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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driver statistics sparks focus on reducing it

As law enforcement, legislators and research agencies seek methods to improve safety on the roads and convince drivers to adhere to the law, various strategies are used. Massachusetts drivers should know that April has been dubbed Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council. While the attempts on the part of the NSC and insurance companies to ramp down distracted driving is a worthwhile endeavor, the backstory behind the need for it is the number of drivers who are texting and driving and behaving as a distracted driver when on the road.

According to the NSC, there were more than 40,000 deaths on U.S. roads in 2017. That is the second year in a row where the fatalities surpassed that number. There were also approximately 4.57 million who suffered serious injuries in car accidents. A representative from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America says that the use of smartphones while driving is one of the most prominent causes of accidents across the nation. Given the advancement in safety technology in vehicles, it is a contradiction that there are still so many accidents and injuries. The growing number of people who have devices and use them while driving is a major cause for that disparity.

OSHA investigation examines trenching and excavation risks

When there is an injury or fatality on the job, Massachusetts workers and their families must be fully aware of the steps they should take to receive workers' compensation benefits. Some jobs hold a certain amount of inherent risk and it is up to the employer and regulatory agencies to ensure the proper steps are taken to make sure workers are safe. This is especially true with trenches and excavation. As the number of deaths increase with trenching and excavation projects, more attention is paid to the safety of workers. If a person was hurt or a family lost a loved one when working in a trench or while excavating, it is critical to know how to pursue compensation.

There has been an effort by the U.S. Department of Labor to significantly lower the number of injuries and deaths in trenching and excavation. Their goal is to lower the total by 10 percent from the total in the fiscal year of 2017 to September 30, 2019. To achieve this, they plan to raise the number of inspections conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and by helping employers increase compliance. Even with that, accidents will still happen.

Distracted driver survey shows behaviors still problematic

There are innumerable dangers on the road in Massachusetts and across the nation. However, one that is growing in anecdotal and statistical risk is encountering a distracted driver. Because looking away from the road increases the chance of being in an auto accident and nearly everyone has a device that is a clear temptation to use, it has become troublingly prevalent for there to be crashes due to distracted driving. Studies and surveys are conducted to determine the scope of the problem and the latest from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that drivers are still using their cellphones behind the wheel despite the known risks.

The latest version of AAA's Traffic Safety Culture Index shows that 88 percent of drivers think that there is an increase in distracted driving and it has surpassed aggressive drivers and impaired drivers as a concern. Since 2013, the number of drivers who admit to talking on their cellphone when driving and do so on a regular basis or "fairly often" has grown by 46 percent. Forty-nine percent of drivers say they had recently done so. 35 percent admitted to sending emails or text messages. Fifty-Eight percent say that speaking on a cellphone behind the wheel can lead to serious threats to personal safety. Seventy-Eight percent say texting is a major risk. Studies have shown that there is a four times greater risk of being in an accident if a driver is talking on a cellphone. It is up to eight times higher if the driver is texting.

Mild brain injuries can be major problems for professionals

Whether suffered in a car accident, a sports collision, a slip and fall accident or some other circumstance, any significant blow to the head can result in a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mild TBIs are surprisingly versatile injuries, which can bring with them a host of symptoms that the victim and his or her community may not recognize if they;re unaware that an injury occurred in the first place.

Without a clear diagnosis and professional medical care, mild TBIs may linger for months or even up to a year post-incident without the victim ever receiving proper care. These injuries can wreak havoc on the personal lives and careers of victims. This type of injury is certainly not something to take lightly, even though it does not present visible symptoms the way a broken arm will.

Always get a professional examination after a car accident

Surviving a car accident, even one that you think is relatively mild, may mean that you have injuries that you cannot feel for some time afterward. This is common, but some of the injuries you may suffer are quite serious, even if they are not yet painful.

Far too many accident victims suffer serious long term harm or may even die due to undiagnosed delayed onset injuries. These injuries may not present outwardly visible symptoms while at the scene of the accident, and may not cause pain for hours or even several days, but may grow very serious and potentially life-threatening by the time that a victim does feel them. In some cases, such as mild brain injuries suffered from a blow to the head, the injury may not present symptoms for more than a week after the accident.

Car insurance implications in Massachusetts

If you have been involved in a car accident in Massachusetts, whether you are a resident or live in another state, it is vital that you understand how the law works. There will be many administrative actions that you will have to take care of in the wake of the accident. One of these will involve your can insurance.

The most important thing to establish in the state of Massachusetts is that every party involved in the car accident had auto insurance coverage. Massachusetts requires that all registered vehicles have at least the minimum auto insurance coverage in place.

Man injured on the job as he works on fallen tree

Outdoor maintenance is an important job for community safety - things like keeping trees pruned and clearing branches that might fall. Inevitably, this requires workers to go high into the air to perform their duties. As with any job where workers are deployed at significant heights, falls can happen and result in injuries and fatalities. These happen even when the workers are taking all the safety precautions they are supposed to. After a workplace accident in these circumstances, the injured party and his or her family must be cognizant of the need for legal help to get workers' compensation and other benefits.

A 33-year-old man working on a tree fell as he tried to enter the bucket on his truck. It was snowing at the time of the accident. The man was working on a fallen tree. He hit his head at impact with the ground. A witness stated there was a substantial amount of blood after the incident. A law enforcement officer was nearby blocking the road so the man could work and called for emergency services to tend to the worker. The man is from Rhode Island. He was taken to the hospital and was said to have suffered facial injuries and head trauma. He was awake and alert as he was taken in for treatment. His injuries are still believed to be serious.

Pedestrian-car accident injures man and his niece crossing street

In Worcester and throughout Massachusetts, the mornings can be a dangerous time for pedestrians. People are on their way to work, are frequently in a rush and might be paying attention to several things at once rather than what they are supposed to be paying attention to: the road. In addition, people who are taking children to school could find themselves in risky situations as they try to cross busy streets, sometimes in poor weather. When there is a pedestrian-car accident, those who were hit can suffer serious injury and death. A lawsuit can help to recover compensation for all that was lost.

A car crashed into two pedestrians at around 8 a.m. The people who were hit were a 24-year-old man and his seven-year-old niece. The uncle was taking his niece to school when the accident occurred. A Nissan hit them and remained at the scene. The investigation is still ongoing and it is not known if charges will be filed against the driver. The girl was hit and rolled on the hood of the vehicle before falling to the ground and hitting her head. The man was hit and landed in front of the vehicle. The victims were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Falling window frame leads to injured worker and hospitalization

For Massachusetts workers who are employed in the construction industry, they will undoubtedly understand the risks of being injured. There are many ways in which there can be a workplace accident and it can lead to long-term damage and even death. Fortunately, these workers should be covered by workers' compensation benefits. Often, workers need legal help to ensure that they get the workers' compensation to which they are entitled.

A construction accident injured a 45-year-old worker. The accident happened after 7 a.m. when a window frame fell from the fourth floor of a building that was being renovated and landed on him. Emergency crews were called. The worker was pinned in the impact. His back and right leg were severely injured, but he is expected to survive. He was taken to the hospital to be treated. Work was ordered to be stopped so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can investigate.

Multiple factors cited for rise in pedestrian-car accident stats

Statistics detailing how and why car accidents happen can be useful for Massachusetts residents and for people across the nation. Some of the most vulnerable people on the road are not in vehicles at all, but are functioning as pedestrians. When there is a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian, serious injury is likely and fatality is possible. Research is constantly being conducted to try and understand the cause of these crashes and to reduce their incidence. One new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that the number of pedestrians who died in the U.S. has held steady at almost 6,000 for 2017. This is the most in 25 years.

While the GHSA states that a rise in these accidents is "tapering off," the reality is that the number has not been reducing. These statistics for pedestrian fatalities is happening simultaneous to a reduction of other causes of fatalities on the road. In the decade from 2007 to 2016, pedestrian deaths rose by 27 percent while other reasons for road fatalities were reducing by 14 percent. In coming to its conclusions, GHSA used preliminary data accrued via highway authorities.

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