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Baltimore Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Conductor sues Amtrak after train accident

Most Maryland residents have no doubt heard about the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia that occurred on May 12. The derailment resulted in eight people being killed and more than 200 people suffering injuries. Lawsuits are now starting to be filed by some victims, including one on May 19 by an Amtrak conductor who received severe injuries and who remains in critical condition.

The 33-year-old employee is alleging negligence on Amtrak's part, and he is reportedly asking for unspecified damages. The man was taking a break from his duties in the first car when the accident occurred, and he reported that the train suddenly moved forward before crashing. The conductor suffered two broken shoulders and a broken neck and back and is one of several people still in critical condition after the crash.

Misdiagnosis may lead to death

Maryland residents likely know that when physicians do not provide appropriate care, the patient might suffer consequences. There are reasons this happens, including giving a patient the wrong medication, not providing the proper treatment or not telling the patient risks associated with medication or procedures. More than one-half of malpractice cases involve misdiagnosis, and the most common conditions are heart conditions and cancer. Up to 48 percent of such cases end in death.

A failure to diagnose a cardiac condition may have serious consequences. In addition, signs and symptoms of cardiac problems may be present before a myocardial infarction happens. If they are not recognized, a serious MI may result.

Improving car roof standards may save lives in Maryland

According to the NHTSA, roughly 600 people are killed each year and 900 are injured due to collapsing car roofs after a rollover. However, regulations regarding the stability of car roofs had not been updated since they originally went into effect in 1973. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 required a vehicle's roof to be able to withstand a force equal to 1.5 times it weight up to 5,000 pounds without moving more than five inches.

In 2009, crash test rules were updated to include all passenger vehicles up to 10,000 pounds. Vehicles weighing less than 6,000 pounds now have to be able to withstand a force of up to three times its weight without bending far enough to touch an average male passenger's head. Vehicles that weigh between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds only have to withstand a force of up to 1.5 times its weight.

Induced labor prevents large baby birth injuries

A European study looked at inducing labor for babies that pre-birth had been determined to be large. The study, which may interest Maryland readers, looked at the possibility of inducing labor in order to reduce the occurrences of shoulder dystocia. This birthing complication happens when the head of the baby has progressed down the birth canal but one or both of the shoulders get stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone. Shoulder dystocia is a complication in 1 percent of normal-weight births but has a 10 percent occurrence in larger babies.

With shoulder dystocia, the baby could endure fractures, nerve damage or suffocation. Inducing labor also has risks. A baby delivered before 39 weeks gestation may have breathing and other health complications. Researchers believed that the risks of shoulder dystocia were greater to the large babies than the risks brought on by inducing labor prior to 39 weeks. The conclusion from the study was that one occurrence of shoulder dystocia was prevented for every 25 cases where labor was induced.

Car accident statistics

Everyday, car accidents in Maryland and around the country result in deaths, serious injuries and property damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vital Signs report that was released in October 2014, almost 7,000 people go to the emergency room everyday in the United States because of motor vehicle accidents. The majority of car accident victims are people over 80 years old, teens and young adults.

The CDC says that traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury in the U.S., and these accidents are also responsible for causing a lot of fatalities The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were over 33,000 deaths in 2012 that were caused by vehicle collisions.

Technology can minimize occurrence of wrong-site surgeries

Maryland surgeons know that a single surgical error may result in a medical malpractice lawsuit and a large compensation award to an injured plaintiff. Although not common, one error that occurs in some spinal surgery cases is operating on the wrong level of the spine. Surgery on the wrong vertebra can result in a spectrum of outcomes, from minor complications to the need for additional surgeries.

While surgeons generally take great care to avoid mistakes, wrong-site spinal surgeries occur approximately four times a week in the United States. The errors sometimes result from a mismatch between the MRI or CT scan that led to the diagnosis and prompted the surgery and the X-ray showing the metal pins identifying the patient's vertebrae that is taken in the operating room.

Maryland man in hit-and-run turns himself in

According to reports, a 73-year-old man who was allegedly involved in a fatal hit-and-run collision on Feb. 1 on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway turned himself in to federal marshals on April 8. The man reportedly told officers he didn't know what he had struck with his vehicle the night of the accident.

On the night of the accident, a 38-year-old man was changing a tire on a 2007 Hyundai Sonata as it was parked on the shoulder of the northbound highway, which is under the jurisdiction of the federal National Park Service. The man's 28-year-old fiancee was holding a flashlight, while a 16-year-old boy was also standing outside. The 73-year-old man's vehicle struck them, killing the 38-year-old man and seriously injuring his fiancee. The 16-year-old boy was reportedly knocked down but was uninjured.

Raising alcohol taxes could save Maryland lives

The results of a new study show that increasing state alcohol taxes in Maryland and across the country could save thousands of lives each year. The report was recently published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers in the study found that deadly alcohol-related crashes dropped by 26 percent in Illinois after the state increased its excise tax on alcohol by an average of just a few pennies per drink in 2009. More impressively, deadly crashes involving young people dropped by 37 percent. The findings were calculated using detailed records from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The authors of the study looked at crash data in Illinois from January 2001 through December 2011 to see if the tax increase impacted alcohol-related accidents. Wisconsin fatal crash data was used as a control for the study.

Maryland car accidents and sternum fractures

One of the more dangerous injuries a person might receive in a car accident is a sternum fracture. The majority of people who suffer from sternum fracture injuries receive them in motor vehicle accidents, and they are at greater risk if their airbags do not work or they are not wearing seat belts.

Sternum fractures occur with blunt force trauma to the chest. The injuries normally result in pain, swelling or tenderness in the chest region, wheezing or difficulties breathing when the person laughs, sneezes or coughs, a deformed appearance to the rib cage, muscle spasms or grinding or crunching sounds at the injury site.

Many distractions for teen drivers

Many states, including Maryland, have laws prohibiting texting and using a handheld cell phone while driving. But the problems of distracted driving, which killed over 200 people in Maryland in 2011, go beyond the use of electronic devices, especially for teens. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security, 27 percent of teens reported that they sometimes change their clothes and shoes while driving. Other behind-the-wheel activities included changing contact lenses, doing homework or putting on makeup.

Although 40 percent of teens in the study also admitted to texting while driving, this figure is lower than in previous studies, suggesting that texting awareness campaigns may be working. The study asked teens to provide information about their driving habits and then to participate in a driver's education class that simulated the risks and difficulties of multitasking behind the wheel. After taking the short class, students were somewhat better at recognizing the risks of distracted driving, suggesting that classroom interventions may be helpful in addressing this problem. Other studies show that parents also play an important role in encouraging teen driving safety.

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