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Texting and driving became a primary offense this week (July 1) as part of a new law that also prohibits all handheld cellphone use in school zones and active construction sites.

Florida Today reports Florida is among the last states in the nation to prohibit hand-held cell phone use by drivers in school zones and construction sites. Essentially, the rest of the law only bans texting, as most other uses of a phone (dialing, seeking directions, etc.) remain legal, except in school zones or construction sites where workers are present. phonedriver-300x225

As our Fort Myers car accident lawyers reported recently on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, Florida continues to lag far behind most other states when it comes to laws aimed at reducing the risks of distracted driving. 

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The re-trial of a wrongful death case in Orlando is being closely watched this week as plaintiff attorneys attempt to hold Dominos Pizza Inc. responsible for a fatal traffic accident caused by one of its delivery drivers.

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Hot summer jalapeno pepper and meat pizza, macro close up isolated over white

In Wiederhold v. Domino’s Pizza, et al., 2011-CA-001589 lawyers for the victim told jurors at the opening of this week’s trial that Dominos is responsible for the driver’s actions because the company maintained a right of control over the franchise, which rendered the business an agent of the corporation. He said both the franchise owner and store manager would testify that Dominos maintained significant control over the franchise’s day-to-day operations.

Defense counters that the franchise was an independent business and not an agent of the parent company.

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As we enter the height of summer, all of us at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, wish you a wonderful Independence Day.

fireworks-1443766-300x214The weather is beautiful and the beaches and waterways are flourishing. Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers remind you to plan your trip and drive safely, always designate a driver and avoid distraction. Your number one injury risk this summer is being involved in a traffic collision. Boating and water safety should also be high on your list of concerns if you plan to be on the water.

But each year fireworks hit the night sky to signal the start of the peak summer season.  And each year injuries occur, both at sanctioned municipal or corporate shows, or as a result of using backyard fireworks. These incidents are not rare. In fact, they have grown increasingly common amid the nation’s lax enforcement attitude toward fireworks sales. And the injuries typically result in permanent scarring or lasting disability, with severe burns, facial disfigurement, loss of eyesight and loss of fingers being among the most common.

The Insurance Journal reports nearly 13,000 serious firework injuries occur each year in the United States as fireworks sales approach $1 billion amid relaxed laws and enforcement. At least 8 people a year die as result of fireworks injuries. Two-thirds of accidents occur between mid June and mid July.

In Florida, F.S. Chapter 791 governs the sale of fireworks. While the law allows for the sale of fireworks, it prohibits consumer use of anything that explodes or emits sparks, except by permitted groups and organizations that seek advanced permission.  Roadside stands and temporary fireworks emporiums that spring up each summer use the law to sell many fireworks that are not legal for consumers to detonate in Florida.

Effectively, Florida law outlaws all but the sparklers, smoke bombs, and other minor novelty items of the type sold at Publix or Walmart.

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How long do you think it will be before autonomous vehicles are on the roads of Southwest Florida?

If you think you are fully aware of the breakneck speed at which technology is changing all of our lives, consider this: Self-driving vehicles have already been on the roads of Lee County for more than a year.uninsured accidents

Media outlets swarmed over the news this week after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure that will allow self-driving cars, without human backup, to hit the roads in Florida in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Fox 13 Orlando reported it will put Florida at the very forefront of a number of progressive states that have sanctioned the use of such technology on public roads.

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Several serious traffic collisions involving dump trucks in Southwest Florida have authorities urging motorists and commercial carriers to use extra caution.

The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate a fatal crash involving a dump truck and a Honda in Lehigh Acres, according to The News-Press. In a separate incident, NBC2 reports a dump truck and a UPS truck collided at the intersection of Corkscrew and Alico roads in Estero. cementtruck-300x187

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the risks continue to increase when it comes to being involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle. Southwest Florida’s booming economy means dozens of road construction and community housing projects are underway. And the Internet economy continues to put an increasing number of delivery vehicles on the roads, including traffic from a new Amazon fulfillment center that recently opened in Fort Myers.

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Distracted walking is in the news as the nation grapples with significant increases in the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents.

Unfortunately, Florida is all too familiar with the crisis, as the Sunshine State leads the nation in the number of walkers who are injured or killed each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 5,000 deaths and 76,000 injuries caused by pedestrian accidents each year; that’s one death every two hours. And, as the Miami Herald reported recently, 9 of the 20 deadliest cities for pedestrians are located in Florida.pedestriandistraction-300x208

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the increased risks faced by walkers are attributable to a number of factors, including lack of proper infrastructure such as sidewalks and street lights, distraction on the part of both the walker and drivers, and the growing prevalence of electric or otherwise silent vehicles.

A study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University found that those who texted while walking were 60 percent more likely to veer off course. Headphones are another growing problem. F.S. 316.304 prohibits drivers from wearing headphones, although no such law exists for pedestrian or cyclists.

But, while it’s true distracted walking can increase accident risks, the issue of distracted walking is also being pushed by the insurance industry as a way to reduce the liability of insured drivers for collisions that typically result in very serious or fatal injuries.

 

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It sometimes seems as though snowbirds are replaced by orange road construction barrels as summer begins in Southwest Florida.

Florida Department of Transportation is preparing to begin significant improvements to Interstate 75 at Corkscrew Road, according to the Naples Daily News.

Meanwhile, Lee County Department of Transportation is widening Burnt Store Road from Diplomat Parkway to Tropicana Parkway in Cape Coral and the City of Fort Myers is working on a beautification project along U.S. 41 between Colonial Boulevard and downtown.roadconstruction-300x225

Our car accident lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know each of these projects increases the risks to motorists and pedestrians.

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NBC2 reports a man recently fired a gun at another driver in a road-rage incident after being brake-checked near Six Mile Cypress and Daniels parkways.

Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers have passed a measure that would allow teachers to carry firearms in the classroom. While our Fort Myers wrongful death lawyers recognize the rights of millions of responsible gun owners, we are often asked about liability in the wake of an accidental or intentional shooting. workviolence-300x225

In many cases, there may be a path to financial recovery for victims and their families, although those victimized by unintentional shooting may stand the best chance of collecting from an at-fault party’s insurance company.

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Many of Florida’s best performing nursing homes are about to lose millions in funding, while some of the poorest performing homes, mostly operated by large for-profit corporations, stand to be awarded millions more in state and federal funding. nursing home abuse lawyer

The funding changes were lobbied for and won by large nursing home companies in 2017. The companies sold the changes as an opportunity to increase accountability and quality of care at the state’s long-term care facilities, according to an analysis by The News-Press. 

Our nursing home neglect lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral continue to battle a legislative and regulatory environment that puts little emphasis on patient safety and care. It’s incumbent upon loved ones, friends and family members, to police the system and report violations.

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Friday was Bike to Work Day, which signals the beginning of the summer riding season.

While northern riders are just getting back out on the roads after a long winter, bicyclists in Southwest Florida enjoy year around riding weather. However, even such year-around activity does not explain why Florida remains the most dangerous state in the nation for serious and fatal bicycle accidents. bicycle-200x300

Our bicycle injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral note safety advocates have been using the entire month of May to promote cycling safety and awareness, in much the same way that May has become known as Motorcycle Safety Month for more than a decade. Both campaigns target motorists with their messages, as automobile drivers are most likely to be responsible when a collision occurs with a cyclist or motorcycle rider.

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