Monday, February 29, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Lawyers: Unsafe Road Conditions  

As drivers, we can control how well we drive, making sure to obey speed limits and other traffic laws, and keeping our vehicle well-maintained at all times. But when poor road conditions like missing guardrails, potholes and poorly designed roads are the cause of a car accident, the question arises as to who should be held liable. Proving the road conditions were the reason for the accident can be tricky, but with the help of a skilled Maryland car accident lawyer, you can ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for any negligence and pursue financial compensation for your injuries and/or damage to your vehicle. In order to prove that the road conditions were the reason for your car accident, you must address the following factors: Who is responsible for road maintenance: Roads are maintained by a number of governmental agencies, including city, county and state government. Maintenance responsibilities can sometimes overlap, depending on the type of work that needs to

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers: New Rule Targets Unsafe Trucking Companies

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing to add a new rule that would make it easier to take unsafe trucks off the road. The rule is designed to enhance and simplify the agency’s ability to identify motor carriers who violate safety rules and prohibit them from continuing operations until they improve. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent shutdown of Land Air Express of New England, one of the largest trucking companies ever to be ordered out of service by the FMCSA. The agency ordered the 10-day shutdown after it discovered several violations of federal trucking regulations, including falsified driver log books, allowing an unqualified worker to drive and failing to test drivers for drug and alcohol abuse at the required rate. The newly proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule would replace the longer and more complicated three-tier rating system that labels carriers as satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. These ratings are bas

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Workplace Injuries May Affect Future Earnings

A study recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine analyzed the effects of work-related injuries on the long-term wealth of U.S. workers. Researchers collected data from more than 12,000 participants over a 30-year period. The participants ranged in age from 14 to 22 years of age when the first interviews were conducted in 1979. Follow-up interviews were conducted on an annual basis until 2008. The information collected included employment history, income, level of education and health status. By the final year of the study, 82% of the survey group was still responding. Each year, participants were asked whether or not they had sustained a work-related injury or illness and if so, whether or not the injury or illness resulted in missed workdays. From this data, respondents were categorized into the following three groups: Suffered a work injury that led to days away from work (DAFW) Suffered a work injury but had no days away from work (NDAFW) Did not sustain a

Maryland Social Security Disability Lawyers: Choosing an Onset Date for Disability

When applying for Social Security disability benefits, one of the first questions you will be asked is “on which date did you become disabled.” While this question may seem straightforward, many people find themselves struggling to decide on the appropriate date to list on the application. This is especially true if the condition was not caused by a specific incident, such as a car accident, but rather developed gradually over a period of time. However, it is extremely important to choose this date wisely, as it can have a significant impact on the amount of money you receive. Choosing the wrong date can cost you thousands of dollars in back payments. It may even increase your chances of being denied benefits. The Basics of Choosing Your Disability Onset Date Applicants for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) often wait a year or more before being approved. For this reason, it is important to apply as early as possible. Once approved, you are entitled to retroactive pay of

Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers: Longer Sit-Out Period Proposed for Head Injuries

Concussions and other serious head injuries often go hand in hand with some of the more aggressive contact sports like football and soccer. If a young athlete suffers from a concussion and does not allow enough time for the injury to heal fully, it could permanently jeopardize the athlete’s long-term health. The concern over concussions has grown in recent years as more and more athletes have suffered serious brain injuries as a result of repeated concussions. As a result, the New Mexico Senate approved a law, which is advancing to the House of Representatives, requiring a longer sit-out period for youth leagues and high school athletes. In a 35-4 vote, the New Mexico Senate voted to amend the state law, requiring that any player diagnosed with a concussion should sit out for 10 days, as opposed to the current law, which only requires seven days. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, sponsored the measure after hearing about a high school football player in Rio Rancho who

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Discuss Surveillance of Injured Workers

For employees who have incurred a work-related injury, it is in the realm of possibility that a private detective, hired by the Workers’ Compensation insurance company, will follow you, looking for evidence that can be used to deny your claim. In the world of Workers’ Compensation, this type of surveillance is happening more often than you might think. This is important to keep in mind when you are in the process of filing a claim, and consider contacting an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer. Some of the tactics that a private detective might use include pretending to be a fellow patient in a waiting room and initiating a conversation with you about why you are seeing a doctor. Or a private detective might inconspicuously follow you and take pictures or video of you doing something that could jeopardize your claim. For example, if you have documented lumbar disc issues, and are videotaped jumping and cheering at a baseball game, this could be damaging evidence, even if yo

Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers: Common Injury Claim Mistakes

A person who suffers an injury in any type of accident can often feel overwhelmed. Trying to recover from an injury and attempting to decipher what steps should be taken next can often be confusing and stressful. At Leviness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our personal injury lawyers in Maryland take the stress out of accident claims by helping victims throughout the process so that they can concentrate on their recovery physically, financially and emotionally. Following are some common mistakes that personal injury victims often are susceptible to: Not getting medical attention – There are many reasons why accident victims wait to seek medical attention. Whether they feel embarrassed by the circumstances, think the injury is not that bad or simply do not want to make a fuss, they try to manage the pain on their own without getting help. This is extremely risky, as it can potentially harm both your health and your ability to recover compensation. Injuries that go unchecked can worsen and some

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Surgical Procedure Performed on Wrong Baby

When a new parent has a perfectly healthy baby in the hospital, it is normal for the baby to be taken away for routine tests, only to be brought back to the mother shortly after those tests have been completed. What is not expected is to have your baby returned to you, only to find out that a surgical procedure was performed on your newborn without any knowledge or approval from you. This is exactly what happened to a Tennessee mother recently, whose newborn son was operated on after doctors mistook him for another child. Doctors performed a procedure call a frenulectomy, which involves cutting the flap under the child’s tongue. If the skin under the tongue is too tight, it can cause complications with breast-feeding, other feeding issues and possible speech problems down the road. Unfortunately, this mother’s baby did not have any issues at all with is tongue, so when the nurse brought the baby back to her, telling the mother about the procedure that had just been done on her son

Monday, February 22, 2016

Maryland Car Crash Lawyers Warn: Social App May Encourage Dangerous Driving Behavior

Distracted driving is a major risk factor for car accidents. For several years now, the government has tried to curb distracted driving with public ad campaigns directed at teens who text while driving. Recently though, the evolution of cell phones into smart phones has created the potential for a new type of deadly distraction. Nearly three-quarters of teens use a smartphone to stay connected with their friends through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. While there is no doubt that these and other social media apps prove tempting to young drivers, there is a growing concern that one may actually encourage users to engage in risky behavior behind the wheel. Snapchat is a wildly popular social media application that allows users to share photos, videos and messages that disappear within seconds. Snapchat also has a feature that allows the user to share how fast they are traveling while taking the picture or video. Many argue that this feature effectively encourag

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: OSHA Tree Care Safety Standards

Tree care is a high-hazard industry that provides services such as pruning, tree and stump removal, cabling and bracing, storm cleanup and lightning protection. For years, members of the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) have petitioned federal regulators to develop safety standards to address the high number of tree worker injuries and fatalities. While some states, including Maryland, have established their own standards for licensed tree experts, current federal regulations fail to adequately address many of the leading causes of tree worker deaths. Recently, however, OSHA announced that it would begin to gather information for the possible development of specific rules for the industry. Safety advocates are applauding the move, saying that it would provide an added level of enforcement that may help to save lives. Tree Care Accidents Tree care workers have an injury and illness rate four times greater than the national average, according to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers Discuss Potential Threats of Zika Virus

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) recently declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency, a rare move that signals the seriousness of the illness and its potential impact on unborn babies. The virus, which has been inactive for many years, was detected in Brazil this past May and has since spread to more than 20 countries in Latin America. The W.H.O. expects Zika to affect as many as four million people worldwide by the end of the year. Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, but there is also evidence that the virus may be spread through infected blood or sexual contact. Adults who have contracted Zika typically display mild symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Symptoms generally last from a few days to a week and rarely become severe enough to warrant hospitalization. The primary concern over Zika is its suspected links to microcephaly in babies born to mothers who were infected with the virus while pregnant. Microcephaly is

Monday, February 15, 2016

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Superbug Outbreaks

On January 13, 2016, the results of an investigation launched by Senator Patty Murray were released, indicating that inadequately sterilized medical devices are to blame for outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections. The investigation sought to uncover the cause of a cluster of infections in Seattle, and ultimately found a link to improperly sterilized duodenoscopes—long flexible tubes with a camera at the end used to examine the intestines. Duodenoscopes have been linked to over 250 cases of antibiotic-resistant infections between 2012 and early 2015, several of which resulted in fatalities. These medical devices are difficult to clean and sterilize after being used on one patient and before being used on another. Although a dozen or more hospitals have had issues with unsterile duodenoscopes, they generally did not alert federal regulators to the problem. When a medical device manufacturer learns that one of its devices may have contributed to death or injury, they have 30 days

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Maryland Car Dealer Settles With FTC

One of the nation’s largest used car dealers has agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that they failed to disclose important safety information regarding used cars for sale. The complaint named Jim Koons Automotive Companies, which has 19 dealerships in the mid-Atlantic region, including five locations in the Baltimore area. The FTC accused the dealerships of advertising cars that were subject to open and unrepaired recalls, all while touting their vigorous quality inspection process. The complaint alleged that some of the cars advertised on the dealerships’ website were subject to open recalls for auto defects that could cause serious injury. Defects included faulty ignition switches that can affect engine power, power steering, braking and airbag deployment, thereby increasing the risk of a crash and injury to occupants. At least one certified used vehicle had an open recall for issues related to the alternator, which can cause the vehicle to unexp

Baltimore Social Security Disability Lawyers: Listed Impairment and Approval

When you have a disability that leaves you unable to work, the last thing you want to hear is that it might take months or even years to find out if you are eligible for Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, however, this is often the case. This is mostly due to the fact that the vast majority of disability claims are denied at the initial application stage. This forces applicants to go through several stages of appeals, which can significantly delay payment of needed benefits. Fortunately, you can increase your chances of being approved sooner by hiring an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to assist you. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must prove that you are totally disabled. While there are no medical conditions that are guaranteed approval, there are a few that make it easier to win than others. For example, if your health condition falls under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Communication Errors

Nearly one third of all medical malpractice cases can be directly linked to communication errors, according to a recent study conducted by CRICO Strategies, a division of the risk management group that insures Harvard-affiliated hospitals. The findings were based on analysis of more than 23,000 medical malpractice claims and lawsuits filed between 2009 and 2013. During that time, communication failures in hospitals and doctors’ officers contributed to the harm of 7,149 patients, including 1,744 deaths. The estimated cost to providers was $1.7 billion in medical malpractice payouts to injured victims and their families. There are several ways in which important medical information is shared and a breakdown in any one area can have devastating consequences. Whether shared face-to-face, over the phone or via a patient’s medical record, the information must be timely, accurate and accessible. When information is unreliable or not communicated effectively, there is a significantly high

Monday, February 8, 2016

Maryland Car Accident Lawyers: Automatic Brakes Reduce Rear-End Collisions

Vehicles equipped with front crash prevention have significantly lower incidents of rear-end collisions, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The study was based on police-reported crash data between 2010 and 2014. Researchers looked at 7,490 rear-end crashes involving Acura, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo vehicles. All of the models offered optional front crash prevention. The crash rates of vehicles equipped with the technology were compared against the same models without the safety features. Researchers looked at two types of collision avoidance technologies and compared their effectiveness when offered alone and in combination with one another. Automatic braking, which brings the vehicle to a stop if it senses an imminent collision, was shown to reduce rear-end collisions by 40%. Front collision warning systems, which alerts the driver but does not brake, lowered the risk of a rear-end collision by 23%. In addition to crash prevention

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Pre-existing Condition

If you are injured in a workplace accident, you expect your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance to cover your injury-related medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages while you recover. However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition or prior injury, you may be worried about how it will affect your Workers’ Compensation claim. While these factors do not necessarily preclude you from qualifying for benefits, they can make the process significantly more complicated. This is especially true if your pre-existing condition is medically related to your Workers’ Compensation claim. In general, only injuries or illnesses that arise as the result of your work activities are compensable under Maryland Workers’ Compensation law. Many of these injuries happen because of a sudden and unexpected event such as a fall or other workplace accident. Other common types of claims stem not from an isolated incident, but occur because of repetitive stress on muscles, tendons o

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Maryland Birth Injury Lawyer: No-Fault Birth Injury Fund

For the second time in two years, the Maryland General Assembly will hear arguments in favor of creating a no-fault birth injury fund to help cover the costs of medical care for babies born with brain injuries. The idea of the fund is to allow more families to recover the assistance they need without having to prove that a medical mistake caused their baby’s injury. Those who are opposed to the fund claim it would prevent negligent doctors from being held accountable as well as restrict the amount of compensation families would receive. The fund would be modeled after similar no-fault funds currently in effect in Virginia and Florida. A Maryland task force, created by the state legislature, first introduced the idea last year but the bill fell flat amid concerns over financing. Hospitals would have had to pay $25 million into the fund – a figure based on actuary estimates that only around seven babies would qualify for benefits each year. Many argued that figure was far too low, a

Maryland Truck Accident Lawyers: Heavy Trucks Not Immune to Winter Road Hazards

As the remnants of this year’s first major winter storm finally begin to melt away, and with nearly two months of winter still ahead of us, now is a good time to remind drivers of the dangers of winter travel, especially when sharing the road with large commercial trucks. Driving through snow, ice, wind and whiteout conditions is dangerous in any vehicle, though these conditions may impact commercial trucks to a greater extent due to their size, weight and limited maneuverability. Poor weather reduces visibility and affects vehicle performance and stability, thereby increasing the risk of all types of truck accidents including: