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Jun
29
2015
Fewer teens are losing their lives in car accidents, research shows.

Fewer teens are losing their lives in car accidents, research shows.

If you’ve got a teenager behind the wheel, there’s good news. New research shows that today’s teenage drivers are less likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than at any point over the past 20 years.

Statistics from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show a 56-percent decrease in the number of drivers age 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes over the past two decades, from 6,000 in 1994 down to 2,614 in 2013. Researchers credited increased seatbelt use among teenagers, more strenuous drivers’ license preparation and exam programs and economic factors – namely higher gas prices.

While the news certainly is positive, it doesn’t mean that teens are fully in the clear behind the wheel, of course. Teen drivers still have higher crash rates than any other age group. Plus, 27 percent of victims of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers were passengers in those drivers’ cars and 30 percent of those killed were other cars.

“This data confirms that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel,” said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Since teens drive more during the summer than any other season, this insight is a timely reminder to everyone – drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists – to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers.”

In fact, teen fatalities rise 43 percent during summer months, according to the AAA. After all, teens are out of school and logging far more miles on the road to hang out with friends.

If your teenager has hit driving age, set and enforce strict safety rules including wearing seatbelts, driving no faster that the speed limit, limiting the number of passengers and nixing distractions like mobile phones and loud music. In the event that your teenager is involved in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, get your child medical treatment immediately, even if there are no apparent injuries. That’s because most problematic crash-related issues are soft-tissue injuries that can be seen with the human eye or even with X-rays. Then, contact an experienced auto accident injury attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.

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Jun
22
2015
Some 9 million Americans use sleeping pills, and that could place them at risk for auto accidents.

Some 9 million Americans use sleeping pills, and that could place them at risk for auto accidents.

If a good night’s sleep proves elusive, you may be tempted to turn to prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. But if you drive daily, you’ll want to reconsider. New research shows that taking sedative sleeping pill such as Ambien, Desyrel or Restoril can nearly double the risk of an automobile accident for new users.

A study conducted by the University of Washington in Seattle examined prescription records and automobile crash record of more than 400,000 registered Washington state drivers who had a drug benefit in the Group Health Cooperative insurance plan. Results showed that the risk of a crash related to sedative use is similar to the crash risk associated with driving drunk, and that the risk continued for up to a year among regular users.

Ambien in particular has been a concern in recent years. In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration mandated lower recommended doses, labeling changes and a recommendation to avoid driving the day after taking Ambien CR, an extended-release form of the drug. The move was prompted by complaints and report of daytime drowsiness in patients who had taken Ambien the evening prior. FDA officials noted studies that showed blood levels of the drug in some patients remained high enough the next morning to “to impair activities that require alertness, including driving.” Research shows that women are at higher risk because their bodies process the drug more slowly than men’s bodies.

If you have been prescribed sedatives, talk with your doctor about the risks and be sure to follow instructions precisely. If you’ve suffered injury or loss in a car accident or other incident that you believe was caused by daytime drowsiness resulting from sedative use, contact an experienced dangerous drugs attorney. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell, serving North and Central Florida and South Georgia, can be reached at 800-251-1111.

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Jun
15
2015
Front and back of Apple's Beats Pill XL speakers, recalled over a potential burn hazard.

Front and back of Apple’s Beats Pill XL speakers, recalled over a potential burn hazard.

They’re stylish, convenient and increasingly popular. Unfortunately, they’re also a burn hazard. Cupertino, CA-based Apple, Inc. has issued a recall of all Beats Pill XL portable wireless speakers, numbering some 222,000 sold in the United States and another 11,000 sold in Canada.

“Apple has determined that, in rare cases, the battery in the Beats Pill XL may overheat and pose a fire safety risk,” Apple officials wrote in a prepared statement. “Because customer safety is the company’s top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers.”

Apple officials thus far have received eight reports of incidents of the popular speakers overheating, including one that resulted in a burn injury to a consumer’s finger and another that damaged a consumer’s desk. The recalled products are plastic, capsule-shaped speakers that measure about four inches tall and deep by 13 inches wide. They feature a plastic mesh grille marked with the lowercase “b” Beats logo on the front and a built-in carrying handle with the mark “beatspillXL” on the back. The speakers come in black, white, pink, metallic sky and titanium.

Recalled units were sold nationwide at Apple retail stores plus other major retail stores and online at Apple.com and Beatsbydre.com from January 2014 through June 2015 for about $300. If you own one and have had no problems, stop using the speaker immediately and contact Apple online for a $325 Apple Store credit or electronic payment. However, if you have suffered an injury or property damage caused by a recalled or faulty speaker, keep the product intact as it may be needed as evidence in a legal case. Get medical treatment immediately and contact an experienced product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.

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Jun
09
2015
Misclassification of construction workers as independent contractors rather than wage employees can cost them their worker's compensation benefit rights.

Misclassification of construction workers as independent contractors rather than wage employees can cost them their worker’s compensation benefit rights.

Recent research by the McClatchy Company, a Sacramento, CA-based publishing firm, showed that here in Florida, 15.5 percent of all construction workers were misclassified as independent contractors rather than wage employees. Whether by mistake or deliberate action, this places all workers at higher risk for injury and many for denial of workers’ compensation benefits.

Though illegal, misclassification of construction workers unfortunately is widespread, and the reason is infuriating. The US Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not cover the self-employed. So, by misclassifying wage employees as independent contractors, employers do not have to worry about the OSHA requirement to provide a safe workplace, thus placing workers of all classifications at risk for a work-related injury or illness. Plus, it allows these unscrupulous employers to skip out on paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums, as well unemployment insurance and other benefits and taxes. Thus, when a misclassified worker suffers an injury or illness, that worker and his or her family bear the costs for medical treatment and recovery.

If you are a construction worker who has suffered an injury and you’re having a tough time securing worker’s compensation benefits, your best bet is to seek legal counsel from an experienced workers compensation attorney. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell can be reached at 800-251-1111.

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Jun
03
2015

Trinity Christian baseball makes history and the team of the week

The spirit fo the Team of the Week has always been to highlight and celebrate individuals that have had to overcome some kind of diversity to play the sport they love however very few have had to sneak out their own country to play a game. In the video, we highlight three Armada Soccer players who have done just that.

Tommy Krizanovic, Armada FC Forward, was born in Croatian during the Yugoslav Wars which included the War in Slovenia, Croatian War of Independence, Bosnian War, and the Kosovo War (which saw the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia). Nurdin Hrustic, an Armada FC Defender, had to leave his father and uncle behind in when they left Bosnia during the same conflict. Joseph Toby, Armada FC Devender, was in Sierra Leone when the Civil War began. He was forced to play indoors after the shooting started and even had friends who were captured by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and forced to fight in the war.

Strife and conflict are not the only common thread that runs between these players, there is another, their love for soccer. This common thread, the love for a game celebrated around the world, that knits The Armada together and makes them the team of the week.



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May
28
2015

Trinity Christian baseball makes history and the team of the week

Trinity Christian Baseball made school history last week winning the Florida 4A baseball championship. They also made Jacksonville history by becoming only the third local team to win a Football and a Baseball Championship in the same year joining University Christian and Bolles.
Gil Morales, Conquerors Head Coach said, “We started out the season at midnight and end the season at midnight. We have the trophy to prove it” and with a three-hour lightning delay in the championship game it was well after midnight they secured the school’s first ever baseball title.
However as proud as the players are, toward the end of the season they found a higher calling. Brady, a 4-year-old whose mother is a teacher at Trinity and Grandfather is an assistant principal died unexpectedly in his sleep on May 10. The team rallied around the boy and his family and instead of chants for a first championship they simply said “All for Brady”. So the history making for the school and Jacksonville along with their compassion for Brady and his family launches the Trinity Christian Baseball team into the Team of the Week.



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May
22
2015
Worker falls from ladder

Inadequate fall protection at construction sites tops the most common OSHA violations.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released its annual list of the most frequent regulation violations, along with the number of incidents and accidents that these violations caused. For the fourth consecutive year, construction falls top the list.

The top violations reported during fiscal year 2014 are:

  1. Fall Protection in Construction – 7,516 total violations
  2. Hazard Communication – 6,148 total violations
  3. Scaffolding in Construction – 4,968 total violations
  4. Respiratory Protection – 3,843 total violations
  5. Powered Industrial Trucks – 3,147 total violations
  6. Lockout/Tagout – 3,117 total violations
  7. Ladders in Construction – 2,968 total violations
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods – 2,907 total violations
  9. Machine Guarding – 2,520 total violations
  10. Electrical – General Requirements – 2,427 total violations

OSHA violations typically fall into two primary categories based on severity and cause. A “serious” violation is defined by OSHA as “one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.” A “willful” violation is defined by OSHA as one “committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and requirements.”

Depending upon the cause, severity and type of violation, you may be entitled to a substantial compensation award if you suffer an injury caused or exacerbated by an OSHA violation at your workplace. Report the incident immediately, get medical treatment and contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer with Jacksonville’ Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.

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May
20
2015

There aren't many bad days for these Saints Senior Golfers as they posted their lowest superregional score ever and even though they didn't advance, their teamwork and determination gets them the Team of the Week!

The funny part about golf is everybody thinks it’s such an individual sport. But the players from the Flagler College women’s golf team learned that it can really be a team effort. That is what qualified them for the team of the week. The Flagler women’s golf team has found how success comes not just by playing well but also by being able to lean on your teammates. Marie Santacroce “You see each other on the golf course and if you have the bad hole you can get encouraged by your teammates instantly and you have your inside little jokes and stuff that make you smile.” Joanna Yoo sums up the effect of team spirit by saying “I would try to keep on going and keep your head up. Stay positive. You know. Keep doing what you are doing.” And Nicole Keyser comments, “it’s so much easier especially when you are having a bad hole you have four other players behind you to stick with you even if you have a bad day.” There aren’t many bad days for these Saints Senior Golfers as they posted their lowest superregional score ever and even though they didn’t advance, their teamwork and determination gets them the Team of the Week!


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May
15
2015
Costs associated with car crashes can really add up, even in the case of a minor fender bender.

Costs associated with car crashes can really add up, even in the case of a minor fender bender.

More than 10 million auto accidents occur on America’s roadways each year, ranging from minor fender benders to major collisions that cause devastating and life-altering injuries. That 10 million figure reflects some 27,000 accidents daily and the related costs hit upward of $871 billion in property damage, medical bills, legal fees, lost productivity and other costs annually, according to results of a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Insurance industry statistics show that the average driver files a collision claim about once every 18 years. So, if you began driving at age 16 and hang it up at age 80, you likely will have been involved in a three to four separate accidents. Each one of these brings a range of potential financial costs – even in the case of minor fender benders.

Here are a few of the top costs you may be forced to pony up in the case of an auto accident:

  1. An increase in your insurance premium: Depending upon the severity of the accident and which party is at fault, you may face paying an average of 41 percent more for auto insurance after making just one claim, according to an InsuranceQuotes.com survey.
  2. Automotive repairs: Without comprehensive or collision coverage, you may be on the hook for needed repairs to your vehicle, even if the other driver is at-fault. Plus, no matter what type of coverage you have, you’ll likely have to pay a deductible.
  3. Car rental: Your car is in the shop for repairs that may take days or even weeks, but you’ve still got to get to work, school and other obligations. If another driver was at fault, his or her insurance may cover car rental reimbursement up to a particular amount. Depending upon your policy terms, your insurance provider may then pick up the remainder of the tab but again, there may be caps.
  4. Emergency room and medical costs: Florida is a no-fault state, so your own PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage should cover the bulk your emergency room and medical expenses. However, there are limits. PIP covers 80 percent of ER and medical expenses up to $10,000, as well as 60 percent of lost wages. You’re personally responsible for the differences.
  5. Payoff of your auto loan: If your vehicle is totaled, your insurer will pay out its actual cash value, which may be far lower than what you still owe on it. And believe us – your lender will have no sympathy for the fact that your car is gone. You’ll still be responsible for paying the balance of your insurance payout and the total due.

To ensure you get the fair compensation for all related costs after an auto accident, lawyers with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell can be reached at 800-251-1111.

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May
14
2015
Fifteen girls from fifteen different schools have come together to form the Ponte Vedra Storm and have made it to the Round of 16 in the recent state cup.


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