Earlier this month, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case that discussed the presumption of negligence that arises when one driver rear-ends another driver in the context of a personal injury suit. In the case of Lopez v. United States, Lopez, the plaintiff, sought monetary damages from the United States government after an accident that she was involved in with a postal employee.

that-hurt-1450455According to the court’s opinion, Lopez was traveling as a passenger in a vehicle being operated by a friend. The lane in which they were traveling came to an end at the intersection that was quickly approaching. The driver of the vehicle switched lanes into the lane that was occupied by the postal truck. The truck rear-ended the vehicle that the plaintiff was inside and pushed it a short distance into the intersection. The airbags did not deploy, and the vehicle was able to be driven home by its owner.

A short time later, Lopez filed suit against the United States government, claiming that the postal employee was negligent in rear-ending the vehicle in which she was riding. Lopez pointed to a presumption under Missouri law that arises in rear-end accident cases and states that the driver who crashes into the rear of another driver is presumed to be at fault. However, the court failed to apply the doctrine and found in favor of the defendant.

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Earlier this week in Cambridge, Maryland, several people were injured when a pick-up truck towing two jet skis caused an accident involving roughly 20 other vehicles. According to one local news source, the accident took place on a Monday evening, just before nine o’clock, on Locust Street.

jet-skiing-1388627Evidently, the truck was driving with a trailer in tow when it started colliding with several other cars on the road, both occupied and unoccupied. Eventually, the truck lost control and ended up striking a marked police car head-on. The driver of the truck did sustain serious injuries and was flown to Peninsula Medical Center in Salisbury. The police officer whose car was hit was also taken to the hospital, and he is expected to make a full recovery with time. Those seem to be the only serious injuries.

After police caught up with the truck’s driver, they arrested him. He has since been charged with attempted murder and several other charges relating to the accident. Police are also awaiting toxicology reports to see if drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in what certainly seems to be an odd accident.

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Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women and is a totally separate form of diabetes than the other two types, commonly referred to as Type I or Type II. It is estimated that around 18 percent of women will develop gestational diabetes at some point during their pregnancy, making it one of the more common pregnancy-related conditions experienced by expecting mothers.

blood-glucose-meter-1318261In a nutshell, gestational diabetes is the name of the condition where a mother has too much sugar in her bloodstream. This is the result of the body’s failure to produce enough insulin. According to one recent news article, a new study looks at two common ways to treat gestational diabetes, insulin and glyburide.

As noted above, insulin is the hormone that is responsible for breaking down sugars and converting them into energy. A direct dose of insulin has long been one alternative to treating diabetes. However, more recently doctors have been prescribing glyburide to patients with gestational diabetes. The study takes a look at both medications and ultimately concludes that treatment by glyburide may result in a higher risk of required admission into the intensive care unit, a larger chance of the mother developing respiratory stress, and also a greater risk that the mother will be large for gestational age.

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Earlier this week in the Chesapeake Bay, one young girl was killed and seven others were injured when a speed boat driver lost control of the boat he was operating, sending it into several other boats that were full of spectators. According to one news source, the girl was on a boat that was tethered together with several other boats, all of which were watching the speedboat race that was billed as “NASCAR on the water.”

boat-water-trail-1343298-mEvidently, the accident occurred around five in the afternoon during the 25th annual Thunder in the Narrows race. As the boat’s operator lost control and careened into the string of spectator boats, seven people were injured, and one young girl died. Three of the injured victims were flown to the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Four others sustained some minor injuries but were not hospitalized.

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently in the midst of an investigation into the accident, hoping to learn more as to why the boat’s operator lost control of the vessel. Charges have not been filed against the boat’s driver yet. However, that could change depending upon the conclusion of the investigation.

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Earlier this month, an article by the local Baltimore CBS affiliate was published, indicating that over one weekend in June there were over 80 DUI or DUI-related arrests across the State of Maryland. According to the article, a large percentage of those DUI arrests involved drivers with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or more, which is twice the legal limit for safe driving in Maryland.

untitled-1108573-mDrunk driving has become such a problem in Maryland that the state police have created a task force, called the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort (SPIDRE) Team. Of the 80 arrests across the State, 13 were made by the SPIDRE team. According to one member of SPIDRE, “Most of the people that we’re coming in contact with now, it’s not the people that get 1 or 2 drinks at dinner, it’s people that this is what they do, this is what they like to do,” referring to driving after consuming several drinks.

In fact, the average blood-alcohol content for a SPIDRE arrest is .17, which is well over the .08 legal limit. According to the CBS article, this is approximately seven or eight drinks for an average-sized man or approximately five drinks for an average-sized woman.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Appeals in West Virginia denied a plaintiff’s appeal in a car accident case that requested a new trial based on the lower court’s failure to allow the plaintiff to submit the responding police officer’s opinion as to which party caused the accident into evidence. In the case, Browning v. Hickman, the court had to consider two alleged errors made below and determine if either was sufficient to grant a new trial to the plaintiff.

The Facts of the Case

to-protect-and-serve-542937-mThe case arose when the two parties were involved in an accident at an intersection. The defendant was traveling straight through the intersection and the plaintiff was making a left turn in front of the defendant when the accident occurred. Both parties claimed to have had the right of way. The plaintiff said he had a green arrow at the time, and the defendant claimed he had a green light.

A witness to the accident called 911, explaining that the plaintiff pulled out in front of the defendant’s car. Police arrived at the scene and, after a brief initial investigation concluded that it was the defendant who failed to yield to the plaintiff. However, that officer later told the attorneys that he wasn’t actually aware of whether the plaintiff did, in fact, have a green arrow.

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Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals of Maryland decided a case that may leave a lasting impression on the State’s medical malpractice law. In the case, Wilcox.v. Orellano, the plaintiff was a woman who was referred to the defendant surgeon for treatment of what she was told was likely to be breast cancer.

hospital-7-230579-mThe defendant surgeon performed a surgery on the plaintiff’s breast. After the surgery, the plaintiff noticed that her breast was swollen and tender. She visited her oncologist who, after seeing the condition of her breast, thought it better not to perform the radiation and prescribed the woman antibiotics in hopes that the infection would subside. She took the antibiotics for some time and then, a few months later, called the defendant surgeon twice about her condition that was not improving. Each time the defendant did not suggest any course of treatment, merely telling her to continue taking the antibiotics.

A few months later, the plaintiff moved to North Carolina and began visiting a new oncologist, who, after performing a series of tests, confirmed that she had the MRSA virus. For the next six months, the woman fought the infection, which required she make daily visits to health care facilities. She ultimately ended up going into surgery to have the affected tissues removed.

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Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Supreme Court decided an interesting case that may factor into how other states handle loss-of-consortium claims brought by parents against the medical professional they claim was responsible for their child’s preventable birth injury. In the case, Ho-Rath v. Rhode Island Hospital, the plaintiffs were the parents of a child born with a debilitating genetic birth defect.

hourglass-3-708451-mThe plaintiffs claimed that the defendants (several doctors and other medical professionals at the hospital where the mother was treated) were negligent in their treatment. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that it was negligent for them not to test the child, prior to her birth, for the genetic disorder that was known to be a possibility, given the family’s history with the disease. The case was brought when their child was 12 years old.

The parents sought compensation on behalf of their minor daughter, but also in their own capacity, seeking compensation for their loss of consortium. A loss of consortium claim seeks compensation for the loss in the enjoyment of another’s company, in this case, the couple’s child.

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Earlier this month in Westover, Maryland, a contractor who was working on an upgrade to the electrical system at Eastern Correctional Institution was killed when he was electrocuted in a tragic workplace accident. According to one local news report, the man was working with another sub-contractor as a part of GE Industrial Solutions when the accident occurred.

electric-fence-warning-1407752-mEvidently, the second-largest prison in Maryland required an upgrade to the electrical control system. However, during the upgrade, something went wrong and both sub-contractors were electrocuted. One man was shocked so badly that he died almost immediately. The other man involved received timely medical treatment and is expected to recover.

The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A report is expected to be released shortly.

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Earlier this year, the Baltimore Sun published an article lauding the fact that Maryland traffic accidents hit a 66-year low in 2014, with a total of 442 deaths. According to the article, this figure is about half of the highest number of traffic fatalities in one year, which was 772 recorded back in 1968.

financial-crisis-1093355-mThe article points out a number of interesting trends. For example, the following types of accidents are less common than they were several years ago:  drunk driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.

With that said, the report indicates that drunk driving is still responsible for one-third of all fatal Maryland car accidents. Other types of accidents are becoming more common, including:

  • Accidents involving older drivers,
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Distracted driving, and
  • Accidents where the victim was not wearing a seat belt.

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