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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

Report issues warning for traveling on certain days

Pennsylvania's roadways may be substantially more hazardous for motorists on certain days of the year. According to a recent report, the number of vehicle accidents increases on holidays, Black Friday and popular football game days. This fact is largely due to the heavy traffic and intoxicated drivers.

The weekend of Memorial Day is one of those holidays when the roadways are heavily travelled. In 2014, an average of 36 million people drove a minimum of 50 miles from their residences, according to the American Automobile Association. Moreover, during the holiday weekend, the number of fatalities increases by about 13 percent compared with a normal weekend, which translates to roughly 400 deaths, as revealed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many of these traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.

Proving negligence in a medical malpractice case

Patients in Pennsylvania who are injured as a result of a doctor's negligence may wonder if they have the grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. To prove that a doctor was negligent, the patient will need to provide the court with evidence, often in the form of expert testimony, that the physician did not follow the proper standard of care.

Establishing that the correct standard of care was not provided to a patient is a crucial point in every medical malpractice case. To prove this point, the plaintiff must have a medical expert present testimony about the standard of care that is generally accepted in the defendant's area of medicine. The expert witness must then show evidence that the defendant did not exercise this standard of care when the patient was treated.

2 seconds of distraction increases crash risks

Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous problem on the highways around Pittsburgh and throughout the rest of the nation, and a new report published by the insurance provider Liberty Mutual highlights just how small of a distraction is needed in order to create a hazard. Even a quick glance of no more than two seconds, the study says, can lead to a significant reduction in the ability of a driver to anticipate and react to common situations on the road.

The report also concluded that drivers made unrealistic judgments about their own abilities to respond to problems as they occur while driving. Nearly 70 percent of drivers rated their own capabilities for handling distracted driving highly, even though research has shown that a quick glance away from the road can lead to catastrophe. While the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration says that a two-second glance away from the road is an acceptable limit, a car can travel more than two hundred feet during that span when traveling at 70 mph. This research raises concerns that distracted drivers may often struggle to recognize that they're having trouble dealing with a situation while out on the road.

A decade later, silence among medical staff still a serious issue

Allegheny County residents may be interested in some information on the danger of silence in the medical profession. Some who have recognized this danger believe that using technological solutions can help to reduce risk.

A decade ago, a study was published by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and VitalSmarts that detailed serious issues involving a fear among medical staff of speaking out about colleague errors. The research found that over half of medical professionals studied witnessed a coworker making serious mistakes or other errors. Among doctors, 88 percent had witnessed a colleague make an error in their professional judgement as a clinician. However, the data also showed that less than one out of ten of these witnesses confronted their colleague about the error. Five years later, a follow-up study found that safety procedures had changed, but communication had not improved significantly.

Pennsylvania bus accident injures 3

A Port Authority of Allegheny County transit bus operator, two bus commuters and another driver were injured following a crash in Pittsburgh on May 1. The accident took place on Penn Avenue, according to the report.

A representative for the Port Authority stated that two-vehicle accident occurred when an oncoming vehicle suddenly crossed the centerline and collided with the bus, which was driving in the far right lane alongside the street curb. Emergency medical personnel who arrived at the scene transported the four victims to local hospitals. While the two bus passengers went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside hospital, the two drivers went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for treatment.

Man killed by distracted driver

On May 1, a 28-year-old man riding a motorcycle in Pennsylvania was killed by a distracted driver. The incident occurred at approximately 6:40 p.m. in South Union Township on US Route 119, nearby the off-ramp for Route 21. Police officers allege that the driver had been texting on his cellphone when the accident occurred. The male driver was traveling on US 119 when he reportedly struck the victim riding a motorcycle nearby the Route 21 off-ramp.

The man responsible for causing the accident is a 53-year-old resident of Smithfield. His defense lawyer declined to comment to local reporters about his client's involvement in the incident. According to state police, the driver was actually in the middle of texting when the collision with the motorcyclist occurred. Officers told local reporters that the driver admitted to texting prior to the crash, but denied doing so during the moment the collision occurred.

Driver sentenced in fatal Pennsylvania motorcycle collision

According to court documents, a 26-year-old Hanover man was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison for striking and killing a motorcyclist with his van. The man's sentencing followed an earlier plea to driving without a license and causing death.

The accident happened June 28, 2014 outside of Hanover while the man was driving to Baltimore. Reportedly, he crossed the center lane with his 1995 Ford Windstar van, colliding head-on with a 2010 Victory motorcycle being driven by a 64-year-old man from Westminster, Maryland. Following the collision, the man's van burst into flames.

Man charged in fatal drunk driving accident

It was announced on April 21 that a 39-year-old Pennsylvania man who was accused of causing a fatal car accident while driving under the influence was charged with multiple offenses. According to authorities, the accident occurred in November 2014 on Nyes Road in Lower Paxton Township.

Authorities reported that the accused man's vehicle was traveling south when it crossed the center line into oncoming traffic and slammed into a Toyota Corolla. A passenger in the Corolla, a 76-year-old man, died at the scene. The 47-year-old driver and another passenger suffered serious injuries. Officers who were at the scene stated that they smelled alcohol on the accused man's breath and that he was slurring his speech. Additionally, they stated that he told them that he had drank too much prior to driving.

2 injured in Pennsylvania drunk driving incident

Two people were injured in a head-on collision in Lower Paxton Township on April 10. Police believe one of the drivers was driving under the influence at the time of the collision.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, the car accident occurred around 5:45 p.m. on Nyes Road when a 43-year-old Hummelstown man crossed the road, hit a guardrail and crashed head-on into another vehicle driven by a 74-year-old Harrisburg man. Both drivers were flown to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Derry Township. The 61-year-old female passenger in the Harrisburg man's vehicle was not injured in the incident.

Surgeons make thousands of preventable mistakes yearly

Pennsylvania patients may be shocked to learn that surgeons make an estimated 4,000 preventable surgical mistakes every year. These preventable mistakes, often referred to as "never events," include leaving a foreign object inside a patient's body after surgery, performing the surgery on the wrong patient and performing an operation on the wrong body part.

The researchers analyzed medical malpractice claims that occurred between 1990 to 2010. Based on the data, they found that patients between the ages of 40 and 49 were most at risk. Additionally, the surgeons who were most likely to make a preventable mistake were also between the ages of 40 and 49 and are often in the middle of their careers.