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Thanksgiving is the busiest travel weekend of the year. But it also signals the beginning of the long holiday travel season and the beginning of winter tourism season in Southwest Florida.drivefast-300x224

Early darkness, holiday stress, more cars on the road, and a large number of visitors and tourists, all increase the risks of motor-vehicle collisions through the remainder of the year.

Last year, AAA reported about 54-million people traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday. And by the end of the year, 112-million people total traveled for the holidays. The agency is expecting to see that trend to continue this year. That means about 1-in-3 Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this year, or about 300,000 people traveling to or from Lee County this holiday season.

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September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is sponsoring events all month to promote recovery services. The agency’s theme this year is “Join the Voices of Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.”intersection11-300x225

About half of all fatal traffic accidents involve alcohol or drug use. Alcohol alone is confirmed to be involved in one-third of traffic deaths each year, claiming more than 10,000 lives nationally, and more than 800 here in Florida. The increasingly permissive use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes also increases the risks on the road. In addition, the nationwide opioid epidemic is now blamed for more than 35,000 overdose deaths annually, which surpasses the number of motorists killed on the nation’s roads each year, an untold number of whom were under the influence of a prescribed or illicit opioid narcotic at the time of a motor-vehicle accident.

The personal injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, have been representing car accident victims in Southwest Florida since 1971, and continue to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and local law enforcement efforts to get impaired drivers off the road, including sobriety checkpoints and enforcement blitzes.

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Lightning safety is in focus in Southwest Florida through the height of the hurricane season, which runs through November 30.

As Hurricane Dorian batters the Bahamas and threatens the East Coast of the United States this week, it’s easy to remember the power of Mother Nature. lightning11-240x300

But lightning is a primary threat throughout Southwest Florida’s long rainy season. In fact, South Florida is the lightning capital of the United States, with Rwanda being the only place in the world where lightning is a bigger threat. As a result, South Florida leads the nation in fatalities and injuries resulting from electrical storms.

Fort Myers injury lawyers know injuries resulting from lightning can include muscle pain, broken bones, burns, cardiac arrest, hearing loss and seizures.  Lightning burns are characterized by a unique pattern of skin lesions. Alternative names for them include “keraunographic markings”, “feathering”, “ferning”, “Lichtenberg figures,”  “lightning flowers” or “lightning trees”.

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We wrote recently about driver liability for motorcycle collisions. Most traffic collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle are the fault of the vehicle’s driver. The vast majority of riders understand the risks and do whatever they can to help ensure they return home safely to their families.motorcycle-300x225

But there are still a number of things riders can do to help reduce the risks of being involved in a motorcycle accident. Our Fort Myers motorcycle accident lawyers have been fighting for the rights of motorcycle accidents victims and their families since 1971 and have built a reputation throughout Southwest Florida as staunch advocates of motorcycle rights, both on the roads and in the courtroom.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report last week that found observable cellphone use has increased more than 50 percent in recent years. While the study linked at least 800 deaths to distraction caused by cellphone use in 2017, advocates believe distraction is responsible for about one-third of road deaths each year, killing some 10,000 motorists. Cellphone use is by far the leading cause of driver distraction.hit-and-run

Observational studies are a better indicator of road risks.

Our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers wrote last month about the growing risks of traffic accidents in Southwest Florida and so far 2019 has gotten off to a dangerous start. The Fort Myers News-Press reports 10 people were killed on Lee County roads in January. Last year, 84 people were killed in traffic accidents in Lee County after back-to-back years of more than 100 deaths.

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The news is both good and bad when it comes to road safety in Southwest Florida.

Lee County ended 2018 with fewer than 100 traffic fatalities (84) for the first time in three years. However, Florida continues to be among the deadliest states in the nation for all types of traffic collisions, including car accidents, drunk driving collisions, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents.car accident

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Naples continue to see far too many clients injured or killed by reckless, careless, or negligent drivers. Yes the risks are significant in Southwest Florida, but so too is the impact safe driving habits can have on our roads.

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Five children on their way to Disney World were among seven victims who were killed in a deadly South Florida highway collision.highway-300x184

The News-Press reported eight others were hospitalized after what authorities say was one of the deadliest traffic collisions in state history. The crash on Interstate 75 south of Alachua spilled diesel fuel across the highway. The Florida Highway Patrol reports the children were in a Pentecostal church van headed to the theme park when the collision occurred outside Gainesville. The van was an hour north of the park when a tractor-trailer collided with a car and burst into flames before running through the median divider and into oncoming traffic, where it struck the van and another semi, according to The Washington Post. 

The tragedy is being compared to a January 2012 crash south of Gainesville that killed 11 motorists and sent 18 others to the hospital after a chain-reaction collision caused by low visibility. Our Fort Myers injury lawyers remind drivers there are steps they can take to improve travel safety as we enter the height of tourism season in Southwest Florida.

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Using a hand-held device while driving could soon be illegal in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times reports lawmakers are considering a measure that would turn Florida’s texting ban into a law that would prohibit all drivers from using a hand-held device behind the wheel. The newspaper urged drivers to make it a 2019 resolution, noting it was not hyperbole to call distracted driving an epidemic.car accident

Our car accident attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral agree. We have marked the New Year with a number of driving-safety blogs aimed at reducing car accident deaths and identifying vulnerable road users.

No driving behavior creates more accident risks than driving distracted. Cell phone use is blamed for more than 1.5 million traffic collisions each year, according to the National Safety Council.

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An investigative report on the state of Florida’s nursing home industry brings sobering news.

A series of reports by the Naples Daily News, Fort Myers News-Press and the USAToday Network, reveal Florida agencies responsible for investigating serious cases of nursing home neglect and abuse rarely fulfill their critical mission.nursing homes

Of 54 nursing home deaths reported by other state agencies to have resulted from nursing home neglect or abuse in the past 4 years, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration rarely took action. The AHCA is the state agency tasked with keeping nursing home residents safe. Yet in three quarters of nursing home neglect deaths reported by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the agency took no action against the home. The AHCA admitted to failing to even investigate 10 of the deaths. It’s unclear whether 18 other deaths were reviewed as the deaths are not even mentioned in the agency’s inspection reports.

It’s a staggering revelation that illustrates why it’s so vital that loved ones properly review a home when placing a loved one. Our nursing home injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Naples also urge those visiting nursing homes to speak up about concerns.

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As we reported recently on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, we bring more new products into our home during the holidays than at any other time of the year, which increases defective product injury risks, particularly among children.skateboard-197x300

Our child injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know their are some identifiable risks associated with many products marketed to children, and understanding those risks can go a long way toward keeping your child safe. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19, claiming more than 12,000 young lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 9 million children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year after unintentional injury. The most common causes include transportation accidents, suffocation, drowning, falls and animal bites.

In some cases, a product defect may lead to child injury risks. Lack of sufficient age-use warnings may also result in child injury. In other cases, a product is inherently dangerous. Riding toys, such as a bicycle, scooter, dirt bike or skateboard, are the leading cause of toy-related injuries. Those gifting such presents to a child should always check with the parents first, and such gifts should always come with necessary safety gear, including helmets.

Good Housekeeping’s rank of the 20 most dangerous toys of all time include an easy bake oven, fidget spinners, hover boards, lawn darts, slip-n-slides, toy crossbows, toy guns, sling shots, trampolines and even a Cabbage Patch doll.

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