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Most people think that when an amusement ride injury occurs, it is usually fatal or catastrophic, but that is not always the case. While the media gravitates toward those type of amusement park ride accidents because it makes for a good story, most ride injuries are non-fatal.
A 2014 study in the LA Times stated that dizziness, nausea and fainting were the most common ride injuries. These injuries account for almost 1 out of 5 amusement ride injuries. The study also pointed to the fact that injuries occur far more often on older amusement park rides than on newer ones. Generally, people suffer from head, neck and back injuries because of the motion of the rides like fast turns and drops. Injuries at amusement parks can be the result of roller coaster accidents, rides like Ferris wheels or swinging rides that malfunction, water rides and slides and wave pools.
Serious amusement ride injuries that can occur are:
- Deadly falls
- Traumatic brain injury
- Strokes and heart attacks
- Brain aneurysms
- Broken bones and torn ligaments
If you or a loved one has been injured on an amusement park ride, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the extent of your injuries. Your attorney will work with you to determine all liable parties in order to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call today for a free and confidential consultation. We can help!
Let’s look at swimming pool liability and what you can do to reduce it. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is great for entertaining guests and beating the heat, but it also increases your personal liability. When you have guests over and an accident happens in your pool, you could be at risk for a personal injury lawsuit.
To reduce your swimming pool liability, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Build a Fence. In most townships and counties, private swimming pools require a fence. If your township or county does not require, your pool should be enclosed with a fence, especially one that is difficult for children or others to climb.
A fence is necessary to reduce the risk of injury or accidental drowning. Your fence should also include:
Gates that automatically shut. A spring-loaded gate will close on its own, so you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally leaving it open allowing a small child to wander unattended into the pool area.
Latches that are childproof. When you install latches, place them on the inside of the fence near the top, so that children cannot gain access to them without an adult.
See-through panels. Most people install fences for privacy, but when you have a pool, being able to see your pool from the house or other parts of your property allows you to know if anyone is near the pool unattended.
Pool covers. Investing in a complete pool cover not only cuts down on maintenance but will help prevent accidental drownings. Install a pool cover that can be attached to the side of the pool deck, making it taut and impenetrable.
Train household members in CPR and basic first aid. All members of your household should be trained in CPR and basic first aid. Drowning is not the only risk associated with pools, there are also head injuries, scrapes, cuts and limb injuries due to pool drains.
Clean up and store pool toys when not in use. When your pool is not in use, it is important to put away all pool floats and toys, so that children are not tempted to use them.
Homeowner’s Insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance should include coverage for any potential accidents associated with the pool. A $1 million umbrella policy in addition to your homeowner policy is the recommended minimum.
At Westmoreland Vesper & Quattrone, we specialize in personal injury, wrongful death and commercial litigation. We have a long history of service to the local community dating back over 50 years. To date we have recovered well over $250,000,000 in compensation of damages for our clients and their families. For a free, confidential consultation, give us a call today at 609-645-1111.
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain their properties so that people who come on or into their properties, don’t suffer an injury. Premises liability holds property owners responsible for injuries that occur on their properties.
Premises liability claims arise from a dangerous condition on the property which results in slip, trips and falls to causing injuries. The way liability is determined can often be complicated and it depends upon the status of the injured visitor & the condition of the property.
Understanding Premises Liability: Legal Status of Visitor
Regarding the status of the visitor, there are different labels that the law will apply to the injured: invitee, social guest, licensee, or trespasser. Case law requires the property owner to make his property safe for all foreseeable occupants, however, a greater duty applies to those who are invited. The categories of occupants are:
- Invitee– a person who is invited onto the property, for example, a customer into a place of business.
- Licensee–someone who enters for his own purpose (like a contractor or inspector), or as a guest and has been given consent by the owner.
- Social guest–a welcomed visitor the property
- Trespasser– Someone who is on the property without permission.
Understanding Premises Liability: Condition of the Property
Except for trespassers, there is a uniform standard of care that requires the exercise of reasonable care for the safety of any visitor to the property. Determining the standard of reasonableness depends on a number of factors:
- Circumstances under the property were entered
- The way the property is being used;
- If the accident or injury was foreseeable; or
- Whether the owner attempted to repair or warn visitors of a potentially hazardous situation.
Understanding Premises Liability: Children on Property
With regard to children who aren’t permitted to be on the property by the owner, owners must give consideration to the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. This means that a property owner must give reasonable warning if something on the property could cause serious injury or death.
The attorneys at Westmoreland Vesper & Quattrone have a reputation for successfully representing people who have been victims of general negligence accidents. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure that you are compensated fully and fairly.
If you or a family member has been injured due to the negligence of others, please call us at 609-654-1111 to learn more.
Let’s look at ways to improve your responsible driving habits. Since you cannot control the actions of other road users, you must rely on your own driving skills and experience. Following these ten rules ensures that your driving is safe and courteous to all who share the road with you.
- Plan Your Route: Know where you’re going ahead of time. Tune into a local media source to be well informed about weather and road conditions or traffic activity on your route. Then you can avoid delays or allow extra drive time. For longer trips, include a rest stop every two hours. Stop sooner if you are tired.
- Maintain Your Vehicle: Read your vehicle’s owner’s manual and follow the recommended schedule for maintenance service. Conduct your own routine check-ups on: tires, brakes, lights, wipers, and fluid levels. For good visibility make sure your mirrors, windows and outside lights are clean. Secure any loose items or cargo that could become a hazard.
- Focus Your Attention: Being a safe driver means being both physically and mentally prepared to drive. Being well rested, alert and attentive enables you to respond quickly when other drivers do not make that choice. Take a break if you have difficulty focusing. Remain calm—don’t let your temper or frustration cause you to act recklessly.
- Minimize Your Distractions: Taking your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off of the driving task puts you and others at risk. People, objects, or events inside and outside your vehicle can distract you. Driving demands total concentration. Any activities that interfere with your driving are more than you can safely manage.
- Know Your Surroundings: Look out for trouble. Scan the roadway continually for hazards. Keep your eyes moving, looking from one side to the other. Know what is happening well ahead of you, watch for taillights. Know what is to the rear and sides of your vehicle. Use the mirrors to keep an eye on traffic behind you.
- Share Your Space: Many crashes could be prevented if drivers behaved courteously to other road users. You share the road with drivers of various ages and skill levels. You also share the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and vehicles of varying sizes. Be aware of special needs and limitations of other drivers and roadway users.
- Watch Your Speed: Posted maximum speeds are for ideal driving conditions. Adjust your speed for traffic, road and visibility conditions or when not operating at your best. Higher speeds magnify your errors and provide less time to identify and react to a hazard, stopping distances are longer and crashes are more severe.
- Keep Your Distance: Give yourself room to maneuver. You’ll need it in a crisis. To protect yourself, keep a large “safety cushion” around your vehicle. This will enable you to change lanes safely and give you room to take evasive action in emergencies. Keeping a safe distance between vehicles increases your ability to see and to be seen by other drivers.
- Signal Your Intentions: Driving can be a stressful business. Be courteous and signal your intentions so other road users know what you plan to do next. Be predictable. Don’t hesitate to use your horn or headlights to establish eye contact, when needed. Remember to express your thanks, by a wave of the hand or a flash of your lights.
- Always Wear Your Seat Belt: Seat belts are your best defense in a crash. Being properly secured keeps you in control of your vehicle and ready to react to a hazardous situation. So buckle up … and that includes your children and other passengers in front and rear seats.
The average driver will be in about four car accidents over the course of their lifetime, according to auto industry experts. Six million car accidents occur every year, one in three, involves personal injury to the driver or passengers in the vehicle. It is important to know what to do to protect yourself when you have been involved in a car accident. Here is a list of the 8 things to do when you been involved in a car accident:
When Involved in Car Accidents, FIRST Stop.
If you are ever involved in an accident, even one that is minor, you must stop. Never drive away from the scene.
When Involved in Car Accidents, SECOND Protect Yourself.
Make sure to keep yourself safe at the scene of the accident. Set up flares, put your flashers on and if it is dark keep your lights on.
When Involved in Car Accidents, THIRD Call the Police.
Even if there are no injuries, you should report the accident to the police. Even if the accident seems minor consider the following: you may not notice all of the damage to your car immediately; the other may make false claims about the car accident later; the other party may admit fault to you but change his mind as time passes. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself. You must do this within 10 days after the accident. Often you will need the report to file a claim with your insurance company.
When Involved in Car Accidents, FOURTH Take Pictures and/or Video.
If you have your cell phone with you, you have the perfect recording device. Take pictures of the vehicles if the damage is visible. Record the conversation that you have with the other driver because they may admit that they were at fault. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to be holding the camera so that they know you are recording, you could even have it in a bag set on record. Before starting the recording, state their name and your name. This is important.
When Involved in Car Accidents, FIFTH Exchange Information.
Usually, the police will arrive on the scene and as part of their investigation will obtain this information. If for some reason police do not arrive to the accident scene, it is important for you to get the name, address and telephone number of everyone involved in the accident including drivers and passengers. Additionally, you should l exchange insurance information. If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to gather contact information from them. It will be helpful for your attorney as they handle your case. Do not let the other driver take a photo of your driver license.
When Involved in Car Accidents, SIXTH Report the Accident.
You should call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. Your insurance company may try to make a quick cash offer, but do not accept any settlement before contacting your attorney.
When Involved in Car Accidents, SEVENTH Seek Medical Attention As Soon As Possible.
If you have been injured, not matter how small you deem the injury to be, you should seek medical attention at an urgent care center or your local ER.
When Involved in Car Accidents, FINALLY Contact an Attorney.
An attorney will have your best interest in mind, will protect your rights and will ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, due to the negligence of others, call us at 609-645-1111 to learn more. We would be happy to arrange for a confidential free consultation.
Trips, slips and falls can happen just about anywhere. You might slip on an icy step walking into your neighbor’s house or as you walk into the store to do the grocery shopping. There may be many reasons that you have an accident, but most often slips and falls occur because a property owner has not kept their property safe from dangerous conditions.
Property owners, including businesses and government buildings, have a responsibility to keep their properties maintained so that they are safe. Premises liability holds owners liable for injuries that may occur on their properties. If a property owner doesn’t maintain their property that put everyone in danger. Here are some common causes of slips, trips and falls:
- Dangerous walkways, flooring or failure to remove or treat snow or ice
- Poorly maintained parking lots
- Negligent or inadequate security
- Improper lighting
- Unsafe stairs, railings or balconies
If you experience slips and falls on someone else’s property, here is what you need to do:
- TAKE PHOTOS. The first and most important thing that you can do after you have fallen or been injured is to take pictures of the dangerous condition. If you are unable to take pictures, have someone take pictures for you of the area the fall occurred.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. If you have been injured, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. It is important to document your injuries.
- DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR INJURY WITH THE PROPERTY OWNER OR AN INSURANCE COMPANY. Other than reporting your injury to the property owner when it has occurred, there is no need to discuss it with them or an insurance company until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Determining whether the property owner is responsible
Just because you have fallen on someone else’s property, it may not necessarily mean that they are liable. Your attorney will understand the nuances and intricacies of premises liability once you consult them. If you have been injured from a slip, trip, or fall or other negligent property owner act, please give us a call today for a free, confidential consultation.
In 2018 alone, the tri-state area experienced record rainfalls. As the weather patterns become more unpredictable in all regions of the country, any place can become an area prone to flooding. Purchasing flood insurance can provide protection and give you peace of mind. Even when you don’t live in a high-risk area, you could face damage to your property due to flooding.
If you are considering buying flood insurance, here are 8 common myths that you should know:
MYTH #1: Flood insurance is available through your homeowner’s insurance.
FACT: Normally, homeowners insurance do not cover flood damage. But, you can purchase Federal flood insurance through an insurance agent or company. It will cost on the average about $700 a year.
MYTH #2: If my property floods, it wouldn’t be by much.
FACT: Just five inches of water can cause at over $25,000 worth of damage.
MYTH #3: You can’t buy flood insurance if you are located in a high-flood-risk area, by the ocean, or a renter.
FACT: You can buy National Flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP. It was created in 1968 to make federally backed flood insurance available to property owners, renters, and businesses in eligible communities.
MYTH #4: Flood insurance isn’t necessary because you can get disaster assistance from FEMA
FACT: When you have flood insurance, you can be ensured that the policy will protect you from flood events that aren’t necessarily big enough to be declared a presidential disaster. In less than 50 percent of flooding events, Federal disaster declarations are made. If one is made, federal disaster assistance typically is in the form of a low-interest disaster loan, which must be repaid. Any grants that may be provided are not enough to cover all losses.
MYTH #5: You can’t buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.
FACT: You can purchase National Flood Insurance at any time. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period after you buy flood insurance before the policy is effective. The policy does not cover a loss in progress, which is defined as a loss occurring as of midnight on the first day your policy goes into effect.
Myth #6: The NFIP does not offer basement coverage.
FACT: Structural elements and essential equipment in a basement are covered, although basement improvements such as finished walls and floors, and personal belongings in a basement are not The following items are covered under building coverage, as long as they are connected to a power source, if required, and installed in their functioning location:
- Sump pumps
- Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns, and the water in them
- Oil tanks and the oil in them, natural gas tanks and the gas in them
- Pumps and/or tanks used in conjunction with solar energy
- Furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners with solar energy
- Furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, and heat pumps
- Electrical junction and circuit breakers boxes and required utility connections
- Foundation elements
- Stairways, staircases, elevators and dumbwaiters
- Unpainted drywall walls and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation
- Sump pumps
Myth #7: Flood insurance will blow my budget.
FACT: Not necessarily, as stated in Myth #1, the average cost is $700 a year, but if you live in a low-risk area, the premiums are lower. Some policies can start at $112 per year.
Low-risk flood plain areas have a lower chance of flooding and, therefore, require lower premiums.
MYTH #8: The NFIP does not cover flooding from hurricanes, the overflow of rivers or tidal waters.
FACT: The NFIP defines covered flooding as a general and temporary condition during which the surface of normally dry land is partially or completely inundated by water. There must be at least two properties in the area or two or more acres in the community must be affected. Flooding can be caused by:
- The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
- The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, such as heavy rainfall.
- Mudslides, i.e., mudflows that could be described as a river of liquid and flowing mud.
- The collapse or destabilization of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water, resulting from erosion or the effect of waves
When you are involved in an auto accident, you are often upset, feeling a little scattered and it can be hard to think clearly. People often make mistakes when they have been involved in accident that could hurt your case. Here are the top 5 mistakes people make when involved in an accident:
1. NOT GETTING IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE.
If you are hurt in an auto accident, you need to seek medical care immediately. Insurance companies will often use it against you, often arguing that if you were injured, then you would have sought medical attention. If you are experiencing any pain after being involved in an auto accident, no matter how minor you think your pain is, go directly to an ER or urgent care center in order to document your injuries.
2. NOT GETTING FOLLOW UP MEDICAL TREATMENT.
After you have received initial medical attention for your injuries, insurance companies pay great attention to whether follow-up medical treatment is necessary, is performed and is consistent. Trauma specialists often advocate beginning therapeutic modalities promptly. When follow-up treatment is delayed or inconsistent, it can lead to difficulties in getting authorizations and can affect medical-legal issues in establishing causation. To avoid these issues, it is important to seek treatment with a trauma care specialist promptly.
3. ADOPTING A WAIT AND SEE APPROACH.
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being involved in an auto accident. In accident case, there may often be important evidence that needs to be preserved. Some claims require that notice of claim to the potential adverse party. If you wait, you can be sure that the insurance company is working to limit their exposure to pay you less.
4. TRUSTING THE INSURANCE COMPANY.
Insurance companies often want you to believe that they are on your side, but this is not always the case. You need to be cautious and be aware of quick cash offers which will not accurately reflect the full economic and non-economic value of your claim. Before you accept any cash offer to settle your injury claim, contact an experienced attorney first.
5. TALKING WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE TALKING TO AN ATTORNEY.
After an being involved in an auto accident, you will need to contact your insurance company and property damage adjusters in order to report the claim and subsequently schedule an inspection of your vehicle. These are important and should not be avoided. But, there are a few things to consider before when talking to your insurance company before talking to an attorney. First, the insurance company may try to record a statement from you, which they may use against you to deny your claim. Or they may ask you to sign something that ends you claim altogether, which usually results in very low offers than which your are entitled.
If you or a family member has been injured, due to the negligence of others, please call us at 609-645-1111 to learn more. We would be happy to arrange for a confidential free consultation.
It’s a festive time of year. Before throwing a holiday party, take a moment to think about your responsibility as the party host.
Here are 8 tips for throwing a holiday party that is safe and responsible:
1. Do your homework. If you are having a holiday event that is large, you need to read over your homeowner’s insurance policy. Review your liability coverage limits to ensure that you are adequately covered in case of an accident.
2. Watch what you eat and feed others. Whether you decide to cook the food yourself, have a five star caterer, or pizza, make sure that the food you put out is safe. If anything is undercooked, spoiled or contaminated, you could have a problem on your hands if your guest needs to seek medical attention for food poisoning. When in doubt, you should throw it out.
3. Know your state laws and statutes. In many states, a party host can be held liable if a guest is involved in an alcohol-related accident. If a party guest gets in an alcohol related accident after leaving your party, you could be held responsible for payment of medical bills, costs of vehicle repairs, and possibly claims for a wrongful death.
4. Don’t center your party around alcohol. In order to minimize the alcohol your guests drink, schedule entertainment or activities that don’t involve alcohol. Furthermore, make sure there is lots of food and non-alcoholic beverages available for your guests.
5. Choose a different location. Host your party at a bar or restaurant that has a liquor license, rather than in a home or office, to decrease your personal liability.
6. Provide a safe way for your guests to get home. If guests cannot or should not drive home, make sure you arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for them
7. Be aware of intoxicated guests. If you notice one of your guests over-drinking, cut them off. As the party host, you have every right to do it, and your guest will probably thank you for it later.
8. Purchase event liability insurance. If you are planning on having a large holiday party at your home you should consider purchasing event liability insurance which is typically valid for the day of the event and would help cover the expenses if you were found responsible for property damage or an injury caused during your celebration.
In 2017, U.S. consumers spent nearly $20 billion dollars on toys with a projected increase in toy sales for 2018. The news is great for the industry, but the problem is that many of the toys are not tested for safety.
Each year, US Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) publishes a report called Trouble in Toyland. This report identifies toys that could cause potential safety hazards for children. This year’s findings include toxic slime, not including choking warnings, and data mining from smart toys.
The most significant findings from the report include:
Toxic Slime: Slime, a popular (albeit messy) toy for kids contain levels of boron that are 15 times higher than the level recommended for safety. The EPA reports that ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, rash and seizures.
Missing Choking Warnings: Balloons are the number one cause of suffocation death in children. After U.S. PIRG searched five pages for balloons on Amazon, there were no choking labels on 87 percent of the the latex balloons marketed to children. This is a violation of the law.
Smart Toys Can Be TOO Smart: Did you know that smart toys, websites and apps are collecting personal data on your children? Big names like VTech and Amazon are collecting data on without parental consent.
How Can You Keep Your Kids Safe?
As you shop for kids this holiday season, here is a safety checklist to keep with you.
Toys with sound: If the sound is too loud for you, it is too loud for your child. The sound level on a child’s toy has the potential to damage your child’s hearing. Make sure you test the sound level before you make a purchase.
Ingredients: Make sure you read all labels on the back of toys. Some contain dangerous ingredients or chemicals that could make your child very sick if ingested.
Toys with small parts: A perfect way to test if a toy’s parts are too small is with a toilet paper roll. If the smaller parts fit through it, they present a possible choking hazard for your young child.
Smart Toys: Smart toys, websites and apps could potentially be collecting private data about your child. You should always monitor any date requested from your child, and be sure to evaluate privacy policies before use.
Makeup: There is not a lot of regulation on “children’s makeup” because it is not considered a toy. You might want to steer clear of this as a gift for a child.
Previously owned or older toys: Be sure to check if the product has been recalled in order to ensure safety.
Don’t forget, the age limits on toys are there for a reason. Use common sense when purchasing toys, read all reviews and buy reputable brands. Here’s to a safe and festive holiday season!