Announcement: Diana Castrillon joins Freeman Injury Law

It is my pleasure to announce that I have now joined Freeman Injury Law where I will be founding and managing their Claimant’s Workers’ Compensation department.

In my seventeenth year of practice I have found a wonderful opportunity to expand and grow personally and professionally. Workers’ Compensation has always been and continues to be my true passion as an attorney. This is a pivotal time in the industry where more and more attorneys are entering the field of Workers’ Compensation.

It is important for me to provide my experience to a firm that has the reach to allow me to pursue this passion on a large scale, while still continuing to provide excellent representation for injured workers in the State of Florida.

With fully-staffed offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Orlando, I look forward to continuing to work with and serve all of you.

Below is my updated contact information. I am excited for what’s ahead and urge you to contact me anytime.

Diana I. Castrillon, Esquire
Managing Attorney – Workers Compensation
8751 West Broward Blvd
Suite 106
Plantation, FL 33324
(954) 309-5444 – DIRECT LINE

Florida Motorcycle Accident Trends

Traffic fatalities in Florida dropped 14 percent in 2009 (2010 reports are not yet out) and motorcycle fatalities fell an even greater 24 percent! Those figures are the lowest on record and culminate 4 years in a row of decreases. Of course, statistics aren’t people and any fatalities at all are tragic occurrences. Let’s look at some trends in motorcycle use and practices in Florida to shed some light on how these results are being achieved and how they might continue to improve.

There were 14,983,437 registered vehicles in Florida in 2009. Of those vehicles, just over 6 percent, or approximately 929,000, were motorcycles. Motorcycle use in Florida has increased steadily since 1997 along with the growth of the baby boomer population. As the economy took a dive and population decreased in 2009 for the first time since World War II, one might expect motorcycle use to do the same. This was not the case. Motorcyclists grow by 2 percent over the previous year. In a place where warm weather, beautiful scenery and glorious sunshine are prime draws for visitors and residents alike, it’s not surprising for people to enjoy these attributes on a motorcycle.

Florida repealed it’s helmet law requiring all riders to wear helmets in 2000. Currently, anyone 21 or older may ride without a helmet as long as they have at least $10,000 of medical insurance benefits to cover injuries incurred while operating a motorcycle. After the repeal, Florida motorcycle accident fatalities steadily increased through 2003. Though that trend is changing, the percentage of motorcycle accidents compared to all accidents has gone up in recent years; peaking at 17.8 percent in 2008. The year 2009 showed a drop to 15.7, most likely due to a Motorcycle Safety Coalition being implemented in July, 2008 along with new rider training requirements. These new factors should help continue the decrease.

Interestingly, riders injured and killed in motorcycle crashes are not in the same younger age group which accounts for the most car crashes. More motorcyclists aged 45 – 54 were injured and killed in 2009 than any other age group. Though Florida is a popular tourist destination and hosts a number of motorcycle events such as Bike Week in Daytona Beach and Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally in Panama City, just under 90 percent of motorbike injuries and 94 percent of fatalities are residents, not visitors.

One of the best way to make roadways safer for motorcyclists in Florida is for the riders themselves to drive defensively. Motorcycles are easily lost in cars’ blind spots. Most of all, since 40 percent of riders killed in motorcycle accidents are not wearing helmets, wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the chances of being killed in a motorcycle crash.

Contact the Injury Law Clinic today to speak to a Miramar Florida injury attorney.

Florida Automobile Accident Trends

Automobile accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. There is some risk involved every time an individual gets behind the wheel of their car or truck. No matter how good a driver someone is, and inattentive moment or miscalculation by another driver can lead to disaster. While crashes have become much more survivable with the addition of safety measures like air bags, antilock brakes, three-point rear seat belts and reinforced crumple zones, manufacturers have not yet devised a way to prevent accidents from happening altogether. Until they do the safest course of action is to drive defensively and with a clear head.

According to the statistics in the state of Florida in 2007, there were 256,206 crashes. That translates to about 702 traffic accidents every single day. Law enforcement officers are required by the state to submit a report any time they are called upon to investigate an accident that involves personal injury or death as well as what types of contributing factors were involved. This makes it possible for regulators to come up with a reliable report as to how many accidents involve someone leaving the scene and whether or not alcohol or narcotics were involved.

During 2007 there were 366,917 drivers involved in traffic accidents. These accidents resulted in 3’221 deaths. Those deaths occurred in 2’947 different fatal accidents. While deaths are fairly rare, injuries are not. 212,149 injuries resulted from 135,601 accidents. Of the over a quarter of a million accidents that happened in 2007, 117,658 resulted in property damage only. Alcohol was at least partially to blame for 22,823 of those accidents and drugs were involved in 1,252. It is not just cars that get in accidents, as motorcycle crashes accounted for 9,205 of all accidents that occurred in 2007. Pedestrians and bicycles were also involved in these traffic collisions accounting for 8,129 and 4,847 respectively.

The same state agency that came up with those sobering figures also reported that drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 were involved in more accidents than any other age group and also suffered more fatal crashes. Not surprisingly, drivers between the ages of 20 and 24 were involved in the highest amount of alcohol related accidents of any age group. Most accidents within the state of Florida during that year occurred on Friday and Saturday evenings. Being aware of surroundings and never driving impaired are two of the most important things that any driver can do to prevent themselves from being involved in an auto mobile accident.

How to Know if You Qualify for Workers Compensation

Injuries happen all the time in the workplace. Many people don’t think another thing of it, but they may be qualified to receive workers compensation. Any injury associated with labor, work, or other work affiliated accidents can be workers comp claims that are valid. Machinery injuries, slipping on ice, facility malfunctions, etc. are examples of certified claims. Whether it was accidental, the fault of someone else, your own fault, or neglect; these all could be covered by claims to workers comp. Businesses are required to carry insurance for their workers in case of accident of liability issues. If there is an injury at work, chances are workers comp will cover it.

Though there are many possible injuries that could be covered, claimants must meet certain criteria. It is always worth checking into. By law, businesses must supply manual or other information that explains the rights and benefits or workers. This information should also delineate who meets the criteria. The best route may be to talk to the Human Resource department. They have all the information and can help clarify it if there are questions about eligibility.

Possible claimants should keep careful records of their injuries, interactions with HR and other departments in the business that deal with legal and insurance issues. Doctor visits, x-rays, and a journal of symptoms may also be helpful to have on hand. An attorney may be consulted to help decipher if workers comp benefits are appropriate. Attorneys can be great advocates in an otherwise twisted legal entanglement. Their expertise and experience can make the difference between winning benefits and paying out pocket for expenses associated with workplace injury. Lost wages may also be a part of workers comp benefits besides payment of medical bills. It is in the best interest of businesses to stay on top of workers comp to avoid law suits from injured workers.

Workers comp is required by law in all fifty states in the US. It is a serious issue. Florida especially takes worker’s benefits seriously. They tenaciously work to protect workers, businesses, insurers, and health providers. The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation provides information and help to all parties involved in resolving workplace injuries. It is a place that gives resources and information out freely. It becomes an easy way for all to understand worker comp. Injured employees can look at their guide for understanding if they qualify for benefits.

The Injury Law Clinic is your South Florida personal injury lawyer. If you have been hurt in an accident, contact us today!

How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?

Unfortunately, truck accidents are common, and they can often result in serious accidents, or at the very least serious damage. If you are involved in an accident, you should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer, and be aware that the amount of time you have to file a claim may be limited.

The state in which a trucking accident occurs is one of the most defining factors of how long you have to file a lawsuit for your accident. The state that offers the longest time limit is Oregon, with ten years left open to file your lawsuit. Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota are all tied for second place, giving victims of truck accidents six years to file their claims. Most other states allow people harmed in an incident two to three years to file a truck accident lawsuit.

While each state has its own time limit for filing a truck accident claim, you may actually have less time than allowed by the state. This is because many drivers have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM or UIM). With these options, there may be notice provisions that place a much shorter requirement on the multiple-year-long statute of limitations in filing a lawsuit against a negligent truck driver. In these cases, the insurance policy contract has precedence over the established time limits for filing your lawsuit.

Consult your state’s time limit chart to find the standard amount of time you have to file based on where you live or where the accident took place. Then check your auto insurance policy immediately so you can provide notice to your insurance company as well as view any notice provisions regarding filing a truck accident lawsuit.

How Workers Compensation Insurance Protects Employees

When a Florida workers’ compensation claim is filed, there is typically a pre-determined benefit amount that is paid out to the employee(s) in question. This amount is reflective of the employee’s pay as well as the amount of time that they are off work because of the issue. If someone works in a factory where they use their arms regularly, having a rotator cuff procedure due to extended wear and tear would be covered by workers’ compensation, for example. They would be compensated for time off work, the procedure itself, and the recovery and rehabilitation that will get them back on the job.

Every state has their own guidelines and regulations surrounding workers’ compensation claims, and it is up to each employee to know what they are subject to, eligible for, and which things are excluded from their claims. This is not a lawsuit directed at the employer, but a claim filed against the employer’s insurance company much like a claim filed against a car insurance company when a car accident occurs. According to workers’ compensation laws, employees cannot sue their employer for accidents that occur on the job and employers cannot terminate employees that file a claim under this provision.

Workers’ compensation typically pays for medical bills, temporary disability in place of paychecks because the employee cannot work, and benefits for permanent disability when the employee cannot return to work. By taking care of these areas of protection, people are guaranteed the treatment that they deserve. No one has to worry about being fired because they aren’t able to work or losing their income because they have to take time off for an injury. Sometimes, insurance companies will not recognize a legitimate claim, which requires the addition of a workers’ compensation lawyer and legal filings to the claim to contest the decision made when it is not the right decision.

The Injury Law Clinic is a South Florida personal injury lawyer here to make sure the citizens of Florida are treated fairly. Contact us today!

How to Drive Safely in the Florida Rain

When the road is wet everything changes. You can’t see. You need more response time. The rules you drive by have to change. If you try to drive the same way you do when it is dry and sunny, you put yourself at risk for accidents. There are thousands of serious car accidents every year that are the result of unsafe driving in the rain. When it’s raining it isn’t necessary to stay home. With a few changes to the way you drive when it’s raining will ensure your safety so you don’t have to worry.

First, slow down. There are many benefits to slowing down in the rain. Slowing down gives you more time to react to a perilous situation and decreases the seriousness should you have an accident. It is hard to see when it is raining. Water on your windshield combined with the lights of other vehicles may be confusing. A little extra time to access what you are seeing can be the difference between a serious accident and safety. Keeping a safe distance between your car and the cars around you is another way to give yourself more time to react. Slow down so that you are not following the car in front of you too closely. And pay attention to the cars behind you as well.

Second, stay away from extra water. Driving through puddles or around large trucks and busses puts even more water on your windshield. The more water blocking your view, the more danger you are in. Try not to get too close to trucks or busses that are kicking up the water off the road. If you must pass them try to do it quickly and watch the lines on the road rather than the water being sprayed up. Splashing through puddles does not only decrease your visibility but can also cause mechanical problems. The worst that could happen is that water is taken in through the engine’s air intake and destroys the engine.

Make sure your vehicle is in the proper shape to handle the rain. Regularly replace wiper blades so you have maximum visibility. Headlights should be in working order so that you can see, and others can see you. Understand what your vehicle can handle. Don’t drive through a deep puddle unless you know that it will not affect the mechanical aspects of your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the water stays beneath the doors of your vehicles.

Finally, if you are injured in a car accident, contact Florida auto accident lawyer Dianna Castrillon at the Injury Law Clinic to make sure your rights are protected.

Workers Compensation Law in Florida

It is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 Florida residents injured on the job every year. Most of these individuals will receive benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation law, but not everyone is quite so fortunate. Like most states, Florida has had its share of difficulties trying to balance the needs of injured workers against the interests of insurers and employers. It is a very complicated and difficult process and the state must try to keep costs low while assuring that injured workers receive the benefits that they need.

Laws regarding workers compensation in Florida, and in other states, are complicated and often subject to frequent change. For the most up to date advice regarding your rights as either an employer or an injured employee, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney. The most basic explanation of workers compensation is that it is a state program which requires employers to obtain an insurance policy which will cover employees if they are injured at work. The employer pays for the insurance premium but like many medical expenses it is passed on to the consumer eventually in the form of rising prices.

The law in Florida requires that any employer who has four or more employees must have appropriate workers compensation coverage. This coverage is for employees only and does not include independent contractors, volunteers, or casual laborers. The injury must be a direct result of the workers employment. This means that in order for the employee to be covered under the law the injury must have occurred while at work or while doing an activity which is related directly to his job. Employees may also be covered when at work related functions or while doing any activity mandated by his employer.

The benefits that an employee can receive from Florida workers’ compensation include whatever medical care is necessary and reasonable. This includes medical supplies which a physician has deemed necessary. An employee that has been injured may also be entitled to lost wages. If the employee misses seven consecutive days of work, then he or she is entitled to 80% of their pre injury wages. There is also financial compensation for an employee who has suffered a permanent physical handicap or loss of a bodily function. An employee’s spouse or dependent is also entitled to up to $100,000 of benefits if the employee dies because of a work related injury.

Call South Florida injury lawyer Diana Castrillon today to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation.

Mother Accused of Murdering Her Daughter

Mother accused of murdering her daughter, Casey Anthony, pleads guilty to check fraud.

On Monday, January 25, 2010, Casey Anthony, the now-infamous 23-year-old pleaded guilty to 13 charges in a check-fraud case. Orange County Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland found Anthony guilty on six of the charges: one count of grand theft, four counts of check forgery, and fraudulent use of personal identification.  Strickland withheld adjudication for the remaining seven counts.

He sentenced Anthony to time served — 412 days she’s already been jailed — and one year of probation. He also ordered her to pay the court and investigative costs associated with the check-fraud case.

Anthony was charged with stealing hundreds of dollars from a friend, Amy Huizenga, in July 2008. Investigators have said Anthony used Huizenga’s checks to buy more than $400 worth of clothes and groceries at area Target and Winn-Dixie stores after her daughter was missing and presumed dead.
At the sentencing, Anthony delivered a brief, tearful, statement to the court.  “I’m sorry for what I did,” she said. “I sincerely apologize to Amy. I wish I would have been a better friend.”

The next step is for her defense attorneys to focus all of their attention on the first degree murder charges that are pending against her at this time.

Diana Castrillon of The Injury Law Clinic to Speak at Broward County Bar Association 2010 Worker’s Compensation Seminar

Diana Castrillon, Esq., Principal at The Injury Law Clinic will be a Speaker at the upcoming Broward County Bar Association Worker’s Compensation Seminar being held Friday, February 26, 2010 at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Diana will be presenting her “Fresh Perspectives” to fellow BCBA attorneys and Broward County judges about “The Ethics of Dealing with the Other “F” Word,” a hot topic for 2010 Worker’s Compensation cases in Florida.  
During this presentation, she will provide her insights as a South Florida Personal Injury Attorney on how to deal with Fraud as it relates to Workman’s Compensation.
If you would like more information about the BCBA 2010 Worker’s Compensation Seminar, please visit