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Mini Lada amarilloAre we going to see more self-driving cars on California’s roads in the upcoming weeks and months? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, auto accident safety experts and representatives from the automotive industry expressed serious concerns about the likely link between self-driving vehicles and serious car accidents. Earlier this month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked a number of different groups to provide input while it develops guidance for automated vehicles, but the federal agency quickly learned that many leaders in the field simply do not approve of the technology—and allowing it out on the roads—as it currently stands.

Self-Driving Vehicle Owners Will Need Time to Adjust

What is one of the primary reasons that Californians are not yet ready to own self-driving vehicles on a large scale? According to a representative from the National Safety Council (NSC), many of the features of these automated vehicles have been named and designed for marketing purposes. In practical terms, that means that it will likely be difficult for owners—both young and old—to understand how to properly engage the technology and to avoid a severe traffic collision.

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file0002014909352When an older adult suffers a spinal cord injury (SCI), is it more difficult to recover? According to a recent news release from UC San Diego Health, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of British Columbia suggests that “age diminishes ability to regenerate axons, the brain’s communication wires in the spinal cord.” In other words, as we age, it may be increasingly difficult to recover from SCI.

Impact of Age on the Central Nervous System

As the news release notes, more Americans aged 65 and older are continuing to engage in active lifestyles. However, this shift in lifestyles for the aging population means that seniors are at greater risk of sustaining serious personal injuries, including SCIs. The researchers involved in the study wanted to determine whether the older adults who do suffer spinal cord injuries are at greater risk of remaining debilitated—and not able to recover fully—after an accident happens.

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construction siteFatal Crane Accident Reported at Southern California Construction Site

Many jobs are dangerous, but certain jobs pose more injury risks than others. According to a recent report from NBC 4 Southern California, a SoCal Edison worker recently suffered fatal injuries in a crane accident. The incident took place at around 4:00 p.m. in the Los Angeles area at a West Hollywood construction site. The fatally injured worker was transported to a nearby hospital by emergency medical responders, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival. An article in the Los Angeles Times also covered the story, detailing how the contractor was “crushed between a construction crane and a trailer.”

The accident occurred in an area heavy with construction, as it has seen a “redevelopment boom in recent years.” A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department described the incident as an “industrial accident.” Soon after the worker sustained these deadly injuries, representatives from the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“Cal/OSHA”) arrived at the scene to investigate.

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IMG_5630___While it might be hard to believe, we are already into the month of spring. Many safety advocates emphasize that springtime is as good a time as any to think carefully about removing injury hazards from your home by engaging in some serious spring cleaning. At the same time, however, it is important to understand the personal injury risks that can accompany the cleaning products you are using to rid your home of unwanted dangers. While the change of seasons often is not as palpable in the San Diego area as in other parts of the state, spring nonetheless brings about a sense of starting anew. This spring, we recommend thinking about spring cleaning, and doing so in a way that is healthy for you and your family.

Making Your Home Safer Through Spring Cleaning

According to a spring cleaning checklist provided by the National Safety Council (NSC), the following are important items to attend to every year:

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19-08-6Can the increasing use of electronic records at hospitals and other medical facilities result in more medical mistakes? According to a recent article from Medscape, electronic health records in emergency departments could be leading to preventable medical errors. In most circumstances, we might assume that the use of electronic health records would help healthcare facilities to avoid the kinds of mistakes that result from human error. However, as the article suggests, human error can still factor into electronic health databases—and in fact might be more of an issue than before the age of electronic health records.

Wrong Files, Wrong Clicks, and Misinformation

It is all too easy, as the article intimates, for a mouse to slip and for an emergency room physician to click on the wrong file or to enter a dosage number that is much larger than it is supposed to be. At the same time, other employees tasked with entering information such as symptoms into a patient’s file might misread a name or enter that information into the wrong section, resulting in a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. To be sure, “these are easy mistakes to make,” and “as ER doctors and nurses grapple with the transition to digitized record systems, they seem to happen more frequently,” according to the article.

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_DSC2929Whether you are driving along the I-5 or are moving at slower speeds through a shopping area and get hit by a Google self-driving car, are you eligible to file a car accident claim? If there is no driver in the self-driving car—as its name suggests—who can be held liable for the collision? According to a recent article in The Guardian, a traffic collision involving a Google self-driving car and a city bus recently occurred in California. While the accident report did not indicate liability for the crash, if Google is found to be liable, “it would be the first time one of its SUVs caused an accident while in autonomous mode.”

Self-driving cars might sound like pieces of technology that could not possibly exist today, but they do. While California state law requires that a self-driving vehicle’s test driver be in the front seat in the event that something goes wrong, more and more Californians are seeing these vehicles on the road. Are they safe for use? Or are they likely to cause more auto accidents?

Recent Incident Involving California City Bus and Self-Driving Car

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_DSC6907Typically, fictionalized film versions of real-life events often do not have a significant impact on the way youth athletes play football or make decisions about sports-related concussions. However, according to a recent report from NPR, the movie Concussion is seriously affecting decisions made by high school football players and their families. The film details the traumatic brain injury (TBI) research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, “the doctor who was the first to publish research on the degenerative brain disease he called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.”

High School Athletes Deciding Against Future Play

For Californians who have not heard of CTE or its effects, it is a degenerative disease of the brain that appears to develop as a result of multiple hits to the head that cause concussions. Given that football players commonly experience multiple concussions over their careers, CTE has become known as a serious risk for professional athletes. Nw, it looks as though youth players are also reconsidering the risks inherent in contact sports.

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file1681241006657What can you do to help prevent a rear-end car accident? According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), cars that are equipped with front crash prevention technology are “much less likely to rear-end other vehicles.” Automobiles with automatic braking systems drastically lower the number of rear-end accidents that occur. The IIHS most recently indicated that this technology actually reduces rear-end crashes by about 40% on average. While other crash-prevention technologies exist and do have an impact on the rate of traffic crashes (for instance, forward collision warning systems are reported to reduce accidents by 2%), auto-brake systems appear to be the most effective at car accident prevention.

Automatic Braking Systems Shown to Reduce Accidents in California

When we talk about a 40% decline in rear-end auto accidents, what do the actual numbers look like? According to the IIHS report, if all automobiles had automatic braking systems installed, we would be seeing around 700,000 fewer rear-end collisions each year, including thousands of accidents that result in serious personal injuries. David Zuby, the IIHS chief research officer, emphasized how “the success of front crash prevention represents a big step toward safer roads.”

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file3291233869663Medical mistakes happen in San Diego more often than they should, and patients do not always know that they have been the victims of medical malpractice until signs and symptoms start to appear. When a doctor or another healthcare provider—from nurses to hospitals to pharmacists—make a preventable medical error, the injured patient may be able to obtain compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. What do you need to know about medical errors? According to a recent report from Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality, patients should learn five important facts when it comes to medical errors and malpractice.

Adverse Events are Preventable but Happen with Frequency

Adverse events, or never events, are preventable errors that result from a healthcare provider’s negligence. Tracking the annual rate of adverse events largely began back in 1999 when the Institutes of Medicine published a now-famous report entitled “To Err is Human.” Over the last nearly 20 years, however, we have not seen a drop in the number of injurious adverse events. Rather, the report emphasizes that “annual adverse events have hit 100,000 to 400,000 per year.” To put that number in other terms, for every 100,000 hospital admissions each year, 120 adverse events occur. Every year about 4,000 surgical errors (or surgical near-misses), including wrong-site surgeries, happen.

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IMG_0941 (2)Woman Injured in Chula Vista Area Skydiving Incident

How dangerous is skydiving? Should you really consider going skydiving if you are on vacation in Southern California or are simply looking for an exciting weekend activity? According to a recent report from CBS 8 News, a female skydiver suffered serious personal injuries last month on a Sunday afternoon near Chula Vista.

The report indicated that the accident happened at around 2:25 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon after the skydiver “made a hard landing” at the skydiving center. The center is near Otay Lakes, which is located east of Chula Vista. When emergency medical responders arrived at the scene, the woman was “injured and unresponsive,” according to Cal Fire PIO Captain Kendal Bortisser. The accident victim was transported by air ambulance to a nearby hospital. Before the incident occurred, the woman had been a client at Skydive San Diego, which is “a full-service skydiving facility with planes holding 18 to 23 jumpers.”