Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Not surprisingly, winter is not exactly the best time to ride a motorcycle since visibility and weather conditions make it more difficult and unsafe to be on a motorcycle.  However, if you simply cannot take a break from motorcycling during the next few months, take steps to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Some of the biggest challenges involved in riding during the winter have to do with the poor visibility and the biting cold that can make handling a motorcycle very challenging. The roads may be slick and wet or covered with salt, creating slippery conditions that can increase the risk of skidding.  Even though Georgia doesn’t get much snow, there are many days and nights where the roads in the Atlanta area and beyond are covered in black ice making riding especially dangerous.

To prevent the severe cold from reducing your ability to handle your ride, dress for the weather. Numb and sore fingers and stiff joints are a definite risk during winter riding. Dress in warm and dry clothing that keeps you as comfortable as possible. Waterproof boots and gloves are an absolute must – these will keep your feet and hands dry and comfortable. You are also much more likely to be able to quickly take emergency steps to prevent an accident when your hands and feet are protected from the cold. Use plenty of insulated layers, long – sleeved tops and windproof pants to avoid the cold from cramping your riding style.

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The upcoming holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for emergency rooms throughout the country and in Atlanta.  Injuries and accidents are more common during this time, and there are a number of reasons people find themselves having to go for treatment at an overcrowded ER from food poisoning and alcohol related accidents to kitchen and fire accidents.

Here are some ways you can help reduce your chances of requiring a visit to the ER this holiday season.

While indulging in your Thanksgiving feast, take steps to avoid being exposed to food poisoning. Be sure not to consume undercooked or expired food, and always be aware of any food recall notices

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According to the most recent statistics, more than 100 million Americans suffer from diabetes or have pre-diabetes.   In Georgia, almost 1.2 million people suffer from diabetes, and an estimated 241,000 have diabetes but don’t even know it.

Suffering from diabetes can place a driver at risk for certain symptoms that can increase their chances of being in an accident.  A person who suffers from diabetes may suffer from sudden low levels of blood sugar that can cause symptoms such as disorientation and confusion. This could trigger a potentially devastating medical emergency at the wheel.

Clearly, there are many motorists in who are driving under the ever-present risk of having a medical emergency at the wheel.   Persons who suffer from diabetes may continue to drive, but it is important for them to understand if their symptoms are so severe that it could impact their safety and increase their accident risk. No one suggests that diabetics avoid driving. However, as with several other medical conditions, it is important for you to know if your symptoms are so severe that they could possibly cause you to black out or become disoriented.

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In a 2017 report from Leapfrog Group,  Georgia hospitals were listed near the bottom of the list at 40 out of 49 when it comes to patient safety.   On the bright side, 14 Georgia hospitals were rated “A, ” and none of Georgia hospitals received an “F” rating.

The Leapfrog rankings are based on hospital performance in the prevention of medical errors, injuries and infections. As part of the report, grades were assigned to more than 2,600 hospitals across the country. Grades were assigned from “A” to “F,” and approximately 1/3rd of the hospitals were graded as “A.” Leapfrog also handed out more than 660 “B” grades, 964 “C” grades and 159 “D” grades.  15 hospitals were rated “F. “

According to Leapfrog, errors, accidents, infections and injuries are some of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in American hospitals, and patients deserve to know how the hospitals in their neighborhoods performed on important patient safety parameters.

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding motorists pose a serious problem on our roads. Between 2005 and 2016, speeding-related accidents killed more than 132,500 people.  In Georgia, the annual number of speeding fatalities in 2008 to 2017 averaged from 1200 to over 1500 each year.  Until authorities and communities address the very real risk posed by speeding, no real progress can be made in reducing the number of accident fatalities in the United States.

There are two ways in which speeding increases the risk of fatalities.  First, a speeding motorist is less likely to be able to respond in time to prevent an accident.  Second, the kinds of injuries that occur in a speeding-related accident are very often fatal, due to the high speeds and resulting high impact involved. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board statistics show that the number of speeding-related fatalities accounted for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities. That number was close to the number of people who died in drunk driving accidents during that same period. However, while a lot of attention and activism is directed towards drunk driving, speeding generally does not get as much focus as an accident factor.

The National Transportation Safety Board identifies community trends to raise speed limits as one of the reasons why speeding continues to claim so many lives every year, pointing out that higher limits only encourage drivers to drive even faster.  In 2015, the maximum speed limit on Georgia highways was raised from 65 mph to 70 mph.  Georgia is also one of the few states that has anti-speed trap laws.

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Statistics show that seatbelt usage rates for adults riding in the backseat of a car are much lower than for those in the front seat.  Unfortunately, far too many adult passengers believe that buckling up when they are riding in the backseat is not always necessary.

According to a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4 out of 5 backseat passengers believe that seatbelts are unnecessary on short trips or while riding in a taxi. Backseat passengers have a false sense of security and believe that they are safer when they are seated in the back seat and therefore don’t need to wear a seatbelt.  Unfortunately, these statistics hold true in the Atlanta area as well.

Obviously, that logic is flawed.  Every person in a passenger vehicle is at risk of injuries in an accident, regardless of where they are sitting in a car. Riding in the backseat can be just as safe as riding in the front seat, unless you’re not wearing a seatbelt. A few decades ago, when auto safety technologies were not as cutting-edge as they are now, front seat passengers had a much higher risk of dying in an accident. However, since the introduction of advanced airbag systems and other safety technologies, safety for front seat passengers and drivers has increased dramatically.

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Climate change has been in the news for years now regarding its effects on weather related tragedies.  From eroding coastlines, rising poverty levels and soaring temperatures -climate change is blamed for an entire range of global disasters. Every region on the globe, including Georgia, has seen dramatic shifts in its weather.  However, could these changes in weather also be linked to increasing highway accident fatality numbers?

It appears that they could. Traffic safety experts have been trying to understand why road accident fatality numbers have been increasing since 2015, after several decades of a downward trend in fatality numbers. Earlier, safety experts focused on increasing rates of cell phone use by motorists as the leading factor causing this increase. However, they were later able to debunk that theory because there was no increase in smartphone use during the period of time that they studied.  They then changed their focus to another possible factor-the weather.

Temperature increases are likely to be at least partly the reason why we are seeing an increase in the number of people dying in traffic accidents. Warmer weather simply means more people out on the road. People drive, walk, bicycle and ride their motorcycles more in warmer weather, than in wet or snowy weather. The experts found in their analysis that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists –   people who are much more likely to be out walking, riding or bicycling during warmer weather – accounted for a large percentage of traffic accident fatality fatalities during the study period.

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It is no secret that pedestrian fatality numbers in the state are on the rise. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in 2017 alone 1,454 pedestrians died in accidents across the Georgia.

As the number of pedestrian accidents in Georgia continues to increase every year at least one community is taking firm steps to reduce those deadly statistics. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently lauded the community of Macon for the steps that the city is taking to reduce pedestrian fatalities. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently announced a grant of $20,785 to the city of Macon and its On the Move campaign.

The city of Macon has seen more than its share of pedestrian accident fatalities, and it was recently ranked second in Georgia in the number of pedestrian fatalities per capita. In response to those alarming statistics, the city’s administrators have put their heads together to announce a new initiative. The Macon Commissioner recently announced the Macon-Bibb Pedestrian Safety Review Board to analyze pedestrian accident fatalities across the community. The Board recently announced the Cross the Walk campaign. The campaign is designed to inform and educate people about safe and responsible ways of crossing the street.

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Medical errors are one the leading causes of death in the United States, and accounts for about 250,000 deaths per year.  That number is almost half the population of the City of Atlanta.   In fact, it is estimated that about one third of the people admitted to a hospital will fall victim to a medical error.

Stressed-out doctors are at a great risk of making errors in the emergency room where even the smallest error can translate into a fatal mistake. Managing stress effectively is critical to reducing these risks.

A new study by the BMJ Open finds that the risk of errors increases with the stress level of doctors in the emergency room. In the study, researchers obtained blood and saliva samples of 20 residents working in an emergency room. They analyzed the samples which were obtained both before and after the emergency room shifts to understand the stress levels of the doctors. They also questioned the doctors about the number of patients they treated, the number of errors made, and the number of “near-miss” incidents they experienced. A “near-miss” incident was defined as an act of omission that could possibly cause harm to patients.

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ATVs are the most popular off-road vehicles. However, these vehicles are far too heavy and bulky for children to handle. ATV vehicle use is linked to more than 3,000 fatalities in the United States over a span of three decades. More than 50% of these fatalities involved children.

The state of Georgia has some of the highest rates of ATV accidents involving children in the country. Lawmakers must invest time and resources in enacting legislation that sets restrictions on children’s use of all-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles.

Children below the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate ATVs.  Unfortunately, far too many parents believe that it is safe to let their children operate such a heavy vehicle not realizing that it poses a tremendous risk of severe injuries in an accident.