Articles Posted in Personal Injury

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a time for sun, fun, and vacation for many. Summer is here, and while this is a great timeadult-1866883_1920-3-300x225 for families to take it easy, it is not time for parents to relax when it comes to keeping their kids safe. In fact, the AAA Foundation refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days” of summer because, on average, two teenagers die every day during these 100 days – an increase of 26% compared to other months of the year.  Car crashes are the leading cause of death for these teenagers, who also have the highest crash rate for any age group.

According to statistics, the primary cause of these deadly car crashes is distracted driving, which accounts for 60% of all teen crashes. And teens report that distracted driving involves more than just cell phones. In fact, the top distraction for teens—accounting for 15% of all crashes— is passengers distracting the driver. Cell phones are the second biggest distraction, causing 12% of all teen-related crashes.

Other than distracted driving, impaired driving and a failure to follow the rules of the road also account for a large percentage of teen crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

The FDA announced recently that they plan to surgery-1822458_1920-300x200review and address the safety of surgical staplers.

Surgical staplers are specialized devices used in surgery to close wounds or connect tissue, instead of using traditional sutures.

The FDA‘s decision comes after a recent Kaiser News Health Report revealed that thousands of malfunctions and injuries related to staplers were hidden from the public in private internal FDA databases. In fact, in 2016 alone, while the FDA’s public database received less than 100 stapler malfunction reports, their hidden database received about 10,000 reports.

Going to the hospital can save your life. If you arecare-928653_1920-300x200 a patient at a hospital with a poor safety ranking, however, it could cost you your life.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the nonprofit group Leapfrog, which also gives 2600 hospitals a Hospital Safety Grade twice a year based on 28 measures of safety.

The report, prepared for the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, found that an estimated 160,000 lives are lost annually from avoidable medical errors, and hospitals with a poor safety grade have twice the mortality rate of hospitals with a good grade.

If a doctor had lost multiple medical malpractice doctor-563428_1920-300x200lawsuits, you would think that he or she would stop practicing or, at the very least, move to a new town to flee their reputation for harming patients. According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, that is not happening.

Doctors with more than four successful malpractice claims against them are, for the most part, continuing to see patients in their home community. In fact, the study’s lead researcher, David Studdert, a professor of medicine and law at Stanford University, found that more than 90 percent of doctors who have lost 5 or more malpractice claims against them, continue to see patients as if nothing happened. That is not a comforting thought for patients who need medical care.

Now, before you say that every doctor gets sued for malpractice so this doesn’t mean much, the study did not look at physicians who had malpractice claims filed against them; it only looked at physicians who lost malpractice claims. In those cases, either the malpractice was so egregious that the insurance company settled the case, or a court of law concluded, based on solid evidence, that the doctor did commit malpractice and injured his patient as a result. This is even more significant when you understand that only about 27% of medical malpractice plaintiffs win their court case.

If you are putting your infant to sleep in an inclined sleeper, you should stop using it and find an alternative.

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Photo courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

On April 12th, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million of their inclined Rock ‘N Play Sleepers, and advised parents to stop using the product immediately. The American Academy of Pediatrics had previously urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the Fisher-Price Sleeper after a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that it was tied to 32 infant deaths.

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Walking your dog or taking a stroll after dinner should not be a death sentence. Yet, more and more frequently, walking is becoming hazardous, and deadly, in America.

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association has revealed that pedestrian deaths last year reached their highest level since 1990. In fact, an estimated 6,227 pedestrians died in 2018, 35% more than were killed just a decade ago. And these rates are rising even as overall traffic deaths have declined over the last ten years. So, why is this happening?

Experts have pointed to several factors that seem to be contributing to this increase:

basketball-1449465_1920-2-214x300As March comes to a close, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament is in full swing. Brackets are about to be busted, and Cinderella stories are about to be written. College basketball is one of America’s most popular sports, and basketball is the country’s most popular youth sport, played by one million children —450,000 girls and 550,000 boys — each academic year.

With soaring popularity in youth basketball, injuries are on the rise. Basketball is not typically associated with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, but surprisingly those injuries are more common in basketball than many other sports.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, basketball accounted for more than 9 percent of concussions among athletes aged 8-19 who participated in youth sports, placing it in second place just behind football at 22%. Soccer ranked third, at 7.7 percent, followed by hockey and baseball, at just under 4 percent each.

semi-trailers-534577_1920-300x225Fatal truck wrecks across the United States are increasing at a rate almost three times that of deadly crashes overall. Among the most dangerous and deadly are rear-end truck crashes. While big trucks collide with cars in a variety of ways, experts say these types of wrecks are among the most devastating and yet perhaps the easiest to prevent with technology. Unfortunately, semi-trucks across the country are not equipped with the latest, and best, crash prevention technology.

In 2016 alone, more than 4,300 people were killed in collisions with semis and other large trucks. That represents a 28 percent increase over 2009, according to the federal government. To put this in perspective, this is equal to a 737 airplane crashing twice a month, killing everyone on board. In Illinois there was a 26% increase in fatal crashes involving large trucks, like semi-trucks, in 2016. So far, in 2019, 15% of all fatal crashes involved a semi or other large truck.

One of the major reasons why deadly truck crashes continue to increase, is the lack of crash avoidance technology being using in trucks. While crash avoidance systems are becoming common in new cars, they are rarely, if ever, used in big trucks.  The auto industry has promised that this safety equipment will be standard on all new passenger vehicles sold in the United States by the year 2020, but makers of heavy trucks have not made a similar commitment. The result is that only a small fraction of semis on the road today have collision avoidance technology.

brain-1845962_1920-300x227A traumatic brain injury or TBI can be caused by a blow or bump to the head. We are familiar with concussions from watching football, but traumatic brain injuries can also be caused by falls, car accidents or other violence. Similarly, many combat veterans have experienced traumatic brain injury from explosive blasts.

Every 23 seconds, on average, someone in the United States suffers a traumatic brain injury. Using 2013 data, the most comprehensive data available, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported approximately 2.5 million people were taken to the emergency room with a traumatic brain injury and 282,000 people were hospitalized with TBIs. Further, the CDC estimates that 30% of all injury related deaths are the result of traumatic brain injury.

The difficulty with a traumatic brain injury is that it is an invisible injury. Often, TBI signs do not show up on traditional CT scanning or MRI. It is common for those suffering from a TBI to “pass” commonly used testing like the Glasgow Coma Scale test, and to be misdiagnosed.

Women and girls who enter inpatient rehab facilities with serious addictions or emotional issues need help regaining control over their lives. They are in an extremely vulnerable position, and may even be suicidal. girl-3964270_1920-215x300Unfortunately, the people hired to protect and help them sometimes take advantage of their vulnerability and sexually abuse them. When this happens, the emotional toll can be huge. Women struggling with overwhelming issues now have to contend with being horribly victimized as well. The predators who commit these crimes against vulnerable women and girls deserve serious jail time. At The Collins Law Firm, we believe that the facilities who fail to properly vet staff and monitor their interactions with patients should be held accountable as well. Our sexual assault attorneys can help victims get justice from the institutions who failed to protect them when they were most vulnerable.

The recent sexual assault allegations at Timberline Knolls in Illinois give us a glimpse into how a facility can fail patients and put them at risk of sexual assault. According to news reports, Timberline Knolls waited at least three weeks to contact police after assault allegations surfaced regarding one of their counselors. In addition, the suspect was suspended and then reinstated twice. And despite Timberline’s assertions that the alleged assaults were isolated events, the facility has a reported history of prior incidents, including sex crimes, runaways and missing persons. It would appear that Timberline did not have the proper procedures in place to safeguard the patients in their care. Unfortunately, the allegations at Timberline are not isolated. Our legal experience has shown us that sexual and physical abuse are serious issues for residential treatment facilities.

At first glance many facilities like Timberline Knolls seem like safe havens for desperate families looking for help for their daughters or for women dealing with a crisis, their leafy campuses seemingly bucolic and safe,  but these outward trappings can be deceiving. Often, there is no supervision of staff-patient interactions. Male counselors may have one-on-one counseling sessions with fragile women and underage girls. Safety precautions may be lax, and when allegations surface, the administration often sides with the staff person and fails to take the victim’s complaints seriously. When victims have their allegations dismissed, ignored or flat out disbelieved, they are left without recourse. In other situations, victims are afraid to speak up and so the abuse continues. In every situation, there is an adult abusing the trust of an emotionally fragile person.

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