more imperiled, as their size disadvantage and lack of a safety cage leave them especially vulnerable during impact.trucking

Despite the well-known risks, trucking collisions are occurring at record levels. Several elements are to blame:

  • The supply-chain constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic have put record numbers of overworked truckers on the road.
  • A nationwide shortage of 100,000 truckers continues to grow as industry consolidation reduces pay and degrades working conditions.
  • Emergency orders meant to ease supply chains have permitted younger, less experienced truckers to cross state lines.
  • Large trucking companies are attempting to address the shortage by offering their own training programs and forcing new truckers to work off the debt.
  • Regulators in the United States have failed to keep pace with some life-saving safety mandates already enforced throughout much of the developed world, including the use of improved underride guards, side underride guards, speed limiters, date recorders, and electronic log books.
  • The internet economy continues to push an increasing number of large delivery vehicles into local neighborhoods, where streets are not designed for such traffic and bicyclists and pedestrians face additional risks.

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The recent deadly dog attack on a Florida mail carrier highlights the responsibility of pet owners, regardless of whether an attack occurs on a pet owner’s property. dog-1361477-300x200

According to news reports, the mail carrier was on her delivery route when her vehicle broke down in Putnam County. She was attacked by five dogs. Witnesses rushed to her aid, tried to pull the dogs off, and even fired a rifle in an attempt to scare the dogs away. She was taken to the hospital, but died the next day. Neighbors said the dogs were known to be mean and frequently escaped from a fenced area of their owner’s property, once killing another small dog. They said the 61-year-old mail carrier was known for leaving apples with the mail.

Dogs chasing the mailman is a cliche that is sadly rooted in fact. The United States Postal Service reports mail carriers are frequent victims. Last year, more than 5,400 mail carriers were attacked, with more than 200 of those attacks occurring in Florida.

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Palm Beach County has launched a program to assist older adults with improving strength and balance in an effort to reduce their risks of fall injuries.nursing home abuse

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of deadly injuries among Florida senior citizens. In fact, for many South Florida EMS departments, falls are the most common emergency calls for help. Because Florida is home to a large number of tourists, winter residents, and relocated retirees, many of the calls for help come from concerned out-of-state relatives who cannot reach their elderly loved ones.

Data from the Area Agency on Aging illustrates the yearly toll of fall injuries in Palm Beach County: nearly 250 deaths, 5,000 hospitalizations, and over 14,000 emergency room visits.  That equates to nearly 40 emergency room visits every day from falls in Palm Beach County alone.

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Increased focus on pedestrian safety is critical to reducing the risks as the school year gets underway, especially with the year-end holidays and the height of tourist season just around the corner. pedestriansafety-225x300

South Florida has long been among the deadliest areas in the nation for pedestrians, thanks in large part to its combination of perfect year-round walking weather and imperfect infrastructure planning, the latter of which has resulted in a lack of streetlights and sidewalks in many local neighborhoods. More than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in 2021, compared to 4,000 in 2009, according to Smart Growth America, which publishes an annual report that has been particularly critical of Florida in recent years. Four of the nation’s 10 deadliest cities, and six of the 20 deadliest, are located in the Sunshine State.

Unfortunately, little progress has been made: Each of these cities has seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

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As fall sports season gets underway, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

beer1-300x225More than 11,000 motorists are killed each year in traffic collisions involving drunk drivers, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Almost half of all crashes involve a driver who has been drinking. Impaired drivers, speeders, and distracted drivers now account for the vast majority of serious and fatal accidents on the roads.

The nation’s leading road safety organization reports someone dies in a drunk driving collision every 45 minutes.

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our world in surprising ways. Beyond the immediate effects of the virus on public health, other consequences are now being observed and documented. Early estimates show 2022 is likely to be among the deadliest years for drivers on the road in recent memory an unexpected data point in the stay-at-home era.

While far fewer miles have been traveled in recent years due to the rise of remote work during the COVID pandemic, traffic safety advocates continue to grapple with the increased risk of serious and fatal auto collisions on US roadways. ambulance-300x201

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 9,560 people died in the first quarter of 2022. Considering the last three months of the year are typically the deadliest, the nation could see 40,000 traffic deaths for the first time since 1963. Continue reading ›

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