April 26, 2008

Florida Smokers Can Claim Part of $600 Million Fund

A Miami Dade County Judge ruled that Florida smokers, former smokers and survivors of smokers may be eligible for a portion of an unprecedented fund of $600 million which was established by the tobacco industry. The qualifications are: the disease or medical condition must have been first diagnosed or manifested itself before November 21, 1996; and claimants will be required to submit "contemporaneous, verifiable proof," mainly medical records dated before November 21, 1996, to support their claim.

The fund, known as the "Engle Trust Fund," named after the original plaintiff in the Florida products liability case against the tobacco industry, is for people, or survivors of immediate family members, who have suffered, presently suffer, or have died from the diseases and medical conditions, including aortic aneurysm, bladder cancer, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke), cervical cancer, COPD (including emphysema), heart attack, throat cancer, kidney cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, miscarriage, and oral cavity/tongue cancer.

We cannot stress strongly enough that all claims must be registered no later than June 16, 2008. Any claim not submitted, along with the necessary medical records documentation, by June 16, 2008, will not be eligible for a proportionate share of the fund.

April 10, 2008

Car Accident Victims Receive Improved Protection in Side Impact Accidents

According to a report release today by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, new mid-size cars fared much better, than prior year's testing, in protecting victims of side-impact car accidents. The tests were done to determine what type of injuries, serious or otherwise, occupants involved in a variety of accidents would suffer.

While testing demonstrated improvements in side-impact crashes, which are mainly attributed to side-impact air bags becoming standard equipment in most vehicles; unfortunately, the same vehicles did not perform as well in preventing injuries, such as rib fractures and internal organ injuries, in rear-end accidents. Rear-end collisions are more likely to occur in stop and go commuter driving, such as most of us face in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

The Institute believes better head restraints, and seats which work better with those restraints, would go a long way in protecting occupants. As the Vice President of the Institute said "it is not a major feat of engineering to design seats and head restraints that afford good protection." We could not agree more.