Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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There is good news for teen motorists – a category of drivers that is traditionally one of the most at risk groups for car accidents.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association in a recent report announced that there has been a significant drop in the number of  fatal car accidents involving young motorists.

The  Governors Highway Safety Association recently released the findings of a new report titled Young Drivers and Traffic Fatalities:  20 Years of Progress on the Road to Zero.  The   report finds that there was a 38% drop in the number of fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers since 2002.  During the same period of time, there was actually an increase of 8% in the number of fatal car accidents involving older drivers above the age of 21.   There  was also a significant 45% drop in the number of teen car accident wrongful deaths during the same period of time, compared to a spike of 11% in car accident deaths for older drivers above the age of 21.  Traditionally, teenage drivers have had a car accident wrongful death rate that is four times higher than for drivers above the age of 21.

A  number of factors could possibly have impacted this significant drop in fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association makes note of the fact that  teenage drivers are driving at lower volumes than they used to in 2002.   The  organization also believes that this has contributed to just a very small percentage of the staggering drop in fatal teen car accidents.  The  Governors Highway Safety Association believes that much of the drop has to do with the fact that  so many states like Georgia now have solid Graduated Drivers’ Licensing programs in place.  These  programs place significant restrictions on a teenager’s ability to drive independently including restrictions on the ability to drive at night and drive with teenage passengers in the car. However, most of these Graduated Drivers’ Licensing programs apply to drivers below the age of 18, and the report recommends that states extend these programs to drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 in order to reduce those accident risks further.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently announced  a proposed rule that would set  minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes across the country.  Regulators  believe that this would help increase standards of care for the elderly and sick at these facilities, and prevent nursing  home neglect. Unfortunately, low standards of care often result in falls with fractures, decubitus ulcers (bed sores), amputations and wrongful death.

There  are currently more than 1.2 million people who are cared for at one of the country’s 15,000 nursing homes.  The  standards of care for all these patients would be directly impacted by the new regulation.  The   US Department of Health and Human Services says that the rule would, for the first time ever in history, propose a minimum staffing requirement for nursing homes. Poor staffing and poorly trained staff is often the main reason persons in nursing homes suffer abuse and personal injuries.

This  would include a requirement that the facility have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours a day, every single day.  It will also require and set a minimum standard of 3 nursing hours for every resident at the facility. That includes 0.55 hours of care per registered nurse per resident per day and 2.45 hours of care by a nurse aide per resident per day.  In addition, nursing facilities may also be required to provide more than the minimum staffing requirements in case of specific patient needs.

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American seniors are suffering slip and fall injuries at much higher rates than just a couple of decades ago. According to a new study, there has been a two – fold increase in the rate of fatal slip and fall accidents involving seniors since 1999.

The study  focused on seniors above the age of 65, and found that  fatal slip and fall accident rates have risen for both males and females and across all racial groups.  The  study found that in 1999, there had been 10,100 deaths from slip and fall accidents involving seniors, and in 2020, that number had increased to 36,500.   The rate of slip and fall – related deaths involving this very vulnerable age category increased from 29 for every 100,000 persons in 1999 to 69  for every 100,000 persons in 2020.

White  males  recorded the highest increase with approximately 78 deaths for every 100,000 persons in the year 2020.  Death rates also increased for other categories, including Hispanics and African American seniors.   Obviously, these results are concerning,  and even more so because they do not seem to be talked about enough.  Senior slip and fall risks are  not much of a priority for health authorities, and the results are clear to see.

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Statistics  from last year show that Labor Day was the second deadliest holiday in the United States in 2022, and this year,  with the incidence of drunk driving on the rise,  the risk of alcohol – related car accidents has never been higher.

Last year, one study by a car insurance app found that the Labor Day Holiday weekend ranked second only to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the number of fatal car accidents recorded.  The  study  analyzed data between 2011 and 2020, and found that the Labor Day holiday was the second most dangerous holiday in the country. Over the study  period, the data showed  that more than 4000 people were killed in car accidents over Labor Day, many of them caused by drunk drivers. Approximately, 25% of deaths involved   teens   and young people in their mid 20s.  About  70% of this category of drivers were male.  The  second most at- risk category of drivers during the Labor Day holiday were drivers between the age of 26 and 35.

Drunk driving is likely fueling this increase in car accident deaths. Recent  data shows that driving under the influence of alcohol is actually on the increase across the country. Between 2020 and 2021, there was an increase of approximately 14% in fatal alcohol – related car accidents. Overall, there was an increase of approximately 10% in car accident deaths during the same period of time.  Clearly,  the role of alcohol in causing car accidents is increasing, and this is a cause of concern.

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The  federal administration is proposing a new seatbelt warning system that would apply to occupants of the back seat as well as the front seat passenger.  It is a move that could significantly help reduce the number of people killed in car accidents on America’s roads every year. It is important to keep in mind that persons in the rear seats are injured in car accidents, especially in rear-end accidents and T-bone accidents.

In  2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator, approximately 43,000 people were killed in car accidents and approximately 50% of them were not wearing seatbelts  at  the time of the auto accident.  Their chances of surviving the crash could have significantly improved had they been buckled in.  Unfortunately, the current law only    requires seat belt reminder systems for drivers, but has no such requirements for front seat passengers as well as occupants of the rear seat of the car.  These people are also at a very high risk of suffering  fatal  injuries in the event of an auto accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a Proposed Rule which requires motor vehicles weighing up to 10,000 pounds to have seatbelt reminder systems for all passengers in the car, including front seat and backseat passengers.  The  requirement would require a visual alert that would go on for approximately 60 seconds and would alert the driver to the status of rear seatbelt usage.  It  would also require an audible alert that would alert the driver when a backseat passenger removes the seat belt while the vehicle is in operation. The rule would   also require an audio visual alert system for the right  front seat passenger  to buckle his seatbelt. Auto manufacturers would have the flexibility to decide how frequently and how loud the audible  reminder system should be.

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Summer  is when there is an increase in dog bite attacks across Georgia,  possibly due to the fact that more people are out during this time and in contact with   dogs.  However, the  weather may   play a much bigger role in the increase in dog bites  during the summer months than earlier believed. Unfortunately, dog bites often result in serious personal injuries.

According  to the results of a new study that was published recently, hot weather may cause aggression in dogs just the same way as it does in humans.  When temperatures are higher, human beings are likely to become  irritable and aggressive. They may suffer from disturbed sleep during hot days which causes increased irritability  and discomfort.  Incidents of road rage, for instance, are likely to peak during summer months. Several  studies have underlined this fact.  However,  there have not been enough studies done to understand the impact of higher temperatures on animals like dogs.

The  researchers focused on 8 metropolitan American cities, and extracted data on dog bite attacks that occurred in these cities over  a 10 – year period.  They found  more than 69,000 bites occurred in these cities over the time period.   When the researchers  drilled down further into the data, they found that dog bites were more likely to occur not only when temperatures were   higher, but also when there were higher  UV levels.  In  short, they found a link between higher temperatures, ozone and higher levels of air pollution and increased attacks by dogs.

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There are a significant number of persons in the United States who like to drive what are commonly called “muscle cars.” These are cars with high horsepower which are capable of high speeds and fast acceleration.  Examples of cars often referred to as “muscle cars” include the Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, Dodge Challenger and the Camaro. Unfortunately, some muscle cars have been identified with an increase in car accident wrongful deaths.

A new study by the Insurance Institute  for Highway Safety finds that smaller cars  that have more powerful engines can be deadly for not just motorists and passengers, but also for drivers of other cars.  Traditionally,  safety experts have believed that larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks are more dangerous  for drivers and passengers of other vehicles in  the event of an accident.  However,  the dangers may be even more serious in the case of smaller muscle cars like the Ford Mustang or other similar vehicles.

Muscle  cars are basically smaller American cars that have increased horsepower. These are boxy cars that  usually have 2 doors and a powerful engine.  These  cars are typically marketed to a certain type of consumer,  and the study believes that the way in which these cars are marketed also contributes to the higher death rates associated with these vehicles.

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Recent census data shows that America’s population is steadily getting older and the median age of the country is now at  a record high.  Over  the next couple of decades, we can expect a significant increase in the number of senior drivers on our streets, demanding a closer look at the safety implications involved, including the increase risk of personal injuries from car accidents.

The  US Census Bureau recently released  estimates of the country’s population and these showed that the nation’s median age increased to 38.9 years between 2021 and 2022. That is a record high and is due to a steady decline in birth rates in the United States.  The  data shows that no state recorded a drop in median age during this time.

For anyone concerned about roadway safety in the country, these numbers merit interest.  The data clearly indicates that there will be a significant increase in the population of senior drivers on our roads in the near future.  There  is no data to show that senior drivers are automatically  more dangerous drivers than others.  In  fact, they have lower auto accident rates than many groups of drivers, including teenage drivers.

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In  2022,  the number of pedestrians killed in auto accidents crossed 7,500, the highest on record in 40 years. This is a tragic statistic that demonstrates a problem that is without an easy solution.

The rising number of pedestrian deaths has been a source of concern for transportation safety advocates and pedestrian groups across the country. However,  the actual state of pedestrian safety may be even worse than earlier believed. The  Governors Highway Safety Association recently released its estimates of the total number of pedestrian fatalities in 2022, and the numbers are staggering. The  Governors Highway Safety Association believes that a total of 7,508  pedestrians were killed in car accidents  last  year,  the highest number on record since 1981.  That  year, a total of 7,837 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents.  The total for 2022 are very likely even be higher because final estimates were not provided by the state of Oklahoma.

Most states recorded an increase in car accident fatalities in 2022, including Georgia, where a total of 335 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents in 2022.  That  was an increase of 14 deaths from the 321 pedestrians killed in auto accidents in 2021.  The jump in pedestrian accidents in 2022 is even more concerning because it marks a 77% increase since 2010, while the jump in car accident fatalities over all has been just 25% since 2010.

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A  study published recently finds race -based differences in how nursing homes report fall accidents and pressure ulcers involving residents on their premises.  These  differences could make it difficult for families of elderly persons looking for reliable nursing homes for their loved ones.

The results of the study were published recently in the JAMA journal. The researchers set out to compare nursing home characteristics with the reporting of bed sores -also known as pressure ulcers – and fall accidents in specific nursing homes.  The researchers found to their dismay that the federal website that contains information about specific accidents and injuries in nursing homes actually underreports data on fall accidents and pressure ulcers.

Much of the difference in the reporting also seems to be based on race. Nursing homes that have predominantly white residents are much more likely to report high numbers of fall accidents compared to pressure ulcers, and are  also much more likely to report fall accidents more accurately.  Similarly,  nursing homes with majority black residents are much more likely to report a higher incidence of pressure ulcers compared to fall accidents. Predominantly black facilities are more likely to report pressure ulcers more accurately. Overall, the researchers say the better your reporting on fall accidents, the lesser your likelihood of reporting bed sores.

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