Friday, June 29, 2018

Proving a Truck Driver was Fatigued when They Crashed


Driver fatigue is a leading cause of commercial truck accidents. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatigue played a role in about 11% of all crashes. For an industry that is so closely regulated as commercial trucking, any accident caused by fatigue is one too many. Drivers who willingly get behind the wheel of a big rig when they are tired are taking other people’s lives in their hands, and they often do so with encouragement from their employer.

However, injured victims sometimes have problems proving that the fatigue was a cause of their accident. To obtain compensation, you need to show that the driver breached their duty of care, which you can do if you have proof they were too tired to drive.

Observing the Driver at the Scene


After an accident, you might be so injured that all you can do is wait for emergency services to arrive to take you to the hospital. However, if you are able to exit your vehicle, you should talk to the truck driver. If he or she is fatigued, then the signs should be apparent. Look for bloodshot eyes, bags under the eyes, and excessive yawning. The driver also might admit to being tired, which is a statement you can use later to prove he was fatigued.

Analyze the Log Book


Every driver must keep a log of hours spent driving their trucks. Of course, many drivers do not accurately record the number of hours they spent driving. In fact, some trucking companies have been caught instructing their employees to keep two log books—one for the company and the second, falsified copy for federal regulators. Nevertheless, looking at the log book is a start to building a case.

Federal regulations (called “hours of service” regulations) set the maximum amount of driving in a day and in a week. For a trucker hauling commercial goods (and not people), the rules are as follows:

  • Cannot drive more than 11 hours in a day after 10 consecutive hours off
  • Cannot work more than 14 hours in a day following 10 consecutive hours off
  • Cannot drive more than 8 straight hours without a half-hour break
  • Cannot drive more than 60/70 hours in a consecutive period of 7/8 days after 34 consecutive hours off

If a driver is behind the wheel for more than these limits, there is a good chance he or she was tired when they drove. As part of a lawsuit, your lawyer might request a copy of the driver’s log book and scrutinize it to see if there are any false entries.

Check the Electronic Logging Device (ELD)


At the end of 2015, the FMCSA passed a rule requiring buses and commercial trucks to use electronic logging devices in their vehicles. Companies were given up to four years to install the devices, so some vehicles might not have them yet.

If the truck that hit you did have this device, then you can use it to find out the following information:

  • The amount of time the engine was running
  • The number of miles the truck traveled
  • The truck’s speed
  • The date and time
  • The location of the vehicle

The ELD will replace paper logs, which should dramatically increase the reliability of information. It will be extremely difficult for a trucker to falsify the information in an ELD, so your lawyer will not need to worry about spotting falsified entries in a paper log book. By pulling data from the ELD, you can find out whether the driver exceeded the hours of service requirements and by how much.

Asking the Truck Driver Questions


In a lawsuit, there is a fact-finding period called “discovery,” during which you can ask the driver questions, in writing and in person. When you propound questions in writing, they are interrogatories, and the driver must answer them under oath. For example, you can ask a driver how many hours they had driven the day they struck you.

Your lawyer can also ask questions orally in a deposition, which the driver must also answer under oath. Deposition questions also allow for quick follow up, so a lawyer can try to catch a witness in an inconsistency.

Admittedly, few drivers will outright admit they were tired (though some might). Instead, a lawyer can draw out a range of facts that show how tired the driver was. Consider the following:
  • How much sleep did you get the night before?
  • Were you taking amphetamines or another stimulant to stay awake?
  • Have you ever taken amphetamines before to stay awake?

These types of questions can draw out circumstantial evidence that the driver was fatigued when they struck you. For example, a truck driver who abuses stimulants probably is aware that they have a problem staying awake. If the police found stimulants in the truck on the day you were struck, then this is some evidence the driver was struggling not to fall asleep the day of your accident.

Contact a Clearwater Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation


Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries—often much more severe than the injuries caused by passenger vehicles. Victims are left with large medical bills and frequently cannot return to their jobs. As a result, victims and their families live under constant stress, which reduces their quality of life and can sometimes tear families apart.

Fortunately, help is available. If the truck driver was responsible for the collision, then you can hold him and his employer legally accountable for your injuries. By bringing a lawsuit for negligence, you can receive financial compensation for your economic and non-economic losses, which will take a huge load off of your shoulders.

At Dolman Law Group, our lawyers have handled dozens of truck accidents and understand how to construct a case from the ground up. We are ready to fight to obtain full compensation for your injuries, and all you need to do is reach out. Our firm offers a free consultation and case evaluation to potential clients. Call 727-451-6900 or fill out our contact form.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727)451-6900

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Is there Any Hope of Compensation after a Hit and Run?


Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, but that does not stop many people from doing just that. If you have been the victim of a hit and run, you might fear that you have no options. After all, how do you go about getting compensation for your injuries and car damage if you cannot find the other driver? Nevertheless, you do have some options for receiving compensation for medical care and lost wages.

Tap Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits


Because Florida is a no-fault state, it really does not matter if the person who hit you takes off after the crash. All drivers must carry insurance coverage with PIP benefits, and you can contact your insurer after the hit and run. PIP benefit policies vary, but all people who register a vehicle must carry at least $10,000 in benefits, which can cover some medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.

If you do not own a vehicle, you might still be covered by someone else’s PIP policy. For example, you might be covered if:

  • Your spouse has an insurance policy with PIP benefits.
  • You live with another blood relative and they have a policy with PIP benefits. Another relative could include a sibling, child, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle, or parent.
  • If you were the passenger in a vehicle, you might be covered by the driver’s PIP insurance.

Unfortunately, PIP benefits are unlikely to fully cover personal injuries given the sky-high costs of medical care. Beneficiaries have only 80% of their medical bills and 60% of their lost wages covered up to the policy limit.

Furthermore, you will only receive up to $10,000 in benefits if you have an emergency medical condition (EMC) as defined by Florida law. To qualify, your injury must be the type that requires immediate medical treatment and that would seriously jeopardize your health if left untreated. If you do not have an EMC, then you qualify for a maximum of $2,500 in benefits, which is a pittance.

Make sure to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, otherwise, you will forfeit the ability to draw any PIP benefits no matter how injured you are.

Use Your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM)


UM coverage is great insurance to have. If you are hit and the other driver does not have insurance—or if you cannot find the other driver—you can rely on your UM coverage. Contact your insurer and make a claim soon after the accident. Depending on your coverage, your policy might cover bodily injury property damage, or both.

Unfortunately, UM coverage is optional, and many drivers do not have it. Go through your paperwork and see if you picked it up. It comes in handy precisely at moments like these.

Rely on Health Insurance for Medical Bills


If you suffered a bodily injury, you might be able to use your health insurance to pay for medical overage. Check the policy. Some of them might exclude injuries as a result of a car accident, so double check the statement of coverage.

Of course, it is usually not ideal to use your health coverage. You will be responsible for deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Nevertheless, it can make healthcare affordable especially if you have substantial bodily injuries as a result of the crash.

Apply to the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund


The Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation administers a trust fund for victims of crime. The trust fund is financed by fines that criminals pay after their convictions. Victims of hit-and-run accidents can qualify for financial compensation to cover the following:

  • Wage loss
  • Disability benefits
  • Loss of support (if a person you relied on financially has died)
  • Medical and dental bills
  • Mental health counseling
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Property loss (if you are disabled or elderly)

However, before you can receive benefits you must meet certain requirements to qualify for compensation:

  • You must file a formal complaint within 72 hours of the hit and run. Do not delay.
  • You must make a claim within one year of the collision. In some situations, you can get this deadline extended to two years.
  • You cannot have contributed to the events in any way or have been engaged in a crime when injured in the collision.

You can download the application from the Florida Attorney General’s website. There are also other supporting forms you might need to fill out to provide more information about lost wages or physical injuries/disability. The trust fund is perpetually underfunded, with regular news stories about how it is on the verge of going bankrupt. But as long as the fund exists, you should submit a claim if you cannot locate the driver who hit you.

Track Down the Perpetrator


If you report the hit-and-run to the police, they can investigate for you. However, with crime rates as high as they are, it is unlikely that a hit-and-run will be much of a police priority unless someone died. If you suffered some broken bones and a concussion, you might be in a lot of pain, but the police might not make your case a priority.

You can also hire a private investigator to try and track down the perpetrator. Many businesses have surveillance cameras recording their parking lots and adjacent streets. The camera might have picked up the collision. Or you can also ask witnesses if they saw who struck your car. In this way, you might be able to track down the person who harmed you and then make a claim on their insurance or sue them.

Speak to a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer


Hit-and-run accidents are an outrage which unfortunately cause millions of dollars of damage each year. If you have fallen victim, realize that help is available. At Dolman Law Group, we have helped countless drivers seek compensation from insurance companies and the state’s Crimes Compensation Trust Fund. We do not collect any payment until and unless we obtain compensation on your behalf, so you risk nothing by contacting us today to schedule your free consultation. Please call 727-451-6900 or submit this contact form.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727)451-6900

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Negotiation is a Powerful Skill in Personal Injury Cases


The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits never see a courtroom because the parties settle. However, to obtain a favorable settlement, you need someone in your corner who understands the art of the deal.

Anyone who has tried to negotiate the purchase price of a new or used vehicle knows how hard it is to get the best deal possible. Negotiation requires extensive preparation, strong communication skills, and the ability to read other people. At Dolman Law Group, our attorneys bring these skills to work every day on behalf of our clients.

Why Both Parties Benefit from Settling their Dispute


A high percentage of cases settle because both sides realize quickly that it is in their best interests to settle a legal dispute amicably. For example, a lawsuit can take a year or more before it ever goes to trial. Even after the jury renders its verdict, the losing party can try to bring an appeal to a higher court, which might take another year (or longer). If the loser appeals all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, you can add another year (or more) to the time. It is not unusual for a decade to pass before a dispute is finally resolved in court.

This amount of time costs a lot of money. Defendants usually pay their lawyers by the hour, and three or more years of legal work adds up to one hefty bill. Defendants can easily spend more in legal fees than they would end up paying to the plaintiff for his or her injuries. By settling, defendants can save money and stop the litigation.

Plaintiffs also benefit from settlements because they get access to money faster. Why wait a year or more before you get compensation to cover medical bills and replace lost wages? Instead, by settling, you can gain access to funds in a short amount of time, which can reduce your stress levels.

Furthermore, by settling, both sides will know with certainty how much money is changing hands. In a trial, anything could happen. For example, the jury might have complete sympathy for the plaintiff and want to punish a corporate defendant. Alternately, the jury might not have any sympathy for the plaintiff and either decide the case against him or only award a small amount of money. Settlement eliminates these risks.

Negotiation Requires Adequate Preparation


Some people try to negotiate on their own with powerful insurance companies, which is an elementary mistake. If you try to “wing it” in negotiations, you will end up with far less than you are probably entitled to.

Proper preparation begins with calculating how much money your injuries are worth. This is a complicated process but can be typically broken down into two parts: economic losses and non-economic losses.

Economic losses are the easiest to calculate. They include things like:

  • Medical bills for treatment or rehabilitation
  • Prescription drug receipts
  • Receipts for any equipment to treat your injury
  • Estimates for property damage

You can add up these amounts yourself. If your injuries are so severe that you’ll need continuing care, then a lawyer can estimate the costs of that care.

Economic losses also include lost wages. If your injuries will prevent you from returning to work, then a lawyer can estimate the amount of lost future income as well.

The real key to adequately calculating your losses is to estimate the amount of non-economic losses for things like:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium for negative changes to your marriage

Based on his or her experience, your lawyer will estimate how much these injuries are worth and add them to your economic losses to give a complete picture of what constitutes a fair settlement. To start the process of estimating your damages, contact Dolman Law Group today.

Negotiation—More Art than Science


Preparation is one thing. But a skilled negotiator needs to know how to actually negotiate with a resistant defendant or insurance adjuster. At Dolman Law Group, our attorneys have proven ourselves more than up to the task of convincing the other side that our requests for compensation are reasonable and in the best interests of both sides.

Perhaps one reason we have been so successful is that we are skilled trial attorneys who know how to persuade judges and juries. Remember, if a defendant chooses not to settle, we will force them into court where they must take their chances with a potentially hostile jury. The personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group do a thorough job building cases with the best evidence available, so defendants and their insurers know that they will have a fight on their hands if they insist on going to trial.

Evidence is also key to negotiations. A cornerstone of a successful negotiator is the ability to justify your demand for compensation. A skilled negotiator will back up their request for compensation by highlighting the severity of your physical and emotional injuries. Defendants know that if they do not settle, then this evidence will come out later at trial.

Negotiation Requires Listening


Successful negotiation also requires knowing how to read the other side. Generally, defendants are more motivated to settle when they know they are 100% responsible for the accident. Based on thorough preparation, we will know whether you bear any responsibility for your injuries or whether they are entirely the fault of the defendant. When all of the evidence points in only one direction, we can press to maximize your settlement amount.

We will also listen to you, our client. Florida’s Rules of Professional Conduct require that we get your authorization before we settle a lawsuit. This means you cannot be railroaded into a settlement that you do not approve of. If the defendant cannot make a satisfactory offer, you can always walk away from the negotiation table and head to trial.

Speak with a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer


Personal injury settlements provide victims with financial compensation and bring to a close legal disputes that can be very stressful. If you have been injured in an accident, you need a powerful advocate in your corner. Contact one of the personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group in Clearwater  to begin the process today. Call 727-451-6900 or submit our contact sheet. Initial consultations are free.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Causes Traumatic Brain Injury Dolman Law Group

Who is at Risk for Traumatic Brain Injury?

Sustaining a traumatic brain injury is a terrifying prospect not only because of the serious ramifications in regard to health and quality of life, but also because of the multitude of ways that it can happen.
While it is true that traumatic brain injuries can occur just about anywhere short of a padded cell, there are several leading causes and areas where people are much more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury.

Areas Of High Traumatic Brain Injury Risk

Car Accident Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries occur at an astounding rate during car accidents. Considering how often car accidents occur and the general level of destruction and injury they result in, it’s not surprising that they are responsible for so many traumatic brain injuries.
According to the Center for Disease control(CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury related visits to the hospital and the third cause of traumatic brain injury caused deaths.
A traumatic brain injury can occur in a number of ways during a car accident. More often, people find themselves suffering a traumatic brain injury due to their head striking the steering wheel or a windshield.  Drivers and passengers alike can suffer a blow to the head from loose debris in the car, being thrown from the vehicle, or really hitting any hard part of the vehicle when they are moved by the force of an impact.
In fact, it doesn’t take any kind of penetration in order to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Someone can be rear ended and a passenger that had no seatbelt on could slam their head into something without the blow leaving any kind of mark. This lack of a physical mark like a bruise or cut would not mean that they have not sustained a traumatic brain injury and they could go on for some time without realizing they’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury.

Sports Related Traumatic Brain Injuries

There has recently been an increase in awareness of the frequency of traumatic brain injuries received in sports; most notably football. Whenever high speed and intensity contact is involved in a sport, there is potential for a traumatic brain injury.
High contact sports like football, hockey, rugby, boxing, and martial arts have the potential to do massive damage to the brain in the form of a traumatic brain injury. Despite the use of padding and helmets, players still experience a remarkable amount of damage.
Football has been the most egregious of all sports in terms of serious brain injuries. A study conducted by Boston University found that over 90 percent of deceased football players they examined, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is a degenerative brain condition caused by recurrent damage via blows to the head.
Further research by Boston University also looked into the scary prospect of head injuries effects on youth football players. Children are especially susceptible to traumatic brain injuries and the effects are much more dangerous since they affect them for the rest of their lives.
Boston University found that youth football players that experienced head injuries could expect the symptoms of degenerative brain conditions that affect cognition, mood, and behavior much earlier in life. They discovered that these symptoms could occur almost 13 years earlier than usual in comparison to football players that start later.
Even sports that typically don’t involve intense contact like soccer, basketball, and baseball can be potential arenas for a serious traumatic brain injury. In soccer, there is risk of suffering a traumatic head injury when players use their heads to hit the ball. In baseball, players can get hit by the baseball in the head which can do much more damage than most would expect.
Believe it or not, one of the sports with the highest frequency of traumatic brain injuries features no contact at all. There is not even a ball or points to be made. The sport is cycling and its fairly apparent why so many people suffer brain injuries. Many people simply believe that the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury is worth taking as long as they don’t have to wear a helmet.

Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Around 2.8 million people were treated for traumatic brain injuries in the United States during 2013. The Center for Disease Control managed to determine exactly what were the top causes of all these traumatic brain injuries and the results will surprise you.
47 percent of traumatic brain injuries treated in 2013 were caused by a fall. That’s nearly half and to put into numbers, 1,320,411 falls. It also turns out that falls account for the majority of traumatic brain injuries among the very old and very young age groups as well.
The second highest cause of traumatic brain injuries are “struck by or against” injuries. Basically, these injuries are when the head is struck against or by an object that can be either static or mobile. The definition of object in this case extends to humans as well. Human bones like the skull are incredibly sturdy and can do a surprising amount of damage.
As previously mentioned, car accidents take the number three spot not only overall but across all age groups as well. Car accidents also are the most deadly of all the leading causes of traumatic brain injury. They cause the largest percentage of traumatic brain injury deaths at 32 percent.

Seek a Skilled Florida Brain Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have sustained a traumatic brain injury, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise you need to secure the settlement that you deserve.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers, please call 727-451-6900 or submit our contact sheet.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Risks of Injury for Children in the Summer


With children out of school, their risk of injury skyrockets. Concerned parents should take steps to minimize the risk of injury by first identifying the most likely causes of scrapes, scratches, and broken bones. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. But if an injury occurs in spite of your best efforts, you should consider your options for receiving compensation by bringing a lawsuit against an at-fault party.

Toy Guns


According to CBS News, toy guns are the number one source of childhood injuries. Guns that shoot pellets can strike your child in the eye, causing serious injuries to the cornea and resulting in considerable pain. Depending on the size of the pellet and your child’s health, pellets might cause injuries like contusions, sprains, strains, or broken bones.

To protect your children, you should read the safety instructions with your child. Also consider getting them a different toy to play with—preferably one that does not cause such injuries, like a basketball or soccer ball. Another alternative is to buy guns that spray water—a wonderful way to stay cool in the summer.

Pools of Water


There is no better way to beat the heat than to take a dip in the pool. Unfortunately, shallow pools pose a serious safety risk. Very young children and babies are at the greatest risk of drowning, especially when parents leave them unattended. Young babies, for example, can drown in as little as a couple inches of water.

Furthermore, brain death can occur after only 90 seconds of not breathing. Parents should avoid setting their children in a pool of water and then running inside to pick up the phone or check on lunch. In as little as a minute and a half, your baby can drown to death. Instead, always remember to take your child with you if you need to go inside for a second. You should also consider fencing off pools so that a child cannot wander into the water and drown, or empty your pools immediately after using them.

To prevent drowning deaths of older children, take them to the YMCA where they can learn how to swim. If you do not know how to swim, then take lessons along with your child, which can be a fun way to increase your own safety.

Trampolines


Children can suffer concussions, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries when playing on trampolines or in bounce houses. Many trampolines come with curtains so that your child cannot be thrown off the trampoline and onto the ground. However, the real risk of injury comes when children bounce in groups. Larger children might land on smaller children, causing injury.

Ideally, your children should bounce alone or with children of the same size. If your child wants to do acrobatic tricks, like back tucks, they should take classes before attempting them.

Toys that Break Apart


Toys pose a choking hazard if your child can remove small pieces and swallow them. Although manufacturers should know how to make safe toys by now, you would be surprised by the sheer number of toy recalls each year. Toys are a risk to children year-round, in the summer as much as any other season.


Camp Fires and Grills


Children suffer a large number of burn injuries. According to ABC News, fire-related injuries account for 9% of childhood accidental deaths. In the summer, children might come into contact with grills in the backyard or campfires.

To protect your children, you should fence off any grill so that children cannot make contact with it. However, remember not to grill inside, since that creates other hazards which can put your entire family at risk.

Traffic Injuries


Motor vehicle accidents are a problem year-round. However, during summer, your children might be in the car for long family trips. Unfortunately, traffic accidents and deaths are a leading cause of injuries for children.

To protect your family, you do not need to forgo the summer family trip. Instead, make sure that you use appropriate safety seats for young children so that they are not thrown around in a crash. Do not have young children sit in the front seat unless it is unavoidable. Also, remember to take your time. Many accidents are caused by driver error, so you can reduce the risk by following some common-sense safety tips:

Don’t drive while tired. You will only increase the likelihood of an accident. Break up your trip into two days if necessary. Also avoid relying on stimulants like caffeine or amphetamines to pull you through a long trip, since they only mask the symptoms of fatigue.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. By not rushing, you can avoid speeding.
  • Put the phone away. You should not answer the phone or send a text message while driving. Instead, pull over.
  • Avoid arguments, if possible. Getting into a fight will only distract your attention.
  • Observe all traffic laws.

By following the above, you can reach your destination safe and sound.

Bicycle Injuries


According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, almost 400,000 children visit the emergency room each year with bicycle-related injuries. Children can suffer arm, leg, or head injuries. The best protection is to have your child wear a safety helmet. Also, teach your child how to use hand signals and to walk the bicycle when crossing streets and intersections.

Has Your Child Been Injured? Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney in Clearwater, Florida


Some accidents are nobody’s fault and are simply part of growing up. But other accidents are clearly the fault of a person or company that has been negligent. If you suspect that your child has been injured unnecessarily, you should meet with a personal injury lawyer.

At Dolman Law Group, our Clearwater personal injury lawyers have brought lawsuits on behalf of injured children against property owners and companies. To check whether you have a valid legal claim to pursue, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with us as soon as possible. Call 727-451-6900 or submit our contact form.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727)451-6900

Friday, June 15, 2018

Speeding Drivers can Hurt Road Work Crews


Work crews are vital to Florida’s safety and economy, repairing roads so that drivers do not suffer bumpy rides. However, work crews face a serious danger—drivers on the road. If you speed or drive aggressively, you are endangering more than yourself or your passengers. You might also be putting a road worker at risk of a serious injury, including death.

Increasing Danger in Work Zones


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were a little over 96,000 crashes in work zones in 2015. This number represented a nearly 8% increase over the number of accidents the year before. Work zone crashes have continued to rise since reaching a low in 2013 of about 68,000 crashes.

These numbers are staggering. According to the FHWA, 2015 saw:

  • A work zone crash every 5.4 minutes
  • 70 crashes resulting in at least one injury every single day
  • 12 work zone crashes causing at least one fatality every single week

Although most fatalities involved drivers or their passengers, workers are still at risk. For example, worksite fatalities at road construction sites made up 1.5-3% of all workplace fatalities each year. Fortunately, the number of fatalities for road workers have declined since reaching peaks in 2005.

Reduced Reaction Times


Speeding drivers are such a danger because their speed reduces their ability to stop or swerve in time to avoid work crews. Also, increased speed also increases the amount of energy that the worker will absorb if they are struck directly by the vehicle.

A study out of Australia illustrates how speeding can reduce the ability to brake with sufficient time to avoid hitting someone. According to the example, two cars are traveling down the road. Car 1, which is traveling at 50 kilometers an hour (km/h) is overtaken by Car 2, traveling at 60 km/h. About 29 meters away, a child on a bicycle emerges into the street.

If both drivers see the child at the same time and take 1.2 seconds to hit the brakes, then Car 1 will be able to stop in enough time to avoid striking the child. However, Car 2, going a mere 10 km/h faster than Car 1, will not be able to stop in time. Instead, he will plow into the child going 44 km/h, which is fast enough to severely injure or even kill the child.

That small amount of excess speed can prevent a vehicle from stopping in enough time to avoid a collision. The same principle applies if the vehicles were trying to swerve. The vehicle going too fast will have less time to swerve to avoid hitting the person in the road.

Furthermore, vehicles are harder to control the faster they travel, so you increase the likelihood of losing control in a work zone by going too fast.


Be on the Lookout for Road Crews


Even if you are not speeding, you still might strike a road worker if you are not paying sufficient attention while driving. To increase your awareness, remember the following:

  • Put your phone away. This is the easiest thing you can do to improve your attentiveness. If you need to read email, send a text, or make a phone call, then pull over to the side of the road with your vehicle in park. Making even a brief phone call can distract you enough that you never see the road worker standing on the shoulder of the road.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. It only takes a split second to suddenly come upon a worker and strike them. Ask a passenger to change the radio channel or to get something out of the glove compartment for you.
  • Look for signs. Construction zones should be well marked with cones or flaggers. Reduce your speed as you enter a construction zone.
  • Give workers adequate room. If you see a road worker, pull over so that you can avoid them, even if this means you drive close to the center line for a brief period of time.

Looking out for construction zones not only protects road workers, but it increases your safety. Many drivers and passengers are seriously injured or killed when they collide with a dump truck or crane in a work zone. The faster you are going, the greater the likelihood that you will lose collide and suffer serious injuries. To protect yourself, drive safe!

Tragedy on Florida’s Roads


Unfortunately, many road workers have been killed over the past few years on Florida’s roads. A sampling of the injuries include:

  • A road worker was killed on Highway 29 in April 2018 when a driver drifted onto the shoulder. The worker was an employee of Broadspectrum, which contracts with the state.
  • A road worker was struck and killed by a cement truck on Interstate 95 in early 2017. It was the second fatal crash in three weeks at that construction zone.
  • Two road workers were struck in a hit-and-run in 2013 while they were striping a crosswalk in Tampa. One worker was hospitalized, although there were no fatalities.

These are only some of the horrifying accidents that happen every month in construction zones on Florida’s roads. By speeding, you increase the risk of causing another injury or fatal crash.


Injured in a Car Accident? Contact a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer at Dolman Law Group


If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, you might qualify for financial compensation for your injuries. The key will be whether you can show the person who struck you was at fault for the crash. Often, when drivers speed, they are engaging in reckless behavior which makes them legally accountable for other people’s injuries.

In Florida, few law firms can match our depth of experience and dedication to our clients. We have helped hundreds of clients reach favorable settlements or jury verdicts. To schedule a free consultation to talk about your injuries, please call 727-451-6900 or submit our contact sheet. Avoid delay.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Soft Tissue Injuries Can be More Serious than They First Seem



The body’s “soft tissue” includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Typically, this soft tissue can suffer damage because of traumatic force or through repetition. Of all the injuries you can suffer after an accident, soft-tissue injuries might seem the least serious. After all, your life is not threatened when you strain a muscle or sprain a joint. Furthermore, most soft-tissue injuries should heal with sufficient rest.

Nevertheless, some soft tissue injuries can leave you in chronic pain, making it difficult to return to work and to your old lifestyle. Also, soft tissue injuries can cause complications which themselves are also serious. Read on to better understand what you need to do to recover from a soft-tissue injury.

Sprains


Ligaments connect one bone to another in the body. You can suffer a sprain when the ligament is stretched or torn. Many sprains occur in the wrists, ankles, and knees. Sprains can be mild, moderate, or severe:

  • Mild sprains stretch the ligament and may cause some damage to the ligament fibers.
  • Moderate sprains result in partial tears in the ligament.
  • Severe sprains are caused by a full tear of the ligament. The bones become incredibly unstable as a result, and joints cannot function.

To treat a sprain, you should follow the RICE protocol, which includes:

  • Rest so that you do not make the injury worse. You might need to use crutches to keep the weight off the injured body part, such as your foot or leg.
  • Ice the injury by using cold packs. Use them several times a day for 20 minutes each, being sure not to place the ice pack directly on your skin.
  • Apply a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevate the injured body part to reduce the swelling. You should elevate the injured part above your heart.

Depending on the severity, you might need to take other action. For example, if your sprain is moderate, you might need to wear a brace and participate in physical therapy to regain functioning. If your sprain is severe, you might need surgery to reconnect the ligament to the bone. Surgery carries its own complications, including the risk of infection or injury due to improper anesthesia.

Strains


Strains usually involve an injury to your muscle or tendon (or both). Tendons attach muscles to bone. These tendons can become stretched or they might partially or completely tear. You will know you have a strain if you feel muscle spasms, pain, weakness, swelling, cramping, and inflammation.

Strains are common in contact sports like soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing. Other athletes might suffer a strain because the sport requires sudden movement, such as gymnastics, hurdling, or tennis.

To treat a strain, follow the same procedure as you would for a sprain (listed above). If the tearing is complete, then you might need to have surgery to reattach the tendon to your muscle or bone. Strains carry the same complications as sprains.

Contusions


A contusion is a bruise. Often, bruising is merely a cosmetic problem that should slowly fade over time. Contusions are caused by direct trauma to the body that crushes fibers and connective tissue underneath the skin without breaking through the dermis or epidermis.

Contusions respond well to the RICE protocol described above. However, in a few situations, you might develop complications:

  • Hematomas occur when blood builds up, causing pressure and pain. A doctor might need to drain the hematoma to relieve pressure.
  • Compartmental syndrome occurs when muscle pressure increases and prevents blood flow. The loss of blood ultimately damages the muscle permanently.
  • Myositis ossificans occurs when bone tissue grows where it shouldn’t. In bad cases, you might need surgery to remove the bone.

Whiplash


Whiplash is a term used to describe a variety of symptoms many motorists suffer after a collision. Violent motion forces the head beyond its normal range of motion, causing damage to muscles and ligaments in the neck. Because of these injuries, victims might experience the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Pain in the shoulders or upper back
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Impairment of concentration
  • Memory problems

Whiplash symptoms sometimes are slow to develop. For example, you might not feel pain until 24 hours have passed from the accident. To protect yourself, you should immediately seek medical treatment as soon as you notice the first symptoms after a collision.

Whiplash can range anywhere from mild to severe. To treat mild whiplash, patients usually apply heat or ice to the affected area and take over-the-counter medicines to manage pain. You might also benefit from massage or physical therapy to increase a range of motion in your neck.

Although mild whiplash can clear on its own in a couple of weeks, severe whiplash can leave victims in pain for years. Severe whiplash can seriously interfere with work, schooling, and family life.

Compressed Nerve


Anything that constantly pushes against a nerve ending can cause constant pain. You might suffer a compressed nerve (also called a “pinched nerve”) after a strain or sprain if the ligament or tendon presses against a nerve in your body.

Compressed nerves require immediate treatment. Generally, a doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. You might also need surgery to reduce the compression. If left untreated, compression can cause damage to the nerve or to its protective covering. This damage can become permanent. If treated quickly, the nerve can often recover.

Speak with a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer


As you can see, many soft-tissue injuries can leave victims in debilitating pain for months or longer and might result in permanent damage to the body. Even worse, some soft-tissue injuries like whiplash might not be immediately apparent. Remember to treat all pain seriously after an accident and seek out prompt medical treatment.

At Dolman Law Group, our personal injury attorneys can discuss your options for compensation if you have suffered a soft-tissue injury. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers, please call 727-451-6900 or submit our contact sheet.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 451-6900

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NSC Declares June National Safety Month


In the hopes of increasing public safety, the National Safety Council (NSC) has declared June to be National Safety Month. This tradition continues to highlight how people are injured and killed at work, at home, and on the road. All concerned citizens should review the materials the NSC has made available on their website and commit to increase awareness among family and friends about how to minimize the risk of injuries and fatalities.

The Statistics


One reason that National Safety Month is so necessary is that accidents continue to be a leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, accidents have risen to the #3 cause of death for the first time in history. Preventable deaths are also on the rise in absolute numbers—up 10% in 2016 alone. Preventable deaths claim the lives of 442 each day—a staggering number.

The leading accidents and causes of unintentional injuries include:

  • Drug overdosing and other unintentional poisoning deaths: about 47,500 deaths a year (14.8 per 100,000 people)
  • Motor vehicle traffic accidents: around 37,750 deaths per year (11.7 per 100,000 people)
  • Unintentional falls: 33,381 deaths a year (10.4 per 100,000 people)

All told, unintentional injury deaths total a little over 146,500, meaning 45.6 deaths per 100,000 people. These numbers are far too high given that these deaths are typically preventable.

Fighting Back Against Drug Overdoses


As the number one cause of accidental death, drug overdoses have been in the news because of the opioid crisis. Indeed, the increase in drug deaths is not attributable to cocaine or other street drugs. Instead, the most dangerous drugs are prescription painkillers, which are extremely addictive. Once addicted, many people ingest too many pills at once and die from overdose.

According to the NSC, concerned community members can take several common-sense actions that will reduce the incidence of opioid overdoses in their communities. For example:

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of taking any drugs, including prescription drugs. Your children might not think that painkillers are particularly dangerous, especially when the media has until recently focused on street drugs like heroin.
  • Properly dispose of painkillers by locating a disposal site near you. Many people become addicted because they have access to a family member’s unused prescription drugs.
  • Start a safe community initiative in your hometown. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, concerned citizens and organizations joined together to improve the availability of help by creating a Parents Addiction Network that provided resources for treatment and counseling.

Medical providers can also reduce the incidence of drug overdosing by prescribing fewer opioid painkillers. The number of painkillers prescribed directly correlates to the number of accidental overdose deaths.

The opioid crisis is complex and no “silver bullet” exists for eliminating all overdose deaths. Nevertheless, following the tips above can dramatically reduce the number of addictions and overdoses.

Improving Traffic Safety


Given how many traffic laws are on the books and the efforts to improve vehicular safety, it is surprising how many fatalities continue to occur in traffic accidents. Improving safety will take a concerted effort. Steps you can take to reduce the risk of accidents include:

  • Obey all traffic laws—but assume that other drivers will not.
  • Pay close attention to traffic at intersections and always yield to other drivers even if you have the right of way.
  • Minimize road rage by pulling over if you feel frustrated by traffic. Refuse to antagonize someone in the grips of road rage by avoiding eye contact and falling behind them so to put some distance between you and aggressive drivers.
  • Give yourself adequate time to get to your destination. When pressed for time, people tend to drive more recklessly.
  • Stay focused on driving. Turn your cell phone off and keep your eyes on the road. If you need to check email or send a text message, pull over to the side of the road.

Another serious cause of traffic accidents is alcohol. According to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, drunk driving contributed to 5,233 crashes in 2016. Another 461 fatalities were also alcohol-related. If you suspect a driver is intoxicated or high, call the police immediately to report it before that intoxicated driver kills someone.

Reducing Injuries at Work


Workplace safety initiatives unfortunately receive little attention. Federal and state regulators are only able to personally inspect just 1% of all workplaces under their supervision. Although these agencies publish voluminous safety rules, many employers routinely violate those rules without penalty. Workers who want to improve the safety of their workplaces can take action:

  • Form a safety team of people worried about workplace hazards. Ideally, members of the team should come from all levels of the organization, from the shop floor to upper management. This diversity can encourage buy-in from others. Make sure the team members share a united concern for safety.
  • Know how people perform their jobs. You can’t make a job safer unless you know how employees actually perform it. This is another reason why you need employees from the shop floor through management to participate.
  • Anticipate resistance from management. Improving safety by offering training can cost time and money. Management might balk at spending money on something not perceived as a problem.

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Clearwater, Florida


Accidents, unfortunately, are far too common at home, at work, and on the roads. Thousands of easily preventable deaths and serious injuries continue to occur. With luck, National Safety Month will remind everyone of common risks and increase the visibility of strategies for mitigating those risks.

If you or a loved one has been injured through someone else’s negligence, consider pursuing legal remedies for financial compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group have represented clients injured in motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice claims. We have helped recover tens of millions of dollars in favorable settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of injured Floridians. Call 727-451-6900 or send an online message to schedule your free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900