Archive for July, 2015

Decrease Malpractice Claims: Improve Quality of Care, Not Tort Reform

July 30th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

quality of care, Westport Injury Attorney, tort reformThere has been much movement—pushed along by the medical and insurance—to institute tort reform regarding a patient’s legal right to sue medical personal when treatment has caused injury or illness. This movement has included placing caps on the amount of non-economic damages, as well as placing stringent time limits on when an injured patient has to file his or her medical malpractice lawsuit.

Advocates for tort reform say it is necessary because there are too many false and/or frivolous lawsuits, causing medical and insurance costs to skyrocket. A new study, however, found there may be another way to cut down on the number of malpractice lawsuits that are filed—offer better medical care.

The study was conducted by researchers from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, Allscripts, Chicago, IL, and Griffin Hospital, Derby, CT. It was published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

The research team used a hospital in Louisiana and a hospital in Texas to conduct their study. Both hospitals were owned by the same medical corporation. They chose those two locations because of the difference in tort reform which has occurred in those two states. During the time period from which the team took their data, Louisiana had not implemented significant tort reform; however, Texas had. In Texas, for example, attorneys have lost the ability to use contingency fees as compensation to represent injured clients.

Although there were no changes in tort reform during that time period in Louisiana, there were changes in the quality of care the hospital offered patients. This quality of care was based on the same 22 factors that Medicare uses to determine quality of care.

The study found that both hospitals had a reduction in malpractice claims, yet for different reasons. Therefore, this proved that the system does not need tort reform to decrease medical malpractice claims, but should instead be focusing on improving the care patients receive in hospitals and reducing medical errors which are one of the leading causes of patient injury.

If you have been injured or become ill because of medical treatment you have received, contact an experienced Westport personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. Call Attorney Richard H. Raphael at 203-226-6168 for a free consultation.

Study Finds Asbestos Deaths Much Higher than Previously Reported

July 23rd, 2015 at 7:00 am

asbestos deaths, Westport Personal Injury AttorneyA new study reveals that approximately 15,000 people die every year in this country from asbestos exposure.  People may be exposed to asbestos through their jobs, typically from materials used in the construction or utility industries. Although there has been a substantial decrease—which began in the 1980’s—in the amount of asbestos used in products, the effects of asbestos exposure can take decades to appear.

It is well-documented that asbestos exposure causes asbestosis (a chronic lung disease), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (cancer of the protective lining of the body’s organs).

The study analyzed records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from the years 1999 to 2013, of people who had died from either asbestosis or mesothelioma. Researchers also included death records of those who had died from lung cancer which was linked to asbestos exposure. There were a total of 20,317 deaths caused by asbestosis during that time period. The total number of deaths from mesothelioma was 39,870. Deaths from lung cancer during that time were between 127,579 and 159,480.

The study found that there were at least 2,000 to 5,000 more deaths every year from asbestos exposure than what had previously been reported.

Asbestos exposure has also been linked to ovarian cancer, cancer of the larynx, colon cancer, and stomach cancer; however, those death records were not included in the study. A former assistant surgeon general—who was not part of the research group—says that if you considered the number of deaths caused by those asbestos-causing diseases, the number of deaths from asbestos exposure is much higher than what the study found. Dr. Richard Lemen also points out that several studies have found much higher rates of lung cancer in asbestos-exposed workers than what has been reported by government and other organizations, adding to an even higher number of deaths.

If you have been diagnosed with a work-related illness, such as asbestosis, please contact an experienced Westport personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against those responsible for your illness. For a free initial consultation about your case, call Attorney Richard H. Raphael at 203-226-6168 today.

New Technology May Help Decrease Tractor Trailer Accidents

July 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am

tractor trailer accidents, Westport Personal Injury AttorneyMost travelers dread driving around or near a tractor trailer. Big rigs can be intimidating because of their size, and can cause a legitimate uneasiness for those driving near one due to the dangers they may cause.

Every year in the U.S., there are nearly 4,000 people killed in tractor trailer crashes, and almost more than 105,000 people are seriously injured. Over 300,000 tractor trailers are involved in accidents every year. According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTA), almost half of those accidents involve a truck and a vehicle both traveling straight at the time of the crash.

Being stuck behind a tractor trailer can be frustrating due to the massive size of the vehicle. Moreover, it can be impossible to see what is ahead or what is coming in the opposite direction because a tractor trailer can block one’s view entirely. However, new technology by one company may help solve this issue for many drivers.

Samsung Technology Gives Cars a Better View 

Samsung, the company known for the manufacturing of televisions, phones, and other electronics, has begun mounting giant screens on the back of their company’s tractor trailers which gives the cars behind the truck a clear view of what is in front of the truck.

The screen is actually a video wall which uses four outside monitors. Wireless cameras are placed in the front of the truck and transmit to the monitors in real time. The technology enables drivers behind the tractor trailer to prepare for any situations which may be coming at them but are unable to see because of the truck’s size. Additionally, the screens enable drivers to see what is in the next lane, or coming at them from opposing traffic, therefore assisting when trying to pass the truck.

Samsung has been testing the screens in Argentina, where the accident fatality rate is extremely high. According to the country’s statistics, one person is killed every hour in a vehicle accident.

A Compassionate Westport Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a tractor trailer, please contact an experienced Westport personal injury attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss. We are here to help you.

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