Auto accident fatalities on this rise?

Automobile accident fatalities continue to be reported in high numbers across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 43,000 people killed in fatal car accidents each year in the United States. About 40% of these fatal crashes are alcohol related.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, Maryland was one of 32 states that had a decrease in drunk driving fatalities. Drunk driving deaths in Maryland declined by 10, or a 5.3% decrease. Sadly, still almost 13,000 people were killed in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents where a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher was recorded. More troubling is the report that there is a 7.5% increase in the number of motorcycle drivers killed in accidents where alcohol is involved. Many states did not follow this downward trend as drunk driving fatalities increased in Washington D.C., Virginia, and several other states. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-33 and those who are most affected are in the age ranges of 15-24 and over 75 years of age.

These decreases are due in part to stricter enforcement and changing public attitudes about drinking and driving. Sobriety checkpoints and public awareness should both be increased and continued to ensure that these numbers do not increase. Learn more about auto accidents and Maryland law on our website.

 

Maryland’s Vehicular Manslaughter Law May Be Changing
11/18/2008 05:39:04 PM

Our law firm keeps a close eye on Maryland’s traffic laws. That’s our job. As accident lawyers we deal with all types of traffic accident cases on a daily basis. In the past few years, if you have been following closely, you may be aware that some Maryland prosecutors are working to change the law. Right now, if you are a hit by a negligent driver you may be surprised to know that the at fault driver may only get a payable fine. That’s right, even if the negligent driver caused a wrongful death as the result of the accident, they may only be cited for a traffic violation – not vehicular manslaughter. Prosecutors are currently working to change this law and require a vehicular manslaughter charge. Currently Maryland’s vehicular manslaughter charges have three levels; starting with a three year, five year and up to a ten year sentence. The ten year sentence is typically used when the driver is considered extremely negligent and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, when attempting to charge a 10 year sentence for vehicular manslaughter being under the influence is typically not enough.  In  Maryland, the judge may want to see five factors that contributed to the accident. Such other factors would include excessive speed, the nature of injuries, and other factors. Maryland’s prosecutors have been trying to get the law changed to be closer to Virginia’s laws. Virginia has an additional type of vehicular manslaughter – negligent manslaughter. Maryland’s prosecutors are pushing for a maximum of 25 years for vehicular manslaughter and if they can get the new legislation passed – some would like to see a maximum of 10 years for negligent manslaughter. What do you think? Are Maryland’s current laws fair? If someone causes a death albeit negligently, is ten years a fair amount of time? While you think about that you should know that in Maryland vehicular manslaughter is not considered a violent crime.  Therefore, the defendant may only have to serve 25% of whatever sentenced is passed by the court. With good behavior and a clean record the defendant may only serve two and a half years in prison out of a 10 year sentence for causing a death.

 

Auto Accidents & Maryland Law
11/12/2008 05:39:40 PM

We read it in the news all to often, ‘fatality in an auto accident’. Just this week there was a fatal auto accident in Frederick Maryland. Less than an hour from our law office. In this case the driver was just 25 years old. The driver was not found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The exact cause of the accident is unknown. The very same day a 17 old young teenage girl was killed in a St. Mary’s County car accident. Speed was believed to be a factor in the accident that caused the death of the young child. Two auto accidents in a single day, both causing deaths. What can be done about to help prevent these serious accidents from ever taking place? Our law firm believes that increasing awareness of serious safety issues can help prevent them from ever happening.

Our law firm handles auto accident cases and other serious injury cases. We represent victims and their families to help them get back on their feet. If you or someone you care about has been injured due to someone else’s negligence contact our law firm for a free consultation. In the upcoming weeks our law firm will post helpful information on how you can help protect you and your family on Maryland’s roads.

 

Hospital Negligence
10/29/2008 05:40:15 PM

As a society, we are expected to trust hospitals with our care whether it is for surgery, birth, recovering from an illness, etc. Hospitals are regulated by law, to ensure that patient health and well-being come first. Yet, this is not always the case. Studies have shown that one-third of all the total claims for negligence account for “”diagnostic errors””, mainly due to problems with records, or the practitioner’s negligence to look at the patient’s medical background prior to treatment. Other recent studies have shown that preventable medical errors have caused up to almost 100,000 deaths every year because of those medical errors, making it considered a national epidemic.
There are a variety of reasons for which a hospital may be negligent which may include, but are not limited to: infections, inadequate staffing, improper procedures, poor staff training, heavy patient load, misreading of tests or x-rays, extended wait time for procedures, nursing negligence, informed consent, medication error, physician mistakes, and emergency room errors. Hospitals which do not follow proper sanitary procedures for surgeries or even routine care have been the cause of infections in patients. There have also been documented cases of which patients tests were read incorrectly which lead to further illness or even death. Even more disturbing, patient’s conditions have worsened while waiting for certain procedures or consultations. Recently, a jury awarded $10.7 million in a hospital negligence suit in which a woman waited hours for a brain scan. This woman was brought to the emergency room after she fell and cracked her skull. She eventually fell into a coma, upon waiting for hours for a brain scan. This woman, who has no movement on her left side, uses a wheel chair and requires assistance for her daily living skills.
Hospitals have rules and procedures for staff to follow. In the event that a physician or hospital employee was careless, lacked proper skills or didn’t follow rules and procedures, the hospital may be held responsible. Negligent health care providers and systems must be identified so that we as patients may be protected in what should be a safe environment.

 

How much can a dog bite cost me?
09/24/2008 05:41:11 PM

Depending upon the amount of the damages and the severity of the injuries sustained, it could cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dog bite claims make up approximately one third of all liability claims against home owners insurance policies. More than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly 25% of those bitten require medical attention. Medical costs can range from a trip to the emergency room at a cost of $500.00 to multiple surgeries and medical procedures totaling in excess of a hundred thousand dollars or more or even death. Some policies of insurance do not cover certain breeds of dogs for dog bites or personal injuries as a result of the dog. Most policies have provisions that may demand a higher premium if you choose to cover a high risk dog or after your dog bites someone for the first time. Some other insurance policies may drop your dog from coverage if there is an attack or bite.

Dog owners can get into trouble if homeowners insurance will not cover an attack or bite, the dog owner chooses to keep the animal and does not get any additional insurance and that same dog attacks someone else. If for one reason or another, your homeowners insurance declines coverage, or you are self insured, you will be responsible for your dogs actions. In this case, a skilled lawyer will likely get a judgment against you as the owner/or responsible party for the damage that your dog caused.

For more information on dogbite claims, please visit our website.

 

Medical negligence in children

09/22/2008 05:42:03 PM

Studies have shown that about 10 percent of children will be the victim of a medical error during their stay at the hospital and nearly 25 percent of those errors are preventable. Additionally, children are at a greater risk of injury or death as contrasted with adult patients.
What can you do to as the patient or parent of a patient to help prevent medical errors before they happen?
Patients that are more involved with their care get better results. That means understanding the condition or diagnosis, how the physician went about with a diagnosis and the available treatment options including the risk involved.
Also, your doctor must be made aware of any medicines that you are taking including over the counter medications. Your doctor must also know about allergies or allergic reactions to any medicine.
If you are having surgery and have a choice as to which hospital to have the procedure, you should choose the hospital that has treated other patients with similar conditions to the one you have. You should make it clear with your physician as to the correct body part and the specific surgery to be done on that body part. There have been instances where physicians have operated on the wrong body part. You should also ask all health care workers with whom you come into contact with whether they have washed their hands. When you are released from the hospital, make sure that you and your physician are clear about what activities you can return to.   Please visit our site to read more about hospital negligence and medical malpractice.
If you have test or procedure performed, follow up about the results. No news does not always mean good news.
You should ask any questions that you have and make sure that your personal physician is involved in some way with your case.

 

Test to determine cancer poses risks to patients
08/28/2008 05:43:42 PM

Testing developed by Yale may be able to detect ovarian cancer in its earliest stages. ovarian cancer can be treated effectively in its earliest stages. Currently, approximately 20 percent of cases involving ovarian cancer are detected before the cancer has spread to other body parts. The disease of cancer has a 90 percent survival rate when the cancer is detected in its original site and has not spread to other organs. In the later stages of cancer, only 30 percent of people will survive 5 years. However, the FDA advises that this type of testing has been proven effective at detecting cancer at its early stages and may even pose a risk to some patients.

New York Times 8/25/08

Most types of cancer are curable if the disease is found early enough. There are different stages that are used to identify the extent of a person’s cancer, the appropriate treatment, and the prognosis (what the future holds for the patient’s health/how long he or she will live). The staging systems use numbers, letters, or roman numerals. In all staging systems, the higher the number or letter, the greater the amount of the body involved in the cancer. The lesser the number or letter, the better(and the less cancer present in the persons organs). Since most cancers are treatable if found at an early stage, it is hopeful for most patients who discover that they have cancer. Some types of cancer are even curable if the disease has spread throughout the body. With quick treatment and the right type of support and monitoring, most people can even live a productive and successful life with cancer for many years.  It is important to get regular screening for cancer from your physician especially if you are at risk for cancer.

Read more about Medical Malpractice

 

Workplace Deaths on the decline?
08/25/2008 05:45:00 PM

In a federal report released this week, the Department of Labor stated that workplace deaths have reached their lowest point since the Department of Labor began recording those statistics. The drop in deaths is attributed to involvement by Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Union officials argued that the drop in fatalities may have been caused by a decline in deaths during transportation, which is not regulated by OSHA.
New York Times 8/20/08
Workplace deaths do not necessarily occur at the jobsite or accident site. Injuries from an accident can lead to a downward spiral in the health of the injured worker that eventually leads to death, especially when the injuries suffered are to vital internal organs or the head. Different jurisdictions have different requirements that must be met to perfect a claim for death benefits that occur immediately after an accident or some time after the accident. Deaths in the workplace can occur in various ways including but not limited to fires, explosions, falls, auto accidents, truck accidents and construction accidents. Make sure that if you or someone you know is affected by a workplace injury or death, you have an experienced lawyer that knows the law with regards to your specific case.
Contact lawyers today to get a free consultation.

 

Should the Federal Government be liable for Anthrax mailings?
08/20/2008 05:45:53 PM

Over the past few weeks, evidence has come out that pointed the finger directly at a former government scientist as being responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Further, evidence has also come out that this scientist may have been mentally disturbed. According to the Justice Department, the scientist suffered from serious mental and emotional problems during his tenure. That employee’s psychological state may raise serious questions about whether the Federal Government properly monitors its employees with access hazardous materials.

USA Today 8/11/08
Any suit against the Federal Government will likely be fought with several defenses such as notice of the danger of this employee, proper notice under Federal Government Tort Claims Act, and statute of limitations.
Undoubtedly, suits will be brought against the Federal Government for this tragedy. The plaintiffs will have an uphill battle in proving that the Federal Government either was on notice or should have known about the mental state of this employee, and could have stopped the mailings. It will be interesting to see what other evidence is released regarding this scientist and the governments’ knowledge of his mental instability. Should the Federal Government be held responsible for the unpredictable intentional acts of one of its employees?

 

Blame the Victim in Workers Compensation Cases?
08/18/2008 05:46:48 PM

Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that injuries that were caused by a claimant’s smoking habit can be separated from his injuries resulting from asbestos exposure. The Court reduced the award for the injured worker based upon his concurrent conditions. Thomas B. Scheffey, Law.com 8/14/08

Currently, in Maryland an injured worker can be compensated for his pre existing conditions, if his injuries from the accident and his pre existing conditions make that worker eligible for recovery from the Subsequent Injury Fund.
Similarly, in the District of Columbia, an injured worker can be compensated for his pre existing conditions as if the industrial accident caused the entire disability.
It would be devastating to injured workers in both Maryland and the District of Columbia, if these benefits were taken away.   An injured worker who has certain obstacles or hindrances to employment, who later suffers an injury and cannot return to work or even their pre injury job because of the combined effects of injury from the accident and the preexisting conditions would be put in a position where they cannot return to work because of (at least in part) that pre-existing condition.  Usually, these provisions come in to play in older claimants. How good is a scheme of workers compensation benefits that does not protect older workers?