Thompson & Thomas, P.A. Menu Contact
Free Initial Consultation
561-651-4150

West Palm Beach Legal Blog

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?

Avoiding drunk and reckless drivers on Halloween

Florida residents who will be partying on Halloween or sending their children off to trick-or-treat should know of the real dangers that arise during that night, especially those posed by drunk and reckless drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that most people are killed in drunk-driving crashes between 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Between 2012 and 2016, 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes that occurred within this 12-hour period involved at least one drunk driver. On Halloween night 2016, nearly half of the drunk drivers who caused a crash were between the ages of 21 and 34. To address this risk, the northeast chapter of AAA has offered up some effective safety tips.

Distracted driving endangers every person on Florida’s roads

Distractions are an everyday occurrence and point of concern for anyone behind the wheel or on the road. While driving under the influence still tops the list of contributing factors to car accidents, distracted driving is another point of serious concern for travelers, commuters and passengers in Florida.

Thousands of people die in car accidents due to some form of distraction every year, with hundreds of thousands more impacted by these collisions. What is the solution to these entirely preventable accidents, injuries and deaths? To start, every person on the road needs to know the likely risk factors that can lead to a distracted driving accident as well as some useful reminders to help mitigate these risks.

Worker fatigue makes dangerous jobs even more dangerous

On-the-job fatigue can be a problem for workers in West Palm Beach in many different jobs. Being tired at work can be a safety risk in any industry, but it is especially dangerous for workers in jobs that are dangerous to begin with. A new report from the National Safety Council finds that 69 percent of workers feel tired at work, but employers, rather than workers, may have a better understanding of the impact fatigue can have.

The NSC report summarizes the results of two surveys on the topic of fatigue in safety-critical industries. One survey was of employers and the other was of employees. According to the analysis of the surveys, only 72 percent of workers recognize fatigue on the job as a safety concern while 90 percent of employers do.

Drivers may not be ready for semi-autonomous cars

The odds of a person dying in a car crash are lower than their odds of dying from obesity. However, there are still 1.3 million car accident deaths annually throughout the world. Furthermore, drivers in Florida and elsewhere are still unaware that advanced safety features are limited in what they can do. Research has indicated that it might not be a good idea to allow humans to operate semi-autonomous vehicles.

According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, drivers said that they engaged in other activities while adaptive cruise control was activated. Roughly a quarter of those surveyed said that they didn't look for other vehicles while changing lanes when using a blind-spot monitoring system. While emergency braking systems can help to avoid an accident, they are not perfect. However, about one-third of drivers in the AAA study were unaware that they could be rendered ineffective by snow or dirt blocking a sensor.

Florida workers’ comp will now cover PTSD for first responders

Florida has a new law meant to help take care of first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It aims at reducing the number of first responders who take their own life—many of whom have been diagnosed with traumatic stress. Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law, and it takes effect starting October 1, 2018.

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.