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West Palm Beach Legal Blog

Hydroplaning, a constant threat during the rainy season

Florida residents probably know that they should be careful in the rain because of the threat of hydroplaning. In fact, the first 10 minutes of rainfall pose the greatest risk because that's the time when water mixes with the oil residue on the road and immediately forms a slippery surface. After that, the water will begin to wash away most, but not all, of the residue.

Hydroplaning occurs when there's more water on the road than the tires can handle. A thin layer of water will develop between the tires and the road. The thicker this layer becomes, the more the tires will float and lose traction. Eventually, the car may skid or slide out of control.

The Health Hazards of Hotel Housekeeping

The tourism industry is a 24-hour playground of activity for many people visiting the southern coast of Florida. Undoubtedly, hotel housekeepers have their days and nights filled with a high-demand for attentive customer service. The turn-over rate for prepping a room for its next guest is often a narrow window of time. During the rush between check-ins, workers experience a significant amount of physical and mental stress.

The combination of physical and mental output increases the odds of housekeepers experiencing a wide-range of workplace injuries. Hotel housekeepers have reported the highest rate of injuries in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, many workers also develop serious musculoskeletal damage through years of repetitive stress on certain parts of the body.

Winning SSD hearings with representation

Florida residents who have representation with them during Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income hearings typically have a higher chance of winning their case. The manner in which disability hearings are conducted is very similar to how some court proceedings are executed. There has to be a properly prepared case, and the positions and arguments of the case have to be properly presented to the administrative law judge.

In order to prepare for a hearing, the representative, who may be a disability attorney or an individual with no legal training, should start to collect all relevant and updated medical records. Having these records is an important part of a claimant's case. When a case makes it through the process to the hearing stage, there are no current records on file as the Social Security Administration will not continue to work on a case once a reconsideration appeal has been denied. This means that there will be no one collecting records, getting information about the work history of the claimant or getting in touch with people who have knowledge of the claimant's daily activities and condition. As a result, when the case progress to the hearing level, any records that are on file will be at least several months old and will not be sufficient enough to get the case approved.

Florida is one of the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders

If you are one of the 595,946 people who are registered to ride a motorcycle in Florida, this post will be very important for you to read. Florida has consistently been ranked as one of the top states in the country for motorcycle injuries and deaths. You can blame the weather and the year-round ability to ride that brings out so many motorcycles, but despite efforts to make the roads safer, motorcycle crashes and injuries continue to occur.

In 2016, there were 10,331 motorcycle accidents in Florida that resulted in 459 deaths. Wearing a helmet can help reduce the number of injuries and deaths. Right now, in Florida, riders who are 20 years old and younger are required to wear a helmet. However, the law does not require older individuals to wear a helmet while riding.

OSHA bulletins address noise and respiratory hazards

As part of its Temporary Worker Initiative, OSHA has released two bulletins on how host employers and staffing agencies are to protect temp workers from noise exposure and respiratory hazards. Both employees and employers in Florida should know that these bulletins reinforce what was said in OSHA's Occupational Noise Standard and Respiratory Protection Standard.

Host employers must measure noise exposure levels and determine if their employees need hearing protection. If they do, it must be provided at no charge to them, and a hearing protection program must be put in place. Employers are also required to provide audiograms for workers exposed to an eight-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels (for general industries) or 90 decibels (for construction). This is to be done in six months' time.

Drowsiness impairs drivers in a similar way to drinking alcohol

Florida offers people many recreational activities, but long drives home after a day of fun could raise the danger of falling asleep behind the wheel. From losing a night's sleep to a hard day at work, people can get sleepy while driving for a variety of reasons. Drowsiness impedes a driver's ability to operate a vehicle in a manner similar to alcohol because it slows reaction times and reduces judgment. These conditions make it difficult for drivers to respond effectively if something unexpected happens.

Information from the National Sleep Foundation states that drivers who are awake for 18 hours in a row will perform like people with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, just short of the legal intoxication standard of .08. After being awake for 24 hours, people slide into the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of .10 percent.

How to start the process of filing a workers' compensation claim

Getting injured at work can force you to stay home and recover while accumulating medical bills. This is a tough situation when you need regular income but you're surrounded by bills you can't afford to pay. Many families can feel the devastation when a loved one is suffering and the financial support is faltering.

Workers' compensation was developed decades ago to offer fair compensation to workers who are injured doing their job. It is an option that allows workers to get the help they need while recovering. However, obtaining the benefits of workers' compensation begins by doing your part of the process.

Study finds women more likely than men to text and drive

Women in West Palm Beach and elsewhere are more likely to use cellphones while driving than men, according to a study. The study was conducted by researchers in South East Queensland, Australia.

Previous studies have found that people who text and drive are six times more likely to crash their car, while those who talk on cellphones while behind the wheel are two times more likely to be involved in a crash. The Australian study, which surveyed 447 drivers, found that certain types of people are more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors than others. These people include female drivers, individuals who frequently use their phones to text and make calls, people who have a general disregard for safety procedures and those who have a lack of restraint. On the other hand, the study found that the temptation to engage in distracted driving behaviors decreases with age and experience.

The process of Florida home foreclosure

A person's home is his or her castle. That's a paraphrase of the old saying. Some might dispute the truth of the statement, but it's hard to imagine anyone who has succeeded in securing a Florida home being be among them.

Whether the property is a permanent residence or a vacation getaway used intermittently, there is pride of ownership. The last thing you want to see happen is for the mortgage lender to snatch the property through foreclosure action.

Researchers study technology's effect on drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that over 37,000 people died on America's roads in 2017, a 10 percent increase from three years earlier. Many drivers in West Palm Beach might think the increase is due to more smartphone use as well as the introduction of automated technology. While research has not shown this to be definite, the link seems obvious.

Companies like Nauto, a provider of smart cameras for fleet vehicles, have conducted their own studies and found how prevalent distracted driving is. Others, like Agero, a maker of vehicle safety and roadside assistance systems, have analyzed the effect of automated technology on drivers' attention. Agero found that drivers aged 17 to 22 use their smartphones for 12 percent of the time they're behind the wheel.