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The Potential Dangers of General Anesthesia in Dental Procedures

Aug 12, 2016 - Personal Injury by

Commercials for dental offices are becoming more common on television and radio, and the big sell appears to involve no pain through the use of general anesthesia. Like any dental patients, our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys support the overall concept of pain-free dental visits. However, we also believe that the delivery of anesthesia in dental offices should follow the same strict standards observed in hospital operating rooms. Strict Standards Might Have Prevented Recent Child Fatalities In a typical operating room, surgeons are responsible for performing operations, but anesthesiologists are responsible for closely monitoring patients throughout the procedure. Since dental offices often leave all responsibilities in the hands of one oral surgeon focusing on the procedure, things can go very wrong, such as what happened last year in California, when ABC 10 News reported the death of a 6-year old boy during a tooth extraction. Allegedly, no one noticed that he stopped breathing until it was too late. A dedicated anesthesiologist in the room might have prevented this death, along with several others that occurred in California in the same year, and a new law that should tighten up dental office anesthesia requirements (Caleb’s Law), has moved to the CA Senate floor this month. Meanwhile, anyone in Alabama considering the use of general anesthesia for dental procedures needs to know the regulations that are in effect in this state. The Alabama Dental Practice Act states that the use of general anesthesia is permitted when dental practitioners meet certain qualifications, including the following: […]

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Favoring Productivity and Cost Over Safety Leads to Workplace Injuries

Jul 25, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

In January 2016, a news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its proposal to penalize an Alabama manufacturing company nearly $200,000 for repeated safety violations. This situation illustrated how the government holds companies accountable for safe premises even if they do not face liability issues for worker injuries under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ Compensation Should Never Protect Employers from Safety Violations Perhaps the most important feature that helps Alabama workers’ compensation to protect employees is the stipulation that injury victims have a clear path to compensation by giving up their right to sue their employers. In other words, regardless of whether worker or employer carelessness contributes to an accident, the system steps in to help ensure that workers obtain appropriate medical attention, without incurring out-of-pocket expenses — and without fear of litigation. Sometimes, injured workers can feel a sense of frustration when they cannot seek greater compensation in cases where their employers’ clear and repeated consistent negligence makes their jobs unsafe. The good news is that a lack of liability in a workers’ compensation claim does not mean that employers cannot be held accountable. OSHA can be relentless in monitoring for responses to violations that they uncover during inspections. Just as important, if they are not aware of violations, OSHA makes it easy for workers to file a safety and health complaint. Productivity Losses and Expenses are No Excuse for Unsafe Working Conditions Any company is responsible for keeping up with the costs of doing […]

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Workplace Injuries are Common Among Hospital Workers

Jul 18, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

According to the most recent fact sheet published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), hospitals are among the most dangerous places to work. In fact, the rate of injuries and illnesses that cause hospital workers to lose time from work exceeds even those experienced within the construction industry. Naturally, hospital workers in Tuscaloosa and throughout the state rely on workers’ compensation coverage to help pay the short- and long-term expenses related to their workplace injuries and illnesses. However, challenges to their claims are not uncommon — and their medical complaints often pertain to third-party liability. It is important to know when to seek support from experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers. Hospital Workers Face a Broad Range of Daily Risk Factors Virtually any type of hospital worker is at greater risk because of factors such as the following: Overexertion: Nearly half of all injuries involve musculoskeletal disorders. Lifting and moving patients and heavy equipment is a major contributor to these injuries. Slips, trips and falls: Hospital environments are volatile. Puddles can appear unexpectedly, and it is difficult to predict what equipment (potentially with dangling cords) will be in a hallway at any given moment. Contact with objects: This can involve anything from heavy equipment to sharp objects, with the resulting injuries often becoming severe. Violence: Patients in a state of confusion and pain can strike out at the people who are trying to help them. Emergency room nurses are particularly susceptible to violent attacks by anyone who walks in […]

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Electronic Logging Now Required for Most Truckers – Cross and Smith

Jun 30, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

No one wants to share the roads with drowsy drivers. However, each Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer at our firm has seen the dangers increase almost exponentially when someone nods off behind the wheel of a commercial semi truck weighing in at 80,000 pounds or more. Federal law has required truckers to maintain paper records of their hours of service for nearly three decades, but those requirements have only been marginally effective in helping truck drivers remain alert on the road. Hopefully, new laws that require electronic record-keeping will prove to keep more motorists safe. New Law Moves Forward in Spite of Some Trucker Protests According to one report from CBS News, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finalized requirements for a system that replaces paper records with electronic hours reporting. They predict that the new requirements will help prevent records tampering, save about 26 lives per year and prevent 562 injuries annually. Some of the key points of the new law are as follows: With some exceptions, the law requires truckers to transition into the use of approved electronic recording devices over a two-year period. Truckers who use previously-approved devices that do not meet the new requirements have four years to replace their current devices. Smart phones and other electronic devices that satisfy technical requirements can be used, provided they are FMCSA-approved. At least one trucker advocacy group has argued that the use of unproven technology does not guarantee increased safety or hours-of-service compliance so much as it increases […]

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Can Surgical Anesthesia Errors Be Prevented?

Jun 17, 2016 - Personal Injury by

In many ways, anesthesia makes surgery possible, since few patients would agree to undergo any type of surgical procedure without some form of pain management. In fact, whether it involved chewing coca leaves, ingesting herbs or undergoing acupuncture, anesthesia has been used as long as humans have existed on earth. Things have come a long way since early pain management practices, and today’s anesthesia is generally very safe. However, the Mayo Clinic presents a long list of general anesthesia risks that patients can face. Those often-unavoidable risks pertain largely to existing health factors, histories of past adverse reactions and histories of smoking or alcohol use. However, our Tuscaloosa personal injury lawyers have seen cases when anesthesia-related injuries might have been prevented with appropriate medical care. Anesthesia Errors Can Occur During Any Surgical Procedure Any procedure that requires pain management can be subject to anesthesia errors — whether it involves major surgery in a hospital, routine procedures performed in surgical centers or possibly even relatively minor care delivered in the doctor’s office. While it is certainly possible for patients to have unpredictable bad reactions to anesthesia, the following are examples of negligent acts: Failure to obtain accurate medical histories: Knowing that a patient has drug allergies, is a long-term smoker or drinker or suffers from any number of medical conditions can affect the choice of anesthesia or even prohibit the use of anesthesia altogether. Insufficient patient monitoring during procedures: Anesthesiologists and anesthetists have to do much more than keep patients asleep […]

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Fighting the Emotional War After a Car Accident

May 31, 2016 - Car Accidents by

Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys have helped countless victims who suffered serious injuries all because another party failed to exercise due care. Physical injuries can take a long time to heal, and they can also leave victims with permanent disabilities. Regardless of the level of physical injury, however, involvement in a car accident can leave deep emotional scars that can have a profound effect on someone’s ability to live a normal life. Physical Injuries and Psychological Ones Are Not Always Connected Most people who have been in a car while witnessing a vehicle speeding toward them can probably remember the experience with specificity, even if years have passed since the incident. Some people can file the memories away in their minds, but, according to WebMD, car accidents do not have to be fatal or even cause serious physical injury to have profound psychological effects on many accident victims.  Some of the common psychological issues can include: Anxiety symptoms, which are often experienced as panic attacks and can appear for no apparent reason. These attacks can include sudden fear and nervousness, along with physical changes, such as sweating, dizziness and heart rate acceleration. Left untreated, this condition can become debilitating, particularly since fear of the attacks themselves commonly becomes a major source of anxiety. Depression is also a serious disorder. This is not the same as an occasional feeling of sadness; it is a longer-term condition that can affect sleep, appetite and energy levels. Left untreated, some sufferers even have thoughts […]

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Are Public Dining Facilities Making People Sick?

May 17, 2016 - Personal Injury by

With the Food and Drug Administration and even our local health departments on the job, it is logical to assume that the food we eat is generally safe. While no Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm would advise clients to view all food with suspicion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that foodborne diseases cause nearly 797,000 illnesses, 2,000 hospitalizations and 50 deaths each year, according to Alabama Public Health. When more than one person experiences gastrointestinal symptoms after eating the same food from a public facility or even from their own kitchens, it is probably not a case of stomach flu. One Kitchen Allegedly Sickened 86 Alabama Children at a Daycare In June 2015, WHNT News reported that 86 children under the age of 10 sought hospital treatment after suffering significant digestive upsets at their daycare center. As many as 30 of the students were hospitalized. The illness came from two facilities that were both served by the same kitchen. Investigative testing revealed Staphylococcus Aureus Toxin (known to cause staph infections) in foods from both facilities. However, some questions appeared to remain pertaining to the possibility of food cross-contamination, since the samples came from garbage cans within the facilities. Still, the children displayed the following symptoms, which are common to staph infections: Vomiting Diarrhea Nausea Cramps Lethargy The Staphylococcus Aureus Toxin is a bacterium that is commonly caused when handlers contaminate food products that require no additional cooking, such as salads and sandwiches. Contamination can come from […]

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Tuscaloosa Auto Injury Lawyer Advises Drivers to Review Safety Laws

Apr 22, 2016 - Car Accidents by

In a perfect world, all drivers would review the Alabama Driver Manual from cover to cover every year without waiting for the need to study for a written test. In this busy world, however, few individuals have the time to commit to an annual review of 88 pages. All rules of the road are important because they work together to help motorists know how get from Point A to Point B without excessive accidents. Still, in the interest of public safety, our attorneys want to present five important laws that we believe can save many lives. Five Laws That Make a Major Difference in the Safety of Motorists and Their Passengers A review of automotive history indicates that automobiles became relative fixtures in larger U.S. cities early in the 1900s. In fact, 7.5 million cars were registered in the country as early as 1919. Even before that time, however, some municipalities started developing speed limits, as well as other laws. The laws continue to change as needs arise, and these days, the following Alabama laws may be the ones that directly affect the safety of nearly four million motorists in our state: Seatbelt use: All front-seat passengers must wear a seatbelt or face potential fines and points against driving records. Only children under 15 years old are required to wear seatbelts in the back seat. Child car seats: Children younger than one year old or weighing 20 pounds or less must be in rear-facing child restraint seats, with requirements changing […]

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Values of Alabama Workplace Injury Claims Can Be Surprising

Mar 25, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

Shortly after a National Public Radio (NPR) report exposed the disparity among workers’ compensation benefits for the same types of injuries in different states, Alabama lawmakers introduced a bill to increase benefits for workers within this state. In spite of the fact that Alabama workers’ compensation benefits for certain injuries are reportedly the lowest in the nation, this bill never seemed to take off. However, each Tuscaloosa workplace injury lawyer at our firm reminds employees that third-party claims can potentially provide injured workers with the compensation they need. A State Border Can Make a Dramatic Difference in the Value of a Claim The NPR story looked at the claims of two workers who lived within 75 miles of each other, with surprisingly similar claim details: Their ages were similar: 27 and 25. They both lost part of a left arm in a machinery accident. Their family situations were similar — married, with two children of similar ages. Both victims even had tattoos of their children’s names. Perhaps the main difference was the location of their accidents since they lived on different sides of the Alabama/Georgia border. While the Georgia victim received lifetime benefits expected to exceed $740,000, the Alabama victim received a total of $45,000 in workers’ compensation benefits. Since the overall cost of living fluctuates in different areas of the country or even within a state, it is somewhat logical to expect differences in claim valuations based on location. Still, it is less logical to understand why a border […]

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The Many Faces of Motor Vehicle Airbags

Mar 11, 2016 - Car Accidents by

When airbags first came into wide use in the 1970s, they took on a very basic design that protected drivers and front-seat passengers by sensing collisions and inflating large bags between occupants and hard objects in front of them. Our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys are happy to report that the basic concept of inflatable safety devices has exploded. The chances are that an inflatable device now exists to protect many people who are exposed to dangers on the roads, sidewalks or just about anywhere. Still, things can go wrong to prevent airbags from doing their jobs properly — or even causing injuries when they perform as intended. It is important to understand the potential pros and cons of these devices and what to do if they contribute to serious injuries. New Airbag Designs Keep Coming The unfortunate truth is that collisions with trucks and passenger vehicles can cause injuries from all sides. As injury statistics continue to reveal more and more types of injuries are faced by individuals inside and outside of cars, new devices are invented to help mitigate those injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, airbags now take on many shapes and forms, such as the following: Bags within cars and other enclosed vehicles are standard equipment in front of front-seat passengers and drivers, and side airbags are almost as common. New designs can protect victims of rollovers. Others address the needs of back-seat passengers, such as rear window curtain airbags […]

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"I was injured in an accident and I chose Justin Smith to handle my case. I worked with every staff member there by the end of the ordeal and was treated like family but also with true professionalism. They worked diligently on my case and never faltered or backed down regardless of the obstacles. I am so happy with the outcome and highly, highly recommend Cross & Smith, LLC to anyone that needs someone they can trust."