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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding options available to pedestrian accident victims

Pedestrian accidents can be overwhelming for victims and lead to serious injuries and other harm. Pedestrian victims can be injured or killed in car accidents, truck accidents and bus accidents. These incidents can occur in a variety of ways, such as when a driver fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian; when a driver fails to stop at a cross walk for a pedestrian; when a driver fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and hits a pedestrian; when a driver fails to come to a complete stop at an intersection before turning right and strikes a pedestrian; when drivers fail to provide adequate space for pedestrians on the roadways; or when drivers travel too fast on roadways, creating risk to pedestrians.

Additionally, a variety of serious injuries, and death, can be suffered by pedestrian victims in a pedestrian accident. Injuries can include head, brain, spinal cord and back injuries; broken bones; muscle and ligament injuries; and a multitude of other types of injuries as well. Victims may suffer damages as a result of their injuries including medical expenses, future medical care costs, lost wages, lost-earning capacity and pain and suffering. Family members of a loved one unexpectedly killed in a pedestrian accident can also suffer damages including medical and funeral expenses, loss of support and services, and pain and suffering.

What are some tips to keep motorcyclists safe?

Because it is important to safely share the road with all different types of vehicles, tips to help promote motorcycle safety can be useful for drivers to understand. Because motorcycles are smaller, they are also more difficult to see which also leaves motorcyclists more vulnerable if they do get into an accident. The size of motorcycles may also cause them to appear faster and further away than they are. In addition, motorcycles do not have the same safety features of passenger vehicles that makes motorcycle accident victims especially vulnerable to injuries when a motorcycle accident occurs.

Tips for safe driving around motorcycles can be helpful for drivers to learn and understand. It is useful to increase your safe driving distance to 4 seconds when following a motorcycle. It is also useful to allow additional space during inclement weather because inclement weather can increase challenges motorcyclists face. Drivers of passenger vehicles should also keep in mind to check their blind spots frequently for motorcycles.

Massachusetts woman mauled by 2 dogs

A 60-year old woman in Massachusetts standing near her door was recently mauled by two dogs. As a result of the dog attack, the victim suffered severe injuries to her left hand. The woman reported that she was taking her dog for a walk when she saw the other two dogs aggressively approaching her. The woman's dog also suffered injuries in the dog attack incident.

The woman reported following the incident that she began screaming when the two dogs came running at her and her dog because she was familiar with their aggressive nature. The victim noted she extended her hand and arm to defend against the attack but one of the dogs latched onto her hand and began shaking its head back and forth. The other dog began attacking her dog on its right rear leg.. The dog attacking the woman let go when the woman's husband came to her aid. The owner of the dogs then regained control of them. The victim was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and her dog was taken to the veterinarian for treatment.

Accident-related fatalities are increasing

In the United States, record numbers of victims are dying in a variety of different types of fatal accidents including car accidents but increasingly because of falls. The National Safety Council reports that 136,000 victims died accidentally in 2014 which is the highest number of fatal accident victims there has ever been. The number of fatal accident victims has increased by over 15 percent compared to 10 years ago and has increased by over 4 percent from 2013.

During 2014, car accidents resulted in 35,398 deaths. Though the number of car accident fatalities has declined, each victim represents the loss of life and a devastating loss for families. Driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding and other behaviors continue to contribute to fatal car accidents. Distracted driving also continues to be an increasing problem. Distracted driving can be an underreported problem and there is currently minimal distracted driving data to fully understand its impact on the roadways.

Increasing trucking safety with electronic logs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry to help ensure safety. One type of regulation is hours of service which places certain limits on the amount of time truck drivers can drive and attempts to limit truck driver fatigue. A new rule is using improved technology to strengthen compliance with hours-of-service regulations to help prevent fatigue. Electronic logging devices will now be used to record hours of service and are expected to reduce industry costs associated with paperwork in addition to improving safety.

Electronic logging devices are expected, on average, to avoid 26 fatalities and 562 injuries that result from large commercial vehicle accidents annually. Electronic logging devices automatically record driving hours and also monitor engine hours, vehicle movement, location and miles driven. In the past, it has been difficult to verify hours logged in log books and determine when truck driver behaviors may be violating federal laws and placing the public at risk.

Options available when injured by a defective product

Defective products can cause serious and potentially catastrophic injuries that can result in death. In Massachusetts, products must be safe for a reasonably intended and foreseeable use. In addition, products must include proper instructions and sufficient warnings. When a product causes serious injuries or death, the product manufacturer may be liable to victims or family members of lost loved ones for the damages and harm they have suffered.

Products liability law is available to help victims injured by defective products through personal injury and wrongful death options. Problems can include products with inadequate instructions; products that malfunction such as seat belts or air bags or other products; poorly designed products such as power tools or others; improperly manufactured products; dangerous prescription drugs; or harmful products such as asbestos.

The increasing cost of dog bite claims

The cost of dog bites may be increasing according to numbers available from 2014. Worcester residents may be surprised to learn that dog bite claims and injuries accounted for $530 million in payouts for homeowner's insurance claims during 2014. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the number of claim payouts associated with dog bites or dog injuries accounted for one third of the total of all homeowner claim payouts in the United States.

The cost of claims also increased by 15 percent in 2013. Though claims may have been declining, overall, since 2003, the cost of claims has increased by 67 percent. The increase in medical costs associated with dog bite claims has contributed to the increased payouts. Awards victims receive have also increased. Additional factors and the rising cost of medical care caused the amount of dog bite claim-related payouts to increase from $27,862 to $32,072 in 2013.

How much at risk are pedestrians?

Pedestrian accidents may be something you hear about often but wonder just how common they are. It was recently estimated that the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased by 10 percent in 2015. The increase represents the largest year-to-year increase since the statistics were first kept 40 years ago. The Governors Highway Safety Association annual data is based on preliminary pedestrian fatality data provided by highway agencies throughout the nation for the first 6 months of 2015.

The preliminary data reveals that 2,368 pedestrians were killed in fatal accident from January to June 2015 which was in increase from 2,232 pedestrian victims killed during the same time period in 2014. Though the increase is approximately 6 percent, it is based on preliminary data and researchers expect the actual number to rise to 10 percent. The author of the report noted that the projected rise in pedestrian fatalities is "alarming."

Bicyclists fatally struck by truck in Massachusetts

A bicyclist was recently killed by a truck in a major Massachusetts community just east of Worcester. The 27-year old victim was struck by a landscaping truck while riding her bicycle near an intersection. The victim was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to witnesses, the victim was either hit by an SUV or had to move out of the way of an SUV which caused her to be hit by the truck.

The intersection where the accident occurred has a reputation as a problematic intersection where there have been 69 accidents from 2008 to 2012 which includes 15 bicycle accidents. The Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction team was investigating the fatal accident. A fatal accident can be a traumatic experience for family members and loved ones and can lead to significant shock and stress in the lives of family members who have suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one.

A look at the costs associated with spinal cord injuries

Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries for victims unexpectedly harmed in them. From 2010 to 2015, 38 percent of spinal cord injuries in the United States were caused by car accidents. As of 2015, it is estimated that 12,500 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. Overall, it is estimated that between 240,000 and 337,000 victims are living with spinal cord injuries in the U.S. Among victims of spinal cord injuries, 89 percent of victims are discharged to private homes and 4.3 percent are discharged to nursing homes. Regardless of the circumstances, caring for spinal cord injuries can be costly both financially and emotionally for families.

In terms of financial costs, just how costly can spinal cord injuries be? The initial cost of hospitalization following a spinal cord injury is $140,000. The average cost of spinal cord injuries for the first year is $198,000. On average, the lifetime cost of treatment for a paraplegic injured at 25 is $428,000. On average, the lifetime cost of treatment for a quadriplegic injured at 25 is $1.35 million. The costs associated with spinal cord injuries can place tremendous stress on victims and their families.

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