Archive for September, 2010

h1

What Can A Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Do For You?

September 30, 2010

When we are dreaming of a cruise vacation and thinking about how great it will be to relax under sunny skies and have our every whim catered to, we never really think about what could go wrong on our vacation. Practically no one reads the cruise line’s restrictions (which are printed on the cruise ship ticket) or the list of rules and requirements that must be followed if the unthinkable happens and they are injured while on the cruise. Because cruise injury laws are different from other types of personal injury law, if you are involved in an accident or sustain an injury, you need to know what a cruise ship injury lawyer can do for you:

  1. Cruise ship injury lawsuits are required to be filed in Federal Court.  Due to the numerous laws which may apply to your claim, cruise ship injury claims can become very complex. If you do not follow the rules and requirements that accompany your ticket, you run the risk of having the court throw out your personal injury claim against the cruise ship company.
  2. A cruise ship injury attorney will know that most cruise ship tickets contain a one (1) year Statute of Limitations during which a law suit may be filed for an onboard injury. In addition, it probably also requires you to provide the cruise line with notice of your injury, usually within six months of your injury. A cruise ship attorney will work within these parameters to be sure the limitations are met.
  3. Cruise line contracts often contain clauses written to limit your claim. An experienced cruise ship injury lawyer can challenge these clauses and help you get the benefits you deserve.
  4. A claim for compensation against a cruise ship company can often involve other companies that either make equipment or provide services to the cruise ship. A cruise ship accident attorney can research, identify, and litigate against other companies that may be involved. An example is in the case of an onshore excursion accident: the company that chartered the cruise ship land excursion may also be liable for your injuries.
  5. Most cruise ship tickets contain clauses that require you to file in a very specific jurisdiction (usually Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Los Angeles), requiring a cruise ship injury lawyer who is familiar with these juridictions and can effectively represent clients from all over the U.S. and from other countries.
  6. Contacting an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer quickly enables them to document unsafe conditions on the ship and interview witnesses or crew members while they are in port or when they return to port on subsequent sailings.
  7. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow an individual person to represent themselves in Federal Court.  As such, if you are going to file a claim for compensation for a cruise ship accident, you should speak to an experienced cruise ship accident attorney soon after your accident occurs.  Although an individual can try to settle his/her claim with the cruise ship company prior to filing suit, the individual will most likely be given a low settlement offer just so they have the opportunity to settle quickly.  However, to get the full value of your claim, you should speak with an experienced cruise ship accident lawyer.

For more information, contact cruise ship injury lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Mr. Maus provides a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced Florida cruise ship injury lawyer who has handled thousands of claims ranging from slip and trip and falls, sexual assault, cruise ship viruses and violations of safety and cleanliness standards, injuries during onshore excursions, and many other types of claims which are related to cruise ships.   His office handles claims on a contingent basis which means there are no attorney’s fees charged unless a recovery is made on your behalf. Mr. Maus is licensed to practice throughout the State of Florida, in the Southern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court, and is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is an “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

Advertisements
h1

Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer Discusses Auto/Motorcycle Accident Causes

September 20, 2010

Because the Sunshine State has such nice weather, many motorcycle enthusists enjoy riding along it’s highways and back roads. Weekends can be especially busy as bikers take to the highways with friends or as members of motorcycling clubs. The danger in riding motorcycles, though, is that when a bike and a car meet in an accident, the biker is usually the one who sustains more and greater injuries. Causes of these accidents can be partly due to cyclists sometimes neglecting to follow the rules of the road, such as when they weave in and out of traffic or cruise to the front of the line of cars waiting at a traffic light. Another part of the problem is that motorists often don’t see cyclists until it’s too late.

Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus reports that a study of motorcycle/auto accidents that was conducted by the University of Southern California, through funding by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, analyzed more than 4,000 accidents and found some startling information:

1. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents – 98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.

2. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head injury.

3. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most usually a passenger automobile.

4. Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.

5. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.

6. In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.

7. In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.

8. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.

9. The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.

10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.

11. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.

12. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.

13. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and in one crash out of a thousand, the crash speed was approximately 86 mph.

14. Most motorcycle riders involved in accidents have not had professional training in riding a bike: 92% of those involved in accidents taught themselves to ride a bike or learned from family or friends. Riders who have had professional training are not involved in as many accidents and, when they are, endure less injury than their untrained counterparts.

15. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident and almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.

16. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.

17. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely over represented in accidents.

18. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property. Mr. Maus says, “As a Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer, I see cases like this all the time. I can tell you that the hospitalization cost alone of treating a severely head-injured motorcycle accident victim will easily be in the $150,000 to $200,000 range and that doesn’t cover the cost of the extensive rehabilitation services that will be required afterward in order to be functional again.”

The health care costs of a catastrophic injury like those that can result from a motorcycle accident are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy. This is why you need to hire a good attorney who can help make sure you are fully compensated for your medical bills and injuries if you are involved in an auto/motorcycle accident. For more information, contact Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

h1

How to handle a medical claim when rear-ended

September 15, 2010

I was recently rear-ended (in FLA) while stopped and attempting to enter onto a highway. There was minor damage to my car. My two kids in the back were not injured. I suffered some neck/back pain, both new injury and aggravation of an existing condition. When I reported accident to my insurance, I was informed that my insurance, which has been automatically drafted from account for 10 years, had lapsed. I wasn’t aware of this but corrected the situation ASAP. I am not looking to make any money (or war# but am wondering if the other insurance company will pay medical bills #chiro) when they learn of my coverage. I am prepared to pay out of pocket for medical especially if a fight is anticipated. Any advice? Thanks!

Answer:

Nikki, since your accident occurred in Florida, I will presume you live in Florida.  I am aFlorida accident injury lawyer, so I can tell you how Florida law applies. But, if you live somewhere other than Florida, the laws are most likely different and you should consult with an attorney in your area.

Florida is a “no fault” insurance state for car accidents.  This means that no matter who is at fault for causing the accident, your initial medical bills are to be covered by your own car insurance coverage.

Florida Statute section 627.736 requires that all drivers and owners of cars in Florida purchase personal injury protection coverage (PIP).  PIP coverage covers 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, subject to any deductible, and usually with a cap of $10,000.  If your PIP coverage lapsed, you are responsible for your medical bills and lost wages.  There is nothing in Florida accident injury laws that makes the at fault party’s insurance coverage responsible for your medical bills.

You can still pursue a claim for your injuries, lost wages, medical bills above and beyond what your PIP should have paid, and pain and suffering against the at fault party, and his/her insurance company.  Even if you do not have PIP, if you were injured in the accident, you should get checked out by a doctor to rule out any serious or permanent injuries.

If your injuries do not go away, you should speak to a Florida car injury accident lawyersoon.  An experienced Florida car accident lawyer will know how to best proceed even if your PIP coverage has lapsed.

h1

Passenger Bus hits pickup truck and injures 4 in Palm Beach County

September 13, 2010

Bus CrashA Palm Beach County traffic accident involving a Church-Bus and a pickup truck injured four people after the bus lost control and struck the pickup truck over the weekend. The accident happened in Lake Worth on Federal Highway and South Eighth Avenue.

Palm Beach County Emergency medical personnel air lifted one passenger from the pickup truck to Delray Medical Center. Another passenger in the pickup truck also reported injuries. The church bus was carrying 21 people, of which two people on the bus reported injuries at the scene of the bus accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released a report on 2009 motor vehicle traffic crash Stats. The Traffic Safety Facts Report show a decrease in 2009 traffic fatalities when compared to 2008. The NHTSA report on highway crash statistics for 2009 shows that approximately 33,963 people died in motor vehicle traffic accidents. This is an 8.9 percent decrease from 2008, where there were 37,261 traffic fatalities. This is the lowest record of traffic accidents on record since 1954.

Forty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all had reductions in fatalities. Florida led the nation with 422 fewer fatalities in 2009, followed by Texas with 405 fewer fatalities in 2009.

Researchers attribute law enforcement’s crack down on drunk-driving, safety awareness campaigns for seatbelts and distracted driving and overall car safety improvements for the lower traffic deaths in 2009.

Click on the following link to read more from the Palm Beach Post on the bus accident.

Click on the following link to read more from the NHTSA on 2009 highway crash statistics and traffic fatalities.

h1

Are Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Entitled to Overtime Pay?

September 12, 2010

The Commonly held belief is that outside sales representatives do not get overtime pay.  This is because the federal overtime law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically exempts outside sales reps from being paid overtime pay.  Normally, the FLSA requires an employer to pay its employees one and ½ times their regular rate of pay if that employee works more than 40 hours per week.

In order for an outside sales representative to be exempt from receiving overtime pay, there are several requirements that must be met.  These are:

1. The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and

2.   The employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.

At first glance, it seems as if a pharmaceutical sales representative would not be entitled to overtime pay.  However, the distinction lies in how the FLSA defines “primary duty” and “making sales”

“Primary duty” means the principal, main, major or most important duty that the employee performs. Determination of an employee’s primary duty must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole.

“Making sales” includes any sale, exchange, contract to sell, consignment for sales, shipment for sale, or other disposition.  What is missing from either of these definitions is an exemption for a person that merely urges doctors to prescribe certain drugs, but does not actually sell anything to the doctor.

A recent case out of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held pharmaceutical sales representatives that merely urge doctors to prescribe certain drugs, under strict guidelines from their employer, are entitled to overtime pay.  In In Re Novartis Wage and Hour Litigation, the Court states that a pharmaceutical sales representative that meets with doctors to obtain a doctor’s commitment to prescribe a certain drug does not engage in “sales” as contemplated by the FLSA.

Novartis also tried to argue that their “sales” reps were exempt from overtime pay because of the administrative exemption.  However, the Court stated that the reps did not exercise discretion and independent judgment simply because the reps could answer the doctor’s questions about the medications.  Based upon this holding, it is anticipated that drug companies will make changes to their sales representatives responsibilities so as to avoid having to pay their reps overtime pay, despite the long hours worked by these reps.

For more information about overtime pay for pharmaceutical reps, or other questions relating to whether a certain employee is entitled to overtime pay, contact attorney Joseph M. Maus at The Maus Law Firm, (866) 556-5529 or visit www.mauslawfirm.com

h1

Tricks That South Florida Employers May Use To Get Out Of Paying Overtime Wages

September 12, 2010

Everyone is trying to stretch their money during these uncertain economic times, including employers. In fact, some employers will go out of their way to try to get around the overtime wage laws so they can avoid having to spend more money on worker salaries. You may have been wrongly denied overtime and might not even be aware of it.

Here are a few tricks that employers may try to use to get around paying South Florida overtime wages:

  • Even if they don’t know the details, every employer has a general idea of state and federal labor laws and they are aware that employees are entitled to overtime. In order to avoid paying overtime, they may not give the worker "employee" status and may instead call workers "independent contractors". Anyone can be called an independent contractor but there is a legal standard that designates an employee from an independent contractor. If the employer controls the time and manner of how your work is performed, supplies you with all the materials needed to do your job, and pays you on an hourly or salary basis, you are most likely an employee, not an independent contractor.
    • Another way to get around the labor law is to call the employee a manager, which means they are exempt from overtime wages. If you have the power to hire and fire workers and more than 50 percent of your work time is devoted to management duties, you may be exempt from receiving overtime wages. However, if your management responsibilities mean you spend a high percentage of your workday engaged in non-management tasks, such as answering phones and filing, and you only are responsible for duties such as cashing out a register at the end of a shift or carrying an over-ride key, you may not actually be a manager and may not be exempt from overtime pay in South Florida.
      • Employees under H-1B status: H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by foreign workers who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation and it requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. Many companies are increasingly hiring workers from overseas, particularly for the IT field, because the workers will settle for lesser wages. Oftentimes, the foreign worker is either unaware of or afraid to assert their rights, which allows an employer to get around the overtime wage laws.
        • If you must take unpaid breaks or if you find yourself being required to work through lunch, you may be owed overtime. An employer must pay you for breaks of more than 5 minutes and less than 20 minutes or if you are required to complete work-related duties during your lunch break, but must clock out for that lunch break..
          • With all the new communication technology out there, you may be required to check your company Blackberry or PDA, or answer emails or texts after work hours, which may entitle you to overtime pay.
            • If you are required to be ‘on call’ and must report to work on short notice, you may be entitled to overtime pay.
              • For many South Florida employees, the threat of losing their job is enough to make them overlook the overtime wages they should be getting but aren’t. However, you should be aware that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits an employer from punishing or firing an employee who has asserted his or her rights to overtime wages.

              Do you think you might have a South Florida overtime claim? Florida overtime attorney Joseph M. Maus can help you determine if your employer may owe you money. Call him at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today. The Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates has handled some of the largest South Florida overtime claims. Attorneys in their office were recently appointed in Federal Court as lead counsel in an Overtime Class Action against a large Fortune 500 Company. Call their offices today for a free consultation or for more information on South Florida overtime claims.

              h1

              Cruising The High Seas Or On An On-Shore Excursion: You Might Be Involved In A Cruise Ship Accident!

              September 9, 2010

              Late summer is a great time to take a cruise vacation – the weather is warm, the sunshine is abundant, and the crowds have decreased as kids go back to school. With this type of relaxing vacation, people are often focusing on having a good time and are not thinking so much about the possible dangers inherent in a cruise (or in any vacation, for that matter). Because a cruise ship is a moving hotel, there are any number of things that could make your vacation less than idyllic: engineering malfunctions can cause accidents, shore excursions can present problems, and ship-board illnesses can put a crimp in your trip.

              It doesn’t take much effort to find that numerous cruise ship accidents occur every year. Just insert that phrase into any search engine and numerous stories pop up:

              • In February of 2010, a shore excursion accident in Tortola killed one person, seriously injured two others, and required medical attention for several other passengers from the cruise ship Caribbean Princess. The group had been riding in a bus provided by a ship-sponsored tour company. The bus left the road and rolled over en route to a "Tropical Forest Hike and Beach" excursion.
              • In July, 2010, the gangway collapsed as passengers were boarding the 3,300 passenger ship MSC Splendida in Genoa. The gangway plunged 30 feet, killing one passenger and injuring another.
              • In June of 2010, the Celebrity Constellation departed Amsterdam for a Baltic cruise and was carrying the novovirus. 204 passengers and 34 crew members came down with the gastrointestinal illness, meaning they spent a good portion of the cruise confined to their cabins. This incident came less than three months after Celebrity Mercury was plagued by a nearly unprecedented number of Norovirus outbreaks.
              • In April, 2010, 60 paasengers were injured when the Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Ecstasy listed 12 degrees in an attempt to avoid a submerged object.
              • In June, 2010, the Thompson Dream experienced plumbing problems, causing one passenger to note, "The strong smell of sewage was disgusting. All through the cruise on various decks you would find buckets catching dirty water coming from ceilings and large heavy duty blowers attempting to dry carpets."
              • In May, 2010, a machine room fire on the Deutschland meant the evacuation of 607 passengers.

              What if you are involved in a cruise ship accident? The first thing to do is to be sure to get a detailed report of the accident from cruise ship personnel and keep your cruise ticket after you return home. Your attorney will need this information to help with your case as it lists many of the "special requirements" that govern your cruise and cruise ship accident. Also, get the names and contact information for any passengers or ship’s personnel who may have witnessed your accident. If possible, take photos of the area where your injury occurred and document any conditions which may have contributed to the accident. Ask, in writing (keep a copy for your records), that the ship’s personnel preserve any accident-related evidence, on-board video surveillance, or materials. In addition, seek medical attention, even if the injury seems minor at the time.

              If you have been involved in a cruise ship accident, contact attorney Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today. Mr. Maus provides a free, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a claim against your cruise line. He is an experienced Florida cruise ship accident attorney who has handled thousands of claims ranging from slip and trip and falls, sexual assault, cruise ship viruses and violations of safety and cleanliness standards, injuries during onshore excursions, and many other types of claims which are related to cruise ships.   His office handles claims on a contingent basis which means there are no attorney’s fees charged unless a recovery is made on your behalf. Mr. Maus is licensed to practice throughout the State of Florida, in the Southern and Middle Districts of the United States District Court, and is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is an “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest legal ability rating awarded, and the highest ethical rating awarded to attorneys.

              %d bloggers like this: