July 29, 2013

Appalachian Hikers Use Tech For Safety


Every summer, thousands of hikers will use the Appalachia Trail to reach the highest mountain peaks, swim in the rivers and enjoy the scenery that the region has to offer. Hikers and their loved ones now have an easier way to stay safe while out hiking. Now, new apps and other cell phone features aid hikers who are on the Appalachian Trail.

Though many hikers enjoy the solitude and quiet of the wilderness, cell phone technology can be an asset in the event of an emergency. In many cases, cell phones have been critical in alerting authorities when a hiker is in need of rescue. Our Greenville personal injury attorneys are dedicated to preventing personal injury and helping victims get the medical care they need after an accident.

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Cutting through 14-states, the Appalachian Trail is 2,178 miles long and can pose many risks for the unwary. Certain trails are known to be dangerous grounds for hikers and campers, including high peaks and the threat of animals, particularly bears. Many hikers believe that given the many narrow, winding and difficult paths, the technology of an app makes the hike less lonely and safer for travel.

There are an estimated 2,250 hikers who will start at the trail head in southern Georgian and complete the entire hike that would end in Maine. Other hikers will do the entire hike in reverse. The path can be long and grueling for hikers and any injury could pose a serious risk. Hikers must be able to depend on their equipment as well as ensure that they take proper safety precautions throughout the trip.

Hikers should make sure that they have enough water, that they have proper food and clothing and that they know how to respond in the event of a fall or accident. In the past, hikers who fell or needed emergency assistance would have to wait for another hiker to pass-by and then wait for help. Now they can simply dial 911 from the trail. Other emergency devices can transmit GPS coordinates to responders.

It is estimated that 80 percent of hikers will use cell phones while hiking the trail. The primary reason for carrying cellphones and using hiking apps is for the purpose of seeking emergency assistance. In addition to safety features, the phone app also allows hikers to track their distance and post photographs along the way. Hikers will also use their cell phones to play audio books, check weather, and play music.

Despite the number of hikers who see an advantage to using technology in the wilderness, others feel that use of cell phones can be disturbing and distracting. Safety advocates also want to remind hikers that cell phones are not a sure thing and can pose their own hazards. The Appalachian Trail Conservatory guide advises against posting plans or locations online to avoid unwanted encounters.

This summer, if you are participating in outdoor recreational activities, be sure to have the proper safety equipment, training, and know how to respond in the event of an emergency. For you and your loved ones, a cell phone and other digital location devices are one option to reduce response time and increase your opportunities for recovery in the event of an accident.

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July 26, 2013

Advanced Procedure "Welds" Wounds to Prevent Scarring After Accidents


Traumatic car accidents, bike accidents, and other collisions can cause severe lacerations. Dog bites and animal attacks can leave victims with deep cuts requiring stitches and reconstructive surgery. For many patients, scarring is not only a physical injury, but an emotional one as well. New technology which aims to "weld" wounds together is a medical advancement for injury victims that can reduce scarring and help patients make a full recovery.

For victims of deep cuts and wounds, scarring of the body and facial tissue can be damaging. In addition to aesthetic issues, victims may suffer nerve damage and reduced mobility. Our Charleston catastrophic injury attorneys are experienced in helping victims of injury protect their rights after an accident. We will take a comprehensive approach to collect the full compensation you and your family deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, reconstructive surgery and additional costs stemming from the accident. We are also dedicated to staying abreast of medical trends that can create new opportunities for our patients' recoveries.

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An international medical device company has developed a "cold plasma" technology which "welds" or closes medical incisions with a unique procedure. Unlike traditional methods which use stitches to sew skin together, the new technique is also less painful and reduces scarring compared to using a needle and thread. Advocates of the new technique state that it only takes a few minutes to seal the area completely.

Doctors performing the procedure use plasma at a low temperature to seal the skin cells back together. Reducing the temperature of the cells is safe for the skin and has a "welding" effect. According to researchers, plasma is one of the fundamental states of matter--equivalent to solids, liquids, and gas. It has many beneficial medical properties, including the ability to disinfect, reduce bleeding, treat burns, and now, with the new procedure, weld tissues back together either after an accident or after surgery.

Despite the myriad of medical benefits of plasma, it is not commonly used because it normally requires high temperatures that can be dangerous for bodily tissues. Researchers have performed the experimental "welding" techniques at low temperatures to test the ability of plasma as a mechanism for sealing the skin after surgery. In a recent trial incisions were closed on women who underwent Caesarean sections. For the women who had plasma rather than suture or staples, incisions healed faster and the women had a lower rate of complications.

The new technology could prove to be a medical advancement, not only in the surgery setting, but for victims of accidents who have suffered deep cuts or lacerations. Medical professionals aim to use the plasma technique in tissue welding, intestinal anastomosis and in the treatment of burns or other wounds. Currently tests have only been performed in Israel, however, the company is hoping to test the product in Europe and the United States for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Victims of accidents may see this new technology in years to come.

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July 22, 2013

Keeping Pool Grounds Safe: Tips for Owners


Pools are part of daily life in North and South Carolina. Despite a general knowledge of pool safety, pool owners as well as visitors should be aware of the potential dangers on pool grounds. Public and private pool operators must take appropriate steps to keep grounds safe and to prevent accidents and injuries that could be deadly.

Pool owners can be held liable in the event of an injury or accidental death if they are found to be negligent. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys are experienced with the investigation of pool accidents and will bring all relevant claims against responsible individuals and entities. We are also dedicated to accident prevention and want to keep South Carolina residents and their families safe when using pools this summer season.

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If you are a pool owner, you should keep your pool gated and locked. While new technology has created high-tech pool alarms in the event of trespass, you should continue to supervise your children in the pool area. All residential pool owners must have proper fencing around swimming areas.

Another danger on pool grounds involves the pool's filtration systems. Numerous fatalities have occurred on public and private pool grounds when small children have gotten caught or "suctioned" to a pool's filter drain. There are city and state requirements regarding filtration systems and safety requirements.

Meeting code requirements is important not only for pool safety, but for insurance purposes. While pools are usually installed by professionals who have training and know insurance requirements, homeowners who try to install a pool themselves should also have a clear understanding of their obligations under the law. Not only could a violation create a safety hazard, it could open up a pool owner to liability in the event of an accident. City inspectors who find violations can fine both public and private pool owners and operators until the pool meets state and local requirements.

Pool regulation offenses may be uncommon because owners must first obtain a permit before building a pool. Usually this involves an involved inspection process. Overtime, a gate, guardrail or other safety measure may fail. Property owners are responsible for fixing or replacing any issues in a reasonable amount of time. Negligent maintenance of a pool area could also give rise to liability.

One primary key to safety is supervision. If you have young children, you should always be supervising them when at a pool. While a lifeguard at a public or private pool can be helpful, they should not be your only source of supervision when at a pool. Where there is no lifeguard, parents should be extra careful to supervise swimming and playing children when in a pool area.

Another issue for pool owners is whether a pool has the depth to be safe for diving. Water slides must also meet requirements to avoid injuries and liability. Pool owners should warn swimmers if the depth cannot accommodate diving or if diving poses a safety hazard.

Pool accidents can be severe resulting in head injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis. In the most severe cases, a pool incident can result in drowning and fatality. To prevent injury, pool owners should be aware of all safety requirements and know what action to take in the event of an emergency. There should also be emergency equipment on-hand to best respond to an accident.

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July 20, 2013

New Technology Helps Heal Broken Bones


Broken bones are a serious injury that can cause lasting and permanent damage. While broken bones can vary in severity, treatment options also vary depending on the injury. A victim of a fall, car crash or other accident may suffer a broken bone and it is important to see medical treatment and care as soon as possible. Fortunately, for victims of bone injuries, there are new medical advancements that can assist with diagnosis and treatment.

A broken bone can impact mobility and can require months of years of physical therapy to restore use. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys are experienced in helping victims of broken bones pursue treatment options and recover compensation for their injuries. We are experienced in helping victims of broken bones, ranging from stress fracture to severe open fractures.

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A broken bone or fracture occurs when the physical force of impact or exertion is greater than the bone. The risk of a bone fracture can depend on age and other genetic variables. For example, women with osteoporosis may have a greater risk of bone injuries. Children are common victims of bone fractures and injuries because of sports and other accidents resulting from play. Older adults are also at a greater risk of bone fractures because bones become more brittle as we age.

Recent advancements in health technology allow for the redesign of a bone. New research combines 3D bone imagery with 3D models to develop an exoskeleton that would protect the bone against fractures. A researcher who had suffered a broken hand was looking for ways to protect and heal a fractured bone. His invention, known as "Cortex" provides support for a fracture or bone.

For many victims of bone injuries, recovery can be daunting. Most casts will be in place for at least 6 weeks, some longer for more severe bone injuries. This new technology could provide victims with additional support that will minimize recovery time and provide support long after a cast is removed. Primary researchers indicate that the Cortex shifts the pressure of the cast to where the bone is broken. Focusing on supporting the bone where it is actually broken eliminates the need for wrapping the entire limb in a heavy plaster or fiber glass cast.

Critics of heavy casts also find them wasteful and damaging to the environment. According to researchers who are developing Cortex for widespread use, the product is recyclable which will reduce the impact of medical waste. Developing Cortex uses high-tech 3D scans and prints to create a model for the cast. The combination of these scans produces a digital file which produces an "anatomically accurate cast" made from nylon straps.

The inventors assert that the Cortex cast will apply appropriate pressure to the point of fracture or injury. Using mechanisms of both medical technology and design, the researchers hope that new cast designs will be more appropriate for modern life. In addition to allowing for mobility, the nylon casts are strong, durable, and washable. They can also be worn under clothes, a convenience that is missed when forced to wear a large, bulky cast.

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July 19, 2013

Coast Guard Offering Boating Safety Classes in Charleston


Every year thousands of boat accidents cause injuries to passengers, jet skiers, swimmers and others out on the water. Preventing injury and accidents means being prepared and having a good knowledge of water and boat safety. This month, the U.S. Coast Guard will be offering boating safety classes in Charleston, South Carolina to prevent accidents and injuries.

On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard will be hosting a boating class from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Daniel Island Library in Charleston. Our Charleston boating accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness about boater safety and helping drivers and passengers get the information they need to stay safe on the water this summer.

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According to reports, the course is called About Boating Safety and is certified by the South Carolina DNR. Graduates who pursue the full training session will be granted a South Carolina Boater Education Card. Boating education can be useful to ensure that boaters know the law and that they follow regulations to prevent accidents and injuries.

Boating safety encompasses all aspects of being on the water. From preparation to boater operation and action to take in the event of emergency, boaters will be trained to prevent and react in the event of an emergency. If you are a boater, you should remember to follow speeds and other regulations while on the water. Make sure that you have size appropriate life vests for all of your passengers. Follow signs and signals and make sure that you use waterways fitting for your boat. If you are a fisherman in a smaller boat, be wary of larger boats and wakes. Similarly, large boats and speed boats should be concerned with less visible boats on the water. Drinking and boating is an obvious deadly combination that can lead to devastating accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

In the event of an accident, you should know appropriate emergency measures. Rescue efforts and contacting authorities can make a significant difference in the recovery of the victims. Boating accident injuries can be severe, including head injuries, neck injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and drowning. Victims of boating accidents could be stuck with life-long injuries, including loss of mobility, paralysis, and permanent brain damage.

In the state of South Carolina, boaters under the age of 16 are required to pass an approved boater education course before operating a vehicle without supervision. This law applies to the operation of a personal watercraft (a.k.a. PWC) or motor powered boat with 5 horsepower or more. South Carolina residents or tourists who are interested in the course may sign up individually or as a family. The course costs $30 per person or $35 for up to six family members.

In the event of an accident, victims may be entitled to significant compensation. An experienced advocate can help to investigate a boating accident, identify responsible parties and protect your rights. The best way to prevent boating accidents and injuries is to know the law, and to stay safe on the water.

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July 18, 2013

Brain Injury Increases Risk of Stroke


A brain injury can happen on the playground, playing sports, in a car accident, or in a swimming pool. Even random accidents, such as a ladder fall, can create a serious risk of head or brain injury. For victims, the damage can be severe and permanent. New studies indicate that victims may face the additional risk of stroke after a brain injury.

According to research, victims of traumatic brain injury may also be at risk of a stroke in the future. In a new report published in the America Academy of Neurology, both victims of stroke and brain injury can face a long road to recovery and extensive costs for treatment. Brain injury litigation is complex and expensive, and always requires a Carolina law firm with the experiences and resources to prevail. We are dedicated to helping those with brain injuries recover sufficient compensation to cover medical costs, treatment, as well as financial support for any additional losses they have endured.

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Analysis found that TBI and stroke are the leading cause of severe disability in adults. Though 80% of stroke victims are over the age of 65, there are still a large number of younger people who are at risk. Doctors are seeking to identify high risk factors and take preventative measures to prevent future stroke and brain damage. Advanced treatment and preventative care can also improve the chances for recovery.

Researchers have assessed the records of adults who were treated in the ER for a TBI or other brain injury. Over the course of 5 years, the study looked at over 400,000 patients with TBI and over 700,000 patients who did not suffer a brain injury. The results indicated that individuals who suffered from a brain injury were slightly more likely to suffer from a stroke in the future.

Doctors suggest that the relationship may have something to do with blood flow to the brain, since the majority of strokes are ischemic and caused by a block in blood flow. Adjusting for other factors including age, blood pressure, and cholesterol, the researchers found that patients who suffered from a TBI were more likely to suffer from a stroke later in life compared to those who did not suffer a brain injury.

Following additional research and analysis, medical health professionals are hoping to find the link between TBI and stroke and to find what causes the stroke. Eventually doctors hope to prevent future strokes with proper diagnosis and treatment.

In the event of a brain injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A brain injury may not be easily identifiable and could take months for a proper diagnosis. In many cases, a victim's loved one will notice memory lapses, change in personality, or mood swings that could be an indication of a TBI. It is important to consult with an experienced medical practitioner who can identify a brain injury and pursue appropriate treatment options. Victims of brain injury who suffered because of an accident may also be able to recover compensation for medical care, pain and suffering, lost wages and other financial losses.

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July 16, 2013

Victims of Asiana Plane Crash Suffer TBI, Spinal Cord Injuries


Throughout the week, headlines have been dominated by the Asiana crash in San Francisco. In addition to the two fatalities, there were hundreds of other injuries to surviving passengers. Reports indicate that many of these passengers in the Asiana plane crash suffered from spinal injuries.

Spinal cord injuries can have long-term consequences for victims. In the most severe cases, victims may suffer from lost mobility or paralysis. Our Chareleston spinal cord injury attorneys are experienced in complex claims involving spinal cord injuries. We are dedicated to helping victims find the medical treatment and financial compensation they need after a serious injury.

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According to doctors who treated victims of the Asiana plane crash, the victims suffered serious spinal cord injuries and many of them will need long-term treatment and care. The serious injuries included fractures, stretched ligaments, and head injuries. Reports suggest that the spinal cord injuries were caused by the severe impact when the plane bounced off the runway.

For victims of spinal cord injuries, doctors had to act quickly and take remedial precautions to prevent future injury. Doctors indicated that the spine trauma, including fractures and hyper-extension, required that patients be stabilized to prevent additional spinal cord damage. There are some patients who remain in the hospital in critical condition.

In addition to spinal cord injuries, many of the victims suffered from blunt force trauma caused by seatbelts or head injuries involving seats and armrests. Other injuries included abdominal injuries, head traumas, and orthopedic injures. Many patients required surgery after the plane crash. Doctors said that some of the most severe injuries are traumatic brain injuries that could impact a patient's well-being for months, or for life.

Doctors responsible for treating the victims stated that many of the victims suffered from the same injuries. The plane crash made international headlines and threatened the lives of 291 passengers and 16 crew members. Before landing in San Francisco, the plane had traveled from Shanghai and made a stop in Seoul. Immediately after the crash, there were over 180 passengers transferred to the hospital and treated for injuries.

Injuries and accidents involving mass transport can result in complicated claims. In this case, injury claims may be even more complicated if the passengers are not allowed to file lawsuits against the negligent airline carrier in the United States. In the event of an accident involving public transportation, including a train, bus, or aircraft, victims should consult with an independent advocate as soon as possible to preserve their rights and interests.

Officials believed that the injuries could have been more substantial and widespread. Of the total flight crew and passengers, 49 suffered serious injuries. For those who suffered spinal cord injuries, recovery could take intensive care and therapy which is always costly. Victims of serious injury should be entitled to make claims against all responsible individuals and entities to help with the cost of treatment, long-term care, and other losses related to the crash.

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July 11, 2013

Keeping Children "Dog Bite Free" This Summer


Summer time means taking evening walks, weekends at the beach, and camping trips with the family--and with pets. With more dogs out in public, there is an increased chance of dog bites and animal attacks. This summer, it is best to be aware of the danger of dog bites to protect yourself and your children. If you are a dog owner, you should also be aware of children and other animals that could incite your dog.

A dog bite can cause serious injury, including lacerations puncture wounds, loss of limb, permanent muscle damage, facial scarring, and other lasting injuries. In addition to physical injuries, many victims will suffer from emotional trauma, requiring professional help. Our Charleston child injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting victims and raising awareness to prevent dog bites and injuries.

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Children are at an especially high risk of suffering from dog bite injuries and animal attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the 800,000 Americans seeking medical attention each year for dog bites are children. Children are more curious and can be more threatening to animals, especially if their movements are erratic or if they face dogs at eye level.

If you have children, be sure to teach them how to safely approach animals to prevent injury. Many children do not realize how quickly a dog can snap a chain, jump a fence, or break away from an owner. It is best to keep your children safe by keeping them informed. Animal Care and Control advise to teach children to respect animals and their space. Children should never tease a dog, even if they are behind a fence or on a chain. Here are some other tips to prevent animal bites and dog bite attacks.

Children and adults should be cautious about strange dogs. You should always treat pets with respect and approach them with care. Always wait to ask an owner if they can be touched and approach them carefully. Some safety advocates advise allowing a dog to smell your hand before petting it.

Small children should never be left alone with animals. Even dogs without a history of bites can become agitated around children. Dangerous and deadly dog attacks have occurred in only a few months.

Know proper animal defense. You should always avoid unfamiliar dogs, but if you are approached, you should know how to protect yourself and your children. If you are approached, stay still. In most cases the dog will leave once it is able to determine that you are not a threat.

Never run away because dogs could see this as a threat and they are trained to run and chase. You should also never disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. In these instances dogs may be irritable and sensitive and any unwanted advances could provoke a bite.

As a dog owner, you also have a duty to prevent bites this summer. Avoid riling up your dog or getting your dog excited. You should always use a leash when bringing your dog in public. Warn children and their parents if your dog is not used to being approached. Keep your dog healthy, keep up with vaccinations and make sure to spay or neuter your pet to prevent bad behavior.

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July 8, 2013

Distracted Walking: More Dangerous Than Distracted Driving?


In cities, parks, on rural streets and in the suburbs, it's common to see a walker along the sidewalk or at an intersection looking down, even texting on a handheld device. While we have been warned of the dangers of distracted driving, another threat to safety is the danger of distracted walking. Hand-held devices that connect us by phone or Internet can be an overwhelming distraction. Nationwide, pedestrians and cyclists are known to have suffered serious and grave injuries because of distraction.

Even though walkers are not responsible for operating a vehicle, they can still create serious hazards when not paying attention. Inattentive walking can make a pedestrian blind to oncoming traffic, potholes, and other hazards that they would normally see as obvious risks. Statistics show that one in three people don't put down their cell phones even to cross the street. Attention has been brought to the high risks of distracted walking to increase public awareness and prevent injury. Our Carolina accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and to preventing future accidents and injuries.

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Emergency room visits related to texting and walking, talking and walking, and Internet surfing and walking are on the rise. Recent research indicates that injuries have spiked since 2004. Many instances involve distracted walking into telephone poles or street signs, falling off of a road into a ditch, or walking into oncoming traffic. A significant number of these accidents were caused by a simple conversation, not because the walker was looking down and reading or writing a text. The number of similar accidents has doubled and has risen at about the same rates as distracted driving.

Studies indicate that there are probably additional cases that go unreported because the injuries are minor. Distracted walking can result in injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to serious head and neck injuries, paralysis, even wrongful death. A victim could suffer a significant fall, walk into an intersection or collide with a car or bicycle. Researchers believe that the number of accidents involving distracted walking are significant.

Public health professionals are urging for campaigns similar to those intended to reduce distracted driving. The downward trend for distracted driving has been attributed to the laws curbing the use of cell phones for drivers behind the wheel. Similarly, some advocates believe that lawmakers should restrict the use of cell phones when walking in public spaces. Though this would be difficult to regulate or monitor, it could show a decrease in the number of distracted walking accidents every year.

Victims may include not only the distracted walkers. A distracted walker or cyclist is also a hazard to others on the road. A wandering cell phone user could disrupt traffic, force a cyclist to swerve out of the way or interrupt roadside construction work. The variation of potential accidents is limitless and all cell phone users should be aware of these risks. If you were injured by a distracted walker, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

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July 6, 2013

Shifting Trends Puts NC Bicycle Safety in Focus


For decades, bike culture has dominated Europe, creating public incentive for bike lanes and other initiatives to promote cycling. The Tour de France and other international events shed light on the public benefits of biking. Throughout the U.S., cities are investing in shared bike programs and many have urban planners who accommodate cyclists. This means changes in law, creation of bike lanes, and other incentive programs that favor bike culture.

Biking has a significant number of public health benefits. In addition to being a healthy alternative to commutes sitting in a vehicle, cyclists are reducing traffic and cutting down on air pollution. Despite the positive benefits of cycling, many motorists find cyclists reckless, menacing, and have difficulty sharing the road. This summer, both cyclists and motorists have to be aware and follow the law to prevent accidents and injuries. Our Carolina injury attorneys are dedicated to promoting road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

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Many drivers see cyclists as a threat to road safety. Where drivers are forced to follow the law, some cyclists believe they are above it--running stop lights, red lights, speeding, or cutting through traffic. In some accidents, reckless cyclists have caused death to other pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road.

Nationwide, cities are changing infrastructure to accommodate an increasing number of cyclists. For many, this is a positive change, shifting the way that commuters get to work, students get to school, and how Carolina residents spend their weekends. You should not be surprised to see an increasing number of bike shops and other commercial endeavors tailored to meet the needs of a growing population of bike enthusiasts. Both public and private entities are working to promote bike use as well as keep drivers and cyclists mindful of road safety.

Even with public awareness initiatives and campaigns, many motorists can become frustrated or outraged by the behavior of some cyclists. There are even a growing number of opposition groups that see cyclists as rude and ignorant of local road laws. This can create additional danger for motorists as well as other cyclists and pedestrians. Bike rides "en masse" can cause severe traffic congestion and prevent motorists from using the roads.

Some bike culture advocates claim that the world is trending towards cycling and that motorists need to adjust and get used to it. A shift towards bike culture means that motorists will have to slow down, reduce distracted driving, yield to cyclists and take additional precautions when on the road. It also may mean increased traffic for motorists as cities designate "bike only" lanes on many already congested streets.

Cities have already spent millions creating shared bike programs, adjusting roadways, installing bike racks, and creating public awareness campaigns to promote shared roads. The deaths of cyclists nationwide have prompted lawmakers to ensure that motorists remain aware that they are a serious threat to bikers. Tension on both sides--cyclists and opposing motorists--means that drivers and bikers should remain attentive, mindful, and follow the law to avoid accidents.

If the United States is becoming more heavily dependent on cycling for transportation, bikers and motorists must be wary of changes in infrastructure and law to stay safe. Motorists should consider that bikers are here to stay, and cyclists should be respectful to establish a mutual trust with motorists when sharing the road.

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July 4, 2013

Boating in the Carolinas: Summer Safety Tips


Whether you are visiting North or South Carolina for a vacation or you are an avid and experienced local boater, it is important to keep safety in mind when out on the waters. Water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing are all part of summer fun on the water. But participants should take necessary precautions and be safe to avoid accidents and collisions.

Whether on the rivers, lakes, or on the ocean, residents and tourists will flock to the water this summer. Fisherman should also be wary of large boats to prevent accidents and injury. Our boating accident attorneys are experienced in representing the victims of boating and accidents on the water. We are dedicated to helping tourists and residents of North and South Carolina stay safe this summer boating season.

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All boaters, swimmers and fishermen should be wary of their surroundings. You want to know what lies ahead and where you may come into contact with other boaters. Here are some additional tips to avoid accidents or injuries:

Obey the rules. You should know state laws, including speed limits, wake laws, and other regulations to ensure safety for your passengers and others out on the water. Remember to only travel in areas open to your size and type of boat.

Carry proper equipment. Make sure that you carry Coast Guard approved life vests for each of your passengers. Life vests should fit properly and be the right size for your smallest and largest passengers.

Be responsible. While being on the water may make you feel carefree, remember to keep safety in mind. Carefree does not mean negligent or reckless boating. Speeding, drinking and driving, and other acts of negligence could result in serious accidents, resulting in injury or fatality.

Make sure drivers are trained and licensed to drive. Boat operators should be well-trained and new drivers should be supervised by someone who is sufficiently capable and experienced.

Be aware of dangerous weather conditions and low-visibility. If you are in a storm, reduce speeds to arrive at a dock safety and avoid the potential for collision.

Keep boat and equipment maintained. Boat owners should perform regular maintenance checks and upkeep. Inspections are necessary to make sure that boats are safe for use.

Boating accidents can result in serious accidents and injuries. Victims of boating accidents may suffer lacerations, broken bones, head and neck injuries, paralysis, or drowning and accident death.

Never drink and drive. Boating and alcohol-related accidents continue to result in injury and accidental death. Remember that a drinking and driving accident could result in DUI and additional criminal penalties. Even a small amount of alcohol can reduce reaction times and result in a catastrophic accident.

Every year, drivers and passengers are subjected to serious injury and death in the event of collision, capsize, or other accident. Taking precautions throughout the season can help you to avoid accidents, injuries, and wrongful death. If you or someone you love was involved in a boating accident, you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible who can review your case, initiate an investigation, and protect your rights.

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July 1, 2013

Fireworks Sparking Carolina Injuries Through the Fourth of July


With the Fourth of July, we look forward to time off work and celebrations with our friends and family members. Unfortunately, this summer holiday can get a little risky.
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As a general rule, North Carolina does have fairly restrictive laws on fireworks. Our neighbor to the south, South Carolina, has much more inclusive laws. In fact, most fireworks are legal in South Carolina. Remember, many fireworks you can purchase across the border are not legal here.

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys understand that many residents and visitors may not be aware of what kind of fireworks arein fact legal here in the state. Thankfully, officials with the US Fireworks have compiled a list of legal requirements for the state of North Carolina.

Legal or not, the truth of the matter is that fireworks of all kinds can be dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were four people who were killed in firework-related accidents in 2011. In addition to these fatalities, there were close to 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospitals because of fireworks in 2011. Close to 70 percent of these injuries happened during the month surrounding the Fourth of July.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, 200 people go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

So let's make this the safest of all Fourth of July celebrations:

-Never let kids play with or ignite fireworks.

-Don't purchase any fireworks that come in a brown paper bag. This can mean that they're illegal for you and were made for professionals.

-Make sure that a competent adult is supervising all firework activities.

-Remain cautious when children are playing with sparklers. These devices can heat up to nearly 2,000 degrees and can cause some serious injuries if mishandled.

-Make sure you keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water or a hose nearby in the event of an emergency.

-If a firework is a "dud," don't attempt to relight it. Simply discard it in a bucket of water or with a hose.

-Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

-Make sure that when fireworks are done burning, you put them in water to be sure that they're out and done.

-Whenever you light a firework, be sure to move away from the area completely. Never light a firework over a body part.

-Always have a designated lighter. Alcohol and fireworks don't mix.

-Make sure that you're always lighting fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface to insure the stability of the products. You don't want to ever light them on grass, but if you decide to do that then lay down a flat wooden board for a shooting surface.

-Make sure you always clean up after yourself.

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June 29, 2013

Local Residents Put at Risk by Poor Records of Dangerous Chemicals


According to the Associated Press, the recent explosion in the West Texas fertilizer plant was the first time that nearby residents became aware of the ticking time bomb in their midst. Many of the 2,800 residents of the West Texas town were unaware of the fact that they lived close to a fertilizer plant with such dangerous chemicals inside, and even first responders did not know what they were dealing with when the plant exploded. 1304491_bush_fire.jpg

Our Anderson injury attorneys know that there are other dangerous businesses located throughout the United States, including more than 60 other facilities that reported to state regulators that they have as much or more than the 540,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate that the West Texas Fertilizer Co. had stored in their facility. Unfortunately, the majority of people living near to these dangerous businesses are unaware of the fact that they are living within the "blast zone."

Is Your Home Within a Blast Zone?
According to the Associated Press, there are hundreds of buildings throughout the United States that store dangerous chemicals within them. Unfortunately, fears of terrorism have made it very difficult or even impossible for nearby residents to be aware of the chemicals that are nearby their homes. Buildings nearby to these buildings housing dangerous chemicals can include not just homes but also schools, daycare centers and hospitals as well.

In fact, the AP indicated that a review of data from 28-states showed more than 120 facilities with dangerous chemicals had a potentially devastating blast zone that would encompass school children, the elderly and the infirm.

Unfortunately, records on many of the dangerous facilities in the United States are limited. The records often don't exist or are "so shoddy" that rescuers would be unable to rely on them to save lives.

The absence of comprehensive records has made it a mystery exactly how many dangerous buildings there are throughout the United States. However, in states that did provide verifiable data, an analysis by AP reporters revealed that there are more than 600,000 people living within a quarter-mile of a potential blast zone if as little as 190 tons of ammonium nitrate are detonated. Since many facilities have much more ammonium nitrate than this, there are likely many more people at serious risk of being hurt if something goes wrong.

Many of the danger zones are described as being either poor or middle class neighborhoods. Residents living within them are unaware of the risks, especially as some of the buildings that house dangerous chemicals don't even look like factories or industrial buildings.

Protecting Residents and First Responders

Clearly, the West Texas explosion shows that the current situation is an untenable one. First responders were badly harmed in West Texas because they were not aware of the chemicals in the plant that they were responding to, and residents who had their property destroyed were shocked to find out that they lived so close to a danger zone.

Facilities that house dangerous chemicals need to be carefully regulated and first responders need to be told where these facilities are so they know what they are dealing with if a fire occurs. Not only that, but people deserve to know if their home is in a blast zone that puts their families at risk. Businesses need to take responsibility for keeping records, making their plants safe and keeping the public informed as these businesses harboring dangerous chemicals could be liable for injuries they cause.

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June 26, 2013

Asheville Accident Reminds Parents of the Risks of Summer Camp Injuries


According to the Asheville Citizen Times, eight campers and two instructors were recently involved in a dangerous auto accident when their summer camp van plunged over the side of a mountain in the Pisgah National Forest. The instructors and campers were in a 16-passenger van, which went over an embankment and got stuck against a large tree approximately 30-feet down along the steep slope. 1030865_untitled.jpg

Our Asheville accident lawyers know that traffic accidents in camp vans are just one of the many risks faced by kids at summer camps throughout the Carolinas over the summer. While camp can be a great experience, kids who spend their days doing activities outdoors and under the care of counselors can be in great danger of suffering serious injuries if the camp doesn't take proper precautions.

This is why it is so important for parents to research summer camps they are considering for their kids so they can make informed choices about whether the camp will do a good job caring for their children.

Summer Camp Car Accident Emergency
The recent Asheville camp accident took place at a camp serving children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. The accident happened on a gravel forest road at around 10:30 a.m. when the 21-year-old driver of the vehicle got too close to the edge of the embankment. The driver met a car and was trying to pass it on the right side when the shoulder of the road gave way.

The accident was described as being caused by the narrow road and by the shoulder giving way. The Asheville Citizen Times reported that no charges were being filed and the crash was described as not the fault of the driver. The accident was also described as not having caused serious injuries, although not all injuries are symptomatic immediately after accidents occur.

The kids who were on the van could potentially have faced much more serious harm or even death if the van had not been stopped by the tree as it careened down the embankment. A highway patrol trooper discussing the accident indicated that hitting the tree showed the "hand of God" by preventing more serious harm to the kids.

Protecting Kids at Summer Camps
Unfortunately, this accident shows that injuries at summer camp are a very real possibility. Not only is there a chance of accidents happening, especially if kids are being transported in large vans by young and inexperienced drivers, but there are also other risks as well including the dangers of burn injuries from bonfires; drowning accidents; heat-stroke injuries; sports accidents; and hiking injuries.

To make sure that kids have the very best chance of staying safe as they enjoy their camp experience, it is a good idea to do some research to determine if a camp is a safe one for your child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, recommends that you look both at the activities that the camp will be offering as well as taking a look at camp policies on issues such as heat stroke and other health and safety issues. The American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that camps should have written health policies in place; should require that campers have had a recent physical; and should have a policy mandating that all campers have had their required vaccinations.

It is also advisable to check whether the camp you are considering has been accredited by the American Camp Association.

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June 23, 2013

Doctors are Waiting Too Long to Talk to Elderly Patients about Driving Dangers


Our Spartanburg injury lawyers know that senior citizens generally outlive their ability to drive safely by at least six years according to most studies. This means that at some point in the lives of most senior citizens, there comes a time when the keys need to be put down and the senior needs to stop driving. 673558_sign_1.jpg

Unfortunately, many seniors are unaware of exactly when they should give up on getting behind the wheel. Seniors may depend upon family members or upon doctors to have a discussion about driving safety but a recent study shows that clinicians are waiting too long to discuss senior driving risks.

Doctors Shouldn't Wait to Discuss Senior Driving

According to a small study recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, clinicians and not elderly patients were often the first ones to start the conversation about safe senior driving. However, Nurse.com reported that healthcare providers tended to wait for "red flags" before bringing up the subject of senior driving dangers.

When doctors and healthcare providers did bring up the issue, they also reported that the conversations with the senior were usually unpleasant. For many seniors, driving is seen as a link to independence and freedom. A discussion about giving up that freedom is not well received, which may be why doctors tend to wait.

Despite the fact that seniors often do not like to discuss the risks of driving, however, researchers stress that it is very important for doctors to begin the discussion before red flags arise. Waiting for red flags, which can include an accident or serious health problems, could mean that the senior is driving for months or even years before the doctor notices a problem even though it really is no longer safe to drive. If a doctor waits for an accident to happen, then people could get hurt simply because someone drove for too long after his mental or physical health was impaired.

Instead of waiting until the doctor thinks the problem has become a serious one, researchers advise that clinicians and healthcare providers begin having conversations with seniors as soon as they turn 65. The same study showed that seniors don't mind regular questioning about driving, and these questions can give doctors some insight on when a senior might be beginning to struggle. Furthermore, asking questions of the senior and establishing a line of communication about driving dangers can make it easier to have the inevitable conversation when the time arises that driving no longer is safe.

This issue of talking to seniors about the dangers of driving beyond their prime has become a very urgent one. In the United States, there are 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every single day. The aging of the driving population could significantly increase the risk of accidents unless seniors stop driving before it becomes dangerous for them to do so. Doctors and other healthcare providers have an important role to play in making that happen.

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