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Preparing to Testify In Your Case

Testifying in a trial is a stressful and nerve-wracking experience.  It is crucial that you be as prepared as possible before you testify.  Preparation will make testifying much less stressful.  The Department of Justice offers some tips for testifying in court that you may refer to.  While written for the victim witness, these tips are helpful for all people who may testify.

Meet with Your Attorney

It is important that you and your attorney are on the same page.  You need to know what your attorney’s theory of the case is.  While you may find the color of the car that hit you to be critical to your case, your attorney may want you to focus instead on the driver’s conduct.  Meeting with your attorney ahead of trial will assist both you and your attorney.

Review your deposition and any police reports.   If this is a personal injury case, review your personal injury diary.

Practice testifying with your attorney.  You should practice your direct examination, which will be conducted by you attorney when you are on the stand.  You should also practice cross examination, which will be conducted by opposing counsel.  If your attorney is fully prepared, he or she will know what questions will likely be asked on cross examination.  You should also be comfortable with any exhibits your attorney plans on introducing through you while you are on the stand.  In order to be comfortable, you should review those exhibits in your attorney’s office.

Practice does not mean memorization.  You want to come across as conversational, not overly prepared.  Familiarize yourself with your case, reviewing your file with your attorney.

Decide what clothes you are going to wear and make sure those clothes are cleaned and pressed.

Go to the Courthouse in Advance

It can be helpful to drive to the courthouse prior to the day of trial.  Drive at the same time you will be driving on the day of trial.  This will give you an idea of traffic patterns and how long it can be expected to take you to drive to the courthouse.  Check out the parking situation as well.

If you can get into the courthouse, it can be helpful to go find your courtroom.  Locate the restrooms, water fountain, vending machines and anything else you might need.

When You Are Testifying

You must be honest when you are testifying.  You are under oath.  The other attorney will be questioning you and if he or she catches you in a lie, you will lose all credibility.  In personal injury cases the most common mistakes people make include overstating their levels of pain, and understating their levels of pain.

Make sure you dress appropriately.  If you are unsure about what to wear, ask your attorney.  Dress so jurors and the judge know that you are taking this matter seriously.  Piercings and tattoos should not be on display, if possible.

Remember that you are being observed even when you are not on the stand.  This includes your body language while you are seated at counsel table, next to your attorney.  Do not make faces or roll your eyes.  You may also be observed outside of the courtroom.  This can be in the hallway, in the bathroom, at lunch or in the parking lot.  Do not interact with jurors, other attorneys or witnesses.

It is important to always remain respectful.  The other attorney may frustrate you, but it is important that you remain calm and courteous.  You should also be respectful of your own attorney.  Obviously, you must also respect the judge.

If you do not understand a question, say so.  Even the most experienced attorneys sometimes ask poorly worded questions.  Do not guess at the meaning of the question.  Ask for clarification.

It is okay to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” if you don’t know the answer to a question.  This is especially true for minor details.  Make sure you are familiar with the important details of your case.

Listen to the question and answer only that question.  This is not the time to start volunteering information.  Do not guess the intent of the question and do not try to guess what the next question will be.  Answer the question and know that your attorney will be able to ask you follow up clarifying questions.  Resist the natural temptation to answer “Yes, but…” or “No, but…”

Take a moment before answering each question.  There is nothing wrong with a pause to gather your thoughts before answering.  It will also allow your attorney a chance to object, if necessary.  It will also make sure that the entire question is completed and you are not interrupting.  Juries do not appreciate rudeness from a witness.  Similarly, court reporters have a hard time recording people talking over other people.

Try to appear calm, relaxed and confident.  The jury will be watching you and your body language.  The jury is assessing your credibility at all times.  This does not mean you should be arrogant.

Short answers are frequently best, especially on cross examination.  If the question can be answered with a “Yes,” “No,” or a number, do so.  Make sure you answer verbally, do not shake or nod your head. 

Your testimony is being recorded, either by a machine or a court reporter.  Additionally, do not say “Yeah,” “Uh-huh,” or “Nuh-uh.”

Keep in mind that the opposing lawyer is not your friend.  Do not be lulled into a sense of comfort.  Some attorneys can be quite charming.

Avoid using the words “Never” and “Always” when testifying.

Correct any errors you make while testifying.  If you realize you misspoke or simply got something wrong, correct your mistake as soon as possible.

Stop talking immediately if the judge interrupts you or the opposing counsel objects.  Do not try to sneak in an answer.  This does not help your credibility with the judge and jury.  In some cases, this conduct could result in a mistrial.  Wait until the judge tells you it is okay to answer, or the attorney asks another question.

Contact Our Professionals

If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Our determined Florida personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach are ready to meet you to discuss your case.   At Madalon Law, there is no fee unless we win your case.

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Going on a Cruise? Tips on How to Stay Safe

Did you know that cruising is one of the safest forms of travel?  Most people enjoy cruising without any incidents whatsoever.  However, as with any experience, it can’t hurt to prepare yourself by understanding potentially dangerous situations.  The following are some basic safety tips.

Ask About Medical Facilities Before You Book

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) cruise ships’ medical facilities vary widely.  This is due to several factors, such as passenger demographics, the length of the cruise, the size of the cruise ship, and the itinerary.  There is no governing body responsible for regulating medical care on cruise ships.  The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has established consensus based guidelines for medical facilities on cruise ships.  These minimum requirements for medical facilities and capabilities are as follows:

  • The ability to provide emergency medical care for passengers and crew;
  • The ability to stabilize patients;
  • The ability to initiate reasonable diagnostic interventions;
  • The ability to initiate reasonable therapeutic interventions;
  • The ability to facilitate the evacuation of seriously ill patients and seriously injured patients.

Check the CDC’s Cruise Ship Inspection Report Card

The CDC provides a tool where travelers can review the safety inspection information for a specific cruise ship or an entire cruise line.  Once you select the relevant information, the CDC provides a score based on the last inspection report.  The CDC also provides the date of the last inspection.  Additionally, the CDC provides a list of violations discovered and the recommended course of action the cruise ship or cruise line should take.  Violations range from a food server scooping food into a buffet pan wearing a watch, to empty soap dispensers in public bathrooms, to mooring lines not properly protected against rodents.  Finally, cruise ships are given the opportunity to file a corrective action report, which details how the cruise ship corrected the problem.  This report is also available online.

Use the Ship’s Safe

As a preliminary matter, consider what items you bring with you on a cruise.  Items that are extremely valuable, or that you consider priceless are probably best left at home.  Any jewelry that you do bring on board, as well as your passports should be stored in the ship’s safe.  This is not to be confused with the safe in your room.  The safe in your room is for petty cash for tipping staff, your cell phone, etc.  Understand, however, that you should not use your in-room safe for anything you don’t want or can’t afford to lose.  In room safes have a bypass code.  This code is set by the manufacturers in recognition that: 1. People leave things behind inside in room safes all the time; and 2. People set a code for their in-room safe which they then promptly forget.  For both these reasons, in room safes have a bypass code.  A quality security system would assign a distinct, separate code for each safe.  In reality, many ships (and hotels, for that matter) have a single default code for all safes on board.  Imagine how many crew members are privy to those codes.

Be Mindful of the Crew

Most crew members are honorable citizens who are only interested in your enjoyment on the cruise.  However, just as in the rest of society, there are members of the crew who may be looking to take advantage of you.  Never, ever, ever go with a crew member to the crew quarters.  There are at least two reasons for this: First, this may be part of a set up with other crew members.  By bringing you into crew quarters, you are unquestionably not in your room.  This could be a plan to break into your room, because the crew knows you failed to follow the rule about using the ship’s safe for valuables.  The second reason you may be lured into crew quarters could be due to a crew member’s intent to commit some sort of crime, such as a sexual assault.  Understand inviting a passenger into crew quarters is grounds for immediate dismissal.  This is, in part, for your safety.  If you are invited to crew quarters, decline, and report the invitation as soon as possible.

Pay Attention to the Muster Drill

Safety first.  Before you cruise begins, your attendance is required at the “muster drill.”  This is where you learn critical safety information, such as how to don the lifejackets carried on that particular cruise ship, where your muster station is located, what different types of alarms are utilized, and for what circumstances.  It is unlikely that you will need this information, but the possibility exists.  Don’t text your friends, chat with your spouse, or otherwise engage in distracting behavior.   Your attention is essential.

Understand Door Safety

As a preliminary matter, you may notice the door to your room doesn’t close automatically.  Make sure you firmly close the door, both when you enter and when you leave.  If the door has a lock, use it while you are inside.  If you are lucky enough to have a balcony, good for you.  Be sure to close the balcony door when you are out as well as when you are sleeping.  As nice and romantic as it sounds to fall asleep to the gentle waves of the ocean, awakening to an intruder is a significantly less enjoyable event.  Your safety is paramount.  An open balcony door is almost as enticing as an open cabin door.  Protect yourself by keeping the doors closed and locked.

Reach Out to Our Professional Cruise Ship Attorneys

Unfortunately, some cruises end with negative experiences.  If you have experienced an injury on a cruise ship, or if you became ill on a cruise ship, or if you were assaulted on your cruise, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Our professional cruise ship attorneys in Miami specialize in cruise ship litigation.  Contact us for a free consultation.  There is no fee unless we win your case. Madalon Law has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach for your convenience.

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Protecting Your Hearing On the Job

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a report detailing how workers can protect their hearing on the job.  The CDC estimates that approximately 22 million American workers are exposed to potentially hazardous levels of noise exposure.  Hearing loss is one of the most common work related injuries in the United States.  In addition, prolonged noise exposure can affect workers’ quality of life, increase cardiovascular health risks, and bring a high economic price to American society as a whole.

On the job hearing loss occurs when workers are exposed to loud noise.  Any noise level over 85 decibels may be hazardous to workers’ hearing.  There is a smartphone app available that can estimate noise levels.  On a more basic level, if you cannot hear someone within an arm’s-length without raising your voice, noise levels may be damaging to your hearing.  If these basic methods of measuring noise levels show that noise levels may be hazardous, your employer should do a complete and comprehensive noise survey.

Ear damage is not the same as other injuries.  If your ears are ringing or roaring this could indicate heavy noise exposure.  Continuous noise exposure could lead to permanent hearing loss and damage.  If your ears feel full or stuffy, that is also an indication your ears are experiencing harm.

Also interesting, workplace chemicals can be a potential sources of hearing damage.  These include endocrine disruptors such as Acrylonitrile and Aroclor 1254, heavy metals such as trimethyltin, mercury and lead.  Asphyxiants such as hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide and organic solvents such as trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene and styrene can also cause hearing damage.

The CDC also notes certain factors can impact a worker’s vulnerability to hearing loss on the job.  These include biological factors such as race and ethnicity, genetics, age, gender and other health issues.

What is Buy Quiet?

Buy Quiet is a program from the CDC to help reduce employee hearing loss. While hearing loss is not reversible, it is preventable.  Buy Quiet is an initiative from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) that encourages employers to rent or buy quieter equipment.  This can occur when a business first starts, or as older machinery is replaced.  The idea is to reduce employees’ exposure to hazardous levels of noise.

Buy Quiet helps reduce the risk of hearing loss.  It reduces the impact of noise on the community at large.  It helps employers comply with OSHA and other regulations.  It also reduces the costs of ongoing testing of noise levels, workers’ compensation claims, and employee personal protective equipment.

The National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed ways to assist employers and promote implementation of the Buy Quiet program.  It is part of the Hearing Loss Prevention Program.  The program performs research on occupational hearing loss.  The program also works with manufacturers in designing equipment that produces less noise.

It is widely recognized that it is much more cost effective to design machinery and tools to reduce noise during their manufacture than it is to attempt to retrofit them after manufacture.  The Buy Quiet program leaves the quiet design decisions to equipment and manufacture designers.

Another benefit of the Buy Quiet program is that it helps remove employees from hearing conservation programs.  It does this by reducing worker exposure to below 85 decibels for eight hours.  Noise reduction programs are much more effective than hearing conservation programs.  Hearing conservation programs involve costs of annual hearing testing, including follow-ups, noise surveys of the workplace, providing hearing protection for employees and maintaining necessary record keeping.

Buy Quiet may be a simple concept, but implementing it has been difficult.  Equipment and machinery manufacturers have not provided noise levels for specific pieces of equipment.  This makes it difficult for business owners and those that purchase equipment and machinery to participate in the Buy Quiet program.  Further, there is no centralized location where this data is available.  In response, NIOSH has promoted Buy Quiet initiatives within organizations and encouraged companies to implement the program.  According to NIOSH, any company where workers are subject to hazardous levels of noise exposure can benefit from Buy Quiet.

Hearing Loss Prevention Program

Businesses should implement Hearing Loss Prevention programs. There are many components to  Hearing Loss Prevention Program.  For a Hearing Loss Prevention Program to be effective, regular noise exposure monitoring is necessary.  This can be expensive, but it is vital for protecting workers.  Additionally, hearing protection requires the participation of both employer and employee.  Employers must provide hearing protection devices, but employees must use the hearing protection devices.  Engineering and administrative controls must also be put into place.  Providing education and motivation to workers, regarding hearing loss prevention, is necessary.  Hearing loss prevention programs should also involve complete record keeping of employer efforts.  Finally, there must be a complete evaluation of the hearing loss prevention program employed by the business.

Other Resources

A number of other resources for hearing loss prevention also exist.  Removal of hazardous noise from the workplace is always the first choice.  However, use of hearing protectors is still appropriate where exposure to hazardous levels of noise cannot be eliminated.

Two tools have been developed by NIOSH to help employers protect employees’ hearings.

The first is the Hearing Protector Device Compendium.  It is a searchable database of hearing protection devices.  It helps employees and employers select the best product for each individual circumstance and noise exposure level.

The second is the NIOSH Well-Fit program.  It is designed to quickly and cheaply test the performance of hearing protection.  It takes approximately four to seven minutes and can be used with any ear plug.

Contact the Attorneys at Madalon Law

The experienced workers’ compensation Florida attorneys at Madalon Law practice in the areas of personal injury and workers’ compensation.  If you have suffered a hearing loss on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.  Contact our attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach to discuss your case.  There’s no fee or cost to you unless we win your case.

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Boating Apps That May Be of Interest

There are several boating apps that may be of interest to casual and avid boaters.  Below are a few:            

iFlashlight & Morse

For the iPhone, iPad, or IPod touch, this free app installs the ability to communicate in Morse Code.  Of more use, however, is the 1 click S. O. S. feature.  Use of a smartphone S. O. S. has been credited by the Coast Guard as critical in at least one boating accident rescue.

Lightning Finder

As you might imagine, the lightning finder identifies and locates lightning strikes near your location in real time.  It also provides you feedback about how long ago prior strikes occurred, and how far you are from recent nearby strikes.  If you are so inclined, you can request text alerts when lightning strikes occur within a predefined area.   This app offers a seven-day free trial, then $5.99 per year.

TrackaShip

TrackaShip allows you to find information about a ship near your location.  This information includes the size course, destination, speed of the ship, and more.  The app also allows you to measure the distance between your position and a ship you can see, or the distance between two other ships.  The app also includes a built-in compass and a direction vector to allow the user to determine the direction of ships and vessels observed.  There is a free version of the app, which allows the user to determine whether their area is covered by the app (Trackaship Superlite).  Note:  This app is not a substitute for proper maritime instruments.

Boat Ramps

Boat Ramps is an app created by takemefishing.org.  This app has a database of 35,000 boat ramps across the United States.  Using the app, the user can locate ramps either close to their current location, or near another location based on city or zip code.  Boat Ramps also provides directions from your location to the selected boat ramp.             

Colregs: Nav Lights & Shapes

Colregs: Nav Lights & Shapes is an app designed to provide boaters with a tool to help identify boats near them and determine what they are doing.  The app does this at night or in poor visibility based on the boat’s nav lights configuration.  In daylight, it will help boaters quickly identify a vessel based on its shape.

This app has four sections.  The first is Nav Lights.  This provides users visuals and language describing the lights that different boats display in poor visibility or darkness.  The second section is Day Shapes.  This provides users visuals and language describing the shapes of boats in daylight.  The third section is Test Yourself.  This is a series of multiple choice questions to check a user’s knowledge of shapes and light configurations.  The final section is ColRegs.  This section contains the complete International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS) Part C: Lights and Shapes rules.

Colregs: Rules of the Road

Colregs: Rules of the Road is an app designed to be a quick reference tool with visuals to help boaters identify boats and what the boat is doing based on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS).  It helps users determine who has the right of way and how to best prevent a collision.

This app has four sections.  The first is Navigation Rules.  This section provides graphics for most of the “Steering and Sailing Rules.”  The second section is Signals.  This section provides graphics explaining “Sound and Light Signals.”  The third section is ColRegs.  This provides a complete copy of the Steering and Sailing Rules, Part D: Sound and Light Signals, as well as Annex IV Distress Signals.  The final section is Test Yourself.  This section consists of multiple choice questions allowing you to check your knowledge.

The Knot Bible

The Knot Bible app shows users how to tie the 50 best nautical knots.  For each of the 50 knots it provides a brief description of how to use each knot and how to tie each knot with step-by-step pictures.

Some highlights of the Knot Bible include:

  • The Top 10 Knots, which describes the most useful knots.
  • Loops, which describes new loops for ropes.
  • Bends, which describes bend knots beyond the sheet knot, including rigger’s bend and the carrick bend.
  • Hitches, which describes the over 30 ways to secure a rope to a stationary object.
  • Knot Scores, which gives knots a score from one to five based on ease of tying, strength, ease of untying, security, and usefulness.

First Aid at Sea

This app is designed to provide boaters emergency first aid advice when on the water.  It was written by doctors who are also boaters.  The app provides a guide for dealing with emergencies in a boat on the water.  A range of topics is covered, including broken bones, cuts, CPR, poisoning, and other injuries.  It also includes how to provide detailed information over emergency communications.

The primary goals of the First Aid at Sea app include preserving life, relieving suffering and pain, preventing any further harm, and getting the injured individual back to land.

Safe Skipper

This app provides information on how to stay safe at sea.  It covers a wide variety of topics and is available for free.

Topics include:

  • Equipment necessary on your boat.  This includes a tool kit, anchor, equipment checklists, first aid kit, a life raft, flares and life jackets.
  • Preparation for your boating trip.  This includes checking the weather and tides, conducting a safety briefing and training, an engine check and passage planning.
  • Preparation for emergencies on the water.  This can include abandoning ship, distress signals, a hole in the hull, fighting a fire, a medical emergency or an engine failure.
  • This app features over 75 sections and subsections.

How to Pass the International Certificate of Competence Test

Many European countries require captains of visiting vessels to hold an International Certificate of Competence (ICC).  This app is designed to help users pass this tests.  Topics include what regulations you never really knew, how much users have forgotten and what topics are on the test.

Have a Boating Issue?  Contact Us

The skilled boating accident lawyers in Florida at Madalon Law are well versed in boating issues.  Contact us to discuss your case.

Ft. Lauderdale Florida maritime law attorney

Cruise Ships Polluting the Oceans

Recently, Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. was fined a $40 million penalty for deliberate pollution.  The company entered into a plea agreement with the Department of Justice, pleading guilty to a felony charge for illegally dumping oil contaminated waste.

The dumping was discovered when a whistleblower reported that the Caribbean Princess had dumped oil contaminated waste off the coast of England in 2013.  This was done to save money.  When the incident came to light, the chief engineer attempted to cover it up.  This particular vessel has a history of environmental violations dating to at least 2005.

This violation is unusual because of its deliberateness.  The General Accounting Office produced a study in 2000 finding that between 1993 and 1998, only 15 percent of illegal dumping in U.S. waters was intentional.  Further, 72 percent was accidental and 13 percent could not be determined.  Even cruise ships who follow the laws generate massive waste. Even cruise ships that follow the rules can do damage.

According to Friends of the Earth, cruise ships generate approximately 15 gallons of hazardous chemicals each day.  Every week, the largest cruise ships generate 210,000 gallons of sewage.  They also generate nearly five times as much graywater from sinks, laundry and showers.  It is estimated that 100 million gallons of petroleum based products from cruise ships leaks into the oceans each year.

Cruise ships are only required to treat graywater and sewage with Marine Sanitation Devices.  This technology is ineffective, leaving heavy metals, bacteria and nutrients that impact the marine environments.

Advanced technologies that better remove pollutants from wastewater before it is dumped do exist and would be helpful.  It would be best if cruise ships did not dump treated sewage near marine protected areas and sensitive coastlines.  However, cruise lines do not always clearly reveal their environmental policies.

The Friends of the Earth grades cruise ship lines based on transparency, sewage treatment, water quality compliance and air pollution reduction. In their 2016 report, they evaluated 17 cruise lines and only one received a grade above a C.  Disney Cruise Lines received an A-, eight cruise lines received Ds, and four received Fs.  Friends of the Earth judged cruise lines based on four criteria.  These include Water Quality Compliance, Transparency, Air Pollution Reduction, and Sewage Treatment.

Water Quality Compliance grades were determined for cruise ships operating in Alaska by examining notices of violation for each cruise line issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from 2010 to 2014.  If a ship traveled to Alaska but discharged its waste outside of Alaskan waters to avoid Alaska’s strong water quality standards, it was given a grade of “N/A.”

Transparency grades were based solely on whether a cruise line responded to Friend of the Earth’s 2015 information request about their environmental practices.

Air Pollution Reduction grades were based on whether ships were capable of plugging into shore-side power or had installed scrubbers.  Cruise ships that docked in ports with shore power capacity and scrubber technology received a grade of A.  Cruise ships that only docked at ports with shore-side power or scrubber technology received a grade of C.  Cruise ships were also credited if they only used low sulfur fuels at levels lower than required by law.

Sewage Treatment grades were determined by the proportion of a cruise line’s cruise ships that have installed advanced sewage treatment systems across the cruise line’s fleet.

A cruise line’s Final Grade was calculated by averaging each of the four criteria.

The environmental concerns grow as the cruise ship industry expands.  Cruise ship demand has increased nearly 70 percent in the past 10 years according to the Cruise Lines International Association.  More than 22 million people took a cruise in 2014 and about half of them were in the United States.  It is estimated that every passenger on a cruise ship has a carbon footprint that is three times what it would be if they were on land.

Not only are there an increasing number of cruise ships, they are also increasing in size.  The Harmony of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean, is the largest cruise ship in the world.  It carries 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew members.  It is a 16-deck-tall floating city.  The ship has two four-story 16-cylinder diesel engines.  At full power, each engine burns 1,377 gallons of fuel an hour or approximately 66,000 gallons a day.  The diesel fuel burned is some of the most polluting in the world.

The cruise ship must use abatement technologies or burn low sulfur fuel when in port and close to coasts in the United States and Europe.  Some still complain that the cruise ships contribute to air pollution in cities south as Southampton, England, where the Harmony docks.  Southampton residents also complain that the road traffic generated by the cruise ships generate air pollution.

Royal Caribbean says that the Harmony uses the most modern and efficient pollution control systems and meets all legal requirements.  An organization for the cruise line industry adds that cruise lines have invested significantly to develop new technologies to reduce air emissions.

However, marine pollution analysts in Brussels and Germany argue that such a large ship would emit more sulfur than several million cars and more NO2 gas than  all traffic through a medium-sized town.

According to Bill Hemmings, an expert with the Transport and Environment group, the large cruise ships burn as much fuel as whole towns.  Even when they burn low sulfur fuel it is 100 times worse than road diesel.

Contact the Maritime Attorneys at Madalon Law to Discuss Your Cruise Related Injury or Illness

Given the nature of cruises, it is not uncommon for passengers to become ill during their voyage.  If the illness can be attributed to negligence or carelessness of the ship’s employees and crew, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the experienced Florida maritime attorneys at Madalon Law to discuss your case.  Our attorneys are well versed in both federal and state law.  There is no fee unless we win your case.

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Recent Product Recalls – January 2017

A number of products have recently been recalled for a variety of reasons. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission provides information on recalls.  Below are some of the products recalled in January of 2017.

RH Baby and Child Mobile

On January 17, 2017, a recall was issued for RH Baby and Child’s Vintage Car Mobiles.  The mobile has cars hanging on it.  The wheels on the mobile can detach and fall.  This poses a choking hazard to young kids.

Consumers are entitled to a refund.

Contact RH at 888-728-8419 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.  RH can also be contacted online at www.rh.com.  Click on the button labeled “Safety” at the bottom of the page.

Nantucket Distributing Pre-Lit Globe Christmas Tree

On January 12, 2017, a recall was issued for National Distributing’s Pre-Lit Globe Christmas Tree.  The tree has a fuse that can overheat and pose a fire hazard.

Consumers are entitled to a refund.

Contact Nantucket at 888-287-3232 or by email at bargains@christmastreeshops.com for further information.

Trek 720 Disc Bicycles and Wheel Sets

On January 19, 2017, a recall was issued for Trek’s model 720 bicycles and wheel sets.  The front brake caliper may contact a broken spoke.  This poses a fall hazard to a rider.

Consumers are entitled to a replacement.

For more information, Trek can be contacted at 800-373-4594 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Trek can be contacted online at www.trekbikes.com at the “Safety and Recalls” button on the bottom of the page.

Boosted Electric-Powered Skateboards

On January 12, 2017, a recall was issued for Boosted’s electric-powered skateboards, specifically its Model B2SR battery pack.  The lithium ion battery pack can overheat and cause a fire hazard.

Consumers are entitled to a replacement.

For more information, Boosted can be contacted at 844-395-0070 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.  Boosted can be contacted online at https://boostedboards.com at the “Battery Pack Recall” button.

Linon Home Décor Cynthia Dressers

On January 11, 2017, a recall was issued for Linon Home Décor’s 5-drawer Cynthia Dressers.  If the chests are not properly anchored to the wall, they pose a tip-over risk that can cause injuries or even death to children.

Consumers are entitled to either a refund or repair.

More information can be obtained by contacting Linon Home Décor at 800-622-4456 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Linon Home can also be contacted online at www.linon.com by clicking the “Recall” button at the bottom of the page.

Yamaha Snowmobiles With Aftermarket Turbochargers

On January 12, 2017, a recall was issued for Yamaha snowmobiles with aftermarket turbochargers.  The turbocharger can cause severe engine damage to the snowmobile potentially resulting in fire and crash hazards.

Consumers are entitled to a repair.

For more information, contact Yamaha at 800-962-7926 anytime.  Yamaha can also be contacted at www.yamahamotorsports.com by clicking the “CPSC Alerts” button.

Arctic Cat Snowmobiles

On January 11, 2017, Arctic Cat snowmobiles, Model Year 2007 Arctic Cat F were recalled.  The fuel tank can crack and fuel leak as a result, creating a potential fire hazard.

Consumers are entitled to a repair.

For more information, contact Artic Cat at 800-279-6851 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Customers can reach out online at www.arcticcat.com/customer-care by clicking the “Product Recall” and then the “List of Safety Bulletins” buttons.

BRP Side-by-Side Off-Road Vehicles

On January 12, 2017, BRP side-by-side off-road vehicles, 2016 model Defender DPS were recalled.  The vehicle is prone to rolling away unexpectedly when the vehicle is in the park position, possibly injuring vehicle users.

Consumers are entitled to a repair.

For more information, contact BRP at 888-272-9222 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. any day.  The company can also be contacted online at www.can-am.brp.com by clicking first on the Off-Road website, then the “Safety” and then the “View Notices” buttons.       

Textron Specialized Vehicles Bad Boy Off-Road Utility Vehicles

On January 11, 2017, Textron Specialized Vehicles Bad Boy XTO off-road utility vehicle was recalled.  These vehicles do not have seat belts, which may result in death or serious injury to passengers and the driver if there is an accident.

Consumers are entitled to a repair.

For more information contact Textron Specialized Vehicles at 855-738-3711 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.  Customers can reach out online at www.badboyoffroad.com by clicking on the “Recall Information” button.

Dunkin’ Donuts Glass Tumblers

On January 10, 2017, Dunkin’ Donuts Glass Tumblers were recalled.  The tumblers can break or crack which can cause burns or cuts.

Consumers are entitled to a refund.

For more information, contact Dunkin’ Donuts at 800-859-5339 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.  Customers can reach out online at www.dunkindonuts.com by clicking on the “Learn More” button next to the safety recall notice.

Michaels Rock Salt Lamps

On January 10, 2017, Michaels Rock Salt Lamps were recalled.  The outlet plug and dimmer switch can ignite, creating fire and shock hazards.

Consumers are entitled to a refund.

For more information, contact Michaels at 800-642-4235 between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Customers can reach out online at www.michaels.com by clicking the “Product Recalls” button at the bottom of the page.

Curio Design Modular Lights and Bases

On January 4, 2017, Curio Design Modular Lights and Bases were recalled.  The lights have faulty wiring that present a shock and fire hazard.

Customers are entitled to a refund or replacement.

For more information contact, Curio Design at 510-863-0150 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.  Customers can also send an email at hello@splytlight.com.  Finally, customers can go to www.splytlight.com and click the “CPSC Recall December 2016” tab.

Active Kyds Children’s Toy Shovel and Garden Sets

On January 10, 2017, Active Kyds Children’s Toy Shovels And Garden Tool Sets sold exclusively on Amazon.com were recalled.  The toys were found to have excessive levels of lead.

Consumers are entitled to a refund.

For more information, contact on Active Kyds at 855-736-6255 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Customers can also send an email to activekyds@gmail.com.  Finally, customers can reach out online at www.activekyds.com by clicking on the “News” button.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Madalon Law

If you have been injured due to a faulty product, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the dedicated Florida product liability attorneys at Madalon Law to discuss the facts of your case.

boating crash injury lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Reckless and Careless Boating in Florida

Just like driving a car, it is important to exercise care when operating a boat. Unfortunately, every year there are accidents caused by reckless or careless boaters.

Reckless or careless boating in the state of Florida is governed by Florida statute § 327.33.

The state of Florida has no special boating licensing requirement and it has very few safety training requirements. Nonetheless, Florida law prohibits operating a boat in a reckless or careless manner. Florida statute § 327.33 defines reckless or careless boating as operating a boat, “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner as to endanger, or likely to endanger, life or limb, or damage the property of, or injure a person…”

The statute goes on to say that a boat operator must operate their boat in a “reasonable and prudent manner.” The operator must have “regard for other waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions, and all other attendant circumstances. . .” Further, it requires boat operators comply with
the rules of navigation.

Boating Accidents in Florida

Each year, the state of Florida has more boating accidents than any other state. The most common causes of these accidents are boat operators do not understand the dangers of boats vs. cars or do not understand boat’s rules of the road and safety laws. While it is not required by law, boating education is the key to limiting boat accidents. As a result of the lack of legal requirements, many boat operators do not have the specialized knowledge needed to operate the vessel they are behind the wheel of. Boat drivers also need to understand the operating characteristics of boats that are heading toward them.

There are other safety procedures that can be used to eliminate or limit boating injuries. These include wearing life jackets or using “kill switches.” Kill switches turn off the engine if the boat operator is thrown from the driving position.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, over 4,500 boating accidents occur in the United States each year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reports that 834 boating accidents and 73 boating related deaths occurred last year. This includes four missing persons who have not been accounted for. Florida has nearly 900,000 registered boats and nearly 1,000,000 non-registered boats. This makes Florida one of the top states for recreational boating. Not surprisingly, this also makes Florida one of the top states for boating accidents in the United States.

For example, in 2014, 51 boaters died. This included many that fell overboard. Drowning is the most frequent case of death while boating. It makes up 70 percent of all boating deaths. Boaters falling overboard are at significant risk of drowning, particularly if they are not wearing a lifejacket or other personal flotation device.

Have You Been Injured?

An operator of a vessel may be liable for damage caused while under the operator’s control. An experienced, qualified personal injury will assess the nature of your injury, the applicable laws and appropriate jurisdiction for your case. Whether your case is governed by the laws of Florida, or federal maritime law depends on the location of the accident. The statute of limitations and other rules vary between federal maritime laws and the laws of Florida. The attorneys at Madalon Law are well versed in both.

Poor decision making by boat operators can result in careless or reckless driving. One of the most common poor choices boaters make is operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other poor choices include, but are not limited to, the following:

Operating a boat at a high rate of speed, including slamming into a big wave at a high rate of speed;
Crashing into other boats or objects;
Weaving the boat through congested traffic;
Overcrowding the boat; and
Allowing passengers to ride where they are in danger of falling overboard.

Boat operators are required to have proper safety equipment on the boat. Boaters should also be aware that any violation of the Federal Navigation Rules is also a violation of Florida law.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, its officers, county sheriff deputies and other law enforcement officers may stop any boat to check compliance with safety equipment requirements. Those officers may also order the removal of any boat deemed a hazard to public safety and enforce all boating laws.

In the event of a boating accident, the boat operator must not leave the scene without first rendering whatever aid is appropriate. The boat operator must also provide notice to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the appropriate sheriff department or police chief of the municipality of the accident if there is a personal injury, death, disappearance of a person or damage to the boats or personal property of at least $2,000. Boat operators involved in an accident must provide his or her name, address and the identifying number of his or her vessel to the owner of the damaged property or other vessel.

Damages?

Individuals that are injured as a result of the negligence of a vessel operator may be entitled to compensation. This includes damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. The laws governing recovery depends on a number of things, including the role of the plaintiff, was he or she an employee of the boat operator or a guest? It is also important to note that if the accident involves ignorance of the so called “Rules of the Road,” such a violation may give an injured party a rebuttable presumption that the boat operator is liable for any damages.

Boating Accident Attorneys

Qualified and experienced attorneys skilled in the area of Ft. Lauderdale boating accidents must be retained by plaintiffs involved in boating accidents. Maritime law is very different from land based law. It has its own pleading requirements and filing deadlines. The attorneys at Madalon Law have litigated boating cases in both state and federal court. If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your case. There is no fee unless we recover for you.

personal injury claim lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale FL

Different Types of Personal Injury Cases

There are many different types of personal injury cases. Personal injury claims stem from either negligence or intentional acts. A qualified, experienced attorney can help guide you through the legal process and help assure you the best outcome for your case. If you have been injured through the negligence of another, you may be able to pursue one of the following types of personal injury cases:

Medical Malpractice

There are a number of issues to consider in a medical malpractice case. It is not enough simply that a mistake was made. Instead, a series of conditions must be met. First, there must be a doctor-patient relationship. Second, the treatment provided fell below the accepted medical standard of care. Third, the medical professional’s negligence caused the harm to the patient. And fourth, the patient suffered harm as a result of the negligence by the medical professional.

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicle accidents are a common source of personal injury cases. Both drivers and passengers may have a claim against an insurer if they have been injured in a car accident. Similarly, pedestrians are frequently entitled to compensation, with limited exceptions, if they are injured by a motor vehicle. Claims aren’t just limited to cars. Motorcyclists, and even bicyclists can both be injured in, and responsible for, vehicle accidents.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents are not treated like other personal injury cases. Instead, they are covered by workers’ compensation and the rules of that system. Both injuries and death incurred on the job are compensable under workers’ compensation claims.

Defamation, Slander, and Libel

Defamation is a broad category that covers both libel and slander. It occurs when someone communicates something that is harmful to a person’s reputation or livelihood. Slander occurs when that defamation is spoken verbally. Libel occurs when that defamation is written or published. It is important to understand that defamation is a false statement of fact, not opinion.

It is also important to distinguish between public figures and private figures. In brief, private figures claiming defamation need only prove that the defamer acted negligently, while public figures claiming defamation must prove the defamer acted intentionally or recklessly.

Wrongful Death

If a person dies and it is the fault of another person or business entity, survivors may have a claim for wrongful death. Wrongful death claims compensate for any survivors’ loss. This can include lost wages, funeral expenses and lost companionship.

Wrongful death claims can involve a wide variety of fatal incidents from a car accident to complicated medical malpractice cases. People, businesses, and government agencies can all be found legally at fault for acting negligently or intentionally.

Harmful Drugs

When drug manufacturers market harmful drugs, they can be subject to government fines and lawsuits by consumers injured by those drugs.

Lawsuits against drug manufacturers frequently arise when those companies market drugs for unapproved uses.

Product Liability

Dangerous and defective product cause thousands of injuries a year in this country. Product liability law hold manufacturers and others responsible for dangerous or defective products and is different from other personal injury law. These laws may make recovery of damages easier for an injured person.

In general, all sellers in the distribution line of the defective product can be found liable for the consumer using the defective product. The distribution line may include the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturer of the products parts, the group that assembles the product, the products wholesaler, and the product’s retailer.

The law requires products meet the ordinary expectations of a consumer. When this expectation is not met and the consumer has an injury as a result, a product liability claim may be appropriate. The injured party need not be the purchaser of the product to make a product liability claim.

Dog Bites

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States. Further, approximately one in five of those bites will become infected

Children and men are most at risk of being bitten by a dog. Over half of all dog bites occur in the home by dogs that are familiar to the victim of the bite.

Should you be injured by a dog bite, document as much about the bite as possible, including all medical treatment. This will assist your attorney in a future lawsuit and ensure that you receive a full financial recovery.

Slip and Fall

Business owners and employers have a responsibility to provide a safe premises to the public. Slip and fall accidents can occur in the workplace or in a public space, including businesses. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include slippery floors, improperly maintained sidewalks, construction site hazards and broken stairwells. Slip and falls can result in a wide variety of injuries from minor to fatalities.

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, seek whatever medical attention you need immediately. Medical reports will help your case by keeping a record of your injuries.

If you are able, use your phone to take pictures of the scene of your injury. If you are unable, ask a friend to take the pictures or return to the scene later to take photos.

Assault and Battery

While most personal injury claims are the result of negligence, assault and battery claims are the result of an intentional act. Assault and battery cases often involve criminal charges, but a civil lawsuit can also be brought.

Assault occurs when the defendant’s action cause a person to reasonably believe they are in imminent danger of harm. A battery occurs when one person actually strikes another, directly or indirectly, causing harm or injury.

Assaults and battery frequently arise from the same event, but that is not necessarily always the case. It is possible, for example, for there to be an assault without a battery. Similarly, particularly if attacked from behind, a battery can occur without an assault.

Contact Madalon Law

Whether you have been injured due to medical malpractice, a vehicle accident, a faulty product, a dog bite, harmful drugs, or slipped and fell, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Similarly, if you have lost a loved one due to one of these categories of injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the hard-working Florida personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we recover on your behalf.