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Miami Personal Injury Law Blog

Head-on crash kills motorcyclist in Florida

A 41-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a head-on collision on Interstate 95 near Route 836 on the evening of July 23. The motorcyclist was traveling southbound behind a Dodge Ram when a pickup truck traveling the wrong way on the interstate approached. The driver of the Dodge Ram swerved to avoid hitting the pickup and was sideswiped by the wrong-way vehicle, which then struck the motorcycle.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the motorcyclist was killed when he crashed through the car's windshield. The driver of the pickup was injured and was taken to a Jacksonville hospital. No charges have yet been filed against him.

Widow wins cases against tobacco company

Due to a ruling by a jury in Florida, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will pay $23.6 billion to a woman whose husband died of lung cancer. The company is the second largest cigarette maker in the United States. The woman's husband, who died in 1996, was a regular smoker, and one of her attorneys said that tobacco companies have told lies about the dangers of their products.

In 2013, Reynolds was ordered to pay $22.5 million in punitive damages after a jury in Florida decided in favor of the family of a woman who died from lung cancer. Other lawsuits against large tobacco companies have also been decided in the favor of smokers or their families, and appeals courts have upheld the rulings. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that smokers or their families do not have to prove that tobacco companies distributed a harmful or defective product in order to file a suit.

Florida motorcyclist dead after hit-and-run

A motorcyclist died in Sarasota after a hit-and-run involving a sedan occurred on July 12. The accident occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Police initiated a search for the hit-and-run driver but had not found the individual by evening.

A 71-year-old local man was riding his motorcycle westbound when he stopped in traffic at the intersection of Bee Ridge Road and Lockwood Ridge Road. As he proceeded through the intersection, a Honda sedan collided with the back of his motorcycle, which became caught on the car. The Honda then proceeded westbound on Bee Ridge Road while dragging the motorcycle about 250 feet. An emergency crew took the motorcyclist to Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead despite having been wearing a helmet.

Reducing prescription errors for kids

Florida residents may be interested in a recent article detailing the efforts of doctors to lower medication errors related to children. According to the article, between 5 and 27 percent of all children's medication orders result in some error of prescription or dosage, and these mistakes lead to about 7,000 deaths each year.

Researchers admit that correcting these mistakes is a complex task. They said that achieving maximum benefit of the changes is a collaborative process that must involve not only healthcare professionals, but also parents and caregivers that ultimately dispense the medication.

Senators push for childproof packaging of liquid nicotine

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and others have filed legislation that would make childproof packaging a requirement for liquid nicotine. According to a statement released by Nelson on July 10, the concentrated liquid nicotine used in vapor smoking devices is highly toxic. Nelson says that some of the dangerous products hold enough nicotine to kill a small child and could even make a child extremely sick if the liquid was spilled onto their skin.

With the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, supermarkets across the country are carrying vials of liquid nicotine in easy-to-open containers. Many of the products are sold in flavors that are tempting to children, such as Gummi Bear, Cotton Candy and Fruity Loops. Senator Barbara Boxer says that the brightly colored packaging and fruity flavors of many of these products is partially responsible for the alarming increase in e-cigarette poisonings.

Automaker pledges to compensate those injured by ignition defect

Florida drivers may be interested in a new program set up to compensate those who were injured in connection with certain defective automobile parts. The carmaker is accepting financial responsibility, though some say they are still not going far enough.

In February, Detroit automaker General Motors announced a recall of several vehicle models, including the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt. The recall involved a defective ignition switch that affected 2.59 million vehicles. Since then, GM has dealt with more than 100 lawsuits over accidents and other issues connected to the faulty switch. Additionally, the government has fined them $35 million for their behavior related to the defect, which may have involved false statements by the company.

Florida boating accident after fireworks kills 4, injures 12

Fourth of July festivities near a marina in Miami took a somber turn when several vessels collided at the conclusion of an area fireworks display, authorities reported. The fatal accident, which occurred around 10:45 p.m., resulted in at least 12 people, including children, being taken to area hospitals for the treatment of unspecified injuries. At least four people have died as a result of the three-boat collision, and one person remains in critical condition after the incident.

According to reports, two of the injured expired at a hospital that night while two additional decedents were discovered in the water in the area the following morning. Officials also discovered at least one of the vessels with a large hole as they investigated. The investigation of the accident is ongoing, and the names and ages of those injured were withheld at the time of the report.

Defective airbags blamed in massive recall

On June 23, three Japanese automakers issued recalls that may potentially affect millions of cars in Florida and other southern states known for their humid climates. The three automakers, Mazda, Nissan and Honda, utilize in several of their vehicles a Japanese-supplied airbag that might explode when exposed to high levels of absolute humidity, according to authorities.

Authorities reported that the airbags in the recalled cars may accidentally deploy and rupture "with too much pressure," resulting in potential injuries. Takata Corp., a Japanese auto-part supplier, is responsible for the defective airbags, reportedly. Along with the National Highway Transit Safety Agency, the corporation has commenced an investigation into the faulty auto part. A representative for Takata stated that the corporation believes that high levels of absolute humidity are significant factors contributing to the malfunctioning airbags. The impetus for the investigation was a series of traffic accidents in Florida and Puerto Rico, authorities said.

Settlement completed on dryer case

Electrolux has entered into a settlement agreement after a class action lawsuit was filed against the home appliance manufacturer regarding clothes dryer fires. The company denied that the fires were caused by a defective product design, but it agreed to the settlement in order to avoid future litigation from claimants in Florida and elsewhere. The United States District Court for the Central District of California judge provided her preliminary approval for the settlement, which specifically declares that Electrolux is not admitting any fault.

According to the complaint, the dryer design permitted lint to be gathered around the dryer's heat source, which in turn led to fires. It further alleged that the manufacturer used flammable plastic air ducts under the dryers' drums and flammable plastic blower housings that made fires more dangerous. The dryers impacted by the lawsuit were those that had a ball-hitch design, which is a design that includes a rear drum-bearing shaft in front-load dryers. They were both gas dryers and electric dryers.

Malpractice suits are multi-purpose

Medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida are not just about obtaining money for plaintiffs; they are also about calling attention to situations that may need to be addressed. When a patient or a family sues a provider or institution after he, she or a loved one has suffered injuries, it may be the only way to get the person or facility to recognize that there is a problem and take steps toward correction.

Professional organizations demonstrate reluctance to accept procedural changes that have shown to save lives, prevent serious injuries and reduce the amount of malpractice payments. A New York hospital reduced its number of death and serious injury cases from 1.04 per 1,000 deliveries to zero. Simultaneously, victim compensation dropped from more than $50 million to $250,000. However, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists will not recommend a broad implementation of the hospital's improved procedures for fear that they will limit a hospital's or doctor's choices.

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