July 2010 Archives

July 28, 2010

More Than 1,800 Florida Bus Accidents in 2009

Several Florida bus accidents, ranging from school buses to church vans, have made national headlines in the past few months. In February, a tour bus accident in Lake Placid, Florida, killed two people and injured over 30. During the spring, a string of three Disney bus accidents - all within 2 weeks of each other - resulted in eight injuries and one death. More recently on July 17th, a Pompano Beach resident was killed and several passengers were injured when a church van crashed on the Florida Turnpike after the driver lost control of the vehicle. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 1,812 bus (a vehicle with over 15 passenger seats) accidents in Florida in 2009 -- 19 of which were fatal.

Driver Negligence a Common Cause of Bus Accidents
While many factors may contribute to a bus crash, including mechanical defects, one of the most common causes is driver negligence, whether it is the bus driver's negligence or another vehicle driver's. According to reports, the February Lake Placid tour bus accident occurred when an 81-year-old woman hit the bus after failing to yield, which caused the bus to overturn. The woman was cited in the accident but has not been charged. She was not injured in this accident, which resulted in two deaths and over 30 injuries.

The Disney bus accidents were all caused by different factors. In March, a Disney bus struck a charter bus that was parked in a through lane. The driver of the charter bus was not injured, but eight passengers in the Disney bus were injured. The FHP is investigating the possibility of mechanical problems with the Disney bus. In April, a 9-year-old boy from Florida was killed when his bicycle hit the side of a Disney bus, causing the bus to run him over, according to reports. The boy was riding his bike in the Fort Wilderness area of Disney World with a friend. They were both wearing helmets and riding on the sidewalk. It was unknown why the boy veered off the sidewalk until further investigation by the FHP found that an underinflated front tire and flat back tire on the boy's bike caused the accident. Another Disney bus accident that took place in April involved an 80-year-old driver who hit the back of an SUV that was stopped at a red light. The impact caused the SUV to rear-end a van. The bus driver was cited for careless driving.

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July 21, 2010

Attention Florida Drivers: I-95 Named Deadliest Highway in the U.S.

Distracted drivers. Traffic congestion. Speeding. This happens on Florida's I-95 every day, and it may come as no surprise to Florida drivers that this highway is the deadliest road in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At 1.73 fatal car accidents per mile from 2004 to 2008, Florida's 382-mile highway tops the list of the most dangerous roads, which also ranks Florida's I-4 at number 3, according to further analysis by The Daily Beast.

Distractions such as cell phones and vehicle navigation systems, combined with the high volume of traffic on I-95, are a dangerous combination and increase the likelihood of getting into an accident, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Florida auto accidents involving distracted drivers resulted in 1,436 injuries and 15 deaths in 2008, according to a Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report. Distractions such as texting while driving reduce a driver's reaction time and can cause serious, sometimes fatal, auto accidents. Congested roadways are also an issue, but adding more lanes to I-95 is no longer an option, according to The Florida Department of Transportation.

Summer is often the time when families take road trips, which leads to busier roadways. The summer months have been called the most dangerous months for drivers, the "100 deadliest days," according to Road Safe America, an organization that promotes highway safety and also offers safety tips for drivers. According to the NHTSA, 50,765 deadly car accidents occurred in the U.S. from June through August of 2004 to 2008.

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July 15, 2010

Dangerous Deck Collapses Blamed for Serious Injuries and Deaths

Over the last three months, several stories about deck collapses have made headlines nationwide. What often begins as a celebration quickly turns into terror when people are injured or killed due to a deck collapse. On the Fourth of July, a 25-year-old man from Alabama was killed and six people were injured when the deck they were celebrating on collapsed. That same day, a deck collapse in Georgia injured several adults, including one reported head injury. The list goes on and on. According to a deck injury study by the North American Deck and Railing Association, thousands of people have been injured and several have been killed due to deck collapses since 2003. The most tragic incident was in 2003 when a deck collapsed and killed 13 people and injured 57 others.

What causes a deck to collapse?

There are several reasons why a deck may collapse. Deterioration such as rotted wood, cracks, corroded hardware; missing or loose connections; and excessive weight are all contributing factors. The Home Safety Council offers information on deck inspection and safety. Regular inspection and maintenance are crucial in order to avoid injuries or even death from occurring. It may sound like common sense, but making sure a deck is securely attached to a home is crucial. A May 2010 deck collapse that injured nearly 30 students in Virginia happened because the deck was not properly attached to the home, according to investigators.

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July 8, 2010

Laser Hair Removal that Left Woman Burned Leads to Lawsuit

A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against an unlicensed practitioner who burned her during a laser hair removal treatment. The incident occurred last August in Miami when Monica Jimenez had the procedure done by Larry DeJesus, who Jimenez thought had a license to practice. DeJesus caused second and third degree burns to Jimenez's underarms, and the injuries landed her in the emergency room, according to reports.

Prior to filing a medical negligence lawsuit, Jimenez took her case to the Department of Health, who determined that DeJesus was an unlicensed practitioner. The Miami-Dade Police Department became involved after that and arrested DeJesus in June 2010. Jimenez still experiences pain from her injuries and is suing DeJesus for over $1 million.

Unfortunately, as the popularity of laser hair removal treatments increases, so do the amount of injuries resulting from this and other types of nonsurgical procedures such as spider vein removal. In 2004, a woman in Tampa, Florida, had her leg amputated after a spider vein injection treatment at Ideal Image. She received over $2 million in confidential settlements for her medical malpractice and products liability case, which involved three sets of defendants. More recently, a New York woman filed a $5 million medical malpractice lawsuit against a laser clinic that left scars on her torso which she claims cannot be removed.

For consumers who are interested in having laser hair removal or any other non-surgical procedure, the safest precaution is to seek a physician with experience in laser treatments or have the treatment performed by a trained and licensed professional under the supervision of a physician. The Florida Department of Health website offers information as to who is allowed to perform these types of treatments.

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July 1, 2010

Fatal Florida Auto Accident Linked to Tire Blowout

A Florida woman has died after a blown tire caused her vehicle to roll over on I-95. Katherine Parker was driving her 2000 Ford SUV on I-95 near Malabar, Florida, on June 21st when, according to a witness, one of her back tires blew out causing her vehicle to flip three times and catch on fire. The 19-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from her SUV before the vehicle caught on fire. Parker died two days later from the injuries she sustained during this rollover accident.

Another Florida auto accident linked to a tire blowout involved a Florida police officer a few years ago. Unfortunately the trooper died after his rear tire blew out during a police chase. Tire blowouts are one of the major causes of car accidents. According to tire manufacturer statistics, tire blowouts account for nearly 535 deaths and 23,000 auto accidents each year.

A tire blowout occurs when a tire becomes suddenly deflated while driving. The Florida Highway Patrol recommends checking tire pressure prior to driving, as tires that are under-inflated and exposed to heat are susceptible to tire separation. When a tire separates, it becomes a challenge to control a vehicle, especially while driving at a higher speed. Drivers often lose control of their vehicles during a tire blowout. It is important for drivers to learn how to prevent a tire blowout from happening in the first place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers some useful tips for tire blowout prevention.

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