Edmiston and Colton Law Firm - Personal Injury

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Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Job concern might increase distracted driving

While Montana residents may not have to deal with the extremely hectic and congested roadways for their daily commute like so many metropolitan areas around the nation, that does not mean its residents are devoid of feeling the pressures of their jobs. For many people, this includes the need to be available to their employers and colleagues at almost any time and in any place - including in their vehicles. The desire to stay on top of work may well be leading some drivers to engage in distracted driving when they would or should otherwise be focused on safely operating their vehicles.

As reported by USA Today, nine people are said to be killed every day across the United States in distracted driving accidents. Over the course of a year, that means the nation loses 3,500 human lives in crashes that are completely preventable. Some of the things drivers do that they should not include texting, taking pictures with their phones, perusing and posting on social media, watching videos and streaming other shows.

Can you educate your teen about the danger of distracted driving?

While you are excited that your teenager gets to start driving and can be more independent, you are also concerned about his or her ability to be responsible when driving the roads of Montana. Because driving requires focus and prompt decision making, distractions of any kind can create dangerous circumstances. Teaching your teenager about the dangers of distracted driving is imperative to his or her ability to learn about the importance of being vigilant and defensive. 

While distractions range from manipulating a GPS device to eating to talking with friends, texting and driving is perhaps the most prevalent and dangerous distraction. If your teenager owns a cellphone, the chances that he or she participates in this type of behavior could be even greater. As a parent, you can have a considerable impact on the decisions that your teen makes by being proactive in educating him or her and encouraging responsible behavior. 

Verdicts Mount Against Monsanto as Edmiston & Colton Law Firm Files Lawsuit in Montana

Yesterday, the third jury verdict against Monsanto was issued as a result of Monsanto's sale and marketing of Roundup herbicide. A California jury found that a couple contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma because of their use of the glyphosate-based herbicide in residential landscaping. The jury awarded $55 million in compensatory damages to the couple, plus $1 billion to each plaintiff in punitive damages based on Monsanto's conduct. The verdict is a clear rebuke of Monsanto's actions in covering up the risks of glyphosate, including submitting scientifically unsound studies to the EPA, "ghostwriting" research papers about the chemical, and promoting its products as safe despite evidence to the contrary.

Auto accidents and emotional health

The consequences of a motor vehicle collision can be unbearably challenging from a physical perspective, and they can also be very tough from a financial point of view. However, the emotional toll of motor vehicle collisions should not be ignored, either. Many people who are involved in auto accidents (and their loved ones) suffer from an emotional standpoint because of the crash, whether they experience depression, anxiety or even anger. In some instances, victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unlike the physical toll of a crash, which is usually evident right away, the emotional impact of an accident may take some time to become evident. People may develop depression in the days, weeks or months following an accident, and this can have a negative impact on their lives in many ways. For example, their relationships with family members may suffer and they may encounter problems in the workplace because of their emotional state. They may have trouble sleeping at night and they may not be able to drive because of mental trauma.

Did you suffer at the hands of your Scoutmaster?

Parents are always searching for positive opportunities for their children to learn and grow. For those interested in having their children develop relationships through providing service to others, the decision of whether to join the Boy Scouts often does not require a second thought.

The Scouts pride themselves on teaching young boys to live by their laws of reverence, obedience and loyalty. However, troop involvement does not always result in a positive experience for all involved - especially when respect is misdirected.

Drug use among large truck drivers

There are many factors that can contribute to a large truck collision, from weather conditions during the time of an accident to traffic conditions and fatigue. However, drug use is especially concerning, and many of the deadly large truck crashes can be blamed on a trucker driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. Not only are illegal street drugs a major concern, but prescription drugs (even when they are taken in accordance with a doctor’s recommendations) can also lead to a deadly collision.

Some truck drivers do not realize the extent to which they become intoxicated as a result of abusing certain drugs, while others simply do not care. Truck drivers who take to the road when they are under the influence of any drug, from cocaine and methamphetamine to prescription pain pills, should be held accountable for any accidents that are caused by their actions while they were inebriated.

Other reasons for truck driver fatigue

Driver fatigue can be extremely dangerous, and it often occurs when someone does not get a sufficient amount of sleep. For example, someone who has a chronic sleep-related problem, such as a sleep disorder, may struggle to remain alert behind the wheel. Or, someone who is tired because they did not sleep well during a particular night may also become fatigued. However, there are many other reasons why drivers suffer from fatigue, and this is especially concerning when it comes to those who operate large trucks.

Aside from sleep issues, truck drivers can become fatigued for other reasons. For example, a truck driver may spend too much time behind the wheel, causing them to feel tired and lose focus. Truck drivers may also become drowsy because of certain medications they are taking. Moreover, a truck driver may struggle with fatigue if they are trying to adjust to a new schedule or they are not used to working at a particular time of day (or night).

How the nationwide nursing shortage places patients at risk

When you or a loved one spend time in a Montana hospital or another type of medical facility, you probably assume that the medical provider has adequate staff in place and can therefore offer the level of care you expect and deserve. Regrettably, however, this is often not the case, and hospitals and other medical facilities across the nation frequently lack adequate staff. At the Edmiston & Colton Law Firm, we recognize that there is a clear link between understaffing and negligent care, and we have helped many people who suffered injury or illness due to understaffing or negligence pursue appropriate recourse.

According to Scientific American, the lack of nurses in many health care settings forces the nurses who are employed there to take on more duties than they can feasibly handle. As you can imagine, this can have a substantial impact on the quality of care patients receive when facilities do not have enough nurses to accommodate patient needs. So much so, in fact, that patients in health care environments where nurses see increases in their workloads are 7 percent more likely to pass away while receiving care there than they would be in environments with adequate nurses.

How often are work zones a factor in car accidents?

You may feel as if you encounter road construction around just about every corner of the state in Montana, and as communities continue to experience regular growth, there will also continue to be a need for new roads and related infrastructure to support them. Unfortunately, many motorists find navigating their way through construction zones to be difficult, and this is one of many reasons why work zones are hotbeds for car crashes and associated injuries.

Per the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the number of people losing their lives in work zone-related car wrecks is on the rise, with the total number of work zone road deaths increasing from 782 in 2016 to 799 in 2017. While, overall, this amounts to an increase of 2 percent, the number of pedestrians and bicyclists losing their lives in the nation’s construction zones increased 9 percent during that same period.

Yellowstone County leads state in speed-related deaths

If you are like a lot of people in Montana, you are concerned about your safety and the safety of those you love when you are on the road. This concern is not without good cause because it seems that despite many advances in vehicle safety, too many other drivers continue to ignore safety and instead make reckless choices. These choices include driving after consuming alcohol and exceeding the posted speed limits. 

According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Yellowstone County was the location of more vehicular fatalities involving excessive speed than any other county in the state in 2017. A total of five people were killed in crashes in which speed was a contributing factor. Treasure and Montana Counties each lost three people to speed-related accidents. All other counties had even fewer than that. Speed was a factor in more than 41 percent of all auto deaths in the state that year.

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