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Calhoun Legal Issues Blog

Tips for avoiding car accidents

Roughly 40,000 people in Georgia and throughout the country died because of traffic accidents in 2018. Another 4.5 million people were injured in traffic accidents during that same year. There are several steps that drivers can take to reduce the chances that they are involved in car accidents. For example, they should be sure to have at least one hand on the steering wheel at all times.

Individuals should refrain from using their cellphones whenever they are operating a motor vehicle. At a minimum, drivers should not use their hands to answer a phone call or respond to a text message. Those who are planning on driving should make sure that they are not impaired by drugs or alcohol. Anyone who is caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher could be sent to jail. It is estimated that 10,000 people per year are killed in accidents caused by drunk or impaired drivers.

Shooting victims file premises liability lawsuit against Walmart

Premises owners in Georgia and around the country are not generally held responsible when criminals commit violent crimes on their properties as long as they were not warned about any looming threats and the incident was not foreseeable. Challenges to this legal position have usually fared poorly in the courts, but the plaintiffs in premises liability lawsuits do score an occasional victory. In February, a case against Planned Parenthood was allowed to proceed when a judge in Colorado ruled that the nonprofit organization knew about potential threats and should have taken more robust security measures.

The latest case of this type was filed recently on behalf of a married couple who both suffered serious injuries in a mass shooting incident that took place in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. Almost two dozen people died in the store and a similar number were injured. The big-box retailer admits it once hired off-duty police officers to provide security in the store but ended the practice to reduce overheads.

Do you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice?

Feeling as if someone did not treat you in the best manner possible can be disheartening. In some cases, the issue may not have lasting effects, such as if someone says something rude to you. However, if a medical professional does not follow the standard of care when treating your health condition, the issue could have long-lasting consequences.

Unfortunately, some doctors and other medical staff members could act negligently or otherwise not follow the appropriate standard of care. In such cases, you may experience additional illness or injury when you had hoped that the staff would help you get better. Negative outcomes could prompt you to take legal action.

Red light running crashes and how to prevent them

In 2017, the number of red light running crash deaths in Georgia and across the U.S. totaled 939: the highest it has been in a decade. This made up 28% of all deaths at signalized intersections. In a recent Traffic Safety Culture Index from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 85% of drivers said running red lights is wrong, yet nearly one in three admitted to doing it in the past 30 days.

Even worse, more than two in five drivers thought it unlikely that they would be pulled over for running a red light. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found, though, that red light cameras can do a lot to deter drivers from this illegal act. If properly implemented and regularly calibrated, they can reduce the rate of fatal red light running crashes by 21% in large cities.

What are the most common types of medical malpractice?

When Georgia residents need health care, they want to know that they can trust their doctor. Even so, medical malpractice does occur and can lead to more serious injury or even death. Knowing what the most common types of malpractice are is one of the best ways for people to avoid becoming a victim.

One thing that frequently happens is misdiagnosis. Doctors may diagnose patients with one condition when they actually have another. They may also fail to pinpoint a very serious medical condition such as cancer. Medication and anesthesia errors are another form of medical malpractice. Physicians may prescribe medications that negatively interact with other drugs a patient is taking or give patients too high a dose. Giving the wrong type or amount of anesthesia during surgery could render a procedure ineffective and cause serious side effects such as brain injuries.

CVSA announces Brake Safety Week dates

Drivers in Georgia and around the country can expect to see more semi-tractor trailers undergoing roadside inspections in September during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's annual Brake Safety Week. The nonprofit group's yearly safety blitz will begin on Sept. 15 and end on Sept. 21. Vehicles with ineffective brakes are a threat to all road users, but worn brake lines or faulty master cylinders are especially dangerous when they are tasked with stopping commercial vehicles that can weigh as much as 40 tons.

During Brake Safety Week, inspectors will be paying particular attention to brake hoses and tubing. Tractor-trailers are fitted with sophisticated compressed air braking systems, and even small leaks can cause dangerous pressure drops. Commercial vehicles that fail roadside inspections will be ordered out of service until repairs have been made. Trucks that meet federal safety standards will be given a decal and allowed to continue their journeys.

Diagnosis errors among most common in malpractice cases

Two separate research papers released within weeks of each other both indicate that errors in diagnosis are a major source of medical malpractice claims. The first, released by insurance company Coverys, was focused on emergency departments in hospitals. It found that claims related to issues in diagnosis accounted for 47% of emergency department payouts and 33% of claims filed. Delayed or erroneous diagnoses were the most common single cause of medical malpractice claims against emergency departments throughout Georgia and the rest of the U.S.

The second paper, published by Diagnosis, found that delayed or erroneous diagnoses were involved in 34% of malpractice claims where the patient was seriously disabled or died. According to the study, claims related to diagnosis errors accounted for 28% of all medical malpractice payouts. The study included reviews of 55,377 closed claims that were filed between 2006 and 2015. Over 11,500 of the claims involved errors in diagnosis. The study was paid for by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Of the claims made alleging diagnosis errors, almost 75% were connected to infections, cancer or vascular events like heart attacks or strokes.

Are you sure that settlement offer is in your best interest?

You suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident. You had to spend some time in a hospital bed until you recovered enough to go home. Even though you are no longer in the hospital, you may need additional surgeries and other medical care, physical therapy and more.

As you contemplate your current circumstances and your future, you may begin to experience some anxiety about how you will pay for the care you need during your recovery. To make matters worse, you may not return to work for some time, so you will not have an income to support you and your family. Then an insurance adjuster offers you a check to settle your claim.

Diagnostic errors claim up to 80,000 lives each year

As many as 80,000 people die in the U.S. each year because doctors fail to diagnose a serious medical condition or diagnose it too late for treatment to be effective. Even more worrying for Georgia patients is that one in three of the 12 million Americans who are victims of diagnostic errors every year either die or suffer serious or permanent damage to their health. These were two of the findings made by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after studying more than 55,000 medical malpractice lawsuits.

The problem is also serious for the health care sector as it has cost doctors, hospitals and their insurers about $1.8 billion in last decade alone. Since the consequences for patients are severe, the damages awarded in medical malpractice cases are high. Almost three in four of the victims of a missed or delayed diagnosis suffer from cancer, heart disease or a potentially deadly infection of some kind.

Study finds Fourth of July has most DUI fatalities

Georgia drivers might want to use extra caution when traveling area roadways over the Fourth of July holiday. According to a new study by Value Penguin, the drunk driving fatality rate is 23% higher on Independence Day than the average rate for six other U.S. holidays.

To reach their conclusions, researchers reviewed holiday car crash data from 2010 through 2017. They found that 1,192 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents during the Fourth of July holiday over that eight-year period. The next deadliest holiday was Memorial Day weekend, which accounted for 1,105 DUI-related deaths over the same period of time. They also determined that Americans were 57% more at risk for getting into a deadly DUI accident on July 4, 2017, than any other summer day that year.

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