Archive for February, 2009

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Florida Personal Injury Accidents – Expert Advice

February 28, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Personal Injury Accidents Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

I sadly had an accident a while back. I was wondering if you  could help.  How much do you think I should accept if offered for  scoliosis and disc disease of lumbar spine – if I am offered $8,000 is that enough?

My shin was also cut, and I  experienced pain in my shoulder and my neck which were  minor but still pretty serious to have physiotherapy.  I asked weight of the box, no one told me, and I was rushed, I wasn’t told it was lifted correctly. I had not received  manual handling at the time, my employer gave me no  induction.  I understand a medical report can differ from what my  surgeon has said. Are there any legal definitions I need to  be made aware of?  Fortunately the other side have accepted liability but due to  causation.  Many thanks, Andrew

Answer: Andrew, it is tough to say what the value of your claim is.  Your email does not describe what type of claim you are making, i.e. workers compensation, 3rd party liability, Florida personal injury accidents, etc.  Different types of claims have different damages available to them.  Your email also doesn’t state where you are located.  The value of a claim varies from state to state, and even varies within a state.  I practice in Florida, and I can tell you that settlement amounts and jury verdicts for car accident cases, workers compensation cases, and personal injury accidents in Florida vary from county to county, even for very similar cases. If your claim is within Florida, I would be happy to talk to you about it in detail. If your claim is not in Florida, you should speak to an experienced attorney in your area to discuss the facts of your case, potential options for settling your case, and values of similar cases in your area.  I would strongly urge you not to settle your case until you speak with an attorney that specializes in the type claim you have.  Good Luck.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Apartment Slip And Fall Case – Expert Advice

February 26, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Hello,  I live in Michigan at an apartment complex. When leaving our building there is a landing and then you step down to the sidewalk. Throughout the winter there has been a large chunk of ice on the landing, which has been salted several times. On 2-2-09 I was taking my dog out, and I was trying to avoid the large chunk of ice and as I stepped down to the sidewalk I stepped on more ice and fell. My knee twisted under me and out to the side. I called my husband who contacted the apartment office. They said if I was hurt to go see a doctor and they would need to fill out an incident report. I stopped in at the office and they told me that they would fill an incident report out when I got back from the doctor. The apartment manager also made a remark "I can’t believe you didn’t see that ice, you know you guys need to call us when things are icy so we can take care of it." This ice has been there all winter. The maintenance guys have been at the building several times but have not taken care of it. When I got back from the doctor’s office, the landing was magically clear of the ice chunk as well and thoroughly salted.     After seeing the doctor twice and an MRI, I am now in physical therapy. They say I damaged the small ligaments in my knee.   I have now missed two weeks of work and it looks like I will be out at least one more week. It is still very painful to walk. Not to mention my husband has had to take time off work to care for our three children while I am in PT or at the doctor’s office.   When I asked the apartment manager about possibly getting some lost wages, she said that the owner would deal with that, and he would contact me. It’s been almost two weeks and I have not heard anything although I am keeping the apt. manager up to date on my condition.    My question is, should I wait until I hear from the owner of the complex or should I retain a lawyer to handle my slip and fall case. Do I even have a case? Is it my fault that the sidewalk was not salted and cleared because I didn’t notify the office before I fell? Thanks for your help.

Answer: The answer to your questions depends on the law in Michigan for a slip and fall case, and particularly how Michigan Courts treat slips and falls on ice.  I specialize in slip and fall cases but I am in Florida. Laws vary from state to state so what happens in Florida may not be the case in Michigan.  The best advice I would give you is do speak with an attorney that specializes in premises liability claims, i.e. a slip and fall case.  He can advise you what the law is in Michigan for slip and fall accidents which occur on ice.  Generally, a landowner owes two duties to persons lawfully on the property – to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn persons on the property of dangerous conditions that the person may not be able to appreciate themselves.  The fact that you knew ice was on the step, just in a different location, may work to minimize the value of any claim you may have.  I would not wait for the complex owner to contact you. That is most likely not going to happen, and even if it does, he/she will probably not offer any voluntary assistance.  Apartment buildings usually have insurance policies which cover it for accidents like yours, and any decision to pay you money for lost wages, or for your injury, would be made by an insurance adjuster, not the apartment building owner.  However, you do want the claim reported to the insurance company ASAP.  You should contact
an attorney in your area that specializes in premises liability claims. Many attorneys say they do "personal injury" claims, but after asking around, you’ll find they take anything that walks in the door.  Ask how many claims like yours they have handled.  Ask them if they have tried any cases like yours.  If your apartment complex is a large one, there may be other cases like yours which have occurred there, thereby placing the building owner on notice of the dangerous condition.  You should also contact an attorney soon.  Don’t wait to see if your knee gets better or not.  There are many steps your attorney should take now, i.e. notify the insurance company, obtain photographs, etc, that should be done now.    Most attorneys specializing in premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis, meaning their attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.  

For more information about a Florida slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Hotel Slip And Fall Case – Expert Advice

February 24, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Hotel trip and fall!

Question: I was at a large hotel chain over the weekend. I had a car accident in November and just finished 2 months of physical therapy. While in my hotel room I tripped on a thing sticking out of the side of the bed and reinjured/aggravated my back injury. I spoke with the claims representative today and he said that he determined that I didn’t have a claim because I didn’t seek medical attention right on the spot. I go to the doctor once a week and had taken medication for my back that morning. I am in more pain this week because of the jerking motion that was caused by the trip and fall. He offered to pay medical co-pays but I have none because I am already being seen for my back and have wonderful insurance. He offered $250 and to sign off on the injury, when I mentioned seeking legal counsel he offered $500. What do you think I know I have a case but how much of a case!!!

Answer: It depends on where you are located, how badly you are injured, and on what the "thing sticking out of the side of the bed" was.  Laws vary from state to state.  You should check with an attorney that would specialize in a slip and fall case in your area.

Generally, a hotel generally owes two duties to its guests – to maintain the hotel in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn people of dangerous conditions on the property which people lawfully on the
property may not be able to appreciate.  If the "thing sticking out of the side of the bed" is just a metal bed frame, in its normal place, you may not have much of a claim.

On the other hand, if the "thing sticking out" is a bent piece of metal that should not be protruding from under the bed, then you may be able to establish liability against the hotel, and you move on to a
discussion of how bad your injuries are.

Your best bet is to speak with an attorney that would specialize in a slip and fall case in your area.  If the claim is only worth $250-$500, they will most likely decline handling the claim but at least you have
confidence in what the right decision is to your question.  If the slip and fall case claim is worth more, most premises liability attorneys handle claims such as yours on a contingent basis – you don’t pay an attorney’s fee unless your attorney recovers money for you, so you have nothing to lose by consulting with an attorney in your area.

If you are in Florida, I would be happy to talk to you further about your slip and fall case.

For more information about a Florida slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Florida Boat Accidents – Use A Life Jacket!

February 20, 2009

If you’ve ever been around boats (or if you have taken a cruise), you know how bulky and decidedly unstylish those huge orange life jackets can be! Let’s face it, no one wants to wear one – think of the weird tan lines you’d get, not to mention that you’d look pretty dorky sitting out on the deck in a bikini and a bright orange vest. So, don’t worry about it, right? Just lay back and catch those rays… except, it has been estimated by the U. S. Coast Guard that over 80 % of boating fatalities could have been saved if the victims had been wearing a life jacket. And, since no one plans to get into Florida boat accidents, guess you’d better rethink that life jacket…

The good news about life jackets is that they aren’t necessarily those huge orange monstrosities anymore. In fact, they can be downright fashionable while they help you stay safe if you’re involved in boat accidents in Florida or in any other waters. The Coast Guard has given it’s approval to life jackets that now come in many styles and a wide range of colors. If you are concerned about tan lines, get a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) that you wear like a back-pack. It inflates the second you hit the water, but it is unobtrusive until you go overboard. Hunters can get a camouflage-color jacket and life jackets for paddlers allow for easier arm movement. Float coats will keep you from sinking and help you avoid hypothermia in colder weather. The main thing is to be sure that the PFD you are purchasing is U.S. Coast Guard approved by checking the PFD for a label that designates it’s approval.

Because Florida boat accidents can happen at any time and your craft could be operating at any speed (for example, you could be trolling along and get clobbered by the other guy), you and your passengers should always have their life jacket on. If you’ve ever experienced a car accident, you know they happen in a split second and your passengers may not be able to get their hands on a life jacket or put it on in time to keep from drowning if they go overboard in an accident. And, they’d almost certainly become a fatality if they were knocked unconscious in a collision and weren’t wearing a PFD.

The U.S. Coast Guard site on Boating Safety has a list of Things to Know about life jackets. They say:

  • Certain life jackets are designed to keep your head above water and help you remain in a position which permits proper breathing.
  • To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and over must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well.
  • All states have regulations regarding life jacket wear by children.
  • Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children. Special life jackets are available. To work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through.
  • Life jackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded.
  • Life jackets must be properly stowed.
  • A life jacket — especially a snug-fitting flotation coat or deck-suit style — can help you survive in cold water.

So, be sure that you and everyone on your vessel are buckled up in a life jacket when you push off from the dock. It’s as important on a boat as it is on the interstate!

For more information about boat accidents in Florida, contact Florida boating accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 for a free, no-obligation consultation, or email him today.

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Florida Car Accidents And Driver Distraction

February 10, 2009

Most people think nothing of getting into their car and automatically reaching for their cell phone. They (hopefully) fasten their seat belt, put the car in ‘drive’, and speed off while simultaneously dialing their cell phone or even texting a message to someone. The next time you are waiting at an intersection, count the number of cars that pass you with a driver holding a cell phone to their ear – you’ll be amazed. While having this technology is great for the stranded motorist or for someone who is safely pulled off on the side of the road phoning for directions, using a cell phone, programming a GPS, using a laptop or other gadget while operating a motor vehicle is distracting and extremely dangerous. In fact, driver distraction is one of the top causes of car accidents in Florida and across the U.S.

Did you know that, across the country, someone will die in a car accident every 12 minutes? Were you aware that, every 14 seconds across the county, someone is injured in an auto accident? When statistics tell you that about 25% of these accidents are directly related to driver distraction, you can see how many lives could be saved if people strictly concentrated on the road. About 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries per year nationwide are attributed to using a cell phone while driving, according to statistics from the National Safety Council.  The Council’s research indicates the use of a cell phone while driving increases the likelihood of an accident fourfold. A legislative bill was recently introduced in Florida which would ban the use of a cell phone for talking or texting, while driving.  The bill is known as "Heather’s Law," after Heather Hurd, a 27-year-old woman who was killed in Orlando in January 2008, when the vehicle she was traveling in was hit by a tractor-trailer.  It is suspected that the driver of the truck, who was charged with careless driving, was using some kind of handheld communication device.

If you are driving while distracted, your reaction rate is decreased by about 20 percent. This means you are going to take 20 percent longer to realize there is impending danger and either brake or swerve to avoid it. When you figure a car averaging about 40 m.p.h. will travel 164 feet from brake application to full stop including driver reaction time (about 1.5 seconds), it means the car traveled 88 feet before the driver even realized there was a problem and applied the brakes. Now, think about that same driver talking on a cell phone – it would take him or her an additional 33 feet of travel before they stopped for the danger – which means they are likely going to come through the back end of your car.

So, what can you do to avoid Florida car accidents caused by driver distraction?

  • Pull over to the side of the road to talk or text on a cell phone.
  • Don’t eat while driving.
  • Don’t apply make-up or shave while driving.
  • Don’t read while driving (this applies to reading a road map, too! Pull over if you are looking for directions).
  • Don’t send text messages.
  • Sit upright, with both hands on the wheel. If you are in an accident, airbags and the metal framing protection that is built into the vehicle isn’t going to help as much if you are slouching.
  • Confine your pet to the back seat or passenger seat. Pets don’t hold up as well as people in an accident because they instantly become projectiles in an impact.
  • Don’t watch movies on those portable DVD players.
  • Save the flossing for the times when traffic is stopped.
  • If you listen to music, either use the radio or put the CD player on shuffle so you don’t get distracted while changing CD’s.

As long as there are drivers in Florida, there will be Florida car accidents. People come from all over the country to enjoy the warm weather, beautiful beaches, and sunny skies. But, this means tourists will be trying to read road maps while driving, teens will be texting friends while driving, and commuters will be trying to groom and eat on their way in to work. They will be distracted so you should be doubly vigilant. Remember that your car is a 2,000 pound object hurtling through space and it just takes 3 seconds of inattention to cause a crash. Don’t be a statistic.

For more information about Florida car accidents, contact the Florida auto accident lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529 or email them today.

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