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Drive Safely This Thanksgiving Holiday: Tips to Keep Your Family From Danger as You Travel

November 25th, 2014 by admin

This week, despite the cold, stormy weather expected all around the nation, lots of families in Indiana and Illinois will be bundling up the kids and packing up the vehicles to drive across town, or across the state or country, to spend Thanksgiving this Thursday with loved ones. Sadly, for some folk in the United States, there will be the unexpected tragedy of traffic accidents and serious injuries resulting from car accidents on the roads — it’s a statistical reality.

For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012, there were 416 deaths in traffic accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of these fatalities were attributed to failure to use seat belts (60% of passenger car and light truck occupants) and surprising to no one, drunk driving caused many of this holiday statistics (42%).




Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling this Thanksgiving Holiday

Here are several things that we all can do for ourselves and our families to keep everyone safe from harm and free to enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Wear Your Seat Belts

Everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up; this is especially true for the children.

2. Kids Under 13 Years Old Not in Front Seat

Keep smaller children in the back seat, where they are safer in the event of a crash.

3. Don’t Use Your Phone While Driving

Distracted driving (text, handheld, hands-free) can cause crashes even in the best weather conditions. Put your phone in the glove box if it helps keep you away from the temptation to text or talk.

4. Get Your Car Checked Before You Head Out

Make sure that your car is in good working order before you start your trip. Are your tires properly inflated? Are they still within the age limits of the car maker’s recommendations (old tires can kill). Do you have any car recall issues?

5. Prepare for Bad Weather

Know your route and the weather forecasts. If you are going to be driving through road hazards like snow or rain or sleet, then give yourself extra time to get there. Have emergency items ready if needed: things like flares and flashlights, snacks, water, and blankets are vital if you are stuck or stranded on the road.

Tracy Morgan Case: The TBI Victim’s Long, Hard Fight for Justice

November 20th, 2014 by admin

Justice has yet to reach comedian Tracy Morgan, who was seriously injured in a crash where his limo van was destroyed when a Walmart semi truck slammed into it several months ago.   Accidents between these big rigs and any other type of vehicle often result in serious injuries or wrongful death of the passengers in the smaller car, and in Mr. Morgan’s accident he was lucky to survive as one of his buddies in the car perished from injuries sustained in the crash.

Image: Alex Erde, Wikimedia Commons

One thing is clear in this case.  Tracy Morgan was seriously hurt in the accident; it doesn’t appear that anyone is challenging the extent of his injuries at this point.

Still, Walmart has not settled this case with Mr. Morgan.

Tracy Morgan Burdened With Legal Fight

Instead, the personal injury case is proceeding in a courtroom  and the “discovery” process is moving forward.  Recently, there were news stories covering a status conference held before the judge regarding the case. Both lawyers for Walmart as well as lawyers for Mr. Morgan were present.  Sadly, Tracy Morgan was not.

Attorneys for Mr. Morgan told the judge that Tracy Morgan has sustained serious, traumatic brain injuries and was unable to come before the court. They also told the judge that it is not known how long his recovery will take.

No one knows how much brain function will be recovered at this point, and how much of a permanent loss of function may result.   This is part of the tragic nightmare with which every traumatic brain injury victim (and their loved ones) must cope.

Walmart Continues to Fight Against Liability for Tracy Morgan’s Injuries

So, Walmart continues to fight against the injury claims advanced by Tracy Morgan — a stance that is not uncommon by big money defendants who face a huge financial hit after an accident like this one.

They are doing what most of these defendants and their insurance defense lawyers think is sound defense strategy: fighting against the plaintiff’s claims with every argument they can muster.

It was only a few weeks back that Walmart was trying to limit its liability by pointing the finger at Tracy Morgan, arguing that because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt in the limo van, his serious personal injuries were his fault (at least in part). See our earlier post, “Tracy Morgan v Walmart: Lesson in How Injury Victims get Victimized in Lawsuits,” for details.

Brain Injury Victims and Their Families: Fighting On Two Battlegrounds

Rest assured, everyone in that courtroom understands how serious and life-altering a traumatic brain injury can be, especially one suffered in a serious crash like this one. Already, we know that Tracy Morgan may never resume his comedy career because of the crash. How much his personal life and daily living will be permanently altered by the TBI is not known. Hopefully, over the next few months he will continue to recover and mend.

Brain injuries are serious and long-term results of serious truck accidents all too often. Damage claims need to cover not only the immediate medical care costs but the long-term expenses involved in care, therapy, and rehabilitation. Damages are also legally available for brain injury victims who have lost their future earning capacity and future ability to enjoy life as they did before the crash.

Given Tracy Morgan’s stellar career as a beloved comedic star of stage and screen, his legal damages may be significant and high. And Mr. Morgan is looking to Walmart to cover those claims — which is why he and his family are having to fight on two fronts, just like many other personal injury plaintiffs with TBI.

Sadly, these victims must face the battle to recover and deal with the brain injury and its aftermath, and at the same time, for months and even years, fight the legal battle for justice against those responsible for the accident that caused the brain injury in the first place.

Suing Nursing Homes: Tragic Rise in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

November 18th, 2014 by admin


Corporations Running Nursing Homes for Profit: Big Problem

According to federal data, in 2012 there were 775 nursing homes in Illinois and 515 nursing homes in Indiana - and those numbers are expected to rise in large measure as the Baby Boomers continue to enter their elder years. Nursing homes are often a necessity for those who are in need of personalized care after suffering severe injuries to their brain or spine, as well. There’s more: this number doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of other types of assisted-living facilities that operate in our area.

Loved ones and family members expect that the people responsible for taking care of nursing home residents are going to do so with expertise and compassion. However, all too often there have been corporate profit-making goals that have interfered or blocked with care resulting in patients becoming the victims of abuse or neglect.

This has become a national scandal in many ways.

In California, the Sacramento Bee has recently published an expose of nursing home ownership in that state. This took, some doing because the corporate owners of nursing homes and nursing home chains aren’t exactly advertising how many nursing home and care facilities are owned by how few companies.

From their expose, “Nursing homes cloak ownership for good reason,” the public is becoming aware of something called “multilayered ownership structure,” which the nursing home industry considers to be smart business because if they are faced by a victim’s personal injury lawsuit against a specific facility, their corporate web of ownership is structured to protect the big parent company (and its big pockets) from financial liability in that claim.

Meanwhile, the reality is that the profit motive is curbing the level of care in many facilities and more and more nursing care residents are being victimized as a result. Families and loved ones must work hard not only to make sure that their loved one is protected, but also to fight for what is right if they discover that there has been wrongdoing. Lawsuits against nursing homes are being filed all over the country.

What Suggests Abuse or Neglect of a Nursing Home Resident?  Look for These Signs

According to the CDC, signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

Physical Effects

  • welts, wounds, and injuries (e.g., bruises, lacerations, dental problems, head injuries, broken bones, pressure sores);
  • persistent physical pain and soreness;
  • nutrition and hydration issues;
  • sleep disturbances;
  • increased susceptibility to new illnesses (including sexually transmitted diseases);
  • exacerbation of preexisting health conditions; and
  • increased risks for premature death.

Psychological Effects

  • increased risks for developing fear/anxiety reactions,
  • learned helplessness, and
  • post traumatic stress syndrome.

It’s Important to Take Action Against Abuse and Neglect in Our Nursing Homes

If you or a loved one suspect that a nursing home has victimized a resident, then please take action. Call the state agencies that oversee these things and complain. Additionally, seek the guidance of an experienced injury law firm on rights and remedies and how best to take action to protect that resident and to seek justice on their behalf.

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

November 13th, 2014 by admin

This month is dedicated to acknowledging the important contributions that are made every day by those who provide home care and hospice care to those who have suffered serious injuries or devastating illness. For the entire month of November, various organizations will be participating in various events and efforts to increase the public awareness of National Home Care and Hospice Month.

Sadly, many victims of serious accidents suffer from debilitating injuries like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.  These accident victims  need  home care and hospice care for months, sometimes years.  It is very important that these victims obtain the necessary financial assistance needed to provide for home care and if needed, hospice care, as part of their damage awards at trial or in settlement.


From the National Association for Home Care and Hospice:

During November the home care and hospice community honor the millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, and social workers who make a remarkable difference for the patients and families they serve. These heroic caregivers play a central role in our health care system and in homes across the nation. To recognize their efforts, we call upon all Americans to commemorate the power of caring, both at the home and in their local communities and join with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) by celebrating November as Home Care and Hospice Month with the following themes:

  • Home Care: Home is the Center of Health Care
  • Hospice: Hospice = Love in Action
  • Private Duty: Loving Care Tailored to Each Family’s Needs
  • Home Care Aide Week (November 9-15, 2014): Caring in Action

From Val J. Halamandaris, NAHC President, “No work is nobler, and no group is more deserving of our respect and admiration. Their goal is helping society’s weakest members live the fullest lives they can. By marrying high tech with high touch, home care professionals and volunteers allow patients to get care at home where they can be with the ones they love.”

Suing Clinics: Can You Sue In-Store Clinics for Medical Mistakes? Yes

November 11th, 2014 by admin

Clinics aren’t hospitals, but they aren’t doctor’s offices either. And not all clinics are the same. In this week’s news, there are stories about how Melissa Rivers plans on filing a lawsuit against the New York City clinic where her mother, Joan Rivers, went for treatment and never regained consciousness.

In Joan Rivers’ situation, the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, offered some level of surgical procedure as part of its services to patients. The clinic therefore had to have facilities for anesthesia to be provided as well as for surgeries to take place and for patients to recover from a minor surgery. According to the NYC Medical Examiner, Joan Rivers stopped breathing during an endoscopy performed at the clinic and later died from brain damage resulting for a lack of oxygen to the brain during the clinic procedure.

In-Store Clinics: Target, CVS

This NYC Clinic is a specialized clinic. However, not all clinics are specialized, there are general-services clinics, too. Consider the huge number of “in-store clinics” or “retail clinics” that are popping up around Indiana and Illinois. Today, you can go shop at your local Target or CVS and while you’re buying school clothes or birthday cards, you can also stop into the designed clinic area for medical treatment.

Now, these in-store clinics are not a full-stop care facility. They are manned by nurse-practitioners and most folk drop into the Target Clinics and the CVS Clinics for things like colds, flu, and allergy relief.

Walmart to Open Full-Service In-Store Clinics

However, Walmart has announced that their stores will also be opening in-store clinics, and these Walmart Clinics hope to offer visitors a lot more than the current in-store clinics around our community. Walmart wants to include all sorts of primary medical care at these new clinics, making them a viable alternative for all sorts of patient needs. And, of course, the in-store pharmacy will be right there to assist those leaving the clinic with their prescription needs.

Will you get the same level of care at these in-store clinics as you might at a more traditional care facility? There are many who fear that the in-store clinics will provide a kind of second-tier medical care. Of course, one big advantage of these in-store clinics is that going to them costs so much less. That’s a big, big deal these days. Walmart Clinics will charge a mere $40 for basic, acute care, and wellness check-up (and the cost is only $4 for Walmart employees and their families).

What happens if something goes wrong at a clinic?

If you or a loved one suffer injury from treatment or care received at a clinic, then that clinic may be liable for injury damages just like a doctor or a hospital. Your injury lawyer would proceed against the clinic as a legal entity as well as other possible defendants, like the physician or nurse practitioner that provided treatment.

An interesting twist to the in-store clinics is whether or not Target, Walmart, or CVS would also be sued as a defendant in a case where someone was harmed in one of these in-store clinics. Will the stores have some kind of legal barrier between themselves and the clinic that they will argue protects them from liability – like a lease? Will the courts respect that legal barrier or argue it’s invalid?

(Walmart is the full owner of these new in-store clinics. In the past, Walmart had leased space inside its store to other health care companies, but this new venture is an in-house venture owned and operated by the company itself. )

Bottom line, it’s important to know that clinics exist to provide medical care but each clinic is different. These facilities may be more than capable of handling some types of illnesses and diseases and woefully unable to deal with other situations — or with complications that may develop from a simple situation.

If you or a loved one have been treated and suffered injury at a clinic, then know that the clinic itself as well as the doctors or practitioners who provided the treatment may all be defendants in an injury case.

Fatigued, Tired Drivers Said to Cause 20% of All U.S. Traffic Deaths: Drowsy Drivers at Fault?

November 6th, 2014 by admin

A new study has been released by “Triple A,” or the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, regarding traffic accidents and this study finds that 21% of deaths in car crashes are due to drivers who are tired or sleepy and operating a vehicle. That’s a lot of people driving with fatigue.

The AAA study is also reporting a higher number for fatigue driving risk that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its monitoring of the problem. This new study suggests that drivers on the road who are too sleepy to be driving is a much bigger problem that many may have perceived to be the case until now.

From AAA:

According to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one-in-five (21 percent) fatal crashes involve driver fatigue. These results help confirm what safety experts have long suspected: the prevalence of drowsy driving is much greater than official statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently indicate. As daylight saving time ends and evening commutes darken, AAA urges drivers to recognize warning signs of driver fatigue and take action to avoid tragedy during this holiday season.

“This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem,” warned Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.”

It’s Hard to Determine if Fatal Crash Caused by Fatigue

Meanwhile, the National Sleep Council points out that it is not easy to determine after the fact whether or not a driver in a fatal collision was driving drowsy at the time of the accident. Investigators of crash sites can’t easily calculate how alert (or not) a driver when the crash happened. There are ways, however, to find out if a driver actually fell asleep at the wheel, such as (1) one-car accidents and (2) the absence of skid marks.

Signs of a Fatigued, Drowsy Driver

From AAA, here are some signs that a driver may be driving dangerously because they are really tired and need some rest:

  • The inability to recall the last few miles traveled;
  • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts;
  • Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open;
  • Feeling as though your head is very heavy;
  • Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips;
  • Yawning repeatedly;
  • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles;
  • Missing traffic signs.

Accident Crash Claims and Fault of the Driver

When an accident happens and an insurance company is being asked to pay large sums of money in damages to an accident victim, rest assured that these insurance companies are going to be looking long and hard on studies like these to try and limit their liability through the legal element of “fault” in a negligence case.

If a driver can be shown to have driven when they were too fatigued to operate a vehicle, or if they can be shown to have been distracted at the time of the crash as another example, then the defendant can argue the “proximate cause” of the crash was the driver’s irresponsibility at the time of the crash.

Distracted Driving Status Report Released: Dangers Abound from Driver Distractions

November 4th, 2014 by admin

From Itasca, Illinois, the National Safety Council released its take on a new Status Report that has been published by the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently. In it, the Insurance Institute took distracted driving data from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and analyzed it in tandem with traffic accident data reported to U.S. insurance companies alongside the various state laws that ban different types of distracted driving (texting while driving, chatting on phone while driving, etc.).

The NSC is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and reporting on safety issues and it’s been around since 1913. The IIHS was created by the three biggest car insurance companies back in 1959, and ten years later became an independent research organization.

Read the IIHS Status Report here.

NSC on Latest Distracted Driving Report: What About Risks of Hands-Free?

It comes as no surprise that the National Safety Council supports making all kinds of distracted driving from the use of smartphones or other electronic devices illegal. As the NSC opines, “… it’s abundantly clear that using an electronic device while driving makes you four times as likely to crash, handheld or hands-free.”

Of particularly interest is the NSC taking to task the IIHS for not recognizing that hands-free cellphone use can be just as distracting and dangerous as talking on the phone while holding the phone in your hand. From the NSC analysis:

The report also queries why insurance claims haven’t decreased when handheld cell phone use has declined. While the enforcement of handheld laws does seem to be reducing handheld device use, IIHS acknowledges that drivers could be switching to hands-free. Therefore, we would not expect to see much reduction in claims because studies have shown that hands-free is not risk-free.

Underreporting of Cell Phone Distractions Means Numbers are Low

Both the NSC and the IIHS point out that the Status Report’s findings are limited by a lack of complete information regarding how many accidents and crashes are caused by cell phones. Unreporting is a big problem here, and the real dangers of distracted driving are assumed to be bigger than the numbers show.

The NSC ballparks that 26% of all traffic accidents are caused by distracted drivers on their phones.

Everyone Agrees that Distracted Driving in Other Forms Needs to Be Considered, Too

Both the NSC and the IIHS agree wholeheartedly on one thing: it’s not just cell phones that are distracting drivers on American roads and causing wrecks. Accidents can also be caused by drivers who are distracted by all sorts of things: dealing with music selections; eating food while they drive; putting on make-up; checking the navigation system; etc.

From the CDC:

Nine people die every day in our country from distracted driving and around another 1150 are injured daily. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines three types of distracted driving:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.

Obviously, it’s not just using a cellphone that can cause any of these three kinds of driving distractions. However, the real danger of using a cellphone, handheld or hands’ free, in a car is that the conversation can cause all three of these kinds of distractions to occur at the same time.

Bottom line: Just don’t use your phone while you are driving. It’s safer that way. And if you are in a crash, then the fact that the other driver was talking on their phone at the time of the accident, even hands free, can be of major importance as you pursue justice for your injuries.

OSHA Pushes Employers on Reporting On the Job Injuries: Will Workers Be Safer at Work?

October 30th, 2014 by admin

The federal government via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is pushing for employers to provide more information to authorities on the details of accidents and injuries that happen to workers on the job in this country. The proposed final rule, 29 CFR 1904, will make it federal law that employers must report all fatalities within 8 hours of the death as well as report serious injuries involving “all work-related in-patient hospitalizations,” like amputations or the loss of an eye within 24 hours of the incident.

This will go into effect on January 1, 2015.  Read the new OSHA Rule here.


Workers Who Are Seriously Injured On the Job Will Have OSHA Notified Within 1 Day

Here’s how things have changed.

1.  The old rule:

Employers had to report to OSHA:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees

2.  Now, employers have to report the following events to OSHA; employers have to report to OSHA beginning on January 1, 2015 – and they’re under a time deadline now, too:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees
All work-related amputations
All work-related losses of an eye
Employers must report work-related fatalities within 8 hours of finding out about it.  For any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss employers must report the incident within 24 hours of learning about it.

Does This Make Workers Safer?

Employers are concerned that this new federal rule may increase how often OSHA appears on the worksite and hands out citations.  But consider the reality that workers die every day while working on the job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,405 workers died on the job in 2013.  That’s 12 workers per day.

Additionally, millions of people are injured while at work. According to the BLS, in 2010 there were 3,063,400 workers who were hurt in non-fatal injuries and illnesses and together, they missed 933,200 days from work as a result.

797 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries in 2013.  Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2013.

Construction Work is the Most Dangerous

In 2013, OSHA’s records of workers who died on the job totalled 3929 (or 76 workers/week or 11 workers every single day of the year). Of these fatalities, 20.3% were on construction sites. Out of these construction worker fatal accidents, four types of accidents were the most common and have been called the “fatal four” causes of construction worker deaths. They are:

  1. Falls — 294 out of 796 total deaths in construction in CY 2013 (36.9%)
  2. Struck by Object — 82 (10.3%)
  3. Electrocutions — 71 (8.9%)
  4. Caught-in/between — 21 (2.6%)

Will the new reporting rules effective January 2015 make construction work safer? Time will tell, but any steps taken to make American workers safer is a step in the right direction.

Halloween 2014 Safety Tips: Keeping Your Kids Safe This Holloween

October 28th, 2014 by admin

Halloween is on Friday this year, which is great for everyone who wants to have a fun Hallow’s Eve and then not have to get up early to go to work or school the next morning. Most folk here in Indiana and Illinois are already in full preparation, with candy purchased and costumes planned if not yet purchased or made.

For safety reasons, many communities in our neck of the woods have established “Trick or Treat” hours set up, too. Families need to check for their neighborhood’s specific trick-or-treating schedule, and for those traveling to other places during the night, then recognize that each community’s hours are not exactly the same.

2014 Halloween Trick or Treat Hours for Northwest Indiana

This year, for Northwest Indiana, the Halloween Tricker Treater hours are set as follows:

Gary – 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Burns Harbor – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Cedar Lake – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Crown Point – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Dyer – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Griffith – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hammond – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hebron – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hobart – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Highland – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lake Station – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lakes of the Four Seasons – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Long Beach – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Lowell – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Kouts – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Michigan City – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Merrillville – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Munster – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Porter – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Schererville – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
St. John – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Trail Creek – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Wanatah – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Whiting – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Winfield – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Chesterton – 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Ogden Dunes – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Portage – 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Valparaiso – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
La Porte – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Westville – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Safety Tips from Indiana State Police for a Happy Holloween

The Indiana State Police have issued the following safety tips for this year’s Holloween, as well. These include:

Costume Tips

•Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
•Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks often obstruct a child’s vision, which makes tasks like crossing the street and going up and down stairs dangerous.
•Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.

Trick or Treating

•Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they will be.
•Instruct children to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
•Encourage children to trick-or-treat while it’s still light out. If children are out after dark, make sure they have flashlights and travel on well lighted streets.
•Remind children not to enter the homes or cars of strangers.
•Follow your communities trick-or-treating hours.


•Remind children not to eat any of their treats until they get home.
•Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
•Only eat unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Remember to inspect fruits for anything suspicious.

Options to Walking the Streets

Additionally, many communities, schools and churches offer children safe alternatives to trick-or-treating designed to keep children safely within parents’ view. Some hospitals and schools allow children to trick-or-treat by going from room to room virtually eliminating the dangers associated with being out walking on the street after dark.

Drivers Need to Be Cautious on Friday

Motorists are reminded that they should also do their part in making Halloween safe for children. Make sure to drive cautiously including driving below the posted speed limit while in town during trick or treat hours.

Avoid talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities. Remember, excited children may dart out into traffic at any time without warning. Drive with your headlights on even during the daylight trick or treat hours so your vehicle is more visible to children.


Everyone here at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year, of course. However, if you are injured or hurt on Halloween, then please note to keep a record of what happened as well as a list of names of potential witnesses; call the police for a written police report so you have their help and documentation; and remember that getting medical care and attention is of paramount importance and it’s wise to err on the side of caution.  Be careful out there!

CDC’s New Car Accidents Report Includes Suggestions for New State Laws

October 23rd, 2014 by admin


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have just released a new report as part of the CDC’s Vital Signs monthly series regarding motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and the report may be shocking to lots of people. Not only are there a lot of car crashes (along with SUV accidents, and wrecks involving trucks, vans, etc.) in our country, but they cost Americans a tremendous amount in both time and money (not to mention heartache, frustration, pain, and other emotions that were not included in this report).

The numbers are big.

However, also included within this report are some suggestions for new laws to be passed that the CDC suggests will bring these numbers down and decrease the number of traffic accidents in this country: thing is, some of their suggestions may be shocking to some folk. For instance, the CDC would like laws to be passed in every state that requires anyone convicted of any driving under the influence charge (even a first offense) to be required to have ignition interlocks on their vehicles.

What will be the result of the CDC’s suggestions in Indiana, Illinois, or the rest of the country? Time will tell.

However, the real question: if these changes were made, then how much would these accident figures go down?

CDC Report: Costly But Preventable

Read the report, “Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries – Costly but Preventable/October 2014” here.

Among its findings:

  • In the United States, people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident spend a total of ONE MILLION DAYS in a hospital for needed treatment.
  • Over 2,500,000 accident victims had to seek help in an emergency room after being in a crash in 2012.
  • Over their lifetimes, the total financial expense for treating and helping accident victims recover from their injuries totals $18 Billion.
  • In 2012 alone, lost wages and lost earnings for these accident victims totalled around $33 Billion.
  • Those Americans between 15 and 29 years old are at the high risk of being in a car crash where they will need hospital care.
  • Americans over 80 years of age are at the highest risk of needing hospitalization after a traffic accident: 30% of these folk need to go to the hospital after an accident.

From the CDC:

“In 2012, nearly 7,000 people went to the emergency department every day due to car crash injuries,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Ileana Arias, Ph.D. “Motor vehicle crash injuries occur all too frequently and have health and economic costs for individuals, the health care system, and society. We need to do more to keep people safe and reduce crash injuries and medical costs.”

Fighting To Stop People Being Hurt in Traffic Accidents

There are all sorts of ways to fight against people being hurt in motor vehicle accidents. Things like seat belts and air bags are just two examples of things that have proven successful in keeping people from being seriously injured or killed in a car crash.

CDC Suggestions for New State Laws

However, much more can be done. No state has the exact same laws in effect regarding traffic safety, for one thing. Easy example: compare the motorcycle helmet laws of Indiana and Illinois with states like California, where safety laws are much more strict.

“Motor vehicle crashes and related injuries are preventable,” said Gwen Bergen, PhD, MPH, MS, behavioral scientist in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Although much has been done to help keep people safe on the road, no state has fully implemented all the interventions proven to increase the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; reduce drinking and driving; and improve teen driver safety.”

In the aftermath of its latest research findings, the CDC is encouraging all states to regulate citizens in the following ways:

  1. Increasing seat belt use through primary enforcement seat belt laws that cover everyone in the car.
  2. Improving child passenger safety with restraint laws that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under or until 57 inches tall, the recommended height for proper seat belt fit.
  3. Reducing drinking and driving by using sobriety checkpoints and requiring ignition interlock use for people convicted of drinking and driving, starting with their first conviction.
  4. Improving teen driver safety through the use of comprehensive graduated driver licensing systems.
  5. Supporting traffic safety laws with media campaigns and visible police presence, such as sobriety checkpoints.
  6. Linking medical and crash data to better understand why crashes happen, the economic cost of those crashes, and how to prevent future crashes.

To help state legislatures make these decisions, the CDC has published its online Motor Vehicle PICCS (Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States).

According to the CDC, this online app should help the states tally an estimate for the costs of each suggested implementation and compare that cost against an estimate of lives saved as well as a estimate of the number of injuries that would be prevented with the implementation in that state.