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ARCHIVES: March 2019

Daycare Food Allergy

Columbia, SC Day Care Accident Lawyers weigh in on food allergy injuries sustained by children in day care. As enrollment in day care facilities continues to increase in the United States, so too do the needs of its students. Childhood food allergies are a significant threat to the safety and health of many young children. When a child is exposed to a food allergen in a day care environment, they are at risk for a serious and life-threatening reaction called anaphylactic shock. When this happens, the allergic reaction is so severe that the child’s airways can swell to the point of suffocation that can cause imminent death if not immediately treated.

Day care administrators along with the teachers and staff of these facilities are legally responsible to provide a safe environment for students, including those with food allergies. Day care students are at high risk for food allergy emergencies since they often experience their first allergic reaction between the ages of two and five. Prevention is key to protection.

Legal Responsibility to Protect All Students

In 2008, Congress passed an amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 that provides specific protections to children with food allergies. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) mandates that all public and private childcare centers and schools provide accommodations and safety measures to protect students from exposure to food allergens.

Parents who are aware that their child has a food allergy can work with the childcare facility to develop a 504 plan that outlines the specific needs of their child. The 504 plan is a legal document that holds the day care or school liable for injuries that occur from carelessness or negligence in implementing the safety plan.

Recently, a three-year-old child in New York City suffered anaphylactic shock when he was served a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch at his day care facility. The child had a known dairy allergy and should not have been fed or exposed to dairy products such as cheese. The day care facility was held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit for failure to protect the child as outlined in the ADAAA.

The parents of a child harmed by exposure to a food allergen have the right to bring a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit against the day care facility. All children have a right to enjoy an environment that is safe and free from unreasonable hazards. Parents of children who suffer injury or death from an allergic reaction may be eligible for financial compensation that can also include punitive damages that ensure the facility protects other children from suffering injury or death.

How to Protect Your Child from a Food Allergen Emergency

Parents of children who have a food allergy can work closely with the day care administration to develop a safety plan to protect their child. The 504 plan can outline specific preventive measures such as:

  • Restrictions on exposure to known allergens
  • Hand washing procedures
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Field trip protocols
  • Safe environment procedures

Regular contact with school administrators and nurses, teachers, and aides can ensure that these safety measures are in place.

Columbia Day Care Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Your Child’s Safety While in Day Care

If your child has been injured in a day care center accident, call the Columbia day care accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, or 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

From our six office locations, we represent individuals and families across South Carolina, including those 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 areas 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.

Springtime Driving Hazards

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on springtime driving hazards that can lead to injured car accident victims. Spring is finally upon us, but this does not mean that motorists should let their guards down while driving. Wintertime weather can extend well into the spring in certain parts of the country, and this weather can be just as hazardous. Skies can turn cloudy, creating high winds, heavy rains, and even hail that falls onto streets and cars. These are just a few of the springtime driving dangers to be aware of, though.

Potholes

Winter storms can leave behind significant road damage, including potholes. The weight of snow and ice, combined with heavy snowplows, sand, brine, and salt can leave their mark. After bad winters, cities and counties often cannot keep up with the needed road repairs. Cars can experience severe damage when their unsuspecting drivers run into big potholes.

Watch for Pedestrians and Animals in the Road

Bicyclists, walkers, and joggers alike commonly take to the road to soak in the springtime sun and fresh air. Drivers should expect to see more cyclists and pedestrians and take added precaution.

Additionally, spring is prime mating season for animals. As areas have become more developed over the past decades and animals lose their habitats, they are seen more frequently in populated areas, roads, and highways. While no one wants to hit a wild animal with their vehicle, swerving to avoid a collision can be extremely dangerous, especially at high speeds. Stay alert when behind the wheel, especially at dawn and dusk, when more animals are likely to be out.

Wet Weather

Spring weather is unpredictable, and it can bring a lot of rain and floods. Wet roads can be slippery, especially if there are also substances like oil on the roads. This can cause skidding, hydroplaning, and serious accidents. It takes a vehicle four times longer to come to a halt when it is driving on a slippery road. Flooding is also hazardous for drivers, since it is hard to judge how deep the water is when approaching. Flash floods are of particular concern, since they can seemingly come out of nowhere.

Preparing for Spring Driving

This is a good time of year for motorists to get their cars ready for spring. Checking tire pressure to make sure they are properly inflated, replacing wiper blades, and making sure that all the lights work should be on this list.

It is also a good idea to listen to traffic and weather reports; if conditions are uncertain, alternate routes can be planned. The National Safety Council reports that one of the most risky situations is during the start of a light rain, especially for vehicles traveling at 35 or more miles per hour.

Sometimes the best alternative is to avoid driving in bad springtime weather and wait it out until things improve. When driving in this type of weather, it is important to maintain safe speeds, and to slow down and add additional stopping distance.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Car Accident Victims

If you were involved in any type of motor vehicle wreck, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can provide you with experienced legal guidance. For a free case evaluation, complete an online contact form or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780.

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 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.

Handling Cancer Drugs Endangers Pregnant Nurses

Columbia Workers' Compensation Lawyers weigh in on the dangers of pregnant nurses handling cancer medications. Pregnant nurses who handle cancer drugs may be putting their health and that of their unborn child at risk. The results of a study that appeared in the American Journal of Nursing conclude that far too many nurses—both pregnant and not—do not take the proper precautions to protect themselves while handling antineoplastic drugs.

Antineoplastic drugs are medications sometimes referred to as anti-cancer, chemotherapy, chemo, cytotoxic, or hazardous drugs. These drugs can come in pill form and also as an injectable liquid medicine. The drugs also have other applications outside of oncology.

Forty-thousand nurses in the U.S. and Canada, who administer these drugs to patients, took part in the self-reporting study to determine how these healthcare providers are taking care of themselves. The study involved a questionnaire in which nurses reported on their safety practices while working with antineoplastic drugs.

Nurses at Risk

The study suggests that too many nurses are not using gloves and gowns despite serious risks. This personal protective equipment is provided by healthcare employers specifically to be used by personnel who handle dangerous substances. It is recommended, in fact, that pregnant employees layer two pairs of gloves for protection in addition to the gowns.

Approximately two-fifths of respondents reported handling antineoplastic drugs without using a protective gown (38 percent of pregnant nurses and 42 percent of non-pregnant nurses). Half of pregnant nurses reported administering these toxic treatments without a gown during the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy; ten percent did not wear gloves during the same early-pregnancy period.

These revelations suggest that hospitals and care facilities should review the safety protocol for those handling these dangerous drugs.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established guidelines for handling antineoplastic drugs and other hazardous materials. The CDC recommends nurses and other professionals who handle these drugs to take precautions and to bring to the potential danger to the attention of their co-workers, and especially to their employers, who are encouraged to provide employee training on the subject.

What Makes These Drugs So Dangerous?

Many antineoplastic drugs are human carcinogens. Exposure to such substances is associated with miscarriages and birth defects. Patients who have taken antineoplastic drugs have an increased risk of infertility. Pregnant women who use the drugs to treat their cancers have an increased risk of miscarriage or of their child being born with a birth defect.

The purpose of these medications for cancer treatment is to discourage reproduction of cancer cells. This function may interfere with healthy cell formations in the womb. Scientists are not certain of this link, but healthcare workers are encouraged to avoid unnecessary exposure as a precaution. It is unknown what amount of exposure is safe.

There are findings that link cases of miscarriage and birth defects to handling these chemicals, so it is best to minimize the potential risk. This is true for pregnant women and non-pregnant workers alike. The study’s conclusion recommends that healthcare employees and workers make an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to antineoplastic drugs. Further, the study team recommends employers to take steps to encourage the use of protective equipment with training, access to PPE and sufficient time to safely perform work tasks that involve these dangerous substances.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Workers Exposed to Harmful Substances

Nurses who have suffered harm due to workplace exposure to toxic substances such as antineoplastic drugs are urged to contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. as soon as possible. Contact us online or call 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 today to arrange a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

We have six office locations to serve healthcare workers across South Carolina, including those 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 areas 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.

My Child Was Hurt at Daycare – Who is Liable?

Columbia Daycare Injury Lawyers weigh in on daycare injury liability. Daycare providers have a legal responsibility to protect children under their care from harm. When that duty is breached and a child is injured as a result, daycare providers may be held liable for the injuries caused by their negligence, even if a release form was signed. Parents of children who were injured while at daycare should speak to a local daycare injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that their child’s rights are protected.

Proving a Daycare is Responsible for a Child’s Injuries

Many daycare centers include an indemnification clause in their release form, which states that they are released from all liability for any injuries a child may suffer while under their care. However, this clause is typically considered to be against public policy and it therefore often does not hold up in court.

Parents may bring a personal injury claim against the daycare’s insurance company to recover compensation for their child’s injuries. To prevail, they must be able to prove that the daycare facility was negligent. Negligence is established by showing that:

  • the daycare center had a duty of care to do everything that a prudent daycare center would reasonably do to protect children under its care from harm; however
  • the daycare center breached that duty of care; and
  • the breach was the direct and proximate cause of the child’s injuries; and
  • that breach caused the child to be injured (for which medical evidence must be provided).

Daycare facilities cannot be held liable for unforeseeable events or for injuries sustained due to the negligence of a third party. An example of this would be in the case that a child was injured because of a defective product. The daycare operator will only be liable if it was directly responsible for the child’s injuries, which must be supported by medical bills and records, witness statements, photographs, and other forms of documentation.

Daycare Facility Negligence

When a daycare facility fails to uphold its duty of care, children may be seriously injured as a result. Daycare facilities may be held accountable for various forms of negligence, including:

  • Not having the proper caregiver to child ratio
  • Failing to uphold safety standards
  • Hiring inappropriate personnel/failing to perform background checks
  • Not training employees adequately
  • Neglecting to provide children with basic necessities such as food, water, and medication
  • Lack of supervision/unsupervised bathroom facilities

Damages for Injuries Sustained at Daycare

To prevail in a daycare injury case, it must be shown that the child suffered some form of injury. It is therefore important for parents to obtain copies of all medical bills for treatments relating to the injury and keep track of all out-of-pocket expenses, as they may be compensable. Daycare injury claims involving multiple parties can become especially complicated, therefore it is advisable that parents speak with an attorney before signing any settlement agreements to make sure that their child’s rights are protected.

Columbia Daycare Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Hold Daycare Centers Liable for Their Negligence

If your child was injured while under the care of a daycare operator, contact a Columbia daycare injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Our experienced legal team can help ensure that your child’s rights are protected and that you get the maximum financial compensation available. We represent clients throughout South Carolina from our six offices located conveniently throughout the state. For a free consultation, please contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 today.

We are proud to serve individuals and families 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.

Daylight Saving Time Brings More Traffic Wrecks

Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyers discuss the rise in drowsy driving accidents during daylight saving time change. Some people enjoy Daylight Saving Time for the extra daylight they are afforded; others miss the extra hour of sleep they will lose to the time change. No matter the opinion, the time change that moves the clock an hour ahead for the spring will occur on March 10. Unfortunately, a result of Daylight Saving Time is an increased number of traffic wrecks, many of which result in serious injuries.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration collected over 20 years of data to document the increase in fatal car accidents that occurs in the days following the start of Daylight Saving Time. Officials who monitored the study did not anticipate any startling results from gathering the data but were surprised when a rise showed up in their report. They examined the days surrounding the time changes which include the Saturday before, the Sunday following the shift, and the Monday afterward.

An average of nearly 84 traffic wrecks occurred on Daylight Saving Monday while a typical Monday showed about 78 crashes. No evidence existed to support an increase in fatal car accidents on the Sunday after the time change. Regarding non-fatal crashes, the increase was about eight percent on the Monday following the time change. It is hard to believe that the loss of one hour could lead to such serious consequences, but it does, and here is why.

Sleep Deprivation Factors into Fatal Crashes

Americans already find it challenging to get enough sleep between handling family and work schedules while balancing taking care of their homes and sneaking in leisure time. The loss of the extra hour may cause sleep deprivation, which leads to drowsy driving. Any slight disruption to drivers’ sleep patterns may adversely affect their driving abilities and their faculties in general in the days following the time change when they are still adjusting to it. Another factor contributing to the rise in fatal auto wrecks may be attributed to the anticipation individuals experience when the “spring forward” portion of Daylight Saving Time is coming up. Lack of sleep puts excessive mental and physical stress on an individual as well.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Compensation for Those Injured in Drowsy Driving Wrecks

If you or your loved one was seriously injured in a car accident because of a driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will support your claim with skill and compassion. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We provide representation to clients throughout South Carolina and 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 in 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.

 

Stress Levels Increase with Lack of Support at Work

Columbia, SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss the lack in workplace support leading to an increase in mental stress. Keeping employee stress levels low is a good business practice for employers. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Portland State University, an employer’s failure to provide proper support and resources to their employees, especially older workers, leads to higher employee stress levels. High stress levels are associated with an increased risk of workplace injury. When workplace stress contributes to an accident, injured workers often can receive Workers’ Compensation to pay for their medical expenses and lost wages.

Importance of Supportive Work Environments

Research shows workplaces lacking vital support and resources can lead to higher stress levels for employees. One study indicated over 40 percent of workers frequently experience high stress levels at their jobs.

To create a workplace where all workers can thrive, employers are encouraged to provide workers with:

  • Flexibility in task completion according to an individual’s worker’s strengths and expertise
  • Job autonomy
  • Supportive superiors
  • Relationship building opportunities
  • Procedural fairness
  • Transparency in decision-making
  • Realistic deadlines
  • Sustainable work schedules
  • Clear expectations

Failing to provide workers with these types of supports can affect the physical and mental health of employees to the detriment of the entire company. Some of the warning signs an employee may be experiencing higher levels of workplace stress include: fatigue; changes in mood or behavior; aggressive behavior; concentration problems; appetite changes; use of alcohol or drugs; irritability; anxiety; depression; and physical symptoms such as headaches.

High Stress Levels Led to More Work Injuries

When workers are experiencing greater levels of stress, they are at a higher risk for being injured in a workplace accident. Human error is large factor in many job-related accidents. When employees are having sleeping, eating, or focus problems due to high stress levels, they are not at their physical best. Fatigue and inattention are common contributing factors in workplace accidents.

Safety concerns for stressed workers appear in every occupational field. The American Nurses Association has cautioned on-the-job stress impacts more than 80 percent of nurses who may feel rushed and pressured to take shortcuts, thus putting patient safety at risk. These negative impacts of work-related stress increase the likelihood an accident will occur and injuries will be sustained.

Many common stress coping mechanisms also place workers at greater risk for injury should a workplace accident take place. Certain medications or the use of alcohol will slow down the reaction times of workers. Other side effects of many medications prescribed to help with stress include decreased appetite, an inability to focus, and fatigue. Workers who turn to smoking to cope with workplace stress increase their risk for heart disease and other medical complications.

Workplace accidents can result in serious and permanent injuries requiring an employee to incur the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation services, prescription drugs and lost wages. Ongoing workplace stress can lead to the development of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease which can become a lifelong medical condition. Temporary and permanent disabilities resulting from workplace injuries can financially devastate workers and their families for years to come. Individuals injured at work may be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation to help defray some of these costs.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Assist Families of Injured Workers

At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers assist injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina in obtaining compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Columbia work injury lawyer today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or submit an online inquiry form.

From our six office locations we proudly serve clients across the state, including those 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 areas 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.

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers advocate for eye wellness month with the hopes of reducing workplace eye injuries.March has been designated as “Workplace Eye Wellness Month” by the advocacy group Prevent Blindness in an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the importance of eye injury prevention at the workplace. Over one million Americans have lost total or partial vision due to a workplace eye injury.

Direct Contact Injuries

Over 2,000 workers suffer an injury to the eye each day. The majority of these injuries result from flying objects, tools, or debris coming into direct contact with the eye. Other workers face the risk of infection due to exposure to illness through the eye. The use of work screens, safety googles, machine barriers, full frontal respirators, welding helmets, and face shields could minimize these risks. Eye health advocates suggest that over 90 percent of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by the use of proper eye protection.

Dangers of Blue Light

Blue light, with its shorter wavelengths and increased energy amounts, can be especially dangerous to workers. Excessive exposure to blue light on a daily basis can result in increased eyestrain, difficulty focusing the eyes, sore or irritated eyes, and damage to the retina. When these symptoms worsen, serious vision problems such as macular degeneration or cataracts can develop.

Some of the most common sources of blue light include:

  • Sunlight
  • Television screens
  • Computer monitors
  • Smart phones
  • Tablets (including Kindle, Ipads, and other electronic readers)

Individuals can spend over eight hours a day in front of blue light screens as part of their normal work day. Studies show almost 90 percent of workers use digital devices longer than two hours each day. More than half of survey respondents use two digital devices at the same time, doubling their exposure to blue light. Medical research continues to indicate such large amounts of screen time may be causing serious eye problems in many individuals.

Promoting Eye Health in the Workplace

Employers are encouraged to promote eye health at the workplace throughout March. By providing protective eye equipment and covers for digital devices integrated with blue light technology, employers can reduce a worker’s exposure to its dangers.

Workers are encouraged to schedule routine visits with an eye care professional as part of their overall health maintenance. With the use of eye hazard assessment, employers and employees together can safely monitor blue light exposure. Employee training through the Prevent Blindness Work Safety module can provide important information on eye health and symptoms of eye disorders.

Lasting Effects of Eye Injuries

Injuries to the eye can lead to temporary or permanent disability. Workers living with the aftermath of an eye injury can face significant expenses including the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and lost wages due to an inability to work. When an eye injury is caused by direct contact with flying objects or blue light exposure at the workplace, injured workers may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Workers with Eye Injuries

Eye injuries resulting from workplace accidents can result in significant financial burdens for injured workers and their families. At Chappell Smith & Arden P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers are dedicated to helping injured workers throughout South Carolina obtain the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries. To arrange a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or submit an online inquiry form.

From our six office locations we represent workers across the state, including those 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 areas 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.

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