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Florida Traffic Accident Deaths On The Rise

You would think that all the safety features now available in cars would have an effect on reducing injuries and fatal car accidents.  Most cars now come with standard front and side airbags, as well as airbags for the rear seat passengers.  Most new cars can even be outfitted with a car accident avoidance system designed to help a driver avoid a car accident.  Yet even with the most sophisticated of safety devices in cars, the number of traffic fatalities each year continues to rise.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its car accident statistics for 2015.  Traffic fatalities increased 7.7% over 2014.  This was the largest year to year increase in car accident deaths in 50 years.  More than 35,000 car accident deaths occurred in the United States in 2015.   And worse yet, preliminary data for 2016 show traffic deaths have increased 9% over 2015 during the first six months of 2016.

The silver lining to the recent car accident fatality increases is that the number of deaths was actually higher ten years ago.  However, with the increasing use of seat belts, increased awareness of drunk driving, and vehicle improvements such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, and electronic control stability, the number of deaths was on the decline until recently.

One factor that is being attributed to the increase in traffic deaths is higher speed limits on interstate highways.  Speed limits have steadily increased over the past several years with some interstate highways now allowing a speed limit of 75 miles per hour.  Another more obvious contributing factor is most likely the increased use of cell phones in the car.  Distracted driving accounts for almost as many car accident deaths as drunk driving.  NHTSA has also found that lower fuel prices coupled with more jobs will lead to more cars on the road, and more car accidents.

The most significant findings of NHTSA’s report are the reason attributed for the death.  There are three main causes:

  1. not wearing a seat belt;
  2. drunk driving; and
  3. distracted driving

Being aware of the dangers involved in not wearing a seatbelt, DUI driving, and using a cellphone while driving will reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries in a car accident.

14.9% Rate Increase for Florida Homeowners Revoked

Property damage attorney Joseph Maus has been assisting the victims of property damage due to severe weather in South Florida since 1993.

Most of the time, South Florida is viewed as a mecca for nice weather. Sunny skies and warm temperatures encourage a healthy, outdoor lifestyle. During the rainy season, March through October, every year, extreme weather conditions can occur. Record high temperatures and humidity, strong gale-force storms and the ever-present threat of a full-blown hurricane striking, all make our home susceptible to property damages. Due to the history of severe weather striking out area, many homeowners experience an annual increase in their property insurance, i.e., homeowner’s insurance rates.

Homeowner’s insurance companies are required to submit a proposal to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) every year so that the rate increase can be reviewed. Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Company recently submitted a proposed rate increase of 14.9 percent on its 180,000 Florida policyholders. After an uproar from Florida Consumer Advocate and an OIR review, the company promptly withdrew its application to increase the premiums. The application can be refiled in the future.

The website stated in its article
that, “In Miami-Dade counties, Heritage’s proposed increases for HO-3 policies were as high as 22.2 percent; it requested a 25 percent increase in Martin County. In Broward and Palm Beach, the requested rate increases were 21.4 percent and 22.4 percent”. The company cited “tornados” as the reason for the premium increase. (source:

If you have had property damage it is important that you carefully read your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure that you have the coverage you think you have and are paying for. When it is time to make a claim, call the Maus Law Firm. We can make sure your claim form is filled out and submitted properly and can advise you of your legal rights. You may have to sue your insurance company if they refuse to pay or underpay your claim. Call us today.

Scaffold Worker Safety

Broward County personal injury attorney Joseph Maus has the knowledge and experience to help you through difficult times when you have been injured due to the negligence of another.

A series of explosion from power cables and a scaffolding collapse knocked a painter unconscious and sent him plummeting several stories toward certain death until nature intervened. The accident occurred shortly before noon at an apartment building near 100 S Birch Road. The explosion knocked out power in parts of Fort Lauderdale.

Police say that the man was unconscious all the way down and that trees broke his fall. The man was taken to Broward Health Medical Center and is in critical condition. He also has a broken leg.

Safety officials declined to comment on whether or not the man was wearing a safety harness or if high winds caused his fall. Eyewitnesses say the explosions was very loud, like a transformer blowing up.

Whenever a person is required to work outdoors from a multi-story scaffolding, the likelihood of a catastrophic accident happening is increased. Like window washers, painters should be wearing a safety harness at all times. Employers in Florida are responsible for providing safety training and the safest possible work environment for their employees.

If you have been injured by the negligence of your employer in providing ongoing safety training or a safe work environment, you can sue them for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Call the Maus Law Firm today for a free consultation

James Benton Hale Dies in Broward County Motorcycle Accident

James Benton Hale Dies in Broward County Motorcycle Accident

According to the Florida Highway Patrol 51-year-old James Benton Hale  from Boca Raton man killed when his motorcycle, a 1998 Honda, crashed on Interstate 75 in Broward County. Hale’s bike crashed into a concrete bridge support and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Hale was not wearing a helmet.

Whenever someone dies in a motorcycle accident in our area one looks to Florida helmet laws and asks why helmet requirements are not stricter. Motorcycle riding in Florida is very popular year round because of our state’s warm climate. While Florida’s government agencies offer a number of courses for beginner and experienced riders, the state does not take motorcycle rider safety seriously. Effective July 1, 2000, any rider over21 years of age or older and covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits is permitted to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, even though studies the world over have proven that wearing a motorcycle helmet dramatically reduces the number of head injuries and fatalities when one has a Broward County motorcycle crash.

The Maus Law Firm has been assisting the victims of serious accidents, negligence, and crimes in South Florida for over 20 years. We provide aggressive representation and there is no charge unless we recover money for you.

Breaking down on I-95 … What to do?

20-year old Rakan Alnittki of Fort Lauderdale and Sultan Alotaibi also 20, of Plantation were killed the other evening while standing behind their disabled vehicle, a 2006 BMW 330i, on the outside lane on I 95 near Sample Rd., in Fort Lauderdale. The boys were struck by 32- year old Max Citrin, of Oakland Park who was driving a 2014 Mercedes C250. The two young men were pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation of Citirin’s driving record by the Miami Herald found that Citirin has had “seven traffic convictions in the past seven years including a speeding ticket for going 97 mph in a 70 mph zone. According to Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Court Traffic records, his license was suspended in September 2014 for not paying a $293 fine earned by running a red light. Those records also say he’s delinquent on a May 2 red light violation, this one for $277.” (source:

At this time, it is unknown whether the boy’s vehicle was blocking traffic or if it was lawfully navigated to the emergency lane. Nor is it known whether or not the boys had ventured into the oncoming traffic. Many times an automobile will attempt to use the emergency lane without first anticipating that another vehicle may be in it. In any event, breaking down and having to stop on I-95 is extremely dangerous. Your best safety defense if you must stop on I-95 is to get your car as far off of the highway as possible and call AAA for roadside assistance, and to stay in your car.

According to AAA spokesperson Martha Meade, “Drivers are more distracted today than they have ever been before, so it’s become more dangerous to stop and even try to fix your car on the side of the road.”

Highway Safety Tips

Meade is educating drivers to know what to do before their car breaks down on the highway and provides drivers with the following highway safety tips.

“If you have a problem, even if it’s a flat tire, it’s better to limp off to the exit, even if you’ve been de-rimmed, than to risk your life. If exiting the highway is not an option, making yourself visible to other drivers is crucial.”

“Hopefully, you have triangles or flares in your car. You can put them as much as 100 feet behind your car. Turn your flashers on; turn your dome lights on.”

“If you need to pull over, AAA says pulling as far over as possible helps make the situation safer.”

“Even if you have to drive off into the grass, you want to get as far away from traffic as you possibly can.”

“AAA says drivers should take the time to prepare themselves by placing cones or flares in their cars just in case.”


If you have been injured or have had loved ones killed in a Broward County automobile accident, call the Maus Law Firm today for a free consultation. Assisting the victims of serious accidents, negligence and crimes in South Florida since 1993.

Dr. Michael Russin Killed in Broward County Crash

According to the Miami Herald on their website, , Dr. Michael Russin, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital for over 20 years, was killed shortly after taking off on a solo flight to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport when his plane crashed. According to officials, the plane crash occurred in the glades near U.S. 27 in West Broward, 25 miles southwest of Boca Raton Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration the plane took off from Boca Raton Airtport and was heading to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) was also on the scene investigating the cause of the accident. The wreckage was found by the all-volunteer Civil Air Patrol in the Everglades, seven miles north of Alligator Alley as was Dr. Russin’s body, which was trapped under the wreckage.

The Russin family was honored by Mt. Sinai hospital where they has a long legacy. Dr. Russin treated patients at the hospital for over 20 years, with his twin brother, David. Their father served years ago as the chief of orthopedics.

While Dr. Russin was piloting an experimental aircraft, there have been a number of fatal small plane crashes in our County that highlight the dangers of that mode of travel.  James Townsend died as a result of injuries he sustained when the small plane he was piloting, a Piper PA-32,  crashed near Pembroke Park. Back in April, 2016, a husband and wife that were piloting a Beech BE-76 aircraft crashed into a home in Pompano. The plane crashed into the home, bounce off, and landed in a neighbors backyard. The couple was critically injured.

If you have had a loved one who has been killed in a Broward County accident, please call the Maus Law Firm for a free consultation.

Taven Wayne Graham Charged in Hit and Run Accident

Taven Wayne Graham, 20, of Sunrise Florida was apprehended by police and charged with multiple felonies the other evening when the car he was driving fled the scene after striking a tree and killing two of its passengers. A third, unidentified person survived but is in critical condition after being taken to Broward Health Medical Center. Graham is being held in jail without bond.

According to authorities, 16-year old Rohan Christopher Brown, and 17-year old Bryan Adrian Deon Davis both of Lauderhill, Plantation were the passengers killed in the crash. The crash occurred around 5:00 am. Graham has been charged with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving death. After driving home, according to police, Graham left the car with the three injured victims in the driveway of his mother’s home while he ran inside. After telling his mother what happened, she immediately contacted Sunrise police.

Graham waived his right to remain silent and gave a full account of what happened. Driving on a suspended license and not wanting to go to jail, Graham sped away from a police cruiser that had made a u-turn in order to pull over the vehicle that had run a police traffic stop. Graham is believed to have been speeding at 80 miles per hour in a zone posted for 45 when he lost control of his car and struck the tree killing the two teens.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving death is one of the most serious felony offenses you can commit. Graham has been charged with two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving death. This offense is classified as a first-degree felony, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count.

If you are involved in a single vehicle accident that causes injury to others you are required to immediately stop your vehicle as soon as is safely possible, call 911 from your cell phone to request an ambulance, and to then administer first aid to the victims to the greatest extent your ability permits.

If you have had loved ones killed in an automobile crash due to the negligence of a driver that left the scene of the accident, you can sue the driver and his insurance company for damages. Call the Maus Law Firm today for an immediate and free consultation.

Teenage Carjackers Caught After Hit and Run Accident

Two teenagers were arrested in Plantation when the Mercedes Benz that they had carjacked at gunpoint collided with another vehicle and burst into flames. According to local police, the car accident occurred near Northwest 70th Avenue and West Broward Blvd, and after the crash, the two boys, both age 16 fled on foot. They were apprehended by Fort Lauderdale and Plantation police officers a short time later. A firearm was found in the car that the teens were driving.

The teens face charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury. Presumably, the gun found in the car was the one the two teens may have used to carjack the Mercedes-Benz days earlier. The vehicle was taken while the Fort Lauderdale couple was stopped at a stop light, the passenger pulled from the vehicle and threatened with a gun to her head.

Tried as Adults
In Florida, the minimum age to be tried as an adult is 14, and the decision is at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney. There is no minimum age for capital offenses. If the offenders were previously tried as an adult for an offense, they would continue to be tried for new crimes as an adult. The ruling is called ” once an adult, always an adult”.

Under Florida law, Grand Theft is a felony, and defined as the intentional and unlawful taking of property valued at $300.00 or more, and is punishable by prison, probation, fines, restitution, and a permanent criminal record. If tried as adults, the two teens could face first-degree felony charges that carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.

If you have been injured in a Broward County motor vehicle accident, please call the Broward County personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Joseph Maus. We are ready and waiting to help you to sue the negligent parties that were responsible for your accident.

Three People Killed in Broward County Motor Vehicle Accidents

Speeding and wet roads can be the root cause of deadly Broward County automobile accidents.

Three people, two women and one man, were killed on the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County the other morning when the Mercedes they were traveling in crossed the median and hit a concrete barrier. The crash happened near the University Dr. exit. The southbound lanes were shut down to traffic for several hours. The Mercedes was heading south around midnight, according to police, when it went off the road, crashed into the dividing wall and killed the occupants of the car. All were pronounced dead at the scene. No official cause was cited but there was speculation that the vehicle was speeding and we know that the road was wet from the rain, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Investigators have identified the passengers in the vehicle and are working to notify family members before releasing the names of the victims.

In other recent unrelated accidents, a man was killed when the motorcycle he was riding, a 2001 Suzuki GSK 600 traveling south on North Andrews Avenue, crashed at the intersection of North Andrews Avenue and Northwest 15th Street.

A Davies man was pronounced dead at the scene when his motorcycle which was traveling at a high rate of speed, struck the driver’s side door of a car making a left-hand turn out of a strip mall near the 3400 block of Griffin Road.

If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed in a Broward County motor vehicle accident, please call the experienced and knowledgeable Broward County motor vehicle accident lawyers at the Maus Law Firm. We will see to it that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Jessica Yevette Crane Faces Additional Charges

A couple of weeks ago I wrote in this blog about 39-year old Jessica Crane of Cape Coral who was accused of three counts of failure to remain at the scene of an accident causing serious injuries when the car she was driving struck three pedestrians, a mother and her two daughters at a Broward County bus stop located at South University Drive, near Pembroke Road. Those charges have been upgraded as it has been found that the women she struck, 37-year old Michelle James was six months pregnant at the time of the accident. The crash forced doctors to deliver her baby by C-section prematurely. The baby died days later.

The driver accused of hit and run, 39-year old Jessica Yevette Crane, now faces the additional charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death in the May 7 crash near South University Drive and Pembroke Road.

Crane is out on bond and due to appear for arraignment on June 13.

As heinous as a leaving the scene of an accident is, the gravity of the crime is compounded when the suspect makes self-incriminating statements to the police. When Crane was apprehended she was identified as having bloodshot eyes and her breath smelled of alcohol and is quoted by officers at the scene as having said, “These f—— Cubans hit me! They want a free ride.”

If you have been injured or have had loved ones killed as a result of the recklessness and negligence of another, call the Maus Law firm today for a consultation.

Contact us today to learn about your legal options