Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bicycle Versus Auto Collision In Clearwater Intersection

On a per capita basis, Florida recorded an annual average of about 5.7 cyclist deaths per million residents, by far the most of any state. The national bicyclist death rate for 2012 was approximately 2.3 deaths per 1 million.  In 2012, there were 120 fatal bicycle accidents[1] in the state of Florida.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[2] indicates that slightly more than 10 percent of serious bicycle accidents involve vehicles, and they usually result in the most serious injuries to the cyclists.

Clearwater Intersection Crashes

Although intersections may represent a relatively small portion of a cyclist's travel route, they are where a cyclist is most at risk of getting hit by a car or otherwise involved in a car accident. Only 11% of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car but of these, 45% take place in intersections.

In order to minimize the risk of intersection accidents with cars, cyclists need to maximize their visibility, understand the rules of the road, learn to recognize some of the most dangerous intersection hazards, and take safety precautions when approaching and riding through an intersection.

How to Avoid Bike Accidents in Clearwater Intersections?

Intersections pose a special risk to bicyclists for many reasons:

Cars often underestimate the speed of a bike

  Cars often do not expect bikes to be on the road so car drivers are not watching for bikes

   Even if cars are on the lookout for bicyclists, they sometimes do not see them because bikes are smaller and can blend into the background based on the biker's clothing, the sun, as well as other factors.

Cyclists should keep this in mind and take extra precautions to avoid accidents at intersections by:

           Increasing the visibility of the bike and cyclist with front and rear lamps, reflective clothing, and brightly colored clothing.  It may seem silly, but bikes are small and easy to see through even during the day. Yellow or orange reflective vests really make a big difference as do reflective leg bands.

                Being on the lookout for vehicles, road debris and other dangers

                Riding defensively

                Learning to execute emergency maneuvers to avoid collisions

                Don’t ride on the sidewalk because when you come off the sidewalk to cross the street at an intersection, a bicycle can be invisible to turning motorists.

                Do not pass on the right.  It is important as a bicyclist not to overtake slow- moving vehicles on the right as doing so makes you invisible to left-turning      motorists at intersections. 

                Keep both hands on the handlebars to maintain maximum control of the   bicycle

                Equip the bike with mirrors and check them frequently while riding

                Know the hand signals and make them consistently before turning

                Pay attention in the late afternoon and evening hours when the sun can cause visibility problems for drivers.

Who is at Fault in Clearwater - the Bike or the Car?

Legally speaking, in the state of Florida, a bicycle is considered to be a "vehicle" and therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road. When it comes to collisions occurring at intersections, liability usually boils down to who had the right-of-way between the car or the bike.

       No traffic signals:  When two vehicles approach an intersection not controlled by a traffic signal, the vehicle arriving first has the right-of-way.  If the vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way. 

       Traffic signals:  The right-of-way at intersections controlled by signals is determined by the traffic signal.  If a signal sensor is unable to detect the presence of a bicycle, the cyclist can position the bicycle closer to the sensors embedded in the road or wait until it is safe to cross at the crosswalk. 

Call a Clearwater Product Liability Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured or even killed as a result of a bicycle versus vehicle collision, it is imperative to talk to an experienced Clearwater bicycle accident attorney to review the case and collect all of the compensation to which you are entitled. At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled bicycle accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clearwater Hoverboard Injuries

What is a Clearwater Hoverboard?

The term “hoverboard” may generate an image of a person soaring or levitating through the air on a skateboard or surf board-like device. In reality, however, the device is tethered to the ground, rolls on two wheels, and is subject to the same rules of gravity as all other things.

Aside from the standard mechanical parts that make up most scooters, self-balancing scooters have several other components that allow them to maintain their pitch and balance. Inside all self-balancing scooters are a gyroscope, a number of microprocessors, and two or more independent motors that balance the board. This hardware is all powered by a lithium ion battery which is housed in the same unit. Aside from the regular and natural falling risk, it is these batteries that present the greatest risk for an accident that produces a significant and life threatening risk not only to the rider but also to others in the immediate area.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Warning to Clearwater Residents

On February 19, 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission[1] (CPSC) took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to hoverboard manufacturers, importers, and retailers telling them that all hoverboards are potentially unsafe.  The CPSC letter indicated that the self-balancing two-wheeled scooters pose an "imminent hazard" and may be seized or recalled by the government. Anyone caught selling unlicensed hoverboards risk civil and criminal penalties, according to the US government.

According to Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, his agency has received at least a dozen reports of hoverboard fires in ten states, which included homes being burned to the ground. In hopes of finding answers as to why the popular boards are bursting into flames while their batteries are charging, engineers have been working around the clock at the agency's testing facilities in Maryland to determine if certain manufacturers used cheap lithium-ion batteries that may not be compatible with the board's charger. The CPSC is charged with protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injury, death and property damage fromthousands of types of products which cost our nation more than $1 trillion dollars annually.

Hoverboard Manufacturer Warns Clearwater Consumers

A major manufacturer of hoverboards, Swagway[2], has also told people who own its hoverboards to quit using them until they are deemed safe.  "In complying with the CPSC's requirements, we ask customers who have purchased a Swagway to refrain from using their boards in the interim."  "We will issue a recall if necessary, as soon as we fully understand the exact specifics that need to be addressed according to the CPSC requirements and will offer a remedy for our customers accordingly."

Duty of Care Owed to Clearwater Residents

Generally speaking, consumer product liability is based on a duty of care. Any manufacturer has a duty to design a reasonably safe product. Moreover, when a distributor or product marketer places an inherently dangerous product (such as anything with malfunctioning steering or explosive batteries) into the channels of commerce, it has a duty to adequately warn of the danger and the duty to provide instructions as to its proper use.  As such, manufacturers, distributors and resellers could be held liable for all damages as a result of their failure adequately design, inspect and test a defective hoverboard which not only start on fire, but there have been hundreds of reports of people falling off of their hoverboards and incurring significant injuries, including numerous brain injuries and fractures of various bones.  Those types of injuries have the potential to be permanently life-altering.

Clearwater Lawyers for Hoverboard Accident Victims

If you or a loved one received a hoverboard over the holidays or have otherwise been injured as a result of a hoverboard, it is important to speak to a Clearwater hoverboard accident lawyer as soon as possible.  The attorneys at the Dolman Law Group can review your case, assist with the filing of claims or in dealing with insurance companies and, where appropriate, to file a lawsuit on your behalf against any business entity that may be responsible for your damages.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900


Thursday, April 14, 2016

What Will Happen At The Deposition For My Clearwater Accident Case?

A deposition is a recorded statement where a participant in a lawsuit answers various questions under oath. The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure[1] set forth when a deposition can be used and for what purpose in a Florida lawsuit.  It is common practice for injured workers, accident victims and product liability victims, to have their depositions taken during the pending lawsuit. While the thought of being questioned by attorneys can be frightening for most people, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate the stress of the deposition.

What Will Happen at your Clearwater Deposition?

The deposition will probably take place in a conference room at a law firm where your attorney and the attorney asking questions will both be present. A court reporter, whose job it is to make a written transcript of the deposition for use as evidence in the case, will also be present

Before the deposition begins, the court reporter will confirm that you understand your obligations to be truthful.  Because you will be testifying under oath during your deposition, it is critical that you answer each question truthfully.  During your deposition, you will be asked a series of questions.  An experienced Clearwater attorney can review your case and discuss the types of questions that you will likely be asked to answer. Many depositions include the following topics: 

          Background Information: Your name, date of birth, address, educational background, and work history. The lawyer may also ask if you have a criminal record or if you have filed any past claims.  If the question asked is inappropriate or not allowed under Florida law, your attorney will make a formal objection on the record.

                Prior injuries: The lawyer may ask questions about any other prior injuries or accidents you may have had to try to prove that your injuries are not related to the current personal injury or workers’ compensation claim.

                How the accident happened:  While questions about how the accident happened can be limited, you may be asked detailed questions about your injuries if they happened over a period of time.   If it is a workers’ compensation case, such injuries may include repetitive stress injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome.  If it is an automobile accident case, the lawyer will likely ask questions regarding the scene of the accident and your possible fault for the collision.

                Life changes: It is likely that you will also be asked how the accident and the injuries you suffered have changed your daily life.  For example, this could include everyday activities such as difficulty cleaning up at home, doing laundry, gardening, shopping, driving a car, and riding in a car, standing too long or sitting too long.

Tips for Handling Your Clearwater Deposition

As you prepare for your Clearwater deposition, there are a few guidelines to follow: 

1.    Listen carefully before answering: Let the lawyer ask a complete question before you begin to answer.

2.    Give verbal responses:  Always answer “yes” or “no”.  The court reporter is unable to record a nod of the head or gesture. 

3.    Don’t volunteer information: Even though you may feel the need to offer information that you think is important, it is important to only answer the question that is being asked.

4.    Avoid guessing: If a question is confusing, instead of guessing, ask the lawyer to repeat the question or rephrase it.

5.    Don’t share privileged information: Do not answer questions about any confidential discussions you have had with your attorney.

6.    Maintain your composure: It’s important to be polite, calm, and clear when answering questions, which is important during the process. In the event that you feel yourself becoming agitated during the deposition, it’s ok to ask to take a break so that you can collect your thoughts.

Once the deposition is over, you will receive a transcript and have an opportunity to make corrections. Having an experienced Clearwater attorney advocating for you will ensure that the deposition runs smoothly.  For example, during depositions, your attorney will be able to make objections to certain questions and make sure nothing happens that may be against your interests.

Contact a Clearwater Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident, or suffered a work-related injury, it is important to speak to a skilled Clearwater accident attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our  accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law.  We will also answer any questions that you have regarding your deposition so that you are as prepared as possible.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Discussing Auto Accidents With a Clearwater Insurance Adjuster

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles[1], there were 344,170 automobile crashes in the state of Florida in 2014.  That averages 943 collisions a day.  Nevertheless, many consumers may not know what steps to take or basic information to share, or not share, after an accident. Individuals may even put their identities and safety at risk by sharing too much personal information.  Consumers generally need only share their names and correct vehicle insurance information, which should include the phone numbers of insurance providers. Sharing additional personal information, such as driver’s license numbers and home addresses, can place consumers, their property and their safety at risk.

Conversations with a Clearwater Insurance Adjuster

After an automobile accident, you will likely be contacted by an automobile insurance adjuster. There are several things to keep in mind before and during that conversation:

           Personal Information:  Provide your name, address and telephone number as well as your employer’s address, but it is not necessary for you to provide any additional private information regarding your income, medical history and the like.

           Identify the Caller:  Be sure to obtain the name and telephone number of the person to whom you are speaking as well as the name and address of their employer; the insurance company.

           Injuries:  Even if the adjuster inquires as to your injuries, refrain from providing a detailed description.  You may inadvertently leave out a detail or discover later that an injury has worsened or that you have suffered an additional injury.

           Accident Details:  Do not provide a formal statement or engage in an informal conversation with the adjuster regarding the automobile accident.  You can provide the date and time of the accident and identify the make and models of any vehicles that were involved, but are not required to discuss any further specifics with the adjuster.

           Remain Calm:  Although you may be upset about the accident and your injuries, taking out your anger on the insurance adjuster does not help your case or allow you to receive compensation. It is important to stay as calm and polite when speaking with a Clearwater insurance adjuster.

           Settlement Offer:  Insurance adjusters sometimes offer a settlement during the first one or two phone calls. Quick settlements can save the insurance company work. More significantly, the insurance adjuster may try to get you to settle for a small amount before you know fully what your injuries are and how much your claim is worth. Agreeing may seem like a simple way to get compensation without having to go through the claims process, and a quick settlement is often tempting, but it will almost certainly cost you money, perhaps quite a bit.  Be sure to speak with a Clearwater automobile accident attorney to review any suggested settlement in order to determine if it fully compensates you for your losses.

           Avoid Recorded Calls:  Many claims adjusters immediately push victims to give a tape-recorded statement, or casually ask if they may record the phone conversation, claiming that a recording will protect the victim later. It is important that you do NOT agree to have any conversation recorded. There is no legal obligation to be recorded, and it is against the law for an adjuster to record without the victim’s permission. The reason you should refuse is that most people tense up when they know they are being recorded, and forget to say important things or describe things clumsily or incompletely. A verbal statement or conversation is almost never as precise and thorough as the written correspondence you will later send the insurance company. Also, recordings take on far more importance than they deserve as evidence of what happened. It can be nearly impossible later to correct or expand on what you have said in a recording. Politely but firmly decline an adjuster’s request to record your statements. 

Call a Clearwater Automobile Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love is injured in an automobile accident, it is important to speak to a Clearwater auto accident attorney as soon as possible.  You may even wish to discuss speaking to an attorney prior to communicating with the insurance adjuster from the other side.  The experienced automobile accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group understand the legal issues that may arise in a vehicle accident and will always strive to ensure you recover any losses you may have incurred as a result. At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled single vehicle accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law to make sure you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900