Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers Blog

Changes to Reckless Driving Law Could Contribute to Virginia Car Accidents

by Keith Adkins | January 26th, 2015

Speed is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions today—especially in Virginia. Data from the Department of Motor Vehicles shows that in 2012, the commonwealth reported 14,299 people were injured and another 313 lost their lives as the result of a Virginia car accident.

Despite these numbers, legislators in Virginia have advanced a bill that would loosen the penalties for speed-related traffic law violations. On Monday, January 19, a subcommittee consisting of lawmakers from the state House of Representatives approved HB1317, which would increase the limit for a reckless driving charge from 80 MPH to 85 MPH.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, those in favor of the reform say it isn’t fair that an individual caught driving 81 MPH on the interstate can face a reckless driving charge, while an individual driving 55 MPH in a 35 MPH zone would not. Individuals who are against the changes say the lower speed limit for reckless driving acts as a deterrent to motorists who may otherwise choose to speed.

The bill must now receive approval from the full committee before making its way to the floor for a vote.

Lawmakers are also hoping to improve highway safety by passing a law that would make it illegal to follow non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles, too closely.

The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers recognize the importance of always striving to improve highway safety. Thats why we’re hopeful lawmakers will work to ensure protecting Virginia’s motorists remains a top priority.

Distracted Driving a Leading Cause of Car Accidents

by Keith Adkins | January 19th, 2015

There are countless contributing factors that can come into play in a motor vehicle collision, but one of the most common causes of car accidents today is distracted driving. In fact, some research shows as many as 8 out of 10 crashes that occur in the commonwealth of Virginia are the result of driver inattention.

So what is being done to deter Virginia’s drivers from engaging in this deadly behavior? In 2013, lawmakers made texting while driving a primary offense. This means law enforcement can stop a driver if they witness a motorist texting while driving. The behavior is punishable by a $125 ticket for a first offense and a $250 fine and three points on your license for every subsequent offense.

Texting and driving was previously considered a secondary violation, meaning the officer or trooper had to witness the motorist break another law before they could be stopped and ticketed for distracted driving.

This is just the first step, though. An article from The News & Advance points out that talking on a cellphone while driving is still legal, despite evidence showing the behavior is dangerous as well.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, we recognize the dangers distracted driving can pose to all motorists. That’s why our Norfolk personal injury lawyers ask that you put your phone down while driving and pledge not to drive while distracted.

If a distracted driver has injured you, it’s also important to know that we can help. Our legal team is standing by to offer you assistance with any questions you may have, and can help begin the legal processes to get you on the road to compensation. Call us anytime at (757) 459-CASH for a free consultation of your case.

Changes Considered for Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

by Keith Adkins | January 12th, 2015

Most companies in Virginia strive to protect the health and safety of workers, but sometimes accidents happen. Luckily, most businesses and companies in the commonwealth are required by law to carry an insurance policy that offers Virginia workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee in the event of an accident; however, many businesses will see a change in pricing for these policies in the new year.

According to an article from the Augusta Free Press, the State Corporation Commission has approved changes to the law proposed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The reforms will result in a majority of employers seeing an increase in costs for Virginia workers’ compensation benefits insurance.

Coal mining operations are expected to see the greatest increases in cost, with coverage for underground operations spiking by more than 10 percent while surface operations could see costs swell by as much as 15 percent.

So what do these increases in costs mean for workers? Some experts believe it could result in more employers failing to procure coverage or report accidents. The rise in costs could also lead to more conservative decisions being issued on new Virginia workers’ compensation benefits claims.

The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers say these are just a few reasons why its so important to have legal representation by your side if you’ve been injured on the job. Our team of lawyers is here to help. Call us today at (757) 459-CASH for a free consultation of your case if you’ve been seriously injured while working.

 

New Research Method Could Help Reduce Drug Injury Numbers in the U.S.

by Keith Adkins | January 5th, 2015

The drug industry in the United States provides Americans with some of the safest drugs in the world due to stringent testing requirements; however, sometimes medications can have side effects that go undiscovered during the testing process that can cause patients to suffer a serious drug injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates thousands of drug injuries occur each year because patient take products that slipped through the cracks of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s safety standards. So what’s being done to better protect Americans from such harm? Researchers say a new test could uncover hidden toxins in medications much earlier in the testing and screening processes.

According to an article from Science 2.0, scientists at the University of Utah used both laboratory mice and untamed mice to test the toxicity of the antidepressant Paxil. The mice were placed into a pen where they had to fend for themselves for food, water, and territory. After several generations of mice were bred, those that had consumed food laced with Paxil struggled to keep up with their counterparts in the control group, showing signs the drug may need further testing to determine its side effects.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, we understand the need for determining the safety of a medication earlier in the testing stages and our Norfolk personal injury lawyers are hopeful this new research method will be used to better protect Americans from harmful side effects of medications.

 

How to Avoid Drowsy Driving Car Accidents This Holiday Season

by Keith Adkins | December 29th, 2014

The holidays are upon us and between the long drives to visit family or friends combined with the late night parties that accompany New Year’s Eve, it can be difficult to stay awake while behind the wheel. That’s why many are working to minimize the number of drowsy driving car accidents that occur this holiday season.

One program with a mission to reduce the number of drowsy drivers who are on the road is “Awake At The Wheel.” The campaign is sponsored by the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project and, according to Sleep Review, works to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of getting plenty of rest prior to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The organization was recently represented at the National Transportation Safety Board’s Highway Safety Forum by President-Elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Dr. Nathaniel Watson, who offered tips on how drivers can avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Some of those tips include:

  • Don’t Depend on Gimmicks- Drinking caffeinated beverages, rolling your windows down, or turning up the stereo have all been proven ineffective in preventing motorists from falling asleep.
  • Get Plenty of Rest- Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep prior to driving. If you find yourself drifting off during your trip, pull over at a safe location to rest.
  • Don’t Drink And Drive- Alcohol tends to make many drivers drowsy on top of impairing judgment, so never get behind the wheel after drinking.

Our team of Norfolk personal injury attorneys here at Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers hopes these tips help you have happy—and safe—holiday travels!

Who Bears the Burden of Proof in a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits Case?

by Keith Adkins | December 22nd, 2014

When workers in the Commonwealth of Virginia are injured on the job, they may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but it’s important to remember that claimants bear the burden of proving their condition is the result of an injury they sustained while working.

Take the case of a woman who was seeking Virginia workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a slip and fall accident while employed by a national retailer. She suffered broken bones as a result of the fall, which required her to undergo corrective surgery.

The costs associated with her treatment and lost wages added up, so she applied for Virginia workers’ compensation benefits; however, the claim was denied on the grounds the woman “failed to meet her burden of establishing that her injury arose out of her employment”.

According to reports from Business Insurance, the decision was later overturned in an appeal claiming the burden of proof was never met. That ruling was later overturned after a panel of judges found “workplace hazards” were to blame for the accident.

This particular case highlights the complexities of the Virginia workers’ compensation benefits system as well as the need to have qualified legal representation by your side when filing for such benefits.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, we have a team of Norfolk personal injury attorneys that will not only help you understand the legalities of your case, but will also advocate on your behalf in court. To learn more about how we can help if you’ve been injured on the job, call us at (757) 459-CASH.

Virginia Defective Product Lawsuit Alleges Potentially Faulty Guardrails

by Keith Adkins | December 15th, 2014

Manufacturers of products—especially those designed to improve safety—are required to ensure their items don’t present a serious danger to members of the public. Any failure to do so could result in a product being deemed faulty, which could result in costly legal action.

Take the Virginia defective product lawsuit the commonwealth recently filed against Trinity Industries in regards to defective guardrails the company sold. Virginia is one of several states to file such legal action and is among 42 other states and the District of Columbia who have stopped using the guardrails.

According to an article from Bloomberg, the suit claims Trinity failed to inform the state of changes made to the design of the product after the company submitted specifications for the units. The lawsuit alleges that certain parts of the guardrails were shortened, which caused them to fail when struck by vehicles. Instead of properly crumpling and acting as a safety barrier, the lawsuit states that the guardrails impaled vehicles, causing serious injuries to some vehicle occupants.

The suit calls for Trinity to pay to replace the faulty guardrail units. Trinity has stated they are “disappointed” in the move and continue to deny any wrongdoing.

This case could take years to be settled. In the meantime, drivers wonder if they are at risk of being harmed by defective safety equipment. The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers encourage you to speak with a legal representative if you were injured by a guardrail in a car accident. We can be reached to discuss your case by calling (757) 459-CASH today.

New Study Looks at Factors Involved in Cases of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

by Keith Adkins | December 8th, 2014

When we send our loved ones to live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, we expect them to be safe from harm; however, one new study is showing this could be far from reality.

Researchers have shown as many as 1 in 5 nursing home patients are the victims of abuse and an unlikely culprit caused a majority of the harm. They examined the reports filed in more than 2,000 cases of nursing home abuse at 10 different facilities and found that instead of staff members being the ones accused of causing a patient harm, it was most often another patient responsible for the abuse.

Facilities with poor staff-to-patient ratios were found to have higher rates of abuse. Other factors that raised a patient’s chances of being abused or neglected included feuds with roommates and crowded conditions.

New America Media reports the profile of the abuser was also not quite what researchers had in mind. They concluded those who are most likely to harm another patient were younger individuals who were less cognitively impaired and suffered from a mood disorder.

So what can you do to protect yourself or a loved one from nursing home abuse? Norfolk personal injury attorney, Lowell Stanley, points out that taking the following actions can significantly reduce the chances of being harmed by a caregiver or fellow patient:

  • Visit Often- Make a habit of routinely visiting your loved one where they’re staying.
  • Ask Questions- Be sure to have all questions and concerns addressed by your loved one’s caregiver and the facility’s management.
  • Know Your Rights- Speaking with an attorney can help you clarify any issues you may have surrounding a case of nursing home abuse or neglect.

 

Study Finds Many Defective Products Remain on Shelves as Holidays Approach

by Keith Adkins | December 1st, 2014

The holiday season is upon us, and for many, it’s a time for showering family and loved ones with gifts. What we may not realize though, is that many of the products on store shelves may not be safe.

A study published by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found a disturbing number of dangerous and potentially defective products are available for purchase in stores. The “Trouble in Toyland” report showed numerous safety infractions, from toxic chemicals to strangulation and choking hazards.

According to an article from WAVY 10 News,  one toy tambourine contained nine times the legal limit of chromium a product is allowed to contain. Researchers also identified several products that could be considered deadly if swallowed or ingested. Sound levels on some toys were also identified as a safety problem that needs to be further addressed.

So what can you do to keep your loved ones safe during the holiday season? The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers suggest:

  • Check Labels- Make sure the item you’re purchasing is age-appropriate for the recipient.
  • Check for Recalls- The Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a list of all items that have been identified as defective products. Make sure the gift you’re purchasing isn’t included on that list.
  • Follow Instructions and Warnings- Read through any manuals that come with the product to ensure it will be used correctly.

We hope these tips help you and your family have a happy and safe holiday season!

The Relationship Between Shipyard Employment and Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

by Keith Adkins | November 22nd, 2014

All jobs come with certain inherent risks, but jobs in shipyards are some of the most dangerous jobs a person can hold. Those who work in shipyards face an on-the-job injury rate twice that of the construction industry. Although many shipyard and dock workers follow safety procedures and do their best to avoid workplace accidents, the Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers say fall hazards are one of the most regularly reported risks at this particular type of job site.

In fact, a Norfolk shipyard is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for exposing workers to such risks. An article from WAVY 10 News explains that during an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection conducted in May 2014, investigators found dozens of safety violations. Those infractions included exposing workers to fall risks of greater than 30 feet and failing to have fall prevention equipment in place. Reports show electrical risks were found as well.

The violations have resulted in fines of more than $100,000.

So what should you do if you work in a shipyard and are injured on the job? Filing a Virginia workers’ compensation claim should be your first step, but the steps to complete the process of receiving compensation can be complex. That’s why the team of lawyers with Lowell Stanley are available to help you with your claim. We will not only answer any questions you have regarding your legal situation, but we’ll also advocate on your behalf in court. We’re available to speak with you anytime about your Virginia workers’ compensation claim by calling (757) 549-CASH.