Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky wants owners of Ford vehicles to be aware of a potentially dangerous problem with seat belts which can fail and cause life threatening personal injuries. Ford just announced a recall of nearly 700,000 vehicles because a vehicle defect with their seat belt anchors can overhead resulting them breaking during a crash.  The anchors are part of the vehicle’s pretensioner system which is designed to tighten up seat belt webbing slack and work together with the vehicle’s air bag system.

As Ford says, the defect which affects 2016 – 2016 Fusions, 2013 – 2015 Lincoln MKZ’s and 2015 – 2016 Mondeo’s “may inadequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing risk of injury,” resulting in personal injuries which the seat belts were designed to prevent. To date, this known defect has resulted in at least two separate injuries.  Ford’s recall is supposed to commence in early January 2017. The anticipated repair will involve a Ford dealer mechanic injecting an insulating coating around the anchor. The coating will keep the anchor cool, allowing the seat belt to restrain the occupant as designed in the event of a car accident.

According to the Centers for Disease Control not only do seat belts prevent vehicle occupants from being thrown from their vehicle during a crash, as evidenced by research of traffic death statistics which demonstrates that occupants not using seat belts are nearly thirty times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle during a crash. Not surprisingly, almost 75% of people thrown from a vehicle during a wreck are likely to suffer fatal injuries. Considering over 15,000 people’s lives are saved each year by seat belt use, Ford’s faulty design jeopardizes hundreds of thousands of vehicle occupants’ lives safety. Additionally, failing to use a seat belt greatly increases the likelihood of serious injuries caused by vehicle occupants striking the dashboard and windshield.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky hopes all parents take note, and help turn around a disturbing trend; parents not using proper child safety restraints in their vehicles. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken significant efforts in educating and assisting law enforcement in enforcement required child safety restraints, recent evidence demonstrates a rise in the number of children between 4 and 7 years of age, who are not properly restrained, and subject to serious injury in the event of a car accident. Incredibly, almost forty percent of all kids between the ages of 4 and 7 are not properly restrained.

Many parents are in a hurry to reward their children by moving them from baby seats to boosters. Unfortunately, the desire to advance children into a more “grown up” type seat actually places that child in danger. Research indicates that almost fifteen percent of kids younger than 3 were allowed to use booster seats too soon. However, this quick graduation to boosters is better than the nearly 55% of kids who are simply allowed to ride in a vehicle with no booster, only restrained by an adult seatbelt.

Too often parents disregard well publicized safety recommendations that children between the ages of 4 and 7 should not use a booster seat until they reach a large enough weight and height. Children who have not reached at least 35 inches and a weight of at least 40 pounds should remain in their harnessed child seat. Thereafter, children should use a booster seat until they are at least 4 feet nine inches tall. Adult seatbelts are designed for an adult weighing greater than 125 pounds. When a child uses an adult seatbelt, their risk of serious injury is alarmingly high. However, when a child uses the appropriate seat and safety equipment, there is a nearly 50% decrease in the likelihood of serious injury in the event of a car accident.

As this is National Teen Driver Safety Week, all parents of teenage drivers, including Florida car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky, remind parents to speak with their children about the importance of safe driving. Considering car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths for teenage drivers, with nearly 3,000 annually, in addition to the over 125,000 teenagers who suffer personal injuries in car accidents each year, parents need to take time this week to stress the importance of safe driving with their teenagers.

Topics parents need to discuss should include the most common causes of teenage driver accidents and injuries, to wit: alcohol use, not using a seat belt, texting while driving/distracted driving, speeding and having too many passengers in the car. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration considers these situations as the “5 to Drive” rules for safety. The ‘5 to Drive’ rules provide a clear and simple list for parents and teenage drivers to discuss and learn from, in hopes of avoiding a crash.

As summarized by the NHTSA, the “5 to Drive” campaign “5 to Drive” campaign rules are:

As the parent of a teenage driver, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky knows too well about the frequency of teenage driver related car accidents; and the ongoing need to reduce the wrongful deaths and injuries which unfortunately happen too often in those crashes. According to a recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), older teenage drivers, those between the ages of 18 and 20, demonstrate a higher frequency of being involved in a crashes resulting in wrongful deaths, as compared to younger teenage drivers.

These deadly increases fly in the face of continuing efforts by the State of Florida to reduce teenage driving car accidents. Yet, the plain fact is that teenage drivers account for nearly 50% more car accidents than adult driver. Sadly, wrongful deaths from teenage driving car accidents rose nearly 10 percent last year. Considering that teenage drivers are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, ongoing driver education is a subject which affects everyone on Florida’s roads, not just those teenage drivers.

The report, which was underwritten by Ford, advocates that states more carefully monitor the unending number of teenage driver car accident wrongful deaths and direct greater resources at those older teenage drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), last year’s rise in teenage driver wrongful deaths actually reverses reductions seen over the past decade. Additionally, the majority of deadly teenage car accidents happen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings between 9 p.m. and midnight.

As a personal injury attorney helping seriously injured victims of crime in apartment complexes and business locations, so-called negligent security cases, Joseph Lipsky knows too well the affect a business owners’ ignorance of a rising crime rate can have the level of security they should have to protect their paying customers and tenants. Now, after a multi-year drop in violent crime, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting that violent crime rose nearly four percent over the last year.  The FBI is also reporting a nearly eleven percent rise in the murder rate.  This disconcerting rise in crime should be on the forefront of all business and apartment complex owners and operators’ minds.

In Florida, the law requires business and apartment owners and operators to take precautions to protect their business invitees, that is, their paying customers, from crime which is foreseeable. Basically this means, businesses must keep abreast of crime on and around their property; and, depending upon that level of crime over the past couple of years, take reasonable measures to deter and prevent future crime from occurring.  One of the most valuable tools for business owners is the FBI crime report, which is based upon actual police reports from every police department across the United States.  Also, in Miami and the surrounding communities of Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood, most local police departments have readily accessible on-line instant crime data.

While a responsible business owner will regularly monitor the crime reports, so as to change the level of protection they provide for their customers, too many businesses bury their head in the sand and purposefully ignore the crime report and their customers’ safety. By reviewing nearby crime, a business owner who is concerned about the customers may justifiably install additional lighting, add video surveillance cameras, locked gates, fencing and armed guards. Florida law does not require every business to enact all of the various types of crime prevention techniques, but only those which are reasonable for their property based upon the history of crime on and around their premises.  Also, the law does not require a small mom and pop type business to have the same level of crime prevention as a large apartment complex, such as a government subsidized section 8 type property, or a large gas station.  Larger businesses generally have more resources to provide a higher level of crime deterrence than small less profitable ones.

As a Florida personal injury attorney for over 25 years, Joseph Lipsky is concerned about the impending arrival of so-called self-driving or autonomous cars. Given the race by all automobile manufacturers to see who can get their cars on the road the fastest, as an attorney representing seriously injured victims of car accidents, Joseph Lipsky, like many of his fellow motorists, is concerned that the self-driving race will lead to dangerous situations for consumers. Now it finally appears the federal government understands this concern as they just released rules which are meant to guide car manufacturers about how they should rollout their technology on our roadways.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the new rules will go into place immediately.  The hope is that these rules will provide a unified understanding of what self-driving cars and trucks must have and be able to do in order to be considered safe. These rules begin with a 15 point Safety Assessment which manufactures must document in their vehicles. The 15 points include:

Operational Design Domain – How and where the vehicle is supposed to operate

Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky wants to make sure all seriously injured victims of all types of accidents, including car accidents and slip and falls accidents, understand the importance of telling their attorneys and treating doctors about any prior injuries and accidents they’ve had. With the technological advances in “cloud” based computing and analytics, personal injury victims need to understand the ease at which all insurance companies can access their past accident and injury information. Failure to disclose prior accidents and injuries often times may result in a judge dismissing a personal injury case for what they believe is “fraud upon the court.”

One of the first things insurance companies and their attorneys do when an accident victim files a claim for personal injuries is investigate that person’s past for any other accidents and/or injuries. Thereafter, when an injured accident victim fails to disclose any such prior injuries and accidents, especially in a deposition or in answers to interrogatories, the insurance company’s attorney will seek to present evidence to the presiding judge about those prior accident and injuries, for purposes of having the judge will dismiss the case.

Recently the Third District Court of Appeals, which presides over Miami-Dade and Monroe County, took such action when it dismissed a personal injury case against Home Depot. In that case, the injured plaintiff did not disclose a prior accident in which she received medical care.  The plaintiff also failed to disclose a prior hospital visit in which she complained of pain in her back, which was one of the injuries she was suing Home Depot for causing.  Once Home Depot presented evidence to the trial judge that the accident victim provided false and misleading deposition testimony, in not revealing the prior accident and medical care, the judge dismissed the personal injury case.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky is a proponent for advances in car and truck technology which are intended to prevent accidents and limit injuries. This is why he is concerned that too many motorists are unware and not properly educated about the intent and effectiveness of the automatic emergency braking systems which are increasingly showing up as either standard equipment or options on new cars and trucks. As demonstrated by a recent study from AAA, researchers learned that while many people who are looking to purchase a new car have a general understanding of newer car accident avoidance technologies, many potential buyers remain unaware of many of the devices which have recently been installed in cars for the purpose of preventing car accidents versus those vehicles which only have technology intended to lessen the damage done when a crash occurs.

The AAA believes automobile manufacturers and car dealers need to make a concerted effort to educate consumers as to the why and how concerning these devices, especially because their inclusion in most vehicles will be rapidly increasing thanks to federal requirements. In fact, the majority of vehicle manufacturers will install pre-accident sensing automatic braking technology in all vehicles by the turn of the decade. Pre-accident automatic braking, in combination with lane assistance and adaptive cruise control, will enable newer cars the ability to make life saving decisions much faster than an average driver is capable of making.

It is the hope and expectation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the accident avoidance technology will significantly lessen the alarming trend of rising car accident related wrongful deaths. As personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky previously reported, according to the National Safety Council, 2016 looks to be the most deadly for traffic accident deaths in over ten years. Sadly, more than 19,000 people needlessly died through the end of June. In fact, in an effort to expedite the reduction in these fatalities, the NHTSA obtained a promise from most vehicle manufacturers to include car accident avoidance automatic braking more than three years sooner than regulations require.

Over the past 25 years Florida personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky has helped hundreds of seriously injured Some of the most senseless actions involving Florida car accidents actually happen after a driver hits another vehicle or a pedestrian. The senseless conduct is when the person who causes a crash, fails to stop and leaves the scene, thereby turning a routine accident, into a crime – a hit and run crash. Florida Statutes, sections 316, seq., generally define a hit and run crash is defined as one in which a driver fails to remain at the site of a vehicle crash which involves damage to another person’s property, including a vehicle, building or structure.

Not surprisingly, the high number of hit and run crashes throughout Florida remains steady at over 90,000 annually. While most hit and run accidents, nearly 80%, only result in vehicle damage, sadly nearly 200 people lost their lives in so-called hit and run collisions last year alone. Those who cause crashes, either by carelessness, by speeding or driving distracted, or by recklessness, in driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, compound their conduct by turning what would considered a bad situation to something much worse, when they panic and flee the crash scene. While common sense would tell motorists that they should stop if they cause or are involved in a crash, Florida Law does require any driver who is involved in a crash to stop, regardless of whether the accident happens on a public or private road/property.

In fact, when a driver leaves the scene of an accident, they face criminal penalties, including a felony, which may result in the loss of their driver’s license, and depending upon if someone was injured, up to four years in jail. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more than seventy percent of drivers who flee are men between the ages of 18 and 27. Often times, those relatively inexperienced motorists claim panic is the reason why they flee; however, those who are caught generally are found to be driving with an expired or suspended license, or are also violating Florida’s mandatory insurance requirements.

As a car accident lawyer located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Joseph Lipsky knows too well that the reputation our drivers have is not good; and now recent study demonstrates Floridians’ reputation of being poor drivers is well founded. To begin with, Florida drivers, more than those from any other state, use on-line search engines such as Google to inquire about police issued tickets, particularly those for speeding and traffic. This on-line activity is certainly due to the number of police issued traffic citations for bad and illegal driving.

And, having represented injured victims of Florida car accidents for nearly 25 years, Joseph Lipsky also knows that Florida has the 2nd most uninsured drivers in the United States. This fact is why he tries to educate all motorists about the importance of buying uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when someone is injured in a car accident which is caused by a driver who has no or not enough insurance. In those situations, the injured person’s uninsured motorist insurance company essentially will pretend that they insure the person who caused the crash and injuries; thereby allowing the injured victim to have a source against which to seek payment of their damages.             

The study was based upon data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who reviewed the circumstances surrounding the more than 32,000 car accident related wrongful deaths last year. The analysts then reviewed the number of DUI arrests, on-line searches and car insurance rates. The compilation of this data allowed the study to conclude that Florida is one of the leading states for bad drivers. And within Florida, Miami is the nation’s worst city for driving. Miami has the most vehicle wrongful deaths, the most instances of pedestrians being hit by a car or truck and sadly the most yelling or gesturing at other motorists.

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