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May 2015 Archives

Bounce Houses And Injuries To Minors

This sad story has been all over different news agencies this past week. This past Monday in Fort Lauderdale, three children were injured when a waterspout came onshore and lifted the inflatable bounce house they were in, authorities said. The house was swept across a parking lot into a roadway, according to local police. The National Weather Service in Miami reported that one adult was also injured and that one of the three children was seriously hurt.

I-10 Claims Lives On Memorial Day

As a personal injury attorney, I am regularly faced with my client's devastating injuries and damages caused by motor vehicle accidents. One of my greatest fears is that I will become numb, calloused, or unemotional to the plight or unfortunate situations faced by my clients. That question was answered for me on Memorial Day. I was traveling westbound on I-10 with my family returning home from a weekend trip to central Florida. My wife told me that she had not seen any vehicles on I-10 eastbound lanes for several minutes. I began to notice the lack of vehicles on the road too. I quickly assumed that there had been an accident. Several minutes later we approached an accident scene that appeared on its face as a serious crash. We quickly realized that the accident involved several vehicles and that at least two adults had lost their lives in the accident. Later, we discovered that two people were found dead at the scene with two critically injured. According to WKRG Channel 7, the accident occurred in Jackson County, Florida.

Safety Alert: Hot Cars And Kids

As parents it's our number one goal to keep our kids safety at the top of the list. I know many parents who are juggling so much that some of those "balls" can fall from time to time, but remembering where your child is, is so important. In fact, it is as important as life and death. As we move into summertime here in Florida, the temperatures will keep climbing higher and I hope and pray we have no incidents where our children die because they are left in a hot car. WEAR Channel Three reports that according to KidsandCars.org, an average of 38 children a year die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside a vehicle. This is a mind blowing number to me. On their website they found, "In well over 50% of heatstroke related deaths, the person responsible for the child's death unknowingly left them in the vehicle." KidsandCars.org found, "In most situations, this happens to the most loving, caring and protective parents." Channel Three interviewed a local pediatrician to get her take on the situation. Baptist Medical Group Pediatrician, Kacey Gibson told Channel Three News, "I don't think any person that this happens to ever thinks that this is going to happen to them. I mean who would plan that? However, it is very easy to just be on autopilot as any of us Americans are and forget something as simple, as important as a child." In the state of Florida, leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle is illegal. Experts agree that even when it is 70 degrees outside temperatures inside a vehicle can be well over 100 degrees. Those experts report that even with the windows down, and under the shade, temperatures in the car will rise 30 to 40 degrees in over an hour,. To avoid this happening to your child, set up reminders in your vehicle that your child is in the car with you. People suggest putting the diaper bag in the front seat or take off your shoes and put them next to the car seat. Employees with the City of Pensacola Fire Rescue pass out stickers that are thermometers every year. Pensacola Fire Rescue's Lieutenant Gary Creel said, "It is a visual reminder for a driver that there might be a child or pet in the vehicle." He said they have a limited amount of stickers. To get one, call their administration line: (850) 436-5200

Police Using New Periscope App To Take Followers On A Virtual Ride Along

I found this article on WEAR fascinating and hope that our police departments over here in Northwest Florida take notice of what Gulf Shores is doing and try doing it themselves. Apparently, the Gulf Shores Police Department has found a way to use Twitter's Periscope App to help directly communicate with their residents.

Another Tragic Car Accident Reported in Walton County

The Northwest Daily News reports on another tragic car accident that occurred on Tuesday afternoon in DeFuniak Springs. According to the news source, just after 2 p.m, a SUV turned in front of a tractor trailer at a busy city intersection, causing a three-car pileup that left two people in critical condition and two more seriously injured. The truck was traveling east on U.S. Highway 90 "carrying a heavy load of feed" to a nearby poultry processing plant when the driver of the SUV turned left from U.S. Highway 331 in front of it. The collision was so significant that it sent the SUV into a third vehicle. Both vehicles ended up on the sidewalk north of the intersection, where a traffic signal ended up being damaged. Two people inside the SUV, including the driver, had to be extricated, the police department release said. A total of four occupants were transported to hospitals in Pensacola. Two, including the woman driving the SUV, required emergency surgery and were listed in critical condition on Tuesday. The other two passengers were listed in serious condition. The driver of the third car was taken from the scene by a family member to Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast Hospital and later released, according to reports. The truck driver was not hurt. As noted in the news release from the DeFuniak Springs police department, the crash is still being investigated by DeFuniak Springs Police and charges are pending.

Local Boy Named Ambassador For Boating Safety Week In Destin

The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that Drew Barefield, who was hit by a boat while snorkeling in the Choctawhatchee Bay a little less than a year ago, is the official 2015 Ambassador for Boating Safety Week in Destin. What a great way to turn a tragedy into promoting an important and great cause. The ceremony took place with Miss Destin, Coast Guard members, emergency responders and supporters of the Ronald McDonald House honoring Drew, his parents and his sister Savannah. Drew told the paper that he was feeling pretty good. He felt like he was almost all the way healed. According to the family, the support from the community and the Ronald McDonald House was fantastic. The Ronald McDonald House took care of everything, from food and fresh clothing and towels to getting him in contact with an optometrist when he needed new contacts.Trey and Wendy, Drew's mom, were there from June 28 to Sept. 11. During that time, Drew was at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, fighting for his life after being severely injured by a boat propeller. If you remember, it was a Sunday evening when young Drew was struck by the propeller of a boat headed west at a high rate of speed. Drew's recovery was long. He started out in a wheelchair before graduating to a walker. He lost a lot of weight and has regained 20 pounds. Almost a year after the accident, he looks like any other 13-year-old, nearly healed.

Recent Car Accidents In Northwest Florida

The Northwest Florida Daily News is filled with horrible car accidents that occurred this past week. According to a Florida highway Patrol News Release, a Milton man was charged with careless driving after a four-car pile-up early Monday on U.S. Highway 90 just east of Scenic Highway. A 53 year old man was driving a 1987 Chevrolet Pickup truck west on U.S. Highway 90 when he failed to stop for slowing traffic. His truck rear-ended a 2005 GMC Pickup truck driven by a 27 female of Pace. Her truck rear-ended a 2008 BMW driven by a 52 male of Pace. The BMW rear-ended a 2015 Ford Aero Star driven by a 46 male of Pace, the news release said. The accident occurred at 7:30 a.m. Several people were injured in that accident.

Insurance Rates Based On Zip Code?

Auto insurance companies trying to set rates by zip codes, according to a recent article in Palm Beach Post. This was an attempt by a group of car insurance companies to have a state law that would allow them to set rates in a territory as small as one zip code. Since the Florida legislature is no longer in session, this attempt appears to be a dead bill that will have to wait another year. According to the Consumer Federation of America, this dead bill was a good thing. According to this think tank, there could have been a high potential for abuse, and potentially creating pockets of high rates, in effect shutting out customers from the wrong side of the tracks. It was "not credible and therefore not actuarially sound," said Bob Hunter, director of insurance for the group.

Safety Alert: Mitsubishi Recalls 130,000 Vehicles

WEAR TV is reporting that Mitsubishi is recalling more than 130,000 cars because of two issues that could lead to reduced visibility for drivers and raise the risk of a crash. According to the station, nearly 77,000 cars are being recalled because the windshield defroster might fail as a result of a faulty blower motor. As NHTSA says in its defect report, "If a driver experiences reduced or complete loss of blower performance, and defrosting of the windshield is required, this may affect driver visibility and increase the risk of a crash". The cars affected include Lancer model years 2009 to 2011, Lancer Sportback model years 2010 to 2011, Lancer Evolution model years 2010 to 2011 and Outlander Sport model year 2011. About 53,400 cars are affected by the other recall. Mitsubishi says head lights, tail lights and windshield wipers may not work because of an unstable electronic control unit. The affected cars include Lancer model years 2009 to 2010, Outlander model years 2009 to 2010, Evolution model year 2010 and Sportback model year 2010. Mitsubishi says it will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected parts for free.

Florida Insurance Costs Rank Among The Nation's Highest

A new research project showed driving in Florida will cause your insurance costs rank to among the nation's highest. According to insuranceQuotes.com, lorida drivers pay 12 percent above the national average. The report makes it calculations using quotes from carriers representing 60 percent to 70 percent of the market. Why? One factor is a state requirement that forces Floridians to buy at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage that duplicates medical insurance drivers already have through Medicare or private health plans. That tends up to push rates in the few remaining no-fault states like Florida and Michigan, analysts say. Also, there's geography - which involves things like a higher risk of catastrophic weather, analysts say. Throw in some accident fraud and bad driving and there you have your above average premium

Florida PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Fraud On The Decline

Since the laws governing personal-injury protection were reformed, the number of car accidents staged in Florida so an insurance claim could be filed has fallen by more than half, according to the statistics. The nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau stated they completed a study which reports that PIP claims involving accidents that appear to have been intentionally caused fell from 712 in 2012 to 328 last year. Overall, questionable PIP claims filed in Florida dropped by nearly 8 percent in a year, reported the bureau. Joe Wehrle, the bureau's president told the Sun-Sentinel that his company was encouraged by the decline in questionable claims but they still had a long way to go to stop the staged claims. According to Mr. Wehrle, Florida remains a hotbed for fraudulent activity. The 2012 law requires those involved in vehicle crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and limits non-emergency medical claims to $2,500. The law also established stronger penalties for medical providers who commit PIP fraud, including a five-year license suspension and a 10-year restriction from PIP reimbursement. Two insurance groups here in Florida thinks the study shows the law is helping cut abuse that they claim drive up premium costs. Two insurance groups said Monday that the study shows the law is helping cut abuse that drives up premium costs. Premiums for PIP coverage are projected to drop by an average of 13.2 percent, based upon on a review of 20 insurers that provide coverage for more than 75 percent of the Florida market, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said in January.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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