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Lake Charles Personal Injury Law Blog

Growing up with Erb's Palsy

As Louisiana parents who have a child with Erb's Palsy, many questions are likely going to arise. How will the child fare as they grow older? How badly will Erb's Palsy affect the rest of their lives? Is there anything that can be done to lessen its impact?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describe Erb's Palsy as a type of brachial plexus palsy in which the shoulders, fingers, hands and arms are affected by weakness to varying degrees. The severity can differ vastly from one case to another, with some experiencing weakness in certain parts of the arm while others may experience a complete lack of ability to move the affected limb.

Cellphones and distracted driving

Louisiana drivers may not realize that their cellphone is one of the main distractions they will encounter on the road. While some people may think that a cellphone is a distraction only if they are using it, this may not be the case.

Although drivers know it is important to focus on the road, they may sometimes be tempted to use their cellphone while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 481,000 people handle their cellphones when they are driving during the day. While any cellphone use can be distracting, sending a text message can keep a driver's eyes off the road for a long time. People can easily drive the length of a football field when they look down at their phone to send a text message.

Loss of income versus loss of earning capacity

Residents from Louisiana who get involved in dangerous accidents may have to face financial repercussions. Sometimes, this may come in the form of financial loss. Two of the most common ways that an accident can hurt a person's finances are through loss of income and loss of earning capacity.

According to The Free Dictionary, loss of income involves any situation in which someone's source of income is terminated. In some cases, a person may be insured for it. Loss of income insurance is recommended for people who work in dangerous industries that have a high rate of accidents. In other cases, a person may not have any insurance to protect them from losing the source of their income. This can do a huge amount of damage, as a person is essentially left without the money they need to cover basic expenses like medical bills or even food.

Understanding the attractive nuisance doctrine

Once summer starts, children in Louisiana and elsewhere will be spending more time outdoors. While this is a good thing, some homeowners should think about whether they have an “attractive nuisance” on their properties that might result in a child being injured.

FindLaw explains that an attractive nuisance is something that may entice children onto a property, where they may become injured. A good example of this is a swimming pool, although an attractive nuisance might also be a feature such as a fountain, well, path or tunnel. A homeowner with unusual machinery, such as a riding mower or woodworking equipment, might also face the problem of young people being enticed onto the property out of curiosity.

When should I pursue a childbirth injury claim?

Having some discomfort after you give birth is completely normal. Your body has just performed an amazing feat, and a recovery period should follow. However, some Louisiana mothers experience more discomfort than others: Sometimes these strange feelings or symptoms indicate that you have sustained permanent or excessive injuries. Your injuries could be a known risk of a dangerous procedure you underwent, such as forceps delivery, but that does not necessarily preclude the idea of a legal claim.

If you feel as though pain is getting worse, or if you experience certain symptoms related to common injuries for your procedures, then you might want to seek the opinion of a second doctor. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, a forceps-assisted delivery might result in the following birth injuries and symptoms:

  • Tearing or breaking of your uterus
  • Wounds in your birth canal
  • Inability to control defecation and urination
  • Excessive pain

Protecting the elderly against medication errors

When your parents begin to age, it's sometimes hard to know exactly what's ailing them. They may have multiple conditions working against them, and there are likely multiple specialists and medical providers they'll see. It can be hard to keep conditions and medications straight, but that's what medical providers and nursing homes should take care of for you.

The problem begins when people fail to communicate. Nurses unaware of the cancellation of some medications may still give them to patients, potentially causing medications to combine in dangerous ways.

Patient dumping is dangerous and dehumanizing

Imagine getting a phone call that your mother, who lives in a nursing home and suffers from dementia, was located at a homeless shelter after being treated at the hospital. Even worse, think about how you would feel if you found out the hospital staff had called a taxi for your mother, since she had no identifying information with her, and instructed the driver to take her to the shelter. At the law offices of Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC, we feel that the practice of “patient dumping” should never happen to patients in Louisiana or anywhere else, but also know that it is an unfortunate occurrence in hospitals across the country.

You may remember the story of a mentally ill woman who was discharged last December from a Baltimore, Maryland, hospital in freezing weather wearing only a hospital gown. Reportedly, hospital staff escorted her to a bus stop and left her there. HealthCare Dive explains that patient dumping often happens before patients have fully recovered or are adequately treated. It is especially prevalent among the most vulnerable patients – those without identification or medical insurance.

Why are large trucks more dangerous than other vehicles?

Louisiana residents share the road with all manners of vehicles, both big and small. Understandably, large trucks in particular can make people nervous. But just what about trucks make them so much more dangerous than other vehicles?

Size is the first thing that comes to mind for many. FindLaw shows that many dangerous driving behaviors that cause accidents can be amplified when it's a truck driver who's partaking in them. For example, certain trucking companies are notorious for encouraging unsafe driving by rewarding faster speeds and more hours behind the wheel. Because of that, driver fatigue is a big issue. When a truck driver starts to fall asleep, they risk injuring many more people simply because of the size, weight, and potential speed of their vehicle.

Consumers worry that the world is not ready for self-driving cars

Autonomous and driver-assisted vehicles have been a primary focus in the media for several months, especially after accidents that have occurred when the technology was newly released on the streets. Not surprisingly, many people in Louisiana and elsewhere have started expressing concerns that self-driving cars are not yet safe enough to be available to the public. A recent accident involving an autonomous Uber vehicle underlines this point.

Reportedly, the SUV with self-driving technology was part of Uber’s testing program. In March, the vehicle struck a woman walking her bicycle across a street in Tempe, Arizona, killing her. The vehicle had been going about 40 miles per hour at the time of the accident. There had been a driver in the vehicle, but a dashboard recording showed that he may have been distracted when the crash occurred.


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