Three safe driving topics for parents to discuss with their teens

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting milestone for teenagers. Unfortunately, they may not realize that driving comes with the very real risk of car accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted a high rate of accidents among 16- to 19-year-olds in comparison to other age groups.

Not only are teens inexperienced drivers, but they are also more likely to engage in speeding and other reckless driving behaviors. Parents can help their teens become careful, responsible drivers by discussing the following safe driving habits:

Dangers of distracted driving. Parents should discourage cellphone use and other risky, distracting activities while driving such as changing music, using the car’s navigation system or eating. Avoiding distractions is one of the most important driving safety tips there is to protect your teen and others while on the road.

Zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Talk about why drinking and driving do not mix. Teens often face social pressure to experiment with alcohol or drugs. However, intoxicated driving can lead to tragic, life-altering consequences like serious injuries, criminal charges and license suspensions.

Importance of car maintenance. It is easy for new drivers to get preoccupied with their car’s appearance. However, parents should explain the importance of maintaining their vehicle, including aspects like checking tire pressure and fluids. Educate your teen about how the car works, whether it is using different headlight modes or adjusting mirrors.

Despite following safety tips, car accidents can and do still occur. Fortunately, Florida law allows injured drivers to pursue compensation from negligent parties. Teen drivers who are involved in a crash have various options under the law. Contact the experienced Tampa car accident attorneys at Joyce & Reyes to learn more.

What patients can do to protect themselves from medical errors

Patients expect medical professionals to prioritize their safety and have their best interests in mind. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. As health care systems become larger and more complex, quality of care can suffer. Neglecting a patient’s needs can lead to dangerous medical errors such as a misdiagnoses, botched surgeries, adverse drug reactions or harmful infections.

While there is no foolproof way to ensure you will receive proper treatment, taking some precautions may help reduce the risk of medical errors. Here are some tips to help patients stay safe:

Ask questions. Before undergoing any surgery or procedure, speak to the doctor who will be performing it. Have them explain why it is required and all the potential risks involved. This will help you avoid unnecessary treatments or tests. Do not hesitate to ask for a second opinion if needed.

Check medication. Always review any medication being prescribed or administered to you. Check to make sure it is the correct name, dosage and type. Also find out what the medication’s purpose is. Ask for clarification or speak up if something does not seem right.

Research the medical professional and facility. Make sure your doctor is board certified and properly trained. If you are undergoing surgery, find out about the surgeon’s success rates, reputation and experience. Remember, not all hospitals are the same. The reality is that the risk of medical errors varies with each facility. Research different hospitals and choose one that has a high safety and quality rating.

Despite taking these and other precautions, doctors and hospitals can still make medical mistakes. If you have suffered injuries due to a medical error, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Joyce & Reyes. You may be able to file a medical malpractice claim to obtain compensation and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

How bicyclists can stay safe on Florida roads

Riding a bicycle is an enjoyable outdoor activity and an increasingly popular way to commute. However, cycling in Florida is notoriously dangerous due to a lack of proper infrastructure to support bicycle safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state has the highest number of bicycle fatalities in the nation, accounting for 16 percent of deaths in 2017. The most common factors behind bicycle deaths include not being visible, failing to obey traffic signs and making improper turns.

Although bicyclists have the same legal rights to use the road as drivers, they are likely to be the ones who suffer the severest injuries in a collision. Bicyclists can be proactive about taking responsibility for their own safety, such as by making sure they wear a proper helmet.

Here are some more tips to remember the next time you are cycling on Florida roads:

• Ride predictably and avoid making sudden moves when cars are approaching. Follow all traffic rules and signs. Signal when turning so that motorists can anticipate your actions.

• Be extra careful at night. Wear bright colors and make sure to have a functioning headlight and taillight.

• Avoid distractions. Do not use headphones to listen to music, talk on the cellphone, text or engage in anything that can take your attention away from your surroundings.

• Ride with the flow of traffic. While it might make sense to ride in a direction that allows you to see approaching motorists, remember that drivers do not always check for wrong way traffic before entering an intersection.

Adopting the above bicycle safety tips is important. However, the reality is that bicycle accidents can still occur. If you get injured in a bicycle accident in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Joyce & Reyes to discuss your case.

Why the rising popularity of electric scooters is linked to a higher risk of injuries

Electric scooters may seem like a fun and convenient way to get around. They have become popular in urban areas because they enable a more environmentally friendly, car-free lifestyle. While electric scooters appear to be harmless, what many people do not realize is that some models can reach speeds of up to 30 mph and have the potential to cause accidents.

A recent study by researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School found that riding electric scooters without a helmet has resulted in three times more facial and head injuries over the last decade. The number of accidents tripled from around 2,300 in 2008 to almost 7,000 in 2017. There were approximately 32,000 injuries nationwide during that period.

Laws regarding electric scooters are different in every state. In Florida, people can only ride motorized scooters and bicycles on sidewalks as they are not allowed on roads.

Earlier this year, electric scooter rental company Lime was sued for negligence by the family of a 28-year-old Florida woman who was left in a vegetative state after being hit in an accident. Lime was accused of violating state law by advising users to ride electric scooters on streets rather than sidewalks.

Electric scooters were first launched in South Florida in July 2018. Lime had a yearlong trial period with Broward County but saw a rise in accidents and complaints from the public. Other lawsuits have accused electric scooter companies of negligence and causing serious, even fatal injuries to riders and pedestrians.

The Rutgers researchers called for more “public awareness and policy to improve safety,” including standardized electric scooter laws and license requirements. If you decide to ride an electric scooter, make sure to wear a helmet and obey Florida laws regarding their use.

Five simple safety tips for Florida pedestrians

Florida’s sunny weather and plethora of outdoor activities are popular among residents and millions of visitors alike. However, data indicates that the state is also one of the most dangerous places in the country for pedestrians. There are certain precautions people can take to help minimize the risk of serious pedestrian accidents. Here are some basic safety tips to remember when walking on the streets of Tampa and other areas:

Avoid distractions. Always keep your eyes and ears on the road so that you can spot approaching vehicles. Distractions such as listening to music on headphones or looking down at a cellphone while walking will diminish your awareness of your surroundings.

Look both ways before crossing. This applies even if you are using a crosswalk and traffic signals indicate that it is okay to walk. Look left, right and left again, and wait until traffic clears from both directions before crossing. Do not enter a crosswalk after the pedestrian light turns yellow or starts flashing.

Use sidewalks when possible. Sidewalks provide pedestrians with a designated area where they can walk safely while remaining separate from moving vehicles. If a sidewalk is unavailable due to construction or other hazards, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road while facing oncoming traffic.

Be extra careful at night. Pedestrians should ensure they are visible to motorists at night. Use a flashlight or reflective material on clothing or dog leashes. Try to wear bright colors to avoid blending into your surroundings.

Follow Florida laws. Pedestrians may have the right of way at crosswalks and in many other instances. However, they are also responsible for gaining familiarity with state pedestrian rules regarding crosswalks and right of way.

If you or a loved one becomes injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Contact the experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys at Joyce and Reyes to learn more.

How to avoid common pharmacy medication errors

Pharmacists play a key role in ensuring patients get the correct prescription medications. Pharmacies generally have a process in place to detect and prevent most medication errors. However, the reality is that mistakes can and do occur, leaving patients vulnerable to the risk of serious injuries. For example, drugs with similar-sounding names can get mixed up, or they can react adversely with other medications.

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, pharmacy dispensing errors account for more than 20 percent of prescription errors that affect patients. Fortunately, there are several steps patients can take to ensure they stay safe and leave the pharmacy with the right medications.

Many prescription errors arise due to lack of communication between the patient and pharmacist. Medication instructions and labels can sometimes be difficult to understand. As a result, you should make sure to ask your pharmacist any questions you have. Find out when and how to take the drug, the correct dosage, whether it is safe to take with other medications or supplements, and if side effects are likely.

Ask for information about your medicines in simple, straightforward terms that you can easily understand. Patients should also ensure the pharmacist is aware of any allergic or adverse reactions that certain drugs have triggered in the past.

Using the same pharmacy for all prescriptions can also help reduce the risk of errors. When picking up medication from the pharmacy, check that it is the correct drug and matches the doctor’s prescription. By being more proactive with your health care, you are more likely to stay safe from prescription errors.

If you have suffered injuries due to pharmaceutical negligence, contact the personal injury lawyers at Joyce & Reyes. We can help you pursue compensation.

4 common types of car accident injuries in Florida

Car accidents have the potential to cause many different injuries. They can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries that may require long-term treatment. If you have been involved in a car crash, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Here are four types of injuries that are commonly reported among car accident victims in Tampa, Florida:

Head injuries: Head and brain injuries from car accidents can be extremely dangerous, especially because symptoms such as internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent. Closed head injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, typically happen when there is major impact that results in a violent shaking of the head. For example, a collision might cause your head to bang into a window. Besides brain injuries, there are other forms of head injuries that can occur such as jaw fractures or facial wounds.

Back injuries: Car accidents can result in back injuries such as herniated disks or lumbar sprains. Be aware that symptoms may not appear until some time has passed after the crash. Pain, weakness, stiffness and muscle spasms are among the first signs of a potentially serious back or spinal injury. Some injuries can even have permanent effects, like paralysis or loss of sensation due to nerve damage.

Neck injuries: Whiplash is a neck injury that is often reported in rear-end collisions. It happens when the force of impact causes the neck to suddenly move back-and-forth. Neck sprains and strains are also common. Symptoms might include headaches, stiffness, pain, dizziness or ringing in the ears.

Broken bones: The force of impact in a car crash can lead to broken bones, whether they are fractured ribs due to a deployed airbag or a shattered ankle that got stuck under a pedal. While broken limbs may be painful and require surgery, they typically heal over time. On the other hand, more complicated fractures can cause lasting damage.

No matter the type of injury, make sure to see a doctor immediately after a car accident, even if there are no obvious symptoms. Individuals who have been hurt in a crash may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost earnings and other accident-related costs. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Joyce & Reyes to learn more about how we can help.

5 Key steps to take after a bicycle accident

Florida is a bicycle-friendly state with a large number of cyclists. While cycling is supposed to be a fun and safe activity, there are inherent risks involved. Bicycle accidents can occur due to any number of reasons, whether it is poor road conditions or distracted driving. As a result, it is important to remember these basic steps so that you know what to do if you are ever involved in a crash:

Seek medical care. Make sure to go see a physician as soon as possible after a bicycle accident, even if your injuries appear to be minor. In some cases there may not be any apparent physical symptoms of an internal injury. Additionally, medical bills and records will be useful later on if you decide to file a personal injury claim. Of course, if your injuries are severe, call for emergency help immediately.

Obtain the other party’s details. Whether the person who hit you was a fellow bicyclist or a driver, be sure to write down their name and contact details. If a vehicle was involved in the crash, ask for the driver’s license number. Also remember to document their insurance information.

Speak to witnesses. If other drivers or pedestrians saw the crash and remained at the scene, write down their names, phone numbers and addresses. Your bicycle accident lawyer may get in touch with these witnesses in the near future as part of your personal injury claim.

Document what happened. Take photos of the bicycle accident scene, as well as your injuries, any equipment damage and other signs of the collision like skid marks on the road. Jot down as many details as you can, such as the weather and road conditions as they will be helpful later on.

Speak to a personal injury attorney. If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be able to obtain compensation from the responsible party. Call a personal injury attorney to find out about your legal options and the possibility of filing a personal injury claim.

The knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyers at Joyce & Reyes will handle all aspects of your case so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today.

What to do after a parking lot accident

Parking lot accidents are on the rise and becoming a serious issue in Florida. In the Tampa Bay alone, these accidents were up 16 percent in the last four years. Around 5,600 parking lot accidents were reported in 2018 alone.

Parking lots can be chaotic and busy where tensions can run high as people try to find a parking space and navigate around other drivers. In addition, distracted driving contributes heavily to accidents in parking lots.

What should you do if you are ever involved in an accident in a parking lot or garage? There are important steps to take to be sure everyone is safe and to help you be protected in any potential legal proceedings following the incident.

Get medical help. If needed, call 911 for any injuries sustained by those involved in the accident. Injuries may not be apparent immediately so be sure to get medical attention if injuries or pain are worse than initially thought.

Stay calm. Tempers may flare after an accident. Keep yourself and attempt to keep others calm. Never admit fault at the scene.

Call local police. Even if there are no injuries, still report the accident to police. It is important to have a record of it.

Take pictures. Use your cellphone or another camera to photograph the scene before the vehicles are moved. Get pictures of any damage sustained by the vehicles and other property. Try to capture any conditions which may have contributed to the accident, such as snow or ice, and things like skid marks or broken glass.

Get contact information. Get names and phone numbers of other drivers and all witnesses. Get their insurance and license information if possible. If not, record as much as possible.

If you have hit a parked vehicle, record information about the vehicle and leave a note with your contact information for the driver. If you leave without doing this you can face serious hit-and-run charges.

Contact your insurance company. Your insurance company can advise you on what to do next.

Speak to an experienced attorney. Dealing with another driver and insurance companies after an accident may be complicated, especially when someone has been injured. You do not have to do it alone. Contact an attorney with experience dealing with car accidents and personal injuries.

The professionals at Joyce and Reyes would be happy to assist you. Your initial consultation is free. https://www.joyceandreyespa.com

Florida car seat laws and safety for kids

As parents anywhere can attest, car seats and the laws governing them can be complicated. However, the stress they cause is not in vain. Car seats, when used properly, reduce the risk of death for children in an accident by 70 percent.

Florida’s state car seat and booster laws are minimal, and recommendations are based on the child’s age instead of height and weight.

  • Ages 0-3 – Babies and children from birth to age three must be in a car seat
  • Ages 4-5 – Children must be in a car seat or booster
  • Ages 6-17 – Children and teens must use a seatbelt

However, there are many other factors to consider for maximum protection for kids in the car. Florida state car seat laws do not align with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, which are considered very comprehensive by many experts and parents.

The AAP recommends that babies and toddlers ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have maxed out the height and weight requirements for the seat, typically past age two. Once they transition to a forward facing seat, children should again max out the height and weight requirements before moving into a booster seat which will position the seat belt across their chest and lap. Some seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds.

Only once a child has reached 4’9” and can sit with the seatbelt positioned correctly should they be allowed to sit without a booster. Typically, the youngest that this could occur is age eight. They should sit in the back seat until at least age 13, because of the dangers of air bag deployment for kids, and always use the lap and chest belts.

Parents and kids alike often look forward to transitioning to the next stage or ditching the booster altogether. However, this is one instance when it is better to hold off on the milestones for as long as possible. Your child’s safety depends on it.