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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

AAA study highlights the dangers of drowsy driving

Government figures indicate that drowsy driving causes between 1 and 2 percent of the motor vehicle accidents in Iowa and throughout the U.S. However, a recent study from the American Automobile Association suggests that the true figure could be much higher. Researchers from the AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety used in-vehicle cameras and other equipment to monitor more than 3,500 drivers for several months. Their figures show that fatigue played a role in about 10 percent of the accidents they witnessed.

Government statistics are based on accident investigations and statements taken by police officers. However, this information vastly underestimates the scope of drowsy driving, according to AAA. Studies have found that fatigue levels can be effectively measured by calculating the percentage of the time that an individual's eyes are closed. Published on Feb. 8, the AAA research was performed using what is known as the PERCLOS measure.

Distracted driving is a major roadway threat

Iowa drivers have good reason to be worried about the threat posed by distracted drivers on the roadways. Smartphones and text communication have become ubiquitous, and with that popularity has come a wide rage of easy distractions that can divert drivers' eyes and minds from traffic. Recent years have seen an ongoing uptick in the number of fatal car accidents; many experts have correlated this increased danger with the rise of smartphone popularity and its associated distractions.

People continue to engage in distracted driving despite recognizing the dangers. In a study conducted by Consumer Reports, results showed that over half of licensed drivers with smartphones that responded admitting to sometimes texting, playing music, browsing the web or emailing from their phones while in control of a vehicle. The temptation of distracted driving can be hard to resist. This has prompted a number of phone manufacturers and app developers to address the problem by creating a specialized car mode that blocks incoming notifications.

Causes of pedestrian accidents: Things you need to know

Even if you don't walk often, you're probably a pedestrian more often than you realize. For example, you are considered a pedestrian as you walk from your vehicle into the grocery store or your place of business.

With this in mind, you need to understand the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. This knowledge can help you avoid trouble that could result in serious injury or even death.

The symptoms for the flu and flesh-eating bacteria are similar

Some people in Iowa might have heard of flesh-eating bacteria, but they may not be aware that the symptoms indicating its presence could be confused with the flu. This happened to an Arizona woman who visited her doctor complaining of pain under her arm and flu-like symptoms. However, her husband says that within two days of the flu diagnosis, her pain was unbearable.

The woman was hospitalized and reportedly underwent seven surgeries for necrotizing fasciitis that infected 30 percent of her soft tissue. While necrotizing fasciitis can be treated with antibiotics, it may require surgery as well in some cases. The condition is fatal in more than a quarter of all cases. Reports say the woman will need reconstructive surgery and skin grafts to repair the damage.

What happens when a medical error occurs

When Iowa patients are being treated by a doctor, they probably do not expect a harmful error to occur. However, in some cases, doctors and other medical professionals do make mistakes, and some of those may constitute medical malpractice.

Medical professionals should keep patients informed about any errors. While a doctor may fear that this could increase the chance of a lawsuit, it may actually make it less likely. Often, people simply want a solution to the issue. However, if a patient feels the medical professional who made the mistake is trying to downplay or avoid addressing the error, it may be time to contact an attorney.

Understanding Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

When you have a baby, you want him or her to be healthy. Even if the pregnancy goes well, you're probably aware that delivery can impact your child's health. Some children end up with a condition called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Basically speaking, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. When this happens, the brain cells suffer injuries. Some cells have the ability to recover, but many die as a result of the lack of blood, nutrients and oxygen.

When to report accidents to the insurance company

When someone in Iowa is involved in a car accident, reporting it to their insurance company may not be something they look forward to. Insurance rates sometimes go up after an accident, but reporting accidents is advised except in a few rare cases.

One circumstance that might allow for not reporting an accident is if the accident is minor and does not involve anyone else. If the cost of repairs is estimated to be less than the driver's insurance deductible, then not reporting it to their insurance company would make sense. However, if the accident involves another person's property, then it should be reported.

MRI-guided robot may provide more accurate biopsies

Due to limited technology and the possibility of human error, biopsies for breast cancer are not always accurate. They are also known for being time consuming. This is a problem since the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations claims that cancer surgeons perform more than 1.7 million breast biopsies every year throughout Iowa and the rest of the U.S.

However, researchers in the Netherlands are in the final stages of developing a medical robot, the smallest of its kind, that can retrieve biopsy samples in the MRI scanner itself. Named the Stormram 4, the robot is made from 3D-printed plastic and can handle a single thin biopsy needle with sub-millimeter precision control.

5 tips for preventing teens from texting and driving

Distractions are a way of life, but that doesn't mean that they're always appropriate. If you are a parent of a teen, you probably already worry enough without the added issue of smartphones. You know that your child could be distracted for just a moment and end up in a serious crash.

Even if your teen doesn't want to hear it, it's time to sit down and talk about the dangers of being distracted behind the wheel. Even a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to distractions.

How teens can stay safe while riding a motorcycle

While teenagers in Iowa and around the country may be allowed to ride a motorcycle, the choice to do so doesn't come without risk. The fatality rate while riding a motorcycle is 35 times greater than driving in an automobile. Furthermore, teen riders have 5.7 times more collision claims than riders between the ages of 35 and 60. This is partially because they prefer to ride bikes that may be harder to learn how to control.

No matter what type of bike a teen decides to ride, he or she can benefit from a motorcycle safety course. Roughly 90 percent of riders who got into an accident did not receive training prior to it occurring. In addition to staying safe, motorcycle insurance companies may offer a discount for taking such a course. When a person is riding a motorcycle, it is important to wear a helmet as well as clothing that covers the arms and legs.

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