Tourists, Cruise Lines, and Law Suits: Oh My!

Tourists, Cruise Lines, and Law SuitsTourists, Cruise Lines, and Law Suits
If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, contact us now!

If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, contact us now!

Cruises are becoming a popular, common, and sometimes even affordable vacation choice for families across the country. However, this leads to potential problems if things go wrong so far from home. If you or a loved one is injured while on a cruise that departed from a port in the Sunshine State, it can be tempting to deal with your home- town attorney, maybe hundreds or thousands of miles from the scene of the accident. However, many attorneys around the country have no experience with the ins and outs of the complicated cruise ship injury law.

No matter how experienced your lawyer is in other areas of the law, if you’ve been involved in a cruise ship accident, finding an attorney based in Florida who is familiar with the various laws and rules involving cruise- line injuries is key. Given the internet, staying up to date on your case is easy, even across multiple state lines. Furthermore, many cruise lines require you to file your lawsuit in Florida, in any event.

If an injury has occurred, no matter who you plan to contact regarding legal help, documenting the scene with photographs and detailed notes is your best preparation. Be prepared to present this to your legal team as soon as possible, because most cruise lines require notification of a claim within a certain number of months following an injury.

It’s important to be timely and prepared when making a claim about a cruise line injury, and our Florida firm has much experience with the ins and outs of dealing with cruise ship injury law. The experienced Tampa personal injury legal team at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore is available for a consultation today, no matter where you live.

Railroad Safety
If you have been injured in a rail road related accident, contact us now!

If you have been injured in a rail road related accident, contact us now!

When we think of railroad accidents, we think of big, attention-grabbing collisions with high death tolls. We remember westerns or old cartoons where the villain ties the hero (or his love interest) to the track to wait for the train to come. But very few of us understand how the railroads that crisscross the United States actually work. Here are some facts about railroads to help keep you safe at every crossing:

1. Railroad schedules are always changing. Passenger trains may have fixed schedules, but they are often running late, and their schedules change on occasion. Furthermore, freight trains don’t have fixed schedules. Even if you’ve never seen a train at a certain crossing at a certain time, there is no guarantee that one won’t be there at the moment you happen to be crossing.
2. Train tracks are private property. Trespassing on them is illegal to minimize that danger. If a train does come, the engineer is (a) unlikely to see you and (b) unable to stop in time. Keep in mind that most trains require more than a mile to stop when traveling at an average speed.
3. Due to the stopping distance, trains have the right of way at all times, even in priority over emergency vehicles.
4. Trains can move in either direction, so no matter how certain you are that a train has passed, double-check in BOTH directions..
5. Because of new technology, trains are getting more and more quiet. Headphones (if you are on a bike) and music can eliminate the sounds of an approaching train, so always stay alert and be prepared for the train to be closer than you think. Crossing only at designated crossways can help this, as signs often work in tandem with the approaching trains.

Stay safe out there! If you’ve been injured in a railroad-related accident, contact the experience Tampa personal injury attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore for a free consultation today.

Cruise Ship Injury
If you have been injured on a cruise ship, contact us today!

If you have been injured on a cruise ship, contact us today!

With all the excitement of being at sea, caution sometimes takes a backseat to fun. While cruise ships do their best to minimize potential dangers, stairs, sliding doors, and uneven ground can all lead to potential dangers. One of the body parts that cruise-goers most frequently injure is the hand.

Between slip and fall accidents and slamming doors, broken fingers and wrists or sprained ligaments can be very common. While these injuries are often attributed to the injured party not paying attention, it is often the case that the cruise line may be liable for these hand and finger injuries. On cruise ships, there is usually a large number of sliding doors, sliding windows, and automatic systems set up to close these openings. To be efficient, they close often, but that can result in entrapment of a passenger.

In order to find fault in the cruise line for a hand injury, the cruise line must be proven to be negligent. For example, the cruise line’s staff must have been alerted to or otherwise aware of the broken condition but not responded reasonably to correct the dangerous condition.. Further, if the crew’s medical staff was unreasonably inattentive after you injured your hand, you may have a case for negligence.

If you’ve been injured on a cruise ship, seek legal help to understand the rules of personal injury law relating to the cruise ship industry. The experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore are available for a consultation today.

boating accident
If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact us TODAY!

If you have been injured in a boating accident, contact us TODAY!

In a state surrounded by so much water, many Floridians have spent much of their lives in or around boats. But with boating accidents making up a good portion of injuries each year, safety is a topic that has not been at the forefront as much as it should be.

Florida requires boating safety courses for only a small portion of those operating boats: people born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who wish to operate a motorboat of 10 horsepower or greater, and violators. Exceptions include private lakes and people supervised by someone with a valid ID. However, taking a boating safety course is a good idea for anyone who plans to spend time around vehicles in the water.

A boating safety course may prevent an accident and might just save your life or the lives of those with you. But even if you aren’t in such dire straits, the knowledge gleaned from a boating safety course will provide you with information that will make a relaxing boating trip less stressful and give you more confidence on the water.

Topics covered in such courses include safety preparations, legal requirements, emergency situation reactions, and many other boat-related topics that will lead to smoother sailing. While many people think of boating accidents as less disastrous than roadway ones due to the forgiving nature of the water’s surface, the truth is that they are equally, if not more, dangerous, as the ocean has its own set of challenges. Being as prepared as possible is always a good idea.

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident in unsafe conditions, contact an experienced Tampa boating accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore are well-versed in Tampa boating laws, so schedule a free consultation today.

construction site injuries
If you have been injured on the job, contact us TODAY!

If you have been injured on the job, contact us TODAY!

At first glance, the hit show American Ninja Warrior seems to have a lot in common with your run-of-the-mill construction site. Both involve high walls, open beams, strange objects, and questionable handholds. However, there are a lot of things you can do at a construction site to raise your chances of making it through the obstacles.

In American Ninja Warrior, participants are often shirtless and sometimes shoeless. At a construction site, wearing pants, shirts, and shoes are just the beginning. Most sites require safety helmets, and many ask for safety footwear and high visibility jackets or vests as well. The helmet keeps things from falling on your head, while in ANW, it’s more likely that a participant will fall on their own head. High visibility jackets, too, are more important when you don’t have a host of cameras trained on you and commentators reporting your every move.

Just like in ANW, construction sites are restricted areas. Make sure that you’ve passed the qualification rounds of training and have all your paperwork in order — especially that waiver — before going behind the fence. An unauthorized person on the course or the site can distract workers, which can lead to falls and injuries.

No matter the similarities, the biggest difference between a construction site and the course of American Ninja Warrior is the constantly evolving nature of the site. ANW has obstacles that aren’t growing or changing. Because construction sites require the use of large machinery and heavy materials, all the elements of a site are constantly moving. Because of that, vigilance, plus protective footwear, eyewear, and ear wear, are key.

If you’ve been injured at a construction site, contact the Tampa workplace injury attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore today for a free consultation. It’s possible the construction site’s warnings were more American Ninja Warrior than Appropriately Noted Warnings.

avoid dog bites
Avoid Dog Bites

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog attack, contact us now!

Man’s best friend sometimes just isn’t. Dogs are one of the most popular companion animals in America, yet over four million people across the country are bitten each year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Children and senior citizens are the most vulnerable in dog attacks, as well as the most commonly bitten.

It’s not hard to understand why children are bitten so often. Dogs are small, furry and cute. Children often run up to unfamiliar dogs to make friends without a second thought. Unfortunately, not all dogs warm up to people as quickly, and some can become aggressive without warning. Danger does not come only in the form of an unfamiliar dog, however. Most dog bites occur from a dog that the victim knew, and an attack may result from an everyday activity, such as playing with or cuddling the dog. As a precaution it may be a good idea to teach your children ways to avoid dog bites.

Tips to avoid dog bites

Here are some tips on dog safety, provided by The Humane Society of the United States, that you should discuss with your kids. Keep this information in mind for yourself as well.

• Never run up to a dog you don’t know. Understand that even if you are not approaching a dog, an aggressive or scared one might run up and bite.
• If an unfamiliar dog becomes aggressive, look at the ground and become as still as a tree. Don’t look a dog in the eye. Wait until the dog loses interest, or try to back away slowly.
• If the dog attacks, try to “feed” it your backpack or jacket to protect yourself. Drop to the ground and protect your head and neck with your arms.
• Never bother a dog while it is eating, sleeping, or taking care of puppies.
• Don’t play roughly with the family dog. Even a friendly dog may accidentally bite or become provoked during aggressive play.
• Give dogs their space and understand that they don’t often like being hugged or leaned on. Invite the dog to come into your space, instead of getting into its face.

Understanding canine body language is a useful skill to have in avoiding trouble. In a future post, we’ll discuss the types of body language dogs use to communicate friendliness, fear, aggression, and more. Our strong hope is that you and your loved ones may enjoy the family pooch without getting hurt. If you are injured by another person’s dog, the dog owner may be held liable for damages. Contact our Tampa dog bite attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore to discuss your case.


Avoid Bike Crashes

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact us TODAY!

Work with Tampa’s experienced personal injury attorneys!

Bicycles are a common site year-round in sunny Florida. With traffic quite heavy in Tampa and the surrounding areas, there are many ways that you, as a cyclist, might be injured in a collision with a motor vehicle. Bicycle crashes are an alarming problem in our state. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 139 cyclists lost their lives in Florida in 2014. This number was higher than in each of the previous nine years on record.

So how do you keep from becoming one of these tragic statistics? The following five tips may help you ride safer around traffic:

1. Don’t ride the wrong way. Your bicycle is a vehicle, and you should ride in the direction of motor- vehicle traffic. Whenever possible, use a bicycle lane. Drivers don’t expect to see bicyclists riding in the opposite direction of traffic when they’re turning out from a side street or driveway.

2. Be visible. Make sure your bike has reflectors on it. Use a light when cycling at night or dusk. Consider wearing a jacket with reflective tape or flashing lights.

3. Wear a helmet. You’re not required to wear a helmet if you’re over 16 in Florida, but helmets play a significant role in preventing serious head injuries in a crash.

4. When approaching an intersection or a car parked on the side of the road, it may be safer to ride farther out into the lane to become more visible to drivers and stay out of the reach of opening car doors. If you need to do this, you must take care not to impede traffic. If you ever feel in danger or overwhelmed, pull over to the side of the road and wait for the danger to pass.

5. Don’t stay in a driver’s blind spot. Your bike is much smaller and less noticeable than cars, SUVs, and trucks, and drivers are not always on the lookout for bicyclists. If you hover in a car’s blind spot, your chances of being sideswiped or struck while the vehicle is turning are increased.

Finally, understand that these tips are only meant to help you increase your safety – not to alleviate the duty of a a negligent driver to be careful and to avoid hitting you. Speak with a Tampa personal injury attorney at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore for advice if you were injured in a bicycle accident.

It Fits Like a (Medical) Glove

If you have suffered from medical malpractice, contact us today!

If you go back to your high school friends and ask them the names of their favorite teachers, you’ll probably get a handful of different answers. Different people respond better to different personalities and learn better from different teaching styles. As you select a doctor for any treatment, it’s important to keep in mind what you personally are looking for. No matter how many of your friends rave about a certain physician, she may not be the right fit for you.

Before you dive into compatibility tests, consider the objective background of the doctor. What is his or her background? Is she keeping up with new training programs? Are you comfortable with his level of experience? If their credentials are solid, as most are, you probably still have a long list of candidates. Maybe cross-referencing it with the doctors your insurance covers will whittle your list down a bit more, but you’ve still got a decision to make.

Many people make the mistake of going onto Yelp or similar rating sites to determine their next physician. Online rating sites can be very helpful in determining basic information about a doctor. One can, generally, get a good idea of how the doctor treats patients and wait times. At the same time, there are nuances that will not be accurately reflected in the online reviews. Due to this, it is important to consider more than just a couple online reviews before selecting which doctor you would like to treat your or a family member.

A phone call to the doctor’s office can be useful. Receptionists often echo the tone of the doctors and nurses they represent. If you’re looking for efficiency, perhaps the bubbly girl who wastes too much time on the phone doesn’t represent the right office for you. If you’re nervous, maybe you don’t want the no-nonsense woman who asks all the hard questions without an attempt to make you comfortable. If you strike a good rapport on the phone, don’t be afraid to ask about the general clientele of the doctor to see if you’d fit in. Maybe ask for a few words that describe the doctor’s bedside manner. The people in the office know those they work with the best.

If you chose the wrong doctor early on in your medical care, and you believe you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore today.

Construction Accidents
the "Fatal Four", construction accidents

If you have been injured on a construction site, call us now.

Most people take construction workers’ jobs for granted. Construction workers are responsible for all of the office buildings, homes, and roads making up our cities, but we seldom realize the great dangers they face every day on the job. If you or a loved one works in construction, you already know that this is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Thousands of construction workers are injured or killed on the job every year.

Some types of worksite accidents are more common than others. According to EHS Today, the worst construction accidents are called the “Fatal Four.” Officials estimate that if the Fatal Four were eliminated, 435 workers each year would be spared. The following points explain the Fatal Four, as well as ways to avoid them.

• Falls. Falls account for the majority of construction accidents. Wearing safety harnesses, constructing scaffolding properly, and covering openings to shafts or holes in roofs or multi-level flooring may prevent falls.
• Caught between objects. Getting pinned by construction vehicles or moving machinery may be prevented by taking steps to remain visible to vehicle operators, keeping your distance from moving parts and shutting down machinery when necessary.
• Electrocutions. Proper grounding or de-energizing procedures when working with electric cables or wiring may prevent fatal shocks.
• Struck by objects. Heavy objects that fall from heights and moving machinery parts are two of the ways you might be hit by objects on a construction site. Work helmets might help in some cases. Other protective measures include putting up barriers to protect people working nearby and being cautious when entering areas where heavy parts are in motion.

Federal safety standards are required on job sites to protect workers. In a great number of cases, accidents occur because of safety violations. Your employer might be liable for your injuries if safety standards were not enforced, training was not given to employees, or safety equipment was not made available. Call Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore to discuss your options if a construction accident has impacted your life and to learn about your rights. Our experienced Tampa OSHA lawyers can help.

Slip, Trip, or Fall
If you have been injured in a slip and fall case, contact us TODAY!

If you have been injured in a slip and fall case, contact us TODAY!

Contact the skilled Tampa personal injury lawyers today!

As one of the leading causes of injury, slips, trips, and falls are something that everyone can be vigilant about. The result of these can vary in severity from a bruise to broken bones and beyond. Because falling is so commonplace, people might believe that these events are simply accidents that “just happen” and can’t be prevented. However, the potential likelihood of a slip, trip, or fall can be reduced by a few preventative measures.

First, be aware where dangerous points might be. Slippery surfaces (glossy, polished, and wet areas especially) should receive careful attention, as should broken, crumbling, or otherwise uneven walkways. Pay particular attention, too, to transition areas that involve steps or changes in direction, as those can lead to surprises.

After you have identified potentially troublesome spots in your workplace or home, consider if enough attention is drawn to the problem. A dark corridor could benefit from more lighting. A cracked pathway should be repaired. Wet floor signs would draw attention to a slippery area near a fountain. All mats should be secured. Everyone in the building, whether it’s a workplace or residence, should be aware of cleaning supplies to eliminate spills that may become hazards.

If the area itself is safe, make sure you’re staying aware. Wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping. Keep a healthy diet to remain awake and energetic throughout the day and avoid lethargy. Stay fit, so your body is able to react more quickly and with more agility. If you do fall, a healthy body has been proven to recover more quickly.

If you have suffered a fall due to the negligence of another, contact the experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore today for a free consultation.