One 16-year-old was involved in a drunk-driving accident that could have sent him to prison for 20 years. The collision killed four and injured several others. Instead, a judge ruled for 10 years of probation, asserting that the young man would not get the treatment or therapy he needed in prison. Some now claim that the lenient ruling was not made in just reference to the law, but in deference to the wealth of the teen’s family (a situation often dubbed “affluenza”).
The defense argued that the teen’s parents never taught him the connection between actions and consequences. He was not punished for anything he did, no matter how outrageous. According to a psychologist who testified for the defense, the young man could be most effectively rehabilitated with up to two years of treatment and no further contact with his parents. When the judge ruled accordingly, some in the courtroom objected that money and social position had seemingly skewed the case.
With a blood alcohol content of 0.24, the young man was traveling at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone on the day of the accident. Four people on the side of the road were killed, and nine others were injured when he plowed into them.
It’s a decision that left many people wondering about the fairness of the justice system. What do you think?
More than three million truckers travel U.S. highways every day. Many people drive to work each day alongside a big rig. The situation is cause for caution, particularly considering highway speeds, but most truckers are driving professionals. They safely follow all the road laws of the state in which they are driving. However, as in any industry or profession, there are always those who do not work with safety in mind.
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that nearly 200 people died in big rig accidents over the course of the year.
Driver fatigue is one of the more common causes of accidents involving 18-wheelers. Shockingly, nearly 33 percent of truckers have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations. Sleep deprivation and insomnia are also frequent problems for those in the industry; combine all three, and the potential for an accident increases exponentially.
Every state has its own method of screening and testing drivers who may be struggling with sleep apnea. Recently, President Obama signed legislation mandating that suspected truckers, who usually have high blood pressure and are overweight, be tested. Some of the signs that may indicate sleep apnea include, but are not limited to: frequent micro-sleep sessions with two- to three-second periods of sleeping and waking, increasingly aggressive behavior, a decline in motivation, a drop in overall performance and difficulty understanding factual information.
Trucking accidents can be a jurisdictional problem. Discuss your case with an experienced trucking accident lawyer.
Four years ago, a big-rig trucker parked his 18-wheeler in an emergency lane on a southern California highway. A driver in an SUV crashed into the truck, killing three people. Though the accident took place years ago, the case is only making its way through the courts now.
At trial, the plaintiff alleged that the trucker was not permitted to pull over into an emergency lane for a sleep break, as the lanes are designated only for use in emergency situations. Additionally, he failed to set up any flares or other emergency reflectors to outline the presence of the semi.
The defendant’s attorney claimed that the trucker had pulled over to take medication for a severe headache, which qualified as an emergency.
The jury did not agree with the defendant’s reasoning and handed down a $150 million award for the 13-year-old plaintiff and her brother. Their entire family died in the fire that engulfed the SUV after it hit the parked truck.
Collisions with tractor-trailers often end in tragedy. If you have been involved in a wreck with a semi, do not wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. The scene of the accident needs to be secured immediately to preserve evidence.
After a recent fatal collision, a man pled guilty to driving under the influence of heroin. His SUV rammed into the rear end of a car on a snow-covered highway, killing an 11-year-old boy and severely injuring another individual. The force of the impact then caused the automobile to crash into two other vehicles.
The crashes occurred in the early evening hours when the man’s Ford Expedition rear-ended the Chevrolet Cavalier. The 11-year-old backseat passenger was killed on impact, and an 18-year-old front seat passenger was seriously injured. The Cavalier was then propelled into two parked vehicles, both of whom were stopped close to the scene of another, unrelated accident.
The 29-year-old man pled guilty to two counts of aggravated DUI, one Class A felony, one Class 2 felony, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operation of a vehicle while uninsured. After the crash, urine tests revealed heroin metabolite in the man’s system, spurring the aggravated DUI charges. The case will reach court in March 2014. The driver faces probation or three to 14 years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.
Heroin use and abuse concerns more than the personal choices of drug users. On the road, drug use becomes a negligently egregious act that may cause needless death.
To drive with safety in mind, focus on observing everything around you. Any distraction — from texting or adjusting a GPS device to handling obstreperous kids — increases the risk of a serious crash resulting in injuries or death.
A newly released study by the Monash University Accident Research Center conclusively determined what every parent, nanny, babysitter and sibling already knew: it is more dangerous to drive with children in the backseat. And it’s not just a bit more dangerous. Risks can increase up to twelvefold.
Researchers installed cameras in 12 family vehicles for three weeks. Surprisingly, the cameras revealed that cell phone conversations accounted for only one percent of all distractions (which is not to say that those distractions were not dangerous). Kids in the backseat, on the other hand, amounted to 12 percent. In practical application, their parents were driving blind for about three minutes and 22 seconds of every average, 16-minute errand run. Three minutes and 22 seconds is more than enough time to get into a potentially deadly accident. When cell phones combined with child passengers, the risks of an accident increased significantly.
This is the first time a study of this nature has concluded what parental anecdotal evidence already suggested: young children in the backseat of a vehicle can be a serious distraction. Drivers turn around or use rear-view mirrors to check on kids. They play with the children or hand them drinks, snacks and toys, all of which pull them away from the road. Monash studied 92 trips monitored by in-vehicle cameras. 90 of those trips involved distracted driving. Other safety hazards also appeared: in 70 percent of trips with carseats, children were incorrectly buckled in.
Make sure to attend to the road with children in the backseat. It is the best way to protect them.
One woman from Phoenix, Arizona wanted a solution to stop her bladder from leaking. The organ had dropped after the delivery of her four children, all of whom were unusually large at birth. Her surgeon recommended a transvaginal mesh kit as the best method to deal with her problems. She agreed to proceed with the operation, unaware of any alternatives. The doctor also told her that it would make her life easier if she had her cervix and uterus removed and if she had a hysterectomy. She got the impression it was a normal process for older women.
Later, she discovered that she should have gone for a second opinion, as she underwent unnecessary surgery for urge incontinence, a condition that cannot be treated with mesh surgery.
After the surgery, she noticed something like dental floss protruding out of her vagina. The doctor told her that it was part of the mesh and that she could wait six weeks to have it clipped. She was told not to have intercourse for at least two weeks, but after six months sex was still painful for both partners. Five years later and after the death of her fiancé, she still has not healed. The woman wants the mesh removed, but she has now been told that it has bonded with her body tissues, making it nearly impossible to retrieve all of it.
She is willing to try anything to stop the pain, but her next steps are still unclear.
If you have suffered from similar circumstances, contact my office for further information about filing a transvaginal mesh kit lawsuit.
Medical device manufacturers may wish that the recent transvaginal lawsuits would hurry up and go away, but they have only just begun. In the past months, a massive run of personal injury lawsuits has begun to roll towards them. In fact, the first of 6,400 suits is slated to reach West Virginia courts in March. Boston Scientific has been named as the defendant.
The sheer scale of this litigation is astounding; more than 30,000 medical negligence and defective product lawsuits have been filed against six U.S. mesh makers. Most of the cases allege that the manufacturers knew, or should have known, of the devastating and dangerous side effects of the mesh they produced.
The first four cases against Boston Scientific are to serve as bellwether cases, dealing with the Pinnacle transvaginal mesh and Obtryx mesh that caused complications that included, but were not limited to, internal injuries, infections, severe pain and erosion of the mesh.
Despite the lawsuits in progress and those still to be filed, Boston Scientific has stated that the mesh products are still an important treatment option. No doubt the 30,000 women who suffered severe consequences as a result of such implants feel otherwise.
Some sources have indicated that Boston Scientific is considering settlement talks, but most facts indicate that such a decision is many months from consideration. However, it may be that the recent C.R. Bard Inc. case that found the company liable for $2,000,000 or Ethicon’s $11,000,000 liability in another may eventually motivate Boston Scientific to propose out-of-court settlements.
Mobile technology has haunted roadways since the introduction of the cellphone in 1973. Though they are designed to help people live more connected lives, cellphones, smartphones and other e-technology have led to distracted driving, and thus to a rapid escalation of traffic deaths across the nation. Last year, traffic deaths continued to increase, jumping up by 5.3 percent. Police are indicating that they now see traffic collisions that fit the traditional understanding of an “accident.” These crashes are not accidental or unavoidable. In too many instances, they are caused by distracted driving and speeding.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) points out that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for at least 4.6 seconds. That text is the equivalent of driving 55 mph down the length of a football field while blindfolded. Do you think you would drive 360 feet in a perfectly straight line without running into something or veering off the field? Why would you drive down a busy road without looking at it?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that in 2011, 3,331 people were killed as the result of distracted driving. Over 400,000 sustained moderate to severe injuries. Shockingly, but not unexpectedly, teen drivers spend at least 25 percent of their time behind the wheel distracted by texts. Any one of those distracted seconds could lead to an accident or even a death.
Fines, laws and enforcement are working to restore vehicular sanity, but there is still a long way to go to correct distracted driving. Unfortunately, it often takes personal involvement in an accident to realize the dangers. Be the change you want to see on the roads.
After many motorcycle-automobile accidents, the automobile’s driver reports that he or she failed to see the biker on the road. Typically, this deadly oversight happens when a driver is not paying proper attention. One recent afternoon, a San Marcos biker sustained serious injuries after striking the side of an SUV at the intersection of TX 71 and RM 962. He did not survive the accident.
According to the driver of the SUV, he never saw the other vehicle before he turned left onto the highway. At the scene, police charged the Nissan Pathfinder driver with failing to yield right-of-way to the motorcyclist. Drivers have a duty to remain alert and aware of all other traffic around them — even more so if they have stopped at an intersection prior to making a turn or decision.
Tragically, not all motorcyclists will survive an accident. But an injured, surviving driver needs the services of experienced legal counsel to help them obtain compensation for their injuries and medical costs. Many drivers insist that bikers cause most accidents by exceeding the speed limit. In reality, automobile drivers are usually at fault; they may drive while distracted or fail to look out for concealed and inconspicuous traffic. In this case, a man lost his life because an SUV driver did not conduct a proper check for all types of traffic coming his way. Such cases often involve negligence and as such, the biker’s estate is fully entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Each time Texas police pulls over a suspected drunk driver, they wonder if DUI/DWI education is working. Every day, victims of drunk drivers wonder the same. The fatality rate on Texas highways for 2012 indicates that, on average, there are 1.41 deaths per 100,000,000 miles traveled; this rate represents an increase of 9.3 percent over 2011. No day passed in 2012 without a death on Texas roadways. One person is killed every two hours and 35 minutes; one injured every two minutes and 17 seconds; one involved in a reportable car crash every 75 seconds.
In 2012, 1,099 people met their deaths in accidents in which one or more drivers was under the influence of alcohol. That number represents 32.3 percent of the total number killed on Texas roads. Most commonly, these accidents took place between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Sunday was the most common day of the week for an accident. With these figures, it does not seem that alcohol education is having much impact in the Lone Star State.
One recent morning, a Texas police office and member of a DWI Task Force was patrolling U.S. 54 around 2:00 a.m. He spotted a driver travelling at 115 mph in a 60 mph speed zone. Once pulled over, the man was arrested for DWI/DUI. He already had a prior conviction for the same crime. His accident was averted before it found a place to happen, but will it be prevented again the next time?