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Protecting Yourself From Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has issued a report on protecting yourself from dog bites. According to that report, in the United States approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Making it even worse, roughly one in five of those dog bites will become infected. It is important that you take steps to avoid being bit by a dog. In the event you are bit, it is also important to treat it appropriately to avoid infection.

In the United States, dogs are in our homes, and play with our children. Dogs are proven to reduce stress, and they have been shown to increase the amount we exercise. However, dogs do bite humans. This can cause nerve damage, pain and infection. With just a few precautions, you can greatly reduce your chances of being bitten by a dog.

How Can I Prevent A Dog Bite?

If you want to avoid being bitten by a dog, there are some simple steps you can take. Here are some do’s and don’ts as described by the CDC:


If the dog came from a house, let an adult at the home know if their dog is behaving strangely;
Stay still if an unfamiliar dog comes toward you; and
If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball, tuck your head, put your hands over your neck and ears.


Bother a dog that is caring for her puppies, a dog that is sleeping, or a dog that is eating;
Approach a dog you are not familiar with in the first place;
Turn and flee from a dog;
Touch a dog before it has had a chance to see you and sniff you;
Make loud noises or panic;
Allow your dog to be aggressive toward other unfamiliar dogs; or
Allow small children to play with even a familiar dog unsupervised.

Which People Are Most Likely to be Bitten By a Dog?

According to the CDC, the following people are most likely to be bitten by a dog:

Children. The age group most at risk are children ages five to nine. Dog bites to children are more likely to require medical attention than dog bites to adults.
Men. Statistics show that dogs are more likely to bite men than women.

Where Do Dog Bites Occur Most Frequently?

Interestingly, most dog bites – over half – occur in the home by dogs known by the victim of the dog bite. Clearly, having a dog in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite in both children and adults. Further, additional dogs in the house increases the likelihood of a dog bite occurring in the household. For example, according to the CDC, adults that have two or more dogs in the house are five times more likely to be bit by a dog than adults that have no dogs in the home.

What Should I Do if I am Approached by an Unfamiliar Dog?

There are steps you can take to avoid an interaction with an unfamiliar dog. The CDC recommends the following:

Do not make eye contact with the dog;
Do not move;
Remain calm and do not panic;
Using a firm voice, say “Go Home” or “No”;
Turn your body to the side – some dogs may think you are being aggressive if you face them, like you are trying to “square off”;
If you think the dog may attack, put your hands on your neck with your elbows in; and
Either back away slowly or wait for the dog to pass by.

What if I am Attacked or Bitten By a Dog?

If the worst case scenario occurs and you are attacked or bitten by a dog, the CDC makes the following recommendations to minimize the harm to you:

Try to protect yourself by using anything you have on hand. This could include a jacket, purse or bag;

As stated above, curl up with your head tucked in and your hands on your neck and ears if you are knocked down;

Once you are in a safe location you need to tend to any wounds. Do this by washing immediately with soap and water. If necessary seek medical attention, especially if:

The wound is serious. This would include: exposed muscle or bone, bleeding that cannot be stopped, extreme pain and loss of use;

If the bite is deep and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years; or

If you develop a fever or the wound becomes swollen, warm, red, or painful.

Contact your local police department or animal control agency to report the incident. If you are bitten by a dog, you are at risk of getting rabies. Reporting is particularly important if:

The dog is acting odd or appears sickly.
It is unclear if the dog has had its rabies vaccine.

Try to reach out to the dog owner, if possible. Find out if the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination. Get the owner’s name, address and phone number. You will also need the name of the veterinarian who gave the vaccine and the rabies vaccine license number.

Is There Danger of Disease From a Dog Bite?

Dog bites cause the obvious, visible wounds, that can be very serious. But the diseases that can be caused by dog bites can be just as serious. These can include, but are not limited to tetanus, rabies (one of the most serious diseases from a dog bite), MRSA (a type of staph infection), and Pasteurella (another form of bacteria). Watch any injury for signs of swelling, redness or tenderness. Do not delay seeking medical attention if there is any chance you are suffering from a dog bite related disease.

If You Have Been Bitten By a Dog

If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the dedicated and skilled personal injury lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law to discuss your situation at no charge.

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December Product Recalls

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps track of recalls of products that present a danger to the consumer. This is because the Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products.” Consumer product incidents cost more than $1 trillion each year. Some of the recent recalls include products you may have on your gift list this holiday season. Here is a list of recent product recalls for your consideration.

Target Menorahs

On December 6, 2016, Target recalled a menorah. This Hanukkah menorah is clear acrylic with a pyramid design. It is 1.2 inches wide, 2.3 inches high and 10.5 inches long. The model number is on a round white label found on the side of the menorah and is 240-14-0169. There have been eight reports of the menorah melting. There have also been three reports of fires. This menorah has been sold only at Target between October and December of 2015 (note: 2015!). Consumers should stop using the menorah, and return it to Target for a full refund. Consumers can also call 800-440-0680 or go to, and click on the “school/stationery/seasonal” on the product recalls page for more information.

VIVID Red Wine Crush Gift Boxes

On December 7, 2016, Schurman Retail Group recalled their VIVID Red Wine Crush Gift Boxes. The boxes come in size small (4 x 4 x 4) and size medium (5 x 5 x 5). These boxes present a hazard in that mold may be present in the boxes. This can pose a risk of infections, including respiratory infections in people with damaged lungs, compromised immune systems, or an allergy to mold. There have been nine reports of irritation based on contact with the product. These boxes were sold for between $5 and $7 in October of 2016. Consumers should stop using the boxes and return them to Paper Destiny, PAPYRUS, or Carlton Cards Stores for a full refund. Consumers can also call 855-730-7998 or go online at and click on the “recall Information” button.

Yankee Candle

On December 8, 2016, Yankee Candle recalled their Luminous Candle Collection. This product is a candle in a square glass jar. The candles have a fragrant wax and three wicks. The candles are about five inches high and four inches wide. There have been 16 reports of the glass jars cracking. To date, no injuries have been reported. Consumers should take two steps: First, they should stop using the recalled candles immediately; second, they should contact Yankee Candle to receive a refund for their purchase. Consumers can call 877-803-6890 or go online at and click on their “Luminous Candle Collection: Safety Notice” link.

Masterbuilt and Cabela 7 in 1 Gas Smoker

The 7 in 1 gas smoker comes in green or stainless steel when accompanied by the Cabela’s logo, and black with the Masterbuilt logo. It has a three piece body design, with a lid, a base that sits on a burner stand, and a center body. The smoker comes with a water bowl, cooking grates, thermometer, a burner, a 10 quart pot and basket, a porcelain flame disk bowl, and a PVC hose. There have been five reports that the PVC gas hose becomes disconnected during use. There has been at least one report of fire with property damage. There have been no reports of injuries to date. This product has been sold at the Gander Mountain, Army, Air Force Exchange, Cabela’s, and other stores across the country. The gas smoker has also been sold on Amazon between April of 2011 and October of 2016. Consumers should stop using the smoker immediately, until they get the free replacement part from Masterbuilt. Consumers should contact Masterbuilt at 800-489-1581 or go to, click “support” and then “contact” to obtain a free replacement for the LP gas hose.

Barnett Outdoors Crossbows

On December 8, 2016, Barnett Outdoors issued a recall for six models of Barnett Crossbows. The crossbows at issue include the Barnett Ghost 415 Monochrome, the Barnett Ghost 415 Mossy Oak, the Browning One Six Two, the Barnett One Six One, the Barnett Razr Ice, and the Barnett Razr. The crossbows all have their names printed on either the side or the front of the crossbow. There have been three reports of unexpected firing of these crossbows. There has been one report of injury. This is attributable to a failure of a sensor. The sensor is designed to sense when an arrow is properly loaded in the crossbow. This sensor may malfunction, which leads to the unexpected firing. The crossbows have been sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabela’s, as well as other retailers. The crossbows have also been sold by dealers nationwide. These crossbows were sold between April and November of 2016, with a price range between $800 to $1600. Consumers should immediately stop using the crossbows until they obtain a replacement sensor from Barnett Outdoors. The replacement trigger and sensor are free. Consumers should call 800-237-4907 or go online at and click on “crossbow recall.”

What to Do If You Have Sustained an Injury Involving a Consumer Product

If you have been injured by a product that you either purchased or received as a gift, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you have lost a loved one due to a product failing to perform as advertised, performing in a way that was not expected, or otherwise contributed to their death, you may also be entitled to compensation for your loss.

Contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale at Madalon Law to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. There is no charge for a consultation. If we determine that you may have a legitimate claim, there is no charge for our representation unless we recover compensation for your injuries or loss. Because there are specific time limits that govern when we can file a lawsuit, do not delay. Contact us today!

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Motorcycle Safety – The Mythbuster’s Edition

Motorcycle safety is critical to one’s ongoing ability to ride on the open road. Some of the most horrific motorcycle crashes are attributable to inattentive drivers of cars. However, some other crashes can be attributable to wild animals, unexpected weather, or operator error. The purpose of this article is to discuss several motorcycle myths, with an eye towards creating an even safer operating environment for motorcyclists.

Myth 1: Conventional Brakes Stop Better than Anti-Lock Brakes

Testing done on a clean, flat, dry pavement by experienced drivers showed that motorcycles equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS) stopped in less distance than those bikes equipped with linked braking systems or conventional systems.

Myth 2: Bikers are Safer on Side Streets than on the Interstate

Interstates have controlled access. This means that, unlike on side streets, all traffic enters heading the same way. There is no risk of a careless driver speeding through an intersection hoping to beat the red light, which could result in an accident. There are also no pedestrians to worry about. Finally, if you are unfortunate enough to drive off the freeway, as opposed to a side street, either in an attempt to avoid a crash, or as the result of one, you are far less likely to crash into something on the side of the road.

Myth 3: One Beer Will Not Affect Me

One beer won’t get you to DUI level intoxication (unless you drink at an establishment that sells 64 ounce beers, that is), but it is false to believe it won’t impact your judgement. Studies show that one beer can increase your willingness to take risks. This can impact the risks you take to yourself (such as speeding up to make it through that now yellow, soon to be red light up ahead), as well as risks to others (such as presuming that pedestrian won’t attempt to cross the street with you approaching). You should also be aware that your metabolism changes as you get older. Your body may require more time to process alcohol than it did when you were younger.

Myth 4: With Sufficient Skill and Experience, a Rider Can Handle Any Challenge

While it would be great if this were true, no amount of skill or experience can trump the laws of physics. If you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, and the car that is 10 feet in front of you crashes into the truck in front of them and comes to a complete stop, you are not going to be able to stop. If you are between a mountain and an 18 wheeler, and the 18 wheeler decides to move into your lane and doesn’t see you, you may not have time or room to respond. Consequently, understanding that there are things that cannot be controlled for is paramount. With this understanding that even with skill and experience, situations can present problems, slow down, scan further ahead, consider potential possible challenges that may present themselves. As an added precaution, make sure to wear appropriate clothing and protective gear.

Myth 5: Helmets Just Lead to Closed Head Injuries

Several motorcyclists have argued that they choose not to wear helmets, because wearing a helmet will lead to closed head injuries whereas a choice not to wear helmets in the same accident will lead to a fast death. While it is certainly true that a failure to wear a helmet can lead to death, it can also lead to more closed head injuries. Studies done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that the use of helmets reduced the risk of death due to a motorcycle crash by 37 percent. Additionally, using helmets reduces the risk of head injuries by 69 percent.

Myth 6: Older Motorcyclists are Less Likely to Suffer Fatal Injury in Motorcycle Crashes

This is simply not supported by the data. When reviewing fatal injuries of motorcycle drivers by age and motor cycle type the data is as follows:

For cruisers and standard motorcycles, 49 percent of the fatalities occurred in users ages 50 and older;
For touring bikes, 68 percent of fatalities occurred in users ages 50 and older; and
For sport touring bikes, 58 percent of fatalities occurred in users ages 50 and older.

Myth 7: Motorcycle Helmets Interfere with Vision and Hearing

Studies performed by the Centers for Disease Control actually have found that helmets do not interfere with either vision or hearing. In fact, in addition to reducing head injuries and fatalities, helmets offer much needed eye protection, which enables riders to operate more safely.

Myth 8: Motorcycles Are as Safe a Form of Transportation As Any

Motorcycles are actually the most hazardous form of motor vehicle transportation. This is not a commentary on motorcyclists. Rather, it is a reflection of a host of contributing factors. Motorcyclists, by the very nature of motorcycles, are less protected than passengers in cars. Additionally, motorcyclists aren’t as visible as other cars, which can lead to crashes.

What To Do If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident or Lost a Loved One in a Motorcycle Accident

Even if you or a loved one has taken every precaution, has had sufficient training on road rules and safety, and has experience, crashes are sometimes unavoidable. This may be attributable to a drunken driver, a careless driver, unsafe road conditions, or any number of other factors. Whether or not you are entitled to be compensated for your motorcycle related injuries will be dependent on the facts and circumstances of your individual case.

At Madalon Law, our lawyers are well versed in the area of motorcycle accidents and liability. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, or if you have lost a loved one due to a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss of a loved one. Contact our skilled Florida motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation. There is no fee unless we prevail on your claim.

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Consider the Coast Guard’s Boating App As Part of Your Safety Plan

If you are an avid boater, consider a boating safety app for your phone. The United States Coast Guard offers a boating app that has the following features:

The ability to report a hazard;
The ability to report suspicious activity;
The ability to report pollution;
The ability to locate the nearest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy;
Access to Navigation Rules;
A guide to checking your safety equipment;
The ability to request a vessel safety check;
The opportunity to review the latest safety regulations;
The ability to file a float plan; and
The ability to request emergency assistance.

The Coast Guard is the boating safety coordinator for recreational boating. They work to minimize environmental harm, property damage, personal injury and loss of life. This is the first app created by the Coast Guard for preventive boater safety. The app provides the information and essential services that are most commonly requested by boaters. The app is available in Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play for Android devices.

The Story Behind the App

This app was born out of tragedy.

At the age of 17, Mr. Julian Romero joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which is an all volunteer group that supports the Coast Guard. At the time, Julian was the youngest Auxiliarist at Sector San Juan, according to his father. He studied at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy for one year, before transferring to the InterAmerican University in Puerto Rico. His plan was to join the active duty Coast Guard while studying to be a lawyer. On April 18, 2011, tragedy struck. Julian and his girlfriend went for a walk in the Old San Juan area of Puerto Rico. They were robbed at knifepoint by a 14 year old boy. Julian died of injuries while attempting to protect his girlfriend from the assault.

Because of Julian’s passion for the Coast Guard, his father Luis reached out to the Coast Guard and asked if he could sponsor a boating safety app for them. Julian did a lot of boat safety work in the auxiliary. Luis says, “In the Coast Guard, Julian found a great family. That same family was very good to us. When our son died they came to our help, and we came together to get through it as a family.”

The app was funded by Louis Romero, from Puerto Rico. Mr. Romero funded the app in honor of Julian’s memory. In addition to funding the creation of the app, Mr. Romero has committed to fund all updates and other support for the app’s lifespan. Mr. Romero notes that the app mirror’s his son’s drive to save lives and help others.

Location Services

Users have the option to enable or disable location services. When enabled, users can report locations of hazards on the water. They can also use location services to receive the latest weather reports from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather buoys. The location services feature also allows boaters to call the closest Coast Guard command center in an emergency. When the app is not being used, neither the Coast Guard nor the app track the user’s location.

Safety Check

The Coast Guard offers safety checks for your boat. With this, you can request that the Coast Guard Auxiliary come to you to perform a safety check. This can save you time and keep you and your family safe.

Safety Equipment

The Coast Guard app includes a list of safety equipment. The list is based on the size and the propulsion of the boat.

Float Plan

If you forgot to file your float plan before you left, it is not too late! With the app, you can file your float plan and send it to your friends and family alike. The app allows the filer to provide details such as the estimated time of arrival, the description of the boat, a passenger list, a list of food and water on board, and the checklist of safety gear available on the boat. These details can assist the Coast Guard if an emergency presents itself and a boater is in trouble. The float plan is not sent to the Coast Guard directly. Rather, the idea is to forward the plan to friends or family, who could provide it to the Coast Guard in the case of an emergency.

State Boating Information

You can use the app to find information about boating that is state specific. This can come in quite handy during long trips.

Rules of the Road

The app includes detailed information about the rules of boating and boating safety.

Reporting Abilities

You can report pollution, suspicious activities, and possible hazards directly to the Coast Guard. As an example, the Coast Guard cites a situation where someone reported a submerged vessel that was blocking their way. The app allowed the reporter to provide a picture, longitude, and latitude to the Coast Guard.

Cautionary Note

This app is not intended to replace a marine VHF radio. The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters have a marine VHF radio on their vessels. Additionally, this app is not intended to replace an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). This app is not a substitute for safe boating safety classes or the boater’s best judgment in a given situation. This app is simply designed to provide additional boating safety resources. According to Captain Joe Raymond, who is commander of the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, “The release of this mobile application is a step forward for the Coast Guard as we embrace new technologies. The intention is to make the information and resources more accessible to the boating public.”

If You Have Been Injured While Boating

If you have experienced an injury while boating, or if you have lost a loved one due to a boating incident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at Madalon Law to discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.

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Cruise Ship Injuries – Common Dangers on the High Seas and Common Sense Tips to Reduce Your Chance of Injury

There is something magical about vacationing on a cruise ship. Whether the appeal is seeing many different ports on a single trip, the incredible array of food and drinks, or the onboard camaraderie and sense of adventure that cruising provides, there is something for everyone. Unfortunately, cruise ships (like the rest of the world) can be dangerous places. If you or a loved one has been injured on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Cruise ships are considered “common carriers” under the law. Where a cruise ship causes or permits an act prohibited by law, or fails to do something required by law, they can be held liable for the full extent of damages sustained, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Food Poisoning on Cruise Ships

Food poisoning can occur in a number of different ways. Sometimes, the cruise ship inadvertently purchases food, such as lettuce or alfalfa sprouts, that is infected with some strain of a virus that will cause people to become ill. Other times, food is not kept at the correct temperature, which can lead to food poisoning. A third way one can get food poisoning on a cruise ship is based on the bad habits of others. Buffets are common on cruise ships. Imagine the incredible assortment of bad habits which could lead to other people having bacteria on their hands. When they use the buffet serving tools to put food on their plates, they may be also transferring that bacteria onto the serving tools. When you use the same tools, you may introduce that bacteria onto your hands. If you then use your hands to eat, you could introduce that bacteria to your body.

Consider the following to protect yourself: Do not eat food that is being kept at lukewarm temperatures. Hot food should be hot. Cold food should be stored at less than 40 degrees. According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) perishable food should not be kept out for more than two hours. Additionally, consider excusing yourself from the table to wash your hands with soap after you have filled your buffet plate but before you start to eat.

If you experience a fever over 101.5, prolonged vomiting, signs of dehydration, or diarrheal illness, you may be a victim of food poisoning. You should notify the cruise ship immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, even if you are not sure if you have food poisoning. This puts the cruise ship on notice they may have a potential outbreak on their hands. It may also be critical to your subsequent claim.

Slips, Trips, and Falls on Cruise Ships

Slips, trips, and falls are not uncommon on cruise ships. Part of this, of course, can be attributed to the adjustment people sometimes require as they gain their sea legs. Part of this can be because water makes surfaces more slippery. Also, cruise ships have raised thresholds as part of their design. The presence of water or a raised threshold itself may not give rise to a lawsuit. However, as with most parts of the law, it depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding any given incident. Sure, it is reasonable to expect the surfaces surrounding a pool to be wet. But it is not necessarily reasonable that those surfaces will be slippery; different surfaces respond differently to water. It is reasonable to expect that cruise ships will implement the necessary precautions by installing non-slip surface coverings around a pool, or other area that may be more likely to get wet.

Thresholds that are not adequately marked to inform the passenger of their raised presence may also be something a cruise ship could be held liable for. While they must be raised in certain circumstances, cruise ships have an obligation to make certain that the passengers are aware of this potential tripping point.

Another common injury on cruise ships results from falls down stairs. Sometimes, this is because a passenger is careless, rushing, or otherwise not paying attention. Sometimes, it is attributable to the severity of the weather conditions. But falls down stairs can also occur when there is no handrail, or the handrail, while present, has not be installed properly. In addition to improper construction, falls on stairs can occur where the stairs, banister, or stairwell has not been properly maintained.

To reduce the possibility of falling on the stairs on a cruise ship, passengers are encouraged to proceed slowly and with appropriate caution, using the handrail as intended.

It is important to note, however, that passengers are probably not in the best position to determine the cause of their slip, trip, or fall. Consequently, it is best to consult with a lawyer well versed in the requirements of “common carriers” to determine whether the cruise ship either knew or reasonably should have known about the presence of a hazard which could lead to a trip, slip, or fall.

The extent of injuries due to a trip, slip, or fall are not always readily apparent. Sometimes it can take a few days, or even a week, to fully determine the nature and extent of injuries due to a trip, slip, or fall. Consequently, no matter how insignificant it may first appear, if you slip, trip, or fall on a cruise ship, this should be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately, or as soon as practicable. If you have an injury, you should seek treatment from the cruise ship’s medical team. You should also take the time to document your injuries both with pictures and with written description of what happened. You should also take pictures of the area where you slipped, tripped, or fell. Remember that both close up and distance shots are critical in order to appropriately illustrate the scene.

If You Have Sustained an Injury on a Cruise Ship

If you have sustained an injury on a cruise ship, contact the dedicated cruise ship injury attorneys in Florida at Madalon Law to discuss your case. Together we can determine whether you may have a legitimate claim to be compensated for your injuries.

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Cruise Ship Hazards

Many Americans enjoy taking cruises. One of the best things about a cruise is the ability to unpack once, but visit several different destinations. Sunshine, ocean breezes, exotic destinations, food, and drink are just some of the other reasons cruises are so popular.

There can be a downside to cruises, however. Cruise ships bring with them a number of potential hazards, which can be the source of injuries, or even death.
These can include the following:

Assault by a passenger or crew member;
Drowning accidents;
Falling from great heights;
Accidents that occur on excursions;
Outbreaks of diseases;
Running aground;
Modern pirates;
Cruise ship collisions; and
Weather hazards.


Fires onboard a cruise ship are more rare than other hazards, but they do occur. When they occur, they can be terrifying. Fires can cause a great deal of damage to a ship. It also puts passengers at risk from smoke. If a fire starts in the boiler room, for example, the smoke can get into the vent system and put passengers at risk of smoke inhalation.

Assault By a Passenger or Crew Member

Violent assaults do occur on cruise ships, including sexual assaults. Alcohol flows freely on a cruise and some people get violent when they drink. A study has shown that the rate of sexual assault on cruise ships is 50 percent higher than it is on land.

Drowning Accidents

Cruise ships often have hot tubs, pools, wave pools and slides as well as other water attractions. Frequently, these areas do not have lifeguards on duty. This puts guests in danger of drowning. Do not let children use the water attractions without supervision. Also, adults should avoid water attractions after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Near-drowning accidents can also be an issue.

Falling from Great Heights

Falling overboard is the most obvious falling hazard on a cruise ship, but it is not the only one. Cruise ships also have internal ramps, balconies, and other level changes of significant height. This can lead to falls significant enough to cause injury or even death.

Accidents That Occur on Excursions

One of the most exciting things about cruising is the ability to leave the ship and experience exotic port cities and the areas around them. However, injuries can occur if a tour or other excursion experience is operated negligently. Depending on who is operating the excursion and who is negligent, you may or may not have a claim against the cruise line operator. A qualified and experienced attorney can help make this determination.

Outbreaks of Disease

Serious illness can spread throughout a cruise ship rapidly. Passengers use common dining areas and are in close proximity for the duration of the cruise. Onshore excursions can result in passengers being exposed to diseases they then bring back to the ship. Not every cruise ship has effective cleaning protocols, which can also lead to the rapid spread of serious illness.

Running Aground

Although rare, cruise ships have run aground. For example, off the coast of Italy in January 2012, a cruise ship ran aground. The ship was left lying on its side for an extended period of time. 32 people were killed and many more were injured in this incident.

Modern Pirates

Modern pirates are most commonly associated with oil tankers off the coast of Africa than they are with cruise ships. However, pirates have captured cruise ships – particularly smaller cruise ships – in the past. For example, 60 passengers on the Celebrity Eclipse were captured by pirates in 2013. Fortunately, in the end, no one was hurt in that situation.

Cruise Ship Collisions

Cruise ships collisions are rare, but when the do occur, they can cause severe, or even deadly injuries. Collisions can involve underwater debris, icebergs (hello, Titanic!), collisions with other ships or barges. The consequences of a cruise ship collision can be devastating for anybody onboard. A cruise ship collision frequently involves a significant number of injuries, and can also result in death due to injury or drowning, should someone be knocked overboard.

Weather Hazards

Weather hazards present a unique challenge to cruise ships. With modern weather forecasting and technology, severe weather hazards can usually be avoided, but not always. Hazardous weather is a concern for all ship captains. The journal of Meteorological Applications issued a report on the impact of severe weather on U.S. Navy ships. The report found that high waves, strong winds, thunderstorms and fog are the most significant weather hazards to ships. When ships are near ports, these hazards can be particularly dangerous. Ships may be required to navigate under or around bridges and other structures during severe weather, which can increase the potential for injury. Adding to the danger around ports, there are an increased number of ships, greatly increasing the risk of collision with another vessel.

It is almost inevitable that a cruise ship will encounter bad weather either at sea or in port. The issue then becomes are they equipped to handle the weather. There have been cases where passengers have been killed by weather hazards. For example, in 2010, 26-foot high waves crashed through the windows of the cruise ship Louis Majesty when the ship was off the coast of Spain. This resulted in the deaths of two passengers and injured 14 others. In 2014 a huge wave hit the MS Marco Polo cruise ship, shattering several windows and killing one elderly passenger. These massive waves are rare, but they do occur. Large waves are sometimes referred to as “rogue waves” because they seem to come out of nowhere and are completely unexpected. Rogue waves can sometimes reach heights around 100 feet.

If You Have Been Injured on a Cruise Ship

If you have been injured on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This can only be determined after a detailed conversation about the facts and circumstances of your particular injures takes place. At Madalon Law, we offer an initial consultation at no cost to you. In fact, if we take your case, we only charge you a fee if we win. Contact our determined cruise ship accident lawyers in Florida today to discuss your case.

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What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida – Part Two of Two

This article is the second in a two-part series about what drivers should know if they are in a car accident in the state of Florida. With almost 250,000 car crashes reported every year, per the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, it is best to be prepared for the possibility that one of those car crashes will happen to you or someone you love. In the first part of the article, we discussed the laws of Florida and what is required of drivers in case of an accident. In this second part, we discuss steps you can take to preserve evidence in case you have a personal injury claim, as well as to protect yourself from a suit from the other driver.

Write Down Exactly What Happened

As soon after the accident as possible, take a few minutes to write down what happened. You may even wish to use the voice feature on your phone to document the events that occurred – even as you are waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Be as detailed as possible. More detail is always better than less.

Take Pictures of the Scene

Ideally, you will be able to take pictures before either car is moved. Take pictures from all angles, documenting not only the vehicles’ positions, but also such things as skid marks (or lack of skid marks) on the pavement, broken glass, and damaged property near the scene. Include pictures of street signs. Make sure that at least some of your pictures clearly establish where the vehicles are in relation to each side of the street. An accident scene that only documents close-ups of the vehicle fails to clearly establish the crash scene.

Determine if There Were Any Witnesses

Obvious witnesses, of course, will include your passengers and the passengers and driver of the other vehicle. Less obvious witnesses could be that person peeking out their window at the crash scene, or the business owner who is offering to help. Look around to determine if you can identify any other witnesses.

Gather Witness Contact Information

If you identify any witnesses, take a moment to gather their contact information. This should include their name, address, phone number, and email address. This may be another time to use the voice recording feature on your phone. Be sure to confirm that the information is correct. Finally, make every effort to back up this information on another device in another forum as soon as possible.

Look for Security Cameras

Take a moment to review your surroundings to determine if you can identify any security cameras that might have recorded some or all of the accident or the events leading up to the accident. Recall that while you may have been approaching the accident scene from one angle, it is likely the other driver was approaching from another direction, so take a moment to review the other driver’s path as well.

Document the Damage to Your Vehicle

Note that documenting the damage to your vehicle is a step separate from documenting the accident scene. Make sure your documentation includes every side of your vehicle. You also should document the condition of the inside of your vehicle.

Document the Damage to the Other Vehicle

Similarly, you should document any damage (or lack thereof) that the other vehicle or vehicles may have sustained. Your goal is to be as thorough as possible without appearing rude. This is for the protection of both of you. Note: Most people will understand the importance of completely documenting the scene. However, your safety is important. Do not get into a confrontation with the other driver. If need be, ask law enforcement to assist you with documenting the damage to the other people.

Document Any Other Damage that May Have Been the Result of the Crash

Take a moment to survey the greater scene. Has a guardrail been damaged? Is a light post knocked over? Anything that appears even remotely out of place, that could have occurred as a part of the car crash, take the time to document it. Again, it is not enough to take a close-up picture of a dented guard rail. You should take the close-up, then take a distance shot, which clearly establishes not only the damage to the guard rail, but the background so there is no confusion as to which guardrail was damaged.

See a Doctor About Your Injuries

Obviously, if your injuries are serious enough to require a hospital visit, documenting the accident needs to be left to someone else. Go to the hospital immediately. If you are unsure whether or not you need to go to the hospital, and law enforcement is encouraging you to go, then by all means go! Law enforcement officers have been trained to handle all sorts of accidents, and are able to recognize shock. Trust them. If they say you should go to the hospital, please listen.

If you are not in need of emergency care, it is still a good idea to see a doctor about your injuries or potential injuries as soon as practicable.

Start a “Crash Diary”

We have previously discussed the importance of keeping a personal injury journal in our blog. A crash diary is a precursor to the personal injury journal. In many cases, the nature and extent of your injuries are not clear in the first few days. This is why it is critical that, from day one, you document the crash, and any injuries or expenses associated with the crash. Hopefully, after a week, you will confirm that you are indeed injury free and there is no need to continue maintaining your crash diary. However, if you are injured, your crash diary may be critical.

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Crash

If you have been injured in a car crash or if you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, your lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses. Please contact the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. We are well versed in personal injury law. We would be happy to discuss your case at no cost to you.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida car crash injury claim attorney

What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida – Part One of a Two Part Series

According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 16 million drivers on the road in the state of Florida alone. As a result of these drivers, Florida has almost 250,000 vehicle crashes each year. The most common reason for car crashes in the state of Florida is careless driving. This could mean texting while driving, being distracted by other passengers, being distracted by something outside of the vehicle, such as another accident, and any number of other possible situations wherein the driver’s attention is not fully on the task at hand.

If you are in a car crash, there are certain things you need to know about the laws of Florida and your obligations to anyone with injuries; your obligations to other drivers on the road; and your obligations to owners of other vehicles, including unattended vehicles. You should also know what steps you should take to protect yourself in case of injury, and against potentially frivolous lawsuits. Particularly if you or someone else has been injured, taking the following steps can be critical both for compliance with Florida law and in anticipation of a potential lawsuit for property damages and personal injuries.

Do Not Leave the Scene of a Car Crash

If you are a driver of a vehicle that has been in a car crash that involves injuries, do not leave the scene without providing the other party with information, including your name, contact information, and insurance information. Failure to do so could result in you losing your privileges to drive in the state. Of course, if you are being removed by ambulance, this could provide for a legally defensible exception to this rule.

Do Not Block Traffic

While it is essential that you not leave the scene of a car crash entirely, you should move your vehicle to the side of the road, rather than leave it in the intersection or wherever else the car may have ended up after the crash. Of course, there may be times when your car is no longer operable. In this case, you should call a tow truck to remove the vehicle. The caveat to the “do not block traffic” rule is this: Before you move your vehicle, take a few minutes to document where your car ended up after the accident. If you have a cell phone, take pictures of the car in its final resting place from all angles. If you find yourself without a working cell phone, grab a pen and paper and sketch out the accident scene
to the best of your ability.

If You Crash into an Unattended Vehicle

If you crash into an unattended vehicle, (or if a vehicle that is unattended crashes into your vehicle, due to a failure of the operator to put it in park or other vehicle failure) you must inform the owner of the incident and your identity. Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles advises you to provide your name, your address, your license plate number. Florida’s DMV also requires that you report the accident to the local police, the local sheriff, or the Florida Highway Patrol regardless of the amount of damages or injury.

Report the Crash to the Proper Authorities

In any car crash that involves property damage over $500 or involves injuries to any party, the crash must be reported. You can call the local police department, the sheriff’s department, or the Florida Highway Patrol. It is possible that you may be involved in a car crash that involves property damage where you are unsure if the damage will amount to $500 or more. In that situation, it is best to report the accident, in an abundance of caution. Additionally, not all injuries present themselves immediately. Reporting the crash will result in an investigation by law enforcement, who will likely write a report. This could be critical later. A failure to report the accident can’t be undone. In other words, you may file a report and discover you don’t need it. However, this is far preferable to failing to file a report and discovering later that you would, in fact, have benefited from having filed such a report.

Critical Next Steps

Once you have assured yourself that you have complied with all laws governing car crashes, take a moment to assess the situation with an eye towards future potential litigation. Remember, regardless of whether you believe you or the other person was at fault, the other driver may not agree with you. It is important to protect yourself both so that you may collect damages if you are entitled to them, but also to protect yourself from someone wrongfully obtaining damages from you that they are not entitled to. This can be done by taking the following steps:

Write down exactly what happened;
Take pictures of the scene;
Determine if there were any witnesses;
Gather witness contact information;
Determine if there might have been security cameras in the area that may have documented all or part of the accident;
Document the damage to your vehicle;
Document the damage to the other vehicle;
Document any other damage that may have been the result of the crash;
See a doctor about your injuries; and
Start a “crash diary.”

These critical next steps will be discussed in greater detail in Part Two of our series, “ What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident in the State of Florida.”

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Crash

If you have been injured in a car crash, or if you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, as well as lost property and lost income. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. Our attorneys are happy to review the facts and circumstances of your case at no cost to you to determine whether you may have a claim. Because Florida has a strict statute of limitations, do not delay. Contact us today.