Traveling with Kids . . . Safely

October 17, 2013

Traveling with young children can be a very daunting proposition. It also comes with many risks. Proper preparation is the only way to avoid danger and make the trip a success. Consider the following tips before you leave your St. Petersburg home.

Packing. One of the most important parts of traveling is making sure that you have what you need to make the trip comfortable and enjoyable for the entire family. This groundwork can also help keep everyone safe. First, consider wardrobe. The atmosphere within a plane can vary substantially. At times, the air will be cool, bordering on uncomfortably cold. At other times, numerous bodies within the aircraft can make the temperatures rise to near sweltering. For this reason, it is wise to layer clothing, so, whether it is warm or cold at your final destination, your family members will be ready. When layering, choose brightly colored, easily spotted colors. This will help you keep better track of those that you are traveling with. Choose slip-on shoes for the trip to the airport; it will make it much easier when passing through the checkpoints. Finally, consider bringing activities that will keep kids entertained during the trip. This may mean new books for each, video games, or coloring books and crayons. Snacks are also a wise addition to the carry-on bag. Remember, however, that airports will not allow you to carry any beverages on that were not purchased in the terminal. It is also wise to pack baby wipes and baggies to keep messes at bay.

luggage.article.101313.jpgWhen packing the belongings that will make the trip with you, ensure that you are choosing reliable luggage. A recall was announced recently for one particular brand of children's bags. Referred to as the Journey Girl Travel Trunk, it was made with a plastic handle that can be very sharp and may cut a child's hand while hurrying through a busy airport - one more headache that you definitely don't need to contend with on top of the other stresses of traveling. For more information on this recall, visit the CPSC website. Avoid the need for a personal injury attorney for product malfunction by staying up to date on product recalls at this website.

Getting to the Airport. Whether you are driving yourself, hitching a ride with a friend, or taking a taxi to the airport, make sure that you don't forget your child's safety seat in the midst of all of the chaos. In Saint Petersburg, it is mandated that children under the age of five must be secured in a car seat. For the laws and recommendations set forth by the state, consult the DMV website. When you leave the car, carry the car seat along.

Airport Screening. Once you get to the airport, you will have to get through baggage check and passenger screening. Children under the age of 12 may be able to keep their shoes on during this process, though it is still best to have them prepared with slip-on shoes. Babies will have to be carried through the metal detector by parents and child gear will be fed through the x-ray machine. Strollers will most likely have to be emptied and folded before going through.

Before Take Off. It is finally time to take off! Once you make it to your seat, you will likely want to breathe a sigh of relief, but don't get too settled just yet. We mentioned before that you might want to bring the car seat with you. Federally approved car seats are also recommended on the plane where seatbelts are designed for adult-sized passengers. Beware that the car seat may be considered a "carry on" just as a bag would be.

Before take-off, hand out the gum. It can help children avoid the painful ear pressure and, hopefully, prevent a trip of crankiness. The same method can be used during landing. Finally, take a seat and enjoy the ride!

Bicycle Safety: Avoiding an Accident

October 15, 2013

cyclist-1059798-m.jpgIn a recent article featured in Seacoast Online, it was reported that Darriean Hess, a 19-year-old will soon face judges of the Superior Court. She was being held at Rockingham County jail after she admitted to being distracted while driving. Her decision to take her eyes off the road led to her car crossing the center line and making fatal contact with two cyclists. Two women, Pamela Wells (60) and Elisa Bouchard (52), will not return to their families.

This accident occurred less than eight hours after Hess was pulled over for an invalid ID. She was retained until a friend could come and drive her home. Despite her lack of responsibility, Hess was able to post bail and was released from jail. She will be returning to the courts shortly for her hearing.

This case is a reminder to us that distracted driving does kill. It also points out how essential it is for bicyclists to be prepared for the unexpected. While Wells and Bouchard likely wouldn't have had time to react, many bicycle-related accidents are avoidable.

According to, more than 650 people died in bicycle accidents in 2011. Thirty-eight thousand suffered injuries requiring medical attention. When a bike meets a car, the car generally wins and the cyclist will most often pay the greatest cost. Fortunately, there are several things that bike riders can do to decrease the chances of an accident.

Be Visible. Even during the day, but especially after dark, it is very important to make yourself as visible as possible when riding a bike in St. Petersburg. Reflectors, bright colored clothing, and battery-powered headlights are great starting points. The easier it is to see you, the less likely a car is to accidentally hit you. If you do notice that a driver isn't seeing you at an intersection or before making a turn, be sure to wave your arm and attract attention. It might also be useful to employ a bike horn. Though relatively unsophisticated, the traditional bike horn is often loud enough to get drivers to look your way.

Beware of Parked Cars. While a moving car is likely to do more damage, even parked cars carry risk. A person failing to pay attention is likely to quickly open the car door. If you are nearby, you and your bike are likely to be taken out. A personal injury attorney can help you collect financial reimbursement for medical and repair expenses, but that isn't going to keep pain at bay. Stay as far left as possible when passing a row of parked cars and keep your eyes peeled for drivers who may be ready to step out.

Be Wary of Red Lights. Many cyclists make the mistake of riding alongside cars stopped at a red light. This places the rider in harm's way. It generally means being in the driver's blind spot and also blocks you from a view of others on the opposite side of the car you are riding beside. It is much safer to ride behind the cars waiting at a red light.

Stay Behind. It is not only at a red light that being on the right-hand side of a car is dangerous. Should the driver decide to take a sudden right turn, you are likely to be knocked off your bike and seriously injured if not killed. As a cyclist, avoid passing on the right. If it is not possible to pass on the left, then be sure to get the driver's attention before moving to his or her right.

If you are involved in a bike accident in Saint Petersburg, seek legal assistance. It may be possible to collect compensation for your medical and repair expenses.

Three Ways Your Dog Can Cost You Money In Court

October 10, 2013

dog-personality-1430239-m.jpgThere are a number of ways that a pet can cost you money. Puppies like to chew on things; older dogs lose their ability to control their bladder function; and vet bills will often mount up quickly if the dog falls ill. However, some costs are less expected. Nevertheless, it is very wise to be aware of them.

Dog Bite. Undoubtedly, the most common reason for dogs sending their owners to the courtroom is biting. When a dog feels anxious, threatened, or is hurt in some way, it is likely to lash out. Even the mildest and most well-trained dogs can lash out when placed under great stress. This is why a personal injury attorney recommends keeping dogs behind locked doors or within a fenced yard when guests are visiting the home. New faces -particularly those of overzealous and curious children - always represent some level of stress for dogs.

This is not a new problem in this country. Approximately 4.5 million people will suffer dog bites this year and more than 15 percent of those attacks will result in the need for medical care. Many of those cases will involve a pet biting its owner. One of the most widespread misconceptions is that only the "bad" breeds will inflict such harm. According to the American Humane Society, 25 dog breeds have been responsible for fatal wounds to their human companions.

As the Saint Petersburg owner of a dog that attacks another person, you will be held liable for injuries inflicted. The financial costs can be tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the injuries. However, that price tag is minimal compared to emotional loss that comes with an abrupt end to a friendship or the loss of a life.

Getting Off The Leash. It is one of the most emotionally taxing moments of your life. You sit, kneeling on the ground with the limp body of your longtime family pet in your lap and cry. What could be worse than watching your dog get hit by a vehicle? How about the moment that you learn that on top of having it bury your furry friend, that you also will be held responsible for the damages done to the car when the collision occurred? Whether it was because he broke his leash and playfully ran ahead of you on your walk or because he was quick to dart out the door of your St. Petersburg home, the accident that takes place when the dog runs into the road is the dog's fault and, by extension, yours.

Unwarranted Breeding. Another less common form of negligence relating to dog ownership is unwarranted breeding. That is to say that, if your unfixed male dog breaks out of the backyard and heads to a yard a few houses down where an unfixed, purebred female dog resides, there is bound to be trouble.

Dog breeders and those who show prized dogs often invest a great deal of money and time into choosing the right mates for their valued pups and when Fido happens upon their ready female, it is likely that they will suffer a financial loss as a result. You could be held responsible for this. That is even more true should something happen to the female during the pregnancy or birth of the pups.

It is very important as a pet owner to understand the blanket of responsibility that you take on by welcoming a dog into your home. This should make it increasingly clear why proper training and leashing is essential when taking your pet outside the house. If you have been harmed as a result of a dog's bad behavior, then you have every right to contact a personal injury attorney as well.

The Most Common Soft Tissue Injuries

October 8, 2013

ankle-x-ray-983698-s.jpgIn personal injury law, lawyers will often encounter very gruesome injuries caused by the thoughtlessness of others. However, not all wounds are visible. In the medical community, some of the most frequent complaints can be attributed to soft tissue damage.

More and more frequently, schools and athletic programs are being held accountable after poor decisions by the coaches or other staff led to serious soft tissue injuries. This term may sound foreign, but chances are good that you have experienced one of the most common forms of soft tissue damage during your lifetime or, at the very least, have seen it happen to others. The three most common soft tissue injuries seen by Saint Petersburg hospitals are contusions, sprains, and strains.

Sprain versus Strain. It is common for athletes, children, and parents to mistakenly use these terms interchangeably, but they each have their own place in medicine. A sprain is the more common of the two soft tissues injuries. A sprain refers to damage done to connective tissue known as ligaments. These connect muscles to tendons and generally offer joint stability, which can, therefore, be reduced after injury. Severe sprains can cause immobility of a limb and result from the joint being pushed past the normal range of motion.

Strains, on the other hand, have no bearing on ligaments. These occur when muscles and tendons are stretched or torn. In this case, it is not the joint being taxed, but the muscle itself. A strain generally occurs when a muscle is taught and then suddenly is compressed with force. This is an injury frequently seen in track and field athletes due to the force exerted while running and jumping.

Sprains and strains are measured on the same scale receiving a grade of I-III depending on severity. Grade I is the most mild of injuries, whereas a Grade III sprain or strain suggests a full-fledged tear of the soft tissue. Though commonly seen by doctors in St. Petersburg, sprains and strains can require extensive healing times. While very common in athletics and car accidents, in many cases they can be prevented.

Contusion. The most common of the soft tissue injuries is known as contusion. This is a fancy term used to describe bruising. Bruises are far from unusual. Most children will have at least one or two present on their legs on any given day. They, of course, occur as a result of a blunt force - bumping into a school desk or running into another player on the field.

In general, contusions are a mild form of injury. They rarely prevent a player from returning to the game. However, occasionally, due to a bad Saint Petersburg car accident or because an athlete is not properly padded when playing, contusions can be severe and result in lasting troubles. Contusions of internal organs can occur when there is a harsh and unexpected impact. That sort of deep tissue injury can mean a long, drawn out healing time.

While soft tissue injuries are common and often minor, there are times when severe cases can cause lasting damage. When the injury is the result of a poor decision made by another individual - whether it is making the choice to drink and drive or a coach choosing to hold a full-contact practice without pads - the negligent party should be held accountable. This is exactly why you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

How Will Obamacare Impact Medical Malpractice Claims?

October 3, 2013

a-man-with-mask-1415228-m.jpgThere has been a great deal of speculation regarding how the Obamacare health insurance plan (aka The Affordable Care Act) will impact the personal injury law field. Some fear that it will make it more difficult for victims to get the financial damages that they deserve and need fter a negligent healthcare provider causes them harm. Others believe that it will increase the number of cases of medical malpractice. The answer cannot be entirely known until the system is in place, but in the meantime, it does not hurt to consider how and why there are concerns in this field.

Will The Number of Cases Increase? Many feel that the answer to this question in St. Petersburg and throughout the country is a resounding yes. With more people able to afford the healthcare that they may have needed but had been unable to pay for, doctors will be overloaded and potentially be more apt to make mistakes. Perhaps that is the case.

The opposition, however, argues that patients will not hold out so long before seeking the attention of a doctor and that will provide those medical professionals more time to make accurate diagnoses. If that is the case, then perhaps the number of lawsuits will fall.

The Correlation Between Overcrowding and Mistakes. There still remains the concern regarding overcrowded waiting rooms leading to increased anxiety, professional exhaustion, and a decreased ability to provide the proper care to each individual patient.

There are some that speculate that Obamacare will not increase the number of patients, but simply improve their ability to avoid medical care. They further argue that these people are already seeking medical attention, but that they are doing so at emergency rooms and walk-in clinics, where prices are more reasonable. With more affordable insurance, this new system could potentially spread the patients out, more evenly, among the Saint Petersburg medical facilities.

Even if that is the case, doctors' offices will still, very likely, have to contend with an influx of patients that they have not had to deal with previously. Yes, these newly-insured patients have probably relied on the medical system before, to some extent, but likely not as much as they could have had they had the financial resources to do so. No matter how one looks at it, there is a definite possibility that there will be an increased demand in the medical community and that will, undoubtedly, put increased pressure on existing physicians.

How Can Medical Facilities Prepare? The majority of cases involving medical malpractice that personal injury attorneys hear are due to the staff being overworked and mentally taxed or undertrained. If the expectation that doctors will be inundated with more patients than ever before holds true, there will be more reason than ever for those offices to be well-staffed and continually educated, which could lead to more jobs. Should those two efforts be made, the chances of a medical malpractice case being formed around that practice will remain low.

What Will That Mean for Patients? It may be necessary for patients to be extra vigilant in the months and years following the roll-out of the Obamacare plan. Seeking highly qualified doctors in well-managed offices is a good place to start. If the waiting room is consistently packed and one is waiting for exorbitant amounts of time, but seeing the doctor for only a few moments, then there is likely reason to consider a change of physicians. Additionally, patients shouldn't be afraid to ask questions or to demand a second opinion when a diagnosis doesn't seem to add up. Finally, if there is any suspicion that medical malpractice is to blame for a failed surgery, untimely death, or debilitating drug interaction, it is always wise to seek legal representation.

Birth Defects Vs. Birth Trauma

October 2, 2013

baby-foot-1088884-m.jpgThe day your baby is born is meant to be among the happiest in your life, but that can all suddenly change when there is news of a serious birth defect. In many cases, lumped into this term "birth defect" is an entirely different realm of problems, better labeled "birth injuries" or "birth traumas." While neither a birth defect nor a birth trauma is a good diagnosis to face, there is a substantial difference of which new parents should be aware. To understand why St. Petersburg families facing birth traumas may be entitled to compensation, one must first comprehend the difference between the two terms.

What is a Birth Defect? Birth defects are also known as congenital disorder. That is to say that they are due to genetic abnormalities, the mother being in poor health during the pregnancy, intrauterine infections, or because the mother is exposed to certain environmental conditions. These problems generally develop during infancy, but have already formed their roots in the child's genetic makeup while he or she was in the womb. Birth defects vary in severity and can impact the child for the rest of his or her life, but they are not caused by delivery.

What is a Birth Trauma? On the other hand, a birth trauma is a direct result of some sort of force exerted during birth. Of course, there is a great deal of force placed on a child during the birthing process, but the newborn can tolerate that. After all, that is the way that we are meant to come into the world. However, when additional force is necessary to remove the child, there is a risk of damage. Poorly performed physician interference can cause serious harm to vital organs, the bone structure of the child, nerve centers, the heart, brain, or skull. This is a common form of medical malpractice. An example of this is cerebral palsy, which is often the result of doctors waiting too long to schedule an emergency C-section. Of course, it isn't always the doctor's doing. In many cases, for instance, the umbilical cord can wrap around the child. Around the throat, it can cut off air supply.

Though the statistics sound comforting at first, with less than one percent of infants experiencing any form of birth trauma, the numbers are a bit overwhelming when considered in another light. According to experts on the subject, of the nearly four million babies born in 2012, as many as 24,000 suffered some type of birth injury. The exact number of infants from Saint Petersburg falling on that list is a little more difficult to discern, but nevertheless this is a reminder that there is a real risk.

It is important to understand that not all birth traumas are going to be worthy of a personal injury case. The most minor of those can be nothing more than light bruising or a slight laceration, which will heal and leave the baby completely unfazed. More severe cases are what the law aims to rectify. When a doctor makes a poor decision that leads to lifelong brain damage or deformity, then a personal injury attorney should be contacted. It may be possible to collect damages to assist with the ongoing medical care necessary to properly care for the child. There are time limits on cases such as this. If there is any suspicion that the medical team is to blame for causing lasting problems for your child, seek legal representation as soon as possible.

Can Women and Their Doctors Prevent Birth Defects?

September 27, 2013

baby.boy.jpgThere has been a lot of concern in recent years regarding the role that doctors play in causing - or failing to prevent - birth defects. Technically, a personal injury attorney would specify that medical malpractice can lead to birth injuries, but birth defects may be caused by medications prescribed. Regardless of the technicalities, often the symptoms of birth defects are life-long and require a great deal of special care, which can be both costly and emotionally taxing on everyone involved. Fortunately, medical professionals do feel that there are ways to help prevent birth defects. The following is a list of measures that can be taken by mom and her doctors to help ensure the baby is born healthy and happy.

Schedule Regular Appointments. Prenatal care is essential for gauging the continued growth of the child within, as well as ensuring the mother's health and well-being throughout the pregnancy. But, even before getting pregnant, women who think that they may choose to become mothers should seek the advice of a trusted St. Petersburg doctor. Some illnesses - even those with few or no symptoms - can impact pregnancy and increase the risk of something going wrong. Get a clean bill of health and learn more about proper prenatal care right away and you will be able to enter motherhood with peace of mind.

Maintain Yourself. Remember that, while inside you, a baby's health depends on your own status. If you are struggling to get high blood pressure or persistent pain under control while pregnant, the baby is likely being impacted. Special circumstances like these should be closely monitored by the physician to ensure that both generations can thrive.

Know About Food. It's not enough to eat. It's not enough to simply eat more. You have to know how to eat healthy if you want to give your child a good head start in life. Poor dietary intake, especially in the first trimester, could leave your baby at risk of birth defects or worse.

Remember that the food pyramid has been altered in recent years. No longer is it thought that a person should consider grains as the largest part of their diet. Instead, people are now urged to eat more fruits and vegetables than anything else. Once dominating the largest, bottom section of the pyramid, breads and grains are not at the tippy-top. If you have concerns about how your own diet fits within the new guidelines, consider speaking with a dietician in Saint Petersburg. Also, keep in mind that part of a good diet is avoiding drugs and chemicals that could reach the baby within. These substances include tobacco, illegal drugs, unnecessary prescriptions, and even OTC medications.

Stay Active, Sleep Well. Pregnancy should not be an excuse to sit around all day. The healthiest moms generally deliver the healthiest babies, so stay active. There will be, of course, different restrictions placed on your exercise routine while you are pregnant, so speak with a doctor regarding any questions or concerns.

Between workouts, be sure that you are getting plenty of sleep. It can become increasingly difficult to get comfortable as pregnancy progresses, but it is generally recommended that you sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees for support. The ultimate goal is eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

Following these guidelines can help you maintain yourself and the child growing within you during your pregnancy. If something tragic does occur at delivery, speak to a personal injury attorney near you about your rights and the rights of your child.

Personal Injury Lawsuit: Like a Resume?

September 24, 2013

responsibility-306205-m.jpgPersonal injury law is an essential part of this country's legal system. It is meant to defend the victims of serious accidents from financial loss. Unfortunately, a person can win or lose a case for himself based upon how he handles himself before and during the case. Think of the most-used adjectives on a professional resume and you have a list of the best characteristics that can be found in a personal injury plaintiff.

Attention to Detail. The very best personal injury victim is someone who pays close attention to the details surrounding the case. This is the person who thinks to snap photos of the accident scene after a car crash, who requests the contact information of witnesses, and who ensures that all medical paperwork includes all symptoms experienced after the accident.

Even if you are not someone who normally focuses on the small things in life, this is something to keep in mind whenever you are involved in an unexpected accident due to someone else's negligence. Whether it is a dog attack or a slip and fall, there are a lot of details that, if remembered correctly, can significantly increase your chances of collecting the damages needed to cover your medical expenses.

Effective Communication. Not only is it a very important skill in the courtroom, where you may be asked to speak about your injuries, losses, or about the case itself, but communication is essential throughout the legal process.

The ability to clearly state what happened is the first step and this can determine whether or not a personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg will take on your case. Getting through this step only guarantees the need for further communication so evidence can be gathered, meetings can be scheduled, and dates can be confirmed. If you fail to answer your phone, to return missed calls, or cannot provide clearly stated answers to questions asked of you, then your chances of winning the case are significantly reduced.

Honesty. Court cases can be dragged out over many months or even years, depending on circumstances. The white lie told today will likely snowball in that amount of time and there is a strong possibility that it will be discovered, making you appear untrustworthy. That, of course, makes it twice as hard to win your case and recover damages.

Being honest with the Saint Petersburg medical team and your personal injury attorney is the first step. That provides a solid base to build upon.

Dedicated. Finally, the best client for any lawyer is the person who is dedicated to winning the case. This is a person who shows up to all meetings on time, returns phones calls promptly, helps to produce necessary evidence, and dresses the part throughout. While a lot falls on the lawyer's shoulders during the time that it takes to build a case, there will also be a lot of tough questions asked of the client. A dedicated person is someone who does not shy away from these steps and does not put the case on the back burner for long periods of time.

These characteristics are not entirely essential for winning a court case, but they certainly make it a lot easier. If you want to increase the likelihood of walking away with enough to cover the costs accrued, then be sure to be respectful of the others involved, do your part, do it well, and always speak honestly.

5 Things To Know About Tractor-Trailer Trucks

September 19, 2013

big-rig-153663-m.jpgThe vast majority of the American population will never know what it is like to drive behind the wheel of a big rig. That is fine. However, even the average, everyday driver who sticks to sedans and SUVs should understand a few things about large trucks. This knowledge can help prevent the accidents that lead to courtrooms and personal injury attorney offices.

1. Blind Spot. For anyone who is not yet aware, tractor-trailer drivers deal with certain disadvantages due to the size and shape of their transporters. Among the most notable differences between this and the average passenger vehicle is the rather large blind spots that the driver must contend with. On either side of the truck, to the right and directly in-line with the front tires, and within a certain distance of the back bumper, are areas of little to no visibility. This means that a car traveling in such a relation to the truck may be completely invisible to the big rig's driver. This, of course, drastically increases the risk of an accident.

2. Prone to Tire Blowout. The problem isn't necessarily that the tires are more prone to giving out on the highways of St. Petersburg, but rather that these trucks rely on many tires and they have a great deal more wear and tear on them with travel miles than the average driver would on car tires. Nevertheless, the threat of such an occurrence is greater for a tractor-trailer driver and its impact will certainly be felt by any cars driving in the near vicinity.

3. Tired Drivers. Surely you have felt the impact of exhaustion while behind the wheel at least once in your life. Drowsy driving has become a sort of epidemic and certainly a major concern in Saint Petersburg and the rest of the country. That problem is compounded for semi-truck operators. After all, they spend a large amount of time on the road during the week and will often travel long after the sun has set, making drowsiness more likely. The average truck driver will log up to 70 hours over an eight-day period.

4. Susceptible to High Winds. Again, due to the massive size and shape of these transporters, high winds can wreak havoc on the drivers' comfortable rides. The gusts can push them all over the road as they fight to stay within the lines of their lanes. It is essential for other drivers to give these massive trucks space in times of high wind.

5. More Difficulty Taking Corners. When taking a tight turn, small vehicles will just skirt around with little trouble, but a 53-foot tractor-trailer does not take the corners quite so gracefully, especially when the driver behind the wheel is not one of the most experienced in the fleet. Thus, it is essential for other drivers to give them the space needed to make the turn. This means staying back from the intersection when stopping at red lights or stop signs. It also means being patient when following behind the semi-truck.

When you are aware of the challenges faced by large truck drivers, you are better equipped to avoid potentially fatal crashes. However, not everything in life can be predicted. If you are involved in a semi-truck accident, contact your personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

5 Often Overlooked Hazards on the Road

September 17, 2013

under-construction-1268302-m.jpgOver and over again, the media mentions the importance of staying sober behind the wheel and putting down the smartphone while driving, but there are a lot of potential dangers lurking about the highways and many of them are regularly overlooked.

1. Animals. In or out of the car, animals can be a big problem on the road. Dogs, cats, and other pets allowed to travel without restraint can become a major distraction for the driver. Accidents have occurred many times because a puppy jumps into a lap unexpectedly or a cat nuzzles in against the gas pedal.

Outside the vehicle, animals aren't offering any better help. With only their glowing eyes to give them away in the darker hours of the day, animals can skitter onto the road from any direction without warning. While this is certainly a bigger issue in the rural areas of the country, more and more often urban areas like St. Petersburg are being impacted by over-population of certain species. As a result, carcasses find their way to the side of the road, while cars are towed and passengers speed away under flashing lights.

2. Road Construction... Or Lack Thereof. The term "poor road conditions" often conjures images of rain, fog, and gray skies. However, the road can be equally dangerous on dry days when it is in poor repair. Potholes can cause flat tires, disrupted alignment, and other such trouble with vehicles. Poorly marked construction zones can leave workers and drivers in harm's way. Even freshly paved roads that were not properly engineered can leave carpoolers in regular danger.

3. Sun. It's warm, inviting, and the center of many great summertime events, but the sun can also be a great hazard on the road. Drivers who are not properly equipped with sunglasses and visors can find themselves temporarily blinded when the sun is at a certain point above the horizon. This has led to many accidents in the past and the need for a personal injury attorney to defend against financial loss.

4. Kids. We do everything we can to protect them while on the road, but they can be the cause of accidents as well. Parents are often distracted while driving because kids are arguing, crying, asking questions, or otherwise demanding attention from the backseat. While DVD systems can certainly provide entertainment, even they have proven a risk for parents of young children. They can frequently find themselves switching movies or fast-forwarding through opening credits while driving.

5. Wind. On occasion in Saint Petersburg - as is the case in all corners of the country - wind can become an issue and strong gusts can push vehicles around on the highway. Large trucks and vans are at an even greater risk as there is more surface area for the winds to latch onto. It is important to understand that this is a very real threat. While you may only slightly feel the push of the gusts in a passenger car, the vehicles that you travel alongside may be more prone to its impact. As with any other example of poor weather conditions, it is always advised to drive slower and to keep a greater distance from other automobiles in high wind situations.

Regardless of the reason, it is always wise to seek necessary medical attention immediately after a car accident and then, as soon as is possible, to call a personal injury lawyer to discuss the circumstances of the crash.

School Bus Safety

September 12, 2013

school-bus-red-light-655548-m.jpgAs we continue to make the adjustment from the freedom of summer to the more rigid structure of the school year, it is wise to discuss school bus safety with our children. This is particularly true if the child will be taking the bus as a main form of commute. In rural areas, kids may be on the bus for one or even two hours each day, round-trip. In the cities, bus drivers face traffic congestion and constant distractions. For these reasons and more, it is essential that students know how to stay safe on the bus.

Getting to a Seat. Anyone boarding a bus should move quickly to take a seat. The bus driver should not start moving until the passenger is safely seated. If the child does not have time to do so, then a conversation with the driver is necessary.

Buckle Up... if Possible. If a seat belt is provided, it is advised that the child make good use of it. Practice buckling with the child, making a point to demonstrate how to fasten it, tighten it, and ensure that it lies over the lap and not the stomach.

In many areas of the country, seat belts are not available on school transportation. Federal law does not require them in buses weighing over a certain limit. Therefore, it is up to the state to mandate it and not all of them do. In fact, Florida is one of only six states to require seat belts in all school buses (so Saint Petersburg children will find them on their buses). Fewer still mandate that children must use the devices.

If you wonder why states wouldn't require them, consider the fact that adding the safety devices to a new bus increases the manufacturing price by up to $15,000. Furthermore, the seat belt assemblies take up space, which reduces the number of seats available to children. There is evidence suggesting that misusing a seat belt could cause more harm than it does good in an accident. This worries school systems as does the fact that trying to enforce seat belt rules could increase distractions faced by the drivers. For some, the perceived risk of having them installed appears greater than that of a serious accident, medical expenses, or a visit from a personal injury attorney.

Stay Seated. Even if seat belts are not provided, students should be reminded to remain in their seats for the entire ride and not to stand until the bus has come to a complete stop. Once the driver has given the ok, the child should move carefully to the front of the bus and exit.

Don't Distract the Driver. As we have learned from the numerous recent campaigns in St. Petersburg, distraction on the road is a big cause of accidents. Therefore, children should know to speak quietly and avoid any other possible distractions while the bus is moving. If he or she needs to speak to the driver, it should happen only after the bus has stopped moving.

Keep a Clear Path. In an emergency, everyone may have to exit the bus quickly. This is not easily done if the aisle is cluttered. Therefore, children should keep backpacks and other belongings on their laps or in their seats. These things should never be in the aisle.

Back to School: The Red Flags

September 10, 2013

bully-383193-m.jpgWith the majority of American children learning the routine of school again, parents are finding themselves faced with a myriad of challenges - ensuring the bags are cleaned out, lunches are packed, and homework has been completed. However, it is also important to keep an eye out for changes in a child's attitude.

In recent years, a lot of attention has been focused on bullying within the US school system. The Saint Petersburg media has covered a number of very tragic stories about kids pushed too far by the taunts and teasing of fellow classmates to the point that they make rash, life-altering decisions. Yet, it cannot be entirely prevented, so parents must be alert to any signs that a child is suffering at the hands of others. It must also be considered that his or her child could be the one making hurtful comments or causing harm to others.

Bullying is no longer a problem kept within the walls of the St. Petersburg schools. It is being battled fiercely in the courtroom as well. A poor decision on the part of your child could land you before a judge and jury. That could lead to extensive financial loss, but the potential losses faced by the victims' families are often much greater. For that reason, a personal injury attorney would advise that you keep your eyes open for the red flags associated with bullying.

Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied

Reluctance. A child being bullied will often show hesitation when it comes time to get on the bus in the morning or head to the first class of the day.
Anger. The victim might show signs of increased anger at home because of mounting frustration at school.

Isolation. The emotional toll on a person faced with continued persecution can be devastating. It can lead to depression and a sudden desire to be alone. Children who are normally upbeat and outgoing will often close down, becoming suddenly shy, reserved, or unwillingly to try new things.

Illness. Unfortunately, mental anguish often attacks physical well-being, making depressed children more susceptible to headaches, upset stomachs, and may even increase the likelihood of picking up infections.

Increased Appetite. While most people associate depression with an unwillingness to eat or lack of appetite, kids facing bullying at school will often show signs of great hunger at home. This could be a sign that their lunch or snack periods are being disturbed by the actions of others.

Damaged or Missing Belongings. An otherwise organized and responsible child may suddenly have a streak of losing, misplacing, or breaking possessions. In many cases, it is not the child's doing, but rather his or her reluctance to "tattle" that is the underlying problem.

Signs That Your Child is a Bully

Aggressive Behavior. A bully is often someone that is quick to act out against others, particularly when he or she thinks that adults aren't looking. It might be noted that he or she is pleased by others' pain or suffering.

Anger. The root of the action is often frustration or pent-up anger that would present itself in different ways within the home.

Dominant Personality. A bully wants to be overpowering. Other children might shy away from him or her.

Passes Blame. Another major warning sign is that the child is quick to place the blame on others for his or her actions.

Obedience Training: Why It Is Essential For Your Dog

September 5, 2013

dalmatian-1425613-m.jpgAs a personal injury attorney, I have encountered many situations involving serious and even life-threatening dog attacks. While most dogs are fantastic pets and can become a full fledged member of the family with little threat of harm, all dogs are animals and, therefore, will react instinctively to certain stimuli.

Dogs Respond to Stress. Consider how you feel when your boss puts undue pressure on you with tight deadlines, long hours, and unfair demands. Think about how you felt the last time someone snuck up on you or you found yourself in a frightening situation. Picture the most difficult person you have ever met and how enraged you felt in having to deal with him or her.

These are all stressful situations and your body reacts as a result of the anxiety. When faced with the unknown or when overwhelmed, it is more likely that a person will react irrationally or out of character. The same is true of a dog.

Dogs are unable to reason; therefore, they cannot make sense of situations as easily as humans. As a result, a normal, everyday situation for a person can be highly stressful for a dog. Meeting new people, traveling, or being introduced to other animals can fill your pet with anxiety and that, unfortunately, can lead him or her to act out aggressively. It only takes one bad act to condemn an animal for life.

Obedience Training Reduces Stress. Working with a dog on certain behaviors can reduce the chances of a poor reaction by the animal when placed in unfamiliar surroundings. If you do not have experience training dogs, then it is wise to consult a professional in St. Petersburg for assistance. Proper training now will lead to lifelong dependability.

Among other things, your dog should learn to follow commands, to allow you to lead when walking on a leash, to ignore distractions (such as other dogs) when out and about, and to sit calmly at your side when you stop walking.

In addition to learning new skills, your dog will be happier for having the comfort of a strong leader. As well, proper obedience training will teach your dog to behave under your commands and will teach you to deal with the animal without resorting to yelling or physical punishment.

Knowing Your Dog. While Saint Petersburg dog obedience classes can do a lot to modify your dog's behavior and reduce the anxiety he or she feels when away from the comfort and quiet of home, it is not entirely foolproof. It is important to learn your dog's habits after training and understand what situations are best avoided. For the safety of your pet and innocent bystanders, it may be necessary to ask others not to pet him, to keep children at a distance, or to avoid areas heavily populated by other dogs. This is especially true if the dog showcases aggressive behaviors when placed in such a situation, even after a reputable obedience training class.

It is very important for pet owners to understand the responsibility that comes with the adoption of a pet. Animal bites can seriously harm and even kill people. If your dog should react poorly in a stressful situation and bite someone, it could cost you a great deal of money and time spent in the courtroom. The outcome for your dog could be even worse. Paying for obedience training isn't just a wise investment, it can be the difference between life and death.

Business Vs. Emotion: The Dilemma Regularly Plaguing Attorneys

September 3, 2013

up-and-down-the-stairs-7855-m.jpgIn recent months and years, there has been a lot of talk in Saint Petersburg and beyond regarding the usefulness of social media in the courtroom. Without thinking, people will often post incriminating evidence in the form of statements, pictures, or videos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other such social media forums. Of course, as we have warned the public many times, anything that you post in these public arenas can be used against you in the courtroom if applicable to the case. However, new questions are starting to arise regarding how far judges, juries, and attorneys can look into the happenings online. Is it fair to broadcast the comments made or pictures posted by a user unrelated to the case?

This query was recently raised by the masses after an article in the New York Law Journal brought light to the topic. Though the article was not specifically directed at the topic of social media in the courtroom, the general concerns can be applied to the internet-based conversations.

The essential concern is the privacy of those unrelated to the case, but in some way capable of providing incriminating evidence against the defendant or plaintiff. In order to fully understand, let me provide an example.

Imagine that you are visiting St. Petersburg on a vacation and during your stay you are involved in a car accident that leaves you a victim of whiplash. The other driver, who cut in front of you while trying to beat a red light, is obviously at fault and you are left to suffer through x-rays, MRIs, physical therapy, and other such treatment plans. So, you go on to hire a personal injury attorney to assist you in filing a lawsuit against the negligent party. In the meantime, you discover that a friend of yours who had joined you on the vacation had posted a picture of you taking a shot of alcohol on the night that the accident occurred. Privacy settings make it visible only to friends of that person, but the opposing attorney would obviously love to get his or her hands on that evidence, which might suggest that, at the very least, you must share the responsibility for the accident with the other party. Even if it was the only beverage you consumed that evening, if that picture is allowed as evidence, it could mean a significantly smaller amount of damages awarded or, at the very least, a longer more drawn out search for evidence.

Is it fair for the courts to request that your friend hand over the evidence? That is the question being asked by people all over the country. Even if you are obsessively careful about what you write and post about the accident that you are involved in, you may also be subject to whatever your friends and family post. Currently, laws are not overly clear on how much of that evidence can be taken from the web.

Until the laws are rewritten to contend with the ever-changing social environment, it is important to consider how every post, picture, or video shared by you, a friend, or family member may impact your personal injury case. Proving your own innocence and the negligence of the other party may become more difficult as a result of social media and that is something that you and your attorney should discuss before filing a lawsuit.

Medical Mistakes Are Far Too Common

August 29, 2013

medical-doctor-1314902-m.jpgIt happens all too often. Someone goes to the hospital for treatment, is given the attention he needs, is doing better, and then all of a sudden he is not doing so well. Sometimes the reason is unavoidable. Other times, the reason is because of something which was done wrong.

Medical malpractice insurance is insurance doctors and hospitals purchase so that when those avoidable things happen, they will be covered. Once in a while, there may be a misdiagnosis in St. Petersburg, just as well as anywhere else. That can cause problems because then the wrong treatment will be given, and may end up causing even more problems. Sometimes there is a mistake made while a doctor is performing surgery. Those mistakes are very costly, occasionally even to the point of death.

There was one case where someone was having a biopsy of the lining of the stomach, and the doctor somehow left a hole which caused major problems. When the problem was found, it was too late. A major infection had set in, and the woman died a few days later.

Another example would be a young woman who was diagnosed with an allergy to a common protein. She changed her diet, eliminated many things from her diet, and began losing weight she could not afford to lose. She ate this way for a year, and was feeling even more ill towards the end of the year. She was tested again, by a different doctor, and found out that she was not allergic, but actually had Lyme disease. She is now recovering, but has gone through a lot of physical changes which were totally unnecessary, and all because of a misdiagnosis.

In the Saint Petersburg and surrounding Florida areas, there are lawyers who can help you determine whether or not you have a medical malpractice case which deserves to be given some attention. You can consult with a personal injury attorney, at no cost, and find out if you have reason to proceed with a case.

Health problems are difficult enough without the added stress of more problems because something was either misdiagnosed, overlooked, or a misstep was performed during a procedure. You have medical expenses already. If you have a doctor in St. Petersburg who has made mistakes in any of these areas, you may be entitled to more than having those additional medical expenses covered.

You may be able to receive damages to cover the expenses initially outlaid when you first went to the doctor, all the medical attention you have received since the problem was intensified by a mistake or neglect, all money lost from losing work and losing wages, all bills accrued during your recovery time, and even financial help for all the pain and suffering you have undergone because of the additional problems.

The only way you can really know if you have an option to get help with the problems you have had because of medical mistakes or neglect by a doctor, is to speak with a personal injury attorney in Saint Petersburg who specializes in medical malpractice lawsuits. Don't be a victim any longer. Take your options seriously if you think you may have been involved in medical malpractice, and talk to a good lawyer.