South Carolina Injury & Accident Lawyers

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prescriptions-fdaAccording to its own website, the FDA “is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products, and medical devices.”

But does the FDA protect the public? As recently reported by Slate magazine:

“When the FDA finds scientific fraud or misconduct, the agency doesn’t notify the public, the medical establishment, or even the scientific community that the results of a medical experiment are not to be trusted. On the contrary. For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.”

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jeep-suv-fireWe hope to see continuing news reports on what consumer activist Ralph Nader called “a modern day Pinto for soccer moms.” He was referring, of course, to the notorious Ford Pinto exploding gas tanks.

In October of 2009, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a defect investigation into and recall of all 1993 – 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees, designed with the fuel tank located behind the rear axle. They cited research showing that between 1992 and 2008, there were car accidents that included 172 fatal fire crashes, causing 254 fatalities, in these vehicles.

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Columbia, SC MalpracticeWhen comedienne Joan Rivers died last August during what was described as a routine outpatient procedure, some people began to wonder what went wrong. Now Rivers’ daughter has filed a multimillion-dollar medical malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and the two doctors and three anesthesiologists who treated her mother, alleging that their negligence triggered a coma and her mother’s death from brain damage caused by a loss of oxygen.

Just as parents have discovered that kids can and will access the Internet for more than the Encyclopedia Britannica, hospitals and patients are discovering that medical staff use their electronic devices for researching things unrelated to patient care — things like shopping on eBay, posting on Facebook, personal calls and texting — all while they are supposed to be giving direct and undivided attention to the patient.

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As a longtime cycling enthusiast and a bass-playing wannabe, not to mention a personal injury lawyer, I had several reasons to read with interest and concern about the terrible bicycle accident involving U2 frontman Bono.

Bono was enjoying a Sunday afternoon ride in New York’s Central Park on November 16, 2014, when he swerved to avoid hitting another cyclist. Variously referred to as a “high energy bicycle accident,” a “cycling spill” and a “bike fall,” the crash caused serious injuries which have led to Bono’s recent statement that he fears he may never play the guitar again.

If you’re one who thinks a bicycle wreck is likely to result only in scrapes and bruises, especially if a car is not involved and the rider was wearing a helmet, consider this: Bono’s eye socket was broken; his shoulder blade was fractured in three places; his left arm was shattered in six different places, with the bone tearing through his skin and leather jacket; and a finger was broken.

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Did Santa leave a moped at your house this year? These motor bikes have become increasingly popular forms of transportation for adults as gas prices have soared. Kids love ‘em because, under South Carolina law, they can enjoy the freedom of the road at only 14 years of age. And DUI offenders are grateful to be able to operate a vehicle which doesn’t require a driver’s license, insurance or payment of property taxes or fees.

Some or all of this could change in South Carolina if legislators are successful in amending moped laws this year. The first regular session of the 121st South Carolina General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. Over the last two weeks, hundreds of bills have been pre-filed in the House and Senate, several of which seek to strengthen the regulation of mopeds.

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Hours-of-service rules for truck drivers in the U.S. went virtually unchanged for more than 60 years, until they were revised in 2013. But two of those provisions were short-lived, thanks to lobbying by the trucking industry and the business community. An amendment tacked on to the FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, signed into law on December 16, suspends at least until October 1 changes made in 2013 that limit use of the “34-hour restart” to once in a seven-day period and require that it include two off-duty periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The restart rules have now been rolled back to the pre-2013 status.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in 2013, “With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer.”

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When Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing,” she certainly can’t be talking about South Carolina’s No. 1 ranking in the latest report from Car Insurance Comparison.

The scoreboard, released earlier this month, shows South Carolina tied with Montana in the contest for which state has the worst drivers, based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“If you’re living in one of these states, you might want to be extra careful when you’re out on the road,” they said. That’s exactly what Louthian Law has been urging since 1959 when we began helping people injured in South Carolina car and truck accidents and pedestrians and bicyclists harmed by careless drivers.

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Some sentimental songs appeal to our natural instinct to make our homes a warm and safe haven for loved ones and/or to return to such a place. If your vision of cozy holiday décor includes scents of the season wafting from flickering candles, you may be adding an element of danger not intended by the songs’ lyrics.

According to a December 2013 report from the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of home fires caused by candles jumps significantly during the winter holidays, both because candles are frequently lit during this time and because of the combustible seasonal decorations also in the area. Twelve percent of home candle fires occur in December, 1.5 times the usual monthly average. The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.

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buzzed-driving“What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening, what’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening . . . .” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70’s rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar posed the question. And I have the answer:

“The buzz” is achieved by drinking alcohol to a BAC level of 0.01 to 0.07 percent, less than the 0.08 BAC of drunk driving. And “what’s a-happening” is that lots of folks are going to be doing it between now and New Year’s Day and getting behind the wheel. They’re going to think – mistakenly – that because they are only buzzed, rather than drunk, they’re unlikely to cause an accident.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, however, have found that even “minimally buzzed” drivers are more often to blame for fatal car crashes than sober drivers. After analyzing statistics from the nationwide Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), they concluded: “There appears to be no safe combination of drinking and driving . . . .” There is no sudden transition from sober (blameless) to drunk (dangerous). Rather, the progression is even and linear from a BAC of 0.01 to BAC 0.24. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause a fatal crash.

Thus, the campaign to reduce highway deaths has expanded to include, in effect, DWB as well as DWI. Take the online campaign of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in partnership with AdCouncil. Readers are urged to take the following pledge:

  • I’m going to be smart;
  • I won’t drive while buzzed.
  • Even just one too many drinks can impair my driving and lead to devastating consequences. It’s just not worth it. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so I’m going to make sure I make responsible choices that don’t endanger myself and others.

So far, more than 18,000 people have pledged not to drive while buzzed. But that’s just a drop in the mug, so to speak, considering the millions of people on the roads during the holiday season.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related wrecks from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day than at other times of the year. Forty percent of traffic fatalities during the holidays involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired, compared to 31 percent for the rest of the year.

From November 26 to November 30 this year, seven people were killed in traffic accidents in our state, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. Within the next two weeks, two more high-fatality holidays will occur and it’s likely that the statistics this year will follow the usual pattern. It’s such a shame: the late-year holidays should be times of joy and celebration, not occasions that will forever after be linked to many families’ last memories of their loved ones.

If you or your loved ones are harmed by a negligent driver – whether it’s someone with a BAC over the legal limit or a party-goer who “just” has a buzz on – call the Louthian Law Firm. With more than eight decades of combined legal expertise, we’ll be glad to set up a free initial consultation so we can review the details of your accident and give you seasoned advice after the holiday season’s happenings.

Early one morning in late August, an 82-year-old woman wandered away from her Batesburg, SC, nursing home. She was found nearly eight hours later; fortunately, she was unharmed. If this incident had occurred during winter weather, or if she had wandered into the path of a vehicle, the outcome could have been tragic.

In elder care terminology, this nursing home resident “eloped.” The National Institute for Elopement Prevention and Resolution defines elopement as “when a patient wanders away, walks away, runs away, escapes, or otherwise leaves a care-giving facility or environment unsupervised, unnoticed, and/or prior to their scheduled discharge.” Another term sometimes used is “critical wandering.”

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