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Ocala Personal Injury Blog

Is fatigue leading to an increase in truck accidents?

Truck drivers have critical roles in the economy, and they often work under a significant amount of pressure to deliver loads as quickly as possible. As a result, many truck drivers are tired and driving while fatigued. No matter how experienced or knowledgeable a trucker may be, a fatigued driver is a dangerous driver.

When operating a vehicle while fatigued, it can lead to an increased chance of an accident. In fact, fatigue may be one of the leading causes of truck accidents. Due to the serious nature of this issue and its widespread consequences, industry leaders and employers are searching for ways to reduce fatigue and make the roads safer.

Malpractice insurance rates for doctors remain flat

Medical malpractice insurance rates for doctors in Florida and across the country have remained flat for nearly a decade. They continue to remain at that same flat level, despite the fact that the insurance sector has experienced losses for two years. Despite the fact that malpractice insurance rates have remained flat, patients continue to experience surgical errors, medical mistakes and other serious problems as a result of doctor or hospital negligence. There are a number of reasons why the insurance industry has not raised its rates despite significant payouts.

Doctors often note that medical malpractice insurance is the most expensive cost of business operation for physicians. Even the number of malpractice claims is down, however; while some payouts for major surgical errors and other serious events have been significant, legislation has restricted some patients' ability to sue. There are a number of competing insurers in the market, which has also helped to keep premiums low. In addition, many large physician groups and hospitals choose to self-insure rather than buying insurance from a provider; they pay out directly in the case of a successful malpractice claim rather than purchasing a separate insurance plan. This is not feasible for a doctor in sole practice but can be a more efficient option for massive medical companies.

OSHA to enforce trenching rules

OHSA says that it will focus more on enforcing regulations related to trenching and excavation. This is according to a recent update to its National Emphasis Program (NEP). Between 2011 and 2016, 130 workers died while doing this type of work. Of those deaths, 80 percent came from workers in the private sector. Almost half of those deaths occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to OSHA. Florida employers and others will receive guidance from OSHA in complying with the standard.

Specifically, the agency will engage in employer outreach for 90 days starting on Oct. 1. OSHA says that trenches must be inspected either as part of a planned program or during the course of a workday. Inspections must also take place if employers are made aware of potential hazards related to a trench or similar feature. According to OSHA, there is always the chance of a collapse when excavating, even if a potential disaster doesn't seem imminent.

Avoiding medication errors at the pharmacy

Medication errors are a common cause of illness and even death in Florida. Approximately 21 percent of medication errors are a result of errors that occurred at the pharmacy. There are several ways to prevent this from happening.

Pharmacies have several safeguards in place to prevent harmful medication errors. Pharmacies utilize special software designed to double-check the medication. Additionally, each prescription is manually checked by a pharmacist before it is dispensed. Pharmacies keep medications carefully organized to prevent confusion.

Addressing the possible risks associated with riding a motorcycle

With another summer come and gone, many avid motorcycle riders may be approaching a time to place their bikes in storage. However, with warmer climates in most areas of Florida, you might be able to enjoy the luxury and freedom of using your bike as a primary means of travel year-round.

While riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, it can also be somewhat dangerous, especially in areas of dense traffic. Since you likely place a great deal of importance on protecting your health, knowing the possible risks you may face as a biker could be imperative to keeping you safe.

OIG finds room for improvement with OSHA

The Office of the Inspector General has released an audit report saying that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not doing enough to gather information on workplace injuries and fatalities in Pennsylvania and other states. OSHA has also not been consistent in issuing citations to organizations that fail to meet filing requirements. OIG found that there was a lack of training and guidance regarding how to prevent and detect under reporting of employee injuries.

Auditors did reliability testing on data from 18,805 serious injuries and 3,642 fatalities reported between early 2015 and late 2016. After comparing the data against injury and fatality figures on the OSHA website, OIG made recommendations. The recommendations included that OSHA train staff and develop guidance regarding identifying under reporting, consistently issue citations in cases of late reporting, perform inspections for all Category 1 events and clarify guidance on corrections and documentation.

How drivers can stay safe during the rainy season

The rainy season in Florida typically lasts several months each year. Rain, thunderstorms and hail can all pose safety risks to drivers. One of the biggest dangers of driving in rainy weather is hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is a condition that occurs if more water is on the roadway than the tires are equipped to handle. When the water pressure on the front of the tires is too great, a thin layer of water forms under the wheels in between the tires and the road. When too much water builds up, it causes the tires to lose traction and float, making the car or truck slide uncontrollably on the road. Many people falsely believe that a large amount of water is necessary in order for a vehicle to hydroplane. However, a small amount of rainfall can sometimes be more dangerous. This is due to the slippery oil residue that may be on the surface of the road. A larger amount of water on the roadway causes this residue to wash away, lowering the chances of hydroplaning.

Enhanced drivers' education boosts risk awareness in teens

According to a new study, taking a supplemental drivers' education program that includes a trip to a hospital could help teens in Florida better understand the consequences of risky driving. However, the study, which was conducted by researchers at Baylor University, was unable to determine if the program caused teens to adopt safer driving habits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car crashes are the top cause of accidental deaths for American teenagers. In order to better understand the issue, Baylor researchers surveyed 21 young drivers who took part in the Texas Reality Education for Drivers, which is also known as RED. The teens who took the course were either enrolled by their parents or referred by a court, school or community group. Before completing the RED program, the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their awareness of risky driving behaviors and the types of risky behaviors they had recently engaged in.

Doctor burnout can harm patients

A study of more than 6,700 physicians around the country found that more than half of them are burned out. This can have a negative impact on Florida patients. About 10 percent of those who took part in the survey said that they had committed a major error in the three months before it was conducted. Researchers found that those who were burned out were twice as likely to make a serious error.

Generally, doctors who experienced symptoms of being burned out made mistakes while performing a surgery or when diagnosing a patient. They also were more likely to see a decrease in their medical judgment. Those who work in environments that cause stress and that require interactions with other people tend to be more susceptible to burning out. However, it can happen to anyone, and it is a condition that can be reversed over time.

Roundabouts in rural Florida areas can save lives

The intersection of Pine Log Road and Carthage Road in Robeson County is the spot of many serious traffic collisions, including the death of a young college student in 2011. After the fatal incident, the N.C. Department of Transportation investigated the incident and installed a few road signs warning drivers about the intersection. Unfortunately, accidents at the spot did not stop. Rural roads like these in Florida and other states are considered particularly dangerous.

In order to improve the situation, the DOT decided to replace the stop signs at the intersection with a roundabout in June 2018. While roundabouts do not decrease the overall number of accidents, they drastically reduce the severity of each incident. Roundabouts not only reduce overall bodily harm, but they help traffic move more efficiently through intersections when compared to stop signs or traffic lights.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Florida Justice Association
  • The Florida Bar 1950
  • Florida Workers' Advocates
  • Florida Trends Florida Legal Elite
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