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Macon Personal Injury Law Blog

FMCSA observes rise in fatal truck crashes in 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a data drill-down report, and its findings should be of interest to drivers in Georgia. The focus of the report was on fatal and non-fatal crashes in 2016 between large trucks and passenger vehicles. It turns out that there was a 3 percent increase in fatal crashes: from 4,094 fatalities in 2015 to 4,317 in 2016. The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents rose from 4,074 to 4,213.

In 73 percent of these fatal crashes, the critical factor was another vehicle, person, animal or object that encroached upon, or entered, the lane that the truck was in. Among driver-related factors, speeding was number one, followed by distracted or inattentive driving. Alcohol abuse was more prevalent among passenger vehicle drivers: 20 percent of these were found with more than a .08 percent BAC, compared to 2 percent of truckers.

My grandma was the victim of nursing home neglect. What can I do?

No matter how badly you may want to keep an aging loved one at home, doing so is not always realistic. Many elderly Georgia residents require specialized care or equipment that either cannot occur in a home setting or is too expensive for the average person.

The best alternative is to place a family member in the care of a residential facility. This is not an easy decision, and many families agonize over the process, especially when cost is a prohibitive factor. Many must use nursing homes that the insurance company will cover, even if it is not a facility they would have chosen otherwise. This can make discovering your loved one's nursing home neglect even more devastating.

New test could diagnose lung cancer earlier

According to findings from the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas study, or CCGA, it may be possible to use DNA in the blood to detect the early signs of lung cancer. However, researchers caution that testing needs to be done on larger groups of people before such a process could be widely used. If future tests confirm the preliminary findings, Georgia residents and others could be diagnosed after having blood drawn at a doctor's office.

If lung cancer can be found early enough, it may mean that a patient has a greater chance of survival. The research that led to this conclusion was an offshoot of the CCGA in which 1,700 participants provided blood samples that were used to perform blood sequencing assays. It was determined that all three could be used to detect cancer without giving too many false positives.

Drowsy driving just as hazardous as drunk driving

The typical Georgia motorist has probably driven while drowsy at some point in their life. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of U.S. drivers are guilty of driving drowsy at least once, and approximately one-third have actually nodded off while operating a vehicle.

While drowsy driving might not seem like a big deal to some people, the behavior is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. In some cases, it can even be more dangerous. Research shows that staying awake for 18 straight hours can make drivers behave as though they have a blood-alcohol content level of .05, and staying awake for 24 straight hours can make drivers behave like they have a blood-alcohol content level of .10, which is over the legal limit.

Avoiding truck accidents with five tips

Across Georgia and the rest of the U.S., thousands of commercial truck drivers are on the roads, working long hours and sometimes exceeding the number of hours allotted to them each day. Truck accidents are all too common, and they also tend to be the most impactful, resulting in catastrophic injuries or death. Below are five ways that trucking companies can help keep their employees and others on the road safe.

First is to raise awareness of safe driving practices among employees. Companies could, for example, set up professional training courses on how to properly load, secure and unload cargo. Having a local firm explain truck accident laws and federal safety guidelines to the employees is also a good idea.

Seatbelt use and liver injuries

Georgia residents who wear their seat belts may not avoid incurring liver injuries if they are in a motor vehicle accident. However, according to researchers, wearing a seat belt can reduce the severity of liver injuries and impact the expenses and consequences that result.

Motor vehicle crashes in the United States result in 2 million emergency visits every year, with abdominal trauma being the cause of a substantial portion of the injuries incurred. The crashes are also responsible for tens of thousands of fatalities and almost $1 trillion worth of annual costs to the healthcare system.

Software startup could prove useful to trucking companies

Considering that most of Georgia's freight cargo is carried by commercial vehicles, the trucking industry is a vital part of the economy. Unfortunately, some truckers are prone to accidents. Part of the reason is that many truck drivers work long hours -- as much as 70 hours, in fact, over the course of their eight-day workweek. This means they're often drowsy behind the wheel.

An estimated 100,000 truck crashes occur every year because of drowsy driving. However, the trucking industry may soon be hearing more about a startup founded three years ago by some Oklahoma University graduates. The company, which is called BlyncSync, is focusing on creating a software safety platform that encourages truckers to become better drivers.

Miscommunication, human error among top medical mistake causes

Before undergoing a serious medical procedure, you likely felt apprehensive but optimistic. The idea of having your condition cured or at least better managed by the treatment may have had you weighing the benefits of the procedure far above your nervousness surrounding your situation.

Afterward, however, you may have received devastating news that an error occurred during your operation or other treatment procedure. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may have found yourself in need of additional operations, at risk of developing a serious infection or any number of other harrowing potential events. Of course, while your mind spirals around all the negative possibilities of your predicament, you may ask yourself one question: How did this mistake happen?

Study casts doubt on effectiveness of distracted driving laws

The Georgia General Assembly passed a distracted driving bill on March 29 that bans the use of cellphones by drivers. Hands-free devices are still permitted under House Bill 673, but the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas suggests that devices designed to allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel may be just as dangerous as standard cellphones.

The researchers came to this conclusion after observing how sending and receiving text messages affected the driving of 20 student volunteers. The students were provided with a standard cellphone and a Google Glass device and placed in a realistic driving simulator. Google scrapped the wearable device in 2015 after receiving pushback over privacy issues, but the researchers chose to use one of the devices anyway because it can be controlled by voice commands.

Reaching a settlement in a truck accident case

Most victims of truck accidents in Georgia will decide to settle their cases outside of court. There are many good reasons to opt for a settlement over taking a lawsuit to court. For example, a settlement can be concluded in less time than litigation.

However, it is important to point out that an individual could receive less from a negotiated settlement than taking a case to trial. It is also important to note that an individual could be giving up his or her right to take any future legal action after a settlement has been negotiated. If a case is resolved through arbitration, the results are binding for both parties.