Edwards & Kautz
Protecting your rights in western Kentucky

Paducah Legal Issues Blog

Taking steps to prevent eye injuries in the workplace

Kentucky residents understand just how important their eyesight is. Loss of eyesight can negatively change a person's quality of life, which is why it is imperative that steps are taken to keep one's eyes safe during work.

The importance of eye safety can be seen when one looks at the statistics. Approximately 2,000 individuals sustain some form of eye injury while working each day. Approximately 700,000 injuries of this type happen on an annual basis. This means that there are millions of Americans who are dealing with impaired vision or loss of vision after suffering an injury at work.

Rand Corporation report says self-driving cars need more testing

Self-driving cars have a while to go before they can be deemed road-ready according to a report from the Rand Corporation. Many drivers in Kentucky would agree, especially when they consider the history of these vehicles. In May 2016, one man died when his Tesla, which was on Autopilot, crashed into a truck. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber vehicle fatally struck a pedestrian in Arizona.

Automakers continue to rush in their efforts to make self-driving cars road-ready. The Rand report says that these vehicles must be tested for millions or possibly billions of miles before they can be deemed safe. To complete that much testing with existing fleets would take decades or centuries.

Hearing loss could result in disability benefits

If an individual in Kentucky has experienced hearing loss, they may be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits. An examiner will need to determine if the applicant has sufficiently low hearing sensitivity and speech discrimination scores. If possible, that determination will be made using medical evidence provided by an applicant. If no evidence is provided, it will likely be necessary for the individual to take part in an audiometric consultative examination.

It is important to know that the decision will be made based on how well a person can hear in their least impaired ear. In other words, if hearing loss is only sufficient in one ear to meet a disability threshold, an application will likely be denied. Of course, this doesn't mean that an applicant isn't entitled to any benefits. It simply means that it will be necessary to prove through other means that they are not able to work.

Driving while sleepy is more dangerous than you may think

Have you ever been driving down the road and noticed a driver in front of you exhibiting erratic behavior? Perhaps he or she was serving, drifting from lane to lane or moving at erratic speeds. You may think this means the driver is either distracted or drunk, but it is possible this behavior could indicate drowsy driving.

Most people have probably gotten behind the wheel while a little sleepy. However, there is a distinct difference between driving while a little tired and driving while dangerously fatigued. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to realize when they may be too sleepy to safely navigate the roads and operate a vehicle. Fatigued driving significantly increases the chance of an accident.

Misdiagnosis the reason for most malpractice claims

Two separate reports from medical malpractice insurers have found that misdiagnosis is the number one reason for claims against physicians. Kentucky residents may be interested to hear that diagnostic errors are, according to the National Academy of Medicine, possibly the third leading cause of death among hospitalized patients. Previous studies also show that misdiagnosis-related claims usually involve disability or death.

The first report from Coverys found that out of the 1,800 closed claims filed against physicians from 2013 to 2017, 46 percent were diagnosis-related. Of these, 48 percent of the patients involved died. Diagnosis-related claims accounted for 68 percent of paid indemnity costs.

Distracted drivers more likely to cause highway work zone crashes

Kentucky drivers can become inattentive to the road if they use their phones, adjust the radio and even talk with passengers. In the five seconds that it takes to read the average text message, drivers going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.

A new study from the University of Missouri has found that driver distraction raises the risk for crashes in highway work zones by a startling 29 times. Previously, it had been known that speeding correlates with injury severity and that the narrow lanes of construction zones are a challenge to road safety.

Workplace violence escalates in health care facilities

Violence against health care workers is becoming widespread in Kentucky and throughout the U.S. Between 2002 and 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence were four times more common in the health care sector than in the private sector, according to OSHA (by serious, OSHA means incidents that result in at least one day off). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2017, the rate of intentional injuries among health care employees was 9.1 per 10,000 workers, whereas the rate in private industries was 1.9 per 10,000 workers.

There have been many cases of health care workers being beaten or being attacked with weapons like knives, screwdrivers and box cutters. Lighters, matches and pepper spray can also be used to inflict harm. Spitting and name-calling are also considered instances of workplace violence.

Surgeons' non-technical skills affect rate of surgical errors

At the 2019 Cataract Surgery: Telling It Like It Is meeting was an international guest of honor, a doctor from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. According to him, up to 45 percent of adverse medical events involve surgery patients, and anywhere from 35 to 66 percent of these surgery-related events take place in the operating room. Kentucky residents should know that surgeons, in order to avoid such events, require not only technical skills but also certain non-technical skills.

The qualities of a good surgeon include ambition, ability, aptitude and attitude. In addition, the surgeon should ideally have adaptability and humility. The first means being able to react properly under pressure and make the right decisions. This requires certain cognitive skills like the ability to gather information on one's surroundings and assessing a given situation. The second means being able to admit failure or admit that one does not know an answer to a question.

Do big rigs threaten your safety on Kentucky roadways?

Whenever you share the busy Kentucky roads with big rigs, you risk the lives of yourself and your passengers. The sheer size of semis, tractor trailers and 18-wheelers, combined with highway speeds, limit the chances of those in much smaller passenger vehicles to escape unscathed in the event of a collision. Many commercial vehicle operators do not realize how many lives they threaten by making even minor errors while driving.

It is not surprising that big rig vs. car accidents often cause fatalities because fully loaded big rigs can weigh as much as 25 times more than automobiles. Hazardous cargo loads such as industrial waste, gasoline or other flammable or toxic substances could exacerbate the risks.

Are you a part of the motorcycle crash statistics?

There are many positives about motorcycles, including their fuel efficiency and the exhilaration of riding on the open roads of Kentucky. However, for safe navigation of your bike, you need more coordination and skills than drivers of automobiles. Constant awareness of your surroundings is crucial, and so is the ability to drive defensively.

Rapidly advancing technology comes up with more and more protective features on every new-model automobile, limiting the risk of injuries to the occupants. In contrast, the only protection available to you is protective gear such as a helmet, a leather riding suit, gloves and boots; therefore, you may suffer some of the injuries that are common to motorcycle crashes.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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