Distracted Driving: An Epidemic Threat on U.S. Roads and Highways

In 2015, 38,300 people were killed on U.S. in car crashes, while 4.4 million were seriously injured, making this year the deadliest driving year for Americans since 2008. Though the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) blame the dramatic increase of fatal car crashes to the price of gas going down (as this resulted to many more cars on the road), still, the major cause of these accidents is driver error or bad road behavior.

The NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify impaired driving (impairment may be due to alcohol and use of illegal or prescription drugs), driving beyond the set speed limit or driving fast despite poor road conditions, aggressive driving, reckless driving, and distracted driving with cell phone use as the number one cause of distraction.

Distracted driving, specifically, is any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This bad road behavior takes many forms, including, but definitely not limited to, eating and/or drinking, cell phone use and texting while driving, smoking, and adjusting the radio. Since the introduction of cell phones and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, driving distractions due to cell phone use have not only increased but have also become more dangerous. Rather than just texting, making a call or answering one, many drivers, teenagers, mostly also send emails, snap selfies, conduct video chats, shoot videos, and use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat; some even watch YouTube videos while driving, thinking that they can drive and do anything else in total safety (Snapchat, an apps that has a speed filter, allows a driver to take a selfie and send it to anyone hi/she likes all while driving at fast speed. The recipient of the photo has only about 10 seconds to view the shot before it completely disappears).

Distracted driving is an epidemic threat on U.S. roads and highways, and cell phone use is its number one form. In 2013 alone, of the 5.69 million auto crashes in the U.S., 1.2 million were due to talking on the phone, while another 341,000 were due to texting while behind the wheel.

Brownsville personal injury attorneys of The Benton Law Firm know well enough how an accident can leave an innocent victim in trauma, and in degraded financial, emotional, and physical states. Personal injuries resulting from the misconduct of someone else, whether the harm was intentionally inflicted or not, will always have a considerable impact on victims’ lives, making them face a variety of setbacks, including painful recovery periods, expensive treatments, lost time at work, and emotional distress. Thus, financial compensation, though it cannot undo the injury or its lasting effects, can take a considerable burden off the victim and ensure that the party responsible for the injury is held legally and financially responsible.

Slip and Fall Accidents Indoors

Slipping, falling, and tripping are underrated accidents. They should not be taken lightly because they may cause serious injuries, particularly in the head and back. At worst, they may even cause death. Slip and fall accidents are under premises liability. So if you have been injured because of the negligence of a property owner, you may have a premises liability case waiting to be taken to court. But what causes slip and fall accidents? In the outdoors, they may involve weather conditions, poor maintenance of roads, and unnecessary obstructions. In the case of indoors, it is much more complicated. Below is a list of indoor elements you should look out for because they make you vulnerable to slips, falls, and trips. Escalators and elevators Mechanisms that move from one floor to another such as escalators and elevators are very susceptible to slip and fall accidents. This is because of the fact that they move, have tiny parts and gaps between the parts. This combination puts passengers’ body parts such as fingers and clothing such as dresses at risk of getting caught or trapped, potentially triggering a slip and fall accident, or worse, an amputation. Defects and malfunctions, like escalators and elevators suddenly jerking, can also catch passengers off-guard. Floors Generally, slip and fall accidents concerning floors involve slippery objects like debris, water, and wax. If the floor has trash or debris that should have been cleaned, is wet without any warning signs and barriers, or is recently treated with slippery wax, it may be involved in a slip and fall accident. Failing to use a no-skid treatment on the floor is also known to make the floor more slippery and inviting for an accident to occur. Stairs Stairs are very simple. They help you go to the next level above or below by using steps. But even the simplest indoor elements can be factors in slip and fall accidents. In the case of stairs, it is known that the presence of trash or other potentially slippery obstructions in the steps can cause such accidents. Defects such as missing or broken handrails and worn steps are also to blame.

Injuries elderly may sustain from negligent nursing home staffs

Many families decide to bring their elderly loved one in nursing homes to ensure their safety, comfort, and health. However, elderly are at risk of suffering serious or even fatal injuries if they are entrusted to the hands of negligent nursing home staffs.

To ensure elderly safety, nursing home staffs are required by the NC Division of Health Service Regulation to undergo at least two training courses every year. But there are times that nursing home residents are deliberately neglected by staffs. Elderly are often physically weak, they are at risk of suffering bodily injuries like broken hip bones from slip and fall. Elderly are also at risk of injuries when staffs fail to keep away clutter around the facility. In some situations, elderly who are suffering from a serious illness may have their condition worsen if nurses are negligent in giving them their medicines.

The Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group lawyers say on their website that financial exploitation, neglect, physical and emotional abuse are some of the forms of elderly abuses. There are many instances that elderly who have been abused by a nursing home staff were afraid of complaining as they might think that the negligent or abusive staff harms them again. Families might realize that their elderly loved one is being abused or neglected if they become unhygienic or they become unreasonably weak due to poor health condition. Families are left devastated when their elderly relative is neglected or abused. Such negligence and abuse also translate to great financial loss if the maltreated elderly is required to undergo medical treatment to recover.

Families who believed that their elderly loved ones have been abused or neglected while inside elderly care facilities should know that they may hold negligent parties liable for the sufferings endured by an elderly. As such facilities are regulated by state and federal laws, negligent parties may be penalized and elderly may possibly get compensations they need to recover.

Types of Birth Defects

The arrival of a young child is definitely an occasion worth celebrating. However, the happy entry of a young child into the planet can be marred by information of a defect sustained due to a mistake before, during or right after birth. From a modest bruise or a scuff, which needs a simple cure, to a critical problem that can cause life-long anguish and handicap which, subsequently, demand continuous costly treatments, as well as passing – the ramifications of arrival harm is as varied as its several different varieties.

A handful of the birth injuries that are very regularly reported include:

  • Erb’s Palsy – is a type of paralysis of the arm because of trauma of the arm nerves
  • Shoulder Dystocia – a life-threatening ailment wherein after delivery the shoulders of the baby of the head, don’t pass the mother’s pelvis
  • Cerebral Palsy – a disorder characterized by diminished control of the muscles due to injury to the mind before or during arrival
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN) – a disorder of the cardiovascular system, which will be a likely result of lack of air in the brain of an infant
  • Birth Brain injuries – is damage to the brain which can affect his/her intellectual skills and bodily of a baby
  • Cranial and spinal-cord damage – a kind of trauma that will cause a newborn to endure long-term disability or death
  • Asphyxia – an ailment defined by not enough air in an infant’s brain, resulting to the body’s organs to severe harm;
  • Umbilical Cord Strangulation – an ailment that could result to departure or brain injury
  • Folic acidity Disorder – an ailment because of the lack of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. This illness can result in:
  • Spina Bifida – a congenital defect is a condition that frequently ends in paralysis of the legs or psychological handicap
  • Cephalohematoma – is bleeding involving the membrane underneath the cranium along with the skin. This condition is usually due to prolonged labor, use of forceps or utilization of a vacuum extractor
  • Anencephalia – which can be a deadly illness, is characterized by underdeveloped brain
  • Cleft lips and Palate – an opening, typically in the top lip
  • Heart Defects

Some of the reasons for the debilitating ailments endured by infants throughout arrival include:

  • Erroneous selection of shipping method (such as using a vacuum extractor instead of performing a C-section shipping)
  • Failure to immediately treat internal bleeding, lack of oxygen or infection
  • Incorrect kind or dosage of medication to baby or the mom

These errors or failures generally occur when an unexpected complication during delivery happens, such as a surprising change in a baby’s posture. A birth harm occurs when the doctor looking after the patient during labor or when the physician in charge makes an error. Several birth injuries require expensive treatment besides causing discomfort and the baby/kid and his/her family great pain.

Levels of Spinal Injury

Spinal cord injuries have devastating potential. Vertebrae are grouped into sections, and the level of injury depends on which section has been affected. The three sections are characterized by cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae.

There are eight cervical vertebrae. These are the highest on the spinal cord, and are denoted as C1-C8. The highest degree of injury severity is when C1-C4 nerves are damaged. Such an injury is quadriplegia, meaning that that the arms, hands, trunk, and legs are all paralyzed. Below C1-C4 are C5-C8. When these nerves are damaged, control of the arms and hands is inhibited.

The next section of vertebrae is includes the thoracic vertebrae. There are 12 vertebrae in section, known as T1-T12. People with thoracic nerve injury may still control upper parts of the body, however the trunk and legs are often affected. Paraplegia can be caused by these injuries, however patients can learn to drive a modified car or possibly walk with braces.

Individuals whose lumbar nerves have been damaged can experience partial loss of control in the hips and legs, and partial or full loss of control of the bladder and bowel. However, there is special equipment that those affected can use to remain independent.

The last sections of the vertebral column are the sacrum and coccyx. The coccyx is commonly known as the tail bone, and each section is fused. Injury to the sacrum has the same implications as an injury to lumbar nerves, however patients higher chance of being able to walk.

Spinal damages result from a variety of incidents, including car accidents, falls, gunshots, sports games, or medical diseases. There is special equipment for the majority of those affected by paralysis that aims to increase ability and independence.