Posts made in January 2014

Woman sues fast-food chain after slip-and-fall accident

People want to have a good time when they go out to eat. Sometimes they do have a good time and enjoy a meal they didn’t have to prepare, but on rare occasions, their enjoyment is ruined when they slip and fall on a wet floor and become injured. This recently happened to a woman now suing Chick-Fil-A. Her lawsuit came after she slipped in a puddle and fell on one of their restroom floors and became injured.

The woman is accusing the fast-food chain of negligence by failing to clean its floors and warn customers of the hazard. In her lawsuit, she is also citing premises liability. She is alleging the slip-and-fall accident happened due to incompetent employees who the fast food chain failed to train and supervise. This incident is a good example of how negligent property owners may endanger their customers if they fail to maintain their premises.

Although this accident occurred in Texas, it can easily occur in Boston or other areas of Massachusetts, as well. These slip-and-fall accidents can cause serious injuries that may result in expensive medical bills that you cannot afford to pay. Even if the injuries do not appear severe at the time of the accident, you should still seek medical attention, as those injuries may become more severe with time. You may be forced to cope with unwanted pain and suffering long after the initial accident.

The woman’s lawsuit against the fast-food chain is a good example of what you should do in the event that you become injured in a slip-and-fall accident. Seeking compensation for damages is an important step to take if you are the victim of an accident that happened on the premises of a business. Filing a lawsuit may also help the company become more aware of how to prevent another accident from occurring and potentially injuring another customer.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “Chick-Fil-A sued after woman falls,” Whitney Brakken, Jan. 22, 2014

Lawmakers in another state focus on nursing home negligence

Lawmakers are now beginning to focus on care facilities for the elderly. Throughout the years there have been numerous reports about nursing home abuse and deadly conditions at elderly care facilities.

The current focus is on California, where changes have not been made to statutes regarding residential care since 1985. Lawmakers now want to start providing better protection for elderly citizens within the state. Lawmakers focusing their attention on the abuse occurring in elder care facilities is a good sign, and may encourage other states such as Massachusetts to follow suit.

The elderly may not be vocal, and when vocal, are often ignored. Family members have made claims of finding their loved ones suffering from bedsores or other serious injuries like broken bones, bone fractures or head injuries. Events have been cited of nursing home staff refusing to give their loved ones medical attention. Lawmakers’ current efforts are in an attempt to prevent this elder abuse from happening again.

It is necessary to trust elder care facilities, but with all of the reports on the amount of elder abuse that occurs, it is difficult to do so. Families should not have to worry about their loved ones suffering from a personal injury while they are not there. Nursing home staff needs to attend to any injured residents immediately, but it seems often that does not happen.

Lawmakers fighting for the protection of elderly citizens is a great step forward, but they cannot entirely prevent abuse from occurring. Nursing home staff may still ignore residents who are injured, or physically or emotionally abuse them. Filing a lawsuit against the negligent nursing home is a step toward protecting your elderly loved one. Most often, you are their strongest advocate and voice.

Source: Capitol Weekly, “Lawmakers target care facilities for the elderly,” Samantha Gallegos, Jan. 13, 2014

What ‘peephole driving’ is, and why it’s dangerous

Have you ever heard of “peephole driver?” The term is not as creepy as you may think, but it certainly is scary enough. As Boston residents are well aware, there has been plenty of snow and wintry conditions over the past month or two, causing some very slick road conditions and making it more difficult for drivers to safely navigate around the city. It happens every winter, but it has been particularly bad this year.

As part of this winter ritual, drivers need to bust out there ice scraper and clear off their windshields every once and a while. Some people choose to clean off the entire windshield, giving them a clear view of the road in front of them. But some people choose to chip off a small section to see out of. After all, who wants to stand outside in the cold clearing off snow and ice when it’s just going to happen all over again in a couple of weeks?

These are “peephole drivers” — the guys who are slowly chugging down the road and wavering in their lane a little bit because they don’t have a full perspective of the road. The tiny “peephole” that they see as a convenient act of corner-cutting is the same thing that leaves other drivers and pedestrians terrified.

Peephole drivers could make themselves liable for any accident they cause. Failing to properly clean their windshield and, thus, leaving themselves with a diminished view of the road could be considered negligent in civil court.

Source: Star Tribune, “‘Peephole Drivers’ Ignore Safety and Law When They Don’t Scrape Cars,” Kim Ode, Jan. 5, 2014

Autonomous cars could soon reduce accidents in US

Earlier this week, we wrote a blog post on the devastating car accidents that are caused every day in Boston and the rest of the United States because of distracted driving.

The truth is that most serious and fatal car accidents are the result of driver errors, which is why experts predict that these accidents could be significantly reduced after self-driving automobiles become the norm.

While autonomous cars may seem like part of the distant future, experts predict that many of us will own one in our lifetimes. According to a new report by IHS Automotive, many auto manufacturers already have plans to put their first self-driving cars into production.

The report stated that by 2035, about half of the vehicles on the road will drive on their own. The report predicted that by 2050, almost all vehicles on the road will have the ability to operate autonomously.

Perhaps the best part of the new technology is that car accidents are expected to decline steadily as more and more self-driving vehicles hit the roads. Not only that, air pollution and traffic congestion are also expected to improve.

While many people may be eager to get their hands on a self-driving vehicle as soon as possible, experts caution that the first models will be expensive and will likely require a human “co-pilot” to be on stand-by in case of a technology error.

But IHS’s report predicted that by 2030, self-driving cars will be available that don’t require any human involvement. To imagine that distracted driving could be a non-issue in the near future is quite amazing.

Source: NBC News, “Self-driving cars popular by mid-century: study,” Paul A. Eisenstein, Jan. 6, 2014

Distracted driving a danger for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists

Imagine you are driving down the highway in Boston, Massachusetts, and a car in front of you suddenly starts to drift near the border of the lane. It sharply corrects itself, but then it starts drifting the other way. Again, the vehicle corrects itself. You keep driving and eventually decide to pass this vehicle. As you drive by, you see a distinct white glow illuminating the driver’s face. You instantly know — this guy is texting while driving, and putting everyone around him at risk as a result.

The sad fact is, this isn’t even something you have to imagine. You could drive down any highway right now in any state and find a driver who is blissfully plugging away at their cellphone while driving their car. It’s frustrating and disheartening all at the same time.

Distracted driving is incredibly negligent, and in the state of Massachusetts there are heavy fines associated with the act. However, that still doesn’t deter people from making such a reckless decision when they are behind the wheel. Should they cause an accident, they can (and should) be held liable for their irresponsible behavior in civil court.

However, for as dangerous as distracted driving is for people in other cars, it is even more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. They are completely vulnerable out there, and a clueless driver that’s typing “LOL” to his or her friend will have little chance to see a biker or pedestrian, let alone stop in time. According to a recent study, bike and pedestrian fatalities attributed to a distracted driver has increased 50 percent from 2005 to 2010.

Source: Medical Daily, “Distracted Drivers Cause Pedestrian Deaths To Rise 50% From Texting, Talking On Phone, Or Eating At The Wheel,” Lecia Bushak, Nov. 30, 2013

Child high chair study produces alarming results

A revealing new study was recently published regarding the safety of children in high chair seats. These products have always been somewhat controversial, simply because the product inherently places a baby in an elevated (and thus dangerous) position. However, most manufacturers of high chairs do everything they can to make sure their products are safe.

Or do they? The new study found from 2003 to 2010, high chair accidents jumped 22 percent. In addition, roughly 9,500 kids suffer injuries because of a high chair fall annually, meaning that about once an hour, a kid is falling out of a high chair. We’re mostly talking about kids under the age of one here, and because young kids have a higher center of gravity, the falls they suffer from a high chair mean there’s a very good chance the injuries will be to the head. According to one of the author’s of the study, roughly 85 percent of the injuries are to the head or face.

This is a very serious problem. Falls from high chairs can cause severe head trauma to a young kid who is likely falling on a hard kitchen floor — not a pillowed or carpeted surface, though even then risks would remain.

So what is going on? It seems as though most of these falls are happening when the child stands up in the chair or is climbing around in the chair. Either the product isn’t working the way it should (or it is poorly made) or the parents are not properly using it.

It’s most likely a combination of the factors, as opposed to one being the culprit. With that in mind, it is imperative for parents to know their high chair inside and out. Read the instructions and properly secure your child in these products. If you are following everything properly and disaster still strikes, then the manufacturer of the high chair could be held liable.

Source: HealthDay, “Rise in U.S. High Chair Injuries Stuns Experts,” Alan Mozes, Dec. 9, 2013