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Calhoun Legal Issues Blog

Avoiding injuries when riding escalators

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. has published some tips to keep people safe on escalators in Georgia and across the U.S. These moving staircases can cause injuries to riders who slip and fall while entering or exiting the escalator or who get caught in the mechanism as it goes around. The legal theory of premises liability might allow injured parties to recover following escalator accidents.

The NEII divides its escalator tips into three sections: getting on the escalator, riding the escalator and getting off the escalator. When people are getting on escalators, they should be careful if they are wearing bifocals or similar glasses as these can cause depth perception issues. They should note the direction the staircase is moving and not try to get on going the wrong way. If a person is entering an escalator with a child, he or she should hold the child with one hand and the escalator railing with the other. It's a good idea to avoid carrying unwieldy items like strollers, electric scooters, hand carts, wheelchairs and luggage carts onto escalators.

Researchers report medical errors a leading cause of death

People in Georgia might be at a greater risk of a medical error than they realize. Increasingly, studies are showing that medical errors happen at a high rate. This first came to light in a report from the Institute of Medicine 18 years ago that estimated preventable medical errors killed more than 100,000 people per year. Further research has only reinforced this statistic and suggested that the situation might even be worse.

In 2016, an analysis estimated that preventable deaths from medical errors might top 250,000. John Hopkins did an analysis for an organization, The Leapfrog Group, and found that avoidable errors cost employers $8,000 for every inpatient admission. The November 2018 issue of the journal "Health Affairs" revisited the issue and found that more than a third of nurses rated their own organizations unfavorably when it came to patient safety. In addition to ongoing issues with medication errors, diagnostic mistakes may have serious consequences for around 4 million patients per year and affect 12 million or more per year. In another survey of seriously ill patients and families, a serious medical error was reported for 25 percent of patients.

Can I sue my neighbors if my kid gets hurt on their trampoline?

As your child grows older and makes friends around the neighborhood, they will likely be invited over to play often. You are always concerned about their safety, and you would hope any other parent who supervises them would feel the same.

Unfortunately, accidents can happen. Nowhere is this probably more common than on properties that own a trampoline. When you were younger, wasn’t the kid down the road with a trampoline the coolest one on the block? As fun as a trampoline can be, if it is not used safely it can cause an injury.

Drugged driving a rising danger

Drivers in Georgia and anywhere else who drive while impaired may increase their risk of getting into an accident. The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, is pushing for more consistent rules when it comes to testing drivers for drugs. The organization says that in 2006, 30 percent of drivers who were tested for drugs after dying in a vehicle crash tested positive for drugs. That number was 46 percent in 2015.

The NTSB believes that police officers need more tools to be able to test drivers who are under the influence of drugs. Furthermore, the agency says that law enforcement should be given additional training to better spot drivers who are impaired by drugs. To help combat the growing problem of drugged driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has started airing advertisements warning of its dangers. It has also had discussions about the issue in major cities such as Baltimore and Seattle.

Truck accident fatalities on the rise

While the total number of deaths from auto accidents dropped in Georgia and across the country between 2016 and 2017, fatalities increased for crashes involving large trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,133 people were killed in car crashes in 2017, a reduction from the 2016 death toll of 37,806. However, crashes involving large trucks or tractor-trailers, specifically those weighing more than 10,000 pounds, took the lives of 4,761 people in 2017. This was a rise of 392 deaths from the previous year.

An administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that many of these cases involved heavy trucks that weigh less than 26,000 pounds. Some of these vehicles are not regulated by the FMCSA. In addition, truck crash fatalities involving vehicles weighing 10,000 to 14,000 pounds doubled between 2016 and 2017.

Spotting early symptoms of ovarian cancer can save lives

Ovarian cancer patients in Georgia and elsewhere are frequently diagnosed with the disease after it has already spread, making the chances of survival remote. This is because the symptoms of this insidious cancer, often referred to as a "silent killer," can be subtle and tend to mimic other less serious conditions.

In order to increase survival rates, medical experts say women need to learn to recognize the earliest warning signs of ovarian cancer. These signs include bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly when eating, frequent urination, nausea, indigestion, shortness of breath, back pain and weight gain. If a woman experiences any of these symptoms for a week or more, she should see her doctor and specifically ask about problems with her ovaries.

New tech may reduce safety risks in supermarkets

Georgia supermarkets present many potential hazards, such as slippery floors and spoiled foods. That's why some grocery stores are turning to new technology for assistance. For example, Argo Risk Tech is a provider of safety technology that's being used in over 1,200 locations across 40 states.

With sensors and other technology, Argo Risk Tech is able to track when employees move around the floor and identify hazards. The tech team can then give the client (the store owner) specific instructions.

Radiology misdiagnoses can threaten patient lives, health

When people in Georgia go to the hospital, they may have little interaction with radiologists or the radiology team. However, because radiologists are responsible for reading and assessing critical tests, they play a key role in diagnosing patients with serious and progressive diseases like cancer. When radiology practice goes wrong, the effects on patients can be severe, especially when a mistaken radiology report leads to a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose cancer.

According to one study, around 80 percent of all medical malpractice claims involving radiology relate to the misinterpretation of clinical test results and the possibility of misdiagnosis. In addition, 80 percent of those claims referred to serious illnesses that resulted in either permanent injury or death. Despite the precision involved in radiological testing, errors can be unfortunately common and the effects on patients can be severe. When physicians fail to diagnose cancer, for example, a patient may be delayed in receiving appropriate treatment. Because cancer is a progressive disease, that delay can mean the difference between life and death. The report analyzed over 10,000 claims closed by one malpractice insurance provider between 2013 and 2017.

Your role in reducing motorcycle accident rates

Everyone on the road can contribute to increased safety for motorcyclists in Georgia. Each year too many motorcycle drivers and passengers die in accidents largely caused by negligence of others on the roads. Every person on the road, no matter what vehicle they drive, can take precautions to reduce the risk of devastating injuries to motorcyclists.

No one can shirk the responsibility of watching out for the safety of motorcyclists. It isn’t enough to assume another driver or motorcyclist will take added precautions, so your role in staying aware of these more vulnerable travelers can be the difference between safety and disaster on Georgia’s roadways.

Toxic substance risks for kids can come from unexpected sources

There are various things that could cause a product to pose dangers to a child. One is if the product contains toxic substances. Exposure to such substances could have the potential to have long-term health consequences for kids.

Now, there are products parents may readily associate with hazardous chemicals and frequently take steps to keep out of their kids’ reach. Examples include certain types of cleaning products.

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