Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Longer Nights can Cause More Collisions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the number of night time accidents increased1 by 7% between the years of 2014-2015. In addition, the NHSTA estimates that 100,000 fatigue-related accidents happen on a yearly basis, with driver negligence being one of the leading causes for accidents in the U.S. In addition, approximately 71,000 of these accidents result in injuries. These numbers are likely to increase as the population continues to grow and more drivers get on the road.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue can occur for a number of reasons. People may work long hours that force them to travel home at odd hours in the early morning. Truck drivers who stay active and alert during the day may force themselves to stay awake and fall asleep at the wheel. Socialites who attend late night parties may try to drive home while intoxicated and lose control of the wheel. The list goes on and on.

Fatigued drivers do not have the same sense of alertness as normal drivers on the road. Their response time is delayed. Their eyes are droopy. Their bodies are spending too much energy trying to stay awake and forgetting about what is on the road in front of them. Their vehicles essentially become large metal death machines that can cause injury at any moment.

Types of Accidents Resulting from Driver Fatigue

Not surprisingly, many accidents relating to driver fatigue involve a single car. This is because fatigued-drivers tend to fall asleep or fail to notice something on the road such as a guardrail or obstruction. As a result, many drivers may run their own cars off the road or collide with other objects that are not cars.

However, driving while fatigued or drowsy can lead to serious multi-car pileups too. A driver may fail to stop in traffic or drive right through an intersection without even noticing a red light or stop sign. Poor weather can play a significant role as well. A driver who is drowsy may suddenly swerve to avoid a car or other obstruction and subsequently slip on an icy or slippery road.

People Injured by Fatigued Drivers Can Often Recover for Their Losses

Fortunately for people who are injured by drowsy drivers, Florida law2 generally entitles victims of these kinds of accidents to compensation for their losses. In a Florida personal injury claim, victims can recover for both economic and non-economic losses, including the following:

Medical bills
Lost income
Property damage
Loss of quality of life
Physical and emotional pain and suffering

The exact amount of money you recover will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of their injuries, the amount of property damage, whether they were partially at fault, and their income. When you meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case, he or she will be able to give you an idea of how much you will be able to recover.

Auto Accident Attorneys Can Help the Victims of Fatigued Drivers

If you have been involved in an auto accident, whether you believe caused the accident or not, you should consult with an attorney. An experienced accident attorney is equipped to investigate and evaluate all circumstances surrounding the incident. Most importantly, a seasoned auto accident lawyer will be able to assess fault and determine what methods of relief may be available for injured victims.

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney Today

At Dolman Law Group, our Florida attorneys have handled a number of auto accident cases and know how to deal with insurance companies and adjusters. Give us a call today at 727-451-6900 to discuss your claim today. We represent clients all throughout Florida and have offices in New Port Richey, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Anesthesia Error Medical Malpractice

For the most part, doctors work hard to uphold the Hippocratic Oath to take care of their patients. Unfortunately, they do make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes result in serious consequences for unfortunate patients, creating lasting damages for them and their families. When the consequences are a result of negligence, the outcome is medical malpractice. The patient then has to decide whether or not they will file a medical malpractice suit to get compensation for the damages they suffered. It is estimated that anesthesia is administered over 40 million times per year.
Unfortunately, anesthesia errors are one of the most common forms of medical negligence in the United States.
One of the most critical—and necessary—parts of any surgical procedure is anesthesia. General anesthesia induces a patient into an unconscious-state, allowing them to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with surgery. There are also more localized types of anesthesia.
Those who administer the anesthetic medication—deemed anesthesiologists—have an extremely important job, for which they study hard and are well compensated. Administering the drug is a complicated situation of checks and balances, assessing each patient’s weight, overall health, and the type of procedure the patient will undergo. Because there are so many factors involved in administering anesthesia, it is not uncommon for mistakes to happen. When that mistake causes a patient unnecessary harm, the patient or their family may have a medical malpractice claim.
Types of anesthesia include:
Local anesthetic is used to numb specific body parts or areas. This is done through an injection directly in the spot that needs numbing. The most common examples of local anesthetic are into the gums for a dental procedure or into the skin to have a mole removed.
The most common type is general anesthesia. This is the type of anesthesia that renders a patient unconscious. The medication is either inhaled (through a breathing mask) or administered intravenously. Often, a breathing tube is necessary to maintain proper breathing during surgery. When the surgery is over, the medication is discontinued (and sometimes medications to reverse the process are administered) and the patient is monitored as they come back around .
Spinal anesthetics are used to numb the area below the waist for surgery. For example the pelvic, rectal, or lower extremity region. This type of anesthesia involves injecting anesthetic medication into the area around the spinal cord. The injection then causes numbness in the lower body. This type of anesthesia is most often used in orthopedic procedures.
An epidural anesthetic is similar to a spinal anesthetic, except the medication is delivered continuously, rather than in a onetime injection. This type is most commonly used to numb the region for childbirth. Epidural anesthetics may also be used for other types of surgery, like chest or abdominal procedures.
Regional anesthesia is similar to local anesthesia, except that its goal is to numb a larger areas of the body, such as an entire leg.
Another form of anesthesia that does not completely render the patient unconscious is dissociative anesthesia. This medication has minimal effect on respiratory function and leaves the patient with other forms of movement like swallowing and opening their eyes. However, cognitive function is extremely limited, blocking the patient from processing information. This form of anesthesia is used for brief, superficial procedures or diagnostic processes.
Anesthesia Errors
Because of the nature of anesthesia, there are plenty of complications that can arise. It is a powerful drug that walks a thin line between leaving a patient too awake—and thus feeling pain from the surgery—and too incapacitated—thus making questionable if and how the patient will wake up again. Some common errors in anesthetic medicine are:
-Administering too little of an anesthetic drug, called Anesthetic Awareness
-Administering too much of one the anesthetic drugs, called Anesthetic Overdose
-Injecting anesthesia at the wrong rate, through IV or breathing mask
-Anesthetic equipment malfunction or failure
-Delayed delivery of anesthesia
-Delivering an incorrect anesthesia drug
-Administering incompatible drugs, either anesthetic with anesthetic or with prescription drugs
-Giving anesthesia to a patients with allergies to certain administered medications
-Failure to properly monitor the patient
-Injecting an anesthetic drug too quickly
-Improper reversal of anesthetic state

Complications from Anesthesia

The list of potential anesthetic complications is long and complicated. That’s because there is so much room for error, as discussed earlier. When a doctor is in charge of making a patient unconscious, making a patient lose muscle reflexes, and creating amnesia, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Combine this with the fact that most anesthetics cause patients to lose the ability to breathe on their own (requiring ventilation) and a dangerous combination arises. Some of the potential complications are not serious enough to justify medical malpractice; some very much are. Some of the most common anesthetic complications are:
-Nausea and vomiting (up to 30% of patients)
-Tooth damage due to the placing of the breathing tube during the operation (1 in 4,500 cases)
-Damage to the larynx
-Serious allergic reaction to anesthetic drug(s) (0.2% of patients)
-Respiratory difficulties/respiratory depression
-Cardiovascular collapse
-Brain damage from lack of oxygen
-Blood clots/ Embolism
-Nerve injury (0.4% in general anesthesia)
-Heart attack
Some of the more serious and traumatic complications that can arise because of improper or negligent administering of anesthetic drugs are:
-Anesthesia awareness,
-Stroke, and
Anesthesia awareness is when a person regains consciousness during a surgery while the drug keeping the patient from moving or talking is still working. This means the patient can feel what is happening to them but has no way to tell anyone or stop the pain. It is extremely rare, but when a patient is awake for a portion of their surgery, the results can be dramatic.

Stroke can occur while patient is under anesthesia or up to 10 days after the surgery. Sometimes strokes are minor, other times they lead to lasting brain damage. It is possible for a patient (mostly those with risk factors) to die from a stroke due to a combination of anesthetic drugs and after-effects of surgery.
Because of the extreme nature of rendering a person paralyzed, unconscious, and unable to feel pain, there are definite risk factors for death. The most common causes of death from anesthetics are circulatory failure in combination with an overdose of secondary anesthetic drugs; problems with breathing and oxygenation of blood from human or mechanical error; allergic reactions including malignant hypothermia; and general human negligence such as lack of watchfulness or errors in the administration of the drugs or mechanical equipment.
When is a Hospital Liable in a Lawsuit?
In most cases, the anesthesiologist will have been employed by the hospital. In these cases, the hospital will automatically be liable for any negligence committed by its employee. This is called vicarious liability.
It is possible for the anesthesiologist to be an independent contractor, in which case the hospital may not be liable (but the independent anesthesiologist will be). However, the hospital may be held liable for the independent contractor if they were negligent in hiring and supervising them.
The hospital may also be liable if the negligence occurred due to anesthesia equipment failure. In this case, the hospital may be independently negligent for failing to maintain and repair its equipment.

How does one prove anesthetic medical negligence?

The main cause of medical malpractice always comes down to medical negligence.
In order to be found negligent, a doctor must perform an act or omission (failure to act) that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care. Basically, they must do something wrong (accidental or purposeful) or fail to act when they should have.
In medical malpractice cases, courts define medical negligence as a healthcare provider’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill of the average health care provider.
In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney will produce an expert medical witness (the plaintiff must prove malpractice) to testify that the defendant doctor did not act in a way that any reasonable doctor would have. The attorney and witness will analyze factors like pre-surgical risk for anesthesia, the surgeon’s and anesthesiologist’s operative notes, and what happened during the surgery. The known complication rate of the certain type of anesthesia used during the surgery is also a major factor.
Columbia University Study

In the early 2000's, the University of Columbia researched the epidemiology of deaths from anesthesia. Previously, data on the topic was only from individual hospitals. The goal of this study was to “examine the epidemiologic patterns of anesthesia-related deaths at the national level.” This is what they found:
-46.6% of anesthesia-related deaths were caused by anesthetics overdose
-42.5% were related to the adverse effects of anesthetics during therapeutic use
-3.6% occurred during childbirth
-7.3% were due to other complications

Dolman Law Group
Dolman Law Group is an experience personal injury frim representing the Clearwater–Tampa–St Pete area, and all of Florida. We specialize in medical malpractice suits with a focus on helping clients to recover and rebuild. If you or someone you love has suffered due to anesthesia error, contact us for a free consultation. One of our skilled malpractice attorneys will perform a free case evaluation to see to it that you get the justice you deserve. Call today at (727) 451-6900 or contact us here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How Safe is a Motorcycle?

There are over 558,000 registered motorcycles in Florida.1 People choose a motorcycle over other forms of vehicles because of the low initial cost of a motorcycle, its popular use as a recreational vehicle, and in some cases, for its fuel efficiency.
Even though having a motorcycle seems to have its advantages, it is important to understand that motorcycle fatalities happen very frequently and a motorcycle provides little protection in a crash. An automobile, on the other hand, has more weight than a motorcycle, it has door beams, a roof, and airbags to provide additional protection to the driver and its passengers. The automobile has also other different assistive devices to keep its passengers safe – such as windshield wipers to assist with visibility in the rain and snow. In addition, an automobile has four wheels, instead of two, and it is large and can be easier to see. A motorcycle, on the other hand, lacks all of these characteristics. The motorcycle is smaller, less bulkier, and does not weigh as much as a regular vehicle.
How to Compensate for Motorcycle’s Lower Safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,2 it is recommended that the motorcyclist should attend a motorcycle rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate a motorcycle so they are more careful and aware at intersections where most motorcycle accidents occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also warns that motorcyclists should attend a motorcycle rider training programs to learn how to skillfully and safely operate motorcycles and it warns that motorcycle drivers must place a much greater emphasis on defensive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also highlights that on average, 25 percent of motorcycle drivers killed in traffic crashes are not licensed or are improperly licensed to operate a motorcycle. The administration points out that by not obtaining a proper motorcycle operator license, riders bypass the only method they and state licensing agencies have to ensure that riders have the knowledge and skill needed to safely and skillfully operate a motorcycle. This should be the first line of defense for motorcycle riders to ensure their own and their passenger’s safety.
Buying the Right Motorcycle
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also sets forth some criteria that should be considered when purchasing a motorcycle. For example, the agency recommends that the motorcycle should have certain functional requirements. Motorcycles come with varying degrees of power but people should only buy motorcycles with as much power as they can handle. Large motorcycles tend to be heavy and the rider must be strong enough to push it or pick it up if it falls. Smaller bikes, on the other hand, may not have the speed, performance, and the necessary ride  

if the bike will frequently travel longer distances. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reminds purchasers to consider the bike’s primary uses in order to purchase the most appropriate bike. For example, some bikes are trail bikes and others are highway bikes. Those motorcycles will have individual characteristics that should be used accordingly.
Before Preparing to Ride the Motorcycle
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has other suggestions for a safe operation of a motorcycle. It first warns drivers that the safe operation of a motorcycle “requires different skill and knowledge than is required for a passenger car.” The agency also warns that to ensure the safest rides, riders should first and foremost ride with DOT certified helmets and eye protection. Next, the bike’s owner’s manual should be read thoroughly. A motorcycle rider training course should be attended in order to learn how to operate a motorcycle safely and skillfully. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, these classes “provide unique knowledge and skills that may not be learned if a friend or a relative teaches how to ride the bike.”
Protective Gear
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also describes the other types of protective gear, besides the helmet, that should be utilized while riding a motorcycle. In addition to the helmet, eye gear constitutes the second most important protection. The reason being that many motorcycles do not have windshields – the riders must take precautions that their eyes are protected from insects, dirt, rocks and other airborne matter. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that good quality goggles should be chosen, glasses with plastic or safety lenses, or a helmet equipped with a face shield. Additionally, the right shoes, gloves, and clothing should be worn to “not only provide comfort against the elements” but also to provide padding between the body and the pavement should a crash occur.
Call a Clearwater Motorcycle Crash Attorney Today
If you are a passenger who has been involved in a motorcycle accident and you are not clear as to what your rights are and how to recover for the injuries you sustained in the accident, please call one of our experienced attorneys today. During our free consultation, we will examine the circumstances of the accident, any other intervening circumstances that led to the accident and what your next steps should be. Please call our Clearwater office of Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.