Edmiston and Colton Law Firm - Personal Injury

Recovering Compensation For The Injured
in Billings, Montana

Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Medical negligence: Something that should never occur, but does

When you visit a Montana physician's office or go to a hospital, either seeking medical diagnosis or treatment, a series of events typically unfolds that involves a team of licensed professionals. You may interact with numerous staff members, from a front desk receptionist to nurses, doctors or even lab technicians. In each instance, you have the right to reasonably expect that the health care provider will act in accordance with state laws and accepted safety standards of the industry. Sadly, medical negligence often causes personal injury to patients.

If you are not feeling well, it is logical to assume that you will trust a doctor to help you figure out what might be the underlying cause. A licensed physician who cannot determine what the problem is but recognizes that there is one should refer you to a specialist or other doctor for further examination. There is no room for guesswork when a person's health is on the line.

Montana high school teaches teens about car accidents

It was driving safety week at a local Catholic high school in Montana. The principal of the school had a wrecked vehicle placed at the entrance to the school parking lot that students use. She said she wanted to car to be near the road so that student drivers would see it as they arrived for school each day. The display is meant to raise awareness of the need for driving safety, which will, in turn, hopefully help reduce the number of car accidents in the area.

In 58% of fatal car accidents involving teenagers, those fatally injured were not wearing proper seat restraint when their collisions occurred. A woman who was age 15 in 2006 recounted how she and a friend, who was 17 at the time, decided to travel without wearing seat belts one day. The 17-year-old was behind the wheel and was reportedly speeding. She lost control, wrecked the car, and both girls were ejected from the vehicle.

Car accidents: Weather and other issues often factors

When motor vehicle collisions occur in Montana or anywhere, investigators often have to work for weeks to determine who or what may have caused a particular crash. Car accidents the result in fatalities are especially tragic. In fact, a recent report published the names of four victims who died in a two-car collision last month.

Investigators ultimately concluded that several factors likely caused the fatal crash. The roads that day were icy and wet, which often increases driving difficulty. Inexperienced drivers, in particular, often have trouble navigating slippery roadways, especially if a skid occurs. However, it is also believed that drugs and excessive driving speed were also causal issues in the collision.

Medical negligence: Is it connected to worker fatigue?

In Montana and throughout the United States, many people reside full-time in nursing homes. A majority of residents are elderly, while some have perhaps never fully recovered from car accident injuries or other adverse health situations, thus prompting a need for assisted-living care. Regardless of exact events that lead a person to transition to nursing home residence, every patient currently residing in such facilities deserves high quality care. In short, there is no excuse for medical negligence.

A medical journal reported that a key factor toward substandard care is overworked nurses. Many facilities are apparently short-staffed, thus placing the burden of duty that numerous nurses would typically carry on fewer employees. A 2018 study states that ample evidence shows a 30% to 40% increase in adverse patient outcomes due to understaffed health care environments.

Do hands-free devices really help avoid car accidents?

Advanced technology has definitely added convenience and ease to modern life. For instance, Montana travelers no longer have to try to spread road maps out in the front seat when they can simply GPS their way to a destination instead. Cellphones and other electronic devices can place drivers at risk for collisions although many people say hands-free devices are much safer to use and can help avoid car accidents, which begs the question: Is that true?

It is important to keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times while driving. The fact that hands-free devices allow drivers to do so is likely what leads people to believe they are safe to use. However, engaging in a phone conversation or accessing Facebook or direction-finding services without using hands does not necessarily mean a driver is free of distraction.

Double-check any trucking company settlement offer

While it is unfortunate, fact is that you will probably not find any of the responsible parties leaping out of their seats to fully compensate you for your injuries after a truck accident in Montana. Yes: You may receive offers that seem reasonable at first. You may even receive pressure to accept those offers from family, friends and the parties involved in your incident.

At Edmiston & Colton Law Firm, we understand that the stress surrounding catastrophic truck accident injuries is enormous. It may not be your first or even second thought to fight for maximum possible compensation. You may just want it all to be settled and squared away. Many of our clients feel this way at first, but soon realize that the initial offers with which they were provided would not have completely covered their losses.

The dangers of driving at night

Even as the sun sets in Montana, motorists still fill the roadways. People are running errands, driving home from work or are headed out for a night on the town. While you may be familiar with navigating the roads at night, you may not know of the added dangers that are involved with nighttime driving. According to AAA, people are three times more likely to die in a catastrophic accident at night than they are during the day. If you understand what these hazards are, you may be able to minimize your risk of becoming involved in a deadly car accident. 

Drivers have a difficult time seeing when there is a lack of natural light. Even with street lights, motorists experience a change in their peripheral vision and depth perception. This makes it hard to judge the distance and speed of oncoming traffic, especially if you are over the age of 65. Furthermore, bright headlights from oncoming traffic can cause temporary blindness. It is important to avoid looking directly into headlights and never pull out in front of traffic without knowing it is safe. 

Bicycle accidents and brain injuries

Bicyclists who are struck by vehicles may suffer a number of injuries in the wreck, such as a broken neck or deep lacerations. However, brain injuries are especially common and concerning for various reasons. For one, these injuries can be tough to detect, since symptoms may not appear until later on. Second, these injuries can completely derail a person's life, leaving them mentally incapacitated and unable to take care of themselves. Even when people can continue on with their lives, the damage they have sustained may affect their personality, their relationships and many other facets of their lives.

It is important for bicyclists to wear helmets since they can protect a biker's head in the event of an accident. However, helmets do not always prevent brain trauma, and many bicyclists do not wear helmets, either. With so many negligent drivers on the road, it is inevitable that some will collide with bicyclists and cause their lives to change in an instant. Brain damage can prevent someone from continuing in their career, derail one's academic progress and lead to various short-term and long-term challenges that will be hard to handle.

A strong doctor-patient relationship builds trust

When people are looking for a new doctor in Montana, they often spend considerable time looking at their options and visiting with potential health care providers. They may peruse reviews online to get an idea of how past and current patients feel about the medical attention they received. However, guaranteeing qualified and reliable health care does not stop there. Patients must make an active effort to protect their own safety by doing their part to form a strong relationship with their doctor.

Cleveland Clinic compares the relationship people have with their doctor to being on a team. They suggest that people communicate regularly with their health care provider to inform them of concerns and to ask questions about things they do not understand. Because a portion of building this relationship relies on a patient's effort to be responsible, it is critical that both the doctor and his or her patient are communicating regularly to discuss symptoms, identify a viable treatment option and make adjustments for optimal recovery. 

Deadly trend: Taking selfies while driving

While the dangers of using a cellphone while behind the wheel are well known, people continue engaging in this deadly practice on a daily basis. It is not uncommon to see people texting and checking their email while driving down the road, putting lives in danger. Yet, an even more dangerous behavior has taken society by storm, taking selfies while driving. Drivers take pics of themselves in various poses behind the wheel and then continue on to post them to social media. 

A quick look at various social media platforms shows this trend in full force. Instagram has more than 3,730 posts under #drivingselfie and more than 1,800 under #drivingselfies. Under #drivingtowork, there are more than 9,700 posts with pics of drivers behind the wheel. More posts can be found on Snapchat and Facebook. Driving selfies and videos have led to some catastrophic incidents where a car wreck, initiated by the driver not looking at the road, is actually caught on the camera. This pic marks the final words of some unfortunate drivers. 

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    Billings, MT 59101

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