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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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Personal Watercraft Rental Laws

January 14, 2011

On Wednesday, we reported a woman was found dead offshore from Fort Lauderdale beach. It is suspected that the woman died while riding a PWC. The area where the woman was found is a popular tourist destination containing several resorts that rent PWC’s to its guests. PWC’s are more commonly known as personal watercrafts, Jet Ski’s, waverunners, or sea-doo’s,

Florida Stat. §327.39(b) states “it is unlawful for the owner of any leases, hired, or rented personal watercraft, or any person having charge over control of a leased, hired, or rented personal watercraft, to authorize or knowingly permit the watercraft to be operated by any person who has not received instruction in the safe handling of a PWC, in compliance with the rules established by the commission.” In other words, if the PWC she was using was indeed rented, the rental providers were required by law to provide instructions and training to the woman. According to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, they are required to provide information on the following:

• Reckless operation, noise, nuisance, and environmental concerns
• Operational characteristics of the PWC to be rented- propulsion, steering, and stopping characteristics of jet pump vessels
• Safe vessel operation and vessel “right of way” rules- applicability of the Navigation Rules to PWC operation, problems with seeing and being seen by other boaters, the location and content of warning labels, and how to reboard a PWC
• Responsibility of the operator and safe and proper operation of the vessel
• Local characteristics of the waterway where the vessel will be used

Additionally, all renters must have a boater education ID card and must be over the age of 18. If the women did in fact rent the Jet Ski from one of the many PWC rental concessions in the area, the facility might be held responsible for her death, and her family might be entitled to compensation.

If you are around the water, you see PWC’s everywhere. While they appear to be loads of fun, they can be very dangerous. For instance, because PWC’s are water-jet propelled, a PWC does not have any steering capabilities once the rider lets go of the throttle. They are extremely fast, and difficult to control, particularly in the ocean.

Accidents on PWC’s occur frequently. In fact, our office recently handled a claim in the Florida Keys in which a client rented a PWC to go on a “eco-tour” which was to be led by an employee of the rental location. To our clients dismay, the rental employee led her a couple miles out into the ocean, then left our client out in the ocean to fend for herself. While attempting to get back to the rental location, she was involved in a serious accident.

Before renting a PWC- Jet Ski, waverunner or sea-doo- make sure the rental location has appropriate insurance coverage, and trains you on the proper operation and characteristics of a PWC.

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Coast Guard finds body of woman who apparently fell of personal water craft (PWC)

January 13, 2011

The Sun-Sentinel reports that late Tuesday night, a woman’s body was found about a mile and a half off Fort Lauderdale beach. At about 4pm, someone reported finding an unmanned personal water craft about a half mile offshore.

The Coast Guard then launched a search, and found her body shortly after 7 p.m. The Coast Guard, along with the help of those in the area used a 45-foot boat, helicopter and tow boat for the search. The woman’s identity has not been released.

The area where the PWC occurred is a popular tourist destination containing several resorts. Amongst the resorts, there are several PWC rental concessions. Typically the rental concessions limit the use of the PWC’s to a specific area along Fort Lauderdale beach. PWC’s also go by the name of jet ski’s, wave runners, or sea-doo.

Seas on Tuesday at 4pm were relatively flat and the initial reports are unclear as to how the accident occurred. Because the rental of PWC’s is such a popular activity, it is critical that any PWC rental concession provide adequate training and supervision for a person that is unfamiliar with operating a PWC. In fact, Florida has specific regulations which require PWC rental concessions to provide training on the safe operation of a PWC.

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