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2nd Bus Accident Claims 2 More Local Lives

Cedric C. Camper III, 41, of Fort Lauderdale, and his passenger Otis Harvey, 37, of Sunrise, died as a result of injuries suffered when the car they were in struck a chartered bus carrying Fort Lauderdale students home from a field trip. Camper was pronounced dead at the scene, and Harvey was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where he died.

The bus, carrying 37 people, many of them students from McArthur, South Broward and Stranahan high schools, was returning from a field trip to Tallahassee. The bus was making a left-hand turn from the northbound lane on 27th Avenue. The car was traveling southbound. According to Sun Sentinal news reports, police prioritized the safety of the students before attending to those in the burning car, making sure that all were removed to safety immediately. Kevin Dupree, a spokesperson for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said, “It appeared that the two men in the car that struck the bus died instantly upon impact.”

This is the second crash and second and third fatality in two days involving a bus and a motor vehicle.

Whenever someone dies in a motor vehicle accident, a wrongful death has occurred. The insurance companies of the charter bus company, as well as the school district, may be held accountable for the wrongful deaths of these two men. Why is it that buses, because of their sheer size, so often feel that they can make turns at will without regard for the smaller vehicle that may have the right of way? According to www.sunsentinal.com, the bus appeared to be making a left turn from northbound 27th Avenue onto westbound 11th Court and the car was traveling southbound on 27th Avenue. These findings are preliminary and could change.

If you have had loved ones who have died in a motor vehicle accident involving a bus, call the law firm of Joseph Maus. At the Maus Law Firm, we are zealous advocates for the rights of those who have lost loved ones in Broward County motor vehicle accidents due to the negligence and recklessness of others. Call us now.

Broward County Leads State in Boating Fatalities

With 5 boating fatalities in 2015, Broward County has earned the title of “most deadliest waters” in the State of Florida according to statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency tasked with keeping track of such things. The commission keeps track of “reportable boating accidents” as defined as those involving death, injury, complete loss of a boat, or more than $2000 in property damage. Overall, Broward County ranked third in this category with 57 reportable boating accidents. One-half of all boating accidents in our county involved collisions where the boat operator failed to maintain a proper lookout. Over one-half of Florida’s 55 overall boating fatalities was due to one’s failure to wear a lifejacket.

source: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article79151442.html

On Sept. 20, 2015, a two-boat collision, just south of the Atlantic Blvd. bridge in the Intracoastal in Pompano Beach claimed the life of William Alfred Ineson, Jr., 51.

A fatal boating accident occurred in Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, near the 3200 block of Northeast 38th Street when two boats carrying a total of 10 passengers hit a concrete dock. The person who died drowned as a result of being thrown from the boat.

Yet another fatal boating accident along Middle River killing a teen boy and injuring three critically when a small boat, crashed into a bridge located in the Intercostal near Dixie Highway and NE 18th Court.

Information on safe boating can be found at the web site of the Broward County Sherrif’s Office at http://www.sheriff.org/safety/boating.cfm

Man Killed When Car Slams Into Broward County School Bus

A man was killed the other day, and a passenger critically injured when the 2013 Toyota Camry he was driving slammed into the rear of a stopped Broward County school bus at around 6:30 in the morning. The automobile was traveling at high speed and became wedged beneath the school bus, completely shearing off the upper half of the car. Miramar Fire Rescue cut away the automobile to get to the passengers. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and rescue workers took a passenger from the vehicle to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.

There were no children on the bus at the time of the accident. Sheriff’s report that there was no skid marks to indicate that the car in any way tried to slow down to avoid the collision.

According to Sgt. John Baker, traffic homicide supervisor for Pembroke Pines Police speed may have been a factor in the accident.

source: www.sun-sentinal.com

One can only speculate at this point as to the cause of an accident where two people are killed perhaps simply on their way to work. Was the bus legally parked or was it stopped in such a way as to have contributed to the accident? Was the driver using a smartphone to make calls or perhaps check an online calendar for the day? In any event, whenever a person dies from un-natural causes, a wrongful death has occurred and someone can be held responsible. A passenger in a motor vehicle crash can hold the driver responsible for injuries, medical costs, lost wages, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and other damages that the negligence of the driver or the bus operator may have caused.

The Maus Law assists the victims of serious accidents, negligence, and crimes, and has been doing so since 1993. We offer aggressive representation when you need it the most and in most cases do not charge a fee unless we recover. Call us today.

 

Ft. Lauderdale’s Pedestrian Fatality Problem

City-Data.com has released statistics pertaining to fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents in Ft. Lauderdale and interesting to note is that of the 25 fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, 15 of them involved pedestrians, the nation’s second highest pedestrian fatality rate. Only 5 involved alcohol.

Pedestrian accidents are clearly the leading cause of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in our town. In 2016, Ft. Lauderdale has adopted the “Vision Zero” pedestrian safety program in an effort to make our roads safer for everyone. As a cornerstone of this initiative, all citizens are asked to participate in making driving, riding, and walking safer.

The first phase of the program is to ask road designers and engineers to be more considerate of whom drivers of motor vehicles are sharing the road with. According to The Sun-Sentinel, as a first step, “Ft. Lauderdale is planning to add 6-foot-wide bike lanes on Powerline Road north of Sunrise Boulevard, with an additional 3-foot-wide buffer from the passing cars.” Cyclists will be encouraged to use the smartphone app “Strava” which will record the cyclists traffic pattern so that city officials can focus their road safety efforts on the most frequently used bicycle routes.

Secondly, pedestrians are made aware that they should avoid jaywalking and crossing against traffic signals. City planners have identified as people who get off of a bus as the most likely to then be walking. Jaywalking is inadvertently encouraged when bus stops are placed in-between intersections and not at the corners as people get off the bus and immediately try to cross the street. The initiative will seek to move bus stops to the corners of the intersections to promote crossing the street in harmony with traffic signals.

The city has also been conducting a series of educational events and local police officers have been handing out educational brochures to pedestrians getting off city buses.  However, the City of Fort Lauderdale does not control many of the busiest roads in Fort Lauderdale including Federal Highway (US1) and A1A.  Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) controls these roads and has seen fit to add “sharrows”, painted directional signals on the street that indicate the road should be shared with a bicyclists, on some of the City’s most dangerous roads.  I have invited FDOT’s planners to come to Fort Lauderdale and ride on Federal Highway at peak time and see if the “sharrow” keeps them from getting killed.  None of FDOT’s planners have responded to the invitation yet.

If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed in a Ft. Lauderdale pedestrian accident, give the Maus Law Firm a call today.

New I95 Commuter Express Lane Could be Dangerous

In an effort to reduce morning commuting time for workers traveling on Interstate 95, two express lanes have been separated from the total of six lanes by a series of 4-foot plastic poles. The dividers run a 13-mile stretch from Golden Glades interchange to Broward Boulevard in both directions. Theses poles do nothing to keep a driver from entering the express lane either on purpose or by accident and may be an accident waiting to happen. The HOV, high occupancy vehicle lane has been eliminated, and in its place are two express only lanes. The 4 remaining lanes have been narrowed to accommodate the new lanes. In the meantime, many commuters are frustrated because the congestion caused in the remaining lanes is causing an increase in commuting times for many more drivers than the lanes are helping.

According to the Sun Sentinel on their website www.sun-sentinel.com, a typical morning commuter, Rachel Williams, is quoted as saying, “Every time I get on 95 now I get so aggravated. The lanes are smaller. Everything is so congested. Every time I get on 95 I get in a bad mood. I just want to scream. Ms. Williams uses I95 to commute from Hollywood to her job in Aventura. Jennifer Jurado, who works for Broward County said she used to be able to get to work in 25 minutes and now it is more like 40.

Hollywood City Commissioner Richard Blatner has been quoted as saying that the public response to the new traffic pattern has been very negative. Car accidents have increased in the general span of highway since the start of the change from 16 crashes last year to 30 this year.

Over the next several years the program is slated to increase the distance covered from south Broward up to Commercial Blvd. , then from Southwest 10th Street in Deerfield Beach.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident on I95 as a result of the negligence of county officials in properly sectioning the new express lanes, call the Maus Law Firm today for a free consultation.

 

Florida Homeowner Insurance Trends Bring More Limits To Your Policy

When you buy insurance, whether for your car, home, boat, or any other valuable asset, you expect one primary benefit – if you have damage your insurance policy will cover it.  But recent proposals by Florida’s homeowner property insurance companies will significantly alter, or in some cases, eliminate the coverage you receive for your property insurance claim.

 

Some of the proposed changes are:

 

  • Emergency Services – Emergency service companies provide assistance at your home, condo or business immediately after the damage has occurred. These services include removing standing water from your property, drying out the drywall, or maybe tarping your roof in the event of a leak.  Some new homeowner policies will not limit coverage for emergency services to only $3,000, unless the insurance company “approves” more work to be done.  This limit will usually not cover the full amount of emergency services which can easily reach $10,000 in a significant loss.

 

  • Is your home more than 40 years old? Water damage at your property will not be covered unless you buy an option for $10,000 in coverage.  This means that water damage through your roof or walls, A/C leaks, plumbing breaks, or water leaks from your home’s appliances will not be covered at all, or will be limited to $10,000 in coverage.   This coverage hardly seems adequate when a pipe bursting in your house can easily cause more than $50,000 in repairs at your house.  Some of the major homeowner insurance companies in Florida such as People’s Trust, Federated National, Tower Hill, Heritage, United Property & Casualty and Southern Oak will all include this provision in their new policies.  Keep in mind, your annual policy premium is probably more than $3,000 for a policy that will only pay you $10,000.  Sound like a good deal?

 

  • Want to have repairs done at your property by the person you choose? Your policy may not allow that either.  Most Florida property insurance companies are now including a requirement, or in some cases, a discount if you allow the insurance company to make the repairs at your house.  People’s Trust has even started a separate company, the “Rapid Response Team” to perform the repairs.  Property owners lose the right under this type of policy to control when and how the repairs are done to your house or condo, and more importantly, to determine whether they are done correctly.

 

These changes were proposed to Florida’s Department of Insurance, and have already

been approved.  Keep in mind, the Department of Insurance is supposed to be the insurance “watchdog” for the residents of Florida.  The justification given for the unreasonable policy limitations is that Florida homeowner property damage lawsuit have risen in the past few years.  Given that these insurance companies continue to reduce coverage provided in their policies, yet continue to charge property owners thousands of dollars per year for this limited coverage, maybe the insurance companies should focus on providing better service and coverage rather  than less than less.

For more information, contact attorney Joseph Maus at 954.784.6310 or www.mauslawfirm.com.

Michelle James Critically Injured in Hit and Run Accident

39-year old Jessica Crane of Cape Coral is 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. The suspect was apprehended after eyewitnesses called 911 having recorded the license plate number of the car, an Infinity sedan, that caused the accident. The pedestrians that were struck and injured are Michelle James, 37, and her two children ages 5 and 3. Miss James was admitted to a Memorial Regional hospital in Hollywood with critical injuries while the injuries to her children do not appear at this time to be life-threatening. Blood samples have been taken from Crane and are under examination for potential usage of drug and alcohol. Crane was released from jail on a $40,000 bond.

In a twist, Crane claims that she didn’t hit the three pedestrians, but that the pedestrians hit her. According to the Sun-Sentinel.com Crane told police officers, “these (expletive) Cubans are trying to get free money from me and a free ride to the hospital” and said she didn’t hit the family, but that the people hit her. She also said “these (expletive) Cubans are lying,” according to a police report. The injured woman, Michelle James, 37, is from Jamaica, Miramar police spokeswoman Tania Rues said.”

Under Florida law, failure to remain at the scene of an accident that caused physical injuries is a felony in the third degree and carries penalties of up to 5 years in prison or probation and a $5000 fine. The attitude that Ms. Crane has displayed towards the innocent pedestrians and to minorities in general in the case will do her no good and demonstrates her malice towards those she struck with her vehicle.

If you have been injured in a Broward County pedestrian/motor vehicle accident, call the Maus Law Firm today for a free consultation.

Broward County Launches “Yellow Dot” Program

From a fire and rescue point of view, what happens in the first several minutes following an automobile accident can mean the difference between life and death for those involved. The decisions that first responders, those whose job it is to save lives, make in the critical moments after an accident, can dictate what treatments the victim receives or doesn’t receive. Many times the occupants of the vehicles involved in violent collisions are unconscious or otherwise unable to speak and information pertinent to the person’s treatment goes uncommunicated. This leaves emergency workers guessing at the possible medical history of the patient and making generalized decisions. In order to precisely communicate medical information about the drivers of the vehicles involved in a collision to first responders, Broward County is launching the “Yellow Dot” program throughout the county.

The “Yellow Dot” system has been developed and according to Broward Mayor Marty Kiar is being deployed today. A Yellow Dot can be voluntarily displayed in the rear window of a motor vehicle or prominently on a motorcycle that alerts first responders to look in the glove box for a pamphlet that will inform emergency workers of any special medical circumstance that apply to this individual. Such information could include the current drugs that the driver is taking as well as any existing medical condition that they are suffering from such as a heart condition or allergies. The key is the accuracy of this information as well as keeping this information updated.

The following is contact information for those who wish to participate in the program. DATE: February 1, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe
Public Information Manager, Broward County Commission
PHONE: (954) 357-8053
EMAIL: kmaroe@broward.org
For a complete description of the program, visit https://www.broward.org/yellowdot.

Six Killed in Tire Blowout Accident on I-95

We’ve all heard the Michelin Tire advertisement, “You’ve got alot riding on your tires”. This slogan sadly rings true today as a local family found out in the hardest possible way how important vehicle tire maintenance actually is.

Six people were killed in an automobile crash on I-95 near Jupiter, Florida the other evening when a tire on a passenger-filled van, a 2001 Mercury Villager, reportedly blew out, sending the vehicle off the road and crashing into a concrete bridge abutment at high speed. The Villager then caromed off the abutment and struck a 2012 KIA Sorrento. The driver of the van, 33-year old Heidi Solis-Perez survived but 4 of her young children were killed. Those who died were Macareo Julian-Solis, 14, Marillany Julian-Solis, 5, Alexander Julian-Solis, 7, Sandy Julian-Solis, 17, Andres Perez, 18, and Reynaldo Diaz, 31. Ms. Solis-Perez, and another passenger, 11-year old Daisy Julian-Solis survived the crash but are in serious condition. Three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene while one died at St. Mary’s Medical Center and one died at Delray Medical Center.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but preliminary reports from the Florida Highway Patrol indicate that a tire blowout may have been the cause. Florida motor vehicle traffic frequently requires driving on Interstate Highway I-95 where simply keeping up with high-speed traffic is difficult. It is imperative that a vehicle’s tires are maintained and are properly inflated in order to ensure their safety.
In order to safely operate your Florida vehicle, it is recommended that you have your tires professionally checked for wear and tear and have them properly inflated. Tires should be rotated periodically to ensure that they wear evenly. Tires with worn threads should be replaced immediately.

The Maus Law Firm extends our heartfelt sympathy to Ms. Solis-Perez, her relatives, and friends in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy.

Couple Killed While Stopped at Ft. Lauderdale Stoplight

35-year old Steven Olivert and his partner, Danielle Baldwin, 32, were killed when their car, a green 1996 Nissan that was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Oakland Park Blvd., and US1 in Ft Lauderdale, was struck from behind by a speeding, drunk driver driving a a black 2016 Kia. Steven was pronounced dead at the hospital and Danielle died days later when life support systems were removed. Danielle suffered a severed spine, 14 broken ribs and various internal injuries. The couple was reportedly going out for a night on the town to celebrate their 12-year anniversary.

The driver of the vehicle that struck them is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash and fled the scene of the accident. He was arrested in a nearby mattress store where he entered, stripped naked and laid on one of the beds. Employees of the store forced him to dress and leave the store. Police then caught the suspect fleeing and took him to a nearby hospital to attend to his non-life threatening injuries.

Serious charges against the driver of the KIA are pending. If the investigation proves that the suspect was driving while legally drunk and causing the accident where two people were killed, and then fleeing the scene of the accident, the charges that could be brought could be severe. Additionally, these charges could be compounded if this is not a first DUI offense.

Causing a DUI crash where a person is killed is a felony and manslaughter charges are likely. Under Florida State Statutes DUI felony manslaughter carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 4 to 15 years, and permanent suspension of one’s driver’s license. Substantial fines can also be levied.

If you have loved ones who have been killed as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver, you are entitled to sue the driver and their insurance company for monetary damages and pain you are suffering. Call The Maus Law Firm today. We will zealously pursue payment for the medical bills and services, the property damage, and the mental anguish that the drunk driver has caused to your family.

 

Contact us today to learn about your legal options