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Articles Tagged with Personal injury

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Last month, Schuylkill County and the surrounding areas experienced an unusual and plentiful amount of rain; however, one small borough received a little more than most. With a population of just over 700 people, the main street of Gilberton was transformed into a river of eight feet of water. Since the water levels were progressively rising, multiple people had to evacuate their homes into boats to get to safety.

Officials reported that the peculiar amount of water was partially the result of construction and clogged drainage pipes on a bridge in the town. They believe that the bridge and its piping system was unable to contain the rushing waters of the Mahanoy Creek, which caused Main Street to flood. Gilberton’s drainage and piping system was severely damaged. Eventually, six pumps from New Jersey were used in draining the water levels and are currently serving as the primary way to move water through the town. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), an agency that supervises issues of transportation for the state, was working on construction for the bridge before the flooding occurred.

Local towns and organizations partnered together to supply the residents of Gilberton with life essentials, such as food, water, and clothing. Organizations, such as veteran groups and Boy Scouts, and businesses, like Lowe’s and Advanced Auto, have donated to the relief fund. Only 3 miles away, Girardville, another small community, donated cleaning supplies to help people restore and disinfect their homes. Items included gloves and cleaners, along with clothes, rags, and non-perishable food. The mayor and residents of Gilberton started a donation drive for the families of the damaged homes. They expect that the town will need a substantial amount of financial help in order to restore the town’s water system and appearance.

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Social media has created online communities, and continues to drive online communication.  As this process occurs, the media adapts.  The newest adaptation in this trend is an app known as “Tik Tok”.  The app, which was started in China in 2016, launched in the United States in 2018 and has become an enormous hit with the country’s youth.  As with the social media of the past and present, Tik Tok trends have become prevalent.  Their flagship trend is called a “challenge”.  During Tik Tok Challenges, the participants attempt to recreate previous videos made by other users.  They all share the same general actions, music, dances, etc.

The newest, and most dangerous Challenge is titled “The Skull Breaker Challenge”.  This consists of three individuals standing side by side. As the middle participant jumps into the air, the two outside participants kick the legs out from underneath him/her.  As you may predict, this challenge has caused head, neck, and back injuries to many of its participants, which is how it received its charming name.  Some of these injuries have been severe, causing serious complications.

While Tik Tok has requested its users not participate in dangerous challenges like The Skull Breaker Challenge, their requests have largely gone ignored.  With COVID-19’s impacts driving online activity through the roof, Tik Tok users have continued to churn out these dangerous videos.

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Cigarettes, once a staple in American society and culture, reached a record low 14% usage rating among adults in 2017, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For comparison, at the height of U.S. adult usage, the CDC reported 42.4% of adults smoked.  Many factors play into this decline, but perhaps the most relevant is the emergence of e-cigarettes or “vapes”.

Vapes, or vaporizers, act as an alternative nicotine option to cigarettes and chewing tobacco.  They work as follows: 1.) A sensor in the device acknowledges an inhalation 2.) The sensor triggers a vaporizing device that heats up the nicotine-containing flavored liquid to such an extreme temperature, it turns into vaporized smoke 3.) The smoker extracts and inhales the vaporized smoke through a mouth piece.

There has been an immense amount of controversy surrounding the flavored liquids; those who oppose them argue that companies like San Francisco-based Juul, and their flavors, target minors and young people.  Juul, who named its vaporizing device “juul” as well, made headlines recently when it pulled its tasty flavors, limiting its production to just “Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco, Mint, and Menthol”.

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Once thought to be a fad of the late 1990s and early 2000s, “scooting”, or the act of riding a scooter, has once again become popular among young teens.  It’s also become a popular mode of transportation in cities among business professionals, tourists, and citizens alike. All summer, rural and urban communities alike saw an influx of rentable and purchasable scooters being ridden around their communities, creating yet another obstacle for pedestrians and motorists.  Because of the popularity of scooters, manufacturers have increased production; this increase has resulted in a manufacturer’s recall for a particular model.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fluidfreeride, the maker of popular kids’ scooters, began recalling their Mercane WideWheel electric kick scooter, due to hazardous malfunctions of the brake caliper, on October 4th, 2019.  When this malfunction occurs, riders have been found to lose the ability to brake, lose control of their scooter, and suffer injuries.  The injuries reported thus far include flesh wounds, deep bodily bruises, and lower body sprains.

The problematic scooters were manufactured in China and sold online at fluidfreeride.com, Amazon.com, and ebay.com for $1,000 to $1,200.  Fluidfreeride has decided to remedy the situation by offering to repair all scooters free of charge.  If you or someone you know has a fluidfreeride scooter, you should immediately stop using it and check to see if yours is one that’s been recalled.  Telltale signs include: scooter is foldable and electric, has “WideWheel” and “Mercane” printed on its platform, made of gray aluminum alloy, and includes a single 500W motor with an 8.8Ah battery or dual 500W motors with a 13.2Ah battery.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of avoidable motor vehicle accidents.  The most common form of distraction behind the wheel is cell-phone use while driving.  This is why so many states have enacted laws to cite those that drive while using their cell phone in a hope to decrease distracted driving accidents.

From 2016 to 2017, distracted driving-related citations increased by 52% in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania law enforcement officials issued 5,054 distracted driving citations in 2017, up from 3,336 citations in 2016. 15,542 citations have been issued in Pennsylvania since 2013.

According to the NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.  They estimate that around 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device while driving daily.

Previous studies have shown that properly installed rear-facing car seats will protect children in front end and side impact accidents.  However, a new study performed at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows that rear-facing car seats are also effective in protecting children in a rear end accident. 080924-F-4042M-029

According to the university, the research team performed crash tests with multiple rear-facing car seats and found all the seats were effective in absorbing the force of the crash and controlling the child when properly installed.  The study was authored by Julie Mansfield who is a Research Engineer for the Injury Biomechanics Research Center at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Pennsylvania law requires that children under the age of 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.

A 49 year old woman was fatally hit, while crossing the street by a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona earlier this month.  The crash happened around 10 p.m. Sunday March 18th near Mill Avenue and Curry Road.  This incident is believed to be the first pedestrian death involving an autonomous or self-driving vehicle.

The vehicle was a Volvo that was in autonomous mode when the accident happened.  It did however have a backup driver behind the wheel, which is common for Uber in case the vehicle has to be taken out of self-driving mode.   The victim was walking her bike across the street when she was struck by the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries.  The vehicle captured a video that Tempe police released that shows the moments before the pedestrian was struck.  According to the police, the vehicle was going 40 miles an hour in a 45-mile-an-hour zone and it did not slow down before impact.

Police in Tempe and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.  This incident adds to the ongoing debate of the safety and feasibility of autonomous vehicles and how close they are to becoming more common on the roadways.

Most holidays, alcohol consumption increases for many people.  St. Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays where alcohol consumption is at its highest level.  This also makes it one of the deadliest times of year on the roadways.  This is because many individuals make the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel after drinking.  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are promoting their annual campaign to avoid the dangers of driving impaired as part of a national Saint Patrick’s Day “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

The NHTSA reports that drinking and driving account for nearly 1/3 of vehicle fatalities in the United States. NHTSA also reports that St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays on our nation’s roads.

PennDOT data shows there were 28 alcohol related motor vehicle accidents on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2017.  That was an increase from 26 in 2016 and 23 in 2015.size0

Children are the most important cargo transported in a vehicle. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. That’s why it’s so important to choose and use the right car seat and make sure seatbelts are properly used every time your child is in the car.  Unlike adults, young children rely exclusively on others to make sure they are safely secured when sitting in a passenger seat in a vehicle.  It is our job to make sure a child is buckled up or if they require a car seat to make sure it is the proper one and they are safely secured. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTNmbKMmynznajO_rqhOl6MM0oZjfPmwnNP1oM9QZHRcLX4MWOwEw

Under Pennsylvania law, children under the age of 4 must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle.  Children under 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.  Children from age 4 up to age 8 must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat.  Children from age 8 up to age 18 must be in a seat belt.

PennDot’s Car Seat Recommendations

Harley Davidson is recalling 250,000 motorcycles world-wide to fix an issue that has the potential to cause the brakes to fail.  175,000 of those motorcycles are in the United States.

The investigation began in July 2016 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received 43 complaints of problems with the brakes, including reports of 3 crashes and 2 injuries.  This led the NHTSA to pressure Harley Davidson to declare a recall.

The recall notice says that “deposits may form on components within the brake system if the DOT 4 brake fluid is not replaced for a prolonged period of time beyond the 2-year maintenance schedule specified in the Owner’s Manual.”  The deposits can cause a valve in the antilock brake control unit to stick. The recall service involves a full flush of the brake fluid, but no parts need to be replaced.

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