Orlando Injury Law Blog

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 08, 2014

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, unfortunately accidents can happen.  If you have an accident and are injured, don’t let the time clock run on you to seek medical attention.  During this time of year, the days quickly pass.  Drivers involved in crashes with injuries, must seek medical care within 14 days from the date of their accident to take advantage of their automobile insurance PIP (personal injury protection) policy benefits.  On day 15, you are no longer eligible for the benefits you paid for.  To qualify for your full $10,000.00 benefit, your injuries must be diagnosed as an “Emergency Medical Condition”.  If this threshold is not met, your maximum benefit is $2,500.00, even though you paid for $10,000.00 in coverage.  Bottom line, don’t delay after your accident.  If you need additional advice on this information, please call my firm, (407) 628-4871.  If you’ve had an accident and are injured, I am here to help you.  I wish all a happy and safe holiday season.

---  R. David Ayers, Jr.

Airbag Explosion of Metal Shrapnel Suspected of Causing Death

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Metal shrapnel from a faulty airbag, which exploded after an automobile accident, is thought to have caused the death of an Orlando woman.  Her family is pursuing legal action against the car manufacturer and maker of the airbags.  If you suspect you or a loved one has been injured by a faulty airbag, you should contact a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer to discuss your rights and time limitations to file a claim.  In any event, call the manufacturer of your vehicle to be sure the airbags in your car have not been recalled for the safety of you and your family.  Due to the high humidity levels found in Florida, the problem with the airbags appears to be worse.

Florida Trucking Company Ordered Out Of Service after Series of Violations

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared a Florida-based trucking company as an “imminent safety hazard.” The agency has ordered the company out of service.

The company, Ken’s Trucking LLC, based in Grand Ridge has been involved in at least five accidents over the past 12 months alone. The company operates a fleet that consists of 33 trucker trucks-tractors, and 29 truckers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered the company to immediately stop all commercial motor vehicle operations.

The order came after an investigation that was conducted by the federal agency into Ken’s Trucking operations. That investigation was launched in August. Investigators found that trucks operated by the company were involved in at least five recordable accidents over the last year alone. At least two of those accidents were linked to maintenance problems with the vehicle.

In fact, the owner of the company Ken Branch also seems to have operated as a CDL driver in the company, and he himself was involved in an accident earlier this year that was linked to malfunctioning truck components.

According to the federal agency’s order, the company has a poor maintenance program that does not include regular inspections, repairs and maintenance of its vehicles, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries involving its fleet. In fact, many of the company’s violations had the potential to cause serious accidents. The company chalked up a number of violations, including failure to oversee and maintain driver qualification files, allowing drivers who tested positive for drugs, or those with suspended commercial driver’s licenses to operate trucks and failure to monitor drivers to ensure that they complied with the federal Hours Of Service rules, limiting the number of hours that a trucker can drive consecutively.

Florida Testing New System to Prevent Wrong Way Driving Accidents

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Wrong way driving accidents are some of the most devastating accidents in impact, and very often result in injuries and fatalities. The state of Florida will soon begin an experiment aimed at helping reduce the risk of such accidents. The experiment is based on a simple system that will use solar-powered flashing lights and other related devices, to warn traffic management authorities of a wrong way driver on a highway.

The high-tech plan is targeted at helping reduce the risk of wrong way accidents on the Florida Turnpike and Sawgrass Expressway. The system consists of flashing signs that alert wrong way drivers about the fact that they're heading in the wrong direction. Simultaneously, alerts will also be sent to local authorities to inform them about the presence of the wrong way driver. These devices will be installed in 15 locations on the Florida Pike and Sawgrass Expressway.

The system is based on the use of solar power, radar systems as well as cameras, and these systems will record images and location data of the wrong way driver. The radar system will identify when a vehicle is driving in the wrong direction, and it will activate the solar-powered LED lights on the sign to warn the motorist. If the driver passes the sign, the data will then immediately be transmitted to the Florida traffic management system as well as the Florida Highway Patrol's command center.

The Florida Turnpike is being chosen as the location for this initiative because of the number of wrong way driving accidents that have occurred here. Between 2010 and 2012, there were 24 wrong way driving-related accidents along the Turnpike. This initiative is the result of a project that was kick started by the Florida Department of Transportation last year.

Alcohol Use Could Increase Accident Risks for Senior Motorists

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The spotlight on driving under the influence of alcohol very often tends to focus on younger teenage drivers, because of widespread alcohol use in this population. However, the actual influence of alcohol on a person’s driving abilities may be much more acute in the case of senior motorists.

According to a new study, even moderate amounts of alcohol use by senior drivers can affect driving abilities. For example, a simple glass of wine may not have a very intoxicating effect on a 25-year-old, and a person who is driving with this amount of alcohol in his blood, is very unlikely to qualify as “legally intoxicated”. However, when that same glass of wine is being consumed by a senior motorist above the age of 60, there are likely to be considerable effects on his driving capacities. In fact, senior motorists, who are driving even with such small amounts of alcohol in their blood, could be at a high risk of accidents injuring themselves and others.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Florida, who wanted to see how drinking small amounts of alcohol impaired driving abilities of seniors. There were two groups of people analyzed as part of the study. One consisted of persons in the 25 to 35 age group, and the other consisted of persons in the 55 to 70 age group. There were 36 people analyzed in each of these groups.

The researchers found that while neither group had drunk enough number of alcoholic beverages to qualify as being legally intoxicated, older drivers seemed to have their driving abilities impacted by just one drink.

In fact, the researchers are actually calling for a re-evaluation of blood-alcohol levels for all drivers. A senior who is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above, which is the maximum permissible level, could be at a much higher danger of being involved in an accident, compared to younger motorists who can more easily tolerate alcohol.

Florida Continues Poor Performance in Driving Safety

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The state of Florida ranked at the bottom of the list in a study that focuses on driving safety state-wise, specifically on states’ implementations of several traffic safety laws aimed at preventing auto accidents.

The results released by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety state that in 2013, Florida ranked at the bottom of the heap with a total of just six of the required laws implemented in the state. The study was based on whether states have implemented 15 essential traffic safety laws that include everything from seatbelt use and teen driving safety to drunk driving.

Florida, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, has only six of the laws that are recommended by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Some of those missing laws that the group would like to see are laws requiring primary enforcement for all seats, all-rider helmet laws, ignition interlock laws, and booster seat laws. Florida also does not have a ban on text messaging while driving for all drivers, and also does not have 4 out of 7 essential teen driving rules.

States were color coded and rated based on the number of laws implemented. Green states were those that had managed to implement 11 of the laws, including primary enforcement seat belt laws for front seat passengers as well as backseat passengers, or nine or more laws, including primary enforcement seat belt laws for both front and back seat passengers and all-rider helmet laws. Red states were those that had fallen dangerously behind in adopting the recommended optimal traffic safety laws.

Florida transportation safety agencies need to wake up and see that motorists in the state continue to remain at risk of injuries and fatalities, because of the state’s failure to enact these important laws.

Chronic Neck Pain Common after Car Accidents

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Motorists in Orlando who have been involved in a car accident, especially a rear-ender accident, may continue to suffer from chronic pain that lasts for weeks and months after the accident. According to the results of a new study, it is fairly common to find consistent pain in persons who have been involved in an accident.

The study was conducted by scientists at the University Of North Carolina School of Medicine, and is believed to be the first large study that specifically evaluates musculoskeletal pain resulting from a car accident.

According to the researchers, every year, approximately 4 million Americans have to visit hospital emergency departments, for treatment after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. More than 90% of these persons are discharged back home after an evaluation. However, the study finds that chronic pain is common among these individuals.

Approximately 6 weeks after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, close to three quarters of the persons involved in an accident reported that they suffered from persistent musculoskeletal pain in one or more areas of the body. More than one-third of the participants reported that they suffered pain in four or more body regions.

What is also disturbing to Orlando car accident lawyers is that out of the 1148 persons enrolled in the study, only 17% had actually contacted a lawyer for litigation approximately 6 weeks after the accident. Among the individuals who were not planning to contact a lawyer or not planning to take action for compensation, 20% suffered from persistent moderate or severe neck pain, 13% had widespread musculoskeletal pain that could be seen in seven or more areas of the body, and 4% suffered from symptoms very similar to those of fibromyalgia.

Florida Fatal Accidents on the Decline

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Preliminary data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicate a decline in the number of fatal accidents occurring in the state this year compared to last year. So far this year, there have been 2,202 fatal accidents across the state. Last year, there were 2,313 fatal accidents during the same period.

According to the data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, some Florida counties are seeing an increase in the number of fatal accidents. For instance, in St Johns County, there were 29 fatal accidents in 2013, which was an increase of 12% from 2012. Duvall County also has one more fatal accident this year, an increase of 17% from the same time in 2012. There have been declines in fatal accidents in Nassau, Putnam and Clay Counties.

However, those are preliminary statistics, and until the official number of fatalities caused during the Christmas and New Year holidays come in, it is hard to say for sure that 2013 will have a higher fatality toll, compared to last year. Already, there have been several fatal accidents caused in these counties, with multiple fatalities in these accidents.

Typically, the week before Christmas is the most dangerous period of the year for highway safety with a lot of accidents, many of them fatal ones. Besides, the New Year's Eve is also a deadly holiday for Florida motorists, with higher rates of alcohol-heavy driving, and therefore more numbers of drunk driving accidents.

Further, the number of motorists not just in Florida, but across the country is likely to be heavy this year. According to estimates, approximately 5 million motorists will be travelling at least 50 miles away from home during these holidays. Higher volumes of traffic typically translate into a higher accident rate.

Motorcycle Pedestrian Fatalities Drive up 2012 Accident Toll

Friday, November 01, 2013

The number of traffic accident fatalities that occurred in 2012 was a significant increase over 2011, and increases in the number of people killed in motorcycle and pedestrian accidents, is being blamed for that increase.

In 2012, there were 33,561 traffic accident fatalities which was an increase of 1,802 fatalities over the previous year. Much of that increase was attributed to an increase in the number of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians killed in accidents. In those three categories alone, there were 9,426 fatalities in 2012. Florida saw an increase of 24 fatalities from 2011.

Last year also saw significant numbers of people being killed in alcohol-related car accidents. About 10,322 people were killed in accidents blamed on an impaired driver.

Last year's data also marks an increase in traffic accident fatalities for the first time since 2005. The increase in traffic accident fatalities could be due to the fact that more people are driving now, with the recovering economy.

However, there is hope. There is reason to believe that 2003 fatality numbers are on a downward trend, although it is far too early to make any predictions.

There is no denying the fact that there has been little progress in reducing the number of people killed in pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle accidents. These are some of the most vulnerable people on our roads, and over the years, there seems to have been little progress in helping ensure their safety. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities in pedestrian accidents and motorcycle accidents actually increased for the three third consecutive year in 2012.

The federal agency is already planning strategic measures to reduce the number of traffic accident fatalities. The feds plan to speed up a program that would encourage auto manufacturers to install seat belt interlock systems to encourage seat belt use.

NTSB Investigations Stalled Due to Government Shutdown

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The partial federal shutdown that is currently in effect has impeded a number of federal departments from functioning at 100%. One of the more serious impacts of the shutdown is likely to be the failure of the National Transportation Safety Board to begin investigations into major highway and industrial accidents.

It's only been a few days since the shutdown began, and the National Transportation Safety Board has already had to decline requests for investigations from several parts of the country. So far, the Board has confirmed that it has had to decline at least 13 accidents that have occurred since the shutdown was triggered. Those accidents include a fatal bus accident occurred in Tennessee, killing eight people. Other serious accidents that also required the National Transportation Safety Board investigations are a crude oil pipeline spill that occurred in North Dakota and a US drug interdiction plane crash in Colombia that ended in fatalities.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also put on hold at least two plane crash hearings, including one that had been planned for the month of November into the Asiana Airlines plane crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board chief is so frustrated at this turn of events, that she is calling on lawmakers to allow the Board to continue its critical safety functions. She has written to the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee, asking its members to allow the agency to continue with its investigations and fact-finding missions.

The National Transportation Safety Board usually investigates accidents around the country that have resulted in multiple fatalities. These investigations are very detailed, extensive and provide reasons for the accident, as well as recommendations to prevent such accidents in the future.

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