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West Palm Beach Legal Blog

Study shows the prevalence of drowsy driving

One of the least-discussed causes of accidents on Florida roads is drowsy driving. While it may seem obvious that a tired motorist is a hazard, a surprising number of respondents to a recent survey admitted to driving while extremely fatigued.

The survey, taken by AAA, found that nearly one-third of all respondents claimed to have driven while barely awake at least once in the previous month. One potential cause of this phenomenon is prescription sleep aids. According to a 2018 Consumer Reports study, one out of five Americans on sleep meds had driven within seven hours of taking their prescription pills. That's despite the fact that these drugs come with a warning not to operate a vehicle within eight hours of taking a dose.

Disability appeals generally take less time to complete

Florida residents who have filed for Social Security disability benefits may have to wait months to hear about their initial applications. In some cases, the initial application will be denied. However, applicants who wish to appeal should not let the timeline for the initial decision discourage them from doing so. Typically, the reconsideration appeal process takes less time to complete. Paperwork can be completed online as opposed to using paper forms.

The examiner who reviews the case will largely make a decision using information that was provided in the initial application. Therefore, he or she will render a decision in a timely manner. Of course, there is a good chance that the reconsideration appeal will also result in a claim being denied. This is because the guidelines are the same on appeal as they were when the first application was submitted.

Understanding your rights as a victim of a personal injury

A personal injury can change your life and your goals. After an injury, you may be forced into a situation where you have no choice but to go through medical treatments like rehabilitation or surgery. You may not be able to work, and you might have trouble doing the things that you enjoy in your everyday life.

For someone who is in your situation, it is important to hold the person who hurt you responsible for their actions. Part of that responsibility is paying for your medical care and the losses that you have suffered. In some cases, other people in your family may be entitled to compensation of some form as well.

Workers' comp and the ability to sue an employer

Normally, employers in Florida are protected from personal injury litigation if they have valid workers' compensation coverage. This is because the worker's comp system is set up so that injured workers give up their right to sue in exchange for receiving benefit payments. It's referred to as a no-fault system because it doesn't matter who is at fault. However, there are instances when there may be some exceptions.

For example, an employee may be able to go beyond filing a workers' compensation claim and initiate a lawsuit for a wrongful civil action if it's believed that an employer intentionally caused them harm. "Tort injuries" include both physical injuries and emotional distress. Actions that might warrant pursuing a civil claim include physical assault or threats of assault, confining an employee against their will without legal authority, intentionally lying to an employee in a way that contributed to a sustained injury, or harm caused by someone at work spreading false allegations.

When is workers' compensation coverage necessary?

When workers suffer injuries on the job, they may need to seek medical care. There is no reason for them to be responsible for the cost of this care, but some employers might not have the cash to be able to pay for it either. This is where workers' compensation coverage comes into the picture.

Workers' compensation coverage is a program that covers medical bills related to the on-the-job injury and can provide other benefits that help injured employees. Understanding some of the basic information about workers' compensation can help some individuals who need to count on the benefits.

ZF external airbags may keep occupants safer in side collision

The ZF Group has come up with some definite data about the benefits of external airbags; namely, that they can reduce the severity of occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent. Florida residents should know that while external airbags, like self-driving cars, are still a long way from becoming reality, ZF has a strategy that could soon yield real results.

ZF has designed external airbags that deploy from the side of a vehicle, adding to the crumple zone and absorbing some of the impact of a side collision. The challenge, of course, is to get a vehicle to determine when a crash will occur and then deploy the airbags a split second before.

How is liability decided in the wake of a mass shooting?

When first responders reached the Jacksonville Landing Complex on August 26th, 2018, they had close to a dozen victims with varying degrees of injury. A 24-year-old gunman had opened fire at an online video game tournament, killing two before taking his own life. During his shooting rampage, the gunman injured nine others who required medical treatment.

In the months that have passed since this tragic event, victims fortunate enough to survive have been focused on both their physical and mental recovery. For the loved ones of the victims who died, they have no choice but to carry on without them. This is so small task.

Keeping outdoor workers safe during winter

OSHA has listed some of the top hazards of winter outdoor work at its Winter Weather resource site. Employers in West Palm Beach, especially those whose employees might drive a snow blower or remove snow off roofs, will want to know what some of the organization's safety tips are. The first step is to follow OSHA's guidelines regarding personal protective equipment, hazard training and fall protection.

PPE should include things like insulated gloves, steel-toed boots and coats. Hazard training should cover specific tasks as well as orient any employees who come from areas with less severe winters. Guidelines for fall protection systems, ladders and aerial lifts must be followed. Ideally, workers who engage in roof snow removal should not have to go on the roof; they could instead apply de-icing materials from a ladder or use snow rakes and drag lines.

Avoiding accidents when driving in direct sunlight

Many residents of West Palm Beach who head out on the road during the early mornings or late afternoons find themselves unprepared to face the bright sunlight. This is dangerous; bright sunlight can increase the chances of a life-threatening car crash by 16 percent because of the visual illusions it can create and the harm it can do to one's eyes.

The following are some safety tips for those who drive in direct sunlight. One tip is to avoid driving in such conditions or, if that's not possible, to wait until the sun has risen or set below the horizon. Inside the vehicle, drivers should always keep a pair of sunglasses ready because these can reduce brightness and guard the eyes from harmful UV rays. Drivers can also use their sun visors, which are all designed not to hinder visibility.

Truck accidents in Florida?

Sharing the road with a semi or large truck is not uncommon, especially if you are on the highway. While you may think nothing of it, large trucks can cause serious car accidents.

There were nearly 300 fatalities involving large trucks in 2017, which does not count crashes that did not result in death. What do you need to know about large truck accidents in Florida?