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March 2016 Archives

Safety Alert: Just How Safe Are Those Zip Lines?

zip line.jpgJust as I recently blogged on whether or not inflatable bounce houses are safe, there are also new studies that find zipline-related injuries are rapidly increasing. Here in northwest Florida, we have several different places where we can go to zipline and as the weather gets warmer and we have more tourists that come to our area, they will not only flock to our beautiful beaches, but also our recreational attractions which includes ziplines. As you drive up and down Highway 98, it is obvious that the popularity of ziplining has skyrocketed rapidly in recent years. In fact, the number of commercial ziplines in the U.S. rose from 10 in 2001 to more than 200 in 2012, in addition to more than 13,000 amateur ziplines which can be found in outdoor education programs, camps, and backyards. The increase in popularity has also increased the number of injuries related to ziplining. Consequently, it is not surprising that a recent study conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that an estimated 16,850 non-fatal zipline-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 1997 through 2012. The study, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, found that falls accounted for more than three-quarters (77 percent) of zipline-related injuries followed by collisions (13 percent), including those with tree and other anchor structures

Can Your Fitbit Be Used For or Against You In Your Personal Injury Claim?

fitbit.jpgFitness trackers are the new craze. You can walk into any gym and see that the majority of people have some type of device tracking their heart rate, the steps walked or calories burned. A Fitbit has recently made headlines here in Florida . Nina Risley, from St. Petersburg, traveled to Pennsylvania and was staying at her boss' home when police say she called to report she was raped by an unknown intruder. According to the police report, officers obtained her Fitbit Surge device and "the Fitbit device showed that Nina was awake and walking around the entire night prior to the incident and did not go to bed as reported" Police believe the steps recorded on her device prove Nina was awake and staging the crime scene instead of being asleep and ripped out of bed like she claimed. She was later charged with making a false report and tampering with evidence.

Pedestrian Deaths In Florida Are On The Rise

pedestrian_accidents.jpgPedestrian deaths surged by approximately 10 percent last year as the economy started to improve, the price of gas went down and motorists started to drive more, according to an analysis of preliminary state traffic fatality data.

Dog Bites 101: Understanding The Law

dog-bites.jpgEach day, about 1,000 U.S. citizens require emergency care treatment for dog bite injury. The dichotomy is that dogs can be our closest companions. They often live in our homes, have been proven to decrease stress, increase our exercise levels, and are frequent playmates for children. But sometimes man's best friend will bite. In addition to causing pain, injury, or nerve damage, dog bites can become infected, placing the bite victim at risk for illness or even death. Even though the idea of being bitten by a dog is scary, it doesn't mean that it is time to give up your dog. People who work and live around dogs should be aware of the risk and take precautions. With a few tips, you can learn how to prevent dog bites and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

Seat Belt Use And Teens: Getting It To Click

seatbelt-use.jpgAccording to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 14-year-old girl died from injuries she suffered in a three-vehicle crash last week. The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the young girl of Youngstown was a passenger in a northbound 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by a 16 year old male from Milton, when he lost control of the vehicle just after 10 p.m. on U.S. 231 just south of Johnny Lane. Mann began driving into the median and then began to overturn into the southbound lanes. Two other vehicles struck the trailblazer as it entered the southbound lanes. Mann and his two passengers were all ejected from the vehicle, but the 14 year old female died from her injuries. FHP says no one in the trailblazer was wearing a seatbelt.

How To Avoid Animal Related Car Accidents

Animal Accidents.jpgAccording to a Northwest Florida Daily News article posted in February, a 26-year-old male from Crestview, was traveling northbound on Airport Road in a 2013 Civic around 5:45 p.m., when he entered a slight left-hand curve and a dog ran into his path. He swerved to avoid the dog and thus traveled into the pathway of 38-year-old male from Niceville, who was driving southbound on Airport Road in a 2002 Hyundai. The Hyundai was unable to avoid the collision and the Civic struck the front of the Hyundai. Both vehicles came to a final rest within the area of impact. The driver of the Civic and two of his passengers had serious injuries. A third passenger was listed with minor injuries. The driver of the Hyundai had no injuries. A 2-year-old passenger had minor injuries and a second passenger was transported with critical injuries. Both vehicles were totaled, the release said.

Are Hospitals Exploiting The No-Fault Insurance System?

Thumbnail image for PIP.jpgHospital Conglomerate HCA Hospital is asking a South Florida Court to dismiss a case arguing it has no merit and reject a bid to make it a class action. The suit has been brought by four Florida drivers, Marisela Herrera, Luz Sanchez, Nicholas Acosta and Wollmen who were involved in separate car accidents, treated at these hospitals and in each visit- the hospital took the entire $10,000.00 PIP benefits, and then some. It names as defendants JFK Medical Center, Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, North Florida Regional Medical Center and HCA Holdings Inc. This lawsuit claims hospitals are the ones ripping off consumers and exploiting the No-Fault system. According to the claimants' attorney, the hospitals are purposely overcharging and thus taking the money from those needing the medical care and help. As expected, the Hospital attorneys refute the allegations and say if drivers have a problem, they should take it up with their insurance company that agreed to pay the charges.

Safety Alert: Do Seatbelt Laws Apply To My Recreational Vehicle?

RV Seatbelt.jpgWe were hiking this past weekend in a state park and saw several recreational vehicles (RV) parked enjoying the weekend. My children asked me if we had an RV would they have to wear a seat belt if they were sitting in the living quarters of the RV. I honestly had to research it to make sure I had the correct answer and I was surprised to find out where Florida law stood. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 316.614 Safety Belt Usage:

Florida Attorneys: Resolution Of Subrogation Claims And Liens To Medical Providers

Subrogation.jpgIf you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and retained a Florida personal injury attorney, then you have probably heard that attorney talk to you about subrogation claims, liens, or other claims that must be satisfied from your personal injury settlement. Several strict rules are in place governing personal injury settlements. Some of these rules protect your private health insurance company (i.e. FloridaBlue, Aetna, United Healthcare, etc.), Tricare, Florida Medicaid, Medicare, or a Worker's Compensation carrier. If any of these entities or organizations have paid all or part of your medical bills and/or lost wages, you are obligated to ensure that they are reimbursed when you settle your personal injury claim. As this process has become more complex, some companies and attorneys have started to provide services in assisting with the resolution of medical liens or subrogation claims. After years of litigation and two trips to the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar Board of Governors approved recommendations from its Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics (BRCPE) that would include having a judge oversee those arrangements and empowering that judge to change the compensation of your personal injury attorney and/or the attorney handling the lien. According to BRCPE's Chair, Carl Schwait, who was interviewed for the Florida Bar News Journal, "there is, in fact, a cottage industry [for lien resolutions]. Normal personal injury lawyers may not have the ability to do lien resolutions following the trial. They go out and hire people who have a specialty in this lien resolution."

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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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