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Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Motorcycle accident victims can seek compensation

Whether one buys into the groundhog's prediction about an early or late spring, by this point in the year, residents of Pennsylvania are anxiously looking forward to warmer temperatures. They want to grill, go to ballgames, picnic in the park and for some adventurous residents, dust-off their motorcycles and hit the road.

Unfortunately, no matter how safe and experienced a motorcyclist is, motorcycling can be dangerous. This is because other drivers on the road often do not pay attention to motorcycles in their vicinity, causing devastating accidents that injure or kill the motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents are often fatal as a motorcycle does not offer riders the structural protection automobiles possess and automobiles weigh significantly more than motorcycles. And, even if a person survives a motorcycle accident, they often face a difficult road to recovery.

Even a BAC under 0.08 percent can lead to drunk driving accidents

Pennsylvania residents may be shocked to hear that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each day, nearly 30 people nationwide will lose their lives in an alcohol-related accident. This amounts to one drunk driving death every 53 minutes. While deaths due to drunk driving have been going down over the previous 30 years, people still have a one in three chance of being involved.

The effects of alcohol can reduce a person's ability to drive, even if they are under the legal limit of 0.08 percent. For example, a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent can affect a driver's visual functions and the driver's ability to undertake two tasks simultaneously. A BAC of 0.05 percent can reduce a driver's coordination, ability to follow moving objects, ability to steer and ability to respond to an emergency on the road.

PennDOT must pay over $5 million for brain injury

Unsafe public roads can lead to serious and long-term injuries. In fact, a Delaware County jury recently awarded more than $4 million to a 63-year-old man who suffered a severe brain injury while riding his bicycle on a hazardous state road in Springfield. The jury found that PennDOT's negligent care of this road caused the victim to hit his head and suffer this injury.

The victims' attorney said that the accident occurred when the victim, an experience cyclist, was riding his bicycle toward Springfield Mall in May 2012. He had to contend with a 3-foot bump going across the roadway near a section of Sproul Road at a bridge over trolley tracks. It made him flip over the handlebars and hit his head and shoulder.

Congress seeking medical malpractice lawsuit restrictions

A medical malpractice lawsuit is the patient's remedy for physician errors and surgical accidents. However, pending legislation in Congress could impede a patient's ability to obtain compensation from a physician or hospital in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.

The House passed, in party line votes earlier this month, two bills intended to limit these lawsuits. The Innocent Party Protection Act would transfer some lawsuits from states courts, that are viewed as being more sympathetic to plaintiffs, to federal courts.

6 key points to know about bedsores

Nursing home residents often have medical conditions that make it difficult to move about like they once did. For those individuals, the lack of mobility can lead to problems. In some cases, nursing home residents might suffer from bedsores. Understanding some basic points about bedsores can help people who have a loved one in a nursing home know how to handle these issues.

Will self-driving trucks lead to a reduction of truck accidents?

Self-driving vehicles may seem like something out of a sci-fi novel or movie, but as Pennsylvania residents may know, they are being developed for eventual use by a number of up-and-coming ventures. One of these companies, Embark -- a self-driving truck startup -- has officially revealed its highway autopilot system that it believes will be the "brain" of self-driving trucks.

By utilizing technology, such as cameras, radar systems and sensors, Embark's technology senses the vehicle's surroundings to prevent accidents. According to Embark's chief executive officer, Embark's technology is programmed to allow the vehicles to safely travel in most driving conditions. Moreover, when the unexpected occurs, the technology takes that new information and applies it moving forward.

Study examines why brain injury may lead to vision loss

Pennsylvania residents may already know that head injuries, including injuries to the brain, can be incredibly serious, especially when they result in additional complications. One significant complication that can follow a brain injury is the permanent loss of one's sight. However, one study has shed light on why a brain injury sometimes causes a person to lose his or her sight.

According to the study, uncontrolled inflammation caused by white blood cells was behind the loss of sight following a brain injury. White blood cells are sent to the optic nerve by a certain protein receptor when the damaged nerve tissue produces a binding protein. If the first protein is blocked or deleted, there is less optic nerve damage and the nerve is able to function correctly.

Study indicates soccer could cause brain injury to players

Brain damage suffered while playing a sport is most frequently associated with contact sports like football. Other sports with hard hits and unforgiving surfaces like ice hockey are also linked with traumatic brain injury. One sport that does not often lend itself to perceptions of risk of head injury is soccer. However, a new study is showing former players have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. While football is king in Pennsylvania, those who play soccer also need to be concerned about brain injuries suffered while playing with symptoms arising incrementally.

Soccer has had questions surrounding it about its risk since a former British player died 2002 at age 59 and suffered from dementia. That particular player's prominent skill was "heading" the ball and he received a CTE diagnosis after he died. CTE can only be determined postmortem. The foundation in the player's name says that the number of former professional soccer players who have a brain issue has risen to more than 250. Prior to the publication of the study, four players were publicly known as having CTE. After the study, it was found that 12 of 14 players studied had dementia.

The importance of legal help after a motorcycle accident

Motorcyclists in Pennsylvania and across the country will say how much they enjoy being out on the open road on their bikes. Although it is known to be a somewhat risky activity, the majority of other drivers will pay strict attention to motorcyclists who are sharing the road. On the same token, the bikers will generally follow the rules of the road, make certain they are visible and predictable, and take as many precautions as they can to remain safe. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate the reality that a motorcycle accident can happen at any time for a variety of reasons.

Given their vulnerability, it is not unusual for bikers to have broken bones, a spinal cord injury, a head injury and even injuries serious enough that they lead to a fatality. When there is a motorcycle accident, those who were affected need to know their rights to consider a legal filing for compensation. With any injury, there is the potential for a long stay in the hospital, extensive treatment including surgery, and long-term damage. With a motorcycle crash, this is exacerbated. A biker who is injured in an accident could face a long road back to relative normalcy. Depending the extent of the injuries, even that might not be possible.

Doctor rudeness might be linked to medical errors

Pennsylvanians who believe they or a loved one have been a victim of a doctor error can be affected in a variety of ways. The illness, condition or injury they sought medical care for might grow worse. It is possible that the person could die because of the mistake. Whether it is a wrong diagnosis, a surgery error, a mistake with medication or any other misstep by a medical professional, research is ongoing to determine signs that might point to how and why it occurs. One study suggests that surgeons who have had complaints from patients in the past because of a personality conflict or attitude were found to make errors when performing surgery.

In the study, reports from patients of doctors behaving in an unprofessional manner were compared with surgical outcomes in several U.S. health systems. The researchers found that patients who received treatment by surgeons who accrued the highest number of complaints had a complication rate 14 percent higher in the month after the procedure than those who received treatment by surgeons who were seen to be more respectful. Among the issues that arose were infections where the surgery was performed, problems with the kidneys, heart issues, stroke, sepsis, pneumonia, blood clots, and infections in the urinary tract.

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