Escaping Rollover Accidents with ESC: It Depends

There is always a drive to come up with new ways to prevent automobile accidents, which persists as the leading cause of deaths in the US despite the downward trend of fatal accidents. According to the website of the Habush Law Offices, rollovers are the cause of about one-third of all fatal vehicle crashes, so it is obviously a good place to start innovating safer technology. Non-fatal rollover accidents still result in serious injuries that are nearly as bad for the victims.

A recent innovation for vehicles that was believed to prevent a significant number of rollover accidents was introduced into the market. Referred to as electronic stability control (ESC), or electronic stability program, this is basically a program that is designed to detect when there is a loss of steering control, triggering it to automatically apply the brakes selectively, depending on the type of loss of control. It is particularly aimed to detect when a vehicle skids, such as when navigating a sharp curve at high speeds. This is a common cause of rollovers, and ESC is designed to minimize this.

However, it would be misleading to believe that ESC will help prevent rollover accidents in general. ESC is designed to improve steering control, which most typically results in untripped or first event rollovers. When a vehicle equipped with ESC collides with another vehicle, resulting in a tripped rollover, the ESC will not be effective in preventing a rollover accident. Nevertheless, having ESC and some other safety features in your car might help reduce your auto insurance costs.

Moreover, since only newer vehicles (2009 onwards) are equipped with ESC, those with older vehicles will not benefit from the innovation. But it is admittedly 56% effective in preventing untripped or first event rollover crashes for vehicles equipped with ESC according to a study undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so this is definitely an improvement that contributes to greater safety on the road.

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Camping in Tennessee

smores and campingAs many of you may be aware, it’s camping season in the Tennessee Valley. Campgrounds are open for camping between the dates of March 14 through November 17 this year.

There are hundreds of campsites available across six sites across the state. There are different kids of campsites available, from those that have room for only a single tent to sites that can support a recreational vehicle. These range in price and amenities, starting as low as $10 per night.

Camping is a lot of fun and experiencing nature in a safe environment can be a great benefit to most people. Between opportunities for introspection and being with loved ones in the great outdoors, your camping trip may be the foundation for lifelong memories!

For more information about camping in Tennessee, visit the Tennessee Valley Authority’s camping website.

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The Question of ATVs

It is widely accepted that on average, every person on the planet will be involved in some kind of car accident at least once in their lifetime. Some will be minor, while others will be fatal. Few people consider that the dangers that confront car drivers and passengers may equally apply to all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

ATVs are considered recreational vehicles for family use, and as such can be operated without a license and without age limit. According to the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, it is tempting for children and teenagers who live in wide-open spaces take out an ATV for a spin unsupervised, and this can be a recipe for disaster.

It is estimated that on average 150,000 people in the US require medical attention for injuries they sustained while on an ATV every year. Among the more serious injuries sustained include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and fractures, all of which can have long-term and expensive medical consequences. In one study, it is estimated that a permanently disabling ATV-related accident can cost the victim more than $10 million in life care.

The most common cause of ATV-related injuries is rollovers or flipping, and the most common victims are those that are riding in the back. ATVs are not particularly stable, and may actually be more dangerous on a paved road. Although ATVs usually have space in the back for passengers, it is not designed to do so safely. When an ATV flips over uneven terrain, any passenger is more likely than not gets pinned under it or thrown, which can lead to the injuries mentioned above.

Because there are few regulations with ATV use, teenagers are the most common victims in an ATV accident because they often lack restraint and the skills to operate the vehicle safely and properly. It is therefore the duty of ATV manufacturers and retailers to follow federal regulations for ensuring the safety of those who use their products.

If you are seriously injured because of the defective design of your ATV, you may be able to get compensated for your medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Find a product liability lawyer in your area for more information on your legal rights.

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Determining the Cause of a Rollover Accident

Approximately 18,000 auto accidents occur every day in the US of which 4,500 are serious but not fatal, and 1,000 are fatal. Those who are seriously injured in a rollover accident account for only 3% (about 135) but for fatalities, a rollover accident accounts for fully 30% (about 300). Rollover accidents are therefore potentially deadly, but it could be caused by a number of factors, which would determine who should be held liable.

There are some vehicles which are significantly more prone to rollovers, so if an accident was due to that, liability would lie with the manufacturer. But if the rollover was caused by another vehicle, that would be a different matter entirely. It is also possible that when you are injured in a rollover accident, it would involve both product liability and negligent driving issues.  In many cases, accident reconstruction may be necessary to determine causation, both primary and secondary.

There are three considerations that a personal injury lawyer will initially think on to find out when attempting to determine liability for a rollover accident before calling in an expert witness. These are the reason why the car went sideways, why it rolled over, and if it the rollover actually caused injury to the client.

The answer to these questions will be forthcoming during interviews with the client, police reports, and testimony from witnesses. In order for a vehicle can roll over, it has to be going sideways. There are four ways this can happen: if the vehicle is structurally unstable i.e. high center of gravity and can tip over negotiating a curve or if it loses traction, if the vehicle was subject to a triggering event such as a tire blowing out or the brakes lucked, if the vehicle hit a road defect i.e. pothole at high speed causing the car to tip over, and if another vehicle struck the client’s car. If causation is obvious in the initial assessment, it would greatly help a personal injury case. If the proximate cause is indeterminate, it can make problems for the personal injury lawyer.

If you are seriously injured in a rollover accident, a personal injury lawyer such as Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.® will determine what kind of case can be filed after finding out the proximate cause. If the cause was not the manufacturer’s fault, but another driver’s, the lawyer will probably pursue that person’s auto insurance company for damages.

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Addressing Workplace Injuries: Fall Prevention

Falls from height, slip-and-falls, and force-rotation falls are all types of falls that happen in most workplaces, and remains the top cause of workplace injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 200,000 workers were seriously injured and 605 killed in 2009 from falls. Workers’ compensation benefits for fall-related workplace injuries alone cost $70 billion each year in the US, and the situation is similar to what is happening in other countries. Fall prevention should therefore be a top priority for employers and employees alike.

This is especially true for those in construction, where the incidence of deaths related to falls is particularly high. Non-fatal fall injuries are most common in the wholesale and retail industries as well as in health services, where incidents occur in transportation, material moving, building cleaning and maintenance, and health care.

The most common cause of workplace injuries related to falls is uneven, slippery, or disorderly walking areas. It could be a hole in the floor, sharp edges, an awkwardly placed ladder, or a wet surface. The lack or misuse of safety gear is also associated with the frequency of fall-related injuries and fatalities. The federal government has imposed rules and regulations for safety standards for all industries, but if these are not followed, fall prevention remains an untested concept.

The development and implementation of fall prevention strategies have to be a concerted effort, involving not only the government and employers but also occupational health researchers, professional associations, labor union, industry leaders, and employees. A safe working environment does not happen by accident; it needs to be a deliberate and consistent application of a culture of safety.

Unfortunately, the safety initiatives are often set aside in the pursuit of profit. Only by holding those responsible accountable for their negligence can workers assure that the workplace is a reasonably safe environment to be in. If you have been injured in a fall-related or other workplace accident because your employer or other third party failed to follow safety regulations, it is your duty to address the issue. If you decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to bring home the need for ensuring safety in the workplace, consult with a qualified legal professional in your area to assist you in achieving your goal.

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No Excuse for Birth Injuries

Nothing is more tragic than a child born with health problems, except perhaps when these problems were preventable. There is always a risk that a child will inherit genetic defects that will affect its development, or that the mother will develop an illness that will have the same effect. These are unfortunate, but no one’s fault. But when a child develops a birth injury, like cerebral palsy because the physician was incompetent or careless, that is a whole other matter.

Medical malpractice takes many forms, ranging from nursing home neglect to wrong-part surgery, and they can all result in serious if not fatal harm to patients. Medical professionals are held to a higher standard than other professionals because they deal in the health of the people who rely on their competence and sense of duty. This is more so when dealing with professionals who are tasked with the care of a newborn.

A birth injury is not always permanent. A good example is Erb’s palsy, when the brachial plexus is damaged when labor is prolonged or the force used to pull the baby out was excessive. Many babies that suffer this injury eventually recover within a short period after birth, and the after effects also disappear over time. Of course, in severe cases when avulsion (separation) of the brachial plexus occurs, the damage is permanent, rendering the affected arm practically useless. But in any case, injury to a newborn should be avoided at all costs because the consequences can have such a deep impact. Medical professionals are well aware of this, so they need to be sure that they are fit and able to perform their duties properly. There is no excuse for birth injuries.

If you or your child was injured from the negligence of your attending medical professional, you may have a case for medical malpractice. Consult with a lawyer in your area specializing in this type of personal injury cases to find out more.

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From the Frying Pan to the Fire: Dangerous Medications Make Bad to Worse

The purpose of taking medication is to make a person better and healthier, and in general, most of them do what they are supposed to. It is widely accepted that there are risks associated with chemical-based health interventions, but these are mostly kept within reasonable limits in the US by rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the public from potentially harmful preparations. Sometimes, though, the watchdogs fail. When this happens, it can make the bad worse.

A good example is Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), manufactured by Pfizer and a major player in the market as one of the newer SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. It is known as an effective and relatively safe treatment for major depression as well as schizophrenia in both adults and children with fewer of the common antidepressant side effects. However, it was also marketed (without FDA approval) as equally safe for pregnant women who were feeling low from the effects of the hormonal carnival that was going on in their bodies. It wasn’t so safe for their unborn babies, though, a significant number of which were born with defects.

Another example is GranuFlo, a dry acid used in dialysis machines to increase the production of bicarbonates that neutralizes the acids that accumulate in the blood of a patient with compromised or non-functional renal function. While the administering the correct dosage for any medication is important, it was especially so with Granuflo, because excess dosages could lead to stroke or cardiac failure. Manufacturer Fresenius Medical Care knew exactly the dangers of using Granuflo in excessive amounts, but neglected to warn physicians, patients, and non-FMC dialysis centers. This may have caused personal injury to yourself or others you may love.

In the case of NuvaRing, it was convenience rather than need that was the motivation. It was an implanted contraceptive that only needed to be attended to every 3 weeks. However, it soon turned out that it caused more problems than it solved. It increased the risk of abnormal blood clotting which thousands of women suffered after using NuvaRing, developing conditions such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Again, manufacturer Merck knew about the potentially fatal side effects but failed to warn the public.

All three examples of dangerous medications have been the object of numerous lawsuits, and all three have settled with plaintiffs at least in part.  If you have been unnecessarily injured from these products or from other dangerous medications, consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out your legal options.

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