Articles Posted in Serious Personal Injury

against-the-wind-1548802-1280x960-300x225The holiday season accounts for some of the highest numbers of household fires in the country. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve holidays account for the largest number of household candle fires in the US.

Festive candles, decorative lighting, and heavy-duty cooking during the holiday season provide plenty of opportunities for a quick fire to break out. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, fire stations across the United States responded to an average of 200 home fires each year originating from burning Christmas trees alone. Not all of these fires were completely harmless. Six people died in holiday blazes that originated with tree fires during this period of time.

Electrical lighting was linked to approximately 40% of all Christmas tree fires reported in the United States. Approximately 36% of fires were linked to home candle fires. The Christmas and New Year season also witnessed a large number of household fires linked to cooking-related accidents.

20151220_063516-1-e1513802158175-169x300It’s the season of good cheer and festivities, and very often that involves large get-togethers with family members and friends partaking of massive volumes of delicious food. Sure, you want to be known as the perfect host and want guests to talk about the food and fun at your party for days after, but make sure that you are not sending them off with an unwelcome takeaway gift – food poisoning.

Unfortunately, cases of food poisoning tend to spike around the holiday season, when more foods are prepared, stored and served, very often at inappropriate temperatures. Take basic safety precautions to ensure that your guests and your family enjoy the food you make without needing a trip to the hospital emergency room.

First, follow basic hand hygiene practices during all stages of the cooking process.  Wash your hands thoroughly before and after cooking or handling food, especially poultry, raw fruits and vegetables, and raw eggs.

20161210_190140-300x169From decorating mishaps to shopping accidents – there are any number of ways you can be injured in a fall accident over the holidays. In fact, hospital emergency rooms report that falls are one of the primary reasons why people end up visiting ERs at this time of year. There is more activity in and around the home during the holiday season, and that places people at a higher risk for accidents. Decorating-related falls, for instance, are quite common. Falls from ladders, step stools, and other equipment while trying to hang decorations are a primary cause of holiday ER visits a year.

Children may also be at a higher risk of falls during the holiday season. They are, obviously, excited to receive their gifts and very often, those gifts come with wheels. Remember, when you give a child a tricycle, bicycle, or rollerblades, he is likely to want to test it out it immediately. If you are gifting a set of wheels for your child or grandchild this holiday season, make sure you buy protective equipment to go along with it. Don’t rely on the child’s parents or caregivers to buy protective equipment later. Do the right thing and buy helmets and other protective gear and gift these to the child along with the set of wheels. Remember, a fall off a bicycle can have serious consequences, possibly resulting in serious head injuries.  

Older adults are much more likely to suffer falls when they’re hanging up lights and decorations. Increasing this likelihood is mixing alcohol with decoration responsibilities. A fall is much more likely to occur when you’re trying to balance yourself on a ladder after a few drinks. Also, keep an eye on children who are assisting adults in hanging up decorations.

christmas-lights-1518117-1279x852-300x200It’s not surprising that so many of the injuries that are reported to hospital emergency rooms over the Christmas and New Year’s season every year have to do with decorating. After all, there are many risks associated with the act of hanging up the holiday lights and decking the hall.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there were about 15,000 injuries linked to decorations in 2012. Most injuries were related to lights and trees, but there are a number of other ways that you can be injured while decorating during the holidays.

In order to avoid becoming one of the statistics and requiring a trip to the emergency room this holiday season, keep these important pointers in mind.

firework-828652_1920-300x200Its that time of year again! The 4th of July: The summer holiday that focuses on cooking out, enjoying the evening with family, and celebrating America’s birth with fireworks! All around the country, people are spreading blankets and craning their necks to view breath-taking displays of colorful pyrotechnic artwork. Many others are preparing to host friends and family as they fire off their own display’s in appreciation of our nation’s birthday.

While fireworks when handled properly can yield exciting and wonderful results, they are unpredictable and hazardous as well. Even when handled by highly skilled pyrotechnic experts, fireworks are a threat to those personnel and others in close proximity. Please keep the safety of family and friends in mind as you celebrate this year.

In order to help families have the most possible fun this holiday season, please follow a few safety tips and pointers.

Winter-Weather-300x204It’s hard to live in Indiana in the winter. While this year has been more mild than most, those trapped on Indiana roads in December know that conditions can change in a matter of minutes, making any commute a dangerous proposition.

It is critical that Indiana drivers prepare themselves for the sudden changes that winter can bring. A number of good safety tips can help make you and your loved ones safe while traveling on Indiana highways and byways over the next couple of months.

For instance, ensuring that your car is in good working order can reduce the possibility of being stranded on the side of the road. Winter temperatures that fall well below freezing are hard on batteries, belts and hoses. Have your car inspected, the battery tested, and make sure that all the fluids filled.  A full reservoir of windshield washer fluid can ensure that your visibility is at its best when driving in slushy, wet road conditions. If your tires are worn out, you will have limited control over your vehicle if the roads are covered in ice or snow. Having tires with a good tread is critical to safe driving.

car seatIndiana’s safety regulations, including its child car seat laws, help protect the lives of children involved in car accidents every year. According to a new study, there are wide differences in crash death rates among child passengers across the United States, and state regulations governing child safety are a major reason for this disparity.

A study by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston was conducted when researchers went through government data from between 2007 and 2014. The data revealed that fatality rates for children were several times higher in some parts of the country. For instance, researchers discovered that Mississippi experienced a child fatality rate of 3.2 for every 100,000 accidents, and that rate dropped to as low as .25 fatalities for every 100,000 children in a state like Massachusetts.

Why is there such a wide disparity in the number of children killed in traffic accidents across the United States? The researchers believe that it has much to do with the safety regulations that are in place in these states. Regulations that involve not just child car safety seat use or child restraint use, but also red light camera use and other safety policies have a significant impact on the likelihood that child passengers will survive accidents. For example, fatality rates were highest in those states that had larger percentages of children riding in cars without child restraints or without being safety buckled in or in child car safety seats. Child fatality rates also seemed to be much higher in those states in which most of the accidents occurred on rural roads. 

body-116585_1280Doctors often recommend implantable cardiac defibrillators for persons who suffer from cardiac irregularities, including cardiac arrhythmia. However, a new study finds that these implants are linked to an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

The study finds that persons who have these cardiac devices implanted run a 51% higher chance of being involved in a car accident, compared to people of a similar age who are not implanted with such devices.

This is not the first time that a study has pointed to the possible increased accident risks associated with people who have implantable cardiac devices. Other studies have also shared similar concerns. In one such study, researchers speculated that the devices could be linked to a higher risk of accidents either because of an episode of cardiac arrhythmia while driving, and/or the start of the device while driving.

bus-878697_1920A beloved Indianapolis elementary school principle was killed last year when one of the school’s buses struck her. She was noted as a hero as she saved several children by pushing them to safety but was unable to save herself. Investigations revealed that the bus did not have the parking break engaged, which allowed the vehicle to learch forward with tragic results.

While this appears to be a rare event that received many headlines, the Department of Transportation reports that on average each year, 135 people die as a result of school transportation related injuries. Of those, 21% were pedestrians, as in the one mentioned above. As Indiana’s children return to school, it is critical that they are aware of traffic safety and of the dangers of school buses. For instance, nearly half of the pedestrian injuries which are a part of the DOT report, occur in the morning hours, when it is often dark in some parts of the country. This is certainly true in Indiana where children often walk to school before daylight in the late fall, winter and spring.

In addition, many people are not at their best in the early morning. They may not be fully awake and are less likely to pay attention to their surroundings. This is true of both the children walking to school or getting off the bus, as well as the drivers who cause the injuries.

001338.SparklerWe’ve written extensively about the importance of fireworks safety. It’s of critical concern this time of year. Adults and children both enjoy the beautiful colors and large explosions. It adds drama and excitement to our nation’s birthday celebration. Created over 2000 years ago, fireworks have become ubiquitous during celebrations of all sorts, from New Years to the end of a baseball game. No where are they more familiar than in the Independence Day celebrations across the nation.

Representing the “rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” from Francis Scott Key’s national anthem many fireworks shows feature amazing displays.

Even in the hands of highly trained professionals, the use of fireworks is a dangerous and risky proposition. For those yearly armatures who purchase highly explosive entertainment and fail to take the proper precautions, the risks of injury escalates dramatically.