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ARCHIVES: June 2016

Kershaw County Car Accident Lawyers: More Deadly Car Accidents Happen on July 4th than Any Other Day of the Year

More Deadly Car Accidents Happen on July 4th than Any Other Day of the Year

Fireworks, barbeques and other festivities are hallmarks of the July 4th holiday for many people.

Tragically, however, U.S. Independence Day is not only associated with celebrations and fun. For law enforcement and transportation safety officials, July 4th is also known as being the single deadliest day of the year when it comes to traffic crashes. That’s because, as federal data reveals, more fatal auto accidents occur on July 4th than any other day of the year.

July 4th & Fatal Auto Crashes: A Closer Look at the Data

Averaging traffic crash data from the past five years reveals that, on a given July 4th holiday, roughly 144 traffic-related fatalities occur. What may be just as distressing as this finding are the facts that:

  • About 10 percent of these deaths involve teens.
  • More than 40 percent of the deadly auto wrecks that occur over July 4th involve at least one motorist with a BAC over the legal limit (i.e., at least one driver who is legally drunk or impaired).
  • The number of impaired drivers on the road during July 4th triples during the evening hours, significantly increasing the risk of deadly crashes after the sun goes down on Independence Day.
  • Many other forms of driver negligence – such as driver distraction and motorists’ failure to abide by traffic laws – also contribute to the spike in deadly traffic crashes over the July 4th

Protecting Your Safety & Independence on July 4th: How to Avoid a Deadly Auto Crash

Knowing that the July 4th weekend will bring an elevated risk of fatal car wrecks, here are some things to keep in mind (and do) this coming weekend in order to minimize your crash risk and enjoy a safe, fun Independence Day:

  • Never drive when impaired – Driving with a BAC of 0.08 can quadruple your risk of being involved in deadly crash, as alcohol impairment affects motorists’ abilities to perceive their surroundings and safely operate their vehicles.
  • Always comply with traffic laws when on the roads – Speeding, running red lights and otherwise violating traffic laws will also increase your crash risk, especially when there’s a lot of traffic on the roads.
  • Consider making plans to avoid driving at night – Given that the risk of a deadly car crash exponentially increases during the evening hours, try to make plans to not be on the roads during these times. Even if you are safe, alert and sober, you never know when other motorists are – and avoiding high-risk times (like evening hours) is a surefire way to minimize your crash risk.
  • Report motorists who seem to be impaired to authorities – If you are sharing the road with any driver who seems to be less than sober, call police to report the driver. Getting impaired drivers off of the roads ASAP is the best way to reduce the chances of a serious crash and promote roadway safety for everyone.

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

If you have been injured in a car accident – or if you have lost a loved one to a deadly auto crash, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your recovery options, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we understand that no amount of money may ever be able to atone for the impacts of catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one. We are also aware, however, that pursuing financial recoveries in these situations can be integral to getting survivors and families the financial support they may need as they focus on healing, laying a loved one to rest and dealing with their grief.

We encourage you to call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or contact us online 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.

Federal Railroad Association (FRA) Enhances Drug & Alcohol Testing Rules for Certain Railroad Workers

FRA Enhances Drug & Alcohol Testing for Some Railroad Workers

In the ongoing effort to prevent railroad accidents, injuries and deaths, regulators at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have recently issued a new final rule to enhance the alcohol and drug testing protocols for some railroad workers.

Officially known as the Control of Alcohol and Drug Use rule, this requirement will expand drug and alcohol testing requirements for maintenance of way (MOW) railroad employees.

The goal of this new rule, according to officials, is to “better protect railroad employees working on or near railroad tracks” while minimizing the possibility of preventable railroad accidents related to worker impairment.

Details of the New FRA Drug & Alcohol Testing Rule

Fulfilling a mandate set by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the new drug and alcohol testing policy for MOW railroad workers will fully subject this group of employees to the full battery of drug and alcohol testing protocols that are in place for other railroad employees.

Specifically, this requirement, which will take effect in April 2017, will provide for drug and alcohol testing:

  • During the hiring process
  • Randomly
  • After a railroad accident
  • Whenever there may be “reasonable suspicion” of impairment
  • As part of the return-to-duty procedures
  • As follow-up to failed tests.

Prior to this new rule, MOW employees were only subject to drug and alcohol testing after a crash or a deadly work accident.

Commenting on this new FRA rule, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has explained that:

Clear communication, multiple layers of safety and a rigorous alcohol and drug testing policy are critical to keep workers along and near tracks—and ultimately passengers and train crews—out of harm’s way.. These are common sense rules that will help make our railroads safer.

FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg also expressed support of the new FRA rule, noting that:

These new rules add another layer of protection for workers who work along and near railroad tracks and will help us reduce preventable worker injuries and fatalities… Whether you are an engineer, conductor or someone working alongside the tracks, safety requires alertness. Any reduction in awareness caused by drugs or alcohol use can often be the difference between life and death.

What do you think about this new drug and alcohol testing policy for MOW railroad workers? Tell us what you think on Facebook & Google+.

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

If you have been injured in a railroad accident – or in any type of motor vehicle wreck, contact a Columbia SC personal injury 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. Since 1993, our lawyers 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 contact us online 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.

New Ultrasound Technology Could Improve Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Diagnoses

New Ultrasound Technology Could Improve TBI Diagnoses

Detecting traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – especially closed brain injuries that involve brain bleeding – may soon become far less difficult for medical professionals. That’s because new software, which is currently being developed, could soon empower physicians to see the brain – even from remote locations – and effectively diagnose TBIs.

How the Software Works

According to developers and researchers at the University of Aberdeen, the software will be able to develop a detailed 3-D image from about 2,000 individual pictures, which will be taken by a probe that snaps as many as 40 pictures per second.

Once the image is developed, the software will send it to an expert for immediate analysis. The results of this analysis are then transmitted back to the emergency responder on the ground/at the scene.

Commenting on this software, Dr. Leila Eadie, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen, has explained that:

Ultrasound is not normally used for imaging the brain, but we hope to prove through further investigations that it is a viable method of making an early diagnosis of head injury whilst in the field.

Potential Impacts

While this software has reportedly displayed promising effects in limited, clinical settings, many are hopeful that it will have broader, far-reaching benefits in the years to come. Some of the possible positive effects being posited include (and are not limited to):

  • A quick, effective diagnosis of TBIs – Both military and civilian applications have been suggested. For instance, in the military, this software could allow medics to immediately determine whether explosions, falls or other events have triggered brain bleed, even while the individual is still on the battlefield. In a civilian setting, this technology could allow doctors to serve patients who live more remotely.
  • Immediate delivery of TBI treatments – This can stop brain bleeding and other complications that may be life-threatening.
  • Better long-term prognoses for TBI survivors – Ultimately, a timely diagnosis and treatment of TBIs, especially the most serious ones, is integral to the best prognoses. With this piece of software expected to facilitate the diagnostic process and expedite the treatment stage, some expect that it could also, in turn, improve the overall prognoses for TBI survivors.

What do you think about this ultrasounds software and its potential impacts? Share your opinions with us on Facebook and Google+.

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

If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury that may have been caused by someone else’s reckless or careless actions, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your recovery rights. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

You can contact us by calling (800) 531-9780 or contact us online. When you contact us and set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers, you can find out more about your rights, as well as your best options for proceeding.

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.

Ashley Furniture Will Pay $1.75 Million to Settle 60+ OSHA Citations for Safety Violations

Ashley Furniture Will Pay $1.75 Million to Settle OSHA Safety Violations

Ashley Furniture has recently come to a settlement agreement with regulators at the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), agreeing to pay a $1.75 million civil penalty in order to resolve more than 60 citations related to machine hazards – particularly those that lead to amputations.

The terms of this agreement will reportedly impact close to 22,000 Ashley workers at 30 facilities across the U.S.

A Closer Look at the Settlement

According to the announcement of this settlement, Ashley Furniture – in addition to paying the massive OSHA fine – has agreed to implement a company-wide safety program that will “demonstrate its corporate commitment to safety.”

As part of this program and per the terms of the OSHA settlement, Ashley Furniture has agreed to:

  • Establish a Vice President for Safety, who will oversee the corporate safety program and spearhead the efforts to mitigate any machine hazards that may put Ashley’s employees at risk of accidents and injuries
  • Appoint senior managers at specific facilities who will be responsible for the rollout of the new safety program, as well as ongoing compliance with it
  • Roll out a program that is specifically geared towards machine safety
  • Introduce a number of new safety measures to enhance workers’ protections
  • Develop annual safety status reports and send them to OSHA
  • Regularly audit Ashley’s warehouse facilities and manufacturing plants across the U.S. to monitor potential machine hazards and continually evaluate whether the safety program is effective.

Commenting on this OSHA action and settlement agreement with Ashley, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez has stated: 

With this settlement, Ashley Furniture is taking important steps to change its culture, invest in its employees and work with OSHA to make significant changes to protect the safety and health of workers… We look forward to working with Ashley Furniture to ensure that it fulfills its commitment and focuses on reducing injuries on the job. This settlement is an important reminder that every worker has the right to a safe workplace, and we will continue to use all available tools to protect that right.

To view the complete text and terms of this settlement agreement, click here.

Tell us what you think about this settlement agreement on Facebook & Google+.

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

If you have been injured in a work accident – or if you have lost a love one to a fatal work event, contact a Columbia SC attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

For well over two decades, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.  While we understand that no amount of money can ever make up for the damage caused by catastrophic injuries – or for the loss of a loved one, we also know that that financial recoveries can be integral to the overall healing process.

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 Ranked as 5th Deadliest State for Bicycle Riders

South Carolina Ranked as 5th Deadliest State for Bicycle Riders

Beware, South Carolina bicyclists – riding on the roads in our state comes with a big risk of life-threatening accidents, as South Carolina has recently been named as the fifth leading state for fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S.

This is according to a recent report that presented a fascinating analysis of bicycle crash data compiled by federal regulators over the past few years.1 And while this report indicated that deadly bicycle accidents across the nation have been consistently rising since 2010, it also ranked every state in the U.S. according to how many bicyclists in that state are killed in crashes each year.

Beating out South Carolina for the top four spots were:

  1. Florida, where at least 110 bicyclists are killed annually, making it the single deadliest state for bicyclists in the U.S.
  2. Louisiana, where an average of 17 bicycle riders are killed each year
  3. New Mexico, where an average of 6 bicyclists are killed annually
  4. Arizona, where approximately 20 bicycle riders are killed each year.

In South Carolina, there’s an average of 14 bicyclists involved in fatal crashes every year.

It should be noted that this report’s rankings were based on the average bicyclist death rate compared to the state’s overall population (rather than a straight ranking based on the number of reported bicyclist fatalities).

Leading Causes of Fatal Bicycle Accidents

While the specific conditions in different states that contribute to deadly bicycle crashes may vary considerably, federal authorities2 have reported the following as being among the leading causes of deadly bicycle accidents in the U.S.:

  • Driver distraction, which prevents motorists from seeing and/or yielding to bicyclists
  • Alcohol impairment, either on the part of other motorists, bicyclists or both
  • Traffic violations, which can be committed by motorists, as well as bicyclists
  • Roadway conditions, such as a lack of bicycle lanes, a lack of signage, broken intersection signals, etc.
  • Failure to wear safety gear, such as safety helmets (This can substantially increase the risk that bike accidents will result in fatal head injuries for riders when crashes do happen).

What Are the Safest States for Bicycle Riders?

According to this report, the following states were ranked as the top five safest states for riders (based on the fact that these states had the lowest rates of deadly bicycle accidents over the past five years, with each reporting no more than 5 bicyclist fatalities since 2010):

  1. Maine
  2. Vermont
  3. West Virginia
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana

What do you think about the findings that South Carolina is one of the deadliest states for bicyclists? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook & Google+.

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

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident – or if you have lost a loved one to any type of deadly traffic crash, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and recovery options.

Tenacious and tireless, our attorneys are focused on fighting for our clients’ rights and helping them succeed in their financial recoveries so they can reclaim their lives.

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: Data pulled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSAs) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

2: NHTSA findings regarding fatal and nonfatal bicycle accident

Starbucks’ Teavana Ordered to Pay $3.75 Million Penalty for Exploding Tumblers, CPSC Announces

Teavana to Pay $3.75M Fine for Exploding Tumblers

Teavana, a tea retailer purchased by Starbucks’ in 2012, has recently been hit with a hefty civil penalty for its role in failing to report major defects associated with its glass tumblers to federal authorities.

According to regulators at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Teavana “knowingly failed to report to CPSC, as required by federal law, that the tumblers contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that the tumblers created an unreasonable risk of serious injury.”

A Closer Look at the Teavana Tumbler Defects & Recall

The Teavana glass tumblers that are the center of this CPSC action are described as “double-walled beverage glasses” that were imported from China and that can “break or shatter unexpectedly, posing laceration and burn hazards.”

To date, Teavana has reportedly received at least 302 consumer complaints regarding exploding and/or shattering glass tumblers, with at least 6 of these reports being associated with cut and/or burn injuries.

These consumer complaints reportedly motivated Teavana to issue a voluntary recall in May 2013 for about 445,000 glass tumblers sold in the U.S. At that time, however, the company failed to take the required action to inform regulators about the serious problems associated with the tumblers, the CSPC has explained.

For a complete listing of the model names (and product numbers) associated with the recalled Teavana glass tumblers, click here.

In addition to agreeing to pay the CPSC fine to resolve this federal action, Teavana has also reportedly agreed to:

  • Abide by and maintain a “compliance program” that has been developed to promote compliance with all federal regulations enforced by the CPSC
  • Develop and maintain “a system of internal controls” aimed at making sure that Teavana reports all necessary information to CPSC regulators, as required by federal law.

The company has not, however, admitted to any failures in accepting the terms of the CPSC penalty.

What do you think about the CPSC’s penalties imposed on Teavana? Share your opinions 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 by a dangerous or defective consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and recovery options. For well over two decades, our lawyers 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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