Articles Posted in Palm Beach County

Hoverboards, the popular gift of 2015 has been causing injuries all across South Florida this holiday season.

Hospitals in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have seen at least 40 visits due to hoverboards. Injuries included broken and fractured wrists, as well as concussions.

Earlier this month, the scooters made headlines after reports of some catching fire. In one Boca Raton case, a woman told police her 11-year-old daughter was playing on the board when it started making popping sounds. It was on fire moments after the child jumped off, according to a report.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is investigating the fire hazard posed by the toy.

In most of the local cases, though, falls have been the number cause for injuries.

While some injuries have been more mild, others have been seriously harmed. A 10-year-old from the Hialeah area, had to be airlifted from Memorial Hospital Miramar to Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Hollywood for emergency surgery when his fall left his bone poking out from his skin – an open fracture.

The Hoverboard reportedly stalled as he was riding to his friend’s house and he fell.

The boy is expected to recover within three months.

The Hoverboard, a self-balancing electric scooter, was named the hottest holiday gift for 2015. In fact, to prove its popularity, on Cyber Monday one was sold every 12 seconds. Even though this gadget is a big hit among kids and adults, hoverboards have come under scrutiny due to serious safety concerns.

The U.S. National Association of State Fire Marshals and the National Trading Standards in the United Kingdom have both issued warnings to consumers that Hoverboards could potentially overheat, explode, or catch fire, mainly due to faulty charging mechanisms.

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A Delray Beach man filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the Whitehall Boca where his 72-year-old mother was recuperating from pneumonia.

The man said his mother was suffering from a condition making it difficult for her to swallow or eat or drink solid foods.

In April, the man claims he was on the phone with his mother when she told him she felt like she was choking. He said he called the nursing home to alert them his mother needed help, but no one answered his calls.

According to reports, call records show a woman called 911 from the choking woman’s room and then hung up.

When dispatchers called back, the receptionist had no idea there was any trouble, and the nursing station did not answer.

Fire Rescue did respond, and documents Fischer show that the staff was not performing CPR, rather they were standing around the woman’s bed.

Reports indicate that the woman had not been breathing or responding for at least five minutes. The records also shows that the staff had not cleared the woman’s airway, which was clogged with vomit, which made her condition worse.

Wrongful death is a type of civil case, that is usually brought against a negligent party that has wrongfully caused the death of another party. In nursing home wrongful death cases, the victim’s loved ones are usually the one’s filing a lawsuit against the facility for negligence and/or abuse.

When considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • If the death was caused somehow by the nursing home
  • If the conduct of the staff members, healthcare professionals, or caregivers at the nursing home contributed to the death
  • If there are surviving family members of the victim, such as a spouse, children, or other dependents and/or beneficiaries
  • If the victim’s death resulted in damages or pain and suffering

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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A motorcyclist was flown to a hospital Friday evening after he crashed into a tree in Weston, according to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

According to police, the crash occurred around 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and Town Center Boulevard.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Air Rescue landed on the Weston Hills Country Club golf course to pick up the man and take him to Broward Health Medical Center as a Level 2 trauma, according to reports.

Police said that the man, whose name and age were not released, suffered injuries that were potentially serious but did not appear critical or life-threatening.

While this crash is likely the subject of an ongoing investigation, those injured in motorcycle crashes can potentially file civil litigation seeking damages under certain circumstances. In many motorcycle accidents cases, it is possible for an injured person to seek compensation if it is reasonable to claim that another person’s negligent conduct resulted in the accident. In certain scenarios, passengers may seek monetary damages for medical bills, pain and suffering and possible lost wages.

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A federal court has agreed to hear an appeal on whether drivers in Palm Beach County and across Florida should be granted class-action status in their claim that HCA hospitals, including JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, are severely overcharging for services under the state’s car insurance system.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta agreed this week to consider an appeal of a lower-court decision in Florida that drivers could pursue lawsuits individually, but not as a group. The plaintiffs allege that the hospitals are draining Personal Injury Protection benefits by charging up to 65 times what Medicare pays.

4838079960_bea63b1287_zAn HCA statement issues said the case lacks merit and the company intends to defend it vigorously.

Recently, the Florida state legislature has taken steps to reduce the amount of fraud in the insurance system, reduce payment delays and limit use of the court system. The following changes were implemented:

  • In the past, injury victims had an unlimited time frame to make an injury claim, but now injury victims only have 14 days to seek medical treatment that may be covered by PIP.
  • Under the new law, people with minor injuries might be limited on the amount of financial recovery that they will receive from PIP coverage.
  • PIP compensation is limited to 80 percent of your medical costs.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last week about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Tween Seat Belt Safety Advertising campaign. The campaign urges parents to “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up.”

The NHTSA is utilizing this campaign to show the importance of targeting this age group and their parents about seat belt safety. It is absolutely vital for tweens to use their seatbelts any time they are riding in cars because these are formative years that immediately precede driving privileges for teenagers.

Unrestrained Tween Facts: Did You Know?

  • Within the past five years, 1,552 children between the ages of 8 and 14 died in car, SUV or Van collisions.
  • Around half of those children killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
  • The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unbelted tends to increase with age. This more pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds, regardless of seating position.

2732924156_617c53d3df_zThe campaign targets the parents of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Why? This is a very important time to instill the habit in children of always buckling up, for every trip. Tweens are just a few short years away from being in the driver’s seat, which makes this campaign all the more important.

Parents are encouraged to lead by example. No matter how short the trip, any time you get behind the wheel you should fasten your seatbelt before heading anywhere.

Tweens are constantly learning how to be responsible and make good decisions. It is up to the adult or adults in the car to make sure they are always buckled up. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 2 miles or 2,000, tweens, children and adults need to be buckled up for every ride.

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A new report on bicycle fatalities due to car accidents on U.S. roads shows that the bulk of these fatal accidents occur in just a handful of states.

The report, released Monday by the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association, concluded that biking accident deaths rose 16 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2012, while motor vehicle accident fatalities increased by just 1 percent.

4920222422_e160c0f228_zAccording to 2012 figures, the top 10 states that saw the highest number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents are listed below:

  1. California – 123 bicyclist fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in 2012
  2. Florida – 120 bicyclist fatalities in 2012
  3. Texas – 56
  4. New York – 45
  5. Illinois – 29
  6. North Carolina – 27
  7. Michigan – 19
  8. Ohio AND Arizona – 18
  9. Georgia – 17

Moreover, the report also noted that more than half, or 54 percent, of U.S. bicycle fatalities over the period of 2010 to 2012 happened in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared this week, October 19-25, as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Due to the sad reality that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens ages 14 to 18, the NHTSA has made this issue a top priority. The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules are designed to raise awareness about the five biggest issues teen drivers face today.

Safety Issues Facing Teen Drivers

The NHTSA has listed out the top five safety concerns for teen drivers by analyzing data and statistics from auto accidents involving teen drivers across the United States. From driving impaired to having too many passengers in the car, there are numerous issues that can greatly increase a teen driver’s risk for being involved in an accident that could result in serious injuries or death.

Top Five Safety Concerns for Teens

  1. Alcohol
  2. Seat belts
  3. Texting
  4. Speeding
  5. Passengers

7838235550_2205537def_zFive to Drive

By addressing these safety concerns with teen drivers, parents can make a huge impact on the safety of their teen when behind the wheel. Even though teens are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, they are at a greater risk than drivers in any other age group of being involved in an alcohol-related crash. It should also be noted that extra passengers can increase a teen drivers risk of being involved in a collision, so it is best to limited teens to no more than one passenger in their car at any time.

Even what can seem like minor details can have a great impact on inexperienced drivers. As a parent, it is smart to have regular conversations with your teen driver about these five key issues and lead by example. When you are driving, make sure to follow all safety rules, including wearing your seatbelt, and limit the distractions around you. Teens are quite perceptive, and if you are a safe driver, then the odds are your teen will pick up on your safe practices and put them into action when they are behind the wheel.

What to do After a Crash

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a press release Monday urging owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags. The message expresses the need for urgency when responding to this issue, especially for owners of vehicles affected by the regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

128859908_5717d96b9a_zConsumers who are unaware whether or not their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can check on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. Once on the site, you can search by your vehicle identification number in order to confirm whether your vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed. Additionally, consumers can sign-up for NHTSA recall alerts, which go out before recall letters are mailed by the manufacturers to the affected owners.

Affected Vehicles Involving Takata Airbags:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2004 Lexus SC

2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla

2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia

2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra

2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)

2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)

2001 – 2005 Honda Civic

2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 – 2011 Honda Element

2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 – Honda Ridgeline

2003 – 2006 Acura MDX

2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2004 Mazda6

2004 – Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre

2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous

2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture

2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy

2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette

2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville

2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

As of now, four deaths have been attributed to defective components found in Takata airbags, which were predominantly used in vehicles from every major automaker from 2000 through 2007. The deaths have occurred in Virginia, Oklahoma, California and Florida. Additionally, 139 injuries have also been reported that were caused by the Takata airbags.

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