Post-Collision Fires: An Escalating Threat

Scene of Car Accident

Serious car crashes often leave terrible injuries in their wake. But sometimes such crashes result in post-collision fires. The fire’s victims can suffer injuries such as life-threatening burns, extensive scarring, and permanent nerve damage. Problems arising from such devastating wounds often mean a lifetime spent adjusting to pain and disability. Data in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) FARS database indicates that, from 2002 through 2014, the percentage of those vehicles which caught fire went up, from 2.95 percent to 3.28 percent. Additionally, the percentage of all vehicular deaths occurring in vehicles that burst into flames increased from 4.54 percent to 5.36 percent. This happened while the total number of vehicles involved in accidents actually went down. In this case, the trend is not our friend. It is estimated that approximately one-third of the deaths were directly caused by fires. It is also estimated that as many as 88 percent of crash victims would have escaped serious injury if it were not for the post-collision fire. Local and Regional Fiery Crashes While the percentages mentioned may seem small, post-collision fires are not rare. Here is a sampling of crash-caused fires during September and October of 2017: October, 2017: In[…..]

It Could Happen Anywhere

Nusing Home Injury

Hurricane Irma may be receding into the rear view mirror of history, but if your loved one lives in a nursing home, you may have good reason to worry about the next disaster and what it might bring. It’s suspected that a significant number of the approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States are not prepared for disasters, and that the 11 seniors who perished in a South Florida rehab center will not be the last ones to suffer. The executive director of National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, Lori Smetanka, commented about the Florida deaths, saying, “This could have happened anywhere. It could have been any type of emergency or disaster.” Post-Katrina Changes New evacuation and safety rules were put into effect after the horror that was Hurricane Katrina, when it’s believed that 1,833 persons died, in total. At LaFon Nursing Home in eastern New Orleans, 22 elderly persons died, with 35 more drowning in a St. Bernard Parish nursing home, located right outside New Orleans. The rules and regulations regarding emergency plans are considered good, but enforcing the rules is the problem. The government often grants multi-year extensions to nursing home operators when it comes to[…..]

“Do Not Disturb While Driving”

Operating a Smartphone

When you see a distracted driver on the road, perhaps you’ve wished for a magic “do not disturb” feature that would keep other folks’ minds on their driving. While no magic is involved, Apple has implemented a new iPhone function called Do Not Disturb While Driving with their latest operating system, iOS 11. If you have an iPhone or other Apple device, you may be able to update to iOS 11 and use the new function. iOS 11 was released on September 19, 2017. Helping Drivers Avoid Temptation Many people cannot resist the lure of text messages, even when they know they should not be looking. Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD) addresses the problem. The “Do Not Disturb” function has been available on iPhones for some time, but the new function takes things a step further. DNDWD can be set up to detect automatically when you’re driving, hiding messages and keeping your phone silent to prevent distraction. You can also configure DNDWD to send an automated reply to a texter that informs them you’re driving. Suppose you have a passenger? They can indicate to the phone that they are not the driver in order to disable the “locked” aspect[…..]

No Testing of Truckers for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Truck Driver

Two federal agencies—the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)—have withdrawn a rule they put forth in March, 2016, concerning testing for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This action was taken despite the fact that OSA has been demonstrated to cause “unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety-sensitive duties.” The two agencies are on record in calling OSA “a critical safety issue that can affect operations in all modes of travel in the transportation industry.” The agencies proposed testing for moderate to severe OSA among those who held “safety-sensitive positions” on our highways and on the rails. The FMCSA and FRA withdrew the proposed rule on August 8, 2017, even though they had called OSA “an on-going concern.” The current response from the agencies is that OSA can be adequately handled through existing rules and safety programs. Why is OSA Significant When It Comes to Safety? OSA sufferers can awaken dozens of times each night because of breathing problems. Doing so steals their rest, which translates into uncontrollable daytime drowsiness. Treatments shown to remedy the problem include pressurized[…..]

It’s Fun Until Someone Gets Hurt: Trampolines and Injured Children

Maryland Trampoline Injury Attorney

It sure looks fun, and who doesn’t want to fly through the air? Trampolines have an irresistible pull on many children; and often Maryland parents buy them because they don’t think they’re that dangerous and, besides, it will keep the kids occupied. Very often trampolines are dangerous and can result in injured kids’ needing emergency surgeries. A nine-year-old was seriously injured at a trampoline park in Hagerstown in March, reports the Herald Mail. The child was flown from the site to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. A 3-year-old Florida boy was put in a cast from the waist down in July after suffering an injury at a trampoline park in Tampa, according to the Associated Press. The park promoted trampoline use by toddlers, though medical experts say that users shouldn’t be that young. The child broke his thigh bone, which may have been caused by repetitive pressure from jumping on the trampoline. The cast is expected to be on for six weeks. Older kids can get hurt, too. An 18-year-old Florida resident suffered a broken neck after playing dodge ball at a trampoline park in December. He was transported to a Pensacola hospital where it was found two[…..]

Occupational Hazard: Beryllium in the Workplace

MD Beryllium Injury Lawyer

Beryllium is a substance that probably doesn’t appear in your everyday conversation, unless you are studying chemistry or you work in certain industries. But repeated exposure to beryllium can cause a number of health problems and serious diseases. After four decades, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finally issued a safety exposure rule for beryllium in January, 2017. However, in June of 2017, the new administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) argued for changes to the agreement that was so long in the making. What is Beryllium? A metallic element found in nature, beryllium has many commercial uses. Some businesses that use or expose their workers to beryllium include: Aerospace and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance Computer manufacturers Construction workers in certain industries Dental laboratories Foundries and metals reclamation/recycling Shipyard workers Telecommunications industries. Risk arises from repeated exposure in situations where beryllium is mined, processed, or converted into metallic alloys or other substances, or from living near an uncontrolled hazardous waste site containing beryllium. Exposure to Beryllium: When is it a Problem? We all experience low levels of beryllium in the course of our lives—it’s in our air, water, and food—and these low levels pose no risk. However, persons employed[…..]

Who’s Driving the Bus?

Maryland Drivers Are Ignoring School Bus Safety

On November 1, 2016, Southwest Baltimore was the site of a deadly school bus crash. After that crash, federal investigators decided that an audit of how the city screens school bus drivers was needed. The call for an audit occurred in April, 2017. But as of July, 2017, that audit has not even started, according to state and city education professionals. However, bids from auditors will be requested, said the state’s Department of Education spokesman, William Reinhard, now that the school district has said they will pay for the audit. Investigators have described the need for the audit as “urgent.” It was one of several safety recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requested after the crash. What Happened in the Crash? Glenn Chappell, the 67-year-old school bus driver, first rear-ended a Ford Mustang. After that, he veered into oncoming traffic, striking a Maryland Transit Administration bus. In that Nov. 1, 2016, crash, Chappell and five people on the MTA bus were killed. Fortunately, no students were riding the school bus at the time. Chappell had been in five previous school bus crashes between 2011 and 2015. During at least two of them, he had passed out. Chappell was[…..]

When CSI is Really SCI

Maryland Auto Wreck Attorney

It was 1970 when serious accident investigation began at Volvo. They wanted to determine which were safer—lap belts or “three-point” seat belts. Engineers at Volvo formed a team and studied the results of crashes where the “three-point” seat belts were in use. It’s one reason we have the seat belt design we do today. In 2017, we have teams that involve both the automakers and the National Center for Statistics and Analysis’s (NCSA) Special Crash Investigations (SCI) Program. The SCI Program has provided detailed data to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1972. Every year, more than 100 crashes are chosen for study. The investigators focus on certain data points concerning the road, the vehicles, the occupants and their injuries, and the safety systems installed in the vehicles. Basically, SCI is similar to CSI; Dr. Carl Schulman, a surgeon and injury prevention specialist at the University of Miami’s William Lehman Injury Research Center, has noted that “instead of a crime scene, it’s a crash scene.” How Does the SCI Program Operate? Cases are selected by the NCSA based on what the agency believes it needs to study. These days they often want to check the performance of emerging[…..]

When Rehabilitation Goes Wrong: Rehab Hospital Injuries

Maryland Rehab Facility Injury Attorney

Injury rehabilitation facilities are intended to be a place of healing and recovery. People that go to rehab are typically struggling with the consequences of a severe injury or recovering from a procedure, so the fact that so many people who seek help in rehab actually end up suffering more harm is alarming. A recent study examined over 400 Medicare beneficiaries released from rehabilitation hospitals and found that nearly one-third suffered an adverse or temporary harm event during their stay. Nearly one-quarter of the adverse or temporary harm events resulted in a patient’s being transferred to an acute-care facility. These adverse events were also almost entirely preventable. What is an Adverse Event? An adverse event is a term used to describe some form of harm suffered by patients. Adverse events can include: Infections – Healthcare-acquired infections include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. Through proper preventative measures, these infections could be reduced by up to 70 percent. Bedsores – Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is unable to move and has prolonged exposure to a surface, such as a bed or medical equipment. Bedsores can damage tissue and lead to other[…..]

PTSD Impacts Vehicle Crash Victims – Especially Children

Maryland Vehicle Accident Lawyer

We like to think that we have a certain amount of control over ourselves – how we think, how we feel and how we react to the things around us. In many aspects of our personal lives, we do have control. But our subconscious minds can be much more complicated and powerful than we realize. Recent research has shed light on one way our bodies respond to traumatic events. Specifically, one study examines how children are affected physically and emotionally after being involved in a vehicle crash. Before we look at the results of this study, let’s understand how our biology is shaped by traumatic events. Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder We are hardwired to respond to certain situations in ways that are simply beyond our control. Consider the reflex test that doctors give you, the test where they strike below your knee and your leg goes flying without any direction from your conscious mind. Likewise, our minds are conditioned by the experiences we’ve had and our brains then use certain defense mechanisms to protect us from future harm. Post-traumatic stress disorder is like the response we have to the reflex test. Built into our biology is a system that responds[…..]