Category: Legal Info

Worker Injured on Cargo Ship

A recent news story was reported in local papers on November 19, 2009 about a man who fell about 25 feet into the cargo hold of a ship, The Danica Sunbeam.    The man had to be hoisted out of the cargo hold using a basket and crane/lift so that he could be transported to the hospital.

The latest reports indicate that the man is in miraculously stable condition and has suffered several injuries, including a broken arm.  This is a classic example of a workers compensation case and how these cases happens everyday, even in situations, such as this, where safety is such a tremendous part of the employee’s responsibility.  But what is interesting about Workers Compensation law in Florida is that Florida operates under a “no fault” system as it applies to work accidents.  Therefore, whether the accident could have been avoided either by actions of the injured employee or the employer, the injured worker will be covered for his medical treatment and any wages that he loses as a result of any disability.

There are some exceptions to the general rule that was outlined, however an attorney who is well-versed in Workers Compensation cases such as The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. can help you understand those exceptions and nuances in the law to best protect your rights.  If you or someone you know has suffered an injury at work in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties, please call us for a free consultation, toll-free at (877) 215-3529.

Texting While Driving Kills

Determined to stop people from texting while driving, the Obama administration plans a campaign similar to past government efforts to discourage drunk driving and encourage the use of seat belts. The administration offered recommendations to address the growing safety risk of distracted drivers, especially the use of mobile devices to send messages from behind the wheel. “We can really eliminate texting while driving. That should be our goal,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, declining to provide specifics of the recommendations. Researchers, safety groups, automakers and lawmakers have gathered to discuss the perils of distracted driving.

The Transportation Department reported that nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured last year in automobile accidents as a result driver distraction, often by mobile devices and cell phones. LaHood called distracted driving a “menace to society” and said the administration would offer a series of recommendations to encourage Congress, state governments and the public to curb the unsafe behavior. A law has been proposed that would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. “No text message is so urgent that it’s worth dying over,” Klobuchar told participants.

The government reported that 5,870 people were killed and 515,000 were injured last year in crashes where at least one form of driver distraction was reported. Driver distraction was involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008 and was prevalent among young drivers. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal and seven states and the District have banned driving while talking on a handheld cell phone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“We started driving cars about 100 years ago. We started using phones about 80 years ago. We’ve only really combined those two activities to a great degree in the last five or 10 years. We’re finding out they don’t mix,” said David Teater of Spring Lake, Mich., whose 12-year-old son, Joe, was killed in a 2004 crash when a driver using a cell phone ran a red light. Some researchers cautioned that banning all cell phone use by drivers would undermine the development of safety technologies that could allow vehicles to share traffic information with other vehicles and alert emergency responders to crashes.

It has yet to be seen what laws may develop as it relates to texting/cell phone use and driving, but it’s always important to drive safely and be aware of your surroundings to avoid auto accidents. At The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. we help victims of car accidents everyday. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist or other motorist, call today for a free consultation (877) 215-3LAW (3529).

Florida Considers Raising the Age For Booster Seats

The State of Florida has been changing traffic laws and fees a lot lately. There has been great debate as to whether the changes are for public safety or to raise money for the cash-strapped state. According to various news agencies, another state legislator is proposing a bill to change a traffic law in the name of safety. State Senator Thad Altman has proposed that booster seats be mandatory for children up to the age of seven. The current law requires a child in a car be restrained in a booster seat up to the age of four. He and booster seat saleswoman Barbara Hill are in support of the changes.

According to the proposition of this legislator, almost 200 children between the ages of 4-7 have been killed in Florida car crashes this past decade. They add almost 1,000 more have been injured.

The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. stays up-to-date on legislative action and changes to make sure that our clients are getting the best possible representation.  We ensure that our clients are aware of the law and how it affects their rights so that we can better protect their interests.  If you or someone you know have been injured as a result of the negligence of someone else, call toll-free today to (877) 215-3529 to discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer at The Injury Law Clinic.

Legal Issues Relating to H1N1 (Swine Flu)

According to the CDC, between the normally expected flu cases and the much publicized H1N1 outbreak, this will be the most severe flu season in over fifty years.  Interestingly, this medical concern has also caused a myriad of legal concerns that the public needs to address:

• What are the responsibilities of employers and human resources professionals when it comes to balancing the health of the workforce with the need to ensure that work continues? 
• Can employers mandate vaccination? 
• Can they insist that employees stay away from work to avoid spreading infection?

There are laws that govern workplace measures as they relate to the flu, including the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) and EMTALA.  In addition, H1N1 has had recent impact in workers compensation laws and public health laws that may mandate calls for isolation and quarantine by local authorities.  H1N1/ Swine Flu has created questions in the law as to whether you employer can require you to be immunized for this disease and further as to what ramifications your employer would face if they do require you to be vaccinated and you suffer a rare but serious side effect.  Your employer may be held responsible.  The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. is staying apprised cusp of this new and serious health concern and how it can affect your legal rights.  If you or someone you know has suffered a workers compensation injury on the job, or been the victim of medical negligence, please call today for a free consultation to (877) 215-3529.

When to Hire an Attorney in a Personal Injury Claim

When to Hire an Attorney in a Personal Injury Claim

When you suffer an injury in an accident, there are many things to consider and many details that need your attention. It is an extremely stressful process. Of course, the most immediate and important concern is to obtain medical treatment for your injury. Sometimes, an injury can be treated quickly. However, the most serious injuries need more substantial treatment and can be very painful in terms of recovery.  The medical bills pile up quickly and wages are lost. Additionally, you have to deal with damages to your vehicle, rental cars or other property damage. 

Much people are not sufficiently insured in when it comes to most if not all of the expenses listed above, however, you may have coverage and need help getting the benefits you paid for.  For example, a person may have health insurance to cover the medical treatment, private disability insurance to cover the loss of wages and automobile insurance that may cover both medical treatment AND lost wages. 

Benefits to Hiring an Attorney for your Personal Injury

There are many benefits to retaining an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident occurs.  Both you insurance company as well as the insurance company of the other party involved in the incident, will start to ask questions about what happened, take statements, and request that you fill out forms and sign documents.  Following an accident, the police will often ask questions as well. An attorney can handle this process for you.  This will relieve some of the stress of the process, so that you may focus on your recovery, but also this will assure that you do not say something to the insurance company or the police that could damage your case.  Some insurance companies also try to press people to accept settlements early in the process of a claim.  If you do not have a lawyer, the insurance companies frequently offer significantly less money that they would offer if you had an attorney because when you have an attorney, the insurance companies will pay additional monies to avoid the possibility of litigation which may be very costly. If you were seriously injured in an accident or if there is any dispute about who was at fault in the accident, it is important to retain a lawyer as soon as it is possible to protect your rights.  

At The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. you will receive the highest level of representation in your personal injury case.   If you have suffered in an accident as a result of the negligence of another, call toll-free TODAY – (877)215-3LAW (3529).

What Should I Bring to my Initial Consultation with a Lawyer?

Initiating a legal action can be stressful, and the majority of people consider hiring an attorney to be a stressful situation as well.  But it certainly does not have to be.  The first thing you should do is prepare yourself for the initial consultation so that you can get the most out of this process.  An initial consultation can more be than a quick meeting: it can help plan your legal strategy by locating potential risks and avoid future issues during the legal process.

What to Bring

Most important that there is to take it is a pen and a paper. You should use the consultation as a learning experience for a process that is about to begin.  A lawyer can be a valuable resource: they can formulate questions that will help you determine the potential risks and benefits of your claim.  Write down questions that are important to you and that you would like the attorney to answer so that you don’t forget.  When you contact a lawyer to schedule an initial consultation, make sure you ask what the attorney wants you to bring to the consultation.  For example, at The Injury Law Clinic we handle personal injury medical malpractice, and Workers Compensation cases.  So, we always asked that the client bring us any medical records they may have as well as insurance information. 

How to Prepare for your Consultation

Before your consultation, write down questions to ask.  There are no stupid questions. A good lawyer will be eager to help you understand your expectation and your participation in the legal process. The more you understand the legal process, the more you can prevent potential pitfalls in litigation.

Do Not Hold Back on Providing Information

Any thing that you discuss with a lawyer during an initial consultation is completely confidential. If there is any information that you believe may be important, do not hold back because you might think it is embarrassing or could hurt your case in some way.  Let the attorney make that determination after she hears it.  A lawyer would face serious penalty if they revealed any information that was provided to her by her client during consultation.  You do not have to be afraid to tell the attorney all the facts so that she can do her best to protect you. 

At The Injury Law Clinic, P.A. you will have all the time you need during your initial consultation so that you can be sure of your decision to hire us to represent you.  If you have suffered an accident as a result of the negligence of another, call toll-free today (877) 215-3LAW (3529).

How to Avoid Car Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Use

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration has reported that 25% of all car accidents, that is one quarter of all car accidents, are caused by distractions on the road. One of the greatest offenders for distractions on the road is a cell phone. Some more statistics; Cell phone use is responsible for 636,000 car accidents, 330,000 injuries, 2,600 deaths and $43 billion in related costs every year.

Handheld cell phones have been banned in a number of states, cities, and counties. However, this usually doesn’t stop their use. Here are a few tips for avoiding car accidents caused by cell phone use for you and your family.

1. Make a Hands Free Set Your Gift Priority

If you have a gifting holiday of any kind coming up for a family member or friend that you know uses a cell phone, find out what model of phone they have and buy them a hands free car kit. Offer to install it for them as well. You may just be saving their lives with this gift that will generally run you under $100.00. In addition, many smart phones now include music options, so they’ll be thinking of you while they’re humming along to their favorite tunes in the car. Even those ardently against hands free laws will find themselves using it if you install it for them.

2. Go Hands Free Yourself

It goes without saying, but either install a hands free set or turn off the phone in the car. This is especially important if you have a job that involves traveling or extensive use of your cellphone. If you don’t feel that you can manage such an installation, many auto service centers will be happy to do this service for you.

3. Avoid Erratic Drivers

It is often very easy to spot cell phone handset users. They’re going too slow in the fast lane, not checking their blind spots during lane changes, and doing other things that clearly demonstrate that their attention is off the road. Try not to get stuck behind one of these people and get out of their lane as soon as you safely can.

4. Educate Your Friends, Co-Workers, and Family

Start a conversation around the water cooler about cell phone use and its effects on drivers. Share this article with friends and family. The more conversations you start, the more hearts and minds you’ll change on the subject. Try to avoid sounding pedantic, as most opponents of the hands free laws don’t appreciate the government, or anyone else for that matter, telling them what to do. Simply share the relevant statistics and let them make up their minds for themselves.

Auto accidents cause death and can take away your friends and family instantly. Staying off the cell phone and making sure that those you love talk hands free is a very small thing that you can do in order to prevent accidents and keep them safe.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident as a result of cell phone use while driving, the Personal Injury Attorneys at The Injury Law Clinic can help!  Call The Injury Law Clinic at 1-877-215-3LAW (3529) for a Free Consultation.

Your Worker's Compensation Rights In Florida

The state of Florida has strict regulations under Worker’s Compensation that require most employers to pay into Worker’s Compensation. To look up your employer, visit the Proof of Coverage Database to make sure that you are covered. We also recommend that you download the Worker’s Compensation System Guide in order to fully understand what both you, your employer, and your employer’s insurance company are obligated to do under the law.

In the Guide, you will see that your employer must pay for your medical treatment. They are responsible for arranging things with the insurance company and making sure that they are covered for you; that is not your job. What you and your family will want to understand is your policy on co-payments and anything else that may be your obligation. Keep careful track of any expenses that you have that pertain to medical care so that those expenses can be included in your claim, whether you are covered or not with the insurance company. That money may be recoverable.

The time of and directly after the accident is crucial, both legally and medically. Have your family keep extensive records of every detail of medical care, symptoms, and anything else that may relate to your claim. You should only undergo a waiting period of seven days after the accident. A claims adjuster from your employer’s insurance company should also be calling you within 24 hours after the accident and you should receive an informational packet in the mail. During this period, you will be asked to sign a number of forms that your employer will insist are necessary. Some are, and some are designed to limit the liabilities of your employer. It is vital that you retain counsel directly after the accident and pass any papers on to their offices for examination, excepting the ones that they agree must be signed immediately. Remember that you can only exercise your rights as an injured worker if you have as many facts as possible available to you and your counsel.

While there is a lot of information on the website for the Florida Department of Financial Services, only a lawyer will be able to tell you the full story as it relates to your situation. Many of the regulations are designed to protect employers and insurance companies against fraud and make it difficult for a truly injured worker to navigate the choppy seas of Worker’s Compensation. You do have extensive rights under Worker’s Compensation in Florida, and we are here to ensure that the obligations of your employer to you are met in full.