Crosswalk Tragedies: Pedestrian Crashes in Wisconsin

When it comes to injury accidents, few are as devastating as collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. The sheer velocity of a traveling car coupled with its significant weight can cause serious injuries or death in an instant. Collisions between cars and pedestrians are unfortunately not uncommon in Wisconsin, and although the statistics are not updated, the numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation indicate that in 2001, one pedestrian was killed every five hours and twelve minutes in the state.

When you think about it, there is no reason for these accidents to ever occur. Everyone is aware that pedestrians have the right of way in any crosswalk and drivers should be constantly vigilant behind the wheel, looking out for people on sidewalks, crosswalks, and other places where pedestrians are common. Speed is often a factor in these collisions as well, and when drivers fail to observe the posted speed limit, accidents are bound to happen.

The study by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation highlights two specific groups that have a higher likelihood of being seriously injured or killed as pedestrians: the elderly and children. Older pedestrians showed the highest fatality rate as pedestrians on Wisconsin roadways, often because their age prohibits them from moving quickly when crossing the street, and other contributing age-related factors like diminished eyesight and hearing problems, that may make it difficult for them to see oncoming traffic before it is too late.

Children, on the other hand, are also a high-risk group. Ages 5-9 showed the highest rate of injury due to their “limited understanding of traffic laws and little sense of danger” according to the Wisconsindot.gov website. In addition, children often cannot judge the speed or distance of an oncoming vehicle, do not know that vehicles cannot stop as fast as pedestrians, and have a full third less peripheral vision than adults do. When all of these elements are factored in, it is not difficult to see why children and vehicles are a deadly mix.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every driver on Wisconsin roadways to watch for children and elderly people on the road and do everything possible to avoid collisions. If a driver fails to stop in time and a pedestrian is killed on accident, they may face criminal prosecution (if the person was intoxicated at the time of the crash or was speeding) or may face civil actions like a personal injury lawsuit. These actions can have a serious impact on the driver and the family of the victim alike. Families of those hurt or killed in an accident may contact an attorney to fight for compensation including funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost wages or loss of companionship, and other monetary costs associated with the tragic accident.

It is part of a social contract we share with each other: we will operate our vehicles responsibly and will do all that we can to prevent injury to others. If we fail to do so, especially around pedestrians, serious injuries can occur and everyone’s life will be affected. So watch out for pedestrians, and let’s make sure to take care of one another on the road.

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Dangerous Conditions on the Road are often the Cause of Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has never ceased in creating and implementing programs and designing educational campaigns that will continuously remind drivers of the necessity of observing road safety rules to keep accidents minor and at a minimum. This is because no less than 90% of the more than five million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. (every year) are due to driver’s fault, like speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, which is the number one cause of car accidents, and distracted driving, which greatly involves teenage and young adult drivers. This, somehow, points to the alarming possibility that, no matter how careful one may drive, if another driver acts negligently or carelessly, then an accident may just occur.

Drivers, however, are not the only ones guilty of acts of negligence, for there are also factors or other causes of accidents that are outside of a driver’s control. These include cars with manufacturing defects or low-quality car parts, and defective roads and highways. Often, these other factors present greater dangers for these may not be immediately obvious, being discovered only after having caused tragic road mishaps. 

According to the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD, dangerous conditions on the road are often responsible for accidents. They may be the fault of the state or a municipality responsible for road design, maintenance, and signage, a construction company that has left the pavement littered with obstacles or debris, or a truck that has left blown out tire treads or fallen cargo on the pavement. These are some of the more common road conditions that cause highway accidents:

  • Faulty road design
  • Hazardous road construction area
  • Objects or debris on the road
  • Potholes or cracked, uneven pavement
  • Lack of a level shoulder
  • Missing guardrails
  • Standing water
  • Detached tire treads
  • Snow and ice, especially black ice
  • Lack of lane dividers or pavement markings, especially on winding roads

The dangerous effects of a defectively-designed highway or a poorly-maintained street is definitely more extensive than car manufacturing defects as the former directly affects more (if not all) motorists. States, municipalities and cities are the ones responsible in the construction and maintenance of roads. States, however, have immunity from any form of liability (despite injuries during an accident), which is based on the rule that, so long as they follow approved construction plans, then they are exempt from paying any claims by an accident victim.

The chance of a victim in winning the court’s approval to claim for damages, therefore, depends on the ability and competence of the personal injury lawyer, on whom rests the burden to prove that the risk of accident should have been foreseen or discovered by the state. Personal injury lawyers know very well how important it is for victims to hold those who cause accidents liable for their injuries.

 

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DUI: Continuously Challenging Laws in the U.S.

DUI: Continuously Challenging Laws in the U.S.

For Americans, impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or both, is a major traffic offense due to the great risks this put other motorists and pedestrians in. In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 10,322 individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol- impaired drivers. Two years prior to this, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested after they were found intoxicated either by alcohol or illegal drugs.

The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in all U.S. states is 0.08%, while for drivers below the age of 21, a “No Tolerance” policy is imposed (this policy mandates that no traces of alcohol should be found in their blood system while they are driving). This strict policy on the young, especially, teen drivers is due to the fact that alcohol or drug intoxication is the leading cause of death among them. Punishments for violators are fines, jail term and suspension of license.

Federal and state authorities are now more aggressive in catching drunk drivers, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunk-driving, like driving too slowly, swerving, braking erratically, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. To apprehend alcohol-impaired drivers before they end up causing injurious or fatal accidents.

A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor. A charge, however, can be raised to felony if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, or if his/her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit. In some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge).

A DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, punishments for a DUI felony include:

  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition interlock;
  • Administrative license suspension (ALS). This 90 – 180 days suspension of license limits a person’s driving privileges to/from work; and,
  • Open container law

Many of those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), according to a Lake Murray DUI lawyer, “claim that they have only had a few drinks or that they are not intoxicated, despite what a breathalyzer test says. These excuses, however, do not often hold up in a court of law.

Alcohol-related charges have serious consequences, and a conviction for a DUI crime can dramatically affect a person for the rest of his/her life. Thus, anyone who has been charged with a DUI may find it wise to call a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to start preparing a valid legal defense that will save him/her from more legal problems.”

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There is a Connection Between Football and Head Trauma, specifically, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Very recently, National Football League’s (NFL’s) senior vice president of healthy and safety admitted to a member of a U.S. congressional committee the connection between football and head trauma, specifically, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can lead to memory loss, dementia and depression. This admission is based on a study conducted by Boston University, which has found traces of CTE in 90 out of 94 deceased players it has examined. (CTE, which was found in military veterans, those with a history of repetitive brain trauma and athletes, especially boxers, requires proof of degeneration of brain tissue and deposits of tau proteins and other proteins in the brain. Due to this, it can only be seen or detected through study of the brain after death or through autopsy).

The NFL and professional football players themselves know and acknowledge risk of musculoskeletal disorders/injuries (or MSDs, such as injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels) . With regard to CTE, however, the league, for so long, denied any possible link between football and this chronic brain disorder.

MSDs include:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Torn Meniscus, which are knee injuries;
  • Muscle contusions, which usually affects the thigh;
  • Shoulder tendinitis, which is due to the repetitive motion of throwing;
  • Shoulder separation or dislocation, which is due to a direct blow below the shoulder;
  • Ankle sprains and strains, which is probably the most common sports injury; and,
  • Torn hamstrings

In its website, the law firm Ali Mokaram says, “In the opinion of an increasing number of scientists, NFL players are paying the cost of such entertainment with their health and long-term well-being. Once their playing careers have ended, many NFL players find that the physical toll that playing professional football has taken on their bodies makes them unable to live a productive, healthy life. Some of these injuries include physical pain from broken bones and joint injuries, but increasing evidence shows that many professional athletes also have suffered degenerative brain disease from repeated concussions as a result of playing in the league.”

As long as football will involve very strong and heavy players running into each other at full speed (but how can it be otherwise?), it will remain to be a dangerous and violent game. Though there are safety protocols and rules in place to prevent head injuries, many of these are arbitrarily enforced by referees and team trainers alike. Often responsible parties will take negligent action in order to further the entertainment value of football games. Players frequently feel forced to perform despite incurring severe head injuries in order to retain their professional careers and fans, who are never aware of NFL concussion dangers, which include chronic brain damage, irrecoverable body impairment, brain damage, chronic headaches, impaired concentration and memory, and reduced life span.

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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Trucks are some of the biggest and heaviest vehicles on the road. For that reason alone, trucks are devastating when involved in traffic accidents. Their mere size and weight is enough to seriously injure or kill someone. It becomes worse if that someone is an innocent motorist or passer by. According to the website of New Jersey truck accident lawyers, such incidents may be subject to legal action, especially if there is proof of the truck’s recklessness and negligence.

Driver Error

Many truck accidents are caused by the truck drivers themselves, mainly because of reckless and negligent tendencies such as distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fatigue, inattention, speeding, and utter disregard of traffic rules and safety precautions.

Mechanical Defects

Even diligent truck drivers may be involved in truck accidents because of unexpected circumstances like sudden mechanical defects and malfunctions. Many of these are design and manufacturer errors, like brake defects and tire blowouts. But these things can also happen because of the fault of the truck driver or the truck company. For instance, poor maintenance of the brakes and tires may result to wear and tear.

Improper Trailer Loading

The majority of the truck’s weight is more often in the trailer, so it is very susceptible to malfunctions as well, especially if the cargo is not loaded properly or the trailer is overloaded. The trailer will have the tendency to tip or jackknife. Overloading can also cause tire blowouts, because of the tires not being able to support the weight of the trailer.

Weather and Road Conditions

Another external factor that may cause truck accidents is the weather condition, like how rain and snow may make the road more slippery and how fog can affect visibility. The condition of the road should also be taken into consideration, regardless of weather. Narrow lanes, sharp curves, and unpaved roads are just some of the hazards truckers need to look out for.

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Medical Malpractice: The Dangers of Defective Hip Implants

Technology has done a lot in advancing the field of medicine. Today, the pharmaceutical industry continues to succeed in providing patients with treatment options that would not have been available just a few decades ago.

Among such revolutionary treatment options is the use of synthetic, state-of-the-art implants meant for supporting or replacing biological structures inside the body to help with its continued function. For example, the use of hip implants allows arthritis patients the opportunity to experience great pain relief and mobility that would otherwise be impaired due to the damage in their hip joints. As such, the innovations of pharmaceutical companies like Stryker and DePuy that are responsible for such implants have long been welcomed by the medical community with enthusiastic feedback.

Unfortunately, despite the perceived benefit brought about by these implants, there seems to be significant evidence that certain types of hip implants prove detrimental to patient health. As noted by Russo, Russo & Slania, both Stryker and DePuy have been forced to recall their hip implants due to the fact that the devices were found to have seriously injured a significant number of patients. Take Stryker’s line of Rejuvenate and ABG II implants—first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In recent years, developments in research show that these Stryker implants that made use of metal-on-metal components could cause to metallosis, which could then lead to tissue necrosis.

When medical devices meant to help patients later prove to be defective, doctors will have to undo the damage by putting their patients through another round of surgeries. This translates to a longer recover time for patients and addition medical expenses. Patients that have been implanted with defective devices end up suffering more than they have to and usually feel like they have no other option but to bear these added burdens.

What most of these patients don’t know is that they have legal options that could help alleviate the many problems caused by defective hip implants. Patients going through this same ordeal have the option to seek legal counsel and pursue just compensation.

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Truck Accidents due to’ Negligent Hiring

On August 1, 2006, a minivan, which had four occupants, a woman, her mother, and her two sons – one was 15 months old, while the other was 3 years old – was caught in traffic congestion on Interstate 80. The minivan slowed down behind a flat-bed truck. Unknown to the woman driving the van was a fast approaching three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer. The semi-trailer failed to stop on time, rear-ended the van, crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it to be engulfed in fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not anyone among those that occupied the minivan.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. Compared to car accidents, truck accidents may be fewer, however, its results are always more destructive and tragic due to their huge size.

Because of the major contribution trucks make in the country’s economy, drivers of smaller vehicles will just have to get used to sharing the road with these huge vehicles. To help lessen the fear of so many other motorists from driving alongside trucks, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers are allowed to operate these. Laws, like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower level of blood alcohol concentration (0.04%), strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road, have also been passed with the aim of ensuring the safety operation of trucks .

Despite the enforcement of trucking laws, however, many employers manage to require their drivers to be on the road longer than the maximum number of hours of service. Many are even able to hire drivers who do not possess the required skill, fail to train drivers about safe operation of trucks, as well as fail to impose disciplinary actions on drivers who commit traffic violations, especially DUI.

Hiring a driver with a bad driving record or keeping a driver despite repeated traffic violations is an act of negligent hiring – a major offense committed by employers who only intend to earn, while compromising the safety of many others, even of their own driver. According to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., this is one example of careless employer act to which the liable employer can be held totally responsible and for which he or she can be required to answer in court to face any lawsuit filed by his or her victim/s.

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Hazards of driving a truck aggressively

When semitrailer truck drivers become aggressive behind the wheels, many people on the road are at high risk of suffering serious injuries in accidents. People who have been injured in accidents caused by aggressive truck drivers may pursue damage claims for them to possibly recover their financial loss, according to the website of Ausband & Dumont.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a driver as aggressive when he or she “commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” In the U.S. alone, aggressive driving is considered to be one of the serious problems on the road. Truck drivers are trained and required to always practice safety precautions during operations. However, there are situations when heavy truck drivers become aggressive and operate the truck with unusual high speed rate. In Georgia trucks are required to have a speed limit of 65 mph on access roads, 55 mph on urban interstates and 70 mph on rural interstates. Truckers are required to pay fine upon excessive speeding conviction in the state.

Due to its enormous size and weight, catastrophic accident often is the aftermath of speeding heavy trucks. Families whose loved ones become victims of truck accidents caused by an aggressive speeding driver are left dealing with great financial loss. A simple funeral service is often expensive. A person who was seriously injured in such accidents may require series of medical treatments and prolonged therapy sessions to recover from his or her injuries. Though some of truck accident victims fortunately recover from their injuries, they are no longer capable of doing any kind of work for them to earn a living. At some point, trucking companies can also be liable if their drivers became aggressive and caused injuries to people when involved in accidents. Trucking companies are required by federal and state laws to follow standards in hiring drivers.

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Asthma: Know The Causes And Triggers

In 2007, asthma was associated with 3,447 deaths in the country, or approximately 9 per day. Unfortunately, the number of people living with this chronic lung condition continuously rises every year. One factor that affects the country’s asthma rates is the failure of some automotive companies to ensure that their vehicles meet the country’s emissions standards. In fact, an article on the website of The Driscoll Firm says that Volkswagen intentionally sold vehicles equipped with special software to cheat on emissions test.

Asthma occurs when the air passages become inflamed and produce extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult, and may also result in pain and tightness of chest. Apart from these, other symptoms may include coughing, difficulty getting sleep because of coughing and shortness of breath, and wheezing, especially when exhaling. How asthma affects your life depends mainly on its severity. For some with asthma attacks that are more frequent and serious, their daily activities can be profoundly affected.

There are many possible causes of asthma. Apart from vehicle emissions and other air pollutants, here are the other risk factors that may trigger an attack:

  • Family history of asthma
  • Strenuous physical activities
  • Air that is too cold or too humid
  • Mother who smoked while pregnant
  • Some medications (aspirin, beta blockers etc.)
  • Some preservatives and additives
  • Obesity
  • Smoking (or exposure to second hand smoke)
  • Allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites and mold
  • For women, menstrual cycle

An asthma attack can interfere with your day-to-day activities. So, before it could affect your day, be sure to identify first what triggers your asthma attack. Are you having an attack during the pollen season? Can a humid air trigger an attack? Does your asthma attack after eating a certain type of food? Write down all the possible triggers. Once you know them, you’ll be able to learn how to avoid them.

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No Zone Areas

Every day, millions of drivers share the road with large trucks and buses. Accidents involving vehicles of such size can result in severe injuries and often death. Therefore, truck companies are required to take extra precautions when regulating their drivers on the road. Part of these precautions includes establishing “no zones.” No zones are dangerous areas around trucks or large buses where accidents are more likely to occur. In some cases, “no zones” are similar to the average car’s “blind spots” or areas in which the driver of a particular vehicle cannot see cars that have come close to them at a particular angle. Because of this decreased visibility, “no zones” are areas in which drivers on all sides should be extra cautious and do their best to avoid.

Louisville personal injury lawyers are commonly aware that a truck’s “no zone” includes: “a shallow space just in front of the truck, a tapering area behind the truck, a shallow area on the driver’s side of the truck and a large area on the passenger’s side of the truck.”

Drivers of smaller vehicles should avoid lingering in these “no zones” to reduce the risk to themselves and drivers in surrounding vehicles. Truck companies should require that their drivers are properly trained to be aware every time a vehicle enters a “no zone” so that they can make sure that vehicle moves to a safe area before attempting to turn or to change lanes.

Navigating “no zones,” and sharing crowded highways with large vehicles in general, is a high risk situation in which all drivers must hold themselves accountable for their safety and the safety of others. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these situations, accidents often occur. Should you find yourself in an accident involving the “no zone” of a truck or large vehicle, you may be entitled to damages.

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