Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Roanoke Personal Injury Law Blog

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Why aren’t safety systems helping motorcyclists?

Particularly when you ride your motorcycle on Virginia highways, you hope that the people in the cars and trucks around you are doing a head check to look for you before changing lanes. Ideally, you can avoid a sideswipe accident by staying out of motorists’ blind spots, but in real life, traffic does not always allow you to take advantage of this defensive riding technique. According to RideApart.com, blind spot technology that should keep you safe from careless drivers may actually increase your risk of a motorcycle crash.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety performs rigorous studies and tests on new technology to make sure it performs the way it should. When researchers evaluated the effectiveness of blind spot warning systems, they discovered some surprising issues that are particularly relevant for you when you are on your motorcycle:

  • Drivers who rely on the technology are even less likely to do a mirror and head check, increasing their chances of running into you.
  • Some systems do not identify anything in vehicle blind spots until it is too late to prevent a crash.
  • When vehicles are driving at highway speeds, the technology does not work well.
  • Constant alerts from various safety systems often irritate and distract drivers rather than helping them identify hazards.

Assessing car-truck crashes and identifying risk factors

Motor vehicle crash statistics gathered from law enforcement reports and other sources are used to determine causation, and develop strategies to lower the number of injuries and fatalities each year. Federal and Virginia lawmakers have spent significant time over the past several decades reviewing this data as it relates to large trucks, and drafting laws that attempt to curtail the dangers associated with large commercial vehicles.

For 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in Virginia, there were 70 fatalities involving a large truck, and only 19 of these deaths were drivers or passengers in the trucks. Even though truck drivers do not have nearly the same risk as their counterparts in smaller vehicles, research indicates that they are frequently not to blame for the crashes.

Making a difference in your teen’s driving skills

If your teen has completed a driver’s education course in Virginia, you may feel more confident about his or her abilities behind the wheel. While it is true that these training programs provide some experience on the road, as well as instruction about traffic laws, this is not enough to prevent many of the common behaviors that could lead to a motor vehicle accident involving your teen. At Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., we encourage parents to go the extra mile to lower their young drivers’ risks of suffering an injury or fatality on the road.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides you with information on the top reasons that teens crash, and how you can combat these. Regardless of the danger in question, being a good example for your teen when you are behind the wheel helps. This includes always wearing your seat belt and making everyone else in the vehicle buckle up every time. If your teen is in a crash, his or her chances of a serious or fatal injury is decreased by half. You should also never drink and drive, or use a cellphone or other electronic device while behind the wheel, and instruct your teen to follow your lead.

Are you at risk for a health care-associated infection?

A health care-associated infection (HAI) is one that occurs in a patient in a health care facility, generally a hospital, that is not associated with the admitted diagnosis or health issue. The time frame is typically described as acquiring an infection 48 hours after hospital admittance.

When a high school athlete has a concussion

Playing high school sports in Virginia provides your teen with the opportunity to learn teamwork and discipline, and typically also improves overall health and fitness. However, the risks for injury are always present. At Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law, we often see devastating results from head injuries to children and teens.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital warns that even a mild concussion causes brain damage. This makes it essential for you and your teen’s coaches to be aware of any accidents and watch carefully for signs and symptoms in the hours and days following. Every coach has the responsibility to report any event to you.

On the road: Conditions that threaten motorcycle safety

Road conditions in Virginia that may be perfectly safe for commercial and passenger vehicles could pose serious risks to motorcyclists. While avoiding these altogether may be an option sometimes, anyone who is operating a motorcycle should know what to do when faced with less than favorable road surfaces. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, riders should plan ahead and check routes for construction or other potential dangerous road conditions. In these areas, hazard signs should be posted, and riders should be familiar with their meanings.

When there are uneven surfaces such as bridge expansion joints or open joints, the rider may be at risk for losing traction due to the bump on the surface of the bridge, particularly if it is wet. A motorcycle operator may also have difficulty controlling the bike if part of the pavement has been removed as preparation for resurfacing. The rough texture is likely to create traction difficulties, as is gravel or debris in the road.

New medication error study published

Among the many types of medical mistakes that Virginia patients may need to be on the lookout for are those involving medications. Data from the Institute of Medicine suggests that every year in the United States there are 1.5 million preventable mistakes involving medications. Other data indicates as many as 98,000 people die from these errors each year.

This is the type of information that was part of the motivation for a study conducted at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The study used information about 1,276 drug errors spanning five different hospitals over the course of two and a half years. Perhaps not surprisingly to some people, it was surgical units in which the greatest number of the errors occured. Over 30 percent of all mistakes researched happened there. Another 14.7 percent of the errors were found to have happened in intensive care units.

Truck hits car head-on, killing three

When driving down any road in Virginia, people in passenger vehicles can understandably feel vulnerable when coming upon large semi trucks and other types of commercial vehicles. The size and weight differential between tractor trailers and cars, pickup trucks and other vehicles can make a bit difference in the outcome of an accident between them.

On a recent Monday, in the middle of the morning, a truck driver failed to negotiate a bend in the road and went into the oncoming lane of traffic, hitting a car head-on. Three people in the Honda car died in the wreck leaving a family left to grieve the death of the married couple and the wife's mother in one fell swoop. The bend in the road came on a descent along a stretch of Route 15 not far from the boundary line between Buckingham County and Fulvanna County. While the three car occupants died, the trucker walked away with only minor injuries.

3 reasons to consider legal action after a serious crash

In the aftermath of a serious car accident, your head can be spinning from all the chaos. Between the damage to your car, your injuries and the number of people who may be on the scene asking you questions, it can be way too much to take in. 

By the time things have calmed down, your injuries have been treated and you've had some time and space to get clarity, you may be just be ready to move forward. You might get a settlement offer from insurance companies and decide to accept it and try to put the whole incident behind you. However, this could prove to be a costly mistake for a few reasons.

Effects of concussions can linger on long after injury

There may be no more traumatic type of injury than one affecting the brain. These injuries can have a devastating impact on victims, and often their lives are never the same. 

For instance, many people who suffer a concussion experience post-concussive symptoms that continue to affect them even after the primary injury has healed. Treating these secondary symptoms can be extremely difficult and sometimes this process, too, is life changing.

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