Friday, June 24, 2016

Child Pedestrian Safety Tips For Florida Residents


Child Pedestrian Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides that in 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed[1] in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 2 hours.  Additionally, more than 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2013.  

Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash and one in every five children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.  Safekids.org[1] provides that in 2012, approximately 19,183 child pedestrians were nonfatally injured in motor vehicle-related incidents.  Further, 78% of child pedestrian deaths occurred at non-intersection locations.

Clearwater Safety Suggestions

Parents want to protect their children from harm but they cannot be with their children every second of the day.  As a result, Florida parents need to make sure that they teach their children how to walk to and from school safely and how to behave properly around moving motor vehicles.  Sadly, many child-related pedestrian accidents in Clearwater occur every year because a child ran into the street after a bouncing ball or because a driver was negligent and was speeding or ran a stop sign.

Whether your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend’s house, here are a few simple tips to make sure they get there safely.

       Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until they are safely across.

       Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.

       It is always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and to cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. 

       Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult.  Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.

       Be a good role model by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars. 

       Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

   Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.

    Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

       If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.
 

Injuries Caused by Child Pedestrian Accidents

Unfortunately, even the safest child may still get injured in a pedestrian accident due to a reckless driver.  When that occurs, it is likely that the child suffered a serious injury including:

           Head injuries:  Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injury, often require extensive medical treatment and long-term medical care. Head injuries can also lead to skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems.
 
           Back injuries:  Patients may experience reduced sensation of and control over their arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts. More serious forms of spinal damage can leave patients permanently paralyzed. Another common injury is a herniated disk which tends to be less severe than spinal damage or head injuries, but can still cause significant problems. Patients often experience numb or tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and arm or leg pain.

           Other injuries:  Injuries to the arms, legs, hands and feet can be common. Accidents involving pedestrians can see leg and foot damages including broken bones, ligament damage such as a torn ACL, and even severed limbs.

Contact a Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

If any member of your family is hit by a car while walking in Pinellas County, it is important to receive medical treatment as soon as possible.  Once you are well enough to do so, consider speaking to a Clearwater pedestrian accident attorney to determine if the vehicle driver is responsible for providing you with compensation for your injuries and damages.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled pedestrian accident attorneys will 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


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Is A Clearwater Intentional Tort?


A tort[1] is an act that is committed by one person and ends up causing harm to a second person.  That harm can be in the form of a physical injury, damage to property, or both. Most torts are the result of negligence, which is oftentimes described as a careless act.  But what if the act is intentional or on purpose? 

Negligent vs. Intentional Acts in Florida

Whether or not a tort is intentional depends on the mindset of the person committing the act.  The difference between negligence and intent is subtle, but it is also very important.  If a defendant can prove that he or she did not intend to commit the act that caused harm, they may be able to avoid liability.

Types of Clearwater Intentional Torts

There are several common types of intentional torts. Fraud, misrepresentation, slander, libel and false imprisonment are all usually considered intentional torts. So, too are assault and battery and false imprisonment, and sometimes a wrongful death[2] claim can arise from the commission of an intentional tort.

           Assault - Personal injury law protects your right to control what does or does not touch your body. An assault is an act, or threat to act, that is intended to put a person in fear of imminent non-consensual physical touching. The tort of assault protects people from the fear that they will be physically harmed. Actual physical contact is not required, and in fact, if there is physical contact, the assault becomes a battery.

                   Battery - Battery is the intentional, non-consensual, harmful or offensive touching of another person, either by or put in motion by the perpetrator. Battery includes not only contact that causes physical harm, but also contact that is offensive or insulting. For example, spitting in someone’s face is a battery, as is any other contact brought about in a rude and offensive manner.

           Invasion of Privacy – When somebody invades the private space of another person, either in person with their eyes and ears, or with technology like video cameras, microphones, cell phones, or hidden spy equipment. Unfortunately, with new technology widely and cheaply available, this criminal act is becoming more common.

           Trespass – Intentionally interfering with another person’s land, real estate, motor vehicle, or personal belongings. A property owner may bring a civil lawsuit against a trespasser in order to recover damages or receive compensatory relief for injury suffered as a direct result of a trespass.

           Conversion – Similar to any theft crime, it is any act that takes away another person’s ownership rights. This is common when somebody uses another person’s credit or debit cards, or accesses bank accounts online without permission.

           Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – Extreme and outrageous conduct, carried out intentionally or recklessly to cause someone suffer a severe emotional distress.

           False imprisonment – Unlawful restraint against a person’s will. Often people will find themselves in this situation when anybody other than a police officer demands that you “wait here” or “stay put” and threatens you with violence or other harm if you refuse.

           Fraud – When somebody intentionally uses false, untrue and misleading information to convince another person to take some action that they would not normally do.

Because intentional torts are often accompanied by facts showing evil intent or extremely disturbing behavior on the part of the wrongdoer, injured people may also recover additional compensation for their damages known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by courts when it is in society’s interest to make an example out of a wrongdoer and discourage others from engaging in similar behavior.

Are Clearwater Intentional Harms Also Handled as Crimes?

Many torts are also crimes. This is not a barrier for individuals seeking compensation in civil court. Even if the wrongdoer is held accountable in criminal court, they can and should also be held accountable within our civil justice system.  At the same time, some wrongdoers may not be convicted or even prosecuted in criminal court, but they can still be held accountable in a civil court.  A civil lawsuit is often the only way plaintiffs ever receive financial compensation for the harm caused to them.

Contact a Clearwater Intentional Tort Lawyer

If you have received an injury that was intentionally caused by another person, it is important to speak to an experienced Clearwater intentional tort attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled intentional tort attorneys will 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


References:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Is a Clearwater Hotel Liable For Guest Injuries?


When you stay at a hotel, motel, inn, or bed and breakfast, you are usually on vacation, traveling, and expecting to have a fun, relaxing time away from home. However, if hotel or motel property owners do not sufficiently take care of their building and the surrounding area, it could lead to serious guest injuries.

A hotel has a general duty to exercise reasonable care in operating its business and protecting guests.  A hotel guest is considered an "invitee" under Florida premises liability law[1] and is legally entitled to a high amount of protection.  A Florida hotel must inspect the hotel grounds and maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.  This duty includes quickly repairing dangerous conditions and taking affirmative steps to protect guests from known or reasonably discoverable conditions.

Florida Hotel Duties

A hotel's premises include the hotel's airport shuttle bus, the hotel parking lot as well as inside the hotel itself. This includes all common areas, meeting and banquet halls, swimming pools, guest rooms, and other areas where guests are free to move about.

A hotel has many duties it must fulfill on behalf of guests including:

           Maintain adequate lighting

           Keep steps dry and unobstructed

           Repair hotel defects and maintain furniture

           Control insect infestation ("bed bugs")

           Maintain proper security (security guards and cameras) to avoid theft and assaults on guests

           Exercise reasonable care in hiring hotel staff

           Train hotel pool staff to prevent injuries to guests

           Maintain elevators

           Maintain locks on hotel rooms

                     Prevent criminal activity or theft

A hotel has minimal duties to non-guests and trespassers. Non-guests have a right to enter the hotel premises with the permission of guests, but non-guests may be evicted for engaging in prohibited activities.

Common Causes of Hotel Injuries in Clearwater

           Swimming pools

Swimming pools are exceedingly dangerous. When the perimeter area is too smooth, a guest can easily fall. Because the surface is often partially made of concrete, a fallen guest can suffer serious injuries, including broken bones and head trauma. Improperly marked steps inside a hotel pool can result in a guest losing his footing.

           Broken furniture

Many hotels make in-house repairs to furniture which can break from overuse. Some furniture is just too old. If a guest is injured as a result of broken furniture, the hotel can be liable for their damages.

           Slip and falls

           When there is a difference in the levels of the floor, worn carpeting or cracked flooring, a guest can trip and fall.  Bunched rubber matting at entries and exists also cause stumbling and falling. 

                Bed bugs

Bed bugs are very small insects that can infest hotel mattresses, pillows, furniture, and even light switches. They are hard to see with the naked eye and very difficult to eradicate. Bed bugs bites can cause small blisters on human skin that can take hours or even day to appear. The guest can also carry them home in clothes and suitcases where it can cost thousands of dollars to eliminate the bugs from a private home.

                Burns

Burns can occur when hotels set hot water thermostats too high. Showerheads can flow scalding water on an unsuspecting guest's skin, resulting in first or even second-degree burns.

         Assaults

Unsuspecting tourists and vacationers can drop their guard while at hotels. They carry cash and credit cards on them instead of leaving them in their rooms or the hotel's safe. Criminals know these guests are easy targets. When a hotel fails to provide adequate security, criminals can leave guests physically injured and psychologically traumatized

Liability of Hotels for Employee Conduct

A hotel may be liable for the acts of its employees[2].  The hotel’s liability depends on whether the employee’s actions were performed “within the scope of employment.”  A hotel may be liable for an employee’s actions even if the hotel did not sanction the conduct, was unaware of the incident, or did not have direct control or supervision over the employee at the time the incident occurred.

Contact a Clearwater Premises Liability Lawyer

If you have been injured while on the premises of a hotel, motel, or resort, and that injury could have been prevented if not for the carelessness or negligence of the owner of the property, you may not be responsible for your medical bills, your lost wages, or your pain and suffering.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled premises liability attorneys will investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law to collect 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


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