Archive for June, 2013

NTSB Indicates Track Issues Prior to Bridgeport Train Accident

Recently, our Bridgeport accident lawyers wrote about the tragic Metro-North train accident that caused injuries and prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to launch an investigation. The NTSB has completed its initial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash and the findings show that there may have been advanced warning that the railroad tracks were having problems.

According to the Courant, the investigation is still underway and the exact cause of the derailment has not yet been determined. However, the preliminary information that is coming in does suggest that there may not have been adequate safety measures taken to keep the train safe and avoid injury.

NTSB Report Sheds Light on Bridgeport Train Accident

The Courant reports that the NTSB issued its preliminary report on Wednesday about the Bridgeport train accident. According to the report, an inspection took place two days before the train derailed on the Metro-North’s New Haven line.  The inspection was done on a routine schedule, and a spokesperson for Metro-North indicates that the New Haven line is inspected twice each week by professionals assigned to the area.

These inspectors become very familiar with the tracks, according to the spokesperson, since they look at the same area each time. When the inspection occurred two days prior to the accident, the inspector noted that there was an “insulated rail joint with inadequate supporting ballast and indications of vertical track movement of the track system under load.” In other words, a potential problem with the track was noted on the inspection report.

This problem was not considered serious enough to require immediate attention, according to a Metro-North spokesperson. The inspector indicated on his report that there was not a need for immediate maintenance, as there are some maintenance issues that require the trains to be stopped and others that simply need to be watched but not addressed right away.

Unfortunately, the area where this problem was noted was the same area where the train derailed. While the NTSB was cautious to indicate in its report that the cause of the train derailment has not yet been determined, it is not good news that there was a noted problem on the track at the same area where the train accident occurred.  It would be a very big coincidence if a noted break in the track just happened to be in the same spot where the train derailed but the break did not cause or contribute to the accident.

If, in fact, the NTSB finds that the train accident was caused by this broken area in the track, then the evidence of the earlier inspection report could be a strong indicator that Metro-North was negligent in not repairing the tracks.

Lawsuits have already been filed by victims who were hurt in the crash, claiming that the company is to blame and should thus be required to compensate victims. While Metro-North estimated the damage from the train accident at $18 million, the losses to the injured victims may not be immediately known as sometimes serious injuries are not apparent right after a crash occurs.

If you were injured in a train accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Medical Malpractice, CT Scans and The Risk for Pediatric Cancer

Our New Haven medical malpractice lawyers know that many doctors are concerned about being accused of medical malpractice for their acts or for their omissions. In recent decades, fear over medical malpractice lawsuits has led to doctors making decisions that are not always in the best interests of the patients.  For example, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cesarean sections performed because doctors want to reduce their chances of being sued for labor and delivery injuries. There has also been an increase in the number of medical tests performed across many different fields and specialties as doctors are afraid of misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose patients and getting sued because of it.

Unfortunately, when a doctor’s care decisions are driven by fear and by a focus on avoiding medical malpractice lawsuits, patient care can suffer. The doctor’s bad choices can actually cause harm and can result in the physicians facing the very thing they were trying to avoid: a medical malpractice claim.   One example of a situation where a fear of medical malpractice may put patients in danger, for example, is when kids are given unnecessary CT scans.

Study Shows Childhood CT Scans Increases Cancer Risk

According to a recent article on  Time Health and Family, the use of computed tomography (CT scans) almost tripled between 1996 and 2010. The number of scans during this time period went from 52 scans for every 1,000 patients to 149 scans for every 1,000 patients.  There were a few reasons for this increase in CT scans, including both advancements in medical technology and the increasing fear about medical malpractice claims.

The author of one study, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California San Francisco, indicated that the threshold has been lowered for CT scans and that the scans are now used for almost any reason. This has resulted in the scans being used more than necessary and more than is clinically indicated.

The consequences of this over-testing are not minor, especially when the tests are performed on children.  Researchers recently conducted a massive study involving looking at the records of more than 10.9 million people born between 1985 and 2005. The study compared the cancer rates of kids exposed to CT scans in early childhood with the rates of kids who did not receive such scans. The participants were tracked for between 10 to 17 years.

Unfortunately, the outcome of the study revealed that kids exposed to CT scans were more likely to develop cancer than those who had not had such testing done.   Kids who had scans done before age five had a 35 percent increased risk of developing cancer during the study period, while the overall increase in patients who had scans versus those who did not was 24 percent.

The findings of this study are disturbing because many of the kids who got CT scans likely didn’t really need them. For example, many kids are given a CT scan as a result of any head trauma in order to rule out internal bleeding or other serious problems that would cause immediate surgery. However, only around two percent of kids who get these scans actually need treatment.

Doctors need to be aware of the dangers of CT scans to kids and should be sure they are really making an informed choice about whether they are ordering a CT scan to protect the child or to protect themselves from a malpractice claim.

Further, doctors need to ensure that parents understand the risks and give informed consent before performing any testing on a patient. A failure to obtain informed consent can lead to a medical malpractice claim.   The more informed parents are, the better position they will be in to decide if a medical test or procedure is right for their kids.

If you were injured by medical malpractice, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Dangerous South Windsor Spot Leads to Fatal Car Wreck

According to the Hartford Courant, two teens were injured and three teens recently killed in a devastating car accident. The crash took place at a spot that has been dubbed “the kid’s spot,” by locals.  Unfortunately, the teens may have been engaging in a dangerous joyride at the time the accident happened.

Our Hartford car accident lawyers know that teens are always at high risk of car accidents and that car wrecks are a top cause of fatalities for young people. Unfortunately, one of the prime reasons why teenagers are more likely to die in car accidents is because they often take dangerous risks.

Dangerous Driving Behavior May Have Led to Fatal Wreck

According to the Courant, a 19-year-old South Windsor teen was driving a 2003 Ford Explorer with four friends inside of the vehicle. The car left the road and hit a tree in a wooded area between nearby homes.  The car was reportedly torn up, with debris strewn in a field near to the crash site. The 19-year-old driver, and a 17-year-old and 16-year-old passenger were all injured. Two other teens were killed.

Investigators have still not released information about the cause of the accident or determined why it occurred. However, the police chief indicates that speeding was a factor in causing the wreck.

Despite the lack of official information, however, the father of a 15-year-old passenger in the car who was killed in the crash believes that he knows why the accident happened. He said that he, himself, had been in a crash at that same spot almost 25-years earlier and that he believes that his daughter’s accident occurred for the same reason that his did more than two-decades ago.

His speculation is that his own crash, and his daughter’s, were both caused as a result of the car speeding over a large bump in the road. The bump has become known as “the kid’s spot,” because kids enjoy going over it for fun. Kids can speed over the bump, catching air when they go over the raised portion of the hilly roads. This is seen by some teens as an enjoyable pastime and a great place to joyride.

While the police have not said whether the bump played a role in causing the accident, it is likely that it did so. Unfortunately, this is a tragic coincidence that father and daughter were both in accidents in the same location while engaged in the same dangerous behavior. The recent accident, of course, was much worse because two teens lost their life while the victims’ father had survived his youthful joyride.

Unfortunately, kids make dangerous choices behind the wheel all the time, including going out and looking for thrills that can create a serious risk of a fatal accident.  This is especially true during the summer months when kids are off from school, which is why the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is generally known as the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers.  Parents need to be aware of these risks and could potentially help to prevent tragedies from occurring by talking to their teens and supervising their driving behavior as carefully as possible. Likewise, municipalities have an obligation to fix road defects 0r other known road dangerous that may lead to or contribute to a serious or fatal traffic collision.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.

Young Motorcycle Rider Dies in New Haven Accident

According to the New Haven Independent, a 25-year-old motorcycle rider lost his life recently as a result of an auto accident. The motorcycle and a car collided on Dixwell Avenue near the intersection of Dixwell and Pond Street. When police responded to the scene, the motorcycle rider was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Our New Haven motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcyclists are significantly more likely to die in collisions than drivers or passengers in other types of vehicles. Unfortunately, this accident was yet another situation where a young life was cut short as a result of a tragic crash.

Fatalities Occur when Bikers are Thrown from Motorcycles

According to the New Haven Independent, the recent fatal motorcycle accident involved a Chevrolet Camaro and a motorcycle. The Camaro was traveling north on Dixwell Avenue while the motorcycle rider was headed south. The car made a left turn onto Pond Street at the intersection and a collision occurred with the motorcycle rider.

As a result of the collision, the motorcycle rider was ejected from his bicycle. The bike traveled for a long distance and the motorcycle rider hit the car and was killed. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined and police are uncertain as to who was to blame for the crash. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports failure to yield and turning left in front of an oncoming motorcycle is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents in the United States.

Accidents frequently happen at intersections where motorcycle riders and drivers meet and are especially common when a driver is turning left. A driver making a left turn might cut off a motorcycle rider and fail to yield the right-of-way; may underestimate the speed at which the motorcycle rider is approaching the intersection or may not even see the motorcycle rider at all.

All of this can lead to disaster for a motorcycle rider because of the fact that a bike provides almost no protection for a rider. It is entirely too common for motorcycle riders to be thrown from their bikes when an accident happens. In a best-case scenario, being thrown from a bike usually causes at least some minor injuries including bruises and road burn. In a worst case scenario, through, the biker flying through the air and striking the road or other vehicles will sustain serious injury to the head, spine, back or neck. These serious injuries can result in death.

The limited protection provided by the bike and the fact that motorcyclists are so often ejected from their vehicles contributes to the high injury and fatality rate. The NHTSA, for example, estimates that motorcycle riders are thirty-times as likely to die in a crash as those in passenger cars and are five-times as likely to be injured when compared with drivers or passengers in other types of vehicles.

Because of the serious risk to motorcycle riders, drivers need to be careful to avoid causing a deadly wreck. This is especially true at intersections and when drivers are changing lanes, as a drivers failure to look or failure to yield are among the top causes of deadly motorcycle accidents.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1.