Everyone knows not to text while driving, but sadly, many people do it all the time, which leads to car accidents and personal injury lawsuits. On this blog it has previously been discussed that a case is pending in New Jersey related to if someone not in a car can be responsible for the personal injuries of someone hit by a texting driver who was texting back and forth with them. Earlier this month a New Jersey court ruled on that issue: "We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted." The court has spoken. This has the potential to drastically change the legal landscape for distracted driving injury lawsuits nationwide. However, for the time being, New Jersey is the exception. But, states across the country (including Illinois) continue to toughen laws related to cell phone use while driving and distracted driving in general. As personal injury lawyers who deal with the consequences of distracted driving have been saying for years, there is a simple way to solve this problem, use common sense when behind the wheel and stop looking at your phone and focus on the road ahead. The cure for this problem is simple; this is not curing cancer. If drivers would simply put down their phones and make driving the #1 priority when behind the wheel, the roads would be a safer place, the number of injuries and fatalities would drop, and this country could focus on much more difficult problems that need to be solved.
Researchers around the world continue to look into what drives a dangerous issue in medicine: the "August Effect." It has been found that the month of August is the most dangerous time for hospital patients, as morbidity and mortality rates seemingly increase in August. The concern is whether or not this is a malpractice issue related to junior doctors taking over more responsibility as the summer ends, due to residency and internship start and changeover times, or some other systemic problem. One study in England found that the cause of the "August Effect" was not junior doctors, but that possible likely factors are: errors, poor prioritization, and omissions. This is a scary scenario and something that personal injury lawyers who handle medical malpractice cases are monitoring closely. Hospitals need to be a place where patients feel safe and are taken care of by qualified, skilled doctors, nurses, and administrative personnel. Patients cannot be the victims of budget cuts, over worked staff, or other issues that are not their fault. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or bad outcome as a result of any type of medical negligence by a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical provider, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases. The law in Illinois for medical malpractice matters is very technical and different from that pertaining to other personal injury matters, such as car accidents, slip and fall injuries, and the like. Only a qualified personal injury lawyer can properly advise you about a potential medical malpractice case.
It's time for the kids to go back to school. That means kids going to and from school houses, getting on and off school buses, and many more buses sharing the roads with traditional motorists. That also means more chance of car accidents, bus accidents, and personal injuries to children and adults. For children, this is especially true outside of buses, more so than on them, as children are far more likely to suffer a personal injury walking to school then they are riding a school bus. Most bus related accidents involving children involve kids getting on the bus or off the bus. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of these big yellow vehicles on the roadways. The National Safety Counsel has put together a list of safety tips related to sharing the road with school buses. That list of injury preventing tips can be found by clicking here. It is not just buses that adults need to be aware of. Kids on foot, and kids on bicycles heading to and from school should also be on everyone's radar. Awareness is the best way to prevent a tragic personal injury from taking place. We all need to work to keep not only ourselves safe, but also those around us. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a personal injury in an accident that was the fault of someone else, contact a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Only a personal injury attorney can properly advise you of your rights with respect to what happened.
By now everyone knows that distracted driving is a problem, and causes car accidents. Texting while driving is a big no-no, and there are numerous studies that document the number of personal injuries caused by drivers who were texting right before an impact. But, something you will notice more and more is distracted kids getting themselves into dangerous situations long before they can drive. Cell phones used to be solely the province of adults who had to take "business calls" on a moment's notice. As time has passed, now everyone has a cell phone, including many young kids. The scary part of this is young kids on bikes, skateboards, scooters, and similar conveyances who are not only talking on the phone -- but actually texting. Go near any school, playground, or place where kids hang out, and you will surely find a kid on a bike with a cellphone in their hand. Even scarier, watch that kid work their way towards a street crossing, and that cell phone is probably still in their hand. This puts those kids at risk of becoming an injury statistic. That child is at risk of not only getting hurt themselves, but also causing an accident that could hurt others. Parents who allow their child to have a cell phone need to make sure that those children (yes, they are still children) are educated on how to use it properly. That includes teaching kids about when to use a cell phone so that they do not injure themselves or others. When riding a bike all kids should have a helmet on and a cell phone off. It just makes sense as a way to prevent serious personal injuries.
As of this weekend, high schools across the state will be required to get catastrophic health insurance for their sports players. Known as the "Rocky Clark Law" (named for the Eisenhower High School player paralyzed from an injury in 2000) the law will require that every student-athlete be covered for millions of dollars for healthcare stemming from catastrophic personal injuries. The law is expected to be signed in by the Illinois Governor later this weekend. Many school districts already require, or provide, large health insurance for student athletes. While this long can go a long way towards helping injured young people and their families deal with a tragedy after it happens, more important are efforts to avoid tragedies, and prevent injuries, before they happen. That is where programs to educate student athletes come in. As part of USA Football's "Heads Up" program, student athletes, in one of the most violent contact sports played, are being taught how to play the game safer. It is all part of an initiative to make sports safer, and avoid serious personal injuries such as concussions from occurring in young people nationwide. A copy of Rock Clark's Law can be found by clicking here.