Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

Tread cautiously when dealing with insurers after an accident

One of the first things you learn to do after a motor vehicle accident is to contact your insurance company to report the crash. This act will set in motion the claims process that provides financial coverage for your vehicle damage and any injuries you and your passengers suffer.

Whether you opt into Kentucky's no-fault coverage or have personal injury protection on your policy, you will be dealing with an insurance adjuster. If you have paid up your premiums, you might assume a payout for your claim will be automatic. However, this may not be the case. Since insurance companies are in business to make a profit, you may find yourself battling for a fair assessment of your case.

Some accident injuries can alter the course of your life

You may be a cautious and defensive driver, but you cannot always control the actions of those around you. When the negligence or recklessness of other drivers leaves you with injuries, you may have many questions about what your future will look like. Many car accidents result in fatalities, but far more end with life-changing injuries. Not only do certain injuries reduce your quality of life, they may create extreme hardships for your Kentucky family, perhaps for the rest of your life.

Every motor vehicle crash is different, and certain variables, such as speed and the size of the vehicles, can affect the outcome. Nevertheless, there are some injuries that first responders and emergency room doctors see all too frequently when tending to car accident victims.

Addressing the danger of lead exposure on the job

Kentucky residents should know that not far from them, in the city of Newark, officials have been handing out bottled water to the residents after finding high levels of lead in the water. The National Resources Defense Council has even sued the city, claiming that officials failed to install systems to prevent water corrosion on service lines. All of this shows the importance of preventing lead exposure.

While employers may not have an entire city's supply of drinking water to overlook, they still have a responsibility to their workers. These responsibilities are clearly laid down by OSHA. Most prominently, the safety organization requires all employers to provide free potable water both for drinking and for washing one's hands. Drinking water must be dispensed from a drinking fountain or a covered container with disposable paper cups or bottles.

Improving workplace safety in three steps

There are three steps that employers in Kentucky can take to improve workplace safety. These points can be helpful for workplaces in all industries. First, employers will want to consider indoor air quality. A poorly ventilated building can trap mold and pollen and cause workers to have headaches, nausea, itchy skin and fatigue. When more than 20% of occupants suffer like this, employers can be sure that they have sick building syndrome.

Air quality can be affected by various chemicals, too, such as benzene and chloroform. Wood industries are at a particularly high risk for exposing workers to silica, which can result in lung disease. Perhaps worst of all is asbestos exposure. Some 1.3 million construction workers are exposed to this mineral every year, usually in old buildings with asbestos-laden tiles, pipes, roofing sheets and other materials.

One-hour sepsis treatment protocol may harm patients

Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition that requires quick treatment. However, a recently-published editorial argues that new guidelines requiring sepsis to be treated within one hour of diagnosis could actually harm patients in Kentucky and elsewhere.

In 2018, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, or SSC, care bundle was introduced with the purpose of helping emergency department doctors quickly diagnose and treat sepsis patients. Under SSC guidelines, doctors are supposed to perform a set of specific sepsis treatments within the first 60 minutes of a patient arriving in triage. These treatments include taking lactate level measurements, obtaining blood cultures, administering broad-spectrum antibiotics, applying vasopressors and giving drugs to regulate lactate levels and hypotension. In the past, doctors were supposed to perform these treatments over three-hour or six-hour windows.

Misdiagnoses and what the victims of it can do

Doctors and nurses do not always correctly diagnose conditions. In fact, experts estimate that each year, doctors misdiagnose 12 million people, missing 20% of serious medical conditions. Kentucky residents would do well to get a second, third or even fourth opinion when diagnosed with a condition.

Misdiagnoses harm patients in various ways. For instance, people may have undergone unnecessary surgical procedures, had unnecessarily aggressive treatments performed or developed avoidable complications.

Study links surgeons' bad behavior with risk for patient injury

Between 20% and 30% of surgeons in Kentucky and across the U.S. are reported for unprofessional behavior from co-workers or from former patients and their families. Unprofessional behavior in the OR should be of concern to everyone since it raises the risk of patients developing post-surgical complications. A study linking the two has recently been published by JAMA Surgery.

After analyzing 202 surgeons reported for bad behavior and 1,583 patients who suffered from complications within 30 days after surgery, researchers found that the risk for complications goes up the more reports have been filed about a surgeon. So, for example, patients are 18% likelier to be injured when their surgeon has been the subject of one to three reports. With four or more reports, the risk is 32% higher.

DOL report uncovers flaws in OSHA reporting procedures

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration introduced strict new reporting rules in January 2015, but a recent report from the Department of Labor suggests that as many as half of the workplace deaths and serious injuries in Kentucky and around the country go unreported. The report was based on an audit from the DOL's Office of Inspector General that was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the new OSHA reporting standards and gauge employer compliance.

Experts say that employers may avoid reporting serious injuries or deaths to OSHA because they are worried about the increased scrutiny that a workplace accident could bring. They also point out that the $5,000 fine assessed for failing to report these incidents does not provide much of a deterrent to companies that would like to avoid an inspection. The OIG audit concluded that the current state of affairs provides OSHA with incomplete data and does not do enough to protect American workers.

Motorcycle accidents: What you need to know

People who ride motorcycles often talk about the feeling of freedom they have on their bikes. Whether they ride one for recreation or transportation, they say there is nothing like the open road. However, this source of fun isn't without risk.

If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, you probably know that you have a higher risk of injury in a motor vehicle accident than someone driving a passenger vehicle. You might not know everything about a motorcycle accident, including determining who is at fault or how helmet use might affect your case. Fortunately, there are answers to all of your questions that can give you peace of mind.

Five summer safety hazards in the construction industry

Anyone in the construction field in Kentucky should be aware of the top safety hazards they face during the summer. The top five are given below, and one can immediately see how many of them are connected to each other.

The first four are fatigue, heat-related illness, dehydration and protracted sun exposure. When workers become fatigued in the heat, they begin to lose focus, react more slowly to dangers and make bad judgment calls. If they are under the sun for too long, they may get a sunburn and, in the long run, increase their risk for skin cancer. They may develop heat stress, too, which refers to conditions like heat rash and heat stroke.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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