Burglary and Posting to Social Media

get-in-6195-mDid you tell your Facebook friends that you were leaving when you went on your last vacation?  Did you post pictures of your vacation, while still lounging on the beach?  Have you recently included images or videos of the updates on your home? Those with burglary on their minds might be paying attention.

These habits are not entirely unusual.  In fact, you can very likely recall seeing such posts in your own network stream regularly.  People do it, but that doesn’t mean that it is safe.  Burglars are everywhere, and even if you are good enough to limit who sees your posts, there are ways around that.  You never know who is hacking a friend’s account.  Sometimes, the fact that friends of yours commented on your posts is enough to extend the viewership.  Furthermore, very often virtual friends are not people that we know well, so it is unfair to say that they are “not threats.”

Did you know that the photos taken with your mobile device might automatically be laced with information about your location at the time they are taken? A burglar can use that information to find your home, your office, the gym that you work out in, and your favorite bar.

By following your feed, a burglar or stalker can likely determine what time you wake in the morning, what time you go to work, and when you return.  They can learn your routine and use that to their advantage for illicit purposes.

Leaving for the holidays? A burglar could simply wait until you let your internet friends know that you will be away, and plan a visit accordingly.

Though it can be a wonderful and entertaining tool, as a personal injury attorney, I have seen how damaging social media content can be.  Be very careful about what you share and how you share it, to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to excessive risk.

Water Cooler Office Chatter Can Get You In Trouble

office-and-working-place-pics-13-332491-mAre you involved in a personal injury lawsuit?  Are you thinking about filing one against a negligent party, who left you or those you love permanently afflicted?  If so, you should be careful about what you say to others, especially in office chatter, about the details of the case, about your injuries, and about your daily activities.

The defendant in such a case is likely going to do whatever it takes to prove that you are not worthy of the settlement that you are seeking.  Just as you want desperately to win that money, in order to cover the associated costs, the defendant wants to win in order to avoid spending out capital that could be used in some other manner.  It is important to understand this as you enter a personal injury case because your words and actions, before and during that lawsuit, could be used against you in the courtroom.  That is true, even if they were said or done innocently.

While preparing for the case, attorneys on both sides are going to collect a lot of information, and talk to a lot of people.  Your personal injury attorney will be doing what he or she can do to find evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant.  At the same time, the defendant’s attorney will be looking for anything that can be used to discredit you in the courtroom.  If the judge or jury questions your morals, or believes that you are falsifying the facts in any way, there is a good chance that you will lose the case, or, at very least, collect a much smaller settlement.

While you may not intentionally incriminate yourself, sharing the facts of the case, photos of the incident, or other such information with coworkers, friends, social networks, and others can end badly.  This is particularly true if someone overhears you admitting that your injuries aren’t as bad, that the repairs weren’t as expensive as you expected, or that you could have done something to prevent the accident.  Always be aware of what you are saying, and do your best to avoid talking about it all together to ensure that no misunderstandings take place.

Damaged Christmas Packages: What Rights Do You Have?

christmas-box-671280-mAlthough this is meant to be one of the happiest times of the year, it can become very hectic and stressful for those who are trying to pick up last minute gifts, plan menus, arrange places for guests to sleep, and pack for their own travels, while maintaining a normal work schedule.   When you have been anticipating a package meant for Christmas celebrations, and it finally arrives close to holiday gift-giving events, if the item is damaged, it can be very frustrating. Dealing with damaged Christmas packages was not in your plans.

It is important, as a consumer, to understand your rights, and what you should do in order to avoid such fates.

Package Timing. Late deliveries are just as stress-inducing as damaged ones.  A retailer, legally, has 30 days to ship your package, unless a faster delivery is promised.  In that case, the promise must be kept or your consent must be given if a delay is necessary.

Delicate Items. When the damaged item is something like earrings or underwear, the company may refuse to replace the item, arguing that it is against the law to accept such items as returns.  It’s not true.  Unless the company has their own clearly stipulated regulations about such things, they should accept the return and replace it.

Items that Break Shortly After Being Received. There is the matter of an implied warranty, which is to say that, in most cases, there is an unwritten promise that the product will act in the manner for which it is intended for a reasonable amount of time, without defect.  Some retailers will disclaim implied warranties, in which case, you may not be able to make such a claim.

However, if the product defect causes damage to your home or results in injury to you, or a loved one, you have the right to consult a personal injury attorney.  You may be able to recoup the related expenses – including medical bills and property repairs.

What Should You Know About Umbrella Liability Insurance?

red-umbrella-1440832-mFor those who already carry auto insurance and homeowners insurance, it can seem quite excessive to buy an umbrella liability insurance policy, but there might be a reason to consider just such a purchase.  This type of insurance will cover you for a myriad of liabilities which extend beyond the coverage offered by traditional auto and homeowner insurance policies.

Though personal injury attorneys can be a saving grace when you are the victim of a Tampa auto accident, they are not people who individuals faced with a liable suit want to face.

The liability coverage that is included in home and auto policies will generally extend only to property damage and injury suffered by others involved in an accident, which can leave you without the financial assistance needed to cover your own related expenses.  An umbrella policy will kick-in to cover these differences.  Furthermore, such policies will cover expenses that go above and beyond the limits of your regular insurance.

Take, for instance, if you were carrying an auto policy with $50,000 worth of liability coverage. While looking down at your cell phone, which just buzzed, to see who is calling you, you fail to see the light turn red and smack into the side of a brand new, fully loaded BMW M3.  Kelly Blue Book values the car at $84,000.  Additionally, the impact leaves the passenger unconscious, with a broken collar bone and multiple rib fractures.  By the time she is done with the ambulance transportation, hospital stay, corrective surgery, and three months of physical therapy, there are medical bills totaling close to $20,000.  She hires a personal injury attorney and seeks damages to cover the cost of car replacement, medical bills, and lost wages.  The insurance company is going to cover a maximum of $50,000.  How are you going to pay the difference?

An umbrella policy can save you a great deal in potential out-of-pocket expenses.  It alleviates the need to consider what would happen to your family’s assets after an accident.

Do You Need Golf Cart Insurance?

traffic-jam-200519-mMost Florida residents are familiar with the fact that the state stipulates drivers carry a minimum insurance policy, which includes PIP or No-Fault coverage.  Unfortunately, these stipulations have led to many of the state’s residents carrying only the very minimum coverage and when these individuals cause accidents, the results can be devastating.  Not only are victims left with injuries and property damage, they are also, very frequently, left footing the bill.  Worse yet, statistics suggest that as many as one-quarter of all in-state drivers are illegally carrying no insurance at all, leaving others on the road at even greater risk.

With the high popularity of golf carts in Florida, there is reason for owners of the recreational vehicles to consider insurance policies that will protect them, should they be hit by an uninsured, or underinsured, driver.  These policies can also be highly beneficial if it is determined that the golf cart owner was at-fault in a Tampa auto accident.

Why Can’t You Rely on Auto Insurance? A golf cart does not meet the definition of an “automobile” in the State of Florida because it cannot be operated on the highways.  Therefore, an accident involving a golf cart would not necessarily be covered by a traditional auto policy.

What’s the Risk? A crash that is considered to be the fault of the golf cart owner, or the fault of someone given permission to drive the recreational vehicle, can be very costly.  The owner could end up being financially responsible for all the damage done, as well as any medical bills resulting from the accident.

What About Homeowners Insurance Coverage? Golf cart insurance should be seriously considered when a homeowner’s policy will not cover damages occurring as a result of golf cart use.  While some homeowners’ policies will include coverage for such accidents, not all will.  It is important, as a golf cart owner, to know what your policy covers and whether or not you are in need of a new golf cart insurance policy.

 

Mother Nature on the Road: Black Bear Car Accidents

black-bear-1234429-mNews out of Florida regarding black bear car accidents is serving as a reminder to the many citizens living within the state that Mother Nature is often present on the roadways.  When we become accustomed to traveling the same route over and over again, we naturally become less vigilant as we cover those miles.  However, this is a very dangerous habit and one that people should make a conscious effort to avoid.

Three people were killed and several others were injured recently when a black bear sauntered out onto a Florida highway.  Unprepared for the obstacle, a woman hit the bear head on.  Having seen the accident, another car pulled over to the side of the road and three people stepped out to help the accident victim.  Unfortunately, then another driver was not expecting the scene and smashed into them.  All three were pronounced dead right there.

Altogether, three cars and thirteen people were involved in the accident.  It was a tragic event that will likely leave those still living with nightmares for months, or even years, to come.  It all took place because one of Mother Nature’s creatures decided to share the road at that moment.  We must remember, as drivers, to try to be “overly” aware of our surroundings – even those that are very familiar to us.  There are approximately 3,000 black bears living in this state and many, many other species as well.  As this accident proved, a Tampa auto accident resulting from one curious animal can lead to the loss of several lives.

It is unclear if there was anyone named “at fault“ in this case.  Undoubtedly, there will be a more thorough investigation into what occurred that day.  We offer the families involved our sincere sympathies as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.  Hopefully, their deaths will remind others to be always vigilant — prepared for the unexpected — and will prevent future accidents like this one.

 

Be Holiday Aware: Recognize Potential Accidents

avenue-in-christmas-4-795874-mThe holiday season is here and that means we do a lot of things that we normally might not do at other times throughout the year, which could lead to potential accidents.  We eat overly large meals, we hang lights inside and out, we entertain guests that are rarely at our homes, and we buy gifts in great numbers.  Unfortunately, because we do so many unusual tasks during this season of the year, we are also more prone to have accidents.  Those mistakes that we make can be very harmful to ourselves and to others, which is why it is so important to be vigilant throughout the holidays.

Hanging Lights.  CNN recently ran a story about a woman who chose to jump from a wobbly ladder rather than letting it fall on her toddler.  The awkward landing led to several days of pain and swelling.  She is not alone.  According to the article, more than 13,000 people were treated in emergency rooms in the final two months of 2010.  That is not an unusual trend for potential accidents during the holiday season.  People who are not overly familiar with activities and equipment typically used during the holidays, such as climbing ladders, handling hammers, heavy duty staplers, and, of course, electrical components can be at greater risk of accidental injuries.  There is a lot of room for mistakes to occur.  If you have invited someone to help decorate, and that person suffers a serious injury as a result, you could wind up facing a personal injury attorney in court.

Big Meals.   ‘Tis the season for cooking up a multitude of dishes to feed large numbers of people. When one is trying to gauge cooking times in an effort to have everything ready at the same time, there is room for error.  Undercooked meat is a leading cause of food poisoning.

Recalled Items.   Unfortunately, the effort to do something nice for someone else can backfire.  Each year, faulty products cause serious injuries and even death to those who use them.  Many of those products are given as gifts during the holiday season.  Be sure that you check the recall list before wrapping.  Though recalled, many of those products can still be found for sale online.

Enjoy the holiday season and be safe. After all, everyone wants to start the New Year on a good note.

Six Reasons That Your Dog Could Attack Unexpectedly

puppy-in-garden-1442627-mThe holiday season is upon us and that means that people will likely be coming and going to and from your property.  As friends and family are welcomed into your home, there can be a lot of considerations weighing on your mind.  Finding space for overnight guests, ensuring meals are prepared properly, and keeping the space clean and presentable are just a few of those. Concerns about your dog could also arise.  While your dog might be fabulously behaved throughout the year, the holiday season can be particularly stressful for the animal and a normally nice dog could attack. There a number of reasons why a dog could attack unexpectedly.

Loud Noises

Just think about how your dog reacts to a thunderstorm.  Unfamiliar sounds can be very terrifying to animals, who don’t understand it.  The same is true of other loud noises.  When many people are brought into a single space, the noise level can increase substantially.

Fireworks, Holiday Partying

This is the perfect time for noise, and the worst time for dog anxiety. Fireworks are often used to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  Even without the light show, voices are often raised in excitement and all of that can be a lot for a dog to undertake.

Crowds

Even if the volumes are kept at reasonable levels, there is a good chance that the dog is meeting new people.  This can put a dog on edge and increase the likelihood of him biting an out reached hand.

Food Scraps

Speaking of out reached hands, food scraps can often be a cause of ferociousness in a dog.  When tempted by food, an animal can overreact if fearing that someone is trying to take it away.

Injury

All of these stresses on the animal are made worse if he is sick or injured in some way.  Older dogs can have chronic pain issues that are intensified when partaking in more activity than usual.  To prevent unexpected dog bites, keep hurt or sick animals away from holiday guests.

Separation Anxiety

However, when removing your animal from your house, remember how separation anxiety will impact the animal.  When fearing separation, a dog can act out on others caring for it.  It is important to weigh the options to determine the best way to keep the dog content and safe.

 

Unexpected Side Effects Of Medications You May Take

pills-out-of-bottle-1394618-m (1)With so many news headlines discussing the many mistakes that medication manufacturers have made in recent years, thereby leaving the general public at risk, it can be a bit disconcerting to treat illnesses today.  Many people fear taking regular doses of prescriptions because of possible side effects of medications, and some for good reason.  There is always the risk of side effects.  However, this concern should also extend to typical over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Unfortunately, the familiarity with certain drugs has left many people naive to the serious ramifications that can come with regular use.  There are side effects of medications and every drug, even those purchased in mass quantities over-the-counter.

Sleep Aids. The one most frequently discussed when it comes to dangerous side effects is Ambien, but there are many sleep aids on store shelves today.  While they can do as stated – help a person sleep through the night – there are definite, dangerous side effects that should be noted.  Among the most threatening is the ability of a person taking the medication to walk, drive, or even carry on detailed conversation without any memory of it.  Essentially the person is asleep while doing so.  The drug can remain in the body’s system for hours after the person’s wake-up alarm rings.  Women are more susceptible to the side effects than their male counterparts, though the reasoning is not fully understood.

Laxatives. The need is obvious, but unfortunately, people don’t always realize that they are taking this medication too often.  It shouldn’t be a frequently used OTC drug.  If the need for laxatives is too frequent, it can point to a problem that is better addressed with a physician’s assistance.  Laxatives can cause serious dehydration and kidney damage if taken too often.  They rid the body of great volumes of liquid over a short period of time, which can also be a difficult situation for the body.  Children and older adults are particularly susceptible to this side effect.

Pain killers. There are four main varieties of over-the-counter pain killers.  Acetaminophen is often marketed as Tylenol.  It can cause liver damage if used incorrectly or too frequently.  This is particularly common in people who consume alcohol on a regular basis.  Ibuprofen, which is best known as Advil, has been known to cause damage to the stomach lining, leading to ulcers and moderate to severe stomach pains.  Naproxen, which is commonly called Aleve, and Aspirin can cause the same.  If these medications are combined, the risk of getting an ulcer is increased substantially.

If you believe a medication has caused you serious, irreversible harm, you should speak to a personal injury attorney.  You may have the right to compensation.

 

Why Your Friend Would Sue You If Your Dog Attacks

dogs-on-the-bed--1442326-mWhile you want to believe that the people you invite into your home would never consider filing a lawsuit against you, there are times when that is an unsafe assumption. While they may be the best, most kindhearted people in the world, when a dog attacks and causes serious harm, the expenses can get quite high.

The media has been covering an increased number of dog attack stories in recent years. Whether this is because of increased public interest, or that there are actually more attacks occurring, doesn’t really matter. The fact is that dog bites can be very dangerous and even fatal. Dogs are animals and can act out of instinct, even when they have been trained to know that it is bad behavior. When stressed out or overwhelmed, even a good dog can act out. Often, bringing unfamiliar guests into the home is enough to cause a dog to be somewhat panicky.

It is important to understand that if your dog acts out and causes physical harm, it could mean an ambulance trip to the ER, treatment for the wound, X-rays, MRI scans, or other such tests. There could be a need for corrective surgery, cosmetic surgery, physical therapy, or long term continued care. Dogs are powerful animals and can do serious, even fatal damage, which means that the victim can see medical bills rack up very quickly. When the skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones are harmed by strong jaws, the injury suffered will very likely require a great deal of care.

They won’t hire a personal injury attorney because they don’t like you or because they are bad people looking to get rich. They might sue you, though, if they find that the medical expenses are too much to bear alone. After all, you are liable for the damage your dog causes.