Archive for the ‘Auto Accident’ Category

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Florida Auto Safety: Railroad Crossing Safety Tips

December 30, 2010

Across the country, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train approximately every three hours. Florida ranks 7th worst in the nation for fatal accidents involving cars and trains and 13th worst for accidents involving collisions between trains and autos according to the Federal Railroad Administration (2009 statistics). Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit rail safety education program, notes that “current Federal Railroad Association (FRA) data shows that highway-rail grade crossing collisions and pedestrian trespass on tracks together account for over 95% of all railroad fatalities”.

There are many reasons for train/automobile accidents: impatience (not wanting to wait for the train to cross) and driver distraction rank high on the list. Other factors also come into play. Trains can look as if they are moving slower than they really are, which can prompt a driver to think they can beat the train through a railroad crossing. In addition, many railroad crossings are not equipped with electronic signals, so a driver may not realize a train is coming until it is too late.

Operation Lifesaver lists seven steps for Florida auto safety around train tracks:

1. Approach a railroad crossing with care and slow down when you see an Advanced Warning Sign.

2. Be prepared to stop for a train. Turn off your air conditioner and radio, roll down your window, and look and listen for a train.

3. Double check to the left and right of your car and look in both directions before you drive across the tracks.

4. Cross railroad tracks with care. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, use a gear that will not require shifting until you reach the opposite side.

5. If you see a train approaching, stop at least 15 feet from the nearest rail, but not more than 50 feet from the rail.

6. Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.

7. Trains extend beyond the width of the rails at least 3 feet on each side. If your vehicle has a trailer, remember to take the additional length into account when stopping after crossing the tracks.

An additional Florida auto safety tip regarding train crossings: don’t stop your car on the railroad tracks while waiting for a traffic light to change. If a train comes and traffic is backed up waiting for a light on the other side of the tracks, you may be the one stuck in the train’s path!

If you or a loved one have been injured in a railroad crossing accident, contact the experienced South Florida auto accident lawyers at the Law Office of Joseph M. Maus and Associates at 1-866-556-5529, visit their website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email them today.

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Florida Workers’ Compensation Claims Information

December 14, 2010

No one goes to work expecting to be injured, but work accidents happen in the blink of an eye. They may cause injuries and problems that can last for years. When an accident happens, it can be difficult to know what to do next. This article provides an overview of the procedures required to file Florida workers’ compensation claims.

Step 1 – File A Claim:

  • Florida law requires you to give your employer a First Report of Injury as soon as possible after the injury happens, but no later than thirty days after the accident occurs. You risk denial of your claim if you wait longer than the thirty day maximum to tell your employer about your injury.
  • Your employer must report your injury to their insurance company within seven days after you file a First Report of Injury. Occasionally an employer may refuse to report the injury to their insurance company – in that case, you have the right to report it yourself under Florida Statutes (Section 440.185).
  • It is likely that your employer has the forms that are needed for filing Florida worker’s compensation claims, but if they don’t, you can get the forms on your own through the Employee Assistance Office of the Florida Department of Worker’s Compensation.
  • If your employer delays or refuses to complete and turn in the First Report of Injury, you can do it yourself through the workers compensation insurance company. (If you file your own claim, you willl need to provide medical documentation of your injury.)

Step 2 – Seek Medical Care:

  • Under the terms of Workers Compensation, you can not choose your own doctors. Workers Compensation maintains a list of authorized medical providers and will choose the doctors for your treatment from this list.
  • You are only allowed to change your physician once so be very sure to exercise this right carefully!

Things To Remember:

  • Under the Florida Workers Comp laws, you will not be paid for the first seven days of your disability. The insurance company must pay you for those first seven (7) days of disability only if your disability extends beyond 21 days.
  • Under Florida law, your employer is not required to hold your job for you until you are released to work again, but you may be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • If your injury is such that you can’t return to the type of work you did before you were hurt, you may be entitled to vocational counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and/or formal retraining at no cost to you.

If Your Claim Is Denied:

  • If your Florida worker’s compensation claims are denied, you must file a Petition for Benefits (PFB).
  • The State automatically sends your claim to mediation and sets a final hearing date once a Petition For Benefits form is filed.
  • The mediation process will allow you to negotiate the disputed issues of your claim with the workers comp insurance company.  Mediation is also the time when you may discuss settling your injury claim for a lump sum of money.  Remember though, if you settle your claim and get a lump sum of money from the insurance company, you will be responsible for paying for your future medical needs if your condition gets worse after your claim has been settled.
  • If mediation does not bring a resolution, your case will be set for a final hearing.  A final hearing takes place before a judge, similar to a trial. The judge will decide whether you should get the benefits that have been denied.

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 extremely familiar with the complex Florida workers compensation laws which are amended annually by the Florida Legislature.
  • Remember that your employer and their insurance company are not “on your side”! They want to settle your claim for as little money as possible and will be looking out for themselves, not for you!

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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Fort Lauderdale Accident Injury Lawyer Gives Tips On How To Escape A Sinking Car

December 1, 2010

On November 8, 2010, four Vero Beach, FL high school students tried to take a turn too fast in the rain. Their car slid on the unpaved road and flipped into a canal. All four teens survived possibly drowning from the accident due to the calm and quick thinking of two of the teens. One June 21, 2010, a Miami Springs, FL woman was involved in an collision with another car. The impact of the crash propelled her car across the road and into the nearby canal. She was actually saved by the driver of the other auto involved in the crash and by a nearby bystander.

Most people don’t think about drowning in a car accident – they are more worried about personal injuries or wrongful deaths from auto accidents. However, we live in a state that is criss-crossed by waterways. Many of us drive over bridges and along canals on a daily basis while commuting to work or running errands. Because of this, South Florida drivers and passengers must also consider the possibility of water-immersion if they are involved in an auto accident.

As a result, Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, gives these tips for how to escape a sinking car:

  1. The first thing to do is remain calm – if you panic, you may not be able to remember the following steps for survival. Depending on the speed and trajectory at which your car entered the water, you will have between two and ten minutes to exit the car before it goes underwater – enough time to get out, so don’t panic.
  2. Unlock your door and unfasten your seat belt immediately. If you can’t unfasten the seat belt, you’ll need to cut it with something. Just as people carry umbrellas in their cars in case of rain, everyone should carry a LifeHammer – a tool with a cutting edge that will slice through a jammed seat belt (Dr. Oz even endorsed them on his show!).
  3. Are there any windows (the rear window, sunroof, or side windows) that were broken during the accident? You can escape a sinking car by climbing or swimming out of them: but be careful of cutting yourself on broken glass
  4. If there are no broken windows, roll down your own window quickly before the water reaches the height of the window. If you can do this, you can climb out of the car and swim to shore.
  5. If you have power windows in your car, you won’t be able to roll them down because the electrical system won’t work once the water has gotten to it. You’ll need to break the window to get out (another good reason for carrying a LifeHammer). The front windshield is made of safety glass and is almost impossible to break – try a passenger window or the back window instead. Aim to hit the corners of the windows, not the middle, and concentrate your force in one area to weaken it instead of striking all over the window..
  6. If you can not get out of a window, try to open the door slowly. It will be very heavy due to water pressure and you may not be able to open it on the first try. You may need to wait until the inside of the car is almost filled with water and the pressure equalizes before you will be able to open the door.
  7. There will be a pocket of air at the top of the car – if you stay in this air pocket, you can breathe while the car is sinking.
  8. If you do get out of the car, NEVER go back to retrieve personal effects like your purse, wallet, or keys! There is nothing worth risking your life to go back for, except for another person who is trapped inside. One man we know of had easily escaped his vehicle and went back for his personal belongings. After he reentered the car, his electrical system malfunctioned, raising the windows and locking the doors – and effectively trapping him inside. Even though he had already escaped once, he narrowly missed dying for his wallet and shoes.

We can’t ever assure our safety and security against personal injury or wrongful death while driving, but when you consider that, annually, more than 10,000 people are involved in water-immersion auto accidents, the Florida waterways add another element of danger to our daily travels. While we hope you never have to worry about it, these tips for how to escape a sinking car may just come in handy someday.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you need answers to your legal questions! For more information about an injury claim, contact Fort Lauderdale accident injury lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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Roadway Safety Laws

November 18, 2010

The Emergency Nurses Association released a report examining the roadway safety laws in all 50 states and Washington D.C.. After evaluating 14 different categories, Florida was given an average rating for car accident laws.

The 2010 ENA National Scorecard used several types of legislation for their ranking: seat belt use, child passenger safety, graduated drivers licensing for teens, all-rider motorcycle helmet requirements, ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving; entering, sending, reading, or retrieving data for all drivers using cell phones or other interactive wireless communication devices; and the authority to develop, maintain and evaluate a state trauma system. Each state then received 1 point for each type of legislation. The report included distracted driving laws for the first time ever.
Only Oregon and Washington met all of the ENA criteria, followed by Tennessee which implements all but one. The report urged each state to consider implementing more laws to ensure highway safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every 12 minutes there is a traffic related fatality. Furthermore, every ten seconds, someone is taken to the a hospital emergency room for injuries sustained in a car accident. The ENA has urged states to enact and pass more and better roadway safety laws in order to aid in the prevention of crash related injuries and deaths.

According to the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration, 5,474 people died in distraction-related car accidents in 2009. Cell Phones alone amounted to about 18 percent of all fatalities. Due to the rising numbers, 26 states and Washington D.C. have passed laws that apply to the entering, sending, reading, or retrieving data other than for emergency purposes on cell phones while driving.

Treatment for victims of car accidents has also become a primary concern as the ENA report indicates that 47 states have passed laws that allow for a statewide trauma system. ENA President Diane Gurney stated that “timely and appropriate care can be the crucial difference in whether a car accident victim survives or dies.” Establishing a trauma system will aid in the care of seriously injured victim and can essentially save their life.

With I-95 in South Florida being one of the nations deadliest highways, the ENA report suggests implementing strict Florida car accident laws to reduce the number of serious car accidents and injuries.

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Two Miami Resident killed and four hurt in roadside I-95 accident

November 18, 2010

An I-95 car accident in Fort Lauderdale claimed the life of two more people on Tuesday evening, leaving three others in serious condition. The Sun Sentinel reports that the five people were traveling southbound on I-95 in a 2000 Ford Explorer when they pulled off the road near Sunrise Blvd. to change a flat tire. Though the driver took the proper steps to ensure the safety of himself and his passengers by pulling all the way to the grassy shoulder of the road, the driver of a 2000 Toyota Camry lost control of her vehicle and slammed into the SUV and the people around it. After the impact, the Camry continued down the embankment and slammed into a fence.

CBS News Reports that forty nine year old Victor Morales-Calderon from Miami and 31 year old Wuilmer Sanchez were killed instantly . The three other people from the SUV, Jose Turcios, 44; Nixon Flores, 18, and Emilio Carranza, 53, were all taken to Holy Cross Hospital in serious condition .The driver of the Camry was also injured and is also in serious condition. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, it is still unknown what caused the driver to loose control of her vehicle.

The accident caused two southbound lanes to be closed for several hours, as troopers investigated the accident. The cause of the car accident remains under investigation, and any potential charges against 24 year old Ravindra K. Mahanand are still pending.

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Parents of 21 year old hit-run victim seeks help from witnesses

November 15, 2010

A University if Miami student is now in a coma after he was struck in a hit-and-run collision. The Miami Herald reports that 21 year old Paul Jones suffered massive head trauma in the Miami car accident. According to Coral Gables police, Jones was walking home from a friends house around 7:20 p.m. when the driver struck him near the intersection of Red Road and Blue Road in Miami.

Though no one has come forward yet, witnesses believe the driver is an elderly man. A Coral Gables police spokeswomen stated that the vehicle is a sedan, possibly an Oldsmobile, that is either light blue or light gray. A partial vehicle tag number of -X64 has also been provided by witnesses. Reports indicate that the driver of the vehicle was heading north on Red Road and after hitting Jones he made two right turns and continued driving. Jones’ parents are urging anyone with information to please come forward.

Jones is not the first University of Miami student that has been struck by a vehicle in recent years. In September of 2009, Bianca Milov was struck by a street sweeper as she crosses Aurora Street. In April of 2005, Ashley Kelley and Andrea Cinque were also hit as they crossed South Dixie Highway at Mariposa Court. Ashley died from her injures shortly thereafter.

The area seems to have a high number of pedestrian accidents due to the large number of people walking in the area and the high rate of speed of cars traveling in the area.

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Man injured as object crashes into vehicle

November 12, 2010

Last Wednesday, a man was injured from road debris crashing through his window on the Florida Turnpike in Fort Lauderdale, about a mile south of Sunrise Boulevard. The Miami Herald reported that the accident caused glass to be logged in the driver’s eyes as well as several cuts on his arms.

This does not come as a surprise considering the number of similar instances reported over the past few years. Florida auto accidents caused by road debris crashing through windows can be extremely dangerous. A study conducted by Safety Research and Strategies, Inc., showed that if you are traveling at 55 miles per hour, a 20 pound object can hit with more than 1000 pounds of force.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety , objects crashing through windshields are responsible for 25,000 accidents and nearly 100 deaths each year. Just a few years go, 24 year old Maria Frederici was nearly killed when a piece of furniture fell off a trailer, causing a large chunk of wood to break off and shoot like a missile through her windshield, and hitting her diagonally across the face. Earlier this year in South Carolina, Jo Maureen Fisher died after a truck driver hit a pothole causing a rock to fly through her windshield.

A few years ago, Stephanie Murray and her mother were traveling on I-95 in Broward county when a 17 inch, 20 pound metal rod slammed into her chest when it flew through her windshield, impaling her to her seat and missing her aorta by less than a quarter on an inch. It was at that point that the Florida Highway Patrol started keeping records of reported road debris related accidents. In that year, 194 incidents of road debris were reported in Broward county alone.

Though many times these accident’s are unavoidable South Florida Auto Accident Attorney Joseph Maus suggests that in order to help prevent a similar situation you should always make sure your load is secure, move away from vehicles who are carrying large furniture or other objects, be aware of your surroundings to avoid running over debris or getting hit by objects that are kicked up by other cars, and be careful when avoiding objects, as swerving can cause you to lose control of your car.

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