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Billings Personal Injury Law Blog

Underride guards: saving lives in car-truck crashes

Montana drivers know the danger they can face when encountering an 18-wheeler, especially in bad weather. Whether they are cruising down an Interstate, driving on one of Montana’s federal or state roads, or negotiating city traffic, hitting or being hit by a huge truck puts them at grave risk for serious injury or death.

Forbes reports that the risk of death by decapitation is very high for occupants of a passenger car when it hits the rear or side of a high-riding trailer. Often the car fails to stop on impact, but rather keeps going and slides under the trailer. Its windshield, hood and roof are sheared off in the process. A strong truck underride guard can prevent or substantially reduce the risk of this happening.

Why waking up during surgery can be traumatic

Surgery can be a frightening experience for many people in Montana. Not only do individuals fear the pain that comes with being operated on, but the sight of the body being opened up can be shocking. Qualified surgeons will properly anesthetize you depending on the needs of the surgery, even inducing temporary unconsciousness so that you do not feel pain or witness the surgery as it occurs. If the anesthesia is improperly administered, however, you may end up waking up sooner than you should.

The John Hopkins Hospital website describes several different forms of anesthesia. Not all involve putting a patient to sleep during surgery. With local anesthesia, only a specific area of the body, the area that will be operated on, is anesthetized. Regional anesthesia removes sensation for larger parts or a whole portion of a person’s body. However, in these cases the patient is awake for surgery and is able to communicate, though the patient does not feel pain in the area being operated on.

How important is wearing a helmet?

If you enjoy a bicycle ride to take in the beautiful scenery in Montana, you probably want to ensure you are safe when you ride. One of the best ways to stay safe is to wear a helmet, but many people do not. The reasons why may vary, but the reality is a helmet can save your life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not wearing a bicycle helmet increases your chances of a serious head injury. Less than half of bicyclists wear helmets, though. This includes children, even though they are the most likely riders to wear one. 

Crash on icy road claims the life of Dutton man

Most of those operating vehicles on the roads in and around Billings are likely confident in their driving skills as well as their ability to avoid collisions with other motorists. However, Mother Nature often has a way of throwing obstacles at all drivers that can make maintaining control of a vehicle much more difficult. Snow and rain can create slick road conditions that can create problems for even the most experienced drivers. Many understand that when such conditions exist, it is typically best to slow down in order to drive safely. Sadly, others often ignore such advice, which can ultimately endanger themselves as well as other. 

A recent crash that occurred in North Dakota illustrates this fact. Authorities are looking into what caused a teenage driver to seemingly lose control of his vehicle and slide into oncoming traffic. The result was a head-on collision between his pickup truck and that of another man. Investigators did state that road conditions were icy and slick. While the teenage driver did indeed suffer injuries in the accident, he survived. The driver of the vehicle he struck, a man from Dutton, was not so fortunate. First responders pronounced him dead at the scene. 

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 every day 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. 

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