Archive for January, 2011

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Miami hotel where 5 teens were killed had no carbon monoxide detectors

January 26, 2011

Last month we reported that 5 teens were found dead at El Presidente hotel in Hialeah after carbon monoxide from the car in the garage below them seeped into the room killing them.

This tragedy could have been avoided if the hotel had installed carbon monoxide detectors.
A 2007 Florida law requires that all hotel rooms be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors integrated with the hotel’s existing fire alarm system. Additionally, a 2006 Hialeah Ordinance requires carbon monoxide alarms or gas detectors in homes, apartments and commercial buildings. The ordinance, called Janelle’s Law, is in honor of a retired Hialeah police officer’s 19-year-old daughter that was also killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The city of Hialeah had last inspected the hotel in April 2008. According to the Sun-Sentinel, twice that month a fire prevention inspector flagged missing paperwork on the motel’s fire system and other issues. It appears the city of Hialeah never followed up to ensure the hotel had complied with the requirements.

The family members of the teenagers that died want answers as to why they never complied and why inspectors did not force the hotel to install the detectors. We agree these deaths were preventable had the hotel taken the simple and inexpensive step of installing carbon monoxide detectors.

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Cruise vacation ruined for couple

January 24, 2011

After coming home from Iraq, Johnathan Daponte and his wife Jess decided to take a Royal Carribean Cruise to the Carribean. Instead of relaxing and enjoying their time togther, WHDH-TV reports the couple spent their time using towels to try and stop flooding after a pipe over their cabin broke dumping gallons of water from the ceiling. The water cascade from the ceiling and flooded their cabin and the entire 9th floor of the cruise ship. The passengers stated that they made three emergency calls yet it took over a half hour from the cruise line to send crewmembers to stop the water and fix the pipe. By the time crewmembers showed up, there was about two feet of water in the room.

Despite the fact that the Daponte’s vacation was ruined and many of their belongings were damaged by the water, Royal Carribean showed no remorse. When the Duponte’s contacted the Royal Carribean they were simply offered 50 percent off a future cruise.

Many times cruise ship lines will make low ball offers such as half off cruises or two-for-one vouchers to avoid paying for the actual value of their negligence. Contact attorney Joseph M. Maus for more information on compensation for cruise ship incidents, accidents or cruise ship injury claims.

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Pembroke Pines PAL program to teach teens driving safety

January 24, 2011

The Sun-Sentinel Reports that the Pembroke Pines Police Athletic League (PAL) is starting a prevention program to teach teens about driving safety. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.” PAL will host the event at Xtreme Indoor Karting of Fort Lauderdale combining indoor racing with classes covering road rage, DUI, and illegal street racing.

The topics that will be discussed in the event are all frequent causes of Florida car accidents. U.S. 27, a road that is known for illegal street racing, runs along the western edges of Pembroke Pines. In December, three teens were killed while street racing just a week after police had shut down a drag racing event. Additionally, South Florida was ranked by MSN among the top places where you are likely to encounter road rage. Miami was ranked number one in most likely to cut off drivers without notice and 48% of drivers admitted to cursing people out on the road. In September, a 33-year-old man was shot dead in Pompano Beach after a road rage incident.

Information regarding driving under the influence will also be covered, as this is one of the most frequent causes of teen driving fatalities. According to the CDC in 2008, “25% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or higher.” Furthermore, in 2008, nearly three out of every four teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.

For more information about Florida car accident laws, contact Attorney Joseph M. Maus.

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Florida bill would make parasailing safer

January 21, 2011

Parasailing is an activity that is enjoyed by many, but it is not without its dangers. Just last year 27-year-old Alejandra White was killed was enjoying a vacation with her fiancé in Clearwater Beach, Florida when the rope between the parachute and the boat snapped. Now, a bill honoring her is being proposed during this years legislative session.

If the “Alejandra White Act” is passed, Florida parasailing operators will be required to do the following:
• Equip their parasail harness apparatus with safety devices which will allow parasailers to quickly release themselves in the event of an emergency
• Monitor the weather and be required to stop parasail operations during high winds
• All parasail boat operators to be licensed by the US Coat Guard
• Carry at least $1 million per person in injury and death insurance

Many places in Miami and Fort Lauderdale beach offer parasailing to both tourists and locals. Sadly, many who have been injured in the past have not been able to receive proper compensation for their accidents.

If you are injured in a parasailing or boating claim in Florida your accident may fall under a number of different laws including Florida State law or Florida maritime and admiralty laws. Contact attorney Joseph M. Maus for any additional information.

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Video Surveillance and Florida Workers’ Compensation Claims

January 21, 2011

Technology is everywhere these days – people are using cell phone cameras on a regular basis, video cameras can easily be carried in a pocket or purse, and more and more companies are setting up video cameras in and around their businesses. These cameras are generally used to help contribute to the safety of employees and the bottom line of the company, as in the case of preventing theft by employees or vendors. But what if you are injured on the job and the company uses video surveillance footage to fight your Florida workers’ compensation claims?

This new approach illustrates the need to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your corner because employers will do all they can to avoid having to pay for a workers’ comp claim. Several recent cases have involved the employer entering the footage from company surveillance cameras as a defense in order to show that workers are lying about the extent of their injuries. The employers are trying to prove that the worker either “isn’t really injured” or is making more out of their injuries than they should be. This new tactic means that employees will need to be able to explain everything they do after an injury claim is filed, both at work and on their personal time. As an example, in a recent workers’ compensation case in Illinois, the employer entered video surveillance footage of an injured employee being able to get in and out of his car, being able to walk into a store, and being able to squat down to pick something up. The employer claimed this footage showed that the injured worker was making more out of his back and shoulder injuries than necessary. The employee’s lawyer argued the employee’s case and the worker was ultimately awarded disability benefits for 187 weeks.

Video surveillance from the employee’s place of business isn’t the only type of video surveillance that can be used to discredit your Florida worker’s compensation claim. Companies are also using video footage that has been shot by private investigators. Often, this footage can be taken out of context such as when a person has mobility issues due to pain, but is able to move fairly well after taking pain medication. If a video was shot after the pain killers had been taken and the injured worker was able to move more freely, the company would try to claim that the employee was faking.

What does this mean for your workers’ compensation claim? Keep in mind that, even if your employer tries to use video surveillance to try to discredit your claim, the workers compensation judges will listen to both sides of the story. However, to be sure of the best outcome, be sure to hire an experience workers’ comp attorney. Your attorney is on your side and will make sure you get the benefits you deserve for your injury, for future medical treatments, and for loss of wages.

Remember:

  • Your employer and their insurance company will not be on your side. They will want to settle your claim for as little money as possible and will be looking out for themselves, not for you!
  • You have the right to hire an attorney to help look out for you. If you do hire a lawyer, make sure you hire one that has extensive experience with Florida workers’ compensation claims. They must be very familiar with the Florida workers compensation laws because these laws are complex and are amended by the Florida Legislature annually.
  • An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know how to address video surveillance if it is requested or entered in your case.

For more information about Florida workers compensation claims, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, logon to his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Dense fog causes accident near Broward County

January 20, 2011

The Sun-Sentinel reports that a serious car accident occurred along Alligator Alley as a tractor-trailer hit a car causing it to spin out of control and slam into an SUV. According to witnesses, traffic was nearly stopped because of poor visibility, but the trucker was still going 60 to 70 miles per hour. Although the people in the SUV appeared to be OK, the man and women in the car are said to have suffered serious injuries. Florida Highway Patrol had began closing portions of I-75 and U.S. 27 from Griffin Road in Broward to South Bay in Palm Beach County at around 6:30 that morning due to the poor viability in the area.

Areas of Miami and Fort Lauderdale have been under dense fog advisory for several days now. With the number of car accidents that occur in South Florida, it is important to take precautions when driving. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2004 and 2008, there were 662 fatalities from Florida car accident as well as an average of 702 non-fatal accidents per day in 2006.
In order to prevent a car accident while driving in dense fog, attorney Joseph M. Maus recommends the following:

• Try and maintain a slow and constant speed
• Always use fog lights and low beams
• Use windshield wipers and defroster to keep windows clear
• Use turn signals early when switching lanes
• Never slam on your brakes

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Airbags are not always fault-proof

January 14, 2011

Although airbags have helped to prevent many severe injuries and deaths due to car accidents, studies show that oftentimes they do not deploy at the time of impact. The reason being that many times airbags can actually cause more harm. In the late 1990’s, airbag standards were changed because the deployment would sometimes cause serious injury or death that may not have occurred.

Even if you are in a serious accident chances are that the airbags won’t deploy at all. The NHTSA reported “because airbag sensors measure deceleration, vehicle speed and damage are not good indicators of whether or not an airbag will deploy.” No matter what the speed and force of impact, airbags will only deploy during very specific circumstances. Cars now have sensors that analyze data such as the type of accident and the size and weight of the occupants, and make a slip second decision as to whether the bags should deploy. For example, if you are rear ended at high speed, the airbag won’t deploy in enough time to prevent the first impact, so having the airbag explode will ultimately produce two blows to the body of the occupants.

Airbags will only deploy if the force of the airbag is substantially less than the one caused by the impact itself. In order to prevent serious injuries in a car accident, attorney Joseph Maus recommends wearing your seatbelt, keeping small children in the back seat, and sitting at a safe distance from the dashboard or sterring wheel.

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