Articles Posted in Serious Personal Injury

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.

Memorial Day PicThe Memorial Day Holiday is the national holiday dedicated to remembering those who have served and gave the greatest sacrifice for our nation’s security. It’s timing at the end of May also establishes it as the holiday that represents the official beginning of summer.

While many will honor their fallen warriors with flying flags and flowers on graves, most American’s celebrate by listening to the Indianapolis 500, taking advantage of newly opened community swimming pools, enjoying family cookouts, and camping.

It is also a time when those warm weather activities can result in increased risk for serious personal injury. In a press release from 2003, the CDC outlines those summertime activities that pose the greatest risk to participants as the “pursue summertime fitness and fun”. Those risks include increased exposure to sun and heat, an increased risk of danger in and near water, and the importance of food safety.

slip and fall cautionWith its location in one of the colder regions of the country, Indiana often sees heavy snowfall and ice accumulation during winter. Public places that see such collections of snow and ice may be magnets for falls and when an accident does occur, complex issues of liability may arise.

When a fall accident involves snow or ice around a public place in Indiana, the issue of who is liable for your injuries is not always clear-cut. Should you sustain injuries as a result of a fall outside a local grocery store, you may have the right to go ahead and file a claim against the owner of the grocery store or supermarket, but it’s important to discuss the matter with an attorney who will help evaluate all the issues of liability and whether the store owner is accountable for your injuries.

Issues of accumulation, timing of snowfall and ice buildup, the path you choose to take across the property, and conditions all factor into a possible claim. Overall, your case will depend on your ability to prove that the property owner was aware of the hazard on his property, and failed to remove it in a timely manner or warn consumers about it appropriately.

2015 Holiday SafetyChristmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and New Years are all special holidays on the calendar.  They are opportunities for families and friends to gather together and enjoy the warm glow of love and laughter.

However, there is a darker side to the celebration of light that few people talk about.  The months of November and December see nearly 15,000 emergency room visits for those who have been injured by electrical shock, falling off roofs and ladders, and injuries due to broken glass ornaments.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that these accidents may be funny in the movies but can be deadly serious for your family members.

Falls, lacerations, and fires top the list of holiday-related injuries and should be taken seriously.  Better yet, they should be avoided at all costs.

The National Safety Council has one again posted its guide for a safe and happy holiday season.  Some of the advice seems quite obvious but is frequently ignored.  The the NSC breaks the dangers into four major areas: Decoration Safety, Ladder Safety, Food Safety, and Vehicle Prep and Safety.

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2015 thanksgiving dinnerAll the attorneys and staff at the law offices of Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP, want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

We trust that the time you spend with family and friends will be filled with joy and a celebration of all that is good. Take the time to be thankful for all you’ve accomplished and those in your life who mean so much.