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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

How serious of a problem are medical errors?

Based on an eight year study, patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins recently concluded this year that greater than 250,000 patients die in the United States each year due to medical errors. The numbers place deaths due to medical errors higher than respiratory disease, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention names as the third leading cause of death in the United States with close to 150,000 deaths annually.

Johns Hopkins further stated that procedures for noting cause of death on death certificates needs to be updated to more easily and accurately track deaths due to medical errors, which would better facilitate collection of national health statistics. The researchers examined four different studies that looked at the medical death rate data from the years 2000 to 2008. They then looked at hospital admission rates from 2013 and determined that based on a total of 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths were caused by medical errors, translating to 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the U.S.

Distracted driving rules for commercial drivers

Most of us are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. These dangers can be even more serious when a truck driver engages in them because of the size disparity between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles and the catastrophic harm truck accidents can cause. There are important rules related to truck drivers and distracted driving and cell phone use that truck drivers and other motorists should be aware of to help ensure the safety of everyone on the roadways.

The United States Department of Transportation has made a push to end distracted driving. In addition to distracted driving-related rules already in place for truck drivers, drivers transporting certain hazardous materials are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while they are driving their vehicles. In general, commercial motor vehicle drivers are also prohibited from texting while driving. Included in the prohibition is any activity that is in excess of pushing a single button to begin or terminate a call. They are not permitted to email, message or bring up web pages while driving.

What types of injuries do car accident victims commonly suffer?

Vehicle accidents can be catastrophic and cause serious damage and harm to Massachusetts residents. Each car accident is unique, and each car accident victim can experience different challenges following a such an incident. Car accident victims can suffer mental, emotional and physical trauma and harm. The full scope of the physical damage the victim has suffered in a car accident may not be immediately evident. Certain physical injuries, or their full extent, may not be known until a much later date.

Victims of car accidents may suffer a variety of injuries and symptoms, including headaches which may signal a more serious problem; neck or shoulder pain or stiffness, which can include whiplash injuries, which are the most common delayed injury car accident victims may suffer; numbness, which can be associated with whiplash injuries; back injuries, which can include injuries to muscles, ligaments, nerves and vertebrae; changes in personality or physical functions, which can be signs of a brain injury and include impaired thinking or memory, impaired movement, impaired vision or hearing, personality changes or depression; post traumatic stress disorder; or abdominal pain or swelling which should not be ignored.

Fatal Worcester motorcycle accident claims life

Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences and can result in death. An accident involving a motorcycle in Worcester recently resulted in the death of a 21-year old motorcycle rider. According to witnesses and authorities, the motorcycle was heading north when a truck headed south turned left in front of it. The motorcyclist tried to stop by applying the brakes but was unable to do so. The motorcycle rider died at the hospital from the injuries sustained in the fatal motorcycle accident. The 44-year old driver of the truck and his 16-year old passenger, his son, were unharmed in the incident.

Following the accident, the police crash reconstruction unit investigated the motorcycle collision. Crime scene investigators were also present. Authorities noted that no citations had been issued, but that the accident remains under investigation. Some statistics show that in two-thirds of motorcycle accidents, the driver of another motor vehicle violates the right of way of a motorcycle and causes the accident. Drivers of motor vehicles oftentimes fail to remain alert and pay close attention to the roadway and may fail to spot motorcyclists, which can result in disastrous consequences for motorcycle accident victims and their families.

Massachusetts dog bite law protects victims of animal attacks

Dog bites and animal attacks can result in serious injuries and death in some circumstances. Dog bites can occur in different ways, and for different reasons,. An animal attack of any sort can be traumatic and victims may suffer physical injuries and physical and emotional scars as a result. Victims may never be the same following the damages suffered in an animal attack.

Victims and their families may find, following an animal attack, that they unexpectedly incur medical bills; future medical care costs; lost earnings; psychological trauma; emotional distress; scarring and disfigurement; medical costs associated with treating the pain and suffering associated with an animal attack and possible costs associated with multiple surgeries that may be necessary to repair disfiguring injuries caused by a dog attack. The toll an animal attack can take on victims and their families can be significant.

Truck drivers are held to high impaired driving standards

Commercial drivers, including truck drivers, are held to a higher standard than other drivers concerning impaired driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established standards for commercial drivers related to impaired driving. Commercial accidents and truck accidents can be particularly serious and costly physically, financially and emotionally for victims, so it is important that truck drivers are not careless on the roadways.

Impaired truck drivers can threaten public safety and can also be liable when they injure victims in a truck accident. Drivers and employers that may be liable when an impaired commercial truck driver has caused an accident can include individuals or companies that lease commercial vehicles; individuals or companies that employ commercial drivers; local, state and federal governments; private motor carriers, and others.

What is medical malpractice in Massachusetts?

Victims who have suffered harm related to the receipt of medical care are oftentimes left in a stressful position, and may wonder whether medical malpractice is a factor in their cases. In general, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional negligently causes harm to a patient. At times, medical malpractice results in harm such as a worsened condition, or it can result in death. Medical malpractice can include misdiagnosis or erroneous treatment. Doctors, medical professionals, hospitals and others can all be liable for medical malpractice based on the circumstances.

There are a variety of considerations involved in a Massachusetts medical malpractice claim and they can be complex. It is necessary to understand that important timelines can apply to medical malpractice claims and understand the damages that may be available to injured victims. If a misdiagnosis, erroneous treatment or a prescription error resulted in a worsened condition or other type of harm, the victim and the victim's family may be able to recover compensation for the damages suffered.

Car accident fatalities are on the rise

Car accident fatalities can devastate families, which is why the legal system provides remedies to help those affected by them. Car accident fatalities in the United States increased last year and are on track this year to be even worse. Deaths in automobile accidents increased by a little over 7 percent in 2015 from 2014. The total number of car accident fatalities in 2015 was 35,092. The increase represented the most significant increase since 1966. In addition, the National Safety Council recently reported that car accident fatalities are up 9 percent for the first half of 2016.

According to experts, one cause alone cannot be blamed for the increase, though the increased use of cell phones has likely led to an increase in distracted driving. Improvements in the economy and employment have led to more people driving to work. A greater number of commercial vehicles on the roadways also raises the chances of crashes between large trucks and cars. In addition, improved weather and a record-setting warm winter this past season brought more crashes, as a greater number of drivers, motorcycles and pedestrians were on the roadways.

Massachusetts semi-truck accident injures 4

A recent semi-truck accident in a neighboring community northeast of the Worcester area left 4 victims injured, one of them critically. According to authorities, a semi-truck was traveling in the middle lane when it swerved into the left lane for an unknown reason that is being investigated. When the tractor trailer swerved into the left lane, it clipped the back of an SUV and caused it to roll over into the median.

Authorities reported that a 45-year old female front-seat passenger in the SUV was flown to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries as a result of the truck accident. Two children, ages 8 and 9, in the back seat of the SUV were also taken the hospital with serious injuries. The 53-year old man driving the SUV was also injured in the truck accident. The investigation into the incident continues.

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.

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