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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

Saliva test could diagnose concussions in children

West Virginia doctors may someday have access to a saliva test that can diagnose a concussion in children, according to a new study. The test would also be able to estimate the length of time symptoms will last.

In the study, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics on Nov. 20, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine identified five tiny molecules in the saliva of children and young adults that may have the ability to diagnose concussions. They found that these molecules, known as microRNAs, were 85 percent accurate in predicting whether a child would have concussive symptoms one month later. Current tests are only 65 percent accurate.

Accident risks higher for unmedicated people with ADHD

Studies have shown that people who have ADHD in West Virginia and across the nation are more likely to be involved in car accidents than people who do not have the disorder. This is because the symptoms of the disorder may lead ADHD sufferers to be distracted while they are driving.

A recent study that was conducted by a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that people who take medications for ADHD are less likely to cause distracted driving accidents than are those who are unmedicated. The study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, examined insurance reports from 2.3 million Americans over a time period of 10 years.

Onboard safety systems prevent truck accidents, says AAA

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a study saying that safety technology can help prevent 63,000 commercial truck accidents every year. It analyzed the benefits as compared to the cost of four technologies in particular, which were automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning systems, video-based onboard safety monitoring systems and air disc brakes. Drivers in West Virginia will likely feel more at ease when trucks are equipped with such devices. In fact, a AAA companion survey showed that one in four adults share this opinion.

The researchers came to several conclusions. Video-based monitoring systems are by far the most effective safety measure. They could prevent up to 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year. Video systems also could prevent between 61 and 80 percent of crashes.

Plaintiff awarded $7.5 million in watermelon injury case

The multinational retail corporation Walmart claims that it has producers send prepackaged watermelon displays to its stores that are ready to be "dropped" and sold without additional preparation. However, a 61-year-old man whose hip was broken as he attempted to select a fruit in one of these displays has been awarded damages in the amount of $7.5 million by a jury. The verdict may eventually affect the way fruit is displayed at supermarkets in West Virginia and across the U.S.

Reports indicate that the plaintiff was injured on June 25, 2015, when his foot became entrapped in a pallet underneath a display box as he tried to grab one of the watermelons inside. As a result of the entrapment, the man fell and was seriously injured. During litigations, the plaintiff's attorney argued that the display was unsafe and that it should have been covered.

Why death rates spike on Thanksgiving

While the colder weather and the prevalence of flu are certainly worth worrying about, these alone do not explain why the U.S. mortality rate spikes during the Thanksgiving season. The main cause, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is to be found on the roadways. Drivers in West Virginia are warned to stay safe on the road during this season.

According to the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 764 fatal crashes on Thanksgiving 2012, about 400 of which involved motorists. At least 40 percent of the victims died at the hands of drunk drivers while around 60 percent were not wearing their seat belts.

Detecting TBIs with biomarkers

Undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries may result in severe impairment, particularly if an individual sustains such injuries repeatedly. However, physicians in West Virginia may soon be able to use blood tests to diagnose traumatic brain injuries early enough to prevent lasting damage.

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have detected four biomarkers linked to concussions and brain trauma. The proteins, which are located in brain cells referred to as astrocytes, are immediately released into the bloodstream when the exterior membranes of the astrocytes are damaged due to some form of whiplash trauma or blunt force. A simple blood test to detect these biomarkers can be used as a diagnostic tool for traumatic brain injuries.

With daylight standard time, risk for wildlife crashes goes up

Drivers in West Virginia have probably noticed that their evening commutes are more and more shrouded in darkness. The end of daylight saving time comes with an increased risk of wildlife-related accidents because many wild animals are most active between dusk and dawn. Deer are especially active since autumn is their peak mating season, and bears will be looking for food before hibernation.

The Colorado Department of Transportation receives, on average, 3,300 wildlife collision reports every year. The department stated that more reports are filed in November than in any other month. The vehicle damage that results from these accidents, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, costs each driver an average of $3,400.

Poor slip resistance causes most slip and falls, study says

Business owners in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. will want to review the Slip and Fall Study Report released by CNA Financial Corporation. Researchers studied the slip and fall liability claims that it received over a six-year period, from January of 2010 to December of 2016, and came to several conclusions.

Most of the accidents took place on the premises of retail and real estate businesses. Moreover, 50 percent of the floors on the surveyed sites failed to meet the dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) level that was set by the American National Standards Institute. This meant the floors suffered from poor slip resistance.

Motorcyclists and crash injuries

West Virginia residents who ride motorcycles are aware that they risk injuries if they experience a traffic accident. Some injuries might be rather severe while others are life-threatening enough that some motorcyclists die later on as a result. The injuries incurred during motorcycle crashes, however, are not equally divided throughout the body.

According to a variety of studies focusing on injuries experienced during motorcycle crashes, the most common injury riders experience is to the lower extremities. A CDC study found that 30 percent of non-fatal injuries experienced by motorcyclists were in their legs and feet. This was followed by injuries to the head and neck, at 22 percent. These types of injures were followed by chest, shoulder and back injuries, wounds to the arms and hands and finally by hip and pelvic injuries.

NHTSA wants to get rid of auto safety regulations

Companies such as Ford, GM and Alphabet want to see legislation that will make it easier to put cars on the road with no human controls. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said on Oct. 27 that it is looking for input as to how it can eliminate unnecessary regulations. This may provide West Virginia residents with an opportunity to make their voices heard about this issue.

In contrast, auto safety groups are pushing for greater safeguards when it comes to self-driving vehicles. They have vowed to keep lobbying for changes that may provide those controls. Currently, there are 75 safety standards that automakers must abide by. However, most of them were created when it was taken for granted that humans would be operating those vehicles. While the NHTSA is looking into rules changes, it could take years to complete research needed before they could be implemented.

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