Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

West Palm Beach Residents at Risk of Exercise Accidents

At the start of a new year, many people in West Palm Beach, CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington resolve that they will do something to improve their health or to improve their life. One of the most common resolutions is to start working out or getting in shape. Exercising is great for your body, but there are also risks with physical activity. A personal injury lawyer knows that these risks are exacerbated if exercise equipment is faulty or if the owners and operators of a gym fail to maintain their space and make it safe for customers. 

Exercise injuries are common and have been increasing. Victims injured in accidents involving exercise equipment or those who hurt themselves due to unsafe conditions at the gym need to take legal action to recover compensation.

Exercise Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury

Exercise accidents happen every day. Just recently, the LA Times reported on a very serious accident involving U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. He was reportedly working out in his home when a resistance band broke on the piece of exercise equipment that he was using. The band struck him in the face and caused him to fall, hitting other gym equipment on his way down.

The injuries were relatively serious and included a broken rib as well as several broken bones in the face. It is not clear whether there was a defect or a problem with the equipment that caused the band to break and led to the injuries.

Although this exercise mishap made headlines because Harry Reid is the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, there are many other people who get hurt every year on exercise equipment and whose injuries don’t make front page news. The Health I Team reports that the number of injuries that have resulted from the use of exercise equipment has actually increased by 45 percent just between 2007 and 2010.

Many exercise accidents occur due to problems with gym equipment that people are using, like broken exercise bands. Treadmills appear to be a particularly problematic piece of gym equipment. In 2005, a total of 16,700 treadmills were recalled as a result of the fact that machines were malfunctioning and shocking users. One company had to recall treadmills both in 2007 and in 2008. The first recall involved 4,600 treadmills due to a malfunction that caused overheating and resulted in the treadmills starting on fire. The second involved the recall of around 20,000 treadmills because the machines had a defect that would cause them to speed up unexpectedly when people were using them.

If a treadmill or other exercise equipment malfunctions due to a problem with the machine, the manufacturer of the machine can be held legally liable for damages. Gym owners and operators who do not follow basic safety rules to protect their premises could also be sued by those who hurt themselves while working out at the gym.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims in CityPlace, Flamingo Park and Wellington and surrounding areas. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit www.gonzalezcartwright.com to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

West Palm Beach Brain Injuries & High Risk of Dementia

The lasting health effects of brain injury have become clear to researchers and medical professionals. A recent study published on Health Day confirms that there is likely a link between traumatic brain injury and dementia. The study was “able to point to an association,” although it could not conclusively prove cause-and-effect. 

Because of the seriousness of brain injuries, it is important for victims to understand their legal rights. Top causes of brain injuries include motor vehicle collisions, sports accidents, slip and falls and violence. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help brain injury victims pursue a claim for compensation to provide for lasting care and rehabilitative needs.

Brain injury and dementia risks

The new study involved an evaluation of 190,000 veterans who were 68-years-old on average. The veterans were free of dementia. A total of 1,229 of the veterans had been diagnosed with a brain injury.

Researchers followed these veterans over a period of nine years. Among the veterans who had been diagnosed with a brain injury, 16 percent developed dementia. Among the veterans who had not been diagnosed with a brain injury, only 10 percent developed dementia.

The vets who had a brain injury generally developed dementia at an average age of 78.5 years. Among those who did not have a brain injury and who developed dementia, the problem did not set in until an average age of 81.

Researchers said: “Our results suggest that [brain injury] may increase the risk of developing dementia in older veterans, with an age of onset about two years earlier.”

Other risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and alcohol abuse, were taken into consideration when the study was performed. Even accounting for these variables, it seems clear that the brain injury played a role both in increasing the risk and in reducing the age at which dementia sets in.

Research also showed that the risk of dementia was higher in veterans who had both a brain injury and another health condition such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or cerebrovascular disease.

The study did not delve into the specific mechanisms that may have caused the increased risk of dementia. However, one potential theory is that each of the hits that the brain sustains reduces the brain’s ability to recover from the damage.

Another possible explanation for a link between a brain injury and dementia is that injury in the brain can cause a build-up of amyloid or tau. Both of these proteins are implicated in dementia and in Alzheimer’s disease.

This study is not the first to suggest that there is a potentially increased risk of dementia for people who sustain head trauma. The Alzheimer’s Association also warns that the effects of a traumatic brain injury can be lasting and permanent and may, among other things, make a person more susceptible to dementia as he ages.

Preventing head injuries is a top priority because of the lingering and indirect health consequences. Unfortunately, if an injury has occurred, victims have no option but to try to recover and ensure they have received full an fair compensation for the damage sustained.

Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

West Palm Beach Boating Accidents Can Be Deadly

A boat collision in the waters of South Florida resulted in at least three deaths this July. According to Fox News 29, authorities believe that the boaters were out celebrating Independence Day when the collision occurred late on the Fourth of July. The collision was reported to rescuers at approximately 10:45 when the operator of a 36-foot pleasure craft called in and said he’d been struck by another vessel and his boat was taking on water. 

A total of eight people were taken to the shore and treated in local hospitals and two of the victims passed away. The second vessel was found by salvage crews with two unconscious women onboard. The body of another victim was found in the water and investigators were searching for one other party. The cause of the accident has not been reported.

Boating accidents are unfortunately common in the state of Florida. Victims of collisions and surviving family members of those killed in boat accidents should consult with a personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach.

Florida Boaters Face Risk of Deadly Accidents 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are more recreational boats and water vessels in Florida than there are in any other state within the United States. Unfortunately, there are also more collisions. Accidents that cause at least $2,000 in damage or injury are traced. In 2012 in Florida, there were 661 such accidents

Boating accidents have many different causes, but often drivers make mistakes that result in deadly wrecks. Some of the most common reasons for Florida boating accidents include:

  • Inexperienced boat operators who do not understand safety rules or how to operate vessels safely.
  • Boaters who operate their vessels when they are intoxicated after using drugs or alcohol.
  • Boat operators who are distracted and not paying attention to other vessels.
  • Operators speeding too quickly in their boats.
  • Bad weather.
  • Lack of appropriate safety gear aboard the vessel.
  • Failure to properly maintain a boat.

Boaters should be aware of these top causes of accidents and should follow boating safety tips to stay safe on the waterways. Tips to avoid boating accidents include:

  • Always check the weather before going out on the waters.
  • Have enough life jackets and safety gear on board the vessel for every passenger who will be out on the boat.
  • Avoid drinking or using drugs when operating a water vessel. Do not get onto a boat that is being operated by someone who has used an intoxicating substance.
  • Be on the lookout for other boaters or obstacles in the water and always pay careful attention when operating a boat.

Boaters should take recommended safety courses in order to ensure that they know how to pilot their vessel and how to respond in case of an emergency. A boater who fails to follow safety rules or who operates his vessel in an unsafe way can be held legally liable if he causes an accident and injures passengers or boaters aboard other vessels.

Personal injury lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 or visit http://www.gonzalezcartwright.com/ to schedule a free consultation. 

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Tougher Safety Standards May Reduce Child Injuries in Strollers

Strollers are supposed to be safe for babies and toddlers. Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that nearly 1,200 stroller-related accidents and incidents occurred from 2008 to 2012. These incidents caused 360 children to suffer injuries and resulted in four deaths. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) in order to create new federal safety standards for strollers. Manufacturers will be expected to adhere to the new safety rules within 18 months of publication of the new rules appearing in the Federal Register. However, our West Palm Beach products liability attorneys know that manufacturers may wish to incorporate new safety guidelines as soon as possible in order to prevent injuries, keep kids safer and avoid liability for harm that results from stroller accidents.

Stroller Incidents Cause Risks to Children

The new CPSC rules were passed after experts considered some of the top causes of injuries to children in strollers over the past several years. Some the greatest risks that kids faced while in strollers included:

  • Problems with stroller wheels including detachments and wheels breaking.
  • Failures of lock mechanisms or problems with stroller parking brakes.
  • Hinge problems that resulted in finger amputations or other injuries.
  • Structural integrity problems resulting in strollers collapsing or children falling from strollers.
  • Design defects that resulted in children becoming trapped inside of strollers or travel systems.
  • Problems with stroller canopies that caused head injuries.
  • Problems with handlebars or restraint harnesses that resulted in children falling.

These problems and defects in current strollers caused many children to suffer serious injuries including fall-related injuries; amputations and head injuries. Unfortunately, very young children can be especially susceptible to being hurt in a fall because the bones of the skull have not fully fused together to protect the brain from injury. Children may also be more likely to break bones and to suffer severe brain damage that leads to cognitive impairment if they are involved in accidents.

The new proposed safety standards would reduce the chances of these and other common injuries from occurring. The new proposed rule would also incorporate the current voluntary ASTM F833-13 standard with one modification. The change to the existing voluntary standard addresses scissoring, shearing and pinching dangers that are associated with strollers that fold up.

Protecting Kids from Stroller Accidents

Parents should ensure that they do everything possible to keep their children safe from accidents in strollers. This means checking recall lists to ensure that their strollers have not been subject to safety recalls. New parents may wish to purchase new strollers rather than using hand-me-downs or used strollers since older strollers may not conform to current safety standards. Finally, parents should carefully read all manufacturer instructions and manufacturer warnings on strollers in order to use them as safely as possible.

Ultimately, however, it is stroller manufacturers who have the responsibility for producing a safe product that parents can use to transport their children from point A to point B without harm. When a stroller manufacturer falls short and produces a dangerous product, then kids can get hurt and stroller manufacturers can be held legally liable for injuries they cause.

If you’ve been injured in a stroller accident, contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free and confidential consultation.

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

West Palm Beach Boating Accidents a Summer Risk

The New Port Richey Patch reported that 10 people have already lost their lives in Florida this year as a result of boating accidents. Our West Palm Beach boating accident attorneys know that boating accidents are especially common over the summer and on holidays such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day. 

As we enter prime boating season, we urge every driver to follow safety tips provided by the Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission in order to avoid becoming the victim of a deadly boating accident.

Tips for Preventing Boating Accidents

Over Memorial Day Weekend, the Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission stepped up enforcement of boating safety laws in order to try to prevent boating accidents. The Commission indicated to NBC Miami that around 1,000 people are rescued each year on the water after boating accidents and that the vast majority of people who die in boating crashes lose their lives as a result of drowning.

In fact, when boating accidents happen, as many as 60 percent of the people who die on the waterways in Florida lose their lives because they drown before rescue. These deaths are easily preventable by following one simple safety tip: always wear a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket can help to ensure that you do not drown if you fall off the boat or if your boat is involved in a collision and you are thrown into the water.

Wearing a life jacket is especially important for children and for those who are not strong swimmers. However, anyone aboard a boat can be safer by putting a life jacket on. The Commission, however, recognizes that not everyone will want to keep a life jacket on at all times on a boat.  Any time when you are not wearing your life jacket, you are advised to keep it readily accessible and available so that you can grab it quickly in the event that an accident happens.

Other safety tips to prevent boating accident deaths include:

  • Ensuring that the captain remains alert at all times when operating the boat. Although it is not illegal to have alcohol on board or to have a drink, it is illegal to operate a boat while you are intoxicated.
  • Having the captain wear an engine-shut off switch whenever he is operating the boat. An engine shut-off switch is attached from the ignition of the boat to the driver who is operating it. If the switch is disconnected, then the engine will shut off right away. This ensures that a boater who has fallen overboard won’t by injured by a runaway boat or by the propeller. It can also prevent the boat from continuing to operate and crashing if something happens to the person who is driving it.

By following these safety tips and remembering to wear a life jacket at all times, you can be a lot safer on your boat this upcoming summer season.  Those who are injured in boat accidents should also be aware that the driver of the boat who is responsible for causing the accident can be held legally liable and required to compensate you for boating accident injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a boat accident, contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free and confidential consultation.

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

West Palm Beach Jet Ski Accident Risks

According to News Channel 6, two people were recently involved in a Jet Ski accident in West Palm Beach. The two Jet Skis struck each other on the canal located behind 150 Australian Avenue. Rescue crews were called to the scene to evaluate the riders on both Jet Skis but fortunately there were no serious injuries resulting from the accident. 

While these Jet Ski riders were lucky, others may not be as fortunate over the course of the summer. With the miles of open water area, West Palm Beach is a popular place for Jet Skiing and for other water sports. Unfortunately, our West Palm Beach accident attorneys know that this means many people will be injured and some may even be killed as a result of personal watercraft accidents.

Staying Safe from Jet Ski Accidents

Data available from the Boating Accidents Statistical Report indicates that a total of 125 accidents on personal watercrafts, including Jet Skis, occurred in Florida in 2010. These watercraft accidents killed 10 people and caused an additional 112 people to suffer injuries.

Injuries that can result from Jet Ski accidents range from mild cuts, scrapes and bruises to broken bones, back injuries, head injuries, spinal cord damage, and accidental drowning. The faster the Jet Ski is going at the time of the accident, the more likely it is that the injuries will result from the incident. Those who are on a Jet Ski but who do not wear protective gear such as life jackets are also going to be at greater risk of becoming seriously hurt or drowning as a result of a Jet Ski accident.

Jet Ski accidents can occur for many different reasons, including:

  • Improperly maintained equipment.
  • Poorly designed Jet Skis or poorly manufactured Jet Skis.
  • Inexperienced drivers with no knowledge of how to control the watercraft or of how to drive safely.
  • Speeding drivers.
  • Racing drivers, especially those who get too close to each other.
  • Drivers who do not know how to control or steer the Jet Ski.
  • Reckless behaviors while riding a Jet Ski.
  • Drunk drivers or other intoxicated drivers riding on Jet Skis.
  • Young children riding on Jet Skis without proper supervision.
  • Distracted drivers.

In some cases, the driver of the Jet Ski is to blame, such as when the driver is drunk or careless. If this is the case, then passengers aboard the Jet Ski can potentially take legal action against that driver. Others on the waterways, including drivers and passengers on other watercraft who were hit by a careless rider, could also take action.

In other cases, the watercraft itself malfunctions or causes problems. When this happens, the manufacturer may be to blame or the rental store that rented you the watercraft may bear some responsibility. In these cases, it will be necessary to determine what the problem with the watercraft was and whether it was caused by improper maintenance or a defect in the design.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free and confidential consultation.

Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Death by Drowning at Disney Raises Questions

On March 14, 2013, CNN reported that a 13-year-old young man visiting Disney had died. The young boy was pulled from a swimming pool at a Disney resort in Florida two days before his death. The boy had been playing in the swimming pool with friends, jumping in and out. His friends noticed he was missing and the boy was pulled out of the pool in just minutes, but he still passed away as a result of the drowning. 

Our West Palm Beach injury attorneys know that 10 people die every single day in the United States as a result of accidental drownings. In fact, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional deaths. As an expert interviewed by CNN makes clear, drowning is something that doesn’t just happen — there must be a reason that the drowning occurred. As an investigation is underway into how this young man died at Disney, his death is raising questions about whether the resort will be liable.

Drowning Injury at Disney

According to CNN, a water safety expert indicated that “something always precipitates drowning,” and that drowning only occurs when someone is unable to call for help. When someone is actively drowning, he or she is below the surface of the water lower than eye level for at least 20 to 30 seconds.

Once the diver has been underwater for around 20 seconds, he will begin to sink. After he is submerged, he can normally hold his breath for between 30 and 90 seconds. If rescued during this time, then he is usually fine and a full recovery is possible.

Once 90 seconds has passed, then there is no longer a guarantee that the swimmer will get better even if rescued. After four minutes has passed, then the victim of the drowning will likely be brain damaged even if he is resuscitated. Unfortunately, while the young boy was pulled out of the water quickly at Disney, he was not rescued in time to save him. This raises a number of questions including how and why he drowned in the first place and why there was no one who saw him drowning who was able to help.

Disney’s Potential Liability for the Drowning

The pool at the Disney resort warned swimmers to swim at their own risk. There were no security guards or life guards on duty at the pool at the time when the drowned young man was swimming.

It is possible that Disney may argue it has no responsibility for the death that occurred because of posted signs warning people to swim at their own risk. There have been many cases of pool owners throughout Florida trying to absolve themselves of liability for injury by posting similar signs. However, a hotel or resort is not necessarily absolved of its obligations to its guests simply by posting a sign. If Disney was found to have been negligent or careless or to have acted improperly in any way that led to the boy’s death, then the resort could potentially be held liable and made to pay damages to the family for their loss.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free and confidential consultation.