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Riverside County Personal Injury Law Blog

Thanksgiving can be a deadly day on the road

Every year, families and friends in California and across the United States gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, commemorating togetherness, gratitude and the start of the winter holiday season. At the same time, however, Thanksgiving is also accompanied annually by a spiking death rate across the country. It remains elevated throughout the winter before decreasing again in the spring.

To some extent, this can be attributed to the seasons, including annual flu infections and contagious diseases and the deaths of people exposed to severely cold weather. However, there are two causes of death more directly linked to the holiday: heart attacks and car accidents. Heart attacks can be linked to increased consumption of greasy and salty food, high levels of alcohol consumption or psychological and emotional strain due to family issues over the holidays.

Report says many slip and fall accidents caused by flooring

Many California businesses could have dangerous flooring on their properties, according to a new report by commercial insurance and risk management firm CNA. The report indicates that companies may not be taking the type of flooring they use into account when creating fall prevention programs.

CNA found that half of business sites tested had flooring that did not meet minimum friction standards to prevent slip and fall accidents. Commercial flooring is required to have a dynamic coefficient of friction, or DCOF, level of at least 0.42. Further, an analysis of slip and fall insurance claims filed between January 2010 and December 2016 found a trend of frequent low-severity falls.

Wildlife-related car accidents increase in the autumn

California readers will set their clocks back on Nov. 5, bringing daylight saving time to an end. While this annual fall tradition gives Americans an extra hour of sleep, it also takes away an hour of daylight. This means that the risk of wildlife-related crashes could increase for motorists.

According to wildlife experts, deer enter peak mating season just as the fall time change occurs. Meanwhile, bears are also on the prowl for food before they go into hibernation. Most of this activity takes place during nighttime hours. As a result, some areas of the country report more wildlife-related car crashes during the month of November than during any other period of the year.

Understanding and preventing dog bites

As a dog owner, you most likely think of your pet as a member of the family. However, it is important for you and other Californians to understand that although your dog may be your best friend, you cannot trust dogs to react to people with friendliness at all times. In fact, a dog you know may end up biting you or a loved one and causing serious injuries.

Dogs bite approximately 4.7 million people in America each year, according to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more frightening, about half of dog bite victims are children. When you think about dog attacks, the image of a vicious stray in the neighborhood or aggressive dog at the park might come to mind. However, it is important to know that most people who are bitten knew the dog in question. A friend's dog could snap at your child, or your own dog might react unpredictably to something it was afraid of or annoyed by.

Factors in large truck crashes

According to research sponsored by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, defects in large trucks significantly raise the chances of being in an accident in California and the rest of the nation. Additional factors in the crashes include claiming the short-haul exemption to circumvent federal hours-of-service rules and driving for excessive hours.

The number people who died in 2015 as a result of crashes in which large trucks were a factor total 3,852. The occupants of trucks made up 16 percent of the deaths, while the occupants of passenger vehicles accounted for 69 percent. The remaining 15 percent included motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Vehicle accidents and night shift workers

California residents who work during the night shift are more likely than other drivers to get into a motor vehicle accident. This is even if they commute home during daylight hours. According to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, interruptions in sleep-wake cycles and inadequate sleep at night are common in people who have to drive home after working during the night. This increases their chances in getting in accidents.

In a released statement, a representative of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital asserts that drowsy driving is a danger to the public, but can be prevented. He goes on to say that it is important for people who work the night shift to be educated about the dangers of drowsy driving and that they should find other means of transportation after working at night.

Smartphones and traffic fatalities

California residents who own smartphones should know that these devices are playing a major role in the rise in traffic fatalities. The number of deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents has risen sharply by 14.4 percent over the last two years. This is coming after a period of decades during which the number of road deaths had been dropping.

In 2016, more than 100 people died each day in the United States due to vehicle accidents. Analysts have yet to confirm the reason behind the increasing death rate. It should be noted that there has been no drastic increase in the distances people are driving or in the instances of speeding and DUIs.

Accident death rates continue to climb

California drivers might find it sobering to hear that the number of people killed in traffic accidents around the country increased for the second year in a row according to a report released on Oct. 6 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agencyrevealed that fatal motor vehicle crashes claimed 37,461 lives in 2016. The figure represents a 5.6 percent year-over-year increase and is the highest highway death toll in nine years.

Cellphone use and other driver distractions have been widely blamed for the increase in auto accident fatalities, but the NHTSA data indicates that distracted driving deaths actually fell by 2.2 percent in 2016. However, this drop was more than offset by a 9 percent jump in pedestrian deaths, a 5.1 percent surge in the number of motorcycle fatalities and a 4 percent increase in the number of people killed in accidents involving excessive speed.

Stair use and injuries

A study released in the 'American Journal of Emergency Medicine" states that over a million people in California and the rest of the country sustain injuries from stair use each year. Although some groups, such young children, women and older adults tend to report more cases of injuries, victims of all age groups make visits to the emergency department for injuries like fractures, strains, bumps and sprains.

According to information from the Census Bureau, nearly half of the homes in the United States have stairs. Stairs are reported to be a frequent cause of injury for people of all ages. The cost of nonfatal injuries that result from the use of stairs is almost $92 billion. These statistics highlight how important it is to have prevention measures in place, especially with regard to the construction and design of stairs.

Factors that may increase the risk of a serious accident

California residents may be safer in a newer car as opposed to an older one. This is the conclusion of a research paper written by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those who operate a vehicle that is 19 years old have a 71-percent greater chance of getting into a fatal accident than those who are driving a vehicle that is three years old or newer.

The risk of being in a fatal accident decreases the newer a car is between those timelines. For instance, those who drive a car that was made four to seven years ago only have a 10-percent greater risk of being in such an accident. The study did control for several variables, such as a driver's blood alcohol content at the time of a crash and what time of day the accident took place.