We recently wrote about parking lot injury risks as holiday shoppers return to local malls and box stores. But the reality is the holiday travel season is full of year-end risks that can often be mitigated with planning, some forethought, and a focus on safety.
More than six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on road safety is still being studied. Certainly there was a marked drop in traffic collisions through the spring and early summer, as lockdown orders shuttered bars, restaurants and all but essential businesses and most of Southwest Florida sheltered in place.
But with Gov. Ron DeSantis lifting remaining restrictions at the start of October, and the height of tourism season right around the corner, there is growing evidence that the roads of Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties are once again getting more dangerous.
And perhaps in new ways.
Lawmakers from Tallahassee to Washington are taking up the issue of COVID liability, in large part to protect schools and businesses while limiting the rights of victims to recover amid the worldwide pandemic.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been largely mute on the subject of COVID liability. Channel 4 News in Jacksonville reports DeSantis was not among the 21 Republican governors who signed a letter to Congress asking for COVID liability protections for schools, businesses and healthcare workers.
COVID School Liability
New fireworks laws, combined with COVID restrictions, are expected to increase the risks of fireworks injuries in Southwest Florida as we head into the Fourth of July weekend.
Florida Senate Bill 140 was among the 100 new laws that hit the books on July 1, according to the Miami Herald. The bill permits private citizens to set off fireworks in Florida on July 4, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The Palm Beach Posts reports record fireworks sales as many municipalities cancel or curtail fireworks celebrations in response to the COVID pandemic. Channel 10 News in Tampa reports authorities are bracing for an increasing number of injuries.
While the COVID pandemic has had a calming effect on Southwest Florida traffic, relaxing restrictions combined with summer rains will serve to increase the risks of the road.
The Fort Myers News-Press reported a death this week after the driver of a Corvette lost control in the rain and slammed into a truck. Police said the 53-year-old Cape Coral man lost control of his Corvette on State Road 82 near Lightard Knott Lane about 7:10 p.m. The vehicle went over the median, west of Buckingham Road, into eastbound traffic, where it hit a Ford F-350 King Cab.
Our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys urge motorists to take the risks of driving in the rain seriously as we head into the height of storm season.
The news coming out of the nursing home industry is not good.
At this point, our nursing home injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral suspect the risks are well known when it comes to COVID infections in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Elderly populations and those with pre-existing conditions already face the highest risk of adverse outcomes.
But to understand the full scope of the risk, and place blame where it belongs, it is important to separate the universal COVID risks faced by the elderly, from the unnecessary risks faced by residents as a result of negligence and ineptness.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we stand in support of the many brave men and women working in our hospitals, as well as our first responders. We are taking care of our clients, our employees and our families and are doing whatever we can during these unprecedented times.
But the impact of the outbreak goes far beyond those occupations we have generally considered to be high risk. From dental hygienists to school teachers and grocery store employees — the portion of the workforce with legitimate health and safety concerns have increased exponentially since the worldwide pandemic began less than a month ago.
Spring training and spring break are upon us as Southwest Florida enters the height of the winter tourist season.
Traffic is reaching its annual peak in Lee and Collier counties, as the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox bring thousands of visitors to the area. On the beaches, spring break and visitors escaping frigid northern temperatures mean hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants are managing burgeoning workloads and reaping profits that will sustain them through the slower summer months.
While visitors can be injured at any time of the year, our experienced injury lawyers in Fort Myers know March is statistically the most dangerous month. Everyone faces an increased risk of car accidents this time of year. However, vulnerable road users, including bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycle riders, are at even higher risk. Visitors are not only more likely to be bicyclists or pedestrians, but are traversing unfamiliar areas often crowded with vehicle traffic and lacking the adequate sidewalks, bike lanes and signs and signals that could help reduce the risk.
The Miami Herald reports the Sunshine State is one of a dozen states listed as “Dangerously Behind,” and the only state in the Southeast to be rated so poorly. Our Fort Myers injury lawyers noted in a recent blog post about enforcement of Florida’s updated texting and driving law that our state lawmakers continue to underperform when it comes to improving the safety of Florida’s roads.
Inadequate primary rear seat belt laws, lack of a motorcycle helmet law, and weak child seat laws, were all among the reasons cited. Florida is one of 31 states without a motorcycle helmet law for riders over the age of 21. The state gets middling marks for efforts to discourage distracted driving. While it bans text messaging during driving, the organization finds Florida’s efforts to restrict cell phone use are inadequate.
The booming Southwest Florida economy is thanks in no small part to the housing and construction industries. However, an increasing concern is the growing number of serious and fatal construction accidents that result from such rapid development.
The Palm Beach Post reports the number of serious and fatal construction injuries in South Florida has skyrocketed, up 140 percent in the 7 years since we exited the Great Recession.
More than 100 fatal construction accidents were reported for the first time in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2011 the department reported 42 construction fatalities in Florida. That means that in just seven years, the fatality rate more than doubled. Continue reading ›