Marc Schwartz Blog

Steps to Take After a Boating Accident in West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach has many wonderful boating opportunities; whether you own a boat yourself or just like to rent one for a jaunt along the Intracoastal, boating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors here in South Florida. Unfortunately, not everyone you might encounter on the water knows the rules of the road. Boating accidents in West Palm Beach are a fact of life here as much as they are anywhere else. So if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in a boating accident, what should you do?

The first step takes place before any accident happens. You should learn boating safety, familiarize yourself with all your equipment, study the local charts, review the nautical “rules of the road,” use common sense and good judgment, and be courteous and considerate to other boaters. Being prepared and educated means you’ll minimize the chances of being involved in an accident in the first place. And if an accident should occur, you will most likely not be the one at fault.

If you are involved in a boating accident in West Palm Beach — or anywhere else, for that matter — you may find yourself having to do several things at once, juggling conflicting priorities. Being focused on stopping the bleeding from a person’s leg does not mean you can ignore water levels rising in the bilge. If you have someone else qualified on board, instruct them to take the helm, or tell them to break out the bilge pump and bucket. 

As a rule, no matter what happens, you should keep several things in mind during South Florida boating accidents:

  • As long as your boat is still afloat, check if anyone is in need of medical attention and help them as well as circumstances allow.
  • Immediately call up the Coast Guard, informing them that you were just involved in a boating accident. Tell them immediately if you need emergency medical care. Let them know where you are and give them a description of the boats involved.
  • If you can, help the other vessel.
  • Once the situation is under control, exchange information with the other boat operator.

Ask for and give the following:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of the operator.
  • Names of all passengers, including their addresses and phone numbers.
  • Names of any eyewitnesses who saw the event, either from another vessel or from shore.
  • Name of the vessel.
  • ID or registration number of the vessel.
  • Vessel’s insurance company and insurance policy number.

Once the medical needs of everyone have been taken care of and there is no immediate danger, take photographs of all vessels involved. After you come ashore, contact the Coast Guard and file an accident report (if required). An accident report is required if:

  • The accident results in death or any injuries requiring medical treatment other than first aid.
  • The damage to property and vessels is $2000 or more, or a vessel is lost entirely.
  • Anyone disappears from their vessel in circumstances that indicate death or injury.

You may also have to file an accident report with the local authorities. Contact your parks and recreation department to determine whether this is the case. Inform your insurance carrier that an accident occurred as soon as possible. Give them copies of all paperwork from law enforcement or Coast Guard.

Finally, before going out on your West Palm Beach boating excursion, be sure to bring this checklist along with you. Knowing what to do ahead of time will give you a far better chance of succeeding should you become injured and litigation against the responsible party becomes necessary.

Be sure to write down the phone number of Marc Schwartz (954-655-0222) an experienced Palm Beach Boating Accident Attorney. This way, if an accident happens and you are not sure about something you should do, you will have a direct line to an expert that can guide you through the process in real time.

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Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Serving South Florida

According to reports from the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, about 4-6% of elderly people suffer abuse and about 84% of elder abuse incidents are never reported to the authorities. The problem is no better here in South Florida… and there is evidence to suggest that elderly abuse inside of nursing homes is more widespread than among seniors living at home or with a relative.

A 2002 study by the Congress’ General Accounting Office found that almost 30% of nursing homes around the country have been issued citations from inspectors for harming residents or placing them in jeopardy.

If the problem is so bad, why doesn’t anything happen?

One reason has to do with the way the nursing home system works. For example, a nursing home in Miami, Hollywood, or Fort Lauderdale may need to hire workers from out of state. Unfortunately, other states don’t typically exchange information about abusive nursing home workers and there’s no central list of workers that have committed abuses.

Abuses that get reported may cost a worker their ability to work in nursing homes in that state, but not necessarily in others. That worker can now just find a new state and a new job at a nursing home there. A nursing home in South Florida may have no idea that the person they hired has a record of abusing patients in Texas.

Further compounding the problem is the reluctance of all parties involved to report abuse. Patients fear retribution from their abusers, as well as a cessation of care. Victims of abuse often find themselves in a position where they rely on their abusers to care for them and feed them, a position which abusers exploit.

Relatives may fear that the abused patients will be forced out of the nursing home if they report abuses, since they may believe that the nursing home wants to avoid the hassle of dealing with the issue, so instead they will find a reason to get rid of the patient at the center of the trouble.

Nursing home managers often fear reporting abuse will cause adverse publicity, or bring penalties and fines from state regulators. Nursing home employees often fear retribution from co-workers or losing their jobs should they report abuses they witness. According to the 2002 investigation, some in-house employees have helped cover up abuses as serious as rape.

On the other hand, there are rarely any penalties meted out to nursing homes that fail to report abuses. In many cases, the abuses may only become known when others note evidence of injury.

The sad fact is that nursing home abuse in South Florida is very real, even if it never goes reported. As a “retirement hot spot”, South Florida has a high concentration of nursing homes — but residents in cities like Miami or Fort Lauderdale still have to take responsibility for their situation, and that includes taking action to hold their abusers accountable.

If you have a friend or loved one that is caught in an abusive situation inside a nursing home or retirement facility, do not hesitate to take action. Get in contact with a South Florida nursing home abuse attorney such as Marc Schwartz right away.

A qualified attorney will be able to navigate the legal issues involved in such a case to ensure that your loved one no longer has to live in these horrible conditions. In addition, securing proper damages will help ensure that nursing home operators will think twice about covering up other cases of abuse within their facilities.

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Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney in Miami, Florida

Steps to Take When Involved in a Car Accident in Miami

If you’re involved in a Miami car accident and you’re able to walk away from the scene with no serious injuries, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure everything works out as well as it can.

Right after the accident, injuries can be serious and emotions can be raging. There are still important things to take care of at the scene and shortly thereafter.

Stay On the Scene

The first step to take when involved in a car accident in Miami is to stay on the scene of the accident until it’s appropriate to leave. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if someone was injured or killed, may make you liable for serious criminal charges as a “hit and run” driver.

The exception can be deserted and dangerous areas of South Florida, where you should exercise caution before you stop and get out of your vehicle. People have been robbed or killed after being bumped by another car and exiting their vehicle in an unsafe situation. If you sense a dangerous situation, instead of getting out of the car, call 911 and/or drive to your nearest Miami-Dade County police station.

Check on All Passengers and Drivers

Check to make sure everyone is OK before you start assessing property damage. Get medical attention if anyone might need it. Never move people that are unconscious or who complain of back or neck pain, leave it to a qualified fire rescue and medical professionals.

If you must move someone due to an immediate danger to their life or safety (e.g a potential explosion or fire hazard) move them steadily and slowly while supporting their back and neck. The less you move them, the better.

Call the Police

Particularly if death, serious injury, or significant property damage is involved, you will need to call the police. Ask for a police report, and get the names and badge numbers of all responding officers.

Exchange Information

Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the Miami car accident. Be cordial and cooperative with the other drivers, but don’t apologize for anything regarding the accident. Anything you say that implies your guilt can contribute to your legal liability.

Furthermore, do not discuss the accident with anyone outside the scene except your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Never talk to another insurance company’s representative, send them to your lawyer or your insurance company instead.

Talk to Witnesses

Ask everyone who might have seen the accident what they saw. Get their names, phone numbers, and addresses if you can. For this purpose, always keep a pen and notepad in the car with you so you can write down both your immediate account of what happened and what nearby witnesses say happened.

Take Pictures

Take pictures of everything you can. The more photographic evidence you have, the better your case will be.

Consider the Services of a Legal Professional

If the Miami car accident resulted in an injury, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer. A personal injury accident attorney can help maximize the amount of money you recover if you were injured, and they can help defend you if the accident turns out to be your fault.

Before long, you’ll also want to inform your insurance company of what happened. Ask them to provide a property damage valuation for your car, and if they provide an estimate that’s too low, be assertive and get two estimates for the repair or replacement on your own. If you need medical treatment, you should keep track of all expenses and document them in detail to ensure that you will be properly reimbursed. 

Contact Attorney Marc Schwartz for experienced representation if you were involved in a Miami automobile accident

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Personal Injury Attorney for Motorcycle Accidents in Boca Raton

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Boca Raton

Motorcycle accidents aren’t necessarily more common than other vehicle accidents, but they are much more likely to end in death or serious injury. Across the US, motorcycle accidents cause 35 times more deaths than car accidents per mile traveled. These statistics mean it is well worth it for local bikers to understand the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Boca Raton and throughout South Florida and take steps to reduce their risk.

Head-On Collisions

56% of deaths in motorcycle accidents result from crashes that involve motorcycles colliding with other vehicles. Some 78% of the time involves a car striking the motorcycle from the front. A head-on collision between motorcycle and car is frequently a fatal occurrence for the motorcyclist.

Left-Hand Turning Cars

The most dangerous situation for motorcycle riders on Boca Raton’s roads involves cars that make left-hand turns. These kinds of collisions are responsible for 42% of accidents between a car and a motorcycle. The turning car usually collides with the motorcycle while the motorcycle is:

  • Passing the car
  • Going straight through the intersection
  • Overtaking the car

Collisions involving a left-hand turning car are common in car-on-car accidents as well, but the smaller size of a motorcycle means it’s less likely to be noticed by the turning vehicle. Motorcycles passing a car within the same lane make themselves even more vulnerable. A car doesn’t expect such a maneuver and is often surprised by it.

A vehicle that hits another one while it’s making a left turn will almost always be found at fault. The motorcycle rider may shoulder some of the blame if they were in the wrong lane or speeding. If this is the case, the biker will likely receive less compensation from the car’s driver for the damages and injuries the accident caused.

Motorcyclist Lane Splitting

When a biker drives between lanes of slowly moving or stopped cars, it’s called lane splitting. Motorcyclists use this as a way of moving to the head of traffic jams. Unfortunately, it’s also a common cause of motorcycle accidents in Boca Raton, for a few reasons:

  • the cars are in close proximity to the motorcycle
  • the motorcycle has little space to maneuver
  • the drivers don’t expect any vehicle to pass them in slowed traffic

Which vehicle is considered at fault after an accident that involves lane splitting depends on a number of factors, particularly the views of the judges and police officers involved. As a rule, lane splitting will very seldom help the cause of a motorcyclist.

If you end up being involved in a motorcycle accident in Boca Raton, it is important to understand your legal rights. Shortly after the accident, it is best to consult with south Florida personal injury lawyer such as Attorney Marc Schwartz who understands the specifics involved in motorcycle accident cases. Doing this will ensure that you receive the proper guidance and representation to ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries. 

Contact Us today to find out how you can be properly compensated for any damages.

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