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ARCHIVES: January 2016

Fatal Traffic Crashes in South Carolina Cost More than $1 Billion Each Year, CDC Reports

The Cost of Fatal Crashes in South Carolina

A deadly traffic wreck can be tragic and costly to victims’ families. In the big picture, however, fatal traffic accidents may have far greater impacts, as the costs of recovery and lost productivity skyrocket when adding them up for a given state over the course of a year.

In fact, that is just what officials at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) did in an effort to pinpoint just how much deadly traffic collisions cost the U.S. – per state – every year. And while they found that the national total cost of deadly crashes is about $44 billion, for South Carolina alone, the cost of these wrecks is roughly $1.05 billion annually.

A Closer Look at the Costs

According to the latest information from the CDC, the $1.05 billion total associated with deadly traffic crashes primarily comes from the costs associated with lost work/productivity, the total of which reportedly costs South Carolina about $1.04 billion each year. When adding the medical costs of roughly $10 million, the $1.055 billion total is reached.

Breaking down these numbers further, the CDC has estimated the specific costs by accident type as follows:

  • Fatal motor vehicle crashes cost South Carolina about $122 million each year, making up approximately 12 percent of the total costs.
  • Deadly motorcycle crashes cost the state about $171 million annually, comprising roughly 16 percent of the total costs.
  • Fatal pedestrian accidents cost South Carolina about $137 million each year, making up approximately 13 percent of the total costs.
  • Deadly bicycle accidents cost the state about $19 million annually, comprising roughly 2 percent of the total costs.

It’s important to point out that about 57 percent of the fatal traffic crashes (costing roughly $605 million) were not specified by type (so the above totals do not add up to 100 percent or $1.05 billion).

Fighting Back to Prevent Deadly Traffic Crashes

While the data related to the costs of fatal traffic collisions in South Carolina is grim, there may be a silver lining for motorists in that many of these crashes are preventable.

In fact, as the CDC points out, some of the things that South Carolina authorities can do to minimize the risk of fatal crashes for its motorists include (but may not be limited to):

  • Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlock devices (to limit the possibility that they will drive drunk again)
  • Instituting mandatory use of car seats or booster seats for children through the age of 8
  • Developing an effective graduated driver’s license program in order to enhance safety among newly licensed teen motorists.

What do you think about the CDC’s findings regarding the costs of fatal crashes in South Carolina? Do you think their recommendations are on point? Share your comments with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact the Columbia SC Injury Attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a traffic crash, contact the Columbia SC injury attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about how we can help you with your financial recovery.

Investigation Underway into the Potential Risks & Dangers associated with Hoverboards, CPSC Announces

Investigation Underway into the Potential Risks & Dangers associated with Hoverboards, CPSC Announces

CPSC Investigates Possible Dangers of Hoverboards

Hoverboard fever seems to have swept the nation, as these boards have provided a new, futuristic way for people to have fun and get around. While the hoverboard craze seems to be in full swing, however, regulators are taking a closer look at the potential risks and dangers associated with these boards.

In fact, according to officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), safety regulators are now “actively investigating the safety of hoverboards” made or sold by more than 10 different companies. These investigations have been triggered by “dozens” of consumer reports submitted to the CSPC regarding hoverboard fires and fall-related injuries.

Hoverboard Companies Now Under Investigation by CPSC

The specific brands of hoverboards (and associated companies) that are now the focus of an in-depth CPSC investigation are as follows:

  • Smart Balance Wheel (from One Stop Electronic Inc.)
  • Smart Balance Wheel Scooter (from Glide Boards)
  • Hover-way Hands-Free Electric (from Digital Gadgets LLC)
  • Swagway Hands-Free Smart Board (from Swagway LLC)
  • Smart Balance Board (from I Lean Hoverboards)
  • E-Rover-Mini Smart Balance Scooter (from LeCam Technology)
  • Smart Balance Wheels (from Kateeskitty)
  • iMOTO (from Keenford Limited)
  • Smart Balance Wheel (from Luxiyan and Uwheels)
  • E-Rover Smart Balance Wheel.

According to the CPSC, part of its investigations will involve engineer-supervised testing on hoverboards at the National Product Testing & Evaluation Center, based in Rockville, MD.

Commenting on the ongoing investigation, CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye has stated:

As we move forward with our investigation of the fall and fire hazards relating to hoverboards, all options remain on the table for CPSC. The federal government continues to work in close coordination on this serious issue. Officials from CPSC, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are regularly sharing information and insights with a common goal of taking whatever steps are necessary to prevent injuries and property damage from fires and falls.

As more news about this CPSC investigation into hoverboards becomes available, we will report the latest updates to you here in a future blog. Until then, share your opinions & comments about this blog with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a defective, dangerous or toxic consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

Regulators Propose New Methods for Evaluating ‘Fitness’ of Trucking Companies, FMCSA Announces

Regulators Propose New Methods for Evaluating ‘Safety Fitness’ of Trucking Companies, FMCSA Announces

For the first time in more than 30 years, trucking regulators at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing to update their methods for evaluating the safety fitness of trucking companies and other motor carriers.

According to the official announcement, the FMCSA has published a “Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in the Federal Register. If approved, this new SFD Rule would reportedly:

  • Replace the current three-category fitness system – While the current SFD methodology allows regulators to designate motor carriers as being satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory, the new rule would simply provide for a single designation of “unfit.”
  • Provide more information to regulators making fitness determinations for motor carriers – In fact, the new SFD Rule would allow for the consideration of crash investigation reports, roadside inspection reports, and on-road safety data when evaluating how safe a particular motor carrier’s vehicles and drivers are on the roads.
  • Provide clear options for unfit motor carriers – Specifically, the new SFD Rule would require motor carriers that have been deemed to be unfit/unsafe to make certain improvements or to cease their operations.

Regulators are encouraging the public to submit comments on this proposed SFD Rule for the next few months, with the deadline for public comments being March 21, 2016.

To view the entire text of the proposed SFD Rule, click here.

The Proposed SFD Rule: Projected Impacts & Reactions

If the new SFD Rule goes into effect (in its current form), it is expected to:

  • Improve the identification of risky trucking companies, including those that violate federal regulations and tend to have a higher crash rates (than “fit” companies)
  • Facilitate the evaluation of motor carriers, as federal regulators would reportedly be able to investigate about three times as many companies each month.

The trucking companies and other motor carriers that are expected to be affected by this update include those that have “11 or more inspections with violations in two or more BASICs and/or an investigation with violations cited in the past month.”

Noting the importance of this proposed Rule, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has commented that:

Ensuring that motor carriers are operating safely on our nation’s roadways is one of our highest priorities… Using all available information to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road.

Contact the Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a truck accident or in any type of traffic crash, contact the Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

Top 7 Most Dangerous Toys for Children

Top 7 Most Dangerous Toys for Children

A Ranking of the Most Dangerous Toys for Children

Toy-related injuries sent about 251,800 American children to emergency rooms last year.1 While about 42 percent of these injuries involved cuts and/or bruising, about 44 percent impacted children’s heads, increasing the risk of longer-term complications, like traumatic brain injuries.

Looking to pinpoint just which toys are most often responsible for these injuries, researchers at HealthGrove2 analyzed more than a decade of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Survey (NEISS). They, then, used this analysis to rank the most dangerous types of toys for children. And here’s what they found…

Most Harmful Toys for Children

According to HealthGrove, the most harmful types of toys for children include (in order of most to less dangerous):

  1. Bicycles and tricycles – Injuring an average of 416,000 children each year in the U.S., bikes and trikes most commonly result in head injuries when accidents happen.
  2. Skateboards – Causing about 67,600 children to be injured each year, skateboards tend to cause ankle injuries, such as sprains or broken ankles, when accidents take place.
  3. Trampolines – Injuring an average of 64,500 children annually, trampolines also tend to result in ankle injuries, more often than other types of injuries, when accidents occur.
  4. Fishing poles & equipment – Causing nearly 46,800 children to be injured annually, fishing equipment tends to result in finger and hand injuries when accidents happen.
  5. Rollerblades – Injuring about 41,500 children each year, rollerblades typically cause wrist injuries when accidents take place.
  6. Scooters – Causing nearly 32,900 children to seek emergency care each year, scooters most commonly result in facial and head injuries when accidents occur.
  7. Toy guns – Injuring about 20,600 children each year, toy guns also tend to cause facial and head injuries when accidents happen.

Are you surprised to see sporting equipment dominate the top “most dangerous toys” for children? Tell us what you think about this ranking on Facebook & Google+.

Contact the Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a toy, a consumer product or a medical device, contact the Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and working relentlessly to help them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

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1: According to the CPSC
2: HealthGrove Study

FDA Reclassifies Vaginal Mesh Implants as ‘High-Risk’ Devices, Authorities Announce

FDA Reclassifies Vaginal Mesh Implants as ‘High-Risk’

Transvaginal mesh implants – also referred to as bladder mesh, bladder slings or vaginal mesh implants – have recently been reclassified by regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Once classified as a class II “moderate-risk” device, transvaginal mesh has been reclassified by regulators as a class III “high-risk” device due to growing evidence that the risks associated with these devices are significant and “not rare,” according to federal regulators.

Background on the Risks Linked to Transvaginal Mesh

Used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), vaginal mesh implants are intended to provide extra support to the vaginal walls and abdominal organs when some trauma (including childbirth) has weakened these walls, adding pressure to women’s pelvic region.

As the FDA has pointed out, however:

Over the past several years, the FDA has seen a significant increase in the number of reported adverse events associated with the use of surgical mesh for transvaginal POP repair.

These reports of adverse events have specifically pertained to vaginal mesh complications that include (but may not be limited to):

  • Erosion of the mesh through the vaginal walls
  • Mesh puncturing the organs, tissues and/or blood vessels surrounding it
  • Recurrence of POP and/or SUI
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Increased infections
  • Vaginal scarring.

In fact, mounting reports of these injuries led FDA regulators to declare, in July 2011, that:

Serious complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP are not rare… Furthermore, it is not clear that transvaginal POP repair with mesh is more effective than traditional non-mesh repair in all patients with POP and it may expose patients to greater risk.

Commenting on FDA’s recent reclassification of vaginal mesh implants , William Maisel, chief scientist for the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, has noted that:

These stronger clinical requirements will help to address the significant risks associated with surgical mesh for repair of pelvic organ prolapse… We intend to continue monitoring how women with this device are faring months and years after surgery through continued postmarket surveillance measures.

What do you think of this FDA action? Share your opinions with us on Facebook & Google+.

Contact Columbia SC Injury Attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been harmed by a defective vaginal mesh device – or by any dangerous medical device or consumer product, contact Columbia SC injury attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

South Carolina Workers Compensation FAQs: Important Answers for Workers

Suffering an injury at work can be physically and financially devastating. Although injured workers can seek compensation via the South Carolina workers compensation system, this system can be challenging to navigate – and missing deadlines, making mistakes in paperwork, etc. can end up resulting in delayed or reduced benefits, if not the wrongful denial of benefits.

Important answers to common questions about filing SC workers comp claims

To help injured workers avoid some of these pitfalls, below we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about South Carolina workers compensation claims. While these answers are general, you can get more specific information pertaining to you and your situation by contacting an attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law today.

Q – How soon should I report a job-related injury to my employer?

A – As soon as possible and within 90 days of the accident or incident that caused the injuries in order to preserve your claim to benefits. Reporting work injuries after this 90 day period can result in a reduction in benefits or other complications.

While it’s important to report a work accident and injuries to an employer ASAP (and within 90 days of the incident), however, injured workers have up to two years to file a claim for workers compensation benefits. Similarly, claims for death benefits (following a fatal work accident) have to be filed within two years of the death.

Q – What do I need to do to get a workers compensation claim started in South Carolina?

A – Reporting the accident and injuries to an employer should get a claim started, as an employer should complete a claim and injury report on your behalf after you make this report.

If, however, an employer fails to file a claim on an injured worker’s behalf, the worker can file the claim on his own by completing and submitting a Form 50 or Form 52 to the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission (SCWCC). Employers may fail to file claims when, for instance, they dispute that the injuries were sustained on the job.

Q – How much will my workers compensation benefits be and what are they supposed to cover?

A – In general, workers compensation benefits in South Carolina will be 66 2/3 percent of a worker’s average weekly wages, up to a set maximum (which is set by the SCWCC annually). These benefits include compensation to cover all necessary medical treatments to help injured workers recover from their injuries, including (but not necessarily limited to):

  • Hospitalizations and surgeries
  • Medical devices, supplies and medications
  • Physical therapy.

Q – How long will I receive South Carolina workers compensation benefits?

A – It depends on the nature and severity of your work-related injuries. In general, however, workers compensation benefits can be terminated if or when:

  • An injured worker’s doctor deems that the worker has recovered sufficiently to return to work
  • The insurance provider determines that benefits should stop being paid.

It is important to note that both doctors and insurers can make mistakes in determining when benefits should be terminated. Consequently, it can be crucial to have an experienced attorney’s representation to ensure that you are receiving the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled (following a work accident).

Contact Columbia SC Injury Attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured at work or if you have been diagnosed with an occupational disease, contact Columbia SC injury attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

4 Essential Facts about Seatbelt Use: What All Roadway Travelers Need to Know

Essential Facts about Seatbelt Use

South Carolina is among the many states that have primary seatbelt laws, meaning that drivers can be pulled over and cited for failing to wear a seatbelt.

Despite the law – and the fact that wearing seatbelts can prevent serious injuries and deaths in the event of a crash, however, only about 86 percent of roadway travelers in South Carolina are compliant with seatbelt laws, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To encourage more South Carolinas to buckle up, below are some of the most important facts to understand about the benefits of buckling up.

The Facts about Buckling Up

  1. Wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective way to protect oneself when a crash occurs – In fact, when vehicle occupants are properly buckled up, their risk of sustaining a serious or life-threatening injuries (should a traffic crash happen) drops by 45 to 50 percent (depending on where they are sitting in the vehicle).
  2. Failure to wear seatbelts contributes to more traffic deaths than any other driving behavior – This is a shocking fact, as it means that failing to buckle up kills more people than drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and other negligent driving behaviors that often contribute to crashes, injuries and fatalities.
  3. Each year, seatbelts save about 13,000 lives in the U.S. – And that is at a current national seatbelt usage rate of 84 percent. Interestingly, however, some research has indicated that, if 9 in every 10 motorists wore seatbelts (i.e., if seatbelt usage was at least 90 percent among U.S. drivers), about 1,600 lives could be saved and about 22,000 injuries could be prevented in the U.S. every year. In South Carolina alone, 90 percent seatbelt usage could save at least 108 lives and prevent at least 1,000 injuries annually.
  4. Airbags are designed to supplement seatbelt protections – This is an important fact to point out to those who believe that it’s not important to wear seatbelts because their vehicles have airbags. The fact of the matter is, however, that airbags do not provide the same protections as seatbelts and that, if motorists want to be as safe as possible when traveling, they will buckle up.

What do you think about these facts and statistics regarding seatbelt use in South Carolina and the U.S.? Comment on our Facebook & Google+ pages.

Columbia SC Car Accident Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a traffic crash, contact a Columbia SC car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

3 Traffic Fatalities Occurred in South Carolina over NYE Reporting Period, SCDPS Reports

From Thursday, Dec. 31st through Sunday, Jan. 3rd, three people were killed in traffic crashes on South Carolina roads, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS).

3 Traffic Fatalities Occurred in South Carolina over NYE Reporting Period, SCDPS Reports

This 78-hour period reflects the New Year’s Eve Reporting Period, a time frame during which South Carolina traditionally sees a spike in impaired driving and fatal traffic collisions.

Although the 2015 numbers are still preliminary, the three reported fatalities represent a nearly 73 percent drop in the NYE highway death rate for the state, when compared to the numbers for 2014 (when 11 traffic deaths were documented for the same reporting period).

Details of the NYE Traffic Fatalities

According to the most recent data, the three traffic deaths that occurred during the most recent NYE Reporting Period impacted two motor vehicle occupants – neither of whom was reportedly wearing a seatbelt – and one pedestrian. No motorcycle or bicycle riders were reportedly involved in fatal crashes in South Carolina during this period.

Although it is currently unknown what type of crashes caused each of these fatalities, federal data suggests that that driver behaviors were likely to blame, as about 94 percent of all traffic crashes are caused by some type of human error, with driver behaviors often contributing to these errors.

Financial Recovery after Fatal Crashes

The death of even one person in a preventable traffic accident is one fatality too many. Although these losses can be difficult to bear, however, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties can be the key to securing some sense of justice, as well as some compensation to lay a loved one to rest.

At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law, we understand that no sum of money can ever make up for the permanent loss of a loved one in a fatal traffic crash. We also know, though, that holding the negligent parties accountable and pursuing financial recoveries can be pivotal for survivors, as it can provide them with financial support that may be needed as they deal with and try to overcome grief.

Columbia SC Car Accident Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a traffic crash – or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal collision, contact a Columbia SC car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

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