Articles Posted in Personal Injury

autobahn-837643_1920-300x194Some of the most deadly and dangerous accidents on the roads are caused by large commercial trucks. A shocking number of people– 4,102 total– died in large truck crashes in 2017. Many of these truck wrecks could have been prevented if drivers, shippers, and operators addressed some of the common causes of truck accidents and worked to fix them. The most common causes of truck crashes include:

Speeding and Driving too Fast for Conditions

Shippers promise fast delivery, often guaranteeing overnight or same-day delivery for packages. And consumers now expect packages to be delivered quickly, which is why Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery guarantee is so popular. With promises of fast delivery come pressure on drivers to drive faster despite road conditions or traffic conditions. This can lead to an increase in accidents.

walking-4555769_1920-225x300From the time they begin walking, children are in danger of being injured as pedestrians. According to some very sad statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, one in five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic accidents was a pedestrian. Children are less experienced with road safety, less aware of the danger that cars pose, more impulsive, and harder for drivers to see. Too many children are injured or killed every year by distracted, intoxicated, speeding or negligent drivers. When that happens, families are left reeling, devastated by the aftermath– physical, emotional and financial—of these tragic accidents.

Adults can help protect children by being aware of the scenarios that are especially dangerous for children and by knowing what to do after a child has been struck by a car or truck. The child pedestrian accident attorneys at The Collins Law Firm can guide you through the legal process after an accident with care and compassion. Knowing the most common situations that lead to pedestrian accidents can help prevent them in the first place.

How do Children Get Injured in Pedestrian Accidents?

crossing-801713_1920-2-300x198Serious pedestrian accidents in Chicago and the suburbs continue to be a problem for a number of reasons: more people walking to work, an increase in traffic on the roads, and drivers failing to look out for pedestrians. Increasing cell phone usage and distracted driving are also putting pedestrians at risk. Tragically, two pedestrians in Naperville and St. Charles have been seriously injured and pedestrians in Bloomington, Morton Grove, and Chicago have died after being struck by cars recently. Municipalities need to address this problem by analyzing where and why pedestrian accidents happen and taking measures to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

In the meantime, how can victims and families be compensated for these terrible accidents? If a pedestrian is hit by a car, the driver is usually –but not always—found to be at fault and his or her insurance compensates the pedestrian. That is because most states have laws requiring drivers to be alert to their surroundings and to hazards in the road, which would include pedestrians. If the pedestrian is following the rules of the road and is struck by a motorist who is speeding, fails to yield, is disobeying traffic signals, or is otherwise impaired or distracted, the driver is at fault and their policy must compensate the victim. Even pedestrians who are not in the crosswalk may get compensation from the driver’s insurance if they were paying attention, did not act irresponsibly and did not run into the road to try to beat traffic.

But what happens if the responsible driver is not insured?  If the at-fault driver has no insurance or very little insurance, then the pedestrian’s own uninsured and underinsured coverage in their auto policy can compensate them for injuries sustained even if they were not driving at the time. Most people are not aware of this.

vape-3677946_1920-300x200Young people are showing up at hospitals with lungs that look like those of 70-year-olds. Around the country, people of all ages are suffering from a mysterious lung illness, and vaping could be to blame. Federal health officials are looking into the cases of 450 people hospitalized with breathing illnesses after using e-cigarettes and vaping devices, and at least six deaths have been linked to a vaping-related lung illness.

And there’s not just one set of symptoms to look out for. Affected individuals present a variety of symptoms when they arrive at the hospital. For example, one 18-year-old patient complained of chest pain, nausea, fever, and shortness of breath. He was sent to the ICU within 48 hours of arriving at the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with an acute lung injury. That patient ended up being connected to a breathing tube and was placed into a medically induced coma for a week. Another patient, who was 19 years old, suffered from coughing, chest pain, extreme weight loss, and nodules in the lungs. Most patients had nausea or vomiting as well as breathing problems. A third of the confirmed cases were serious enough to need a breathing tube.

Health professionals are taking action to figure out what’s going wrong with vaping. The Center for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other public health partners have mobilized to investigate a “multistate outbreak” of pulmonary diseases. The outbreak is linked to vaping and has had drastic effects on individuals’ lungs and health.

pills-1885550_1920-300x225If you are taking Zantac, you should be aware that the FDA and the European Union are investigating whether the heartburn medication, as well as generic versions of the drug, contain high enough levels of the cancer-causing agent NDMA, (N-Nitrosodimeethylamine), to pose a danger to patients.

Zantac, or Ranitidine, as it is called in generic form, is an antacid and antihistamine used by thousands of people to prevent heartburn and gastrointestinal issues. More troubling is the fact that it is sometimes given to infants suffering from reflux. Now, the medication, which is sold at major pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, is under investigation by European and U.S. health regulators.

U.S. drug safety officials became aware of the potential problem when Valisure, a Connecticut based online pharmacy that independently tests every medication it dispenses, alerted the FDA that its testing had found high levels of NDMA, a carcinogen, in Zantac and generic versions of the drug.

Imagine you’ve just gotten into your car. You turn it on and BOOM your airbag deploys for no reason. Or, your car hits a pothole and BANG your airbag explodes from the steering wheel.

crash-test-1620608_1920-thumb-250x166-86090During accidents, airbags save lives – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that frontal airbags saved 25,782 lives between 1987 and 2008. But, what about when an airbag deploys for no reason? Car manufacturers have had to recall car and truck models because the airbags inexplicably deployed. When that happens, there are major risks associated with your airbags, including risks to your hearing.

In an accident, your airbag needs to deploy in the milliseconds between when the airbag controller senses a collision and when you slam into the steering wheel. In order to do this, the airbag has to deploy with explosive force, at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. That generates a lot of noise.

transportation-system-3179313_1920-300x200Some of the scariest moments on the road occur when a tractor-trailer suddenly decides to pull into your lane, oblivious to the fact that you are in the way, or turns in front of you, unaware that your car is there. At that moment, you realize that the truck is not going to stop because they can’t see you. Usually, you are able to slow down or move into another lane to avoid injury, but for some motorists this situation becomes deadly.

Side underride collisions happen when a car crashes into the side of a tractor-trailer, and the force of the crash propels the car underneath the truck. These kinds of truck accidents are especially dangerous because the truck can sheer off the top of the car and kill the occupants. Usually, these side underride collisions occur at night, when a truck is trying to cross or turn onto a street or highway. But they can also occur when a truck suddenly moves into a different lane, trapping a car under the body of the truck. Unfortunately, these side underride accidents–where a car ends up wedged underneath a truck– can be deadly even at low speeds.

In fact, several hundred people die each year when their cars lodge under tractor-trailers from the side, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is unacceptable, especially when you realize that most of these accidents could be avoided if trucks were equipped with side guards: panels placed around the lower part of a truck’s trailer. Side guards would prevent cars from sliding under the body of the truck, protecting the driver and passengers. So why aren’t trucks equipped with these potentially life-saving side guards? Because the government, so far, has not required it.

39201856305_40c4b98c8a_k-1024x768So, you bought a car with the five-star safety rating for your family. But, is the entire family actually safe? A new study has determined that a woman has a 73% higher chance of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash than a man, and crash-test dummies are to blame.

A quick history on crash-test dummies: Dummies were first introduced in the 1950s and, unsurprisingly, were based on the average man, who is about 5’10” and 168 pounds. That average-man dummy represented the entire human population until 2003 when a female crash-test dummy was created. However, regulators did not require automakers to test vehicles with the female dummy until the 2011 model-year vehicles. (By the way, regulators have still not required a pregnant test dummy, even though one was created in 1996)

When manufacturers started to use the female dummy more regularly, they discovered that smaller female drivers and passengers suffer more head, abdominal, and pelvic injuries. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Men and women have different body structures. For instance, women generally have wider, shallower pelvises. They also have different fat distribution and tissue concentration. These differences come into play with seatbelts and other safety features.

surgery-1807541_1920-1024x676About one in every twenty patients is harmed by a medical mistake that could have been prevented. That is the finding of a recent report published in the medical journal, The BMJ.

Understand, we are not talking about medical mistakes that sometimes just happen during medical care. We are talking about medical mistakes that should not have happened. Worse still, 12% of these preventable errors lead to permanent disability or death.

And this is not new information. The medical community has known for twenty years that medical errors cause the deaths of as many as 98,000 Americans every year. Yet, twenty years later, the rate of preventable medical mistakes continues to be unacceptably high.

Chicago recently began a pilot program allowing electric scooters on city streets. Within a mere six days, at least ten couple-4244576_1920-204x300people were sent to emergency rooms, including one bicyclist who was left unconscious and badly injured after being struck by a scooter.

The city’s e-scooter program launched June 15th on the west side of Chicago, bringing 2500 scooters to Chicago streets. Ten scooter companies—Bird, Lyme, Jump, Sherpa, Gruv, Lyft, Spin, Wheels, Bolt and VeoRide– are providing the scooters for the next few months. In October, the city will evaluate the program and decide whether to permit the scooters permanently and whether to expand into the lakefront area and the Loop, the city’s busiest traffic and pedestrian areas. I can just imagine the nightmare of inexperienced or potentially intoxicated riders zipping around on electric scooters in Chicago’s already chaotic Loop.

Chicago might do well to heed the experiences of other cities who have tried out e-scooter programs. Hospitals in these cities have noted frequent, serious scooter injuries, and police forces have admitted that enforcing the rules is difficult. Scooter riders often ride without helmets; endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks despite it being against city ordinances, and litter the streets with abandoned scooters.

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