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This is our legal blog. If you were seriously injured in an accident, you need to read here and learn about your Clearwater Florida Legal Rights!

What is a FDA Class Recall?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public’s health by regulating food to make sure it is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. The FDA makes sure that drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and other biological products are safe and harmless for human and animal use.  The FDA also assures that dietary supplements and cosmetic products are safe to use and labeled properly, along with regulating the tobacco industry.

FDA safetyWhen the FDA discovers that a product or food item can be potentially harmful to a consumer, they will issue a recall on that product. Often times, you will read about these recalls in the newspaper or hear about them on the local news. However, how does one know how serious the recall is and whether or not they should immediately stop using that product? For this reason, the FDA has multiple recall categories divided up based on the severity of the problems with the product.

FDA CATEGORY RECALLS
  • Class I: this is when the FDA determines that there is a high probability that the use or exposure to a violative product will cause serious harm to the user’s health or even death.
  • Class II: when the FDA determines that the use or exposure to a violative product can cause temporary, treatable, or reversible health problems, or the chance of serious or fatal consequences from using the product are remote.
  • Class III: when the FDA determines that the use or exposure to a violative product is unlikely to cause any serious health consequences.
  • Market Withdrawal: When a manufacturer or company removes the product from the market due to a minor problem which they can choose to correct or keep off the market. The minor violation is not subject to FDA legal action.
  • Medical Device Safety Alert: these are issued by the FDA in situations where a medical device can cause an unreasonable or substantial risk of harm to the user. In certain situations, these may also be classified as recalls.
CONTACT CLEARWATER PRODUCT LIABILITY ATTORNEYS DOLMAN LAW GROUP

The FDA organizes their recalls in class, with the most dangerous recall being Class I and the least dangerous recall being Class III. As consumers, we expect that the goods we purchase live up to their marketed expectations and be safe for us to use or consume. However, manufacturers are run by humans and there will always be the risk of human error and negligence.

If you, a loved one, or someone you know suffered an injury or a health problem after using a product that was recalled or eventually recalled, it is important you contact an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered.

At Dolman Law Group, our attorneys will aggressively fight for you to be properly compensated. We understand that money will not undo the harm you have suffered, however, it will help in the recovery process. We have the resources to take on the largest of corporations and are unafraid to do so. We strongly believe in holding the negligent responsible for the harm they have committed.

For a free and confidential consultation on your case, call Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900
http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/product-liability/

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How do I select the best Personal Injury Attorney for a Clearwater Accident?

choosing an attorneyOne need only drive down a major strip of highway in Pinellas or Hillsborough County to see that the area is overrun with personal injury attorneys. Most of these advertisements promise “aggressive” reputation and advocacy or imply that they will fight for your case all the way to the Court room. Some of these assertions by certain firms are in fact true. There are many good law firms in the area, some of which do advertise in some way. The question is how do you, the consumer (because in essence that is what you are, a customer that is having a service provided to you at a cost), differentiate between the attorneys and firms that will aggressively represent you.  It may require some homework to determine if a firm will take your case to trial if need be or if they will convince you to accept a low settlement offer in order to clear your case off of their desk and to meet monthly settlement quotas.

These later type of firm (commonly referred to as “settlement mills” in the industry) position themselves in the minds of the public as aggressive advocates that will pursue results by flooding the market with billboard, radio, and television advertisements indicating the same. But the truth is, until you are represented by a firm, there are very few methods by which you can judge the quality of representation which you are about to receive.

But most importantly, it is in any crash victim’s best interest to be represented by an attorney. A 1999 study released by the Insurance Research Council indicated that hiring an attorney would lead to, on average, a settlement that was 40% higher than if the same person with the same injuries attempted to negotiate with the insurance company on their own.

So how can you assure yourself of obtaining high quality legal representation that will best serve your interests? The self-deprecating comedian in me would tell you to simply hire the Dolman Law Group. But the truth is, like with any purchase decision, you must do research. Read a firm’s Google Reviews. Investigate the attorneys that work at a given firm on websites like Lawyers.com and Avvo. Additionally, the Florida Bar allows you to look up lawyers by name. This search engine will tell you a little about the attorneys and whether they are in Good Standing with the bar.

Additionally, I always caution my friends and acquaintances to avoid lawyer referral services. With a thing as delicate as your claim for damages following your motor vehicle accident or slip and fall, why allow your case to be chosen at random by a lawyer referral service? My office has written about lawyer referral services many times in the past, and our opinions of them have not changed. One does not need any particular level of skill to be a part of a lawyer referral service like 1-800-Ask-Gary or 411-Pain.

CONTACT THE PINELLAS COUNTY LITIGATION FIRM DOLMAN LAW GROUP

If you, or someone you know, have been injured in an automobile, motorcycle, or trucking accident, you should consult with a law firm with experience handling automobile accident personal injury claims to ensure that you, the victim, receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, or future loss of income. The Dolman Law Group serves personal injury clients all over the state of Florida from their conveniently located Clearwater office. Call for a case evaluation today at 727-451-6900, and rest assured that our team is ready and willing to take the case as far as necessary to reach an appropriate resolution for your case.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/automobile-accidents/

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I was Injured in a Tampa Area Aviation Accident, What should I do?

aviation accidentIf Pinellas County residents have been paying attention to the headlines in the local newspapers, they are bound to have noticed the sudden increase in plane accident stories. One tragic accident occurred on Caspersen Beach near Sarasota, Florida.

Ommy Irizarry and his daughter, Oceana, were walking along the beach enjoying the vacation their family had taken to celebrate Ommy and his wife, Rebecca’s, wedding anniversary. At the same, Karl Kokomoor was flying his 1972 Piper Cherokee airplane when he made a distress call to the Venice Beach Airport on his return flight back to the airport. Kokomoor was unable to control his aircraft long enough to make it back to the airport, and made a crash landing on the beach, right along where the sand and water meet. The accident damaged the plane’s wing, propeller, and caused the plane to lose a wheel.

This emergency landing accident, however, did even more damage imaginable not related to the plane. As the plane landed on the beach, the debris struck both Ommy and Oceana Irizarry as they were walking along the water. Ommy was announced to have perished upon impact, and the 9-year-old Oceana was rushed to a local St. Petersburg hospital, where she perished a few days later. Two innocent lives lost in a freak air plane accident.

Aviation accidents are rare but when they happen, serious injuries can occur. Those injured in the accident may be entitled to compensation if the accident was a result of a particular party’s negligence. In order to determine the liability of the accident, an experienced attorney will first consult the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation report.

When a plane crashes or makes an emergency landing, the NTSB launches an investigation into the case to determine the cause of the accident. The size of the investigative team and the length of the investigation depend on the scale of the accident.

However, most attorneys will feel the need to launch their own investigation into the incident as well to determine if any of the following factored in to the accident:
  • Pilot error
  • Maintenance error
  • Faulty aircraft design
  • Poor flight communications
If it is discovered that the accident was a result of the previously listed problems, the attorney will then proceed in fighting for the compensation you deserve.

CONTACT CLEARWATER PERSONAL INJURY LAW FIRM DOLMAN LAW GROUP

There is no amount of money that can make tragedies like the one the Irizarry family suffered go away. However, compensation for the damages suffered to your family as a result of the accident can help with the recovery process. It is also important to hold those who were negligent in the incident responsible for their actions.

Dolman Law Group’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers pride themselves on fighting for those harmed by negligence. We have the resources to take on corporate giants and large insurance companies. If you, a loved one, or someone you know was injured in an aviation accident, contact us today for a free and private consultation at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/personal-injury/

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I’m a Passenger: Whose PIP Applies to Me?

car wreckNot every motor vehicle accident is clear, cut, and dry when it comes to determining what insurer is primary for purposes of PIP (Personal Injury Protection). For the claimant, it can be a multitude of confusing advice and conflicting statements from one on one dealings with various insurance companies. Unfortunately, unrepresented persons are the most vulnerable to being marginalized by insurance companies during the early part of the claims process. The purpose of this article is to address the issue of the injured passenger and how they may qualify for PIP benefits.  Let’s consider a few scenarios.

I have Insurance but I was a Passenger in another Vehicle

Paul is a passenger riding in Tom’s car who is struck by another vehicle. Paul owns his own vehicle. This is the easiest to address because Paul’s PIP coverage follows him wherever he goes, regardless of the vehicle he happens to be in at the time of an accident. A common misconception is that Tom’s insurance, as the host vehicle, would cover Paul since he was in that vehicle; however that is not true. PIP stands for personal injury protection; personal because it is personal to the named insured. So wherever Paul goes in Florida, his PIP coverage would cover him in an accident; even if the driver was at-fault. The only coverage Tom’s insurance could extend to Paul is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage; a topic for another time.

I do not have Insurance and I was a Passenger in a Crash Vehicle

Paul is a passenger in Tom’s car and is struck by another vehicle. Paul does not own a vehicle and lives alone. The short answer is that Tom’s PIP coverage would now extend to Paul because he does not own a vehicle nor does he reside with a resident relative that owns a Florida vehicle. The insurer for the host vehicle (Tom), will undoubtedly do a thorough investigation before extending PIP coverage to an unnamed party, so the practitioner representing Paul can expect recorded statements, affidavits, and longer than usual PIP setup. It is crucial that unrepresented persons in a situation similar to Paul’s seek immediate legal assistance.

I do not have Insurance but I live with someone that does

The third scenario is more complex but also quite common, and can lead to prolonged coverage disputes. In this instance, Paul resides ONE of the following people: (a) his wife, (b) a same-sex domestic partner, (c) a sibling, (d) a roommate/best friend, (e) parent, (f) live-in fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend, or (g) son/daughter/niece/nephew. These relationships are important because they determine if the criteria for a “relative residing in the same household” is met, per Fla. Stat. 627.732. If a person resides with a resident relative, then the host vehicle PIP does NOT apply. The statute defines resident relative as “a relative of any degree by blood or by marriage who usually makes her or his home in the same family unit, whether or not temporarily living elsewhere.”

Wife - Paul is covered under his wife’s policy because they are related by marriage. Even if the parties are separated or estranged, Paul could still be covered under his wife’s policy even if not specifically named. However, if the parties maintain separate address, the situation is not so cut and dry.

Same-sex domestic partner – This is an unknown outcome but an increasingly more common situation. As Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnership, the statutory definition is not met. However, individual policies may extend coverage to these familial relationships, so a careful review of the policy is required. The best solution is for same-sex partners to either be on a joint policy or a listed as permissive driver’s on each other’s policy. It is unknown if a municipal designation of domestic partnership confers resident-relative status; unfortunately I believe it does not because the statutory definition specifically refers to marriage.

A sibling – Paul is covered under the sibling’s auto insurance as they are related by blood and reside together; even if only temporary.

Roommate/best friend – Paul is NOT covered because there is no relationship by blood or marriage. College students without vehicles are a prime example. As long as the college student maintains his address with mom and dad, but is simply off at college and temporarily residing away from the family unit, then he can still be covered under mom and dad’s policy. If Paul is a college student, Tom’s PIP does not apply; coverage would have to be sought under the insurer for Paul’s parents. If Paul changed his address and does not claim to reside with his parents anymore, than a coverage battle will ensue between Tom’s insurance and the parents.

A parent – Paul is covered under a parent’s policy; provided the parent owns a vehicle. The college student situation would apply here as well.

Live-in fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend – Paul is likely NOT covered because these individuals do not meet the definition of resident-relative. Tom’s PIP should apply to Paul.

Son/daughter/niece/nephew – Paul is covered under any of their policies; even a step-child should qualify.

While by no means an exhaustive list of relationships, the point is whether or not the resident-relative definition is met in order to qualify for PIP coverage. The practitioner should develop a checklist once it is determined the client does not own a vehicle. First party coverage disputes can quickly develop into litigation before the underlying injury claim can be prosecuted. Therefore, an experienced attorney should be consulted.

CONTACT FLORIDA PIP SUIT ATTORNEYS DOLMAN LAW GROUP

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident that was a result of negligence, contact our auto accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation. We will not collect payment until we have earned our client the compensation they deserve.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/pip-personal-injury-protection-attorney/

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More Vehicles Recalled can affect Pinellas County Residents

vehicle recallGeneral Motors has made headlines this year for their constant recalls of over 29 million vehicles for such problems as faulty ignition switches and defective airbags. Many accidents and unfortunate injuries and deaths have been caused by these defects in GM’s vehicles, and GM is paying the price. So far they have spent over $400 million in compensating victims of auto accidents caused by their defective ignition switch, and over $3.4 billion so far on vehicle recalls, loaner calls, and extended warranties. They also have over 100 current lawsuit filed against them, and the end is not insight.

GENERAL MOTORS RECALL ALMOST 500,000 MORE VEHICLES

General Motors announced on August 8 that they need to recall 461,000 more vehicles to fix the continuing problems with unsafe ignition switches, seat belts, and other vehicle issues. This is the 65th recall General Motors has made this year. The recall consisted of the Saturn Vue SUV model from 2002-2004. The main issue was that the ignition key could potentially slip out while the car was still in operation. General Motors stated that so far, they are only aware of two crashes and one injury related to the faulty ignition switch.

VOLKSWAGEN ALSO ISSUES VEHICLE RECALL

German automaker Volkswagen has also recently announced a vehicle recall. According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Volkswagen has recalled 151,000 of its Tiguan Sport Utility Vehicle from the years 2009-20014. It was discovered that the sport utility vehicle’s engine could stall when bubbles in the fuel line would make their appearance. This happens when winterized gasoline is used in warmer temperatures. The fuel tank pump can degrade because of deposits left in the gasoline due to the winterized gasoline, and experts believe it may not be able to handle high vapor pressures and can “starve the engine” if the engine is restarted shortly after shutting off.

The problem has been occurring after the engine has been running at normal operating temperature, then is shut off, then started back up again. The problem was first discovered in February by Volkswagen, and in June they sent a technical service bulletin to dealerships.

CONTACT CLEARWATER DEFECTIVE VEHICLE ATTORNEYS DOLMAN LAW GROUP

Auto accidents as a result of a faulty vehicle often result in serious injuries to the driver and any other passengers in the vehicle. Those involved in such accidents may be entitled to compensation for the damages suffered, such as injuries, medical treatment, lost wages, and quality of life.

At Dolman Law Group, our team of experienced defective vehicle attorneys is determined to hold the negligent vehicle manufacturers responsible for the damages their mistakes caused to our clients. We have the resources to take on the largest manufacturers, such as General Motors, and have a proven track record of satisfied clients that most of our business comes from word of mouth recommendations.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury while operating any of the recalled vehicles above, or any other vehicle recalled by General Motors, contact our Clearwater office at 727-451-6900 for a free and confidential consultation today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
727-451-6900

http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/product-liability/defective-vehicle/

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