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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Why cruise personal injury and wrongful death claims are unique

The holidays are a popular time for cruises. Couples and families anxious to get out of their snow-packed cities and enjoy island breezes flock to Florida's ports to set sail on ships adorned with Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.

No one expects to be the victim of an accident or a crime on a cruise, but they occur. The rules for filing a claim against the cruise line are stringent and can vary by company.

Woman vindicated 10 years after defective product caused crash

By now, everyone has heard about the ignition switch problem that caused General Motors to recall millions of vehicles. The defect, which those at GM and the ignition switch manufacturer were aware of for at least a decade, disabled power steering, brakes and airbags. It has been linked to a number fatalities.

Now another death that occurred a decade ago has been linked to the defect. The woman behind the wheel has been vindicated after years of being blamed for the crash that killed her boyfriend. The then-21-year-old aspiring nurse, lost control of her Saturn Ion, drove off the road and hit a tree. Her 25-year-old boyfriend did not survive.

Wrongful death suit filed in police killing of 12-year-old

People in Florida and around the world have seen the surveillance video of police officers fatally shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice outside a Cleveland recreation center last month. The death of Rice, whom it turned out had only an "airsoft" replica gun, has further fueled protests about law enforcement tactics and justice system accountability following the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. Grand juries in those two cases chose not to indict the officers involved.

Now Tamir Rice's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the two officers called to the scene and the City of Cleveland. The suit alleges wrongful death, assault and battery and excessive force. The suit asks for compensatory as well as punitive damages and requests a jury trial. Rice died from his wounds the day after the Nov. 22 shooting.

Air bag maker balks at expanding recall of defective products

Air bag manufacturer Takata continues to reject calls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to broaden its recall of defective air bags. The bags, as we noted here previously, have been known to explode on impact, sending metal pieces flying into drivers. Five deaths have been linked to ruptured air bags.

The problem prompted regional recalls focused on hot, humid areas like Florida and Hawaii. This weather is believed to contribute to the malfunctions. Takata air bag explosions have also occurred in California and North Carolina. However, those states were not included in the initial recall.

Artifical hip maker paying $1.5 million for defective products

None of us wants to hear that a product we purchased has been recalled because it is defective. However, when that product is in your body, the news can be particularly frightening. Of course, by the time the product is recalled, you likely know that something is wrong.

That was the case for thousands of people who received artificial hips made by Stryker Corporation, which is considered the leading manufacturer of these devices. After numerous reports from people who said they suffered serious pain after having a Stryker hip implanted, the company recalled the Rejuvenate Modular and the ABG II Modular-Neck Stem hips in June 2012.

3 minivans fare poorly in simulated auto accidents

We have previously discussed the "small overlap front crash" safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on various types of vehicles. The results of their recent tests may give pause to Floridians who drive minivans. These are not only roomy vehicles that are perfect for chauffeuring kids to and from school and other activities. They are considered by many parents to be a sturdy, safe mode of transportation.

However, according to the IIHS, not all minivans perform well in front overlap crashes. These tests simulate what happens when a vehicle "collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole." Of the four 2015 model minivans tested by the IIHS, three had what the agency described as "dire" results.

Lawsuits: Does Viagra Cause Skin Cancer?

In June 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study which reported that users of the drug Viagra were 84 percent more likely to develop skin cancer over a 10-year period.

The study looked at 26,000 men, finding that those who had taken Viagra, 6 percent of the total, had roughly double the risk of developing melanoma than those who never took the drug. Among subjects who were actively taking the drug, the risk of developing melanoma was 84 percent greater, the study suggested. The study's authors are affiliated with Harvard Medical School, Brown University, Indiana University and Tianjin Medical University in China.

Lawyers filing suit will have to demonstrate that taking the erectile dysfunction drug was the cause of the plaintiffs' skin cancer. Some have criticized the JAMA study for merely showing a correlation.

The nature of the connection between Viagra use and melanoma is likely to be at the center of the litigation.

Craigslist accused of 'irresponsibility' over defective products

Despite the government and media attention given to defective products, many consumers in Florida and around the country unknowingly find themselves using potentially dangerous and even deadly products. That problem was examined in a recent "ABC News" report on what it termed "recall roulette." That referred to the fact that whether consumers ever find out about a recall is often a matter of chance.

In that news report, Elliott Kaye, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, called the website Craigslist "morally irresponsible" for not taking appropriate action to block the sale of recalled products on its site. This, he said, was despite "repeated requests" from the CPSC. He noted that eBay and Amazon have filters to block these products from being offered for sale.

Faulty strollers recalled after reports of fingertip amputations

Parents in South Florida and around the country heard alarming news recently involving strollers manufactured by Graco Children's Products. The company, as we discussed here, was in the news earlier this year for problems with its car seats. Now, it has recalled approximately 4.7 million of its strollers in the U.S. Over 200,000 additional strollers have been recalled in Canada and over 10,000 in Mexico. The recall impacts 11 models sold under the brand names of Graco and Century.

The reports of injuries to children are truly disturbing. The company has reportedly been notified of six fingertip amputations, four partial amputations and one laceration caused by a folding side hinge on the stroller.

Beware of arbitration clauses in Florida nursing home contracts

People faced with the sad but often necessary task of placing a loved one in a Florida nursing home often find themselves consumed with a variety of emotions. Consequently, they may not take the time to read the fine print in the facility's contract. Even if they do, few people outside the legal profession have the knowledge to understand all of the language.

Many nursing home contracts contain an arbitration clause. Such clauses, which are common in cable and cellphone contracts, stipulate that a customer cannot take the company to court. Instead, any case they bring must be decided by a private arbitrator. That may not seem like a serious problem if you want to take action against your cellphone provider. However, the stakes are much higher in nursing home care.

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