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I see the tents popping up all around town to sell fireworks.  Are you planning to buy some?  Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day and I fondly remember being a child and the thrill of setting off sparklers and bottle rockets. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring injury and pain.  On average, 230 people go the emergency room every day with fireworks related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

I am always surprised at how powerful the fireworks that my neighbors shoot off each year are.  Manufacturers, and those that sell their products, have a responsibility to meet certain standards of health and safety, to include proper instructions and warnings on a product, and to remove potentially dangerous products from the market.  If a person is injured due to a defective product or inadequate warnings, they may make a claim against the manufacturer or those in the chain of distribution of the fireworks.

When people carelessly use fireworks or don’t follow the instructions, innocent people may pay the price. When this happens, the injured party has the right to file a claim for damages against those that injure them.  Many times homeowner’s insurance will cover such claims.  It takes an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to successfully pursue justice in such cases.

Have you or a loved one been injured as a result of defective fireworks, inadequate warnings or someone’s negligent use of fireworks? It is important that you contact legal counsel as soon as possible.  The preservation of evidence needed to prove your claim is of utmost importance and may be lost or destroyed if not preserved immediately.

We wish all a happy and festive Independence Day and remember to stay safe out there.

YOUR #accident/injuryattorney Marianne

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Savage Stallion is not only a great name for a rock band, but a common cause of injury here in Horse Country.  Recently we represented a woman who was bitten by a passing stallion on a local trail.  Negligence on the part of the owner often plays a role in a dog bite or animal attack. Laws vary by county, so if you have been bitten or attacked, it’s important to seek legal advice right away. If there is an injury, seek immediate medical attention. It’s not always possible to know just by looking at the animal if it is sick, and you want to guard against the chance of infection and other disease from a bite or related injury. If you have been bitten by a dog or injured by a vicious animal, do not admit fault.

According to www.webmd.com, animal and human bites may cause puncture wounds, cuts, scrapes, or crushing injuries. Most animal and human bites cause minor injuries, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to care for the wound.

Most animal bites occur in school-age children. The face, hands, arms, and legs are the most common sites for animal bites. Since most bites occur in children, be sure to teach children to be careful around animals and that an animal could hurt them. Young children should always be supervised around animals.

Dog bites occur more than any other animal bite and are most frequent in the summer months. The dog is usually known to the person, and most injuries result from the dog being teased or bothered while eating or sleeping. Boys are bitten about twice as often as girls. The arms, head, and neck are the most likely areas to be bitten in children.

Cat bites usually cause deeper puncture wounds than dog bites and have a high risk of bacterial infection because they can be hard to clean adequately.

Exotic pet bites, such as from rats, mice, or gerbils, may carry illnesses, but rabies is not usually a concern. The bites from some pets, such as iguanas, are at risk for infection but do not carry other serious risks.

Livestock, such as horses, cows, and sheep, have powerful jaws and can cause crushing bite injuries. Infection, tetanus, and rabies are possible risks.

Wild animal bites may occur while hunting, camping, or hiking. Infection, tetanus, and rabies are possible risks.

Adult bites that cause a wound to the hand can be serious. A clenched fist striking another person in the mouth and teeth can cut or puncture the skin over the knuckles. This is commonly called a “fight bite.” Underlying tissues may be damaged, and an infection can develop.

Bites from children are:

  • Usually not very deep.
  • Not as forceful as adult bites.
  • Not too likely to become infected.
  • Not damaging to underlying tissue.

When you have a bite:

  • Stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure.
  • Determine if other tissues, such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, or internal organs, have been injured.
  • Determine if treatment by a doctor is needed.
  • Clean the wound to prevent bacterial infections, tetanus (“lockjaw”), and viral infections, such as herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
  • Determine the risk for rabies and the need for treatment to prevent the disease.
  • Determine if you need a tetanus shot.

Have you been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack as a result of someone else’s negligence? It is important that you contact legal counsel as soon as possible. The preservation of evidence needed to prove your claim is of utmost importance and may be lost or destroyed if not preserved immediately.

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week® takes place during the third full week of May each year, and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites. The dates in 2016 are May 15-21.

With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable.

  • Prevent The Bite reports that according to the Center for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4, 9th for ages 5-9 and 10th for ages 10-14 from 2003-2012.
  • The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
  • The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery reports that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
  • The U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013. Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • The American Humane Association reports that 66% of bites among children occur to the head and neck.

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Halloween is a magical time when you are a child.  Getting to stay outside after dark, dressing up, the prospect of candy and scary (but not too scary) trick-or-treaters you might run into, all make for some high excitement.  Children aren’t very safety aware at the best of times, on Halloween they are even more distracted.  Protect the many little ghosts and goblins coming to your house, and yourself from potential lawsuits, with these easy safety tips tomorrow.

  • Replace burned out lights to welcome trick-or-treaters with your porch lights and any exterior lights on.
  • Tidy up your yard. Make sure you remove things trick-or-treaters could trip over such as garden hoses, bikes and lawn decorations. Clear the sidewalks to avoid slip and falls or trip and falls.
  • Most likely, the number of people in costumes will frighten your pet(s). Keep your pets away from the door and take no chances they might bite a child.
  • If you are driving on Halloween, be sure to observe the streets for foot traffic. Be on the alert for excited youngsters, whose vision may be obscured by masks, darting out into traffic. Pedestrian accidents are always traumatic for all involved, not just the pedestrian.  Hitting a child is certainly one of the worst nightmares of drivers.

Remember to be safe out there!

This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week and I will be addressing this important issue over the next several blogs.

Stranger Danger, Crossing the Street and Pool Safety are just a few of the things we as parents are concerned about when raising our children.  However, the sad truth is, more children die every year from injuries sustained in a car accident than from any other cause. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published a study analyzing the statistics surrounding children and car accidents. Some of the data you might expect: For instance, children are around ten times more likely to suffer incapacitating injuries in a rollover crash as in any other kind of accident. However, other findings were more surprising.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration head injuries were the most common type of injury suffered by children in car accidents, closely followed by damage to the chest and lungs. Children over the age of one were more likely to have cuts, bruises, and fractures of the head, while children under the age of one usually sustained concussions. These types of injuries have particularly serious impacts on children because of their skeletal development, and can cause effects ranging from reading disabilities and developmental delay to paralysis and psychological disorders.

After any collision it is vitally important to have your child checked out by a physician within the first 14 days, otherwise you may not receive the total $10,000 in PIP benefits that you pay for.

Accident or injury? Call Marianne Howanitz for your free consult to know your rights.

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