Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

Common types of head injuries

West Virginia residents could suffer a brain injury in different ways. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an individual is struck in the head, falls down or is involved in a car accident. Concussions and contusions are among the most common types of TBI. A person does not necessarily have to lose consciousness to be concussed, and typical symptoms of a concussion include dizziness, confusion and memory issues.

Contusions are areas in the brain where bleeding occurs, and it is possible for blood clots to form that may need to be removed surgically. Ideally, a person will seek treatment for a head injury as quickly as possible to mitigate the potential damage that it can cause. In addition to TBIs, brain injuries can be acquired over time. For instance, a person could experience brain damage because of a medication error or a medical error at a hospital.

GM study shows benefits of AEB and other safety features

A General Motors study has measured the benefits of automated safety features like automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alerts. Drivers in West Virginia should be aware that these features are known by the name of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS. GM, together with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, analyzed crash data for 3.8 million GM vehicles across 10 states, distinguishing between cars with ADAS and those without it.

Vehicles with automatic emergency braking saw nearly half the number of rear-end collisions that vehicles saw without AEB. When it came to lane-changing crashes, active lane control with lane departure warnings reduced their number by 20% while the lane change alert, when combined with blind-spot alerts, reduced them by 26%.

TBIs: symptoms and prevention methods

West Virginia residents should know that traumatic brain injuries are not just common among professional players of contact sports. During the summer and autumn, when both children and adults become more active, one may suffer a TBI while boating, while playing softball or even while playing football in a more casual setting. Then there are the times when people hurt their head in a fall or car crash.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states that about 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer a TBI every year. There are three degrees of TBIs: mild, moderate and severe. Those with mild TBIs may experience headaches, blurred vision and confusion. In cases of moderate and severe TBI, patients may have trouble thinking straight and develop weakness in the arms and legs.

Deaths from red-light running have recently spiked

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that red-light running is leading to more and more deaths, 65% of them being someone other than the offending driver. In fact, 2017 (the latest year for which complete crash data is available) saw a 30% increase in these deaths when compared to 2012. Drivers and pedestrians alike in West Virginia will want to recall the ways they can protect themselves from red-light runners.

For drivers, it means driving defensively and looking both ways before proceeding at a green light. Rather than speeding off the moment the light turns green, drivers should pause for a moment. When entering an intersection, drivers should cover their brake. If the pedestrian crossing signal has turned into the flashing orange hand, then the green light will soon turn yellow. This is important to think about when passing through the intersection.

New blood test may diagnose TBI better than MRIs and CT scans

What at first may seem like minor brain injuries can have serious consequences in the long term. This is why it is so important for individuals who sustain head trauma to be tested. MRI scans, though, are slow and costly while CT scans are liable to miss traumatic brain injuries. Therefore, an alternative way of diagnosing TBIs is needed. West Virginia residents may be interested in knowing that some researchers may have found something to fulfill that need.

A professor at the University of California, San Francisco, published a report in The Lancet Neurology that reveals the effectiveness of a particular blood test. The test measures the amount of certain proteins in the blood that are released after a TBI.

Why newly licensed teen drivers should not have passengers

In West Virginia and across the U.S., teens are getting into a significant number of car crashes. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers raise their risk for a crash by 44% the moment they allow a single teen passenger into their car. The reason is simple: Teens are inexperienced drivers and can easily be distracted by conversations and other passenger behaviors.

The National Safety Council recommends that teens avoid having a passenger in the car for at least their first six months as licensed drivers. Ideally, they should try to go without passengers for a year. This means no special date nights and no picking up friends to go to the movies, the shopping mall or any big events.

Elevator accident building cited for safety violations 26 times

Elevator riders in West Virginia and around the country are protected by a variety of sophisticated safety devices, but accidents can and do still happen. One such accident claimed the life of a 30-year-old New York man on Aug. 22. The man died after becoming trapped between the elevator cab and the shaft wall. He was exiting the elevator at approximately 8:30 a.m. when the cab began to move. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The New York City Department of Buildings has launched an investigation into the accident, but initial reports suggest that lax maintenance and a casual attitude toward safety may have played a role. The Kips Bay building has been cited for 26 safety violations in recent years according to media reports, and a building inspection in May uncovered an elevator safety device that had been tampered with and rendered inoperative.

What drivers and motorcyclists can do to keep each other safe

Throughout May, which is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the National Safety Council reminded both drivers and motorcyclists of their responsibility toward one another. Motorcyclists composed 14% of all traffic fatalities in West Virginia and across the U.S. in 2017 even though motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles on the road.

In most collisions between vehicles and motorcycles, it is the driver of the former who is to blame because he or she violates the motorcyclist's right of way. Drivers frequently fail to see motorcycles because they are small or because they are in the vehicle's blind spot. Drivers may also fail to anticipate a motorcyclist's movements.

Drawing blood the best way to measure CO2 in pediatric TBI cases

When a child incurs head trauma, doctors measure and regulate the child's level of carbon dioxide to ensure that enough blood oxygen reaches the brain. If too much carbon dioxide is allowed into the brain, it puts pressure in the skull, yet if too little passes through, it weakens blood circulation in the brain. West Virginia residents should know that there are two main ways of measuring carbon dioxide, one non-invasive and the other invasive.

The non-invasive way is called end-tidal capnography, and it uses the child's exhalation to measure carbon dioxide levels. The invasive way is to draw blood through an arterial line. While this latter method is considered the more effective, it is not used as much as among child patients due to the risk for complications.

Outbreak at Georgia hotel confirmed to be Legionnaire's disease

West Virginia residents may be aware that an Atlanta area hotel was evacuated on July 15 when guests started getting sick. It was quickly determined that the guests were suffering from an extreme form of pneumonia known as Legionnaire's disease, and the Georgia Department of Public Health eliminated any remaining doubt when it found Legionella bacteria in water samples collected from the hotel's cooling tower and an ornamental fountain in its lobby. A 49-year-old woman died after contracting the disease at the hotel, and the GDPH has positively identified at least 13 other cases.

The attorney representing a 67-year-old man who says that he contracted Legionnaire's disease at the hotel claims that the true number of people exposed to the potentially deadly bacteria could number in the hundreds. He also says that gross negligence is the only way to explain his client's illness. The man is suing the hotel's holding company and its general manager, and many legal experts believe his lawsuit will be the first of many.

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