It is an unfortunate truth that many Americans suffer injuries every day, and some hobbies, lifestyles, or places of work involve hazards that may cause bodily harm. In many other cases, another party was negligent or careless, or some equipment was not working correctly, and the injury was the result. Should any of this happen, you (the victim who suffered injuries) may seek litigation against a person, group, company, or any other responsible party, and try to get a financial settlement done. Often, litigation is done from one lawyer to another, and court cases tend to expensive and exhausting for all involved. Still, some cases indeed wind up in court, such as if your injuries were serious and you cannot perform paid work in the future. It is one thing to visit an emergency clinic and get treatment; it is another to hire a lawyer to help you. How might such cases proceed, and what sorts of hazards may result in injuries?
Driving Drunk and Car Crashes
Not everyone works at a place where physical injuries are common (more on that later), but most Americans are drivers and get around in a car or on a motorcycle every week, if not every day. In many other cases, Americans are riding bicycles along the road, or they are pedestrians walking along the sidewalk and taking crosswalks (jaywalking is hazardous and discouraged). Fortunately, most drivers are safe and responsible about how they drive, since they want to avoid incidents and go somewhere without trouble. But some drivers are dangerous, and other drivers and pedestrians should watch out for them.
A good example is drunk drivers, who are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. A drunk driver has a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08% or higher, which legally constitutes drunk driving (some states have even lower thresholds than that). A drunk driver has impaired coordination, judgment, and reflexes, and they may drive sloppily and recklessly, such as speeding and swerving between lanes. Some drivers think that they can drive “buzzed,” but this is also unsafe and strictly discouraged. A drunk driver, if pulled over, may be charged with DUI, and will have to appear in criminal court. Such drivers tend to cause car crashes too, and injure other people and possibly themselves, too.
Overall, some 31 million injuries take place across the United States each year that require medical care, and many of these are due to auto incidents. A drunk driver, or a distracted driver who wasn’t watching the road, may be at fault, though icy winter roads can also lead to crashes and injuries. So, what now? Going to criminal court is a concern for the drunk driver. You, the injured victim, may look into personal injury law and find a lawyer who can represent you in a court of law. You can look up local personal injury law firms, especially those that specialize in auto accident injuries, and consult the lawyers working at each (this may or may not incur a fee). You may then proceed to hire a lawyer whose skills, experience, and personality are to your liking, and hire them to help.
This is important, and not just because a lawyer will know the relevant laws and how to use them in your case. A lawyer can also work alongside the police or court system’s officials, and your lawyer will have a clear, cool head and an objective view of the case (while you might be confused or emotionally charged). Not only that, but on the financial side, your lawyer can figure your medical expenses into your case, and if your injuries would prevent you from performing paying work in the future, this complex issue can be worked into your case as well. You and your attorney will pursue litigation, and if it comes to it, court as well to get a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Complications may arise, and your lawyer will know how to handle them. For example, the at-fault party’s insurance company may act in bad faith or even stonewall the prosecution, and you, acting alone, may be stymied. But your attorney will know what to do and keep the case moving forward. Also, if there were multiple parties involved, then the case may end up complex in terms of assigning blame and distributing settlement money, but your lawyer can handle that, too, and find a resolution that works for everyone. No particular outcome is being guaranteed here, but if you end up sustaining injuries due to a car crash, hiring lawyers is a very good idea.
Construction and Work
Many Americans today work manual labor jobs, such as construction work, or working in a factory or workshop, and these work environments may be packed with safety hazards. Of course, responsible employers take every step possible to minimize the risks and give their new hires education and training to avoid those hazards. Many workers get certification from OSHA to handle hazardous materials of all kinds, or use heavy-duty equipment. All the same, the risk of injuries cannot be lowered to 0, and even park rangers may get themselves hurt, or an office worker may face some hazards, too.
What might happen? Mundane accidents such as slipping and falling down a staircase or ramp should be taken seriously, such as at an office, as many office employees are older, and even younger employees may end up with broken bones or a concussion when they hit hard surfaces on their way down. There is also the risk of electric shocks upon touching damaged cords or faulty electronic goods. And of course, a construction zone is practically nothing but hazards. Workers may be exposed to extreme heat during summer or bitterly cold winds during winter, and they also run the risk of inhaling silicate particles, harmful fumes, or gases of all sorts. Lung disease is quite common among construction workers, in fact. A worker might also get an arm or leg (or fingers) trapped in a machine or crushed under heavy objects, or they might slip and fall from a great height and land on a hard surface. There is nothing funny about a worker falling at a construction site; often, it can kill, and safety rails should always be set up and slipping hazards should be removed or watched carefully.
Workers might also get hurt if their equipment is faulty or not calibrated or used correctly, such as blowtorches or spray foam guns or jackhammers or cutting tools. Overall, if you are a construction worker and you get hurt, then you can consult your company’s construction lawyer, and/or look up personal injury law firms to represent you during litigation or court. For example, you might pursue litigation against the maker of a badly made piece of equipment, or blame another involved construction company for negligence or improper behavior at the construction site that led to your injury. The entire project might end up suspended while a major injury is being addressed in this manner.
Doctors, nurses, and surgeons are extensively trained and educated to provide the best medical care for any patient, and the modern American healthcare system is a marvel in terms of funding and the quality of medical equipment involved. But still, medical malpractice cases do exist, and a few doctors have made themselves infamous for repeatedly injuring, maiming, or even killing their patients by accident. This even includes dentists, such as if braces pain is the result of braces improperly fitted into the mouth, or if a doctor sloppily removed a tooth or put in a dental implant. Pain, damage to the teeth or gums, or even an infection might be the result of poorly done dental work, and the injured patient (that might be you) is likely to want some compensation.
Medical malpractice takes many forms, from improperly stitched incisions inside the body or on the skin, to a misdiagnosis or unnecessary surgery or poorly done surgery. Some patients who had sloppy surgery done may experience chronic pain, stiffness in their joints, headaches, and other ill effects, or might even suffer weakness or partial paralysis. Some patients might end up in worse condition than before they had the surgery at all. If this happens to you, then you may hire a medical malpractice doctor and start litigation against the hospital where the surgery was done. A corrective procedure in the hospital may have ended up making your condition worse, not better.
Solutions for Personal Injury Risks
Alas, you can never be truly guaranteed 100% that you will never experience personal injuries in your life, and some jobs or activities will always entail this risk. Still, take heart that a lot of effort is made across the nation every day to minimize the risks, and you can reduce the odds by using protective gear, knowing exactly how to perform your job, and staying vigilant.
What about safety and the road? It is one thing to look up “Ford repair near me” if your truck suffered a glancing blow on the road, but you can and should stay vigilant for any drunk or distracted drivers. Often, these drivers make themselves obvious by driving in strange and erratic ways, and if possible, you should keep your distance from them and drive defensively. Prioritize your safety over speed, in short, and remember the common rhyme “arrive alive.” Of course, you should absolutely never operate a motor vehicle if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to any degree, and you should not distract yourself with cell phones or the car’s dashboard while driving. Try to adjust the radio or put a CD in the car’s player during a red light, for example, when no one is moving. Also, make sure that you drive carefully during the night or bad weather such as snow and ice, and consider using specialized snow tires to keep your vehicle in control. Lastly, do not drive if you are very tired, since an exhausted person is almost as sloppy and dangerous as a drunk driver, and may fall entirely asleep at the wheel.
What about the workplace, or buying heavy-duty equipment? Suppose you are the manager of a construction firm or similar enterprise, and you visit Caterpillar or Bobcat or Kubota dealers for new equipment. Ask about the safety features of such machines, and how to operate them responsibly and know the risks of improper equipment use. Also, check the safety features of liquid and gas flow valves and pumps for a factory or refinery, so workers can operate, inspect, repair, and clean them with minimal risk. Meanwhile, temporary heating for construction sites, such as portable heaters, can help prevent workers from suffering frostbite or hypothermia in winter, especially at night or during windy weather. During hot weather, be sure to allow for frequent breaks, and provide cold drinks and shade for the workers. Consider installing dehumidifiers for indoor work, since it’s more difficult to cool down during humid weather.
Trade shows are another fine opportunity for a business owner to find the safest and most reliable equipment of any kind, whether it is for construction, medicine, factory work, or anything else. Doctors and surgeons can find the latest medical equipment at a trade show and consult a booth’s staff to find out more, and there may be samples of the devices on hand. Bear in mind that the modern American medical supply industry is enormous, and makes up 40% of the entire world’s medical supply market. Such items vary from dialysis machines to oxygen tanks and masks, scalpels, probes, and more, and doctors and hospital owners are encouraged to stay current on all of this.
If you are a factory worker or construction worker, be sure that you have all the training and certifications needed for your work, and ask your manager if you ought to receive more training or review the procedure, just to be sure. Safety comes first, after all, and a worker should not get complacent. Be sure that all of your safety gear such as gloves, goggles, full bodysuits, and masks are in good working order and do not have leaks, holes, or damaged material of any kind. Report any damaged equipment, and find fully functioning gear to use in the meantime. Some workers are exposed to serious hazards ranging from dry ice (hazardous cold surfaces and CO2 gases) to nuclear materials or highly toxic sludge or liquids, or liquid nitrogen or explosive gases or liquids. Take nothing for granted when it comes to hazards.
Staying safe in everyday life or at the workplace means being vigilant for hazards, reviewing the procedure for how to operate equipment or drive a car, and knowing what to do if you do sustain an accident or cause an injury for someone else. Should you get injured, you are encouraged to stay calm, get medical help, and remember all the details of the incident so you can relay them to your lawyer or attorney later to make legal actions more effective. Stay safe, and remember what to do if something does happen.