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ARCHIVES: May 2016

‘100 Deadliest Days’ for Drivers Starts on Memorial Day

‘100 Deadliest Days’ for Drivers Starts on Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer, a season that traditionally sees a spike in the number of motorists hitting the roads. And while the summer season comes with better weather (than other seasons) and longer daylight hours – two factors that would seem to promote safer roadway travels, this season is also associated with a spike in fatal auto accidents, making it one of the most dangerous times to be on the roads.

That’s why some transportation safety officials have deemed the summer season to be the 100 Deadliest Days for drivers.1

Why Do Fatal Car Accidents Spike in Summer?

The primary reasons that deadly auto crashes tend to increase dramatically during the summer are that:

  • The roads are packed with far more motorists – Heavier traffic during the summertime results not only from more drivers hitting the roads but also from other travelers – like motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – sharing the roads with drivers. More people packed on the roads can complicate the driving conditions, increasing the chances of motorist mistakes, driver negligence, etc.
  • Less experienced teen drivers are on the roads for longer periods of time – With school out in summer, teen motorists tend to be behind the wheel for much longer periods time, driving about 40 percent more during the summertime (than during the fall, winter and spring seasons).Additionally, during the summer, less experienced teen motorists are far more likely to be doing non-routine driving and to be driving with other teens in their vehicles, two factors that significantly increase the risk of auto crashes.
  • Impaired driving increases during the summertime – Tragically, summer sees a jump in drunk driving, with the number of fatal drunk driving crashes doubling during this season.2
  • The heat of the summer can increase the risk of vehicle equipment failures – Even when motorists are careful, sober and attentive, they can still face an elevated crash risk during the summertime because the heat of summer can negatively impact the performance of their vehicles.For instance, heat can expand the air in tires while damaging the exterior rubber, substantially increasing the risk of blowouts. And when vehicle equipment failures happen with motorists behind the wheel, it’s far more likely that control of the vehicle will be lost and that a crash will happen.

Are you surprised to find out that summer is one of the most dangerous seasons to be on the roads? Tell us what you think 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 traffic collision, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward. For well over two decades, we have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping 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: The phrasing “100 Deadliest Days” has been attributed to the AAA Foundation.

2: According to the NHTSA

Engineer Distraction Cited as Cause of Fatal Amtrak Train Crash, NTSB Reports

Engineer Distraction Cited as Cause of Fatal Amtrak Train Crash, NTSB Reports

Engineer distraction was likely a contributing factor to the deadly Amtrak train crash (of Amtrak passenger train 188) that occurred in Philadelphia just over a year ago. This is according to the latest reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has also explained that the source of distraction was reportedly emergency broadcasts from another train on the same rail corridor.

Those transmissions are thought to have caused the engineer a “loss of situational awareness,” resulting in:

  • The engineer losing track of where the train was on the route/rail corridor;
  • The engineer then speeding the train up as it approached a curve (The train was going more than 100 mph, double the speed limit, when it approached the curve); and
  • The train ultimately derailing, killing 8 people and injuring at least 180 other.

Authorities did acknowledge, however, that the engineer, who was “very cooperative” with the investigation, “was not impaired by any substance and was not using his cell phone” at the time of the wreck. Additionally, investigators have noted that the engineer was not affected by fatigue or a medical condition that could have impaired his abilities to safely operate the train.

Causes of Amtrak 188 Train Crash: A Closer Look at NTSB’s Findings

In addition to engineer distraction, another factor that likely contributed to this horrific train wreck, according to the NTSB, was a lack of “positive train control technology (PTC).”

PTC, which transportation safety advocates have been pushing for since the 1970s, is a complex set of technologies that can reportedly prevent train crashes by automatically slowing or stopping trains under certain conditions.

Had PTC been available on the rail corridor that Amtrak 188 was traversing, the speeding up of the train – and the resulting derailment – could have been preventing, NTSB investigators have explained.

Elucidating this point, NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart has stated:

It’s widely understood that every person, no matter how conscientious and skilled, is fallible, which is why technology was developed to backstop human vulnerabilities… Had positive train control been in place on that stretch of track, this entirely preventable tragedy would not have happened… Unless positive train control is implemented soon, I’m very concerned that we’re going to be back in this room again, hearing investigators detail how technology that we have recommended for more than 45 years could have prevented yet another fatal rail accident.

In concluding its report on the investigation findings, the NTSB made 11 new safety recommendations, some of which included calls for:

  • Amtrak to enhance its safety training for crewmembers in order to specifically address distraction/focus issues
  • The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to install equipment or features on railroad tracks not currently using PTC so that crews can easily identify their location
  • The FRA to install video and audio recording devices within train cabs.

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

If you have been injured in a train wreck – or any motor vehicle accident, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and recovery options. For more than two decades, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call (800) 531-9780 or email our firm 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.

5 Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips for May, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Essential Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

With May serving as the gateway from spring to summer, far more motorcyclists are hitting the roads, taking advantage of the warming weather. That’s one of the main reasons that transportation safety authorities across the nation have designated May as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Looking to spread the word about riding safety and help prevent motorcycle crashes, authorities promoting this campaign are urging all travelers to share the road and remember that riders “have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway.”

To back this effort, we are sharing some important riding safety tips that can help motorcyclists minimize their risk of accidents and injuries. While we invite you to share these safety tips with your fellow motorcycle riding enthusiasts, don’t hesitate to contact to a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law if you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident and you need answers about your recovery options.

  1. Always wear a DOT-approved safety helmet and other protective gear – If you get into a crash, wearing a DOT-approved safety helmet can reduce your risk of a catastrophic (if not fatal) head injury by nearly 50 percent. Similarly, other protective gear – like riding gloves, boots and jackets – can be crucial to protecting you in the event of a wreck.
  2. Make yourself as visible & predictable as possible when riding – This means trying to stay out of other motorists’ blind spots whenever possible and to always follow traffic laws so that other drivers’ can generally predict where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing next. This safety tips also involves wearing reflective gear when riding at night, in the fog or in other low-visibility conditions in order to make yourself as visible as possible to others sharing the road with you.
  3. Never ride if you are drunk, really tired or not ready to focus on the road – Riding when drunk, exhausted and/or distracted can all significantly compromise your ability to safely operate a motorcycle. That’s because any of these conditions can impair your perception, coordination and reaction times, substantially increasing your risk of crashing. In fact, transportation safety officials have found that, at BACs at 0.08 (the legal limit), motorists’ crash risk quadruples (at the very least). So, don’t ride if you aren’t sober, rested and ready to focus.
  4. Know & properly maintain your motorcycle – If you don’t know how to handle your bike (or how sensitive your bike is when it comes to braking or making other maneuvers), it’s going to be much more difficult for you to safely handle it. Similarly, if your motorcycle isn’t properly maintained the risk of an equipment failure can skyrocket, again increasing your crash risk. So make sure you are familiar with your motorcycle – and that you take care of – so that you and your bike are prepared for safe roadway operations.
  5. Always ride defensively – Or, put another way, don’t expect other motorists on the road to look out for you, to comply with traffic laws, to yield you the right-of-way, etc. If you are anticipating drivers to make unsafe or illegal maneuvers, you can stay prepared for potentially risky situations and immediately react to limit your crash risk.

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

After a motorcycle accident or any type of traffic crash, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for effective legal advocacy moving forward.

You can contact us by calling our firm at (800) 531-9780 or emailing 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.

FDA Issues New Safety Alert for Popular Antibiotics: ‘Fluoroquinolones’ Risks Don’t Outweigh Benefits for Some Patients,’ Regulators Announce

FDA Issues New Safety Alert for Popular Antibiotics

Yesterday, regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new safety alert, urging medical professionals to limit their use of certain popular antibiotics – fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs – for some patients.

According to this warning, regulators have discovered a link between the use of fluoroquinolones and the development of “disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects” that can impact “the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and central nervous system.”

Patients who reportedly have been associated with the highest risk of these serious drug complicationsinclude (but are not limited to) those with:

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Urinary tract infections.

For these patients, the FDA has warned that the potential risks of using of fluoroquinolones far outweigh the benefits these drugs could provide. Consequently, regulators are strongly advising that medical professionals only consider prescribing or administering fluoroquinolones for these high-risk patients when there are no alternative treatment options available (i.e., all other alternatives have been exhausted).

FDA-Approved Fluoroquinolones: Drug Brand Names associated with the FDA Warning

The following provides a list of the brand name medications (with their active ingredient following in parentheses) of the fluoroquinolone drugs included in the FDA’s warning:

  • Avelox and Moxifloxacin Injection (Moxifloxacin)
  • Cipro (Ciprofloxacin)
  • Cipro extended-release (Ciprofloxacin extended-release)
  • Factive (Gemifloxacin)
  • Levaquin (Levofloxacin)
  • Ofloxacin (Ofloxacin)

Please note that generic versions of the above-listed drug may be available and that those are also intended to be included in this FDA warning.

What Now?

In addition to urging medical professionals to carefully restrict their use of fluoroquinolones, the FDA is also now informing:

  • Doctors to immediately terminate the use of fluoroquinolones in any patient who starts to develop signs of serious complications – Some warning signs of these severe side effects can include (and are by no means limited to):
    • Tendon, muscle and/or joint pain
    • Nerve-related complications, such as tingling or pricking sensations
    • Cognitive dysfunction, including confusion and/or hallucinations.
  • The general public to immediately contact their health care professionals if they start experience any of the above-mentioned signs of serious fluoroquinolone side effects.

Officials have also noted that their investigation of fluoroquinolones (and their related side effects) is ongoing and that additional updates will be reported as soon as they become available.

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

If you have been harmed by a potentially dangerous drug – or by any dangerous or faulty 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.

You can 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.

Ovarian Cancer and Baby Powder: J&J Hammered Again

Ovarian Cancer and Baby Powder: J&J Hammered Again

A Missouri jury has returned a verdict of $55 million on behalf of a woman who contracted ovarian cancer as a result of her use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. This verdict comes two months after a $72 million verdict on behalf of another cancer victim.

The Plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, testified that she used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products on her perineal area for decades. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Ristesund was forced to undergo a hysterectomy and related procedures. Fortunately, her cancer is now in remission.

Johnson & Johnson continues to dispute the allegations that its Baby Power and Shower-to-Shower products (which are composed primarily of talcum powder) can lead to the development of ovarian cancer. However, as we’ve discussed before, scientists at some of the leading medical schools in the United States have long considered talc to be a carcinogen.

In fact, as early as 1971, researchers in Great Britain were identifying talc particles buried deep within the cancerous tissue of ovaries removed from women suffering from ovarian cancer. The picture shown below is a microscopic image of cancerous ovarian tissue, magnified 30,000 times. The image was featured in the March 1971 edition of The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the British Commonwealth and depicts the tell-tale “decoration pattern” of a talc grain implanted within the tumor.

We are using similar methods to identify which of our clients have suffered from talc-related ovarian cancer. Forensic laboratories preserve tissue samples from hysterectomies and oophorectomies for a minimum of ten years, giving cancer survivors a means of analyzing whether their illness was caused by exposure to talc.

With the next ovarian cancer trial scheduled for July of 2016, this class of litigation is only just getting started. Our law firm is investigating many cases of ovarian cancer across the State of South Carolina. If you would like to speak to a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. about your potential case, please call us at 1 (800) 531-9780 or contact us online.

The Facts about Teen Motorists & Car Accidents [Infographic]

While anyone who drives regularly can be at risk of being involved in a traffic crash, teen motorists have a significantly high risk – not only due to their general lack of experience behind the wheel but also, at times, as a result of the poor choices they may make while driving.

To minimize this risk and attempt to enhance roadway safety for all travelers, a number of authorities and transportation advocates have dedicated May to being National Youth Traffic Safety Month.

In support of this effort – and to reveal just how important it is, below, we are sharing a fascinating infographic that features some crucial facts about the incidence and impacts of auto crashes involving teen drivers.

While we encourage you to share this infographic on social media, don’t hesitate to contact the Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law if you currently need clear answers about your options for financial recovery following a car accident.

Teen Motorists & Car Accidents [Infographic]

 

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

If you have been injured in a traffic accident – or if you have lost a loved one in a deadly collision, contact the Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for effective legal advocacy on your journey to justice and financial recovery.

Tenacious and tireless, our attorneys are focused on fighting for our clients’ rights and interests in any legal setting so that injured people are able to reclaim their lives and focus on their recovery and future.

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.

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