Category Archives: Personal Injury

Christmas Tree Safety

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Tree Fire Statistics

Fire departments across the country responded to 210 Christmas tree fires between 2010-2014.[1]   The number of tree fires dropped dramatically from 850 in 1980 to 170 in 2014.[2]  But these fires still cause many injuries, deaths, and millions of dollars in direct property damage each year.

While we can know that Christmas tree fires aren’t as common as home fires, statistics indicate that tree fires are more deadly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 in 34 Christmas tree related fires resulted in at least one death while 1 in 142 regular home fires resulted in a death.

Decorative lights, wiring, plugs, candles, and heating equipment play a role in most Christmas tree fires.  Lighting or heat sources too close to the tree caused most tree fires, as analyzed by the NFPA.

We know that you and your family are looking forward to a safe holiday celebration.  Read on to find out the important safety tips recommended by NFPA to reduce the risk of Christmas tree fires.  Additionally, learn more about lighting safety here.

Choosing the Right Tree
  • Find a fresh tree with green needles.
  • Avoid choosing any tree with needles that fall off when touched.
  • If you choose to use an artificial tree, be sure it has been tested and labeled as fire resistent.

Selecting the Indoor Location

  • Cut at least 2 inches from the trunk base and place properly in a tree stand with water.
  • Find a location for the tree that doesn’t block an exit, and make sure the tree is 3 feet or further away from any type of heat source including heat vents, lights, radiators, fireplaces, or candles.
Decorating the Tree
  • Only use decorations that are marked inflammable and for indoor use and have an “independent testing laboratory” or Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. Older light strands don’t have fused plugs and may short circuit, so stick with newer, safer lights. Read the instruction guide to determine how to connect the strands.
  • If any bulbs are broken, have frayed ends, have loose connections, or look old and warn, do not use them.
  • Be extra careful with cords, decorations, drapes, and debris when using ladders near the tree.

Daily Tree Reminders

  • Do not put candles on or near the tree.
  • Make sure to water the tree daily.
  • Avoid extension cords overheating by unplugging them if they are hot to the touch.
  • Shut off the decorations and tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Cleaning it Up
  • Remove the tree and bring to a local community tree recycling station. Dry, brittle branches and trees pose a fire danger outside.
  • Unplug, bring in, and store outdoor electrical lights to prevent hazards.

When it comes to holiday safety, taking care of the tree is a great start.  And for more information on lighting safety, click here.  Take time to review the aforementioned tips so that you and your loved ones enjoy a happy, healthy and safe holiday. 

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

[1] http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Winter-holiday-safety/Christmas-tree-fires

[2] http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Winter-holiday-safety/Christmas-tree-fires

 

Thanksgiving Travel and Cargo Carriers

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road-trip

Thanksgiving Travel

The American Automobile Association (AAA) projected that nearly 49 million Americans would travel during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  We can expect similar numbers of Americans traveling for this Thanksgiving holiday, November 23 – 26.

While some will travel by air, roughly 89% or 43 million Americans are expected to travel by car.

While there is some disagreement among sources as to which is the busier travel day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, all sources indicate that U.S. highways will be full of travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

Before heading out on any road trip, it’s always a good idea to inspect tire pressure, tire tread, and windshield wipers. For those traveling to areas with potential winter weather, AAA recommends that drivers bring an emergency kit containing a flashlight, shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, and extra blankets or extra clothing.

Cargo Carriers

Cargo boxes, baskets, tops, and bags can all be helpful as a transport system for skis, paddles, clothing and other gear on road trips.  Novice and experienced road trippers appreciate these easy-to-use storage systems that provide bonus storage space outside of the cabin.  Most are installed on top of the vehicle using the top rack, although some systems such as the car back carrier hang down from the luggage racks and hug the back of the vehicle.

These vehicle cargo tops, baskets, boxes and bags help solve the quandary of how to fit everything in the car; but the downside of cargo carriers – the extra wind resistance, noise, and height restrictions should be carefully considered before using.  Consequently, you’ll need to determine which type of system will be the best fit for your vehicle.  Ready to figure out which cargo system is best for you?  Click here for the Top 10 Safety Tips that You Need to Know Regarding Cargo and Car Top Carrier Safety.

 

Road Trip Safety Refresher

In addition to those important safety tips for vehicles using cargo baskets, boxes, tops or bags, here’s a quick refresher on general road trip safety tips:

  1. Drive sober or get pulled over! Alcohol and drugs significantly increase your reaction time, impair your judgement, and minimize your focus.   If you’re not sober, don’t drive.
  2. Never text and drive. Avoid driver distraction!  Put cellphones away in the glove compartment, avoid eating while driving, and keep your focus on the road.
  3. Buckle up! Florida laws require that all front seat passengers and those under 18 always use seat belts.  Children should be in proper restraint systems based on height and weight.
  4. Always obey traffic laws and speed limits on highways and roads.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

Employers: It’s Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW)

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Drive Safely Work Week™ (DSWW) is happening now from October 2-6! 

The campaign, sponsored by NETS (Network of Employees for Traffic Safety), is designed to guide employers across the country as they encourage their employees to focus on safe driving.  The campaign is about eliminating distracted driving, reducing the risk of accidents, and saving lives.

As you probably know, distracted driving affects your reaction time and your ability to drive safely.

In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers.[1]  At least 14% of these accidents involved cell phone use, although the actual percent is probably higher due to underreporting.

Crashes also cost employers billions of dollars each year.  In 2013, vehicle crashes cost employers over $37 billion. In a 2015 NETS report, distracted driving alone cost employers over $8 billion.  In addition, vehicle accidents cost employers over 1.6 million of lost work days.[2]

NETS offers the following recommendations for employees across the country:

  • Take a moment to get focused and calm your mind before driving. 
  • Figure out your route before you start driving.  If necessary, set up any navigation devices with oral instructions before moving the vehicle.
  • Change up your route so that commuting is not boring.
  • Don’t be tempted!  Simply turn your phone OFF while driving.  Keep it out of sight by placing your device in the center console or glove compartment.
  • Watch ahead but also check the mirror frequently to stay alert and keep your mind focused.
  • Keep a safe distance between vehicles.  Keep at least 3 -4 seconds following distance in good weather and more in poor weather conditions, allowing for more reaction time.
  • Ask others if they are driving before speaking with them.  If the answer is yes, call them back when they reach their destination.
  • Help others avoid the temptation:  do not text someone if you know they are driving.

If you are an employer with a fleet of vehicles, register at trafficsafety.org and start helping your employees become safer drivers today.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

[1] trafficsafety.org

[2] trafficsafety.org

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

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The Statistics

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), each year there are nearly 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries.  In the United States, the NSCISC estimates that there are between 243,000 and 347,000 individuals living with spinal cord injuries.  Damage caused by spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis and can be life-threatening.

While the cause of spinal cord injuries is varied, motor vehicle crashes are the single leading cause of spinal cord injuries.  Estimates show that 46% of new spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents each year.  Additionally, 22% are caused by falls, 16% by acts of violence including gunshots, and 12% by severe injuries while playing sports.

National Spinal Cord Month

September is National Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness Month.  The bill that created the national awareness month was sponsored by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and was designed to increase public awareness around the prevalence of spinal cord injuries, support and treatment for those with spinal cord injuries, and to highlight the successes of those living with spinal cord injuries.

Each of us can spread the word and increase public awareness of spinal cord injuries.  Acknowledging someone with a spinal cord injury and joining a support group such as the National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s United Spinal Team Advocacy Group can benefit thousands of injured people in the United States.  Donating to charities that support research and treatment for spinal cord injuries is another great way to help.  You can learn more about charities that benefit individuals with SCI by visiting the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at https://www.christopherreeve.org and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association at https://unitedspinal.org/.

A good source of information for active wheelchair users is called New Mobility by the United Spinal Association.  New Mobility aims to provide wheelchair users with important information about advocacy, travel, employment, and relationships, and can be found at http://www.newmobility.com/.

Spinal Cord Injury Prevention

In order to help prevent spinal cord injuries, we recommend that you and your loved ones use properly installed child restraints, wear seat belts, avoid distractions such as cell phone use, and never use drugs or alcohol while driving a motor vehicle.  In addition, be sure to keep your home free of hazards and debris to avoid slips and falls in the house.  Installing handrails on staircases helps avoid falls on  stairwells.  Next, avoid extreme and dangerous sports!  Take time to review the pool depth before diving and confirm that it’s at least 10 feet deep.  Finally, never move an individual that you think may have a spinal cord injury.  Call 9-1-1 for help.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout the state of Florida.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

 

Florida Boating Statistics: Florida Leads the Nation

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The heartbreaking story of the death of famed baseball player José Fernandez made front page news around the country.  Investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant and hero in the South Florida community, was killed in a boat crash along with two other passengers when the boat slammed into a rock jetty.  When the story came to light, it brought more attention to Florida boating, boating accidents, and boating under the influence.

Florida Boating Statistics Lead the Nation

Florida has the largest number of boats of any state, with over 900,000 registered recreational vessels.  Florida also has an estimated 1,000,000 unregistered canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.  Though Florida has over 7 percent of all the registered recreational boats in the country, Florida has more than its share of boating injuries and fatalities, with 11.5% of the nation’s national boating fatalities, according to 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.

South Florida Counties in the Lead

South Florida leads the state in boating accidents.  According to the Boating Accidents Statistical Report for 2016, the Florida counties with the highest number of boating accidents were the following in order:[1]

  1. Monroe
  2. Miami-Dade
  3. Palm Beach
  4. Pinellas
  5. Lee
  6. Broward

What Causes Boating Accidents

The most common problems that lead to boating accidents are capsizing, collisions, flooding/swamping the boat, grounding the boat, and ejection from a boat.  While alcohol is a contributing factor in many boating accidents throughout the United States, alcohol is the primary contributing factor in twice as many accidents in Florida as compared to any other state.[2]  With the warm weather and summer vacations, July is the month with the highest number of boat accidents, injuries, and deaths[3].

The U.S. Coast Guard works to improve boating safety in the U.S. through targeted campaigns and patrols.  The U.S. Coast Guard strongly discourages drinking and boating through the Operation Dry Water campaign.  For more details, click here.  The organization also promotes boater responsibility and the use of life jackets through the Wear It! campaign.  Click here for information.

We urge you to follow these important safety tips when you’re on the water:

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Take a boater safety course such as the Florida Boater Safety Course found here
  • Conduct a boat safety check before boating
  • Avoid alcohol and other substances that impair your ability to operate a boat

With miles of blue ocean waters and freshwater lakes, South Florida is ideal for boating.  When out on the water, keep in mind these Florida boating accident statistics and follow the tips above to stay safe!

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

 

[1] 2016 Reportable Boating Accidents https://www.boat-ed.com/florida/

[2] 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.  http://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2014.pdf

[3] 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard.  http://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2014.pdf

July 4th Weekend: Fireworks in Florida

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Two years ago, NFL players C.J. Wilson from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jason Pierre-Paul from the New York Giants drew the nation’s attention to the dangers of fireworks.  In two separate accidents over the same July 4th weekend, these famed NFL players suffered significant injuries to their fingers, requiring both to have fingers amputated.

The fact that these two players have celebrity status helped expose the dangers of fireworks.  Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured and some are even killed while lighting fireworks during the holiday weekend.

It can certainly be exciting to light fireworks in your own backyard, but for safety reasons, we encourage friends and family to leave the fireworks operations to the professionals and either attend one of the thousands of professionally-operated July 4th celebrations in cities throughout the United States or cozy up with your loved ones and watch it from home on a large screen TV.  Either way, you’ll enjoy the holiday with loved ones — and stay safe.

If you or a friend finds fireworks on the 4th of July irresistible, then you should first find out if fireworks are legal in your state – many states have outlawed fireworks.

In the state of Florida, individuals without special permits are only allowed to use the types of fireworks that are categorized as “sparklers.”  These include sparklers, fountains, glow worms, and snakes.

It’s true that retail stores in Florida may sell fireworks beyond the category of “sparklers.”  While you are permitted to buy them in the state, you aren’t permitted to use them unless you have a special permit or are using them for special purposes on a farm or fish hatchery.  If you are caught with illegal fireworks and don’t possess a permit, you can be arrested, fined up to $1,000, or required to spend up to 1 year behind bars.

While we discourage the use of fireworks at home, if your friends or family insist on using fireworks, please follow these general safety measures:

  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool location that is inaccessible to children or pets
  • Never allow small children to handle or be close to fireworks
  • Read and follow instructions on packaging
  • Maintain a large bucket of water and a fire extinguisher at the site when lighting any fireworks
  • Avoid igniting fireworks in or near glass or metal
  • Wear eye protection; never put fireworks in a clothing pocket
  • Do not relight a firework that has malfunctioned
  • Light fireworks one at a time in a clear, outdoor location
  • Do not aim, point, or throw fireworks toward any people, animals, vehicles or structures

As you make your plans for the holiday weekend, please keep in mind that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is watching a show operated by professionals.  However you decide to spend the weekend, stay safe while having fun and celebrating the reason behind the holiday — the independence of the United States of America.
Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

 

The More You Know: Headaches After Accidents

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Vehicle crashes occur daily on our busy South Florida roads.  Unfortunately, injuries and even fatalities are often the result of these automobile accidents throughout the state of Florida.

Sometimes the collision results in what may appear to be only very minor or no apparent injuries.  In fact, those with head and neck injuries may experience delayed pain…feeling the damage only hours or days after the accident.  Whiplash symptoms may take days to materialize because adrenaline and cortisol flowing through your body right after the accident can mask the pain, allowing your brain to move beyond pain and respond to what it perceives as danger.  When the adrenaline and cortisol begin to dissipate in your system, the swelling and pain caused by the injury become apparent.

Brain injuries can cause severe, long-lasting damage.  Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be caused by a strong jolt to the head.  Traumatic brain injuries most often arise from injuries such as skull fractures and concussions, however, they may also come about from other less apparent trauma to the head.  Resulting health repercussions may include headaches, mood changes, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, nausea, loss of coordination, speech or vision problems, and comas.  Traumatic brain injuries often require a high level of care, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatment.  Sadly, some accidents leave victims unable to care for and/or support themselves.

Individuals often assume that if they did not seek medical attention promptly after a vehicle accident, they are no longer entitled to obtain medical treatment paid for by an insurance company.  Under the Florida no-fault law, motorists may be entitled to benefits under their own insurance policy, or that of the vehicle they are a passenger, if treatment is received within 14 days after the accident.  The amount of coverage and benefits may differ as well depending on the severity of the injuries.

Generally speaking, you should always seek medical treatment promptly after an automobile collision if you feel you have sustained injuries.  If the medical problem is urgent, call 911 or go immediately to the ER.  If the injury is not an emergency, call your insurance company to report the accident and make sure they are aware you plan on seeing a medical professional.  Make sure to let your doctor know that you were involved in an auto accident and provide them with any claim information so their office can submit any bills and reports timely.

Once you receive medical treatment, we recommend that you find an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you and recover any lost wages and injury compensation to which you are entitled.  Goldman and Daszkal, P.A., is a reputable Florida based law firm and has been representing those injured in auto accidents and other personal injury claims for the past 27 years

When you contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., the firm will provide a free consultation to help you understand your rights and obligations.  A firm representative can meet with you at the law office or at a convenient location for you.  Then, your attorney can then take over the handling of your claim and contacting any remaining parties, allowing you to have peace of mind while you recover.  Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

 

 

SnapChat, Speed, and Statutes

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You’re familiar with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter… and you’ve probably heard of Snapchat, the social media application that allows users to share photos and other content that disappear seconds after being viewed.  Snapchat also allows users to prominently display the speed at which they are traveling when using the app, a feature that is causing more scrutiny than perhaps originally intended.  Young drivers are using the speed filter feature while driving at excessive speeds so they can boast about it to their friends, causing tumult when their daring driving feats have harmful consequences.

In one case in Georgia, an 18 year old woman was driving in excess of 100 MPH, using her Snapchat speed filter to document her surplus speed to friends.  She crashed into another vehicle at 107 MPH, leaving the occupant with permanent brain damage.

Victims of such Snapchat-distracted driver crashes have filed lawsuits suing both the distracted driver who caused the accident as well as Snapchat.  In this aforementioned Georgia case, the judge’s ruling found fault with the young driver, but not with Snapchat.  The judge cited that Snapchat was protected by the Communications Decency Act, a law that provides immunity to the interactive computer service since they are not the publisher or speaker of the communicated information.  In addition, Snapchat noted that it has positioned itself as a provider of strong warnings to discourage anyone from using the app while driving.

The next question is whether the relevant digital evidence found in Snapchat will be allowed in court.  Thus far, a handful of cases involving juvenile delinquency have included convictions resulting from screenshots (taken by witnesses) of Snapchat videos immediately before the videos were automatically deleted by the social media platform.

Snapchat now has a Law Enforcement Guide on its site that covers the types of data that are possible to recover and how to request that data with a subpoena, search warrant, or court order. [1]

Another important question is if Snapchat will have a legal duty to restrict use of the speed filter since it appears that the main utilization for this tool is to enable users to document themselves driving at excessive speeds.  Although this appears to be fun and exciting for many Snapchat users and young drivers, there will be an ongoing debate regarding whether the damage caused by the use of the speed filter tool outweighs the benefits of it.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

[1] https://storage.googleapis.com/snap-inc/privacy/lawenforcement.pdf

Celebrating Safely on St. Patrick’s Day

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While partygoers nationwide are donning their bright green shirts and drinking chartreuse-tinted drinks at themed St. Patrick’s Day parties, law enforcement officers are prepared and out on the streets looking for drivers who should not be on the road.

There are a few specific days throughout the year that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) observes a spike in serious vehicle accidents and fatalities related to drunk driving.  One of those spikes occurs in March each year — on St. Patrick’s Day. 

According to the NHTSA, approximately 40% of all vehicle accident fatalities around St. Patrick’s Day in 2013 were linked to driving under the influence.  Moreover, looking back at the statistics from 2009 to 2013, we can see that over 75% of the drunk driving fatalities involved drivers who had consumed at least double the legal limit of alcohol.

Here’s what you need to do before going out on St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Make your Patrick’s Day plans and designate a safe, sober driver, also known as the Very Important Partygoer (VIP).
  • Make sure your Uber or Lyft apps are ready to go just in case you need it. And you can always call a taxi.
  • Before you drink, leave your keys with a responsible person who is not going to drink.
  • Celebrate the person who agrees to be the designated driver. Instead of posting your own personal pictures or drinks, make the night about your Very Important Partygoer (VIP) on social media.
  • Check on your other friends and family members to ensure they have a VIP and a clear plan in place to get home safely.

Keep in mind that if you have a party and alcohol is served, you could be liable if one of your partygoers ends up in a crash linked to driving under the influence.  As an alternative, collect keys at your door and let guests stay or call a taxi or ride sharing service to get them home safely.

For St. Patrick’s Day and for every holiday, we encourage you to enjoy the celebrations, drink responsibly, and always have a sober way home.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

Spring Break – Ready to Rent Your Place?

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Have you ever booked your vacation accommodations through vacation property rental sites like AirBnB or HomeAway?

Have you ever considered renting out your property as a vacation rental? 

With the growth in the peer-to-peer (P2P) property rental market in the last few years, individuals across the United States are discovering a relatively simple, straight forward new revenue stream — renting out their homes via internet-based property rental companies such as AirBnb, VRBO, Flipkey and HomeAway.

If renting your home as a vacation rental is a tempting proposal, read these important tips before you sign up!

In the United States, people are realizing that they may be able to rent out all or part of their home for up to 14 days per year, tax-free.  The income from the two week rental may be a nice bonus, especially if it’s for a property you only use occasionally.  To find out if you are able to rent out your property and how to account for related taxes, consult with local property rental laws and a qualified accountant.

If you are considering renting out your place for over two weeks per year, you may be able to deduct  direct expenses related to renting out your home, including rental agency, advertising, cleaning, and repair costs.  To find out how to structure your rental property lease and taxes, consult your accountant and the property rental company of your choice.

 But what about property liability?

Although vacation rental property companies witness few incidents of major property damage, minor scratches and damage to furniture and the interior of the home is common.  How can you protect your property and the individuals renting it?

  1. Meet with your insurance agent and select an insurance policy that is optimal for you, your home, and the regularity with which you plan to rent out your home. If you rent out your home frequently, you may want to consider a landlord insurance policy or something similar that protects your home, furniture, appliances, as well as lost rental income due to damage, legal fees, and liability protection.   Another option is to require guests to purchase damage protection to cover any accidental damage.
  2. Make sure you include an ample refundable damage deposit in the agreement to deter potential renter carelessness and provide a means to repair damage.
  3. Keep updated photos of each room of the home as reference.
  4. Carefully document any damage with photos stamped with the date and time.  Include notes about the findings.
  5. Put a protocol in place for anyone who may visit the property during or after renter stays (e.g., cleaning or maintenance contractor.) Ensure that the protocol addresses what they should do if they find any damage.
  6. If the damage is small, you may want to consider it as general “wear-and-tear”.
  7. If there is more than basic “wear-and-tear” damage, take time to investigate the situation before making any assumptions. Contact the renter to discuss the damage; ask neighbors if they saw or heard anything.
  8. Depending on the extent of the damage, you will need to 1) consider whether it makes sense to keep the deposit, 2) determine if you should pursue an insurance claim, 3) decide that the damage is part of the property rental business and return a partial or full deposit, or 4) consider legal action.  Keep in mind that your decision – even if it’s completely justified –  may also be reflected as a negative review for your property on your vacation rental booking site.
  9. If you plan to make a claim against your property insurance for the damage, consult with your insurance agent first.
  10. If the damage was significant and the deposit won’t begin to cover it, it may be time to consider legal options. Consult a law firm with expertise in property liability such as Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.