May 30, 2017

What is a Closed Head Injury?

A closed head injury happens when a violent trauma happens to the brain and it is injured as a result of a blow to the head, or a sudden, violent motion that causes the brain to knock against the skull. A lot of people think a closed head injury is different from an open head injury, in that no object actually penetrates the brain and they are correct, but closed head injuries can diffuse, meaning that they can and usually affect cells and tissues throughout the brain; compared to a focal injury, meaning that the damage occurs in one area. Most closed head injuries range from mild to severe.

Causes & Symptoms of a Closed Head Injury

Really anything can cause a closed head injury as long as it does enough damage to cause the trauma listed above.  Most common causes of a closed head injury include automobile accidents, assault, falls, work-related accidents, and sports-related accidents. Once a closed heady injury happens, some of the symptoms can show their ugly face immediately if severe of days and even weeks if more on the mild side.  Here are some of the majority of the symptoms that can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Respiratory issues
  • Convulsions
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Spinal fluid leaking from nose or ears
  • Speech and language problems
  • Vision issues
  • Emotional and behavioral changes

Long Term Effects –  Closed Head Injury

This is a very tricky one as the degree and rate of recovery is highly dependent upon individual circumstances. Something that plays a big factor  is the amount of time spent unconscious or in a coma. Another one is much of normal activity is recovered within the first few week to a month.

Spinal Cord Injury Research – Falls Cause More Injury In SCI

New Data Shows Falls Now Exceed Car Crashes as Leading Cause of SCI

Until just recently, automobile accidents ranked as the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the US. However, a recent study based on an updated spinal cord injury research and data indicates that falls, particularly among the senior population, have surpassed car crashes as the number one cause of accidental, traumatic spinal cord injuries.

The study’s authors also suggest that programs to prevent falls in elderly people could significantly reduce the number of spinal injuries in the nation, based upon the results of the updated research. The new data set was taken from a body of 43,000 adults with spinal cord injuries who were treated in hospital emergency rooms between 2007 and 2009. The rate of injury among people ages 18 to 64 dropped from about 52 people per million in 2007 to about 50 per million in 2009, according to a Johns Hopkins Medicine news release.

Falls in Nursing Homes and among the General Senior Population are likely Contributing Factors

According to the study, published in the late January issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma, the rate of spinal injuries among people 65 and older rose from about 79 people per million to nearly 88 per million during that same time. Study co-leader Dr. Edward Hammond a research associate at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, said in the news release:

“We are seeing a changing face in the epidemiology of spinal cord injury.”

The updated spinal cord research shows falls accounted for 41.5 percent of spinal cord injuries during the study period, followed by car accidents at 35.5 percent. The researchers also found that fall-related spinal cord injuries accounted for 30 percent of all injuries among senior citizens in 2009, compared to only 23.6 percent in 2007.

Earlier spinal cord injury research established the average age of adults with spinal cord injuries at 41 years of age between 2000 and 2005. It has since increased to 51, according to the current study. The researchers also found that seniors with spinal cord injuries are four times more likely than younger patients to die from those injuries in the emergency room. Elderly patients also are six times more likely to die after being admitted to the hospital with a spinal cord injury.

Health Care System Strained by Costs of Treating Spinal Cord Injuries

Researchers say a combination of the overall aging of the U.S. population, the more active lifestyles of seniors and increased crash protection provided by airbags and seatbelt laws is a likely cause behind the changing trends in spinal cord injury patient demographics.

Spinal cord injury researchers also found that these injuries are a growing financial burden on the health care system as well as the US taxpayers. From 2007 to 2009, emergency-room charges alone for spinal cord injuries totaled $1.6 billion. Those charges increased 20 percent over the study period — well above the rate of inflation, researchers pointed out. Study co-leader Dr. Shalini Selvarajah, a postdoctoral surgical research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was quoted in a press release:

“It’s an area that is ripe for prevention. We have demonstrated how costly traumatic spinal cord injury is and how lethal and disabling it can be among older people.”

 

References:

 

Fox News Health – http://www.myfoxwausau.com/story/24564583/falls-top-car-crashes-as-leading-cause-of-us-spinal-injuries?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass

 

Florida Drunk Driving Facts

Florida Drunk Driving Statistics

roadsign of florida drunk driving facts and statisticsIn Florida and in all 50 states, Florida drunk driving (also called driving under the influence – DUI), remains a threat to public safety and motorists everywhere. Each holiday season, particularly on New Year’s Eve, hundreds of police checkpoints are set up across Florida to deter DUI.  Those who take their chances and decide to get behind the wheel after drinking face a high probability of being pulled over and arrested or, worse yet, involved in a deadly car crash.

DUI is a criminaloffense and local police expand their campaigns every year, especially during the holidays, to arrest drunk drivers. This year, Florida drivers are urged to enjoy the holidays responsibly and not to drive drunk. Those will plan on celebrating the New Year are encouraged to designate a driver, call a taxi, or make alternate transportation arrangements ahead of time.

14 Florida Drunk Driving Facts and Statistics 

100 percent of DUI accidents are preventable, yet DUI remains a major cause of deadly automobile crashes across the state of Florida and the US:

  • Across Florida, the vast majority of DUI-related fatalities occur on Friday or Saturday, with most accidents taking place between 3:00AM and 5:00AM.
  • In 2010, DUI-related accidents were responsible for nearly 30% of Florida’s traffic fatalities
  • In 2011, the Florida DMV recorded a total of 55,722 DUI arrests, of which 2,045 occurred in the Tampa Bay area
  • In 2012, Tampa DUI arrests fell by over 100 cases down to 1,912.  In 2012, Tampa had its lowest number of DUI arrests in 10 years (since 2002)
  • In 2012, there were 697 traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving in the state of Florida
  • In 2012, approximately 10,300 people died in the US due to accidents caused by drunk/impaired drivers
  • According to MADD statistics, Florida had experienced 716 alcohol-related traffic fatalities as of October in 2013 – that number is estimated to have increased by at least 10 since then
  • In Hillsborough County, Saturday night through early Sunday morning account for the highest percentage of DUI arrests each week over the course of any given 52-week period
  • Almost every 90 seconds, somebody is injured in a DUI-related car accident
  • Every day in the US, an average of 28 people die as a result of drunk driving accidents
  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21 to 25 year olds (23.4%)
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for younger drivers than for older drivers
  • Florida has recorded a total of 113,076 3-time DUI offenders and 11,681 5-time offenders as of 2012
  • The legal BAC limit in Florida is 0.08% – The cost of a first offense DUI, including costs of legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases, averages about $8,000 over a 3-year period.

Consequences of  Florida Drunk Driving

If a driver is involved in a motor-vehicle accident, he/she is likely to be at fault if his/her BAC is above 0.08%. That driver can be held liable for the costs of any injuries that result from the accident. If a fatality occurs, that driver can be found liable in a potential wrongful death suit – in addition to any criminal fines, probation, and other penalties.

DUI causes nearly three times the level of deaths and serious than texting/ cell phone use. Overall, it costs Americans millions in injuries, prosecution costs, lawsuits, and lost productivity. However, campaigns such as MADD have cut the number of annual DUI fatalities down by nearly 50 percent since 1980.

 

References:

 

DMV Florida – http://www.dmvflorida.org/florida-dui.shtm

 

MADD – http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html

 

CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

 

MADD – http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Florida.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly Orlando, Florida Auto Accident

Wrong way crash claims two drivers’ lives on I-4

 

Last weekend on Saturday, November 30th, a catastrophic accident on Interstate 4 claimed the lives of two drivers. The spectacular collision resulted after one driver drove the wrong-way on the Interstate. A five-car pileup ensued, causing severe traffic delays for several hours that morning.

 

Orlando Police investigators are attempting to determine why the driver of a white Ford Explorer was headed the wrong-way in the east-bound lanes of I-4 last Saturday. The impact of the crash was so immense that both the wrong-way driver and the driver of a red Dodge Neon were killed instantly.  Lt. Jason M. Batura of Orlando Police told news reporters:

 

“This was probably one of the worst accidents I’ve witnessed in my 20 years.”

 

Orlando police say the crash most likely took place right before 6 a.m. In the minutes leading up to the six o’clock hour, dispatchers received multiple 911 calls claiming that a woman in a white Ford Explorer SUV was driving extremely fast in the wrong direction on I-4 in the downtown Orlando area.

 

Within a minute or two, the woman collided head-on with the red Neon.  The accident produced a horrifying chain reaction affecting three additional vehicles. None of those drivers were seriously hurt. Police have not yet released the identities of the accident victims. At this time, police do not know whether alcohol was a contributing factor.

 

This is the second deadly wrong-way crash to occur in southern Florida within the past 30 days. Marisa Caran Catronio died in another crash caused by a wrong-way driver on November 16th on the Sawgrass Expressway.

 

 

 

References:

 

My Fox Orlando – http://www.myfoxorlando.com/story/24103198/two-drivers-killed-in-wrong-way-crash-on-i-4#ixzz2mjasFPgN

 

Sanford Florida Motorcycle Accident

Driver cited, Sanford motorcycle officer hurt in traffic accident

 

Last week on Wednesday, December 4th, a town of Sanford police officer was injured in the line of duty while patrolling on one of the department’s motorcycles. The officer was thrown from the motorcycle after colliding with a car.

 

38-year-old Officer Tina Leman was pursuing another vehicle with the intent of pulling the driver over for a routine traffic stop. Officer Leman was behind the vehicle on 29th Street near Woodmere Boulevard. Before she could stop the driver, another unrelated vehicle travelling in the opposite, oncoming lane of traffic suddenly turned left in front of her motorcycle.  The vehicle was driven by Timothy Salvino, who claimed he did not see the officer. When Salvino attempted to turn left, Leman had no time to react and collided with the vehicle, according to Shannon Cordingly, a Sanford Police Department spokeswoman.

 

Cordingly also said that Leman’s injuries were non-life threatening, but that she remained in the hospital in serious condition. Salvino, a 20-year-old from Casselberry, received a traffic citation for violating the right of way, Florida Highway Patrol troopers noted. Salvino was not hurt.

 

No further details were provided. Preliminary information did not indicate whether alcohol played any role in the crash and police did not say whether Leman had activated the motorcycle’s lights and siren. Regardless of lights or sirens, drivers are generally responsible for watching for other cars and for motorcycles. Over half of collisions involving a car and a motorcycle occur when the car turns left in front of the motorcycle and fails to yield the right of way.

 

 

References:

 

Orlando Sentinel –  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-12-04/news/os-sanford-cop-hurt-20131204_1_traffic-accident-sanford-police-officer-traffic-stop

Failing to Report “Phantom” Vehicles may Threaten Uninsured Motorist Benefits

picture of insurance policy that highlights uninsured motorist claim sectionA recent Supreme Court ruling in the state of Pennsylvania supports sufficient prejudice for an insurance carrier to terminate coverage if the insured driver fails to report a “phantom” vehicle in a timely manner when pursuing an uninsured motorist claim.

Insurance Carriers May Cancel Coverage over Suspicious Delays in Uninsured Motorist Claims

A unanimous court decision made on Oct. 30 upheld the Superior Court’s decision in Vanderhoff v. Harleysville Insurance that, although filing an untimely report was not in and of itself prejudicial, an eight-month delay in reporting a phantom vehicle prejudiced the carrier. The ruling found in favor of the insurance carrier in the case of an 8-month reporting delay and rejected the plaintiff’s argument that an insurance carrier should have to show some concrete evidence of prejudice.

The judge said that determining whether there has been prejudice depends on particular circumstances, and that making an insurer prove how its determination was prejudiced would not be practical in all situations:

“To demand such evidence would result in a Mobius strip whereby, to show prejudice, the insurer would have to show through concrete evidence the evidence it was unable to uncover due to the untimely notice. While the insurer is always obligated to investigate the case such as it can, where an insured’s delay results in an inability to thoroughly investigate the claim and thereby uncover relevant facts, prejudice is established.”

Prior Cases Suggest Fraud, Attempts by Drivers to Access UM Benefits Dishonestly

According to court documents concerning a case back in 2001, Forester Vanderhoff rear-ended a car being driven by Ryan Piontkowski in Luzerne County (PA) while both vehicles were waiting to turn left at a traffic light at a busy intersection. The crucial dispute point in the case was whether Piontkowski stopped suddenly to yield to an unidentified car, which would be considered an uninsured motor vehicle under PA state law and could entitle Vanderhoff to UM benefits under his employer’s Harleysville policy.

On June 14, 2002, over eight months after the accident took place, Vanderhoff suddenly filed a claim for UM benefits with Harleysville, clearly disregarding a provision in the insurance contract requiring prompt notice and a 30-day reporting requirement.

While Vanderhoff claimed that the phantom car had existed, Piontkowski denied it. Vanderhoff asserted that he had believed the existence of the phantom car had been documented in the police report but didn’t notice until several months later that the report contained no mention of an unidentified vehicle, according to court documents. In May 2004, a Luzerne County trial court held a hearing to finally determine whether the phantom car actually existed. The Superior Court eventually ruled that Harleysville did not have to prove prejudice and was within its rights to terminate Vanderhoff’s coverage.

Officials Advise Drivers to Report Sensibly

Experts say that despite these types of rulings, honest drivers needn’t worry about the ruling, as it is geared to better equip insurance carriers to deal with fraudulent claims, a rampant issue in states like Florida. If a driver is a victim of a hit and run collision, or the other driver claims he/she is uninsured, that driver should attempt to report any possible information about the other car to police and his/her insurance company. Drivers who file an uninsured motorist claim and submit the information within a few days of the incident (or an otherwise reasonable time period) will not be subjected to scrutiny and possible policy cancellation unless other questionable circumstances are involved.

Distracted Driving Laws and Variances by State

image of 2 distracted drivers hitting a pedestrianOn October 1st, 2013, Florida became the 41st state to enact a law against texting while driving; officially restricting the use of cell phones by drivers. The ban on texting while driving is presently a secondary law in Florida. A primary law means that an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic violation taking place, while a secondary law means an officer can only issue a ticket if a driver has been pulled over for another violation (like speeding).

For this reason, Florida’s new law has been criticized as ineffective and weak. Many traffic safety experts feel the law needs much improvement in order to have any true impact on reducing distracted driving.

 

How Distracted Driving Laws Vary across 14 States

Many feel that Florida needs to adapt tougher laws against distracted driving, like those of other states such as New York and Illinois.  Laws regarding texting and mobile device usage while driving vary from state to state. The list below shows how Florida stacks up against a few other states with varying levels of distraction bans:

  • Florida: Texting is banned (secondary law), only while the vehicle is in motion. No ban exists regarding talking on a cell phone.

 

  • Georgia: Texting is banned (primary law). Cell phone use is banned for drivers under 18 (primary law).

 

  • California: Handheld ban for all drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under 18 (secondary law), ban on texting for all drivers (primary law).

 

  • New York: Handheld ban for all drivers (primary law), ban on texting for all drivers (primary law).

 

  • Illinois: Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law),

ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under 19 (primary law), ban on texting for all drivers (primary law) – Illinois bans the use of cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone – Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law, eff. 1/1/14).

 

  • Maine: Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under 18 (primary law),

ban on texting for all drivers (primary law) – Maine has passed a general statute making it unlawful to drive while distracted in the state.

 

  • North Carolina: Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under 18 (primary law), ban on texting for all drivers (primary law).

 

  • District of Columbia: Handheld ban for all drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under 18 (primary law), ban on texting for all drivers (primary).

 

  • Texas: Ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law), ban on all cell phone (handheld and Hands-free) AND a ban on texting for all new drivers licensed for less than 12 months regardless of age (primary law), ban on texting for bus drivers (primary law), Texas has banned the use of handheld phones and texting in school zones. Texting is not banned in all other cases, provided the driver has been licensed for at least 12 months.

 

  • Arizona: Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for school bus drivers only (primary law).

 

  • Missouri: Ban on texting for drivers under age 21 (primary law).

 

  • Montana: No bans on distracted driving.

 

  • South Carolina: No bans on distracted driving.

 

  • South Dakota: No bans on distracted driving.

 

Don’t see your favorite or home state listed here? Interested readers can access distracted driving laws on all 50 states, as well as distracted driving resources and statistics at Distraction.gov.

 

 

References:

 

Distraction.gov – http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/state-laws.html

 

ABC News – http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/state/texting-while-driving-ban-among-new-fla-laws

 

Distracted Driving Behaviors

license plate that says no textingWith all the technically advanced luxuries and amenities available today, more people exhibit distracting driving behavior behind the wheel. Common behaviors include text messaging, making phone calls or even eating breakfast on the morning commute.

 

The problem has grown into such a widespread threat to the motoring public that the U.S. Department of Transportation held a special two-day summit in late September. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducted a study that revealed nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention or distraction within three seconds before the event.

 

5 Distracted Driving Behaviors

 

The majority of drivers are guilty of some manner of distracted driving behavior at some point. The important thing for driver safety is to identify the behavior and commit to keeping it out of the car.

 

Text Messaging

 

Another component of the July 2009 VTTI study shows that texting is one of the most dangerous behaviors a driver can engage in. The study shows that drivers engaging in text messaging in a heavy vehicle or truck are 23.2 times more likely to crash than other non-distracted drivers.

 

The CDC has proven that texting is the leading cause of car accidents and traffic fatalities among teenage drivers. Each year, texting while driving claims at least 3,000 lives, the vast majority of which are teenagers. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit to holding extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

 

Dialing a Cell Phone

 

Dialing a cell phone while the vehicle is in motion is very dangerous because drivers are taking their eyes off the road. Speed-dialing can divert up to 3 seconds of a driver’s attention away from the road, while manual dialing can take up to 12 seconds. Drivers from the VTTI study who dialed phones were 2.8 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers. When driving heavy vehicles or commercial trucks, the drivers’ risk of a crash increased to 5.9 times. The VTTI study concludes:

 

“These results show conclusively that a real key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road. By contrast, tasks such as listening to audio books (which VTTI terms as “cognitively intense”) come with much lower risks.”

 

Dealing with Children in the Car

 

Passengers inside the car can always be a distraction, but this increases whenever a parent is dealing with young children. Misbehaving and loud children don’t understand how their behavior affects the driver and endangers their own safety. Kids might bicker or throw tantrums, causing their parents to take their eyes and attention away from the road.

 

Playing with the Controls

 

As the navigation and entertainment systems inside cars become more complicated, the distractions facing the driver have increased in recent years. Touchscreens may be innovative, but because they offer no tactile feedback, they’re very difficult to use without glancing away from the road. Newer cars are coming equipped with redundant stereo and climate controls on the steering wheel, giving the driver less reason to take his/her hands off the wheel. Drivers should use steering wheel controls whenever possible.

 

Eating on the Go

 

Three percent of respondents in a 2008 Nationwide Mutual study claimed they believed eating was the most dangerous distraction while driving. Back in 2006, Privilege Insurance conducted a test in England to show how dangerous eating can be. In the simulator, drivers had to navigate an urban road once without eating, and a second time while eating or drinking at two intervals — just as a pedestrian stepped onto the road. The number of crashes doubled during the food and drink trial. The information was well-known, far before texting brought the national focus onto distracted driving in the US.

 

 

References:

 

US News – http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/5-Risky-Distracted-Driving-Behaviors/

 

CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdistracteddriving/

 

Distraction.gov – http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/research.html

 

Florida homeowners sued over DUI manslaughter citing dram shop law

 

Earlier this year in February, a West Palm Beach teenager was killed drunk-driving crash after attending a Super Bowl Party. Now, the teen’s parents have filed a civil suit against the homeowners where the driver attended separate parties. The suit claims the homeowners violated Florida dram shop laws when they served alcohol to persons less than 21 years of age and then knowingly allowed them to drive off.

 

The Palm Beach Post reported that the parents of 18-year-old Jamie Allen filed suit alleging that two homeowners failed to take adequate steps to prevent people under age 21 from gaining access to alcohol. The case is currently pending in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

 

The Allen family’s lawsuit claims their daughter, Jamie, first attended a Super Bowl party on February 3rd earlier this year at a house in Lake Worth. Afterward, she and a friend, 19-year-old Christopher Moffitt, drove to another party at Moffitt’s home in Lantana. Moffit was driving the whole time.

 

Later, he lost control of his car and crashed into several palm trees. His passenger, Jamie Allen, was killed in the crash. Moffitt was subsequently charged with DUI manslaughter, but has pleaded not guilty. The outcomes of both the criminal case and civil lawsuit against Moffit and the other, unnamed homeowner are all pending.

 

References:

 

Tampa Bay Times –http://www.myfoxorlando.com/story/24060430/fla-homeowners-sued-over-teens-dui-crash-death#ixzz2mLKWIMRu

 

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Alleges Hospital Worked Nurse To Death

 

James Jasper alleges that his wife, an Ohio nurse, was knowingly “worked to death,” CNN reported.

picture of a nurseElizabeth Jasper was killed in a car accident on March 16 while driving home from work. A recently filed wrongful death lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages for loss of consortium, pain and suffering and mental anguish, alleging that fatigue from being overworked contributed to her death.

She was employed as a registered nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Jewish Hospital, where she was typically scheduled to work three 12-hour shifts each week. However, the suit alleges that after the hospital came under the ownership of Mercy Health Partners of Southwest Ohio, her actual working hours “routinely and significantly” surpassed her scheduled time. Also, since she was one of a “handful of nurses” qualified to work dialysis machines she was routinely called into work while off-duty.

Allegedly, from 2011, when Mercy took ownership, onward, the nurses’ unit was “regularly understaffed,” causing some of the nurses to work through breaks and pick up additional shifts. Generally, nurses reported being effectively forced to choose between temporarily abandoning helpless patients in order to take bathroom breaks and simply continuing the shift without using the restroom.

Specifically, Elizabeth allegedly told other nurses that she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten,” during her final shift.

Eric Deters, an attorney for the widower, said that Elizabeth may have fallen asleep before her car veered off the road, jumped an embankment and struck a tree. The 38-year-old woman left behind her husband of nearly 14 years, a 6-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, WCPO Cincinnati reported.

“Something needs to change,” James told WCPO Cincinnati. “These [nurses] cannot be treated this way the patient care is an issue but they can’t continue to work these nurses and expect them to pick up the slack because they don’t want to staff the hospital.”

The lawsuit alleges that her supervisor expressed concern prior to her death that “Ms. Jasper was being ‘worked to death,’” but ownership refused to take “reasonable steps” to make the situation better.

“Our hearts go out to the family,” a released statement from a hospital spokeswoman reads. “We do not comment on pending litigation.”

 

References:

 

CNN

 

WCPO

 

WLWT.com

Email