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Tampa Legal Blog

Is it time to revise Florida's BUI laws?

There is no doubt that one of the most cherished activities for people here in the Tampa Bay area and across the state of Florida is boating. Indeed, every summer weekend without fail will see thousands of people take their watercraft -- from speedboats and sailboats to fishing boats and pontoons -- out on rivers, lakes and even the ocean.

As undeniably fun as boating can be, it can also become extremely dangerous when alcohol enters the equation, especially when the person piloting the vessel is under the influence. Unfortunately, boating under the influence occurs far more often than people might think and recent reports suggest that state law might be partly to blame.

Just how safe are children's toys?

Being a parent can feel overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to worrying about the health and safety of children. Are they eating right? Are they happy? Are they safe? These are all just some of the many, many questions that can pop into a parent's head at any given time.

Yet, even when parents take all of the necessary precautions, by reading up on safety recalls and making sure to closely following manufacturer instructions, there are still sadly cases where an unsafe or defective toy on the market hurts a child.

Committed to helping accident victims seek justice for emotional trauma

In the aftermath of a serious car accident, the first thing that accident victims and their loved ones typically want to know is how extensive the physical trauma is and, if recovery is possible, how long it will take and how much effort it will require.  

While this is certainly understandable, it's also important for accident victims not to overlook the distinct possibility that they may have endured some sort of psychological harm. 

Is drinking coffee a form of distracted driving?

Lawmakers here in Florida have recently faced considerable criticism from vehicle safety advocates over what they see as the state's rather lenient stance toward the problem of distracted driving. Indeed, the law only makes texting while driving a secondary offense, such that a police officer can only issue a citation for texting if they witness the motorist first committing some other primary offense (running a red light, speeding, etc.).

While it's true that the Sunshine State hasn't adopted what could be considered a truly punitive stance toward distracted driving, there are at least two other states that have made a point of doing exactly this.

Servers face fall and burn injury risks on the job

Being a server at a restaurant is hard work. Quite often, servers work long days, on their feet for much of this time. In an industry where there is such a heavy reliance on tips, there is an expectation that servers always be friendly, courteous and quick -- all day long. For the patrons, though, what many might not realize is just how strenuous and risky the work truly is.

Take for example the risk of a slip and fall on the job. Even with the proper shoe protection on -- preferably closed-toe shoes -- servers are often quickly dashing around the restaurant, making sure all of the guests are getting their food in a timely manner, refilling drinks and checking up to see if anything else is needed during the dining experience. Doing all this, while carrying food and drinks means a higher risk for spills, which in turn creates an unsafe work environment with a greater chance for a fall.

Why are senior patients leaving U.S. hospitals in worse condition?

According to the federal government, a significant portion of the patient population at many U.S. hospitals is comprised of people age 65 and older. Indeed, its research has found that almost 13 million senior patients are hospitalized every year and are responsible for over one-third of all discharges.

It goes without saying that many of these senior patients are already suffering from multiple medical chronic conditions, taking several medications and/or simply more vulnerable owing to their advanced age and, as such, could actually find their health further comprised by a prolonged hospital stay. 

FedEx reaches settlement tied to employee misclassification

Depending on the classification, being an employee at a company can mean benefits and certain rights. If you are working as an independent contractor for that very same company, though, you are typically not offered the same benefits, such as overtime pay, health care costs and pensions. However, just because the business is classifying you as a certain type of employee, this classification may not be entirely accurate.

An example of a misclassification claim is the recent FedEx Ground Package System Inc settlement. In this, the U.S. delivery company agreed to pay $240 million to drivers in 20 different states who filed lawsuits claiming the company misclassified them as independent contractors. By classifying them as independent contractors, FedEx did not have to pay them overtime, among other benefits.

Is it time to alter the setup of your computer workstation?

For thousands of workers across Florida, the first stop of the day isn't the warehouse floor, the assembly line or the construction site, but rather the computer workstation. Indeed, many people routinely spend their Monday through Friday seated at a desk or cubicle, dutifully typing away on their keyboards for hours at a time.

While this is a perfectly fine way to make a living, experts indicate that those who perform this type of work must consider that their computer workstation -- their home away from home -- may actually be riddled with a host of ergonomic hazards.

Study: Florida has the most dangerous drivers

There's a good chance that over the course of the summer, you've spent some vacation time visiting with family and friends who live in other states. There's also a good chance that during your long conversations out on the patio or at the dinner table, you fell into a good-natured argument about whether drivers here in Florida or their home state were superior, and which state, in general, produces the most worrisome drivers.

While these sorts of discussions are nothing more than mere conjecture, SmartAsset, the New York-based personal finance tech company, has nevertheless sought to end this longstanding debate once and for all through the release of a rather eye-opening study that doesn't exactly paint Florida motorists in the best light.

Can team training reduce medical errors, patient deaths?

This past spring, the medical journal the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, released a rather sobering study indicating that medical errors are responsible for upwards of 250,000 patient fatalities in the U.S. each year and currently the third leading cause of death, trailing only cancer and heart disease.

In the wake of this earth shattering study, the medical community, while somewhat wary of these figures, has nevertheless been looking to find solutions to address what is a clear crisis in patient care. Interestingly, a recently published study by researchers at Johns Hopkins, Rice University, the Department of Defense and the University of Central Florida may provide some much-needed answers.

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