Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on Georgia and other states to take stringent action to reduce the number of bicyclists killed in accidents every year.

The National Transportation Board recently released its first report on bicycle safety since 1972.  The Board makes note of the fact that there has been a spike in bicycle accident deaths, specifically the 857 bicycle accident deaths that occurred in 2018.  There was an increase in bicycle accident deaths in 2018, even as there was an overall drop in auto accidents that year.  Those numbers were an increase of 6.3 percent from the previous year. In fact, the bicycle accident death toll in 2018 was the highest number on record since 1990.

The record fatality numbers in 2018 is likely the reason why the National Transportation Safety Board has decided to address the issue of bicycle safety for the first time since 1972. The Board makes note of the poor infrastructure that is often the cause of bicycle accidents. Too many cities in Georgia have seen an increase in their bicycle population, but oftentimes there is no safe infrastructure in place to support it. This situation has resulted in a staggering increase in bicycle accident deaths in urban areas. Since 2009, the number of bicycle accident deaths in urban areas has increased by a whopping 48 percent.

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In the past few weeks while the country, and globe, has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of workers in a variety of fields have been laid-off, furloughed, or told to work from home.

However, there are still several industries and businesses that remain open during these times.  The businesses that do remain open are usually ones that have seen a surge in demand, such as grocery or other essential retain, and delivery providers.  With the sudden increase in the need for additional workers, many employers have had to forego the usual interview requirements, safety screening or training in order to meet new demands.  While having people still be able to participate in the workforce is essential during these times, will these short-cut hiring practices result on more problems, and more specifically accidents, down the road?

One of the potential problems that may result is more on-the-job injuries by employees who were not adequately trained or protected to perform their jobs.  States have laws that require most employers to have workers compensation insurance in case their employees become injured on the job.  In many states, including Georgia, filing a workers compensation claim is the exclusive remedy that an employee has against an if he or she sustains an injury at work.   The more employees are performing tasks that are unfamiliar to them, the more likelihood there is of any injury.

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There is no debate the events surrounding COVID-19 are unlike any that this country, and the globe for that matter, has experienced.  The impacts of this disease on our communities will include a once unthinkable number of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Although efforts have been made to trace the source of the disease in local areas in order to notify others that may have come in contact with or been exposed to someone with the disease, many of these efforts that not been entirely successful, hence the widespread contagiousness of the disease.

One source that has been known early on in the COVID-19 outbreak are the cruise ships that had passengers with confirmed cases on board.  Recent numbers have indicated that as many as 700 people became infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships.  A number of these passengers went on to die from the illness.  As news of the outbreaks and quarantined passengers broke, some of the cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, took preemptive measures and cancelled any future cruises.

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In a disturbing trend, federal agencies are recording an increase in the number of people killed in fall accidents across the U.S. According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and based on statistics from all states, there has been an alarming spike in fall-related fatalities.  

Between 2008 and 2017, according to the data, there was a 17 percent increase in the number of deaths that occurred as a result of slip and fall accidents and other types of falls. The rate grew from 3.86 per 100,000 in 2008 to 4.52 per 100,000 people. In 2008, 12,311 fatalities were linked to fall accidents. That number spiked to 17,408 in 2017.  

Almost all demographics recorded an increase in fall-related deaths during this period of time. However, the rise was particularly significant in certain groups such as people in rural areas and senior citizens above the age of 75.  

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The widening use of technology in the health care sector has generally meant safer experiences for patients, but it also comes with a greater likelihood of errors related to these technologies.

Most of us have been to a doctor’s appointment recently where we’ve seen the doctor or nurse typing notes into a computer during the visit.  Electronic health records are now standard in American hospitals. However, staff and especially doctors have been vocal about how difficult these systems are to use. Doctors especially find that patient medical histories are sometimes not updated on the system, and this can cause any number of serious errors to occur. Oftentimes, these systems are full of unfixed bugs that fail to inform of potentially dangerous drug alerts or medication warnings.

The Institute of Safe Medication Providers recently released its most prevalent error list for 2019.  The results revealed that healthcare providers are now increasingly making mistakes by selecting the first option that pops up on their screens after typing in the first few letters of a medication’s name. This problem is even more severe on smaller screens, like those of a mobile phone or a tablet. Sometimes, the wrong medication is selected, leading to possibly grave consequences.

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Colleges are in essence their own communities and have specific pedestrian safety challenges as a result. Recently, the Georgia Department of Transportation has responded to some ongoing serious pedestrian safety issues at Georgia College.

There is usually no shortage of hectic pedestrian activity on any given college campus. Students are frequently traveling to and from their various classes and labs. They may also have to travel outside of the campus for recreational activities. Many campuses limit, or even not allow, certain students to have cars on campus which leaves students with limited options for transportation. Alternative transportation options can include walking or bicycling, both of which can be hazardous to do on campus. Unfortunately, accidents involving students who are walking or bicycling from their various activities or classes are far from uncommon.

One study conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that a total of 59 accidents were reported to campus authorities, and 12 percent of these were pedestrian accidents. Most of these pedestrian accidents occurred in the evening and late evening hours. Another study using data from the University of Arkansas also found at least 33 pedestrian accidents over the last few years. Surprisingly, as many as 25 percent of those accidents occurred when students were walking within a designated crosswalk.

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We all know distracted driving is dangerous and can cause deadly accidents, but distracted walking can be just as dangerous to both pedestrians and motorists alike.

Distracted walking includes activities such as texting or emailing while walking, using social media apps while walking, listening to music and even playing a game on the phone while walking.

These days with everyone constantly on their cell phones, distracted walking accidents are increasing at an alarming rate.  According to the National Safety Council, over 6000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018.   Statistics from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association show that most of these pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, such as the metro Atlanta, on the open road, and at night.  The actual number of pedestrian injuries are probably even higher as these statistics focus on only the number of medically treated injuries and death.  The problem has gotten so bad that some cities and states have either banned using a cell phone while walking or will fine those who violate such laws.

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New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals both good and bad news for drivers and pedestrians.

The good news is that the agency recorded an overall drop in traffic accident fatalities across the United States in 2018. The bad news is that while there was a drop in the number of people killed in car accidents in the country last year, there was actually an uptick in the number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities during the same period of time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a 2.4 percent drop in traffic accident deaths in 2018.  There were 36,560 traffic crash fatalities in 2018, compared to 37,473 deaths in 2018.  The fatality rate dropped from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018. This is also the lowest recorded fatality rate in five years.

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It may be surprising to learn that women are as much as 73 percent more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car accident compared to men. Yet, the country’s federal safety regulatory authorities continue to ignore the need for testing standards that focus on the unique physiological differences between male and female bodies.

Hopefully this will change soon as at least one lawmaker is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to include crash test dummies that mimic the unique physiological and anatomical differences of females in 2019 in the design of its crash tests.

This is not the first time that attention has been drawn to the fact that women’s safety receives less priority when it comes to crash testing standards and auto safety. As far back as 1981, experts proposed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration use crash test dummies representing the average female occupant of a motor vehicle. However, no real steps have been taken to address this safety concern in the close to four decades since that first proposal was submitted. Even when female crash test dummies are used, the dummy is an outdated model that was designed in the 1970s and only represents 5 percent of American women today.  In fact, this particular dummy design is also actually used to substitute for dummies representing 12 and 13 -year -old child occupants.

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Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a variety of accidents, including auto or truck crashes, as well as motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle accidents.  A serious fall accident can also result in a spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injuries are a type of catastrophic injury and can be a life-altering injury.  Broadly, any spinal injury may result in loss of sensation or movement in one or all limbs, loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sexual function, pain, difficulty in breathing and other complications.

If you suffer a spinal cord injury, your ability to live your life as it was before the injury will be dramatically affected. Oftentimes, there needs to be modifications made to your home and car to make it possible for you to move about or be independently mobile.  Most people who have suffered a spinal cord injury, however, require long term care or assistance with daily activities.  This type of care can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars and can be sometimes into the millions.

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