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Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Drug errors can lead to serious injuries

When people take pick up their prescriptions at a local pharmacy, or have their medications delivered in the mail, they assume they are being given the correct drug, with an accurate strength and dosage. Hopefully, the medication will not interact with any of their other prescriptions or they will not have an allergic or adverse reaction to the drug based on their past history. All of these things should be in place to ensure people receive a medication that will be therapeutic and beneficial to their needs. Yet, drug errors occur more often than some people may think, and these mistakes can lead to serious injuries and even death.

Medication errors can occur anywhere during the process of filing a prescription. The physician may inadvertently prescribe the wrong drug, or the nurse may phone in the wrong medication, dosage or directions when calling the prescription into the pharmacy. For example, if the nurse calls in for 25mg of medication when the doctor wrote for 2.5mg, the results could be catastrophic. If the prescription reaches the pharmacy properly, the pharmacist or pharmacy technician may type the information incorrectly. They may also dispense the wrong medication or give the wrong patient the wrong drug.

A third of American teenagers admit to texting and driving

Sharing the Montana roadway with teenagers is undeniably dangerous, both because teens are often prone to distraction and because they inherently lack driving experience. A teen driver can become even more of a highway hazard, however, if he or she is also actively texting behind the wheel, which is something teens across the nation continue to do at alarming rates. At the Law Firm of Edmiston & Colton, we recognize that teens who text and drive endanger not only themselves, but everyone else on the road, and we have helped many victims of teen-driver-involved car wrecks pursue appropriate recourse in their aftermath.

According to Reuters, one in three of today’s teenage drivers acknowledge that they text and drive, and safety advocates believe this number may be even higher in Montana and other states where teens can get driver’s licenses before age 16. In a survey involving more than 101,000 American teenage drivers, nearly 40 percent reported that they had texted behind the wheel, despite the fact that the vast majority of the teens surveyed came from states that banned the behavior for drivers under 21.

Defective equipment may lead to major truck accidents

Motorists understand the importance of having their vehicle checked regularly to ensure all of the parts are working properly. Similarly, large trucks should be inspected on a routine basis to make sure there are no defective parts. Neglected maintenance, system malfunctions or defective equipment on tractor trailers could lead to a catastrophic truck accident. Not surprisingly, trucks that have defective parts are more than twice as likely to get in an accident.

In one study, researchers looked at trucks that had been involved in an accident and discovered that at least one mechanical violation was involved in more than 55 percent of those trucks. While mechanical failures involving braking systems and lighting equipment were the most common, there are a host of other problems that may occur in different truck systems. These include the following:

  •          Defective steering mechanisms
  •          Broken hydraulic hoses
  •          Burned out taillights, headlights or turn signals
  •          Bad windshield wipers and defrosters
  •          Defective trailer hitches

How can drug errors occur?

When you leave the pharmacy with your prescription or take your medication while staying in the hospital, you assume that you have been given the right medication that was prescribed by your physician. Sadly, this is not always the case. Medication errors occur at a surprising rate in Montana and across the United States. There are many opportunities for errors to occur during the prescription filling process, and if one mistake occurs, you may be sent home with the wrong medication.

There are several medical professionals involved in filling your prescription. First, the physician must order the medication, which is then called into the pharmacy by a medical assistant or written for you to take into the pharmacy. Next, the pharmacy technician must then enter in the prescription, which is checked by the pharmacist. During this tedious process, any of the following incidents may occur:

  •          The physician orders the wrong medication for the patient
  •          The medical assistant makes a mistake when calling in the prescription
  •          The pharmacy misfills the prescription with the wrong medication
  •          The wrong dosage of medication is prescribed and/or filled
  •          The patient is given someone else’s prescription

Teen participating in viral challenge causes car crash

Many activities “go viral” because of their entertainment appeal, especially for the younger crowd. Some of these events serve a useful purpose, such as taking the ice water challenge to raise awareness and funds for ALS. Others, like the Tide Pod challenge, seem to have no value and can, in fact, be harmful. When those participating in a viral challenge harm people in Montana or elsewhere, there can be legal ramifications.

The latest viral craze to take hold across the country is called the Bird Box Challenge. Named after the successful Netflix film Bird Box starring Sandra Bullock, those who participate in this challenge cover their eyes and go about their daily activities, usually filming their antics. While this has resulted in some entertaining videos on YouTube, CBS News reported on a car crash that resulted when a 17-year-old girl attempted to drive while blindfolded. Reportedly, two vehicles sustained moderate damage, but fortunately nobody was injured.

Is the nursing home chemically restraining your parent?

If you had to move your parent to a Montana nursing home due to his or her age or deteriorating physical or mental condition, you undoubtedly worry about the quality of care (s)he receives there. Unfortunately, you may have just cause for your concerns.

Human Rights Watch recently investigated 15,000 nursing homes across the country, and the results are shocking. HRW discovered that in far too many instances, nursing homes routinely administer antipsychotic drugs, including Haloperidol, Seroquel and Risperidone, to patients whose physicians have neither prescribed such drugs nor diagnosed them with an illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, that requires such drugs. Instead, the nursing homes give these drugs to patients suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Why? So they can control these patients’ often uncooperative and combative behaviors.

You versus a moose: What should you do if you hit one?

As you already know, driving on the winter roads of Montana can become extremely hazardous. You have enough to deal with in terms of snow and ice. The last thing you need is having a moose decide to cross the road right in front of your car.

It goes without saying that any time you see a moose or any other wild animal close to the road, you should slow down as much as possible. If you see one, others likely are nearby. This makes it particularly important that you keep your speed down and your vigilance up at night when even your car’s high-beam headlights make it difficult for you to see animals approaching the roadway.

Can a car wreck paralyze you?

Winter has arrived in Montana, and with it comes more automobile accidents. Unfortunately, you stand a good chance of becoming involved in one of them and the results could be catastrophic. For instance, if you injure your neck or back in your accident, you could sever your spinal cord and become paralyzed.

Brain and Spinal Cord explains that how much paralysis you could suffer depends on which of your following four spinal cord regions you injure:

  1. Your cervical region: the base of your brain to the base of your neck
  2. Your thoracic region: the bottom of your neck to your waist
  3. Your lumbar region: your waist to your lower back
  4. Your sacral region: your lower back to your coccyx a/k/a your tailbone

Fatigued driving is preventable and must be stopped

Some adults think they are invincible and take risks that they shouldn't take. One example is driving when they are too fatigued to do so safely. This puts that driver, as well as anyone else on the road, in danger of being involved in a crash. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop fatigued drivers from getting out on the roads.

It is estimated that up to 6,000 fatal fatigued driving crashes occur per year. The trouble with this is that they are all preventable if the driver would simply avoid driving until they are mentally able to do so safely.

What is loss of consortium?

If your loved one loses his or her life in a Montana car crash or other catastrophic event, you can sue the negligent party responsible for the accident for wrongful death. As part of your damages that you can collect, you can sue for loss of consortium.

FindLaw explains that loss of consortium originally referred to a survivor's loss of ability to have marital relations with his or her deceased spouse. Over the years, however, the loss of consortium concept has grown to cover additional losses as well.

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