Posted On: November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Traffic Accidents a Concern for Maryland Police: Add Increased Travel, Alcohol & Wildlife to the Mix

This Thanksgiving, as is the case every holiday season, law enforcement will be on the lookout to pull over speeders, reckless drivers, and drug- and alcohol-impaired drivers to prevent Maryland car accidents.

Though 2008 saw a decline in Thanksgiving travel, gas prices have stabilized to a level more drivers can live with, and the AAA predicts an uptick in holiday travel this year. That means more cars on Maryland's roads and highways as people travel to and from our fair state to visit family. Other factors contributing to danger on Maryland roadways this holiday season:

> County and wildlife experts report that deer-vehicle collisions in Maryland occur in the thousands every year. Exact numbers are hard to gauge, as it's unknown how many deer-car crashes occur that don't get reported. Deer in the roadway are a concern for holiday drivers, particularly as dusk comes earlier with the days getting shorter, and animals are active at dawn and dusk.

> Thanksgiving, football, and alcohol go together like turkey and stuffing. Unfortunately, all that merry-making can turn lethal when someone who's had too much holiday cheer picks up the keys and hits the road. Fatal drunk driving accidents ended the lives of 179 people in Maryland in 2007 (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2004 - 2007).

As Baltimore County car accident lawyers, we've seen how families can be torn apart when someone drinks and drives on the holiday or any other time in Maryland. A serious motor vehicle accident doesn't just ruin someone's holiday dinner. It can end a life or cause permanent, debilitating injury, such as brain and spine injury.

Whether you drive a motorcycle, car, truck or SUV -- be safe out there this holiday season and avoid accidents. Take your time, drive defensively, be aware of what's around you, and don't give Maryland police a reason to pull you over.

AAA Thanksgiving travel forecast: Highways more crowded
CNNMoney.com on Yahoo! Finance Nov. 18, 2009

Earthspan.org: Assessment of Deer Vehicle Collisions in Maryland

Related Web Resources

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

St. Mary's County Dept. of Public Works, Maryland: Deer Safety

Posted On: November 20, 2009

Maryland Medical Malpractice and the New Mammograms After 50 Study

After many years of doctors advising women to start getting routine yearly breast cancer screening mammograms at age 40 -- a new study comes out recommending women wait until age 50 for a first mammogram, then get one every two years after that. The study was released in Nov. '09 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (see link below).

News of the study quickly reverberated through the national and Maryland medical communities, with many doctors decrying the results and patients wondering what to do. Some hospitals reported that on the day the study results were released, patients cancelled their mammograms in record numbers.

As Baltimore injury and wrongful death attorneys who have assisted families with Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits, we are left to wonder how these new guidelines might affect medical care and cancer prevention.

One of the types of medical malpractice claims that we sadly see all too often in Maryland and around the country is cancer misdiagnosis. To successfully prosecute a misdiagnosis claim in the Maryland courts, the plaintiff (patient) and their lawyers must demonstrate that medical error or negligence led to a patient's cancer being overlooked, misdiagnosed, or improperly treated -- and that the patient suffered personal injury or death because of those medical errors.

Maryland medical malpractice litigation is governed by very specific rules and regulations regarding liability, burden of proof and notice to any contemplated defendant. The Task Force that issued the "mammograms start at 50" guidelines did so with the caveat that women should consult with their doctors. However we're left to wonder how this will affect the Maryland medical community's responsibility to successfully prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in patients who are hearing that they need less -- not more -- preventative medicine.

The American Cancer Society says it will not change its recommendation that women should start getting annual screening mammograms at age 40 (see link to statement below).

Task force opposes routine mammograms for women age 40-49
CNN.com Nov. 16, 2009

Screening for Breast Cancer
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Nov. 2009

Finding Breast Cancer Early: Age 40, Every Year
American Cancer Society, Dr. Len's Cancer Blog Nov. 16, 2009

Posted On: November 17, 2009

Johns Hopkins, Baltimore Student Hit and Run Death: Police Review 911 Call Made Before Fatal Pedestrian Accident

The Baltimore Sun reports that city police are reviewing a 911 call placed shortly before a Johns Hopkins University student was killed in a fatal hit-run pedestrian accident in Baltimore City, Maryland.

On Friday Oct. 16, 2009, in the mid-afternoon, neuroscience student Miriam Frankl, age 20, was attempting to cross St. Paul Street at University Parkway when she was struck by a pickup truck. The driver in this fatal Baltimore City pedestrian - pickup truck accident fled the scene. Ms. Frankl suffered serious head wounds and died of her injuries at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police later apprehended and charged Thomas Meighan Jr. of Carroll County, Maryland, in relation to the death of Ms. Frankl. News reports state that Mr. Meighan has a lengthy history of drunk driving traffic violations in Maryland, including another DUI hit-and-run arrest in Northwest Baltimore this past summer.

Police are now reviewing a 911 call from a man who wanted to report a white pickup truck driving in Baltimore City erratically about 90 mins. before Ms. Frankl was struck and killed. The Sun reports the transcript reveals initial confusion between the caller and police dispatcher, then apparently a decision was made that a cruiser would not investigate (see link below to 911 call transcript).

Maryland Pedestrian Fatalities and Drunk Driving Statistics
Baltimore City wrongful death lawyers may be consulted by individuals and families who suffer personal injury or lose someone they love because a driver got behind the wheel intoxicated, without regard for public safety. Some sobering facts:

> 116 people in Maryland lost their lives in fatal pedestrian traffic accidents in 2007.

> Over one-third of all fatal Maryland car accidents involved alcohol-impaired driving in 2007 (179 out of 614 traffic deaths).

(Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2003 - 2007.)

Police to review 911 call in student's death
BaltimoreSun.com Nov. 13, 2009

Driving down the road to ruin
BaltimoreSun.com Nov. 1, 2009

Related Web Resources

JHU family celebrates student’s life
The JHU Gazette Nov. 9, 2009

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Posted On: November 9, 2009

Transportation Among Top Causes of Fatal Maryland Work Accidents (but Occupational Death Rates Are Down)

What would you guess are among the most dangerous jobs in Maryland? Construction? Roofing? Electrical work? You'd be right on all those counts, but some of the top causes of fatal occupational injuries in Maryland may come as somewhat of a surprise. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 59 people who lost their lives due to work-related accidents in Maryland in 2008...

> Transportation accidents (which include air, rail, highway transportation including freight trucking accidents, nonhighway transportation, and being struck and killed by a vehicle, e.g., construction site worker pedestrian accidents) accounted for 17 deaths;

> 9 fatalities resulted from Assaults and Violent Acts (including self-inflicted injury);

> 12 were victims of Falls;

> 10 died due to Contact with Objects or Equipment;

> and another 10 perished due to Exposure to Harmful Substances.

Maryland Occupational Injury Death Rates Decline
The good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is fatal occupational injuries are down across the United States, including significant reductions in Maryland (59 work related deaths occurred in 2008, compared to 82 deaths in 2007 and 105 deaths in 2006).

Total U.S. workplace deaths in 2008 amounted to 5,071 -- down from 5,657 in 2007. Deaths from falls -- a major hazard for construction workers -- were down, as were fatal transportation accidents. Workplace homicides declined, but sadly, workplace suicides went up in 2008. The BLS reports all these numbers are preliminary, and final figures will be made available in April 2010.

As Maryland Work Injury Lawyers, we have seen all these types of work-related injuries and fatalities. Many families are unaware that they may be entitled to Maryland Workers' Compensation benefits even after their family member has died. That is why it is so important to contact an experienced Md workers' compensation attorney to find out what benefits you may be entitled to -- before accepting an offer from the employer or speaking to their attorney or insurance company representative.

NATIONAL CENSUS OF FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES IN 2008
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 20, 2009

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry
Fatal occupational injuries by industry and event or exposure, Maryland, 2006 (XLS doc)

Related Web Resources

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry Research and Statistics
Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities