Jul 13, 2016

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Amusement Park Accident

Everyone will agree that amusement and theme parks are great destinations, especially for those seeking for fun and thrilling adventure, as well for those looking for a great way to bond with their family and friends. Parks offer great attractions and never ending surprises, giving all visitors an experience always worth reminiscing.

Amusement and theme parks, however, have been causes not only of fun and excitement; these have also been places where accidents have happened, injuries have been sustained, and where a few deaths have occurred. Every year, of the more than 300 million guests who visit theme and amusement parks, about 7,000 get injured and require medical treatment for the injuries they have sustained; deaths, on the other hand, number to 4 or 5, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The leading causes of injuries and deaths in amusement and theme parks are trip-and-fall accidents, slip-and-fall, poorly designed rides, ride malfunction or mechanical failure, operator negligence, improper behavior by park guests, and failure of guest to observe safety instructions.

It appears that as technology progress, many amusement and theme park rides become more dangerous, increasing possibilities of injury and death. Because of the much higher risks, amusement park owners are also charged with greater responsibility of making sure that all park visitors are safe, that the park itself presents no danger to anyone, and that all the rides adhere to legally approved design and subjected to regular inspection.

Over the years, many premises liability lawsuits have been filed by those who got injured in parks; the same lawsuit has also been filed by families of victims who have died. Named defendants in lawsuits include the park’s employees, the park owner, or the manufacturer or designer of the specific ride that got involved in the accident. Though the results of the accidents are permanent, pursuing a legal action against the liable party may enable the victim to claim compensation, bring the liable party to justice, as well as help make sure that the same accident will never happen again.  Amusement park accident lawyers from the Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, law firm advises people who have been injured in an amusement park accident to find out and know about their legal rights and options to help with their case.

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Oct 16, 2015

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Causes and Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is a tube-like structure that extends from the brain stem to the bottom of the spine (spinal column). It is a very delicate and sensitive bundle of nerve tissues. It support cells and forms the central nervous system with the brain. With regard to function, the spinal cord serves as the pathway where messages from the brain (which acts as the body’s control or command center) get transmitted to the different parts of the body and back.

As fragile as it is, the spinal cord is surrounded by layers of protective coverings which are supposed to cushion it from the impact of a forceful blow. These layers of protection include bones, muscles, ligaments and discs. There are instances, however, when the impact to the spinal cord is just too strong or when a foreign object is able to penetrate though the protective coverings, damaging it in the process.

As stated in MedlinePlus, a website owned and operated by the US National Institutes of Health, the more detailed ways through which the spinal cord may be injured, include: weakening of the spine due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis; bruising of the spinal cord after the disks or bones have been weakened by fragments of metal or fragments of bones; the back, neck or head being twisted abnormally, resulting to the spinal cord getting compressed, pulled or pressed sideways; and, swelling, fluid buildup, or bleeding, either inside or outside the spinal cord, which can press or damage it. These causes of injuries, in turn, can be due assault, gunshot wound, industrial accident, motor vehicle accident, sports injury or falls (from 2000 – 2013, the identified major cause of spinal cord injuries was vehicular accidents; it was replaced by falls in 2014 (this is based on a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research).

Injuries to the spinal cord usually lead to partial or total paralysis; the actual result depending on the area injured and how severe the injury is. Partial paralysis, also known as paraplegia, is impairment in motor or sensory functions of lower extremities (legs and trunk). The degree of paralysis varies; it may be impairment in leg movement or complete paralysis of the legs and abdomen. Paraplegia affects T1 – S5 levels of the spinal cord; the segments that may be affected are the thoracic, lumbar and sacral cord.

Quadriplegia or tetraplegia, which means paralysis of four limbs, results from a serious injury to the cervical (neck) spinal nerves, damaging particularly C1-C8 segments. If the injury occurs high enough in the area of the neck, then control of breathing may also be lost, necessitating the use of a ventilator for the rest of the patient’s life. Individuals suffering from quadriplegia usually need full-time care.

The website of law firm Mazin & Associates acknowledges the fact that a spinal cord injury has a more comprehensive impact (than many other types of injuries) in the lives of those affected; the firm also believes that, due to the cost of long-term (or life-long, in some cases) medical treatment, the patient’s family may soon be caught in a financial burden that will prove too much for (his/her family) to bear.

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Jun 11, 2015

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History of the FDA and Power Morcellators

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is typically prominent when it comes to dangerous drugs, medical devices, and consumer products. It is, after all, the regulatory body that approves the introduction of these products to the general public. This includes medical devices such as power morcellators, that it cleared for medical use for the first time in 1991. In that particular instance, events unfolded that prompted the FDA to stand and take notice.

More than two decades after giving it the go-ahead, the FDA has issued a succession of safety communications to the public regarding the dangers of laparoscopic power morcellators for hysterectomies and myomectomies. By this time, the instrument had become commonly used, and thousands of women exposed.

The first warning came in April 2014, which discouraged doctors from recommending morcellation for these routine procedures, and manufacturers from marketing it. The data they analyzed indicated that one out of 350 women on which the morcellators are used develop uterine sarcoma. It is speculated that it resulted from cutting up unsuspected sarcomatous (cancerous) uterine fibroids. Immediately following this warning, Johnson & Johnson stopped sales of its laparoscopic power morcellators.

In July 2014, the FDA consulted with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel to determine the at-risk populations with the use of morcellators. The discussion also revolved around how to mitigate these risks.

An Immediate in Effect second warning was released on November 24, 2014, and this time included recommended labeling guidelines for boxed warnings and safety statements on contraindications. The boxed warning specifically stated that unsuspected cancer cells may be lurking in uterine tissue, and that open morcellation can speed up its spread. Specifically, it should not be used for the removal of uterine fibroids in post- or peri-menopausal patients, or any gynecological procedure where cancer is suspected.

According to a website about morcellator lawsuits, however, the manufacturers should have known about these dangers much earlier in the day. The FDA warnings came out much too late for thousands of women that have succumbed or currently suffering the consequences of this oversight. If they had known the risks they were taking, they would probably have elected for a different way of getting the surgery done.

If you acquired uterine sarcoma or other complication linked to power morcellators, you may be a candidate for a dangerous product lawsuit. Consult with a morcellator lawyer in your area and find out more.

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Apr 21, 2015

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Teen Drivers Most Prone to Reckless Driving

One of the most basic things the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) makes sure before granting applicants a driver’s license is that they have learned and developed proper road behavior. Being a responsible driver never implies displaying superiority on the road, but treating all other motorists and pedestrians with respect. This respectful behavior entails a lot of things, including proper observance of traffic rules, not driving beyond the speed limit, never driving if intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, having undivided attention on the road, not using a cell phone while driving, avoiding any form of distraction while behind the wheel and never driving recklessly.

While drivers openly express that they never would want to be on the road at the same time with a careless and reckless motorist, so many, especially young and new drivers, fall prone to committing what they say they do not approve. This explains why as many as 2,650 teen drivers, aged between 16 and 19, die every year in car crashes and about 290,000 are treated in emergency departments due to injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of figuring in a fatal car crash is three times higher in 16 to 19-year old drivers than those aged 20 and older.

Millions of Americans take to the road every day, as cars have now become the most basic means of transportation in the nation. The continuous increase in the number of cars on roads and highways, however, has not made roads safer for whether in cities, where traffic is always busy, or in urban areas, where traffic is almost always very light, accidents continue to happen – despite the proper road behavior that the DMV believes motorists have imbibed. According to the website of the Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, one of the major reasons for these accidents is reckless driving.

The definition of reckless driving usually specified under state laws is that it is a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons and properties. Being convicted of reckless driving can result to: a misdemeanor crime; a substantial fine and imprisonment; automatic suspension or revocation of driver’s license; deportation; and, cancellation of parole.

Despite being a willful and wanton act, the website of Crowe Mulvey explains that innocent victims who are injured or killed by a reckless driver have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the irresponsible driver. It is important, though, that a victim is represented by a highly-qualified personal injury lawyer, who can strongly defend and uphold the victim’s rights and interests.

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Apr 10, 2015

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Construction Site Accidents

While job-related accidents resulting in injuries and illnesses are always possible in any type of working environment, construction sites always turn up as having the greatest number of victims, with thousands of injuries and more than 700 fatalities every year.

Federal and state laws mandating the assurance of a safe working environment for all workers are in effect all throughout the country. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) works closely with its state counterparts in strictly enforcing federal and state health and safety standards that will benefit 30 million workers in more than 8 million worksites all across the nation.

Since it came into existence in 1971 as an offshoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, OSHA has made an impact in the industrial field, reducing the number of injuries by 67% and deaths by 65% in the workplace. Thus, while the 1970s registered as many as 38 worker deaths per day, the much stricter implementation of OSHA rules, especially during the last few years, has resulted to only 12 fatal accidents in construction sites in 2012. Still a loss of many lives, but definitely so much lower compared with the past decades.

The notoriety of construction sites with regard to occupational accidents is pointed out on the website of the Abel Law Firm. The firm also points out the life-changing effects of the injuries and deaths, results of these accidents, in the lives of the victims and their families. Besides the physical and emotional sufferings that victims are made to go through, there is also the effect of crippling financial burden due to the costly medical bills and loss of income, elements that give the victims, or their families, the right to pursue compensation.

The most common accidents in construction sites, according to OSHA, are falls, being by struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught-in/between. OSHA identifies these as the “Fatal Four,” the cause of 58.7% of all work-related injuries and deaths.

OSHA safety standards as well as the specific safety requirements implemented by each state direct employers to ensure not only a safe and healthy working environment for all workers, but also to make sure that all workers are trained about safety matters and that a record, showing regular check and maintenance of all equipment, is always available.

Though it is a sad fact that accidents still occur despite all the safety requirements, harmed workers should be made aware of their right to financial benefits through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage (which their employer should provide).

Besides the Workers’ Comp, injured workers may also qualify for the disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration and may have the right to pursue further damages from their employer, depending on certain circumstances.

The Benton Law Firm points out on its website that victims have the lawful right to seek compensation for present and future damages that may arise from the injury. But it also advises victims to make sure that they seek the help of a qualified person injury, workplace injury or construction site accident lawyer, who will be able to help them get the maximum amount of compensation that they need and deserve.

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