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Macon Personal Injury Law Blog

With commercial vehicles, negligence can have dire consequences

Commercial vehicles are an ever-present fixture on many Georgia roads. While you may view these vehicles as a necessary means of transporting a variety of goods and materials, you might also consider them somewhat dangerous, as accidents involving commercial vehicles can have disastrous consequences.

Since you likely place a high priority on your safety and well-being, driving close to a semi might not be on your list of favorite things to do. Unfortunately, avoiding similar vehicles entirely can be impossible at times, and if a commercial vehicle hits you, the injuries you suffer in the process could be substantial.

Hospital visits more dangerous in the afternoon

Georgia residents likely hope they never have to go to the hospital. However, if such a trip is necessary, some experts say it's best to avoid going in the afternoon.

First of all, afternoon admittees are more likely to encounter fatigued hospital staff. Like everyone else, doctors and nurses tend to suffer a circadian slump between 2 and 4 p.m. While a tired office worker may only misfile a document or commit some typos, a tired doctor could make a dangerous medical mistake. For example, a Duke University study found that anesthesiologists had a 4.2 percent risk of making a mistake at 4 p.m., compared to a 0.3 percent risk at 8 a.m. Second, afternoon patients may encounter a shift change in the middle of treatment, which could also increase the chances of a medical error.

Car crashes increase during the summer

The summer months generally see more accidents on roads in Georgia and throughout the country. This is because there are more vehicles on the road during this time of the year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car and motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. After a car crash, it is a good idea to seek medical treatment even if an individual feels fine.

This is because symptoms of a concussion or other type of head injury don't always show up right away. Symptoms of a brain injury can include memory loss, slurred speech or an inability to stand up. It is also possible to experience a brain bleed in the aftermath of a car accident. The sooner an accident victim seeks treatment, the easier it can be to minimize negative consequences such as permanent brain damage. Making a proper diagnosis is also generally easier when a person seeks treatment immediately after a crash.

Work truck safety: the rankings by state

Georgia residents should know that the South is the least safe region for drivers of work trucks, such as light vans, pickups and big rigs. This is just one of the conclusions that Verizon Connect, a fleet management systems provider, came to during a recent study.

Using data spanning from October 2015 to September 2017, researchers analyzed driver behavior from more than 6,200 of Verizon Connect's fleet customers. These included small and mid-size businesses with anywhere from 2 to 200 work trucks. Researchers found that the safest states for work truck drivers were on the East Coast.

New list shows what recent vehicles are in the most crashes

Recent data from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows that small and mid-size four-door cars are the most prone to accidents and generate personal injury insurance claims. Georgia drivers may be curious to know what the ranking is like; Forbes made a list of 10 vehicles from 2014 to 2016 model years with the highest number of claims.

The Mitsubishi Lancer was the number one offender with a claims frequency of 216, far above the industry average of 100. This was followed by various other compact cars from automakers like Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Chrysler. There were exceptions among the list, such as the large four-door Dodge Charger with a claims frequency of 175 and the station wagon Toyota Corolla iM at 176. This data reinforces the fact that smaller vehicles are not as effective in protecting their occupants as large vehicles.

Slip and falls, and what they mean for small businesses

Under the premises liability laws in Georgia, business owners have the duty to maintain a safe environment for customers and employees. When a breach of this duty of care causes entrants to injure themselves in a slip, trip or fall accident, owners could be held liable. This means paying out for the victim's medical bills, lost wages and other losses. Even if the claim is dropped, owners must spend time and money defending themselves and their brand.

Knowing what this duty of care encompasses is important. Owners must have their property regularly maintained and repair any issue that puts entrants' safety at risk. This can include potholes and cracks in pavement, torn carpeting, insufficient lighting and loose railing on stairs. Owners must also put signs around wet floors and remove any debris that might be a trip hazard.

Without precautions, summer might not be carefree

After the harsh winter, many Georgia residents are likely eager to get out and enjoy the sun. Although this is the season to spend long, fun-filled days outdoors, your summer might not be as carefree as you would wish. You may not be aware that July and August are the two months during which most accidental deaths occur nationwide.

You and your family could be at risk of suffering injuries or worse as the result of the negligence of someone else. You might end up facing mounting medical bills, lost income and other hardships. Would you know where to seek assistance if a loved one is injured or killed?

Studies determining the role distracted driving plays in crashes

According to several studies, including one from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety, built-in vehicle infotainment systems and smartphones are making the roadways more dangerous for drivers in Georgia and elsewhere. The problem is that these systems and technology take drivers' attention away from the roads, potentially resulting in serious car accidents.

In the AAA study, for example, 64 participants driving five different vehicles were instructed to use the vehicle manufacturer's infotainment system at some point during the drive. At other times, the participants were instructed to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. These systems use the vehicles' interface but are run on smartphones. They ultimately found that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are better at managing drivers' cognitive loads, meaning that drivers are generally still able to pay better attention to driving.

Brake inspection week scheduled for Sept. 16-22

Georgia truck drivers and trucking companies may be interested to learn that annual Brake Safety Week was scheduled for the week of Sept. 16. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance noted that full Level I inspections of vehicles will take place in addition to focused inspections on each vehicle's brakes.

For brake inspections, CVSA said that inspectors planned to focus on brake components, which may include missing or loose parts, hydraulic fluid leaks, mismatched air chamber sizes and worn brake pads, among others. Vehicles that were found to have defective brakes or brake components that were out of adjustment will be taken out of service following the inspection.

New GHSA study notes rise in drugged driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report on fatal car crash data from 2016, concluding that the percentage of fatally injured drivers found with drugs in their body has risen to 44 percent. This is compared to 26 percent in 2006. Drivers Georgia will want to know more about the report as well as some of the challenges that still face drug testing.

Marijuana was the most common drug, found in 38 percent of the victims. Opioids were found in 16 percent, and 4 percent tested positive for both. While the presence of alcohol in fatally injured drivers went down from 41 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2016, the GHSA found that 49 percent of those drivers in 2016 combined their drugs with alcohol. 51 percent of the drivers were also discovered with two or more drugs in their system.