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Memphis personal injury law blog

Mitigation of trench-related hazards on construction sites

Despite all the emphasis put on trench safety by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, excavations continue to collapse nationwide, including Tennessee. Safety authorities say construction workers should guard against the complacency that often develops after frequent trench work without mishaps. Unsecured trenches on construction sites can collapse unexpectedly, often with catastrophic consequences.

Construction workers can refuse to enter unprotected trenches that are deeper than five feet -- except if the trenches are cut into solid rock. An experienced individual must be appointed to analyze the soil and other aspects of trench safety to determine the suitable protective measures. To prevent walls from caving in, trench walls can be sloped, which is angling the walls out at specific grades, based on the soil type and the depth of the excavation. Benching is a similar system, with the sloped walls are benched at regular intervals.

Slips and falls cause many construction site injuries

Safety authorities frequently remind employers and employees nationwide, including in Tennessee, of the importance of addressing hazards to prevent slip-and-fall accidents on construction sites. The risks of such incidents are exacerbated during the winter months when rain, melting snow and ice cause many surfaces to be slippery. They warn against the dangers of rushing when walking surfaces are treacherous, and suggest several precautions that workers can take.

Shoes with non-slip soles that provide proper traction are crucial, and workers must avoid distractions while they walk. Looking at the walking surface all the time can prevent both slips and trips because spilled liquids, wetness from workers' shoes, random materials and equipment along with level changes are all typical causes of falls. Carrying a flashlight when walking in dimly lit areas is also recommended.

Driving hazards during the holidays

The winter months are full of holidays and celebrations. While these festivities are usually cause for joy, they can also be cause for pain when car accidents occur. More people tend to be on the road, many from out of town to visit friends and family.

You can help prevent getting in a motor vehicle crash by knowing some of the common driving hazards in Tennessee this time of year. Keep the season bright by preparing for these dangers.

Most frequently reported motorcycle accident injuries

Heading into winter weather, motorcycle enthusiasts in Tennessee will have to take special care when they take to the roads. Operating motorcycles in any weather conditions requires more skills than driving automobiles. Also, without seat belts, air bags and other protective features with which larger enclosed vehicles are equipped, motorcycle accident injuries are often more traumatic than those suffered by occupants of four-wheel vehicles. Safety authorities say eight in 10 motorcycle crash victims suffer severe or fatal injuries.

Bone fractures -- most often broken legs -- are some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries. They often result from the bike falling onto the rider in an accident because it has only two wheels and cannot stand without support. However, the instinct people have to put out their hands to attempt to break falls frequently causes fractured arms and wrists. Pelvic and shoulder fractures are also common in these crashes.

Which orthopedic birth injuries can medical negligence cause?

Most people in Tennessee likely accept the fact that doctors, like anybody else, can make mistakes. However, very few will accept errors that are caused by negligence. If birth injuries are the result of medical negligence, the consequences could affect the child for the rest of his or her life. Even when birth injuries do not cause permanent harm, the idea of causing pain and suffering to a newborn child is unacceptable.

One of the common orthopedic injuries a baby can suffer during childbirth pertains to Erb's Palsy, or Brachial Plexus Injuries. These injuries can happen when the baby's head and one of his or her arms are pulled in separate directions. This can damage the nerves between the arm and neck, situated underneath the collarbone. The collarbone, or clavicle, that connects the shoulder and the chest can also be fractured, subsequently causing pain in the area of the fracture.

Hoisted wooden beam causes construction worker injuries

Construction workers in Tennessee will always face safety hazards, regardless of whether they are working on skyscrapers, residential buildings or at entertainment parks. The challenge is for the construction company owner or supervisor to protect the safety and health of employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes regulations and guidelines for all industries, and compliance can prevent all construction worker injuries.

However, not all construction sites are safe, and accidents happen that could leave workers unable to return to work for long periods. A construction worker was recently airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center after an incident at Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge. Reportedly, the incident occurred on a recent Monday.

Plan, provide and train strategy can limit construction injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says falls cause most of the injuries and fatalities on construction sites nationwide, including in Tennessee. The agency devised a model as part of a fall prevention program. They suggest employers should use a strategy that focuses on planning, providing and training to limit construction injuries.

Proper planning before the commencement of high-risk tasks like working at elevated levels might eliminate the need for working at heights or limit the time and number of workers involved in such hazardous conditions. Planning must include which tools, equipment and materials will need to be on the scaffold or other elevated structure, and also how many workers the structure will accommodate. Before moving on, the need for personal protective equipment, toe boards, guardrails and safety nets must be planned.

Understanding Erb’s palsy

As a Tennessee mother-to-be, your developing baby’s health, welfare and safety likely always is at the top of your mind. You consequently do everything in your power to maintain your own good health so that (s)he will benefit from it. Unfortunately, however, you have no control over every aspect of your baby’s birth.

Birth injuries occur in a reasonably small percentage of American births. Nevertheless, if your baby is one who receives a birth injury, those small numbers in no way console you. Depending on precisely which birth injury your baby suffers, the results could have far-reaching effects. Erb’s palsy is one such potentially catastrophic birth injury.

Medical negligence: When is a medical malpractice claim viable?

Under the medical malpractice law, patients in Tennessee who are suffering the consequences of medical errors can pursue financial relief. However, dissatisfaction with a surgical procedure's outcome, or if treatment is not as effective as desired, does not necessarily imply malpractice. A viable malpractice claim typically involves negligence in medication dosage, diagnosis, surgical procedures, treatment, aftercare or health management.

For a court to consider a medical malpractice claim, specific factors must be present. Health care professionals have certain standards to which they must adhere, and if they do not provide the proper standard of care, they might find themselves defending against a claim of negligence. If no injuries result from such negligence, the patient will have no claim. However, if it can be proved that an injury resulted that would not have occurred had neglect not been a factor, the claim is likely valid.

Car accident sends 20-year-old woman to the hospital

A 20-year-old Tennessee woman was rushed to a medical facility in Newport after a two-vehicle crash on Cosby Highway on a recent Tuesday morning. Reportedly, police officers responded at approximately 8:30 a.m. after receiving a report of a car accident. The crash occurred in an intersection in Newport.

According to a crash report, officers arrived at the scene to find two vehicles that had collided. A witness told an officer that one vehicle entered the turn lane and smashed into a car that was waiting to turn. The same information was later obtained from the driver who was hospitalized.

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