7 Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accidents

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 4,300 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2010 and another 70,000 endured various injuries. Five years later, these figures increased: 5,376 pedestrian fatalities and 129,000 emergency room treatments for non-fatal injuries.

Why the spike in numbers? The NHTSA attributes it to distracted driving. No matter the reason, pedestrians hit by a car are 1.5 times more likely to be killed than the vehicle’s occupants, so this increase is a serious safety issue.

For 72 percent of accidents involving pedestrians, the conditions are similar: At night, in an urban area and on an arterial road, rather than at an intersection. Beyond these big-picture commonalities, the following factors increase your risk of being struck.

Age

female pedestrian crossing the streetFigures show that pedestrians at both ends of the age spectrum – children and the elderly – are more likely to get hit by a vehicle. Data from AARP indicates that individuals over age 65 have a greater chance of being struck and killed. Out of all related fatalities, 20 percent involve senior citizens.

Unfortunately, children are not far behind. According to NHTSA figures from 2010, 19 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents involved children ages 5 to 9. For those who experienced injuries, nearly a quarter of the pedestrians were 16 years old and under. As of 2015, 20 percent of all traffic deaths involving children 15 years and younger were pedestrian accidents.

While these statistics are alarming, those in between are not exempt from injuries or death. For related emergency room treatments, those 15 to 29 years of age compose the largest group.

Speed

The faster you drive, the greater your chances of losing control and hitting another vehicle or damaging property. In pedestrian accidents, speed literally kills. According to a study by the London Department for Transportation, the difference from 30 to 40 mph increases accident-related fatalities. Supporting these findings, 60 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents involved a driver going 40 mph or faster.

Crosswalks

By using the crosswalk, many pedestrians assume that drivers will automatically stop. However, figures from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration indicate that pedestrian-related conditions remain the same, regardless of whether a crosswalk is used. On roads with two lanes and a crosswalk, motorists appear more likely to hit a pedestrian than if the individual crossed a road without one.

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Antipsychotic Use Still Common in Nursing Homes

Over the past couple years, federal government organizations covering nursing home care have pledged to closely monitor and reduce antipsychotic usage. According to a 2018 Human Rights Watch report, related figures started to drop between 2011 and 2016, but off-label usage continues to persist.

Data from the 157-page report found that homes across multiple states and regions continue to use antipsychotics to control patients with dementia – a practice known as “chemical restraint.” To date, the FDA has only approved antipsychotics to treat conditions like schizophrenia and, because of their serious side effects, they come with a black-box warning. For the elderly, this drug class is especially hazardous. Patients have double the risk of death and the medications have been known to cause severe muscle stiffness, jerking movements, low blood pressure, high blood sugar and blood clots.

To put together this report, the Human Rights Watch visited more than 100 nursing facilities across six states and conducted over 300 interviews with the residents, staff, family members, government officials, elder care advocates and long-term care and disability experts. What did their study uncover?

Prescription Rates Vary

Nursing home patient in wheelchairThe percentage of patients who are given antipsychotics varies from state to state, although “chemical restraint” remained a practice to some degree in all locations. Of the six states surveyed, Kansas had the highest concentration, with roughly 20 percent of all patients receiving an antipsychotic drug to control behavioral issues.

Yet, figures could also be skewed. Reported in the Kansas City Star, 24 homes asked the researchers to leave upon arrival, prevented them from interviewing residents about their treatment, or stated their residents weren’t competent enough to consent to an interview.

No Diagnosis or Consent

The report concludes that over 179,000 people are prescribed antipsychotic drugs without an approved diagnosis or without consent – either from themselves or their families. These factors become amplified once a nursing home resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

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Slip and Fall Injuries on Public Transit

Each year, about 5,000 passengers on board a bus or other form of public transit suffer a slip and fall injury. Some might be related to the vehicle’s condition and others might stem from driver recklessness but in all cases, it’s imperative that you start your claim right away.

Understanding the Basics

man approaching bus in the rainDepending on where you are located, the following vehicles may fall under the scope of public transit:

  • Buses
  • Trains
  • Taxis
  • Ferries
  • Subways
  • Airplanes

The key factor in your claim is knowing who owns and operates the vehicle. If a town, county or state manages the enterprise, rather than a private company, the vehicle falls under public transit.

Injuries frequently concern wet and slippery floors, trip hazards from not cleaning the vehicle, loose railings and bunched-up carpeting. Once these factors are considered, your claim may further involve the business or person responsible for maintenance, including the driver, the transit company or a third-party entity hired for inspections and repairs.

Establishing Liability

As a passenger filing a claim against a transit company or the municipality that owns it, you must establish liability and prove negligence related to the incident. Meanwhile, the defendant needs to show the company or driver stayed within the lines of reasonable conduct.

Generally, the town or city operating the transit company oversees vehicle maintenance and how drivers are trained. Once additional factors are involved, your case can become more complicated.

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How Does the Body Get Addicted to Opioids?

Opioid overdose-related deaths have been a national concern for the past few years. In our own state of Connecticut, fatalities have tripled since 2012. Whether Fentanyl, prescription painkillers or heroin is to blame, cities that have shouldered costs related to Narcan administering and rehabilitation are now fighting back, filing lawsuits against major drug manufacturers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opiates and opioids continue to lead all drug overdose-related deaths. While heroin is responsible for roughly one-third, the rest stem from prescription drugs, frequently given to patients recovering from surgery or serious injury. How does a doctor’s prescription turn into a full-blown addiction that may involve seeking illegal drugs? Although much of the blame falls on drug companies, who initially played down prescription painkillers’ side effects, the body’s response plays a significant role.

How Addiction Gradually Occurs

doctor holding pills and medicine bottleDepending on the drug, prescription painkillers are typically recommended for moderate to severe pain. When the user takes a pill or uses a patch, the drug enters the brain via the bloodstream. In the process, it creates a higher-than-average amount of endorphins and dopamine. The body typically associates these neurotransmitters with a sense of reward, pleasure or satisfaction, so the patient then experiences a temporary feeling of euphoria.

Short term, patients may be able to stop use. On the other hand, long-term repeated use stunts the brain’s ability to produce these two chemicals. In fact, patients may only get that euphoric sensation from taking an opioid or worse, may stop feeling any pleasure unless they take the drug.

Based on this chemical reaction, addiction manifests through three stages:

  • Tolerance: A patient still gets natural pleasure sensations but must use larger and larger doses to experience the same initial high.
  • Physical Dependence: At this point, stopping or tapering opioid usage causes the body to develop withdrawal symptoms. These may range from depression to tremors and vomiting.
  • Psychological Dependence: The patient finds that he or she can’t function without regularly using opioids. By this stage, the drug has changed how the brain’s nerve cells work, causing the neurons and other nerves to produce three to four times more cyclic AMP, a substance responsible for the body’s electric pulses. When the drug gets taken away, the nerve cells have become dependent on the opioids’ effects. They may have a strong and violent reaction, over-firing these pulses.

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Understanding IVC Filter Complications

When a patient has a higher risk for developing a life-threatening blood clot or continues to have clotting issues while on a blood-thinning medication, a doctor may recommend implanting an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. An IVC filter is a retrievable device that helps prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. Without the IVC filter, the blood clots may migrate to the lungs.

Safety Warnings

Surgeon wearing his scrubsWhile doctors have recommended IVC filters as far back as the 1970s, the FDA released a warning about its safety risks in 2010 after receiving over 900 adverse event reports. Four years later, the FDA released a safety communication to doctors, recommending the filter’s removal once a patient is no longer at risk for pulmonary embolism. According to the FDA’s statement, the IVC filter should be removed within 29 to 54 days of the initial procedure.

But two years later, a study by the American College of Cardiology discovered that doctors fail to monitor patients after implanting an IVC filter and don’t provide them with adequate information about the device. Subsequently, in spite of the FDA’s two warnings, retrieval rates remain low.

Between the initial implant, retrieval and long-term use beyond the FDA’s recommendations, IVC filters pose several serious complications.

During the Procedure

As with any surgical procedure, implanting an IVC filter comes with certain risks:

  • A patient may experience some bleeding or bruising about the access site.
  • The filter may puncture a blood vessel.
  • Doctors have been known to incorrectly place the filter in the body, including how it’s positioned and where it’s placed.
  • The filter may not deploy correctly.

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