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Although most people recognize the danger posed by intoxicated and distracted drivers on Florida roadways, the risk of injury or death posed by a motor vehicle can exist much closer to home.  The family driveway can be a dangerous place for small children.  Vehicles backing over children while pulling out of driveways claim the lives of fifty children per week according to the website kidsandcars.org.  The site also indicates that approximately 7 in 10 fatal back up accidents occur when a relative is behind the wheel.  In this two-part blog post, our Miami personal injury attorneys provide important safety information that can reduce the risk of a back over crash.  Part I of this article focuses on important risk factors while Part II discusses new safety standards and preventative measures.

Many of these tragic fatal pedestrian accidents are the result of something referred to as the “Bye-Bye Syndrome.”  This situation occurs because children do not want adults to leave, so they frequently follow departing adults outside into the driveway.  The drivers are unaware that their kids are no longer safe inside the home because they do not check behind the vehicle before climbing into their car.

These types of auto accidents have a particularly high fatality rate because extremely young children often lack the experience and cognitive skills to fully appreciate the potential danger of an approaching vehicle.  This mean that small children who are not visible through rearview mirrors and not protected by safety equipment face a disproportionately high risk of suffering a severe injury like a traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), or even death. Continue reading →

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The process of discovery, which is part of the pre-trial process in personal injury lawsuits, is a critical stage of litigation.  During this process, each party has an opportunity to obtain information, documents, and other relevant evidence from the other side.  When evidence favors one party, the evidence by its nature typically will be “prejudicial” (harmful) to the other side.  Jury verdicts or decisions to settle a legal claim often turn on a judge’s ruling regarding the admissibility of unfavorable evidence.  When courts consider the admissibility of evidence that adversely impacts one of the parties, the court considers whether the “probative value” of the evidence outweighs “unfair prejudice.”  An experienced personal injury lawyer will attempt to exclude such evidence or mitigate its impact.  In a recent case from the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Maniglia v. Carpenter, the court demonstrates the impact this evaluation can have on the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit.

Magnilia (the defendant) crashed into Carpenter (the plaintiff) when he was changing lanes causing damage to the rear region of Magnilia’s vehicle and the passenger side front of Carpenter’s vehicle.  While Magnilia contended the collision was only a minor bump, Carpenter claimed the crash was a major sideswipe accident.  Carpenter went to a chiropractor the day after the crash and complained of pain in his back and neck.  The chiropractor found no evidence of significant injury from the collision and did not impose any work restrictions. Continue reading →

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The process of proving damages in a car accident lawsuit can be difficult especially when attempting to establish intangible damages like pain and suffering.  While lost wages and medical costs can be established based on objective evidence, one of the important functions of an experienced Florida car accident lawyer involves persuasively advocating for a maximum award in terms of these types of hard to quantify forms of loss.  The recent decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeals for Florida, Ortega v. Belony, demonstrates the importance of skilled advocacy in the measure of compensation received for this type of damages.

The plaintiff Blanchard Belony suffered a broken neck and was hospitalized in traction for eight days following her crash.  Belony’s doctor suggested surgery, but the plaintiff elected an alternative course of treatment that involved wearing a “halo” (used to immobilize the head and neck) for a three month period while the fracture healed.  Evidence presented at trial reflects that Belony moved in with his brother during this recovery period to obtain assistance with bathing and other basic needs.  Belony also experienced insomnia and had to return to the hospital to have screws on the halo tightened.  After the halo was removed, Belony’s only complaint was residual neck pain. Continue reading →

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Distracted driving is a tremendous national problem that has reached epidemic levels.  The personal injury attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, are concerned by the high rates of distracted driving nationally and locally.  We have provided the following list of frequently asked questions concerning distracted driving in hopes of raising increased awareness to the tremendous problem of distracted driving and the penalties texting drivers may face in Florida:

What is considered distracted driving?

Distracted driving encompasses driving while engaging in any other activity that distracts your attention, eyes, or hands from the road.  Distractions could include simple things like changing the radio station, inputting information in your GPS, or attending to a small child.  It can also be more complex, such as texting while driving, taking pictures on your cell phone, or engaging in social media. Continue reading →

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Whiplash injuries are among the most common injuries clients walk in with, particularly those involved in rear end accidents.  Whiplash symptoms and side effects can linger for weeks following the accident, and sometimes even continue to impact the car accident victim for months or even years.  Whiplash is a common, but serious injury that nearly anyone can suffer if they are involved in a car accident.  There is little you can do to prevent whiplash injuries, but you can take steps following the accident to protect your legal rights.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck, also commonly referred to as neck strain or sprain.  Whiplash is often sustained in car accidents, especially rear-end accidents. It occurs as a result of the rapid back and forth whip-like motion of the head and neck which stems from another vehicle hitting your vehicle. Continue reading →

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Parents everywhere strive to ensure their children are safe at all times, which includes selecting an appropriate car seat for young children.  However, even the most well intentioned parents can make critical mistakes when installing their child’s car seat.  Car seat installation mistakes can leave your child vulnerable to devastating injuries in the event of a car accident.  The following is a look at some of the most common car seat installation errors:

  1. Seat too loose: Many parents simply do not install their child’s car seat tight enough.  To test your seat, grab it at the base with two hands and attempt to move the seat.  If it moves more than one inch to the left, right, or forward, then it needs to be tightened.  A loose seat can crash into the back of the front seat in the event of a crash, injuring your child’s head or other part of the body.
  2. Facing forward too early: Some parents are in a rush to turn their infant’s car seat forward facing.  While parents might be anxious to see their child’s face while driving, safety organizations now recommend that children remain rear facing until at least two years of age, if not even longer.  Rear facing offers superior protection for the neck, back, and spine of young children.
  3. Selecting the wrong seat: It is also important that you research potential car seats and select the right one.  Your child will need to start out life in a rear facing car seat that meets crash test standards.  At around one year or sooner, your child should move into a rear facing convertible car seat.  At two or later, your child can transition to forward facing in their convertible seat.  Eventually, your child ages four or older can move into a booster seat where they will remain for some time.  Consult with a car seat safety technician if you have questions as to what seat is appropriate for your child.
  4. Harness is too loose: It is understandable that parents of young children are hesitant to place anything too tight on their infant’s or young children’s bodies.  However, it is essential that you adequately secure your child’s harness before setting off on the road.  A child who is loose in his or her harness can come out of the seat in the event of a crash.
  5. Not using a booster seat: Children between 40 and 80 pounds and up to 4’9” should ride in a booster seat. A booster seat is necessary to lift the child up to the level so that the seat belt fits him or her correctly.  Keep your child in a booster seat as long as possible so they are protected.

Continue reading →

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Our car accident lawyers understand that being involved in a car accident can be a frightening experience.  It is even scarier if your children are in the car with you.  Whether they are in a booster seat or sitting in the passenger seat, kids are prone to injury in the event of an accident.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children across the country.  Children that do survive a car accident can still suffer severe injuries.

The most common injuries suffered by children during a car accident include:

  • Head injuries, namely concussions
  • Back injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Organ injury

Children may also suffer an array of cuts, bruises, and head fractures in a car accident, even if they are secured in a car seat.  Given their small size and stature, younger children have vulnerable heads and necks, and the impact of the crash can result in devastating injuries to these parts of the body.  Rollover accidents are among the most dangerous of all car accidents, leaving children of all ages at risk of injury.  Continue reading →

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When injured accident victims come to us, they will be welcomed by strong advocates for their legal rights. Our motorcycle accident lawyers fight diligently for our injured clients, seeking full compensation for their serious injuries sustained in any sort of accident.  Many of our clients are injured in motorcycle accidents.  These crashes can lead to devastating injuries, leaving accident victims struggling under massive medical bills, forced time off work, and longer medical expenses.

Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable to Injury

Motorcyclists are more at risk of injury that other road users.  Motorcycles do not afford their drivers with the same level of protection as cars and trucks.  Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements around them and when they are involved in an accident, whether it is a single vehicle or multi-vehicle crash, they have a high probability of sustaining lasting injuries.  Continue reading →

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Our automobile accident attorneys are committed to assisting accident victims across South Florida.  We understand the extent to which a major car accident victim can impact your life.  This is especially true of devastating back injuries, which can result in lifelong paralysis.  Spinal cord injury lawsuits are intended to help accident victims receive compensation for their medical bills and lost wages.

Paraplegia

Paraplegia is defined as the loss of sensation and use of the lower extremities.  When a person suffers from paraplegia, he or she may be unable to walk and could find it difficult or impossible to turn at the waist.  The severity of the injury will depend upon the nature of the spinal cord injury, as well as the location of the injury.  Injuries to higher parts of the spinal cord will generally result in more widespread paralysis.  Continue reading →

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Side impact crashes are some of the most serious of all car accidents.  Often, the drivers and passengers involved in these accidents do not even see the impact coming.  T-bone crashes can occur due to a wide variety of circumstances, including failure to yield, failure to stop at a traffic signal, speeding, improper left turns, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driver distraction.

Side Impact Crashes Continue to Inflict Devastating Injuries

Vehicles have gotten safer over the past decade, but side impact crashes are still among the most dangerous of all accidents.  Side impact airbags have become widely implemented in automobiles, but these airbags fail to provide the same level of protection as front airbags.  In fact, seat belts remain the best defense against side impact injuries. Side impact airbags will certainly assist in the event of an accident, but should never be seen as a substitute for wearing your seat belt.  Continue reading →

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