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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Personal Injury Blog

Anti-fatigue statutes to be relaxed by Trump administration

Lobbyists for the trucking industry have been attempting to bring about a loosening of federal restrictions on truck drivers for years. The Trump administration appears to have listened to them, and regulations are likely to be relaxed. The guidelines that limit the amount of time truck drivers can be on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the country may get less strict in the near future. The rules that are currently in place require semi-truck drivers to have 10 hours in a row off duty between 14-hour on-duty windows.

Drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 hours driving during each on-duty period. Truck drivers who are scheduled to be driving for more than 8 hours at a time must take a break of at least 30 minutes before they hit 8 hours. Drivers who violate the rules may be prohibited from driving for a full day. Most drivers are paid by the mile, so being kept off the road means not earning money.

How incomplete medical records lead to misdiagnosis

Medical records are a vital tool in managing your health and helping the healthcare professionals you work with make accurate diagnoses. They let doctors know what medications you are taking, past problems and procedures, and vital data that can help them determine the right course of treatment.

So, what happens when these records are not complete? For some, it can lead to dangerous consequences. Such cases have resulted in tragic stories, including the missed diagnosis of a brain aneurysm and the permanent brain damage of a small child.

DUI fatality rate hits peak on the Fourth of July

Fourth of July celebrations lead to many cases of drunk driving in Pennsylvania. Independence Day is, in fact, the worst holiday for drunk driving fatalities according to data from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The DUI fatality rate comes to 42.4 people per day while the second deadliest holiday, Memorial Day, has a rate of 39.5. The winter holidays have lower rates with Thanksgiving at 27.9 and Christmas at 27.7.

Between 2010 and 2017, there were 1,192 DUI-related deaths on the Fourth of July. Memorial Day saw 1,102 deaths during that same period. The Fourth of July was also more dangerous on the weekdays with a DUI fatality rate of 43.4. If the holiday fell on the weekend, that rate went down to 36.3. Wednesday was the single riskiest day with a fatality rate of 52.

IIHS: many drivers do not know limitations of ADAS

While it is true that advanced driver assistance systems can help prevent accidents, they cannot do so unless the driver is fully engaged in driving. Unfortunately, many seem to think that ADAS make a car virtually self-driving when this is not the case. This misunderstanding, which can be seen in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., was the subject of a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As part of the study, more than 2,000 drivers were given the names of five different ADAS (without the names of the developers) and asked what they would consider safe behavior while driving with them. One of those systems was Tesla's Autopilot. Perhaps because of the misleading name, nearly half believed they could drive without touching the steering wheel if Autopilot were engaged.

Clavicle fractures in newborns: causes and treatments

During the delivery process, infants may suffer an injury to their clavicle, or collarbone. Clavicle fractures are among the most common birth injuries, so parents in Pennsylvania will want to know how it occurs and how it can be treated.

There are various factors that can increase the risk for clavicle fractures, such as a large baby and a narrow birth canal. The baby may naturally get a shoulder stuck during delivery, or the use of forceps and other birth-assisting tools may inadvertently cause the fracture. The resulting pain in the clavicle will lead the infant to cry or become fussy whenever the affected arm is moved. There will also be limited movement in that arm. The affected shoulder may droop slightly. While the bone will usually heal without the need for treatment, it may develop a lump that can be felt when touching the shoulder.

How to stay safe around commercial vehicles

Commercial trucks and passenger vehicles routinely share the road in Pennsylvania and most other states. While truck drivers must remember to drive in a safe manner, they say that passenger drivers need to do the same. A contest was held by Teletrac Navman to solicit safety tips from truck drivers that could help passenger vehicle drivers. One of those tips was to make lane changes in a timely manner.

Doing so means spending less time in a large truck's blind spot, which can reduce the chances of an accident. Passenger vehicle drivers are also encouraged to refrain from driving into gaps between two commercial vehicles. The larger vehicles are giving each other space in the event that one has to brake suddenly or otherwise take evasive action. Finally, those who drive a passenger vehicle should watch their speed and be on the lookout for changing conditions.

Five reasons why truck accident cases are so complex

In Pennsylvania, as anywhere else, it is usually harder to prepare a truck accident case than a car accident case, and there are five good reasons for this. First, any case becomes complex the more severe the injuries are. Trucks, being heavier and having a longer stopping distance, crash more forcefully into other vehicles, causing catastrophic injuries and even death.

Second, victims tend to meet with stronger opposition. Trucking companies and their insurance providers can work hard together to deny payment or force a low-ball settlement on victims. Third, there is often a question of whether the trucking company is to blame in the first place; many truckers are, after all, owner-operators. If a truck's cargo is linked to the accident, the company that loaded it may be liable, too.

Report calls on DOT to address truck underride accidents

A federal government report has called the Department of Transportation (DOT) to do more to research and prevent truck underride accidents. This report comes out shortly after lawmakers introduced a piece of legislation to require truck manufacturers to include rear, side and front guards to their vehicles. The legislation, titled Stop Underrides Act, is currently under consideration.

Negligence is the basis for most car accident lawsuits

Pennsylvania residents who pursue civil remedies after being injured in a car accident normally base their lawsuits on negligence. Negligence is a tort motorists commit when they fail to take reasonable care and another person is harmed as a direct consequence of their actions. This means that car accident victims hoping to prevail in court must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care that went unmet. They must then convince a jury that their injuries would not have been suffered had this not happened.

All drivers are required to do everything that they reasonably can to avoid crashing, so the defendants in car accident lawsuits rarely argue that they did not have a duty of care. Matters tend to become more contentious when the issue of whether or not this duty was met is addressed. Motorists who are involved in traffic accidents may not be held responsible if a well-maintained car had some sort of catastrophic malfunction or they steered sharply to avoid striking a child who ran into the roadway unexpectedly.

Top 14 cars with high deadly crash rates

Each year, there are thousands of fatal car accidents in Pennsylvania and across the United States. In fact, there were 34,247 deadly crashes that resulted in 37,133 deaths nationwide in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In order to protect themselves and their families on the road, many car buyers are shopping for new vehicles that have more safety features. However, statistics show that not all new vehicles perform well during accidents.

Car-search website analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It found that 14 subcompact cars and sports coupes made between 2013 and 2017 had fatality rates that were at least twice the national average of 2.6 deaths per billion miles driven.

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