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Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Is patient dumping illegal?

It has been in the news recently--the concern over patient dumping due to recent occurrences in Baltimore. You may wonder if something like that has happened in Montana. You may also wonder if it is as huge of a problem as the media has made it out to be. Do healthcare facilities really just discharge patients and leave them on their own when they know they have mental health issues or no place to go? Is this practice illegal?

According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, patient dumping specifically refers to a healthcare facility discharging or transferring mentally ill patients just to get rid of them. Congress has enacted many laws that help to prevent patient dumping. It is a violation for healthcare facilities to engage in the activity, but that has not stopped it from happening.

What are some tips for safe winter driving?

Winter in Montana can make for some questionable road conditions. As the driver of a large truck, it is your responsibility to drive safely. This protects you and others on the road. While you may practice safe driving on a regular basis, it is even more important to do so in the winter. 

According to Roadmaster, you want to be especially diligent about allowing enough space between you and other vehicles and taking more time to stop and go in winter weather. In addition, because road conditions can be variable, you must watch out for ice and snow accumulation. This requires being completely focused on the road and keeping both hands on the wheel at all times.

What is road rage?

You likely get quite stressed out when stuck in traffic or driving around others on Montana roadways. It is normal to be frustrated, but when that frustration elevates into uncontrollable anger, you could become a victim of road rage. According to WebMD, road rage is aggressive driving and actions that result in dangerous situations on the roadways. 

This could be anything from cutting people off to assaulting someone because of something that happened on the road. The basic thing that qualifies something as road rage is a disregard for others. It is a state of being where a person lets his or her emotions take over and causes him or her to do things that are illegal and dangerous.

Will my auto insurance cover me in a bicycle accident?

The roadways in Montana have to be shared by a range of people. Large, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians all occupy the roads. To keep everyone safe, there is a list of rules that have to be followed. When someone fails to follow a road law, accidents happen. If you are a bike rider, you could even cause an accident. 

While motor vehicle drivers carry insurance, you probably have not gotten a liability policy to cover your bicycle. However, if you have auto insurance, will it cover a bike accident? This is a common question, and the answer may surprise you. 

Leading causes of distracted driving

It seems like everyday in Billings, there is another horrific car accident. Perhaps the weather plays a role in some of the these, or maybe they happen due to the sudden appearance of random wildlife in the road. While these factors might contribute to some car wrecks, studies have shown that approximately 25 percent of traffic accidents occur because of distracted driving.

You might hear the words "distracted driving" and automatically think about a person using his or her cellphone while behind the wheel. In fact, cellphone use accounts for about 12 percent of instances of distracted driving, leaving plenty of room for other causes. To find out more about other causes of distracted driving, read further.

What risks are associated with hip replacement?

As you age, your body begins to wear out. Depending on things like activities you've done, work habits, genetics and other factors, certain parts of your body may wear quicker than others. One common area is the hips. It is normal for people in Montana to need a hip replacement as they age because this joint has a lot of wear and tear. 

If you end up in this situation, your doctor will probably suggest getting hip replacement surgery. The Mayo Clinic explains that while hip replacement is a common surgery, it still has risks. There is a chance your surgeon could also make a mistake during surgery. Risks of this procedure that come with any surgical procedure include bleeding, blood clots and infection. All of these could also be due to a mistake by your doctor or other medical providers. 

How dangerous is it to be a truck driver?

There seems to be a lot of advertising for people to fill truck driving jobs in Montana. While these jobs usually offer stability and good pay, they are also among the most dangerous in the country. According to Truck Driving Jobs, truck drivers have the most number of fatalities of any job. Most accidents happen in summer, which suggests driving conditions are not as much to blame as traffic conditions. 

With a 21 percent job growth expected through 2020, you may very well find yourself looking towards taking a truck driving job. Just be aware of the risks. For example, in 2011, job fatalities increased by five percent. When compared to all jobs, one in four fatal accidents is a truck driver. 

Car seat effectiveness may be hindered by winter coats

As cold weather sets in around Montana, parents will start to bundle up their children when they are leaving home. While fluffy coats, snuggly hats and wooly mittens are intended to keep children warm and safe, the coats at least could actually be harming children and putting them at risk. It has been found that puffy winter coats can reduce the effectiveness of child safety seats in vehicles.

Precision Tune notes the extra layers of clothing and outerwear lead to seat belts and safety harnesses not being able to be tightened enough to be effective. This loose fit can lead to children being thrown from their safety seat in a crash situation. Parents can check this issue by putting their child in his or her safety seat or seat belt while wearing a winter coat and then removing the coat and seeing the slack in the belt or harness.

Legal and physical protection for cyclists

Our current atmosphere in Montana is not entirely friendly to bicycle riders. However, we at the Law Firm of Edmiston & Colton believe in creating a safe and injury-free environment as much as possible, especially with regards to human factors. While we have neither control over nor recourse against the weather, your bicycle ride should never turn into a costly medical bill or severe disability because of the negligent actions or omissions of another party.

If you bike on the way to work, you probably do it as a way to save money or alleviate the stress of commuting. Otherwise, you might ride your bicycle for health, or as a sport. Whatever your motivations or habits are, you probably spend some of your time sharing roadways with motorized traffic. That is why we have laws to protect you from injuries caused by vehicles speeding past you, drivers crowding you or, at worst, physical impact.

The truth about the perception of plastic surgery risks

Many people in Montana view plastic surgery as a simple process to change their looks. However, the reality is that it is actual surgery. Some procedures may not be as evasive as others, but the bottom line is mistakes and complications can happen. 

According to Zwivel, complication rates for plastic surgery can be as high as 40 percent. First-time surgeries run about five to seven percent chance of issues, but revisional surgery ups the risks to 20 to 40 percent. Many procedures are not simple processes and even those that are come with risks. Plastic surgery can be as dangerous as getting heart surgery. 

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