March 14, 2013

Defective Medical Device: Da Vinci Surgical Robots

by Michael R. Zangara, Esq.

The Da Vinci Surgical Robot, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., is used in several medical specialties including: Urology, Gynecology, Cardiothoracic, Colorectal, Head & Neck, and General Surgery. Specifically, the Da Vinci Surgical Robot has been used for hysterectomies, prostate removal surgeries, gastric bypasses, gall bladder removals, and thyroid cancer surgeries. Unfortunately, numerous Da Vinci Surgical Robot procedures have led to lawsuits claiming patients have suffered serious life threatening injuries, and in some cases death. Said injuries include, but are not limited to, the following: peritonitis, sepsis, bleeding, perforated/punctured blood vessels, organs or arteries, burned/torn intestines, bowel injuries, bladder and ureteral injuries, and vascular injuries.
The Da Vinci Surgical Robot was designed as a minimally invasive way for surgeons to perform certain surgeries. One of the primary benefits was its ability to provide surgeons a greater range of motion with the use of a joystick-like control. However, compared to surgery performed by hand, many physicians are uncertain as to the benefits of the procedure. Specifically, the Da Vinci Surgical Robot has many significant disadvantages. Primarily, the sensory feedback upon which surgeons rely is gone. The Robot cannot discern whether body parts are firm, bony, soft, or hard. Without this information, the wrong body part may be accidentally cut. Studies have indicated that on average the robotic surgery takes longer and subject patients are more likely to have post-surgical complications. Moreover, as a result of the Da Vinci’s modernistic approach, many physicians lack the required training, and are permitted to use the machine unsupervised after only a few training sessions.

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January 18, 2013

HEALTH WARNING: Contaminated Injections Linked to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

Fungal Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. Over the last few months, a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak has swept across the United States. Recently, both CDC and FDA investigations have established that the outbreak is directly related to contaminated epidural steroid injections produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), in Framingham, Massachusetts. The specific drug manufactured by NECC is a steroid called methylprednisolone. Currently, over 200 people across 16 states, including Florida, have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis linked to the contaminated injections. As of November there have been 23 reported deaths.

The symptoms of fungal meningitis include, but are not limited to the following: fever; headache; stiffness of the neck; nausea and vomiting; photophobia (sensitivity to light); new onset of weakness or numbness in any part of the body; slurred speech; increased pain; redness; swelling at the injection site; and/or altered mental status. According to the CDC, the onset of symptoms in most patients has occurred from one to four weeks after receiving the infected epidural injection. However, please note longer and even shorter periods have been reported.

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August 15, 2012

Unnecessary Cardiology Work Performed At HCA-Owned Hospitals

by Michael R. Zangara, Esq.

According to the New York Times article, “Doctors at Hospital Chain Giant Performed Unnecessary Cardiac Work, Increasing Profits”, from 2002 – 2010 cardiologists at several HCA-owned hospitals in Florida were unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing. Many of the allegations related to unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedures. The subject hospitals include, but are not limited to, Cedar Medical Center in Miami, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute, and Regional Medical Center in Bayonet Point.

Specifically, at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute, half of the cardiac catheterization procedures were determined to have been done on patients without significant heart disease. Currently the United States Attorney’s Office in Miami has requested information concerning the medical necessity of interventional cardiology services at 10 of HCA-owned hospitals.

It has been alleged that the aforementioned procedures were motivated by financial considerations. However, HCA denies said allegations and remains steadfast on its focus of quality patient care. Currently, it is not known how many procedures were performed, how many patients have died, or been injured as a result of the aforesaid unnecessary medical treatment. Nonetheless, it is apparent that the problems are widespread and reach beyond just one physician.

Ultimately, patients may suffer irreversible damage as a result of unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedures, and the longer patients wait to seek legal or medical aid, the more permanent and damaging the effects can become. If you have been the recipient of a cardiac catheterization procedure at a HCA-owned hospital in Florida during the last 10 years, and are suffering and/or experiencing any adverse health conditions, please feel free to call our Florida Cardiac Catheterization lawyers at David J. Halberg, P.A. for a free consultation.

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May 3, 2012

Anti-Coagulant Pradaxa Drug - Cause For Alarm For The Elderly Of South Florida

by Douglas A. McDuff

untitled.bmpOur Miami-Dade Drug litigation lawyers have been following the developments with regard to Pradaxa. Pradaxa was released in October 2010 with great fanfare. It is an anti-coagulant drug, or “blood thinner.” Pradaxa is typically prescribed by your doctor for the treatment of a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation, or “afib,” that is not caused by a heart valve problem.

Atrial fibrillation, or “afib,” is an irregular heartbeat. It is one of the most common irregularities involving the atria of the heart. With “afib,” blood does not flow properly from the atria to the ventricle of the heart. Since the blood does not flow properly, there is an increased risk for the development of blood clots, and consequently stroke.

To treat “afib,” your doctor may have prescribed Pradaxa for you. Pradaxa was, and is, touted as being a major advancement over other anti-coagulants, such as Coumadin, as it requires less monitoring of blood levels. Unfortunately, however, it appears to have come with a different set of problems.

Pradaxa has been linked to an increased risk of life-threatening bleeding. During the first (3) months it was on the market, the FDA received more complaints about it than 98.7% of other drugs. Further, during the first year it was on the market it has been linked to more than 360 deaths due to internal bleeding. As a result, on December 7, 2011 the FDA announced it was launching a safety review of Pradaxa, only (14) months after it came on the market!

One of the little known facts about Pradaxa is that, unlike with other anti-coagulants such as Coumadin, there is no way to reverse its affect. In other words, there is no known drug or agent that can be administered to reverse the anti-coagulant effects of Pradaxa should bleeding occur, such as can be done with Coumadin.

Despite the FDA’s investigation of Pradaxa, there are several hurdles to proceeding with a suit against its manufacturer. Among them, Florida has adopted the “learned intermediary doctrine.” This means that the manufacturer’s duty to warn of risks associated with a drug is directed to the doctor, not the patient. Nevertheless, the courts do recognize a cause of action brought by a patient on the basis that the manufacturer misrepresented information to the doctor, and the doctor relied upon the misrepresentation in prescribing the drug, such as Pradaxa, to the patient. See the court’s decision in Mardegan, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89787.

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April 17, 2012

DePuy ASR XL Hip Implant Recall Developments

by Michael R. Zangara, Esq.

Our South Florida medical device litigation attorneys have been following the DePuy hip case implant developments closely. In August of 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled its ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip implants. However, as early as 2009, the Food and Drug Administration notified DePuy that it was denying the company’s application to sell the implants domestically. Consequently, according to the New York Times article, “Hip Device Phaseout Followed F.D.A. Data Request,” it appears Johnson & Johnson executives initiated a product phaseout of DePuy ASR hip implants as early as 2009, in lieu of a complete recall, only weeks after the Food and Drug Administration requested supplemental safety data from the company.

In 2009, reports from countries outside the United States, illustrated the device was performing less productively and safely than data submitted by DePuy itself. On average, hip implants should last fifteen (15) or more years. Recently, research has surfaced indicating that DePuy’s hip implant failed up to 49% of time in the United Kingdom, and globally failed in patients within a few years of hip replacement. However, citing slow product sales, rather than factors related to safety, DePuy planned to phase out the hip implant globally by 2010.

Several design defects in the ASR hip implant can cause product failures, resulting in DePuy hip implants recall cases. Patients may suffer from “metallosis”, or metal poisoning. Metallosis is a condition associated with metal-on-metal implants. When metal-on-metal hip implants are used the two sides of the implant can rub together, and, in doing so, shed tiny metal particles shown to cause inflammation, soft tissue damage, and/or necrosis. Specifically, the ASR hip implant has cobalt and chromium elements which the Food and Drug Administration not only considers hazardous, but potentially carcinogenic. Other known problems include loose-fitting implants, friction transfer to the acetabulum, and hip implant dislocations. Moreover, design defects like the cobalt/chromium metal construction, shall cup depth, and exceptionally low angle tolerances can cause malfunctions leading to costly supplemental surgeries, known as “revision surgeries”, and/or additional hip replacements.

Presently, it is not known how many patients received ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip implant. However, according to the aforementioned New York Time’s article, in an eight year period, roughly 93,000 patients received the defective implant, one-third domestically. In Florida, cases are currently being filed that share factual issues surrounding whether DePuy is strictly liable for defectively designing and/or manufacturing the ASR XL Acetabular Hip System, and whether DePuy failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device to consumers. See Barnes v. Bayside Orthopaedics, Inc., 2012 WL 162368 (M.D.Fla.). Ultimately, patients may suffer irreversible damage, and the longer patients wait to have the ASR revised, the more permanent and damaging the effects can become.

Strict liability in Florida extends to those in the distributive chain including manufacturers and other entities responsible for the sale of a prosthetic device. See Porter v. Rosenberg, 650 So.2d 79, 81 (Fla. 1995). Consequently, it is imperative to note that retailers, like manufacturers, can be held liable for injuries resulting from defective products. However, physicians are generally not subject to strict liability. Courts tend to treat healthcare providers akin to users as opposed to distributors. Moreover, in many product liability cases, including DePuy hip implants, choice of law rules may be a factor that needs to be considered. Under Florida law, a true conflict exists when two or more states have legitimate interests in a particular set of facts in litigation and laws of those states differ or would produce different outcomes. See Chapman v. DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., 760 Supp.2d 1310 (M.D.Fla. 2011). Choice of laws rules carry great significance, nor more than determining which state’s statute of limitations to apply. In Florida, the state has a four-year statute of limitations for product liability claims.

Continue reading "DePuy ASR XL Hip Implant Recall Developments" »

December 31, 2011

US to Pay $4.4M in Port St. Lucie Aviation Accident Caused in Part by Air Traffic Controller Negligence

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

A federal judge has ordered the US government to pay the family of Michael Zinn $4.4M for his Port St. Lucie wrongful death from a Florida aviation accident that was partially caused by air traffic controller negligence. ZInn, 52, was from Boca Raton. He died in 2005 when he crashed his private plane into a house in Port St. Lucie.

In 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Zinn lost control of his Cessna P337H when he flew through, instead of around, stormy weather. The NTSB also found that the controller did not help Zinn with navigating the plane and failed to tell him about the weather conditions.

Although Miami U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres found Zinn to be 60% liable for the Florida plane crash death, he also said that Miami's Air Route Traffic Control Center committed failures that played a key role n the tragic accident. He said that the controller breached his duty of care to Zinn and should have given him the information he needed to “make informed decisions.”

If someone you love was injured in a Florida plane crash, there may be parties that should be held liable. You want to work with a Port St. Lucie personal injury law firm that is familiar with aviation accidents and the laws that apply.

Common causes of aviation accidents:
• Pilot error
• Plane malfunction
• Poor weather
• Air traffic controller errors
• Inadequate maintenance
• Mechanical failure
• Engine failure
• Defective plane parts
• Mid-air accidents
• Structural flaws

U.S. ordered to pay $4.4 million for Weston air traffic controller's negligence in fatal crash, Sun-Sentinel, December 13, 2011

Teen Escapes As Plane Crashes Into Home, WPFB, October 20, 2005

More Blog Posts:

Florida to Fire Six West Palm Beach Employees At Facility Where Detained Teen Died, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 29, 2011

Mother Files Coral Springs Injuries to Minor Lawsuit Against Broward County School District Alleging that Bullying Caused Her Daughter’s Attempted Suicide, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 22, 2011

A Case of Miami Gardens Personal Injury?: “Doctor” Injects Woman’s Butt with “Fix-a-Flat’’, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2011

December 29, 2011

Florida to Fire Six West Palm Beach Employees At Facility Where Detained Teen Died

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced today that it is firing six people who work at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Center in West Palm Beach in the wake of Eric Perez’s death. The 18-year-old died last July while in custody there. The department says it is no longer able to wait until Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe concludes his probe into what happened on July 10. The media have not reported at this time whether or not Perez's family plans to file a Florida wrongful death claim.

Perez was in lockup on a marijuana possession charge. According to the Miami Herald, a detention center healthcare log indicated that even though the teenager threw up and screamed all night, a nurse did not examine him until 7:51 am in the morning (Perez also reportedly began hallucinating that an imaginary person was on top of him. Also, during the course of the night, guards tried to ask another nurse for “guidance” but she didn’t answer the phone). Perez was pronounced dead by paramedics at approximately 8:10am.

DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters reports that not all of the six who are being fired have been directly linked to Perez’s death. Some terminations are in the wake of the examination into detention center operations.

Three people who were fired, Albert Rios, Christian Lewis, and Darrell Smith, are accused of procedural violations on the night that Perez died. According to Rios, the guards "engaged in unauthorized physical contact or horseplay” with Perez because it was his 18th birthday.

If you or someone you love sustained serious injury or became sick while in police custody and law enforcement officers did not do enough to prevent the injury or provide the necessary medical care, you may have grounds for a West Palm Beach personal injury case. It doesn’t matter whether or not a crime was committed. You still have certain rights and protections whether or not you are behind bars and charged with/convicted of wrongdoing.

State officials fire 6 West Palm juvenile detention workers in connection with teen's July death, Palm Beach Post, December 28, 2011

Lockup’s medical log details teen’s death spiral, Miami Herald, July 20, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Mother Files Coral Springs Injuries to Minor Lawsuit Against Broward County School District Alleging that Bullying Caused Her Daughter’s Attempted Suicide, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 22, 2011

A Case of Miami Gardens Personal Injury?: “Doctor” Injects Woman’s Butt with “Fix-a-Flat’’, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2011

Miami Injury Lawsuit Sues Social Networking Site Over Porn Film Rape, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2011

Continue reading "Florida to Fire Six West Palm Beach Employees At Facility Where Detained Teen Died" »

December 26, 2011

State Needs to Do More to Combat Florida Elder Abuse, Says Miami-Dade County Grand Jury Report

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

945156_wheelchair.jpgAccording to a Miami-Dade County Grand Jury says that the Agency for Health Care Administration must take more aggressive measures to crack down on assisted living facilities to make sure that they comply with the dry rules and regulations. The grand jury believes that more needs to be done to protect ALF residents from Florida nursing home abuse and neglect.

The inquiry came after the Miami Herald published an investigative series about the poor oversight of nearly 3,000 ALF’s. The newspaper found that the state has neglected to properly regulate Florida nursing homes and investigate allegations of neglect and abuse, while allowing many of the worst offenders to stay open. In the last 10 years, there have been at least 70 deaths from Florida nursing home negligence.

In South Florida, do not hesitate to contact our Miami nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers if you suspect that your loved one is the victim of Florida nursing home negligence.

Among the grand jury’s recommendations:
• Imposing heftier fines and stricter suspensions so that those that commit Florida nursing home neglect or abuse will be forced to pay the price.
• Establishing more rigorous educational requirements for administrators.
• Charging caretakers with a felony crime for punishing residents that report them to inspectors.

With an increase in the number of Florida assisted-living facilities in recent years, it is imperative that the state cracks down on offenders and work harder to protect nursing home residents. Our Miami nursing negligence lawyers are familiar with the devastating consequences of abuse and/or neglect on residents. It is a good idea to take your family member out of an abusive environment immediately and notify the authorities.

Florida must crack down on elderly abuse MIAMI HERALD EDITORIAL | Grand jury confirms lax oversight exposed in Herald’s series,, December 17, 2011

ALFs: a Call for Greater Interagency Communication and a Cry for More Citizen Volunteers (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Florida Nursing Home Abuse: Assisted Living Facility Chain Still Under Investigation, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 18, 2011

Florida Nursing Home Neglect?: Maggots Found in 76-Year-Old Patient at Assisted Living Facility with Palm Beach County Ties, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 14, 2010

Boynton Beach Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit Blames Assisted Living Facility for Elderly Woman’s Bedsores, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 30, 2011

December 22, 2011

Boynton Beach Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against South Florida Hospital Over Alleged Assault by Nurse

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

A 28-year-old woman who says a male nurse sexually assaulted her is suing Bethesda Memorial Hospital for Boynton Beach personal injury. In her Palm Beach County sexual abuse lawsuit, she identifies herself as ‘Jane Doe.’

The woman says the assault happened last September. She had been admitted to the Boynton Beach hospital for treatment of a digestive order and she says that she woke up to find Kenneth Shing-Cheung Lee inappropriately touching her. She says that she immediately ran to the nurse’s situation to report what happened. The woman contends that hospital officials didn't take her claims seriously, which is why she contacted police.

The accused nurse has denied the sex abuse allegations. However, the plaintiff said that she doesn’t think this is the first time that he has sexually abused a patient.

Sexual Abuse and Assault by Medical Professionals
Working in close physical proximity with patients gives doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals intimate physical access to each person, which can make it easy for those seeking to molest or sexually assault another person to commit this crime. Unfortunately, the sexual abuse of patients at hospitals, assisted living facilities, and in other nursing and medical care settings happens more often than you’d like to think.

Not only is this wrongful action medical negligence on the professional’s part, but also it is a crime and can be grounds for a Boynton Beach personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for sex abuse/assault. Even lasting longer than the physical injuries are the emotional and psychological scars that can remain following an incident of sexual abuse. There is no way to quantify the extent of all your injuries, but this doesn’t mean you cannot hold your assailant or any party that allowed the abuse to happen liable in civil court.

Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against S. Fla. Hospital, CBS Miami, December 8, 2011

Woman claims sexual assault by Bethesda Memorial nurse, files lawsuit, Palm Beach Post, December 8, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Child Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Penn State and Leads to Ousting of Legendary State football coach Joe Paterno, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 9, 2011

$550,000 Miami Injury Settlement Approved for Woman Who Was Kidnapped and Raped by Cop, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2011

St. Lucie County Personal Injury Lawsuit: Teacher Accused of Florida Sex Abuse, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 4, 2011

December 20, 2011

Prevent West Palm Beach Motor Vehicle Crashes by Not Texting or Talking on the Cell Phone

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

Last week, our West Palm Beach personal injury law firm reported that the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for all states to ban texting and cell phone calls while driving. We also wrote about the upcoming debate among Florida lawmakers regarding whether or not to ban texting in the state.

This week, we’d like to blog about a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey on the distracted driving habits of Americans. Over 6,000 drivers participated. Per the results:

• At any moment, nearly one out of every 100 drivers is e-mailing, texting, surfing the Internet, or doing something else with a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle.
• Most of those surveyed admitted to answering phone calls while driving.
• Close to two out of every 10 drivers surveyed admitted to e-mailing or texting. Drivers in the 21-24 age group were most likely to text while driving.
• Over 50% of drivers don’t believe that making a call affects their driving performance.
• About 25% said they don’t think that e-mailing or texting impacts their driving.
• 90% of drivers don’t like it if the person driving the car they are riding in is e-mailing or texting
• More drivers said they read texts over sending them.
• Two times as many drivers admitted to answering calls over making them while operating a motor vehicle.

As evidenced by the survey results, most drivers think that they can text or talk on the phone safely while driving. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Cell phone conversations and texting takes a motorist’s attention away from the task at hand, which means he/she is not 100% focused on the task at hand. This can make it hard to avoid causing or becoming involved in a South Florida traffic crash. Remember that it takes just a few seconds for a catastrophic Miami motor vehicle accident to happen—those same seconds that a driver’s eyes are off the road in order to read an e-mail or dial the phone.

Over the last couple of years, Federal, state, and local safety officials have made a concerted effort to educate people about the dangers. Yet even when there are laws limiting cell phone use or banning texting, some people can’t seem to stop themselves, which places everyone in danger.

Drivers can no longer say that they didn’t know that distracted driving can kill people. As the victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be able to pursue Palm Beach traffic crash damages from the negligent motorist.

More drivers texting but few think it's dangerous, survey says, The Denver Post/AP, December 9, 2011

NTSB pushes for nationwide ban on cellphone use for drivers, The Washington Post, December 14, 2011

National Distracted Driving Telephone Survey Finds Most Drivers Answer the Call, Hold the Phone, and Continue to Drive, NHTSA (PFD)

More Blog Posts:

As NTSB Recommends Full Cell Phone While Driving Ban, Florida Again Considers Whether to Make Texting Illegal, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 13, 2011

Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011

West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011

Continue reading "Prevent West Palm Beach Motor Vehicle Crashes by Not Texting or Talking on the Cell Phone" »

December 16, 2011

Chinese Drywall Maker Agrees to Pay Millions For Products Liability Claims

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. has set up two funds to pay property owners and injury victims for the damage and harm suffered from defective drywall. Most of the products liability claimants are in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

One fund is uncapped and the money from here will go towards paying the owners of about 4,500 properties for damages sustained by their homes. The other fund, which is capped at $30 million, will pay for other kinds of losses, including the health issues people say they suffered.

The Chinese drywall was used to build thousands of homes after the hurricanes of 2005 and prior to the housing bubble popping. While there is no scientific evidence linking the drywall to certain physical side effects, people that have been exposed to Chinese drywall report similar symptoms, including congestion, nosebleeds, asthma attacks, acne, coughing, headaches, hair loss, hives, muscle and joint pain, irritated eyes, nausea, phlegm, miscarriages, rashes, shortness of breath, sneezing, sore throat, breathing problems, and urinary tract infections. Kids and the elderly appear more prone to experiencing side effects after they’ve been exposed to Chinese drywall.

Knauf Plasterboard has admitted that the drywall that it makes includes low levels of sulfur gas. However, the company has said that its product is not hazardous.

If you believe that a defective product caused your health issues or injuries, you may have grounds for filing a Florida products liability lawsuit against a negligent manufacturer.

Chinese drywall settlement could be worth up to $1 billion
, Sun-Sentinel, December 15, 2011

Chinese Drywall Saga: End in Sight?, Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2011

More Blog Posts:

Florida Products Liability: Palm Beach County Burn Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages From Napa Home and Garden Over Dangerous Gel Fuel, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, August 16, 2011

Baby Deaths and Injuries Prompt Recalls of 1.7 Million Summer Infant Video Baby Monitors and 500,000 Bassinets by Burlington Basket Company, February 16, 2011

19 Products Liability Lawsuits Filed in Palm Beach County Against ConAgra Foods After Plaintiffs Over Salmonella Outbreak From Tainted Peanut Butter, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2008

Continue reading "Chinese Drywall Maker Agrees to Pay Millions For Products Liability Claims" »

December 13, 2011

As NTSB Recommends Full Cell Phone While Driving Ban, Florida Again Considers Whether to Make Texting Illegal

by David J. Halberg, Esq.

In the upcoming legislative session due to start next month, Florida legislators will once again consider whether texting should be banned in the state. Right now, Florida is one of 15 US states that haven’t made texting while driving illegal. Florida is also among the few states without any type of restriction on cell phone use while driving. Our Miami personal injury law firm is familiar with the types of catastrophic South Florida car crashes that can occur because someone was distracted driving.

This time around, however, lawmakers who favor a statewide texting ban may be coming into the debate with the extra support they need following today’s recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board that use of cell phone and text messaging devices while driving be made illegal throughout the US—unless, of course, there is an emergency situation. Although the NTSB cannot impose state laws, its recommendations are taken seriously by lawmakers.

The federal safety board called is calling for the ban because it says distracted drivers are threatening public safety. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, distracted driving was a factor in at least 3,092 US traffic crashes last year and at any moment during daylight hours, close to 1 out of 100 drivers is using handheld phones. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt even went so far as to call distracted driving the “new DUI.”

When explaining the need for a nationwide ban, the NTSB cited the tragic multi-vehicle Missouri traffic pileup in August 2010 involving a tractor-trailer, a pickup truck, and two buses. More than 30 people were injured and two people killed, including the 19-year-old driver of the pickup, who, within 11 minutes, sent or received 11 text messages. The other victim that died was a 15-year-old that was riding the school bus.

Texting, emailing, and talking on the cell phone are dangerous activities when done while driving. You want to work with a Palm Beach car crash law firm that knows how to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or a loved one’s death. Just because these driving habits are still legal in Florida does not mean you cannot recover damages.

Cellphone ban while driving? The tragedies behind the issue, Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011

NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving, CNN, December 13, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011

West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011

Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011

Continue reading "As NTSB Recommends Full Cell Phone While Driving Ban, Florida Again Considers Whether to Make Texting Illegal " »