What Drivers Should Know About Lane Splitting

bankok-traffic-2-920953-mIf you don’t know what lane splitting is, then you are running a big risk on the road, particularly this time of the year.  Even if you have never ridden a motorcycle, and never intend to ride one, you should still be familiar with some of the common practices of bikers.  While most riders are very conscientious of others, there are those that give the others a bad name.

Lane splitting is one of the very controversial practices generally reserved for those commuters on two wheels.  It is the act of riding between two rows of stopped traffic.  It is generally a move used when in a traffic jam.

It is important to understand that this does occur, especially when on a long road trip.  As you navigate unfamiliar roads and try to contend with heavy traffic around busy cities, it is important to recognize the possibility that a biker might unexpectedly split the lanes.  If you are trying to change lanes or pass someone when that motorcycle cuts through, the outcomes can be devastating.

There are still some states that recognize lane splitting as a legal maneuver; others have no official legislation in place with regard to the maneuver.  In the state of Florida, a biker that is lane splitting, and is subsequently involved in an accident, will be forced to accept liability.  This state considers the act of lane splitting a prohibited maneuver.

While it is considered an illegal maneuver in Florida, if a Tampa auto accident occurs and the other driver did something (or didn’t do something) that also contributed to the accident, the biker may not be fully responsible for the resulting damages.

This is called shared liability.  The courts will consider the actions of both (or all) parties to an accident, and will assess a percentage of liability to each based on their findings.  If the driver of a passenger vehicle changes lanes without signaling, failing to see the lane splitting biker, he or she could, in fact, carry a large percentage of the liability.  This is why it is so important to consult a personal injury attorney.  A professional can help you collect the evidence needed to prove that you were not negligent in the accident, or at least, to lessen the percentage of liability that falls on your shoulders.

Fibromyalgia Pain: Relationships and Careers Ruined

sunset-graciosa-beach-1384968-mAs a personal injury attorney dealing with the aftermath of Tampa auto accidents on a regular basis, I have certainly seen some very traumatic injuries resulting from those crashes.  However, the most devastating are not always the most visibly apparent.  While physical disfigurement is its own form of torture, living with constant, invisible pain comes with countless challenges.  Fortunately, fibromyalgia pain is now being more readily recognized and appreciated, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is no cure and its victims have to regularly live with the physical symptoms, as well as the anguish that comes with the knowledge that others don’t believe their complaints are legitimate.

Among the most widely known symptoms of fibro – pain and fatigue – there are many other complications that can arise as a result of the condition.  Among those are urinary and pelvis concerns, which can be devastating to a person’s way of life, to relationships, and to his or her professional standing.

These symptoms are most commonly seen in female patients, but some can be just as troubling for men with fibromyalgia.

Bladder Incontinence. The inability to control urine flow is obviously troubling and can be a big issue when out in public – particularly in a professional setting.

Urinary Frequency and Urgency. This refers to the need to urinate more than usual (up to every 20 minutes for some fibro sufferers) and the intense, sudden urge to go that can leave a person feeling panicked.

Painful Intercourse. Dyspareunia is the term used to refer to pain or discomfort when engaging in sexual intercourse.  The pain can be so intense as to make this act impossible, which can be highly straining on marriages and romantic relationships.

Abdominal Bloating. It is difficult to feel attractive and confident when contending with regular abdominal bloating.  It can cause loss of appetite and even result in depression if not treated.

Urinary Tract Infections. UTIs are more common in females with fibromyalgia.  The frequent bouts of discomfort, fever, and pain when going can cause women to miss a lot of work and can make sexual intercourse difficult or impossible during periods of infection.

 

Amtrak Crash Identifies Concerns For Train Commuters

train-station-1442127-mThe news of the accident can be found everywhere.  News stations are covering it with a flurry of facts and figures, and even the social media feeds are littered with related updates.

In fact, as I write this post, there is a Good Morning America tweet which reads:

 

What we know on Amtrak crash: – Accident happened at 9:28 pm ET – 5 people dead, about 200 injured – NTSB investigators en route to scene

Certainly for the thousands of people who regularly rely on train transportation, this is a scary incident, and one that makes a person concerned about future travel on the rails.  The horror stories that are being reported by the media as they interview the passengers are stirring fears.

“I saw so many head injuries and bloody faces. There were a lot of fractures — arms, shoulders, all kinds of fractures.”

“When Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, it tore apart passenger cars, toppling some over. The engine was a mangled wreck, the rails torn up.”

“At least six people were killed and 136 more were hospitalized — some with critical injuries.” – CNN

So, what about the people who do rely on this form of transportation?  Is there reason to fear that something like this will happen again?  Was it a freak accident?  According to the Washington Post, the fears that people are feeling related to this incident are justified.

Amtrak derailments have been increasing in recent years, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. While the cause of Tuesday’s derailment was still undetermined, the answer has a lot to do with America’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, and a little to do with freak accidents. –

“Amtrak derailments have been increasing in recent years, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. While the cause of Tuesday’s derailment was still undetermined, the answer has a lot to do with America’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, and a little to do with freak accidents.” – Washington Post

There is an obvious need for examination of the train tracks in this country.  As we have now seen, very clearly, derailments can be deadly.  While, comparatively speaking, this remains a safe form of travel, those relying on the rails don’t want to hear about the increasing statistics.  Amtrak will undoubtedly have to answer many questions as a result of this accident, and more than likely, personal injury attorneys will be called in to assist the victims.

Medical Malpractice Case in MA Awards Disabled Mom

its-a-long-hard-way-397367-mThere was an interesting story about a personal injury victim in the Boston Globe recently.  The 35-year-old mom was never able to fully appreciate motherhood because shortly after her daughter was born, she suffered a stroke that robbed her body of the ability to perform many of the most basic tasks.  Her family was forced to seek the assistance of personal injury attorneys when it became clear that the young woman wouldn’t overcome these physical alterations.  Her continued medical care – including two full-time caregivers – was expensive, costing the family up to $200,000 annually.

The whole mess could have been prevented and this young mom could be running and playing with her child right now if a doctor had properly executed her duties years before.  That was the decision made by the courts who ruled that had the doctor placed the young woman’s name on a list of at-risk patients, she wouldn’t have suffered the stroke.  This list, which would have mentioned the brain abnormalities discovered by the defendant in 2004, would have been seen by her obstetrician, and a C-section would have been ordered to prevent the strain of labor.  This particular situation suggests medical malpractice.

Now the medical facility and doctor in question are responsible for $35.4 million in damages to be paid to the victim and her family.  Though that may seem like an excessive amount to some, it is important to remember that this is a 35-year-old woman.  Her medical care is costing $200,000 annually.  She could live for another 60 years (or more).  Without factoring in for inflation, that’s a minimum of $12 million in regular medical care.  In addition to that, she will never be able to perform the work that she might have done otherwise.  Assuming she could have grossed $60,000 in annual salary otherwise, she is facing $3.6 million in lost wages as a result of the stroke.  Again, that doesn’t take into account any future medical complications that could arise as a result of the stroke.  It also doesn’t figure for inflation.  On top of all of that, one has to allow some compensation for the fact that this doctor essentially robbed her of her life.  She’s still alive, but she isn’t able to enjoy it as she would have otherwise.  She can’t hold her daughter, play with her at the park, or do much of anything without assistance.

Diet Pill Dangers, Revisited

pills-1161455-mI have written about the dangers of diet fads before. Too often we hear of people becoming very sick as a result of pills, shakes, or bars meant to instantly trim their waistlines. However, a story out of the UK has people once again considering how badly they want to lose excess weight and diet pill dangers.

A young woman, just 21 years old, is at the center of the story, being touched on by media sources all over the world. The young woman was very attractive and everyone said she appeared to be happy, but like so many people, she obviously wanted to lose a little of the extra weight she had put on, so she turned to the internet and found a pill that was “guaranteed” to help her shed those pounds. Instead, the pills left her feeling very ill. She got so bad that her family rushed her to a local medical facility. She didn’t live for very long after that. She was pronounced dead in mid-April, and it was determined that her death was a result of the DNP (Dinitrophenol) found in the pills. It is a toxic pesticide and she had consumed enough to kill her.

The message, being actively spread by the young woman’s grieving family members, is clear – these supposed weight loss aids are not well-regulated and there are no guarantees. You can’t be sure that they will help you lose weight, and you can’t be sure that they won’t cost you much, much more than what’s written on the price tag.

If you lost a loved one, or you became very ill yourself, as a result of a diet aid, you do have the right to seek compensation. Speak to a personal injury attorney about filing a case. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid such horrible circumstances, then now is not the time to take chances. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and talk with your doctor if you need additional help losing weight.

Fibromyalgia Can Make Women Suffer Month After Month

pretty-woman-1438351-2-mAs a personal injury attorney, I know several people who have suffered the long-lasting effects of a fibromyalgia diagnosis. This condition, which is still not fully understood, is thought to result from a serious traumatic injury in some instances. While genetics is thought to also play a role, there is one thing that is for certain. The pain, discomfort, and fatigue associated with this condition can become very severe and leave a person struggling to find the wherewithal to perform day-to-day activities.

Doctors are finding that many of their fibromyalgia patients report worsening of symptoms during menstrual flow. Because other related autonomic conditions, such as migraine disorders, are prone to fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, doctors theorized that fibro suffers could see the same impact of hormone variations.

Through a series of studies, it was demonstrated that the pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia did in fact worsen when estrogen levels were the lowest. This makes sense, say experts, who report that pain tolerance levels decrease in conjunction with estrogen drops. Because women have the least estrogen flowing just before and during their periods, they can conceivably face several days of exacerbated symptoms each and every month.

A list of suggestions has been created for women who have noticed this fluctuation in fibro symptoms throughout the month. At the top of that list is the advice to increase exercise directly preceding one’s menstrual flow. However, this and other suggestions have proven mildly effective at best, leaving these fibromyalgia patients in a rough spot. How is one supposed to maintain her position within a business when she is knocked down by severe pain and fatigue for several days per month?

There are, of course, other options. The federal disability agency has recognized fibromyalgia as a worthwhile cause, and has, in fact, helped several patients collect monthly income when they can no longer perform their normal working duties. For those who suffer the symptoms as a result of a Tampa auto accident, or another such incident, there’s also the option to seek compensation from the negligent party. This process should begin with the assistance of a personal injury attorney

 

How Faltering Physician Morale Could Impact You

an-operating-surgeon-6453-mMedstro is an exclusive website dedicated to medical professionals, a place where they can communicate on some of the most significant factors that make an impact on their profession.  However, even those of us who are not practicing medicine can derive some useful information from the site.  Among the recent trends is faltering physician morale.

I found myself visiting the site when I caught an excerpt of something written there on another website. This is what I read:

“It’s a fact. There’s not a lot of joy out there among today’s physicians. A majority of physicians admit that they increasingly talk about their work in a negative way. Eighty-seven percent of you say that the ‘business and regulation of healthcare’ has changed the practice of medicine for the worse. Eighty-four percent of you report that ‘quality patient time’ may be a thing of the past. Sixty-seven percent of you know a colleague who’s actually thinking about giving it all up.”

I found these statistics rather depressing, and more than a little scary.  After all, we look to the medical community for help at some of the worst moments in our lives.  Our most terrifying times will very often be spent in doctors’ offices and hospitals.  Would you not worry more if you knew that the doctor you were seeing was unhappy with his job and seriously considering walking away from it all?

The Associate of Talent Development (ATD) said it best, “Employee disengagement, [resulting from faltering morale], is the single most important factor in declining productivity… and all around poor performance.”

The trouble is not necessarily that the medical professional will leave before your treatment is complete, though that can be unnerving for many patients.  The real concern, in the opinion of this personal injury attorney, is that people who are feeling low morale at work are less likely to do their jobs well.  A doctor whose heart is no longer in the job is more likely to make a mistake that could cost you prolonged suffering or your life.

Who Is Responsible For A Drunk Driver’s Actions?

moralization---2-125243-m (1)I was exploring Twitter and the various news stories featured on the social media feed and discovered a story from Lancaster, PA, today. The story was about a young man, Thomas Gallagher, Jr., and was featured on the Lancaster Online site. It seems Mr. Gallagher was among one of many this year who have made very poor choices related to being a drunk driver.

There is a lot of risk that comes with driving a car. After all, you are traveling at high speeds, and though cars are sturdier than ever before, they are not invincible, and neither are you. Unfortunately, people like Mr. Gallagher like to increase that risk by climbing behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Not only was Gallagher drunk, but he was also under the influence of heroin, when police responded to a call. A crash had occurred involving two vehicles. First responders received quite a shock when they arrived. Gallagher, with a nasty gash across his forehead was still alive, but the 18-year-old driving the other vehicle would not be so lucky. Gallagher, in his drunken state, had misjudged his ability to safely pass the car ahead of him. He moved out into the oncoming lane and hit the 18-year-old’s car head on.

The family of the young girl wanted Gallagher’s mother to assume some of the responsibility because she had volunteered her keys to her son and let him leave while clearly intoxicated. He was ruled to have a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit at the time of the crash, and that did not take into account the heroin influencing his behavior.

Should his mother accept some of the responsibility? Should the local bar accept liability when a patron kills someone on the drive home? These are questions that have been answered in courts many times. In many instances, it is ruled that those who allow others to act in such ways do carry responsibility. This is especially true in civil court. Speak to a personal injury attorney about the Tampa auto accident that you were involved in because there could be more than one defendant, more than one person who acted with negligence, leading to your injuries or your loss.

Can I Sue the FDA for Approving Dangerous Drugs?

Pills-1238683-mWe’ve all heard enough about the horrible side effects that some drugs can have.  Then, when one stops to consider that even worse things can come about, without warning, because the FDA approves a medication before that particular side effect is discovered, it is really quite scary to rely on possibly dangerous drugs today.

The FDA was established with the right motives in mind – discover potentially harmful substances before the general public is exposed to them.  The problem is that the FDA, made up of many human employees, doesn’t always succeed at discovering potential dangers.  Some medications sneak through, earning the FDA’s stamp of approval, only to cause serious harm to those who rely on it.

So, if you are one of the victims, then certainly, you have a right to seek damages from the FDA, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case.  There is legislation in place that prevents federal agencies from being sued, unless the negligence can be tied to one specific federal employee, or if the lawsuit is focused on a contract that names a federal agency as one of the parties.

While you can’t name the FDA as a defendant in such a case, that does not mean that you do not have a right to compensation for your injuries and financial losses.  It just means that the federally run organization will not accept the blame.  Therefore, in cases like these, a personal injury attorney will bring the case against the manufacturer of the drug.  It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to properly test all medications thoroughly, prior to release, in order to ensure that they are safe for the intended purpose.  When a drug proves to have dangerous or damaging side effects, that are not included in the list of warnings, then the manufacturer must assume liability.

How Can You Avoid Rear-end Collisions?

highway-1081556-mAccording to an article on Bay News 9, four vehicles were involved in a crash on I-4 Saturday morning, April 25.  There was already one crash that was being investigated by a Florida Highway Patrol officer when another crash ensued.   Rear-end collisions in Tampa auto accidents can easily happen. Thankfully in this case, no major injuries resulted.

The Trooper was parked on the inside shoulder of I-4 in Plant City near where the first crash occurred and had his vehicle’s emergency lights flashing.  An oncoming car, a Cadillac driven by a 55-year-old Tampa resident, saw the flashing lights and slowed.  However, a tractor trailer following the Cadillac did not slow and rammed into the back of that vehicle, causing it to rear-end the back of a pickup truck.  The pickup overturned and the Cadillac went off the road and into a barrier wall.  The driver of the Cadillac, Richard Granison, was treated at Lakeland Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.  The tractor-trailer driver was cited for careless driving.

It’s often hard to stop for emergency situations when you are traveling at highway speeds but these are the kinds of incidents you have to constantly be on guard for.  It’s easy to get lulled into a driving rhythm, lost in your own thoughts; however, paying attention every moment while driving is crucial to getting from Point A to Point B safely.

 

Minimum Safe Following Distances

How can you lower your risk of being involved in a rear-end collision?  Follow these safe driving tips offered by the State of Florida.

  • Always check your rearview mirrors; don’t just be aware of what is happening in front of you but also know what is happening behind your vehicle at all times. Be on constant watch.
  • Use the “two-second rule” to ensure you are following far enough behind the vehicle in front of you. How can you do this?  Choose a fixed point you will pass by.  Consider the vehicle ahead of you – count the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot as the vehicle ahead of you.  Count using the method “one thousand and one, one thousand and two.”  If you reach the spot you chose before you finish counting, you are following too closely.

If you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident or a collision where someone was following too closely and ran into you, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the options available for collecting compensation for any damages involved.