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South Carolina Personal Injury Legal Blog

External airbags could reduce injuries during auto accidents

External airbags to lessen the severity of auto accidents in South Carolina and around the country have been a topic of discussion. In fact, recent data compiled by ZF has revealed these innovative external airbags have the potential to reduce vehicle occupant injuries by as much as 40 percent.

A number that significant could be a great indicator of the need to add these external airbags to every vehicle once all research and final details have been worked out. Currently, this new technology is designed to work by deploying on the side of the car seconds before a motor vehicle accident occurs and absorbing a great deal of the impact. Essentially, the airbag looks and functions like a giant pillow.

Business owners may be liable for injuries on their premises

Winter conditions such as ice and snow can lead to more slip and fall accidents. Pedestrians who are injured when they fall on icy pathways or sidewalks outside of a south Carolina business might have claims for damages based on a theory of premises liability. When a person is injured while on the property of another, the owner or possessor of the property may be held legally responsible.

Generally speaking, premises liability law does not require the owner of a property to remove snow or ice outside that has accumulated due to weather. If the property owner decides to remove snow or ice, he or she must not remove it negligently. Slip and fall accidents also often occur due to poor or inadequate lighting outdoors. People might trip over curbs, fall down stairs or trip due to uneven surfaces, holes or cracks. Owners might be held liable if they knew or should have known of a dangerous condition and yet failed to fix it.

The perils of driving at night

The roads in South Carolina are more dangerous at night for several reasons. Darkness reduces visibility and the glare from oncoming headlights can temporarily blind motorists. However, fatigue and impairment are the primary nighttime dangers, according to road safety experts. After analyzing federal traffic accident data gathered over many years, National Safety Council researchers concluded that the chances of being involved in a crash increase threefold after dark.

Roads are generally quieter at night, which experts say encourages motorists to drive more quickly even though headlights only illuminate about 250 feet of the roadway ahead. A motor vehicle traveling at 40 mph covers this distance in just a few seconds. The problem is even more acute for older drivers who may need twice as much light to see clearly when driving at night.

OSHA steps up enforcement of trenching safety violations

Construction workers in South Carolina face an array of risks on the job. All kinds of construction work can be dangerous when dealing with large, heavy equipment and incomplete structures. In particular, trenching and excavation jobs can be dangerous, and these types of projects have involved a growing number of worker fatalities. Between 2011 and 2016, 130 workers were killed on the job while participating in trenching and excavation projects. Of these, 49 percent were killed between 2015 and 2016.

Eighty percent of these workplace fatalities occurred in the private construction industry, and they took place at different types of job sites. Forty workers died at industrial premises, 39 at private homes and 21 more on roads or highways. In response, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, launched a National Emphasis Program focusing on trenching and excavation projects. OSHA has imposed penalties on companies for workplace safety violations; in one case, a fine of over $400,000 was levied on one firm for trench cave-ins and other safety issues. Another company was fined $250,000 for failing to use cave-in protections while employees worked in trenches.

Some teen drivers are a hazard on the road

South Carolina, like most states, has a graduated driving program, meaning teens who want a license must follow steps to build their driving skills before receiving the full privileges of being a licensed driver. As states began adopting these graduated programs, accidents involving teens dropped as much as 47 percent.

Nevertheless, over 4,000 teens are involved in fatal car accidents in an average year, and most of those accidents are the result of driver distraction. While parents may try to impress caution on their new drivers, you and your family may be the ones who pay the price for a teen's recklessness behind the wheel.

NSC reports high rate of fatigue in safety-critical industries

Residents of South Carolina may be able to recognize times when they are fatigued during work, but some are unaware of the dangers of work-related fatigue. A survey from the National Safety Council has turned up some intriguing statistics on this matter. Approximately 69 percent of all employees feel tired at work, and those most at risk are shift workers in the manufacturing, utilities, construction and transportation industries.

Most are aware of what may be causing their fatigue; for example, all construction workers reported that they experienced at least one risk factor for fatigue, the most common being long shifts and sleep loss. Reportedly, 97 percent of employees in transportation knew the impact of fatigue: the highest percentage in any safety-critical industry.

Preventing falls while out and about

There are many common hazards that can lead to falls. For instance, someone could slip on an icy sidewalk or slick floor. An individual might also fall due to a bunched-up carpet or because a cord is sticking out. However, there are ways that South Carolina residents can avoid slipping, tripping or falling at home, the store or work.

It is important that those who are moving around keep an eye on their surroundings. By looking at a smartphone, reviewing a document or otherwise not keeping their head up, an individual increases their risk of slipping or tripping on something. This is because they might not see a wet floor sign or other debris in their path.

CVSA's roadcheck detects frequent HOS, brake violations

Truck, bus and other commercial vehicle drivers in South Carolina may remember the International Roadcheck that occurred in June. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds this three-day inspection spree once a year across North America in the effort to ensure driver and vehicle compliance with federal safety standards.

This year, personnel were able to conduct 67,502 roadside inspections, which is more than last year. One good thing is that despite the higher number of inspections, there were fewer out-of-service orders issued. Still, the numbers and the unsafe trends revealed in the data are alarming.

Electronic records and drug labeling lead to medication errors

The electronic medical records used by healthcare workers in South Carolina could contribute to errors. Practitioners might enter medication orders on records for the wrong patients. Drug labels and packaging may contribute to mistakes as well because caregivers might mistake information on labels for dosage amounts.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices studied misplaced medication orders by analyzing electronic medical records to find medication orders that were entered, retracted and submitted again on other patients' records. This measurement provided an indication of how frequently this happens. At one large hospital system, these retractions and reorders happened 14 times a day. After applying this finding, researchers estimated that 1 in 37 hospital patients could have wrong-patient medication orders on their electronic records. Wrong-patient information often results when nurses, pharmacists and other personnel have more than one electronic record open on their computers. Interruptions also contributed to errors.

How can you protect a loved one from nursing home abuse?

The decision to put an elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home is likely one of the more challenging choices in any South Carolina resident's life. You have to put all your trust in people of whom you know nothing. A walk-through when you tour the facility might not give you an insight into the reality of the day-to-day treatment and care provided to residents.

Sadly, thousands of South Carolina seniors who are older than 60 years suffer abuse in assisted living facilities and nursing homes each year. The fact that the media publishes frequent reports of both physical and financial abuse that take place in these facilities will do nothing to ease your mind.

  • South Carolina Association for Justice
  • Martindale-Hubbell | AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level | of Professional Excellence | 2016 | Jeffrey Christopher Chandler
  • Injured | Workers' | Advocates | Since 1983
  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • SCWCEA | South Carolina Workers' Compensation Educational Association
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