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ARCHIVES: September 2018

Workers’ Compensation When You Have Multiple Jobs

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on Workers' Compensation benefits for injured workers with multiple jobs. Many people today need to work more than one job to pay the bills. But what happens if they get injured? Are they entitled to recover for lost wages from all of their jobs? The answer is based on the fundamental purpose of Workers’ Compensation laws – which is to compensate injured workers for the losses they experience as a result of injuries sustained on the job. These losses include lost wages.

Average Weekly Wage Calculation

Most states use the “average weekly wage” (AWW) of an employee to determine lost wage. This includes income derived from all jobs held at the time of the injury. AWW is typically calculated by looking back to the earnings from the year prior to the injury. If a worker is injured after only a short time on the job, then assumptions can be made as to the amount of wages they could reasonably have been expected to earn in the prior year. Sometimes this is done by looking to statistics of similar occupations in the area, for the same level of work and experience as the injured worker, to derive an estimate to use in calculating the AWW. If this calculation is unfair to the employee or employer due to exceptional circumstances, then the statute allows for other methods to be used to determine lost wages.

For workers having more than one job, they bear the burden of proving wages earned from jobs other than the one where the accident occurred. Accordingly, the AWW calculation for the job where they did not get injured is not likely to be determined using the estimate method mentioned above. In this case, the AWW will likely be calculated based on pay stubs to determine wage loss benefits.

Amount of Compensation

States do not usually provide for an injured worker to be compensated for the full amount of AWW. They differ in how they balance the interests of compensating workers with the interests of keeping costs down for employers and insurance companies. Many states require insurance to cover two-thirds of the AWW. This is the case in South Carolina. The compensation rate is calculated by multiplying the AWW by 0.6667.

Severity of Injury

The amount of compensation is based on the degree of disability. If you are able to work with medical restrictions, either for fewer hours or for a less demanding job, then you are likely eligible for partial disability benefits. In this case, the amount you are able to earn can be subtracted from the Workers’ Compensation amount paid for lost wages. If you are not able to work at all for a period of time but can eventually return to work, then you would likely receive temporary total disability benefits. If your injury is so severe that you are totally disabled, then you might qualify for permanent Social Security disability benefits.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Workers in South Carolina

Workers’ Compensation law is complex, has mandated procedures and deadlines, and involves establishing a variety of different forms of proof of injury and employment. A misstep can alter the outcome of an injured workers’ claim by thousands of dollars. Allow an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. to represent you in your case. We have six offices throughout South Carolina. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780.

We are proud to represent injured workers across South Carolina, including those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Hazards Facing Workers in Green Jobs  

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss the dangers faced by workers with green jobs. The “green” jobs sector is promising in so many ways. In addition to benefitting the environment, companies working with solar power, recycling, geo-thermal energy, and biofuels employ thousands of people across the country. However, these jobs are not without their own risks. Like in other industries, workers in green jobs face the risk of physical injuries every day. They may also be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits should they suffer a work injury or illness.

Because many green jobs are relatively new, all the potential hazards are not yet fully identified or understood, making it difficult to protect workers from harm. For example, it was decades before Americans fully identified the risks of coal and asbestos exposure and established stringent protocols to protect workers from these dangerous substances. Without proper precautions, solar energy workers may be at risk for exposure to a known carcinogen, cadmium telluride.

Besides the less understood hazards facing green workers, there are plenty of easily identifiable risks to workers in the green sector. Because many of these jobs are physical, green workers often face the same dangers that construction workers and factory workers face every day:

  • Burns and fires
  • Confined space hazards
  • Electrical currents
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Slips, trips, and falls

Also, because many green workers work in remote locations like involving turbines or deep underground trenches, getting immediate medical assistance to injured workers often presents additional challenges.

OSHA and Green Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply either with OSHA safety and health standards or with a state plan approved by OSHA. The Act’s General Duty Clause also requires employers to provide employees with a workplace free from known hazards that have the potential to cause serious harm or death. As green industry jobs evolve and we learn more about how to keep green workers safe, OSHA standards may grow with them to ensure every American worker is safe every time they punch the clock.

OSHA standards are in place to safeguard workers in all lines of work. Your employer is required by law to comply with OSHA standards and report illness and injuries when they do occur. If you are injured on the job, regardless of who is to blame for your accident, you should notify your employer. If you fail to do so, you may lose important Workers’ Compensation benefits that help to cover medical care and lost income.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Protect South Carolina’s Injured Workers

At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our dedicated Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers will guide you through the process of filing a claim, appealing a denial, and fighting to continue your benefits if you are not physically able to return to work. Call 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a free case review today.

We have six locations throughout South Carolina to serve you clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Drowsy Driving Accidents

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on drowsy driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities in a single year. Falling asleep while driving is very dangerous, but many drivers may not realize that feeling just slightly fatigued can seriously impact their ability to drive safely.

When you are sleepy behind the wheel, you are less able to pay attention to traffic and other hazards and may be slower to react if you need to stop or steer suddenly. Drowsy driving also affects your capacity to make sound driving decisions. You should consider pulling over to rest if you:

  • Daydream or have wandering thoughts
  • Drift from your lane
  • Have difficulty keeping your head up
  • Have trouble remembering the last few miles of your trip
  • Lose focus and miss a turn or exit
  • Struggle to keep your eyes open
  • Yawn frequently

It is not just a lack of sleep that causes drowsy driving. Untreated sleep disorders, alcohol and drug use, and certain prescription medications can compromise a driver’s ability to pay attention and react in an emergency.

Liability in Drowsy Driving Accidents

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls drowsy driving one of the most unrecognized safety traffic safety problems currently facing Americans. Unlike speed radars and breathalyzer devices, there is no clear test for drowsy driving, making it challenging to prove liability in the event of a wreck.

In most states, drowsy driving can be prosecuted under laws regarding reckless or negligent driving. Investigators use camera footage, GPS tracking, and cell phone records to recreate the accident scene in drowsy driving cases. They may also introduce evidence of the driver’s behavior or habits prior to the accident, such as an overnight work shift or use of medications that potentially cause drowsiness.

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Both impact a driver’s capacity to make safe decisions and respond quickly. For a long time, proving drowsy driving as a mitigating factor in a motor vehicle collision was challenging. The good news for victims is drowsy driving is increasingly being recognized as a legitimate cause of many serious and fatal car accidents. If you have been injured by a fatigued driver, justice is possible.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents

In South Carolina, auto wrecks are the leading cause of injury and death. For victims of drowsy driving crashes, proving liability can be challenging. The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are fully prepared to tackle complex drowsy driving cases and protect your rights. We focus on obtaining the compensation you need for your medical expenses and lost income, so you can focus on healing. To schedule a free consultation, call 800-531-9780 or contact us online.

Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

NSC Car Accident Fatality Estimates

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers discuss fatal car accidents. The National Safety Council (NSC) issued preliminary estimates that indicate the rate of fatal car accidents in the United States continues to climb to levels not seen since 1965. There were over 40,000 fatalities and close to five million injuries from car accidents reported in 2017, which is just one percent lower than the number reported in 2016. When the calculations are complete, the number of fatalities may be the highest reported in over 50 years.

A spokesperson for the NSC appealed to motorists to comply with traffic safety regulations and laws to decrease the number of car accident fatalities. Motor vehicle wrecks are a leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and in most cases, are also the most preventable. The NSC urges drivers to follow their recommendations to ensure the safety of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians sharing American highways and roadways.

  • Seat belts save lives, so buckle up and make sure all passengers in your vehicle are using seatbelts as well.
  • Avoid all forms of distracted driving, such as cell phones, texting, infotainment systems, and navigation devices. Pull over to a safe location to use these devices, if necessary. Leaving the cell phone in a purse or in the back seat will avoid temptation to use it when behind the wheel.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged and drunk driving and designate a sober driver before you get behind the wheel. Alcohol, legalized marijuana, prescription medications, and even over-the-counter medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and slowed reaction times that lead to serious and fatal car accidents.
  • Keep vehicles in good condition with regular maintenance and inspections. Learn what safety features your vehicle has and how to use them properly.  Be sure to fix recalls or investigate that they have been corrected when buying a used car.
  • Advocate for safe driving by contacting your state and local lawmakers to make and enforce traffic laws that protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Report poor road conditions, and broken road signs and traffic signals.
  • Be a good example to teenaged drivers and enforce restrictions imposed on them.
  • Join the Road to Zero campaign by visiting the NSC’s website to take a proactive approach in increasing traffic safety.

The NSC’s Road to Zero campaign aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2050. By enforcing current traffic laws and holding violators liable, the NSC believes that year 2050 could be the first without a fatal traffic accident.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Even the safest driver can become involved in a serious or fatal car accident. If you or someone you know has been injured in a wreck, the experienced Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss traumatic brain injuries. Violent blows and jolts to the head or body or the penetration of brain tissue by an object can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Individuals suffering from traumatic brain injuries may experience a wide range of physical, sensory, cognitive, or mental symptoms. TBIs can result in long term physical or mental complications, and many are fatal.

Physical damage caused by a head injury may involve bruising, tearing of muscle tissue, and bleeding of the brain. When this occurs, an individual may have loss of consciousness, headaches, vomiting or nausea, increased fatigue, speech problems and vertigo. Brain injuries may also affect sensory and cognitive functioning resulting in blurred visions, light or sound sensitivity, ear ringing, changes in the ability to taste or smell, problems with memory or concentration, depression or anxiety.

Complications of a TBI

A TBI may be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. While symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury are usually short-lived, a moderate or severe injury may produce symptoms that last a lifetime. Signs of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury range from profound confusion, worsening headaches, convulsions or seizures, pupil dilation, numbness in fingers or toes, slurred speech and extreme agitation. Altered consciousness is one of the most prevalent signs of a moderate or severe concussion and can range from a coma or vegetative state to a minimally conscious state and brain death.

Individuals living with traumatic brain injuries become particularly vulnerable to developing ongoing complications such as recurrent seizures, hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the brain), brain infections, damaged blood vessels, persistent headaches, vertigo and cranial nerve damage. If these symptoms continue for an extended period of time, the individual may be diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Another possible long-term effect of a TBI is the increased risk of a degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or dementia pugilistica.

For sufferers of traumatic brain injuries, everyday mental tasks can prove extremely difficult. TBIs have been associated with compromised cognitive skills resulting in problems with memory, learning, judgment, reasoning and concentration. Executive functioning tasks including problem-solving, multitasking, planning and decision-making may become more difficult. Communication also may become more difficult as individuals struggle to organize their thoughts, participate in conversations and understand nonverbal cues or changes in tone.

Many individuals living with a traumatic brain injury undergo behavioral and emotional changes that impact their relationships and overall wellbeing. They may experience difficulty with self- control, verbal or physical outburst, social anxiety, depression, irritability, lack of empathy, insomnia and mood swings. Some individuals engage in risky behaviors.

Work Accidents Can Lead to TBI

Any blow to the head or body could result in an unseen brain injury and should be taken seriously. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include falls from ladders, vehicle wrecks and explosive blasts. Individuals should seek emergency medical care if they begin to exhibit any of the warning signs or notice any behavioral changes. TBI symptoms many not appear immediately after the accident occurs. Individuals who have been hurt on the job should seek immediate medical attention. If the accident involved an injury to the head, the worker should be monitored for signs of traumatic brain injury for several weeks following the accident.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Workers Suffering From a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you or a loved has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a workplace accident, compensation may be available to help pay for ongoing medical expenses. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers assist families dealing with the aftermaths of workplace accidents. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.

From our offices conveniently located across South Carolina, we represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Warehouse Safety

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on warehouse safety to help reduce workplace accidents. Congress created the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) in 1970 as a means of protecting American workers from workplace hazards, including warehouse hazards. The agency promulgates standards designed to minimize or prevent work-related accidents and dangerous health conditions. OSHA is also responsible for enforcing violations of its rules by issuing penalties for various infractions. Knowing the most commonly cited violations in warehouses can be helpful for employees who work in a warehouse environment. If you see one of the following deficiencies, mention it to your employer immediately so that they can fix the hazardous condition.

  • Forklift hazards. According to OSHA, nearly 100 employees are fatally injured in warehouse forklift accidents every year. Most of these accidents occur when a forklift overturns, crushing a bystander. Always be careful when walking around forklifts and use a spotter to cover your blind spots. Never exceed five miles per hour when operating a forklift.
  • Lockout/tagout failures. Employees should always follow proper protocol for shutting down equipment when not in use. Warehouses can be full of damaged equipment that is still in rotation. Defective or damaged equipment should be clearly marked “out of service” and promptly repaired.
  • Electrical hazards. Be sure to ground your electrical circuits. OSHA requires employers to provide ground fault circuit interrupters (CFCIs) for all receptacle outlets. This can help prevent ground fault electric shock injuries.
  • Hazard communication. Employees should have access to cleanup kits wherever chemicals are kept. Employers should effectively communicate how to use and wear protective equipment, and how to safely clean up spills if they should occur.
  • Fall hazards. Warehouse workers should use fall protection gear, including both fall restraints and fall arrests. Fall restraints are equipment, such as guardrails, that prevent falls. Fall arrests are systems that can help halt or minimize the impact of a fall in progress, such as a safety net.
  • Respiratory hazards. Warehouse workers can be exposed to dangerous airborne substances, and should have access to personal protective equipment, including respirators, if necessary. Many employers offer these devices, yet employees refuse to wear them. Always follow safety protocol when it comes to handling dangerous chemicals in a warehouse environment.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Victims of Workplace Accidents

If you have been injured on-the-job or diagnosed with an occupational health condition, Workers’ Compensation can help to cover medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. The experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can negotiate to obtain the maximum benefits you are entitled to by law. To discuss your case, call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina, including those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Drugged Driving Leads to Fatal Crashes

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on the dangers of drugged driving. In recent years, organizations have been shining the spotlight on the dangers of drugged driving. Past studies focused primarily on drunk driving, but with opioid and marijuana use on the rise, the statistics are changing. Alcohol-impaired driving is still a major issue, but it may no longer be the biggest threat to road safety. A 2016 study showed that the number of fatally-injured drivers that tested positive for alcohol decreased three percentage points from 10 years ago, compared to increased drugged driving use.

These numbers have led community leaders to speak out in effort to reduce the number of car wrecks associated with impaired driving. Safety experts opine that the use of alcohol in combination with opioids and marijuana is of great concern. As such, they should be treated as one issue, since drivers often consume both at the same time.

Drug-Impaired Driving Report

A 2016 Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report found that 44 percent of fatally-injured drivers who were tested for drugs showed positive results, and this had increased 28 percent from 2006. Among the 44 percent, 38 percent were positive for marijuana, 16 percent for opioids, and four percent for both.

When combined with alcohol, these drugs can intensify the effects. This is a very real problem for lawmakers and law enforcement, not to mention possible victims and their families. Many drivers do not understand how fatal this combination can be before they get behind the wheel. Safety advocates want the public to be aware that impairment is impairment, regardless of substance.

Problems with Drug Testing

Testing drivers for drugs is a gray area for several reasons. To begin, many drugs do not affect driving habits. For those that do, there are no standardized tests that can directly prove the effect of drugs such as marijuana on driving and crash risks. Although breathalyzers detect blood alcohol levels, there is no tool to gauge marijuana and opioid levels. It is particularly difficult to assess the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, the main component in marijuana, present in a driver when the crash occurs. Signs of impairment can also vary, depending on what was ingested. Prosecutors must rely on eyewitness accounts and expert testimony to prove drugged-driving cases.

Changing Times

Many states have already legalized marijuana, and others will likely follow this path. Adding to the complication is the fact that marijuana can be smoked or eaten, which can produce different effects. Another problem occurs when patients take opioid prescriptions, not realizing that they are impaired.

The struggle to make drivers and lawmakers aware of drugged driving and to develop testing methods is underway, with no clear solutions. More research and testing are being called for to keep pace with these changes and to keep our roads safer for everyone.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims Involved in Drugged Driving Accidents

Without public awareness and dependable testing methods, the incidences of drugged driving accidents may continue to rise. If you have been involved in a drugged driving crash, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online for a free consultation.

We represent injured accident victims in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County and across South Carolina.

Dangers of Teens Texting and Driving

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on the dangers of distracted driving with teens that text while driving. Teen drivers often engage in risky driving behaviors such as not wearing their seatbelts, drunk driving, and distracted driving. A new research study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy concludes one of the most common risky driving behaviors of teen drivers is texting while driving.

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of driving distraction. When a teen texts and drives, they can experience visual distraction when they take their eyes off the road, manual distraction when they take their hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive distraction when they focus on an activity other than driving. Cell phone use is routinely a contributing cause of over 25 percent of car accidents. Distracted driving leads to at least nine deaths per day in the United States. In 2015, texting while driving was the leading of cause of car accident fatalities in teens.

Distracted Driving a Continuing Problem

Despite the known dangers of texting and driving, the study found almost 40 percent of teen drivers continue to text while driving. According to the study, the earlier teens start to drive, the earlier they engage in distracted driving behaviors. Teens are most likely to text and drive in those states where they can get their learner’s permit earlier and states with the highest percentage of student drivers. The number of instances of texting and driving increases significantly when a teen can legally begin unsupervised driving.

For many teens who text hundreds of messages a day on their cell phones, it may be hard to understand the inherent risks involved in sending a text while driving. Although it can take only moments to send or read a text message, those seconds can be deadly. In just five seconds a car traveling at 55 miles per hour will have traveled the length of a football field. As a result of taking one’s eyes off of the road for even this brief period time, a catastrophic car accident can occur.

Many states have made it illegal for teens to use handheld electronic devices behind the wheel. Other states have put in place strict penalties for texting while driving including large fines, suspension of drivers’ licenses, increases in automobile insurance rates and even jail sentences. For many teen drivers, the consequences of being involved in a texting and driving accident can be as serious as those for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Parents Can Help Stop Teens From Texting Behind the Wheel

To help your teen driver fight the urge to text while driving, parents can install cell phone applications designed to reduce distracted driving behaviors. Some apps send parents notifications regarding their teen driver’s driving history. Other apps can block incoming texts and calls while a teen is driving. Many families also encourage their teen drivers to take the pledge to end distracted driving. Teen drivers should be reminded driving with anyone who texts and drives is an unsafe choice. Remind your teen they should never be in the car with a friend who texts and drives.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Those Injured in Distracted Driving Wrecks

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, compensation for these car accident injuries may be available. The experienced Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are here to help. To speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer in South Carolina today, call us 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online.

We represent injured accident victims in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County and across South Carolina.

Bicycle Deaths on the Rise

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers discuss a rise in deaths from bicycle accidents. Not every car accident fatality involves a collision between two motor vehicles. Over 800 bicyclists die each year in the United States as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle. In many states, that number continues to rise.

According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of bicycle fatalities has consistently risen upwards of 12 percent each year. Cyclists have become the fastest-growing group of road fatalities with over 50 additional cyclists dying each year in the United States. Although the majority of bicycle fatalities involve riders over the age of 20, many bicycle fatalities involve small children who are particularly vulnerable when riding bicycles in the vicinity of cars and trucks.

Interactions between motorists and bicyclists continue to be a leading cause of bicycle deaths. Some of the most common circumstances that result in a death of a bicyclist include: when a motor vehicle turns into or across a bicyclist’s path; head on collisions with motor vehicles; or cyclists being hit when turning onto a major road from a minor road. The GHSA survey data highlighted another significant problem – the failure of drivers to see cyclists on the road. Almost 90 percent of automobile drivers involved in bicycle accidents reported they could not see the cyclist prior to the crash.

Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Be Catastrophic

Not every car accident involving a cyclist results in death. Other serious and life altering injuries resulting from collisions between cars and bicycles include:

  • Broken bones
  • Amputation of limbs
  • Cracked skulls
  • Injuries to chest and abdomen
  • Internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injuries and concussions
  • Loss of vision

To prevent a serious bicycle injury or bicycle death, both cyclists and motorists should become more aware of bicycle safety rules. Education campaigns are aimed at cyclists, pedestrians and motorists to raise awareness of the dangers associated with cycling. Many safety advocacy organizations such as the American Bicycling Education Association have created bike safety videos. These videos share important safety reminders to motorists and bicyclists such as the importance of wearing a helmet, how to actively manage a roadway’s lane space, recognizing the existence of a motor vehicle’s blind spots and the proper use of designated bike lanes.

Another important safety step is improving current infrastructures to separate cyclists from motorists as an effective countermeasure to bicycle fatalities. The use of marked bike lanes, “bicycle boulevards,” bike boxes and bicycle traffic lights can significantly lower the risks of serious injury or death for cyclists.

New federal laws such as the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation Act also have made bicycle safety an important goal. Signed by then President Barack Obama, the Act will increase the amount of federal spending on bicycling projects and promote a full integration of non-motorized accommodation into every federal surface transportation project. With enhanced penalties for motorists involved in wrecks with bicycles, stricter safety and equipment standards for bicycles (including electric bicycles) and the creation of a better bicycle infrastructure, the hope is to reverse the rise of bicycle deaths sooner rather than later.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Assist Victims of Bicycle Accidents and Their Families

If you or your loved one has been injured in bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., our experienced Columbia car accident lawyers help families dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophic wreck. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or submit an online inquiry form.

We represent injured accident victims in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County and across South Carolina.

Chemical Exposure and Hearing Injuries

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss hearing injuries caused by occupational chemical exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a special bulletin warning employers and workers of potential hearing injuries related to exposure to ototoxicants, which are chemicals used in pesticides, solvents, metals, and pharmaceuticals. Individuals exposed to the chemicals can suffer temporary and sometimes permanent hearing loss, especially when their exposure is combined with loud working environments.

Exposure to ototoxicants can come from inhalation, absorption through the skin, and ingestion. Hearing loss occurs when the chemicals disrupt the central nervous system, causing messages to the brain to become slowed or distorted. Victims of ototoxicant exposure can experience hearing loss or speech discrimination dysfunction when the auditory nerves are damaged. This type of hearing loss causes sound distortion, the loss of the ability to differentiate speech, and the inability to distinguish where sounds are located.

Effects of Hearing Injuries

Hearing injuries can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life and increase the likelihood of occupational accidents and injuries. Workers with hearing loss may not be able to hear or differentiate alarms, buzzers, mechanical sounds, or warning signals. Speech discrimination dysfunction makes it difficult to distinguish speech from background noise and causes misinterpretation of language.   Workers with hearing injuries are at a higher risk for workplace accidents that can endanger the safety of themselves and their coworkers.

Auditory nerve damage can also cause tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in the ears. Many people who suffer from tinnitus are unaware of the constant ringing in their ears when there is background noise, but become highly aware in quiet environments, which can disrupt sleep and concentration. Workers who suffer from sleep deprivation are more prone to workplace accidents that result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries.

Protection from Hearing Injuries

All employers have a legal responsibility to provide their workers with a safe environment that is free from unnecessary risks. Industries that use ototoxicant chemicals must properly inform and train their employees on the presence and potential risks involved with exposure to these toxins. Safety protocols and procedures are supposed to be in place to limit exposure to these chemicals. Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, eye protection, earplugs or earmuffs, and chemical resistant overalls, should be mandatorily provided to workers exposed to ototoxicants and high noise levels.

OSHA also suggests that regular audiometric testing be conducted to determine the level of noise in the workplace. Periodic hearing tests should be given to workers in industrial work environments to determine if a hearing injury or hearing loss has occurred. Employers should also consider replacing ototoxicants with less harmful chemicals. Isolating areas where ototoxicants are present and ensuring good ventilation in the area is considered best practice for employers that handle these chemicals.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Workers with Hearing Injuries

If you have suffered a hearing injury due to chemical exposure or a loud work environment, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly represent injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

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