Serpe Firm Summer '15 Newsletter - Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers

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Issue 1.09 Official Magazine of Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC

Newsletter

serpefirm.com

Summer Staying Safe & Having Fun

IN THIS ISSUE RESPONSIBLE RIDERS

JET SKI SAFELY THIS SUMMER BE A RESPONSIBLE BOATER!

FOUR THINGS TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN ACCIDENT

MUST HAVES FOR YOUR CAR EMERGENCY KIT

YOURKIDS ARE OUT FORTHE SUMMER. JUSTICE FOR JORDAN

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Sea-Don’t: BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE One smart tip to help ensure that you continue having fun all summer out on the water with your personal watercraft is to avoid drinking when operating these potentially dangerous vessels. According to the US Coast Guard, alcohol use is the leading factor in fatal boating accidents, and was indicated as the cause of 21% of boating deaths in 2014. Be smart when operating any kind of vehicle or vessel, and know that boating under the influence (BUI) applies to personal watercraft. Those over the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.08% or higher operating a vessel can be fined up to $2,500, lose their license, and/or be jailed.

AT OUR LAW FIRM, WE ARE DEDICATED TO FIGHTING FOR THOSE FACING DEVASTATING INJURIES, BUT WE WOULD PREFER THAT NEEDLESS PAIN AND SUFFERING NOT OCCUR. STAY SAFE IN AND AROUND WATER THIS SUMMER, ESPECIALLY WHEN OPERATING OR RIDING ON A PERSONAL WATERCRAFT. AND HAVE FUN! Contact us! RICHARD SERPE 877-544-5323 serpefirm.com 02 \\

The sun is glowing, the water is blue and bright, and the salty air is whipping in your face as you slice through the waves at 60 mph on your brand new jet ski. Summer truly is the season of fun. With summer beginning, the use of personal watercraft, commonly called jet skis after the popular Kawasaki brand, will be on the rise, as will the number of new and inexperienced riders, accidents, and injuries. While it is perfectly fine to enjoy the thrilling excitement that cruising at high speeds on the open water provides, it is extremely important to exercise safety and caution when operating these vessels. In 2014 alone, there were 34 deaths and

592 injuries reported in the US due to accidents involving personal watercraft, making them the second most common type of vessel involved in accidents on the water (US Coast Guard, 2014). The most common injuries associated with personal watercraft are broken bones, concussions, lacerations, and internal organ injuries. These types of injuries can be life altering, potentially causing a decrease in ability, income, and quality of life.

LAW OF THE LAND… OR LAKE New riders also pose a risk out on the water. Virginia lawmakers have reacted to the threat posed by inexperienced riders, and beginning July 1, 2015, every personal watercraft operator must complete a boating safety course either online or in a classroom, and show proof of completion. Already in place is a law prohibiting individuals under the age of 14 from operating a personal watercraft. There are many other laws dictating the acceptable use of personal watercraft, including mandated life jacket usage, restriction of use from sunrise to sunset, no wake zone rules, and passenger restrictions.

Summer – Staying Safe & Having Fun Newsletter | Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC – Attorney Advertising


In 2014

34

DEATHS

592 INJURIES

REPORTED IN THE US DUE TO ACCIDENTS INVOLVING PERSONAL WATERCRAFT

REGRETFUL RECALLS Finally, as with any product, personal watercrafts are vulnerable to design, manufacturing, and marketing defects. Last summer, the company Bombadier Recreational Products recalled the Sea-Doo Spark, citing that the steering column and handlebar may have been incorrectly manufactured, causing it to break under rough conditions. This defect could cause riders to lose control of the vessel, or to lose their balance and injure themselves. There are also many examples of personal watercraft defects from the past. Lack of a ventilation system (which personal watercraft are not required to have) can cause dangerous fumes to build up around a stationary vessel, and these fumes can ignite and result in deadly explosions. The jet pump system can malfunction or crack, rapidly decreasing steering ability. The already dangerous nature of personal watercraft is compounded by the risk of defects, so it’s important to stay up to date on recalls.

During months of warmer weather, boats, kayaks, jet skis, and paddle boards are not uncommon sights in many parts of beautiful Virginia. Unfortunately, boaters and personal watercraft operators don’t always pay attention to or obey the law, and when basic safety measures are not taken seriously accidents and injuries occur. Here are some tips for being responsible and safe this summer!

Wear a life jacket. The US Coast Guard reported that in 2014, 78% of fatalities caused by boating accidents were drownings. Of those victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. Virginia law dictates that there must be one life jacket for each person on board. These life jackets should be readily accessible (if not worn) and must fit properly.

Designate an operator. Alcohol and drugs can seriously impair your ability to operate a water vessel. Designating a “driver” can protect passengers and others out on the water. Virginia has a strict Zero Tolerance Law in regards to boating under the influence, and punishments can be harsh.

Make sure your vessel is insured. Insurance can cover situations such as damage to property or injury to another person due to the negligence of the operator (be it the owner or another user), injury to you caused by an uninsured watercraft operator, and various assistances such as towing.

Check for recalls. Before going out on the water, check for recalls on your vessel, equipment such as motors, and accessories such as water skis or boat tubes. Manufacturers’ websites usually have recall information, or check out http://www.uscgboating.org/content/recalls.php.

Be a responsible, clean, and green boater. Be very careful not to spill when refueling your boat or personal watercraft. Don’t throw harmful waste or trash overboard while out on the water. Help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by keeping your watercraft clean, and rinse it thoroughly before transporting it.

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Four Things to do Immediately After An Accident CONFUSION. That is the only word able to adequately describe one’s state of mind after an accident.

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SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY IF NEEDED.

Your health is the most important thing in these situations. Be sure to take care of yourself first and foremost. Sometimes, injuries are not readily apparent during the chaos of an accident, so be on the lookout for any later manifestations. It is especially important to seek medical care if you lose consciousness or feel dazed at all. These could be signs of a traumatic brain injury, which can have lasting effects on motor skills, behavior, and intellect.

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REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES.

Doing so can help you tremendously. Filing a police report will conserve a wealth of evidence that may be critical to the case, and it will save time with your investigation. Police gather and conserve statements from all parties and even witnesses involved in the accident. Contacting authorities can also launch a stronger investigation led by a government agency, giving you access to more powerful information. For example, reporting a dog bite case to the police or local animal control can uncover previous attacks, proving that the dog owner knew of the dog's dangerous propensities. Failing to report an accident can have a negative impact on your case.

This stands true for any type of accident, be it on the road, at work, in the water, or at home. We understand that this time surrounding an accident is difficult, and so we’ve come up with list of things to do following the incident. Hopefully this list can help provide clarity for those recently affected by, recovering from, or merely preparing for an accident.

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REMEMBER, RECORD, AND SAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN.

From the time of the accident onwards, you should do your best to preserve knowledge and proof of the events that occurred. It may be helpful to keep a written account. Photographing injuries, such as the damage from a dog bite, can be extremely helpful as well. If witnesses to the accident were present, be sure to collect their names and contact information. Preserve records of any medical expenses, and even document how any injuries have altered your daily life, from mundane, every-day activities, to interactions with others.

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CONTACT A RELIABLE ATTORNEY.

If you believe that you are entitled to compensation for any damages, injuries, or alteration in quality of life because of your accident, contacting a lawyer may be the best thing for you. Claims cases often have strict time frames in which you can file, and an attorney can advise you on the best course of action. At the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, our dedicated legal team will give your case immediate attention and superior guidance through the difficult time following an accident.

Summer – Staying Safe & Having Fun Newsletter | Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC – Attorney Advertising


Must Haves for Your Car Emergency Kit THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME YOU HAD AN EMERGENCY IN YOUR CAR. PERHAPS IT WAS A FLAT TIRE, OR A CAR ACCIDENT, OR EVEN A BROKEN HEATER IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. THANKFULLY, MOST OF OUR CAR RIDES ARE UNEVENTFUL, ROUTINE TRIPS TO AND FROM WORK OR HOME, OR RUNNING ERRANDS AROUND TOWN. WHEN SOMETHING DOES GO WRONG WITH OUR VEHICLES, THOUGH, WE OFTEN PANIC, REACHING FOR THE PHONE TO CALL THE INSURANCE COMPANY OR A TOW TRUCK. Unfortunately, though those are convenient options, they can also be expensive and take a lot of time. An emergency kit stored in your backseat or trunk can be a real lifesaver in those scenarios. Though you may never even need to use them, consider packing these seven items in your vehicle - just in case!

Maps In the GPS age, many people neglect to bring a map along for their rides. This might be okay for tooling around town, but on longer road trips or even traveling to an unfamiliar neighborhood, a map can be essential. With spotty satellite and data services, you never know when an old-fashioned map could come in handy.

Warning light, hazard triangles, flares If your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, it is imperative that you have some sort of signal to warn other motorists. This is especially true at night on dark roads that might not have adequate lighting.

Jumper Cables. We’ve all accidentally left our lights on and drained our batteries. Most Good Samaritans are willing to give you a jump - provided you have the necessary equipment, that is. Make sure you’ve got a set and an understanding of the process before you ask for help.

First Aid Kit. Something no one ever hopes to have to use, a first aid kit can mean the difference between slowing down blood flow following an accident or going into shock.

Snacks.

With just a little preparation now, you can save yourself a headache later. You’ll potentially save time, money, and even keep you and your loved ones safe in an emergency situation. Packing an emergency kit you may never use is far worse than being stranded somewhere, regretting having read an article like this one and ignored the advice!

Tire Repair Kit. If changing a tire intimidates you, a tire repair kit might be a little more user friendly when it comes to patching a leak. Grab a couple of cans of Fix-a-Flat, too, for even easier patching.

We never plan to be stranded in our cars, but bad weather can trap even the most experienced drivers in their vehicles. As you hunker down, you’ll want something to eat. Even a pack of granola bars and a bottle or two of water can provide enough sustenance to get you through a night.

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YourKids Are Out ForThe Summer. DO YOU KNOW WHERE THEY ARE OR WHAT THEY ARE DOING?

Neighborhood Safety

Internet Safety

- being safe in a neighborhood starts with learning the neighborhood, and which neighbors or situations to avoid. Being familiar with their surroundings will help a teen know when things do not seem right. Programs such as neighborhood watches can make neighborhoods safer.

– while it is amazing technology, the internet can pose a danger to those who are not cautious when using it. Some safety tips for teens using the internet include:

Driving safety According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), “over 7,300 teen drivers and passengers ages 13 – 19 died in traffic crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays during the five-year period of 2005 – 2009.” Parents can protect their teen by:

Placing restrictions on driv-

ing, especially during the teen’s first year of solo driving. “Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers… and a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving.”

Limiting night driving. A

School is out. Summer is here. For some teens, that means a summer job. For others, that means camps or vacations. For many, that means more free time to relax, be with friends, and spend time outdoors. However, the summertime can also present unsuspected dangers. Listed below are some important safety subjects to discuss with your teen. 06 \\

teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles when driving at night. “The AAA recommends that newly-licensed teens not drive after 9 or 10 p.m. unless accompanied by a responsible adult.”

Never post your personal

information on any social media site or mobile apps. This includes your address, home phone number, cell phone number, or your location.

Never meet in person with

anyone that you meet on the internet unless your parents are with you to assess the safety of the situation.

Never share your password

with anyone, except your parents or guardian. Others, even your friends, may post inappropriate or damaging messages that appear to come from you.

Do not post any nude or in-

appropriate photos of yourself or others. Once online they are almost impossible to delete and can be viewed and forwarded by many unintended recipients.

Your parent or guardian can help you if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation involving the internet. Talk to your parents right away. They can help you.

Restricting the number of

teen passengers and your teen’s time as a passenger. “Fatal crash rates for 16to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone.”

Article by Attorney

CINDRA DOWD

Summer – Staying Safe & Having Fun Newsletter | Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC – Attorney Advertising


Justice for Jordan Child Predators

A VICIOUS PIT BULL ATTACK THAT TOOK THE LIFE OF AN INNOCENT CHILD.

– Parents should seek to ensure that their child is only placed in safe situations where abuse cannot occur. Parents should also look for warning signs that their child might be being sexually abused. “Studies show that in as many as nine out of 10 cases, kids don’t tell anyone when they are being sexually abused.” The Stop It Now! Organization has a Tip Sheet: Four R’s of Prevention, which are Rules, Read, Respect and Responsibility. This tip sheet is a good start for educating parents on preventing child sexual abuse. Parents can also search the national Sex Offender Registry at www.nsopw.gov and state Sex Offender Registries at http://www.fbi.gov/scamssafety/registry/registry.

Being aware of potential dangers and ways to prevent them can help your teen enjoy a SAFE and FUN summer!

Sources: Stopitnow.org & Newsroom.AAA.com

Jordyn Arndt, a 4-year-old girl from Iowa, was horrifically attacked by her babysitter’s pit bull while under her care. The babysitter, Jena Marie Wright, was inside the home doing laundry, while Jordyn, her 7-year old brother, and Wright’s young daughter were playing in the backyard. Suddenly, Wright’s daughter ran into the house to tell her mother what had happened to Jordyn. Wright then called the police. Gasping and sobbing between words, she said, “My dog attacked the girl I was babysitting. I don’t think --” Wright stayed on the phone

for about 3 minutes, during which medics arrived. “She’s not breathing. She has blood everywhere,” Wright said. “My dog got her by the neck. Oh my God. I need an ambulance.” Jordyn Arndt did not survive her injuries. After numerous court delays, Wright’s trial finally began. Wright was charged with two felonies, child endangerment causing death and neglect/ abandonment of a dependent person, along with several misdemeanors, including assault on a police officer causing bodily injury. Combined, the felonies are punishable by up to 35 years in prison. The trial included graphic images of Jordyn’s fatal neck injuries, the blood spray on the garage and around the backyard, and the blood-soaked pit bull. These images, combined with testimony from the trauma surgeon and medical examiner, painted a vivid picture of the violent attack. Wright and her husband maintained that their pit bull,

Brutus, had never shown signs of aggression before, and that what numerous neighbors, acquaintances, and even a family friend (all witnesses in the trial) described as violent behavior was just him being “playful”. This worn out claim, “he was just playing” is a common denominator excuse used by pit bull owners to minimize aggressive acts and damaging attacks by their dogs. The jury did not buy the Wrights’ story. After two hours of deliberation the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all four counts.

The story recounted above was brought to our attention by the organization DogsBite.org, a public education website dedicated to informing people about the issue of severe and fatal dog attacks, as well as potentially dangerous breeds or behavior. This non-profit organization also advocates on behalf of dog bite victims, and supports government actions to improve policies concerning dangerous dogs and owners. To learn more about this organization or to donate to their cause, visit http://www.dogsbite.org/.

Our Virginia dog bite lawyers have witnessed first-hand the damage that dog attacks can cause. We’ve seen the scars, injuries, and emotional trauma that dog bite victims face. During this difficult time for you and your family, we at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC hope to ease the process and give you the help and compensation that you deserve. Collecting evidence and proceeding swiftly are the two most important actions for your dog bite case. Do not hesitate to contact us if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog.

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Summer – Staying Safe & Having Fun Newsletter

Issue 1.09

SETTLEMENTS & CASES OF INTEREST

$3.5 Million

Maritime Accident Settlement

$450,000.00

Settlement for Motorcyclist hit by car that failed to obey a stop sign.

Fighting for the fair compensation that you and your family deserve, after being injured in an accident. Contact Richard Serpe to discuss your legal rights. Free Consultations 877-544-5323. DISCLAIMER

580 East Main Street, Suite 310, Norfolk, VA 23510

All cases are different and the results of one case cannot be used as an indication of what our firm may obtain for a similar case.

info@serpefirm.com www.serpefirm.com

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