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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

How do you limit or stop a Florida loved one's driving?

Florida is known for its large population of seniors. Many people can drive safely well into their senior years. Others, whether because of physical or mental limitations or medications they are taking, should not be behind the wheel. They may be a danger to themselves and others.

If you are a family member and/or caretaker of an older person, what signs should you look out for that it's time to find other modes of transportation? What steps should you take to help someone maintain the independence we all want for as long as possible?

Should Floridians worry about arsenic in our foods and beverages?

Recent news reports of potentially dangerous levels of arsenic in some domestic wines understandably have caused concern among Florida residents. However, the presence of arsenic, which is actually a metal, in some of the products we consume is nothing new.

A 2013 study by researchers at Dartmouth University found that some of the foods and beverages that people consume are significant contributing factors to the level of arsenic in their bodies. The arsenic levels in these products coupled with the arsenic found in drinking water are not enough to cause immediate harm or illness. However, over the long run, it can lead to cancer and interfere with a person's hormones, including ones that regulate the immune system.

Why is Florida ranked the worst place to be in a crash?

Florida has the unfortunate distinction of being ranked the worst state in the country to be in a car accident, at least as far as potential financial impact. The rating is based on a study by the website WalletHub, which provides financial information and tools to help people "make better financial decisions and save money." That study looked at the percentage of drivers who are uninsured and car insurance requirements.

According to the managing editor of WalletHub, Florida has "the worst combination" of uninsured drivers and low requirements for those who do purchase insurance. The study found that close to a quarter of drivers in our state are uninsured. That means the chances of being involved in a car crash caused by someone who has no insurance or doesn't have enough to cover the costs of your vehicle damage and medical costs are greater than anywhere else in the country.

Mild traumatic brain injuries are anything but mild

When someone suffers a blow to the head or is deprived of oxygen for even a short period, the resulting damage can be life changing for the injured person. Every year, millions of people require medical treatment after suffering a traumatic brain injury in the United States.

While the effects of a severe injury to the brain are often obvious, individuals who suffer a mild traumatic brain injury may not immediately understand the symptoms they begin to experience.

Warranties can protect Floridians who buy defective products

Most Floridians have numerous items in and around their homes that have warranties. Actually, just about every new product has one, although not all are in writing. A warranty is basically a guarantee the seller provides that it is responsible if the product does not work or hold up as advertised and that they will repair or replace it at no charge.

To help protect consumers, the government requires warranties to meet certain criteria, whether written or not. However, there are specific requirements over what information written warranties must include, and they must be understandable (in other words, not filled with legalese).

Birth injuries are down, but they can be serious when they occur

Advances in prenatal care have made birth injuries far less common than even a few decades ago. Fortunately, most that do occur heal on their own. However, sometimes babies suffer serious injuries as they make their way into the world. We'll look at a few that can result in death or problems that may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation and long-term care.

Nerve injuries often result when nerves are overstretched during delivery, perhaps because the baby is too large for the birth canal or abnormally positioned. Many resolve themselves within a few weeks or months, while more serious ones may require surgery or have long-term ramifications. If the spinal cord is injured, which is extremely rare, the child may be paralyzed.

Which federal agencies have jurisdiction over defective products?

A number of federal government agencies oversee the safety of the products that consumers use every day. They perform a crucial public service by providing a place for consumers to report product defects and safety issues by notifying the public of issues and working to get dangerous and defective products off the market.

However, it can be confusing for consumers trying to determine whether a product they are planning to purchase or are already using has been recalled or had any reported problems. We'll look at some of the key agencies and the products over which they have jurisdiction.

What Floridians should know before calling 911 from a cellphone

In an age when our precise location can be determined by Facebook, Uber and video games, it seems unthinkable that many 911 call centers lack this ability. However, in many cases, these centers don't have the technology to determine where a cellphone call is originating, and it has resulted in the deaths of people who were unable to speak or couldn't provide their location. As the Florida Sheriffs Association president told the Federal Communications Commission last year, "It is now easier than ever for victims to reach 911, but harder than ever for responders to reach them."

Moreover, government regulations designed to remedy the problem call for just 40 percent of cellphone calls to deliver location data to call centers by 2017 and 80 percent four years after that. Currently, the rates vary from as low as 10 percent up to 95 percent. Meanwhile, at least 70 percent of calls to 911 are made from cellphones, and many people no longer have a landline.

Physical ailments and medications can contribute to car accidents

A number of drivers in the Miami area of all ages, but particularly seniors, have medical conditions and/or take medications that may impact their ability to drive and potentially increase their chances of getting into an auto accident. Obviously, driving does not require being in perfect physical condition. However, it's essential to understand how your medical condition(s) and any drugs you are taking can impact things like reaction time, physical movements and other things necessary for safe driving.

Some drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter, may not impact driving ability when taken alone. However, in combination with other medications, the effect on the mind and/or body may be significant enough to impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Miami hearing tackles logistics of Takata product defect suits

On Feb. 20, a federal judge here in Miami held the first hearing involving potential class-action suits over defective air bags made by Takata Corp. The Japanese company's air bags have been the subject of government scrutiny for a flaw that reportedly causes their inflators to deploy so forcefully that they rupture and shrapnel flies at the occupants.

So far, 64 injuries worldwide have been blamed on the air bags in vehicles manufactured by ten auto makers. At least six fatalities have been reported. The plaintiffs seeking damages for injuries are outnumbered, however, by those asking for compensation for their vehicles' loss in value.

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