Thursday, July 12, 2018

Who is Liable for Your Florida Beach Injury?

Liable Florida Beach Injury Dolman Law Group

Determining Liability on Vacation Can be Complex

Nothing can ruin a the pleasant escape of a vacation to sunny Florida beach like suddenly sustaining an injury. After investing so much money into your vacation and now having to spend even more on a series of unforeseen expenses, feelings of perplexity are understandable.
Sometimes an injury sustained while on a Florida beach could have been prevented had certain parties not been negligent. In this situation, someone injured on the beach would have the opportunity to seek legal action against those liable in order to secure compensation for injuries that they sustained. The question is, who exactly can be held responsible for these injuries?
While on vacation, worrying about litigation and searching for liability may seem low on the list of priorities after sustaining an injury. After all, a sudden injury can turn a pleasant afternoon on a sandy beach into a frantic and confusing ambulance trip to the emergency room at the drop of a hat. Calling it an inconvenience would be an understatement since the search for the liable party of a beach accident can be surprisingly complex.
Luckily, these kinds of accidents are not all that uncommon and previous cases have given insight on how to best deal with an injury received on vacation in several unique situations that prove rather confusing and complex.

Beach Related Personal Injury Claims

Florida has the most coastline of any of the contiguous states in the country and they are all pretty much sunny and pleasant all year round unless it’s summer and you happen to get caught in one of the endless storms that roll in around the afternoon. People still flock to the beaches regardless, eager to get tanned and sample the crystal blue waters.

Vectors for Injury at the Beach

  • Riptides can pull swimmers away from the coastline and sweep them off into the ocean
  • Sharp rocks or debris can cause injuries ranging from lacerations to traumatic brain injuries.
  • Increased amounts of algae and bacteria can wash up on the beach and cause illness.
  • Various kinds of wildlife can injure like stingrays stabbing with their barbs, jellyfish stinging with long stringy tentacles, and bull sharks nibbling at swimmers.
  • Surfers and other water sports participants can fall from their equipment and injure themselves.
  • Boating or jet ski accidents can cause serious injury to passengers and swimmers alike.
  • General swimming and drowning accidents.

Liable Parties in a Beach Accident

When an accident occurs on a beach and someone sustains an injury the question of is is liable can be particularly complex since beaches occupy a unique niche in premises liability litigation where all kinds of minute variables can change the whole equation.
For example, someone gets injured on the beach by stepping on a stingray and having it’s poison barb jabbed into their leg. They then try to file a claim against the hotel they were staying at whose beachfront they were injured on.
However, their claim has trouble sticking since the hotel says that they have no control over and have no duty to warn of the dangerous wildlife in the ocean. In addition, they do not own the beach and are merely next to it so then the claim would not be valid.
On the other hand, there are all kinds of little variables that could be switched and the claim could be valid. What if the hotel did own the strip of beach that the plaintiff was injured on. What if this had not been the first person injured by a stingray on that beach since stingray injuries tend to come with the seasonal migration of stingrays to certain Florida shores. In that case, the hotel would have known that stingray injuries were a possible occurrence and neglected to inform their guests to be cautious and therefore the plaintiff is eligible for compensation.

Determining Liability for a Beach Injury

The first step is always to determine who exactly owns the exact patch of property that the accident occurred on. While the person that owns that exact patch of property may not always be liable, knowing who they are can take you one step closer to another party associated with them that might be.
A beach could be owned by a hotel, a state or national park, a private residence, or possibly a city like Miami Beach. Knowing who owns the beach can tell you if there was a maintenance provider for beach equipment that could be liable or if a warning sign or lifeguard should have been posted for the safety of beach goers.

Seek an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney

The nature of beach side property premises liability can be fraught with all kinds of legal twists and turns that require a special set of skills to navigate. With the assistance of an attorney experienced with these kinds of injury claims, the process of getting compensation for sustained injuries becomes significantly less stressful.
If you or a loved one have been injured while on vacation in St. Petersburg, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise you need to secure the settlement that you deserve.
For more information, please contact the Dolman Law Group at (727) 222-6922.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ten Common Hazards for Florida Renters

Under Florida’s residential landlord-tenant law, landlords must ensure that a rental property complies with all building and safety codes and is generally in a safe, habitable condition when the tenant moves in. The landlord then has a continuing obligation to conduct regular maintenance and make repairs as necessary to keep the rental property in that condition.

When landlords fail in these duties, rental properties become hazardous places in which injuries can easily occur. A habitable property is, among other things, clean and structurally sound. It has adequate electricity, water, heat, and safety features. In the absence of these required elements, someone may trip and fall because of inadequate lighting in common areas or a loose railing on stairs. In the event of a fire, a smoke detector failure or the lack of proper fire exits may result in serious injuries or even death.

Here are some of the common causes of hazards and injuries for Florida renters:

Inadequate Lighting

Landlords must provide adequate lighting in common areas, such as stairways, hallways, common walkways and parking lots. These tend to be heavily trafficked areas. Lighting fixtures must be in good working condition and have functioning light bulbs. Landlords must fix broken or malfunctioning lights promptly. Accidents often occur simply because someone failed to see a curb, or broken or uneven concrete. In addition to accidents caused by poor lighting, dark or dim common areas may constitute a security risk by offering places to hide for would-be wrongdoers.

Poorly Maintained Stairs, Railings and Handrails

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls result in more than eight-million hospital emergency department visits each year. Falls on stairs undoubtedly cause a large number of these visits. Stairs can pose a danger when they are an uneven height or depth, making it easy to trip or miss a step, which is why local building codes dictate uniform stair heights and depths. The building codes also generally require properly installed handrails of a certain width or height. If you reach for a handrail and it is at the wrong height, it may throw you off balance and cause you to take a tumble.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Here in Florida, we love to spend time outdoors. However, when landlords neglect outdoor living spaces, such as patios, decks, porches, and balconies, accidents can happen. Landlords should inspect these areas regularly for damage or other hazards, and hire a licensed contractor to complete repairs. Landlords should also notify tenants of the structural limits of a balcony.

Inadequate Utility Maintenance

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Housing Reference Manual, accidents such as shocks or burns can result from a variety of issues. These may include incorrectly installed or low-hanging electrical wires and punctured gas lines. According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, these conditions can also result in electrical fires that end in tragedy.


Any number of maintenance and repair issues can result in a fire, from failing to fix a faulty water heater, to ignoring old or frayed wires. A fire becomes deadly when landlords allow obstructions of fire exits or neglect to mark them clearly. The underlying cause of a fire may be negligence or a failure to comply with local fire codes. Something as simple as a missing or failed fire extinguisher can turn a small fire into a huge disaster.

Missing or Poorly Maintained Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are a simple, effective safety measure, yet nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in houses with no working smoke alarms. Home fires spread quickly. The warning from the smoke alarm gives you and your loved ones time to get out. A working smoke alarm can cut your chances of dying in a reported fire by half. The key is to have enough smoke alarms, installed in the right locations, with active batteries.

Missing or Poorly Maintained Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer, tricky to detect and difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 15,000 people are poisoned by carbon monoxide each year and over 480 people in the United States die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Even in small amounts, exposure may cause serious or permanent damage.


Landlords sometimes consider rodents a minor problem, but they are far more than a nuisance. Rats, mice, and squirrels can do a surprising amount of damage to a home’s insulation, pipes, and electrical wiring. Something as small as a frayed wire can lead to a major electrical fire.

Rodents also spread diseases in several ways, such as direct contact with a rodent, or its urine or droppings, breathing in dust contaminated with rodent waste, or bite wounds. Rodents may get into your food sources and the waste products they leave behind can cause disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diseases spread by rodents that affect humans include hantavirus, lassa fever, plague, salmonellosis and lymphocytic choriomeningitis.

Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are one of the great pleasures of living in Florida. Unfortunately, many fatal and near-fatal injuries happen in or near swimming pools each year. The landlord should provide basic safeguards to help keep tenants safe. Precautions may include fences and gates. There should also be life preservers or safety poles within easy reach to prevent accidental drownings. Proper maintenance is important, because bad or improperly maintained wiring can kill swimmers.

Wet Floors

Rainwater, or water tracked in from the pool or the beach, can cause walkways, floors, and elevators to become slippery. Especially in common areas, taking reasonable precautions such as providing non-slip mats can reduce the chances of a slip and fall injury.

Call the Dolman Law Group if You’re Hurt in a St. Petersburg Home You Lease or Rent

Landlords have a continuing obligation to maintain safe, habitable rental homes. If you suffered an injury in St. Petersburg and believe your landlord was negligent in maintaining your rental property, seek legal counsel. For more information, please contact the Dolman Law Group at (727) 222-6922.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pier Construction Site Dangers in St. Petersburg

For years—actually, decades—St. Petersburg city officials discussed the pros and cons of a new downtown pier. The existing pier, built in the 1970s and featuring an inverted pyramid building with an observation deck, was costing the city too much to maintain and was closed in 2013. But the question of exactly what to replace the pier with took some time to decide.

Following years of input from city officials, residents and consultants, construction began last year on the $80 million The Pier project, which will eventually include 26 acres of buildings and attractions along the St. Petersburg waterfront. The first part is the pavilion—the area farthest in the water—will replace the pyramid building and include a splash pad, lawn area and space for public events like markets; the second part will consist of the approach, also known as the Pier district, which will incorporate the existing St. Petersburg History Museum, walking paths, a children’s play area, game courts, amphitheater, at least one restaurant, and more.

As with any construction project, the Pier work site presents potential dangers to both workers and bystanders. The nearby St. Petersburg police headquarters building construction site, for example, has had two serious incidents this spring. In one, a crane toppled over, narrowly avoiding harm to any workers, and in the other, a 40,000-pound cement panel fell from a crane, which also did not cause injuries or major damage.

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported on the St. Petersburg Pier project to date. But due to the nature of construction work, the potential for accidents during the long construction phase of the Pier will continue for more than a year, into summer and fall of 2019.

How Common Are Construction Site Injuries?

Let’s face it: Construction is a dangerous job. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) reports that 21.1 percent of on the job deaths in private industry occur in construction. And, every year, injuries happen to 1 in 10 construction workers.

What types of injuries are common on construction sites? They can vary from the major to the minor, including:

  • Head injuries from falling objects.
  • Spinal cord injuries from falls.
  • Broken bones from falls or work with heavy machinery.
  • Loss of hearing from the loud sounds of machinery.
  • Stress injuries from repetitive work.
  • Cuts and lacerations from tools and on-site hazards like nails.
  • Heat stroke from working outdoors in high temperatures.

Even pedestrians can be harmed by construction accidents, such when workers drop heavy loads. Another unfortunate cause of pedestrian injuries is accidental run-ins with forklifts, trucks and construction machinery. Thirty-six percent of forklift-related deaths involve pedestrians, while accidents with construction-related vehicles in work zones killed 24 people in 2015.

While safety measures have increased dramatically over the past few decades, and both worker and pedestrian safety are the top priority of managers and construction teams, due to the nature of the work, it is always possible for accidents to occur.

How Can Construction Accidents Be Prevented?

Crews at the St. Petersburg Pier are working to prevent any injuries. The especially dangerous underwater work on the pier is nearly complete without any reported incidents. In May, fencing was erected along Bayshore Drive and it will stay in place through fall 2019 to protect pedestrians. (Visitors will still have access to the History Museum and a local eatery that remain open for business during construction.)

Eliminating the danger of falls is a key to keeping the Pier construction site accident-free. Falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of all U.S. construction deaths in 2015. OHSA’s Fall Prevention campaign stresses the following:

  • Plan to work safely and get the job done. Make sure you know what work is to be done, how it will be completed and what safety equipment will be required before any workers get up in the air.
  • Provide the right equipment. Ladders must be checked for damage, scaffolding must be erected by trained professionals and safety harnesses should be worn where applicable. Holes or edges should be marked and barricaded to prevent accidental falls.
  • Train everyone to use the equipment. All workers need to fully understand how and when to use safety equipment as well as how to check it for any problems.
Other issues include falling objects, broken or improperly working machinery and access by unauthorized personnel to especially dangerous areas. Proper signage, safety equipment, and regular inspections can help prevent many of these potential problems.

What Should You Do if You’re Injured on a Construction Site?

No injuries have been reported from work on the St. Petersburg Pier to date, but it’s important for both workers and pedestrians to stay alert and safety conscious.

If an injury does happen, getting fast medical treatment is the most important objective. Even small injuries can worsen if they are not properly cared for. In addition, by getting a medical professional to verify and document your injury, you have proof if you need to pursue a legal case or prove that you deserve worker’s compensation.

You’ll also want to report the injury as soon as possible to the construction site manager. Take note of any people who were involved, along with their names and contact information, as well as the person you reported to.

Document all injuries as thoroughly as possible, including with photos or video. If you are able to keep a tool or other equipment that failed, do so; otherwise make sure you take pictures of the area and the equipment involved.

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you were injured on a construction site in St. Petersburg—whether it’s on the Pier or elsewhere throughout the city—you may want to get legal help to determine if you can recover damages related to your accident. You may also need an attorney to help you prepare your worker’s compensation claim, or if you’re not satisfied with the outcome of a claim you’ve already made.

If safety standards were not properly adhered to, you may have a claim for damages. The lawyers at Dolman Law Group are knowledgeable about construction work, and we know the laws and OSHA regulations designed to keep workers safe on construction sites. We can help you determine who was actually at fault and whether you may be able to receive compensation for your injury. Contact us today at (727) 222-6922 or online for a free consultation about your case.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

Friday, June 29, 2018

Can Your Digital Home Assistant Play a Role in Your Injury Claim?

In recent years, digital assistants (such as Amazon Echo’s Alexa) have become common fixtures in Florida households. These technologies have brought many conveniences to users. They have also developed an interesting role in court cases across the country. With certain personal injury claims, a digital home assistant may provide crucial evidence which makes or breaks the case. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group understand the role that new and emerging technologies can play in the settlement or litigation of a personal injury claim. This is an important skill in an era in which technology has changed every aspect of American life - including personal injury claims.

How Digital Home Assistants Are Entering the Courtroom

Digital assistants have the capacity to incur large amounts of personal data about their users. Once the “wake word” is activated, assistants begin to record data from the commands spoken by the user. (The “wake word” is, by default, usually the name of the assistant, but can be changed by the user.) This lead to a significant security gap in which devices in the Amazon Echo could be programmed to continue listening to commands. Hackers looking to access user data would, in theory, be able to eavesdrop on users by programming the device to continue recording user conversations which would then be relayed to the hacker. CNet reports that Amazon claims to have initiated security fixes which remedy this problem. Amazon would not, however, say what these fixes were, citing further security concerns.

Whether recording occurs intentionally, accidentally, or maliciously, it can prove to be critical evidence in a court case. An Amazon Echo famously became the subject of a heated evidentiary controversy in a murder case in Arkansas. CNN reports that the defendant invited two friends over on the night of the murder. They watched football before getting into the defendant’s hot tub and eventually, the defendant went to bed. He claims that he woke up the next morning to find the victim drowned in the hot tub. Witnesses recalled hearing music being played throughout the evening on the defendant’s Amazon Echo. Amazon initially refused to comply with a prosecutor’s subpoena for the recordings. Eventually, however, the defendant said he would voluntarily submit the recordings to the prosecution, and Amazon provided the data. This, together with other data, still did not convince even the prosecutor of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the charges against the defendant. While he did not specifically cite the Echo recordings as the reason, there is little doubt the absence of incriminating information on them factored into this decision.

How a Digital Home Assistant Can Be Used in a Personal Injury Case

Digital home assistants are not limited to evidence in criminal cases. Recordings can also be used as evidence in civil trials, as well. A recording can provide crucial evidence about what happened in the moments leading up to an accident in the home. This could be a fire, or an explosion, or structural damage (such as a roof collapse). It could even help establish the events leading to a slip, trip, or fall. For example: if a homeowner asked Alexa to remind her to fix a broken stair, and a guest later tripped on that same stair, Alexa could be used to prove that the homeowner knew of the dangerous condition and failed to warn her guest. Or perhaps an insurance company claims that the guest was not injured on the property, and tried to blame the homeowner for injuries which occurred elsewhere. Alexa’s recordings could document the exact moment of the injury. The sound of a collision could establish that the accident did, in fact, occur on the homeowner’s property (and within range of the Alexa).

Alexa can be used to establish other elements of a personal injury claim, as well. Pain and suffering is generally the largest component of a personal injury award. It is also the most difficult to prove, and for this reason, insurance companies and defense attorneys love to challenge the amount of a victim’s pain and suffering. Alexa’s records may help present a convincing case for pain and suffering. Her calendars may show excessive doctors’ appointments, prescription refills, questions about lingering pain, and other important data. Many jurors can relate to such common questions and events. While a victim’s testimony of his pain may be difficult for a juror to believe, a juror can easily understand the effect of dozens of physical therapy appointments, repeated prescription refills over months, and other documented events. Alexa evidence can also be highly relatable for jurors - many of whom likely use an Alexa product in their own homes.

There are many different ways in which Alexa can be used to support a personal injury claim. Like any evidence, an Alexa can also be used by the defense to defend against a personal injury claim. It is therefore important to be represented by a personal injury attorney who thoroughly understands the technology, and is prepared to both use it to your advantage and defend against a defendant’s attempts to use it against the injury victim. Strategic preparation must include a technical understanding of the device’s hardware and software. The attorney must be prepared to overcome evidentiary objections to the admission of Alexa data (or raise her own objections to a defendant’s attempt to introduce unfavorable Alexa data). Finally, the attorney must understand exactly how to use the data to prove his or her point in a manner that is persuasive to a jury.

Aggressive Pursuit of Your Personal Injury Claim

For years, accident victims across southern Florida have trusted the Dolman Law Group to protect their legal right to compensation. Call our office at (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. We fight hard to help accident victims identify all parties responsible for their injuries, prove the extent of these injuries, negotiate fair settlement offers, and litigate claims in court as necessary.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Shoulder Injury Can Be Surprisingly Debilitating

Shoulder injuries can last long after the initial accident occurs. Many victims experience pain, decreased range of motion, and other impairments for years. If a shoulder injury occurred in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, the law requires the negligent parties to compensate injured victims for all losses related to the accident. This includes pain, suffering, impairments, and loss of enjoyment in daily activities that occur long after an accident is over. In order to access compensation for all the different losses a shoulder injury can cause, it is important to have the advice of an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. The attorneys at the Dolman Law Group have decades of experience in proving the amount of financial losses related to shoulder injuries.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Medline Plus reports that the shoulder is the most movable part of the body. The joint is composed of three bones: the scapula (shoulder blade), the clavicle (collarbone), and the humerus (the upper arm bone). These are anchored together by a complex network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The entire joint can be unstable. This is because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the socket that holds it. This is also because the fibrous muscles, tendons, and ligaments are fragile and susceptible to injury. Common injuries can include arthritis, bursitis, separations, “frozen shoulder,” sprains and strains, fractures, torn rotator cuffs, tendonitis, and dislocations.

The University of Rochester Medical Center explains these injuries in detail. Frozen shoulder is an extreme stiffness of the shoulder. While it can occur at any age, it is most common in patients aged 40 to 60 years old. It can occur if the shoulder has been immobile for a period of time, such as during the recovery from an auto injury, sports accident, or another type of injury. It can also be the result of scar tissue affecting the free movement of the shoulder, or as a side effect of other medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease, or heart disease.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than half of the shoulder problems seen in doctors’ offices across the United States in 2006 were related to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold the bones of shoulder joint together. It allows for upward movements, such as raising the arm or reaching overhead. Thus, injuries to the rotator cuff can permanently limit an injury victim’s range of motion.

The Lasting Effects of a Shoulder Injury

The pain and discomfort of a shoulder injury can last for years after an accident occurs. Some victims are never able to regain their range of motion, or simply use their arm comfortably. A study published by BioMed Central found that the majority of rotator cuff injury patients surveyed experienced intense pain. This pain was, in fact, so great as to cause severe sleep pattern disturbances as well. Patients reported adverse impacts upon their daily life, both in leisure activities and professional work. With effects upon sleeping, hobbies, and work, very few areas of life were not found to be adversely affected by a rotator cuff injury. Most patients reported that they deliberately planned and modified their activities in order to cope with the pain. Pain relief medications, hot packs, and similar pain relief methods helped some patients to an extent, but by and large, patients reported adjusting their entire lives to accommodate their shoulder injuries.

In serious cases, a shoulder injury may require surgery. Some injuries may even require multiple surgeries over several months - or years - to address the issues caused by the initial injury. Each recovery period is painful and may require dependence on friends, family members, or professional caregivers to help the patient eat, bathe, dress, and complete the simple tasks of daily life.

Preventing Shoulder Injuries

In some cases, preventative measures can help improve overall shoulder health and increase a patient’s chances of successfully recovering from a shoulder injury. Mount Elizabeth Hospitals report that sports injuries often result from overuse, insufficient warm-up periods, or overexertion. It is therefore important to allow for adequate warm-up periods and appropriate warm-up exercises before participating in any sport activity. When injuries do occur, it is critical to allow for a full recovery prior to engaging in the sport again. This reduces the likelihood of a future injury and also improves the patient’s chances of an effective recovery from the initial injury.

A prior injury, however, does not mean that an accident victim cannot be compensated for a new or aggravated shoulder injury. Defendants have a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for all damage caused by their negligence. Thus, a defendant must still compensate an injury victim for triggering an old injury, even if another injury victim would not have experienced such extensive pain and suffering. An important limitation applies: the defendant is not responsible for costs that would have arisen anyway. If a victim was already planning a shoulder surgery when the injury was aggravated in a car accident, the negligent driver is not legally responsible for paying for the shoulder surgery. The driver may, however, be held responsible for the increased pain and suffering the victim suffered as a result of the car accident. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can effectively prove the difference.

Aggressive Pursuit of Your Personal Injury Claim

Shoulder injuries are among the most painful of all personal injuries. They require extensive recovery periods, and victims are often left with permanent impairments. It is therefore important that shoulder injury victims seek the advice of an attorney who knows how to prove all the losses suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. For years, Florida injury victims have trusted the Dolman Law Group to protect their legal rights. Call our office at (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. We help shoulder injury victims recover compensation for losses suffered because of someone else’s negligence.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Friday, June 22, 2018

Injuries From Electrical Accidents at Work

Workplace accidents can cause devastating - and often permanent - injuries to Florida employees. Electrical accidents are most likely in job sites related specifically to electrical issues, but this is not the only place an electrical accident can occur. Electrical accidents can happen in any workplace with electricity. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group help injured workers obtain compensation for the many different financial losses suffered as the result of a workplace accident.

The Facts About Electrical Accidents in the Workplace

Electrical accidents are more common in some occupations than others. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, five occupations account for nearly 80 percent of all fatal electrical injuries in the American workplace. More than half of all fatal electrical workplace accidents between 2003 and 2010 occurred in the construction industry, far more than the number of fatal electrical accidents seen in any other sector. It is, however, worth noting that the utility industry sees higher per capita rates of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among its workers, though the construction industry has far more injuries overall. Nonfatal burns and electrical shocks accounted for many of the nonfatal injuries reported.

On a more encouraging note, the data has shown consistent decreases in the number of both fatal and nonfatal electrical injuries reported by American workers since 1992, with an even more significant decline between 2008 and 2010. The EFSI posits this reflects slower economic growth, and less new construction, in the wake of the mortgage crisis. But throughout these declines, the ratio of fatal and nonfatal accidents remained largely unchanged. This suggests that safety precautions are effective at preventing accidents, but not in reducing the severity of injuries sustained in an electrical accident.

What Regulations Are in Place to Protect Workers From Electrical Accidents?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is tasked with issuing guidelines to prevent electrical hazards in the workplace. OSHA focuses its standards on both the design and use of electrical equipment and systems. Designs must allow these systems to be constructed and installed in a manner that minimizes electrical hazards in the workplace. They cover all exposed and operating elements of an electrical installation. This includes lighting, equipment, motors, machines, appliances, switches, controls, and enclosures. Only approved testing organizations may certify such equipment as being safe.

OSHA reports that most electrical accidents result from unsafe equipment or installation, an unsafe environment, or unsafe work practices. It is therefore important to use appropriate environmental safeguards such as grounding, insulation, and guarding, as well as personal protective equipment. It is also important for employers to provide both safety training and a safe working environment. Employers who fail to do so may be held liable for OSHA violations with fines and administrative sanctions. Employers can also be liable for personal injury claims filed by injured employees.

How an Injured Worker Can Seek Compensation After an Electrical Accident

When a worker is injured on the job, his or her first line of legal defense is a worker’s compensation claim. Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes sets forth provisions for worker’s compensation coverage in Florida. In general, employers who are subject to worker’s compensation coverage requirements must pay premiums in order to maintain coverage for workers. Any employee injured on the job has the right to file a worker’s compensation claim under this policy. Worker’s compensation is designed to provide fast access to insurance coverage for medical bills incurred as the result of a workplace injury. For this reason, an injured worker does not have to prove who was liable for causing the accident. Simply showing that the injury occurred while working for a covered employer will allow the injured worker to obtain worker’s compensation benefits.

Worker’s compensation does not, however, cover all losses arising from a workplace accident. Chapter 440 limits worker’s compensation coverage to medical services and supplies, disability payments based upon the worker’s average rate of pay, and death benefits for funeral expenses. This does not allow an injured worker compensation for lost wages (outside of disability), property damage, or pain and suffering. These are, however, losses which are very real for victims of serious electrical accidents.

In addition, an injured worker may also have a claim directly against the employer. For example, if an employer exposed its workers to hazardous working conditions, or failed to provide adequate safety training or equipment, the employer may be held liable for negligence. An employee may also have a products liability claim implicated by the electrical accident. If, for example, a critical piece of safety equipment malfunctioned, an injured worker may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. Like all manufacturers of consumer products, safety equipment and electrical manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure products are safe for ordinary intended uses. These legal claims stand independent of worker’s compensation coverage and provide a vital source of compensation to injured workers whose lives are dramatically changed by an electrical accident in the workplace. Equally important is holding negligent employers or product manufacturers accountable for any unsafe conduct. This deters similar hazards in the future and can protect other workers from suffering similar injuries.

Protecting the Rights of Workplace Injury Victims

The law provides many different sources of compensation for those who have been injured while on the job. It is important for injured workers to have the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can identify and pursue all potential claims arising from a workplace accident. For years, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group have helped injured workers protect their legal rights to compensation. Call our office at (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. We fight to help injured workers recover the compensation justice requires.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Tampa Bay Bicycle Popularity Increases

Tampa Bay Bicycle Accident Increase Dolman Law Group

Will More Bicyclists In Tampa Bay Area Mean More Bicycle Injuries?

As the Tampa Bay area grows, people’s ways of life change along with it. Traffic Increases, real estate goes up, and the job market becomes more competitive. With all these changes to economic and infrastructure situations, people have begun to turn to bicycles as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to cars for getting around the city.
As more residents of the Tampa Bay area turn to bicycles as an alternate form of transportation, some have questioned whether this will increase the risk for bicycle accidents and injuries. The changing infrastructure, introduction of bike-sharing, as well as increased public awareness of bicyclists can all be seen to contributing to either the increase or even decrease of bicycle accident risk in the Tampa Bay area.

Benefits of a Bicyclist Increase

People have become much more interested in the benefits of bicycling as an alternate transportation method. It provides good exercise, it saves gas money, reduces carbon footprint, and traffic congestion doesn’t matter. These benefits are not just great for bicyclists but for the Tampa Bay area as a whole.

Bike-Share Service and Bicycle Accidents

One of the greatest factors towards the rapid increase of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area are bike-share services. While they are not necessarily a new phenomenon, they have only fairly recently made the crawl from the west coast and northeast, down to the southeast here in Florida.

What is a Bike-Share Service?

A bike-share service works by having a person download the respective bike-share app on their mobile device and then use it to pay either a monthly fee or per hour in order to use a bicycle from one of several bike-share stations around town that the bicycle is returned to when finished.
The bicycle stations will typically be a streetside located area where several racks of bicycles will be stored and locked till activated by the app. The location of these racks will typically be in locations strategically chosen for their large amounts of foot traffic and the number of desirable destinations.
This means areas frequented by tourists on vacation like downtown, coastal areas, and major shopping hubs will be the most frequented bike-share locations. This also means that the traffic will be ultra concentrated these areas rather than spread out amongst the general cityscapes.

Will Bike-Share Increase Bicycle Accident Risk?

In terms of possibly increasing bicycle accidents, it is difficult to tell how exactly this will affect the frequency. On one hand, there is the simple logic of more people on bicycles means more people to possibly have an accident.
On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that the areas with the most bike-sharing tend to be the most bicycle friendly and the increase of bicycle traffic will prompt infrastructural changes to make the areas more safe for bicyclists. Therefore, the introduction of bike-share would have a positive impact on the rate of bicycle accidents in the area.

Bike-Share Services Lack Helmets

Another concern is that most people do not bring a helmet to wear when using a bike-share service. While it is not legally required to wear a helmet while bicycling over the age of 16, it is still highly recommended due to how easily someone can sustain a serious head injury.
Bike-share companies have considered utilizing helmet share services that have sprung up in mandatory helmet law states but would people even bother utilizing the helmets anyways.

What Does This Mean for Bicycle Accidents?

Overall, it seems that the bike-share aspect of the Tampa Bay area’s increased bicycling interest will have a complicated effect on bicycle accidents. The increase in bicyclists will definitely cause more attention to be drawn to the issue of bicycle safety in the area yet more opportunities for accidents and injuries will arise with a greater bicycle population; especially since most of them will not be wearing helmets.

Infrastructure and Bicycle Accidents

The Tampa Bay area (St.Petersburg especially) is growing at an incredible rate. Population wise, the Tampa area had the tenth highest metro area population increase in 2017 and the seventh highest in 2016. It’s estimated that the population will grow from 3 million to 3.1 this year and 3.3 over the next five years.
In order to accomodate all these new people, the city has swelled with new businesses and the roads have grown more congested with cars. On top of this, new arrivals to the area have had to face stiff competition for available jobs from a limited pool.

How Does Infrastructure and Population Growth Affect Bicyclist Accidents?

All of these factors have contributed to the increase of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area. Unfortunately, these factors can also contribute to increased bicycle accidents and injuries. More people means more cars that can hit bicyclists. Also, more cars means more congestion which leads to more frustrated and reckless drivers that have a greater chance to cause accident and injury to bicyclists.   
Also, with the growing city comes an increase in infrastructure to accommodate the influx of businesses and people. How this infrastructure is planned and implemented can have a drastic effect on how frequent bicycle accidents occur.
Should the city implement the use of more extensive bicycle path and lane coverage, sidewalks, and bicycle friendly zoning of buildings and neighborhoods then odds are that bicycle accident risk will go down. Things as simple as highway placement can make a massive difference. Busy roads with more than two lanes and massive intersections are some of the most dangerous places bicyclists can get into an accident.

Seek a Skilled Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been involved in a bicycle accident then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise you need to secure the settlement that you deserve.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712