Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fault in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents

Serious injuries or fatalities may occur when motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians take place, and around 5,000 pedestrians die yearly due to auto accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. When a crash in California injures or kills a pedestrian, a victim or family members may be able to recover damages when the negligence of someone else caused the collision.

Negligence refers to a failure to protect oneself or others from potential risks, and this occurs when one does not exercise the same amount of care a reasonable person would in a similar situation. For example, a drunk driver getting behind the wheel with the knowledge of its illegality may constitute as negligence. In pedestrian-vehicle accidents, drivers and pedestrians are expected to exercise care.

When using a reasonable amount of care, drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. Actions that might make a driver negligent include speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks or failing to signal while turning. A pedestrian must also follow the rules of the road and engage in safe behavior. A pedestrian might commit contributory negligence when darting into or disrupting traffic, not using marked crosswalks or ignoring signals at an intersection. A pedestrian might not win compensation when his or her own actions contributed to receiving injuries.

While the injuries a pedestrian received in a motor vehicle accident might be evident, a plaintiff or an attorney also needs to show that a driver’s actions caused the injury and that the actions breached a duty to exercise care. Evidence like witness statements, cellphone records or toxicology tests might help prove that a driver acted negligently at the time of a crash.

E-cigarette explodes, burns man’s face

According to reports, a California man suffered burns to his face when an e-cigarette at his place of employment exploded, causing him injury. The accident reportedly occurred on Feb. 8 at the Stage Stop Liquor Store in Ramona where the man worked.

Reportedly, the cigarette exploded, cutting the man’s face and breaking a glass display at the store. The man required hospitalization for treatment of his burns and cuts. He was listed in critical condition following the incident. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the e-cigarette to explode. The man was receiving treatment at the UC San Diego Medical Center’s burn unit.

According to a representative from the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, there have been at least 12 such explosions involving electronic cigarettes since 2007. According to the representative, however, none have caused such catastrophic injury and damage. Two incidents aboard aircraft have led to the Federal Aviation Administration’s issuance of a warning regarding e-cigarettes in luggage. In both incidents, one in Boston and one in Los Angeles, exploding e-cigarettes in luggage caused fires. In the Boston incident, the fire occurred in the cargo hold of the aircraft, prompting evacuation of a plane. In the Los Angeles case, an e-cigarette caused a fire in the baggage claim area at Los Angeles International Airport.

People who are severely burned in an accident may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their losses and the pain they have suffered by filing civil lawsuits. In this man’s case, in the event the e-cigarette that exploded is determined to be defective, he may want to file a personal injury lawsuit based on a products liability theory against the manufacturer of the e-cigarette. Because he was at work, he may also be able to file for benefits through his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Source: FOX 5, “E-cigarette explodes in man’s face”, Feb. 9, 2015

The effects of spinal cord injury on the gastrointestinal tract

Spinal cord injuries can be the result of slips and falls, birth defects or car accidents. California residents may benefit form learning more about the long-term complications that acute or chronic injuries to the spinal cord could have. One of these complications is gastrointestinal tract dysfunction.

After a chronic spinal cord injury, the flexibility and motility of the large intestine decreases. Colonic motility is the mixing of food back and forth in the colon and the contracting of the muscle that brings on the urge to have a bowel movement. Electromyographic studies, which assess the health of colonic muscles and the nerves controlling those muscles, show that people with spinal cord injuries have more colonic myoelectrical activity.

As patients with spinal cord injuries age, complications related to gastrointestinal tract dysfunction become more numerous. According to Medscape, 20 percent of spinal cord injury patients develop bowel evacuation problems, 43 percent experience excessively high blood pressure associated with the gastrointestinal tract, 43 percent develop abdominal distention and 74 percent develop hemorrhoids.

The ability to manage neurogenic bowel incontinence, which is the inability of the nervous system to control bowel movements, has the potential to change as patients gain weight or age. Bowel dysfunction occurs most often in patients who have had spinal cord injuries for at least five years. Patients age 60 or older have even more gastrointestinal complications, as do those who have had spinal cord injuries for at least 30 years. Colorectal cancer occurs in these patients more often than others.

People who suffer spinal cord injuries due to the negligence of other people or entities might be able to secure fair compensation for the immediate and future complications from which they suffer. Personal injury lawyers could help these people protect their rights throughout their cases.

Source: Medscape, “Gastrointestinal Changes in Spinal Cord Injury,” Terry Winkler, Sept. 10, 2014

Traumatic brain injuries in California

Researchers have discovered that an innovative eye-tracking technology can be used to detect the presence of concussions in patients who have suffered head trauma. The device detects abnormal eye movements and can quantify the severity of a head injury when patients seek medical care in an emergency department after receiving a blow to the head. It has been shown that approximately 90 percent of patients who have endured significant hits to their heads will present with abnormal ocular movements.

Patients who have experienced head trauma are often subjected to CT scans and MRIs that are effective tools for diagnosing intracranial bleeds and brain swelling but are not accurate devices for measuring concussions. Traditionally, concussions have been diagnosed by evaluating subjective reporting from the patient and assessing their symptoms. The severity of a concussion can often be difficult to determine.

Traumatic brain injuries are very common, and the new eye-tracking device allows physicians to diagnose concussions and their severity quickly and accurately. According to an online report, the tool will be able to detect abnormal eye function in patients who are non-verbal or unable to communicate, and the new technology allows medical practitioners to conduct follow-up examinations with the device and track the brain’s healing process.

Many individuals experience traumatic brain injuries after being involved in a car accident, during contact sports and from other accidents. If patients are injured because of the negligence of other drivers or responsible parties and suffer head trauma, they may be able to receive compensation for their losses by filing a liability suit with a personal injury lawyer.

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