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65898_emergency_room.jpgCountry music singer Wynona Judd’s husband, and drummer for her band, lost his leg recently in a motorcycle collision in South Dakota.

The accident occurred when Judd and her husband, Michael Scott “Cactus” Moser, went for a ride together on separate bikes before one of her scheduled concerts.

According to reports, Moser’s left leg was severed at the accident site and doctors in Rapid City, South Dakota, amputated the leg above the knee. He also underwent surgery for his hand.

Moser apparently collided with an oncoming vehicle.

Judd was not involved in the accident.

Suffering an amputation can be devastating. Losing a limb can affect your job, social life and everyday routine tasks. A victim may need numerous surgeries and months of physical therapy. While medical benefits may cover some of the initial hospital bills and therapy costs, future medical bills, prosthetics, lost wages, pain management medications and other costs can add up quickly. The Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work aggressively to help amputation victims gain the compensation they need to cover any and all costs related to their accident injuries.

Nearly 22 percent of amputations are performed after a person has endured serious suffering as a result of a car accident or a workplace injury. Sadly, most amputations are performed on bikers injured in motorcycle collisions. Anytime someone loses a limb it changes their life forever. Recovering from an amputation can be a never ending battle, as a person is forced to deal with both physical and emotional pain. In addition to the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a limb, the financial load can be a heavy burden to bear. On average, the medical cost of an amputation adds up to around $91,000, not to mention the estimated $510,000 for lifetime medical treatment and ongoing care.

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381934_katrina_16.jpgAccording to news release by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, including Foremost Insurance, 21stCentury and Bristol West, the company and its subsidiaries are prepared to work with property owners as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall in Southern Florida this weekend and passes through the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Mississippi coasts this week. The worst damage may be to coastal communities like St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Spring Hill, Crystal River who get the high winds and water at the edges of the Hurricane and Storm conditions.

Famers Insurance will organize claims adjusters to cover any and all affected areas once Isaac hits land.

Farmers Insurance instructs its customers in Isaac’s anticipated path to stay up to date with the latest weather reports and begin making crucial arrangements.

Appropriate contact numbers for customers with damage after Isaac hits can be found here.

Friday marked the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, a storm that wreaked havoc on south Florida in 1992. With Hurricane Isaac swiftly approaching, this could be the first hurricane Florida has seen since 2005. If you plan on riding the storm out at your home, make sure you have the following essentials on hand:

• At Minimum, 5 Gallons of Water
• Flashlight with Additional Batteries
• At Least Several Days’ Worth of Non-Perishable Food Items – You Can Never Be
Too Careful
• Battery-Powered Radio with Extra Batteries On Hand
• Cell Phone Along with Chargers
• Have an Evacuation Plan Set in Place and Follow Any Evacuation Orders
While you may think that you have your emergency kit ready for when Hurricane Isaac strikes, the Florida Hurricane & Storm Damage Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to remind you of the preparations you may not think about in regards to making a hurricane claim on your insurance policy. We recommend documenting your home and commercial properties by taking pictures of every room of your house or business. This includes documenting your personal property. Take multiple photographs from multiple angles, so that in the event that your home suffers even slight damage you can be sure that your claim won’t be denied due to lack of documentation. The good thing about photographing your property and personal items is that you should only need to do this once.

It is important to be aware that keeping good records can speed up the settlement of your claim. When compiling your room-by-room inventory, try and record the manufacturer’s names, dates and if at all possible, the price of the items and where they were purchased. If you can, locate your receipts and document the serial numbers, manufacturers’ names, dates of purchase and prices. Make sure you are completely ready for a hurricane or tropical storm by taking the time to document your properties, as this could save you and your family much time and frustration after the storm.

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543797_elderly_hospital_patient.jpgMesothelioma is a form of cancer that is generally caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a group of minerals that form naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals. Unfortunately, inhaling or swallowing just one of these fibers can cause the malignant cancer known as mesothelioma. Symptoms associated with mesothelioma can occur slowly, and may not appear until 15-50 years after exposure. Every year across the United States, an estimated 2,500 to 4,000 patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma usually attacks the outer linings of the lungs or chest cavity, the belly, the sac around the heart or the bowels. This terminal cancer has been known to cause a “pneumothorax,” which is a complete collapse of the lung. There is no known cure for mesothelioma, and sadly, most patients diagnosed with this cancer are given less than a year to live.

Identifying the point of exposure to asbestos can be very difficult as the long latency period makes it tough for patients to accurately remember where or when they may have been exposed to asbestos particles in the air. For the most part, cases of mesothelioma have been linked to asbestos exposure in the workplace. Asbestos exposure can result from performing the following activities in the workplace:

• Insulating Pipes
• Milling or Mining Materials
• Continual Maintenance of Railroad or Automotive Brakes
• Handling Roof Shingles, Flooring Materials, Cement Gaskets and Similar Products
• Fireproofing Ships and Buildings
Diagnosing mesothelioma can be challenging as symptoms are non-specific and can be indicators of other minor health problems. Symptoms of mesothelioma can include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest or back pain, chronic hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and swelling of the face and arms. Many people experiencing symptoms similar to these believe they are suffering from a common cold and not something far more serious. The only way for a physician to properly diagnose mesothelioma is to perform an X-ray and CT scan of the chest cavity.

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1133804_sign_success_and_failure.jpgIn a state-by-state ranking of regulatory departments conducted by the R Street Institute, Florida received the lowest point total, receiving a grade of F, in the think tank’s first ever “report card.”

The report, released in June, compiled points through 14 categories, doling out the lowest point total of any state in the U.S. to Florida, -32 points.

According to Online Auto Insurance, Florida’s major deductions arose from the category of “politicization.” Point deductions were received by states where industry regulation was a main campaign topic. Florida was deducted 6 out of the maximum 10 points because of new changes in its personal injury protection coverage. This reform was a major campaign topic for Gov. Rick Scott who said the system was inflating car insurance rates in Florida.

Four other states were deducted the same amount of points or higher for the category of politicization.

While the institute did commend Florida’s efforts to change the PIP system, they added that the “comprehensive reform package” approved by legislators also presented certain rate restrictions. Under the new PIP system, insurers will have to explain why the reforms did not allow them to reduce rates by at least 10 percent by October 2012 and by at least 25 percent by January 2014.

Florida received additional low marks for how it handled territorial ratings. Florida is one of 10 states that allow insurers to use where a person lives to determine their rates. According to the institute, Florida “enforces restrictions on the use of territory that are much more stringent than the norm.” This finding resulted in a maximum deduction of 5 points in the report card’s “territorial rating” category. Florida’s territorial ratings were set in place in 2006.

While landing at the bottom of the pile, the Sunshine State still managed to perform well in other categories including “fraud enforcement” for which the state reaped the maximum number of five points. Only three other states were awarded the same points – New Jersey, New Mexico and California.

As of July the new PIP reform in Florida includes the following:

• Statewide anti-fraud task force
• Tougher licensing standards for medical clinics
• Wider use of long-form accidents reports
• Tougher penalties for providers caught defrauding the system
While these changes are in new policies now, drivers in Florida won’t see major changes to their PIP coverage until 2013. Starting Jan. 1, those injured in car accidents will have 14 days to seek initial treatment. Currently, there is no cutoff period for when an injury victim must obtain medical care. Additionally, only those diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” by medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, dentists, physician assistants or advanced registered nurse practitioners will be eligible for the full $10,000 PIP benefit. Those suffering less serious injuries, will only receive $2,500, despite spending the same amount for this “no-fault” coverage. Note, Florida drivers will stay pay the same amount as before, only now receiving less coverage.

The benefits of the PIP changes could take months, possibly years to happen, so lawmakers have warned drivers not to expect their insurance rates to drop anytime soon. Insurers want to see if the number of fraudulent claims and lawsuits decrease before determining whether rates can be reduced without affecting their bottom lines. However, as part of the law, insurers must either decrease PIP premiums by 10 percent or clarify why they cannot by Oct. 1. Never mind of course, the amount of money insurance companies will pay on future PIP claims does not appear to be a consideration on whether or not our rates will be reduced…troubling.

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422002_accident.jpgA 22-year-old Tampa bicyclist was rushed to the hospital Wednesday night after sustaining critical injuries in a collision with a car.

The man was riding his bike around 11:15 p.m. when he apparently rode into the path of a Honda driven by a 23-year-old Tampa woman.

The Honda hit the bicycle head-on. The driver was uninjured in the crash.

The man remained in critical condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital Thursday morning.

When cars collide with a bicyclist or pedestrian, the results can be tragic. When walking or traveling on a bicycle, you do not have the same structural protection that cars offer, so you are more likely to suffer severe injuries should an accident happen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 51,000 bicyclists were injured across the United States in 2009 and another 630 were killed.

Unfortunately, most motorists in Florida fail to recognize that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other motor vehicles on the roadway. That is why drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and respect the rights of cyclists before executing driving errors that can place bikers and pedestrians at an increased risk for injury or death.

A bike vs. car accident can be a terrifying experience to endure and the injuries involved may be exceptionally painful. There are numerous injuries that a cyclist may suffer due to an accident with a car, including:

• Concussions
• Traumatic Brain Injuries
• Broken or Fractured bones
• Spinal Cord Injuries
• Neck and Back Injuries
• Paralysis
• Wrongful Death
Every six hours in the United States a cyclist is fatally injured. Head injuries account for 75 percent of all bicycle collision injuries and deaths. Sadly, reckless or negligent drivers are usually responsible for most bicycle accidents. Cars and trucks are no competition for bicycles, and drivers must be held accountable for the injuries that they cause.

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