Special Car Seats Make A Difference For North Carolina Family
May 31st, 2012
May 31, 2012
Most parents know the importance of restraining their children in a car safety seat any time they ride in a vehicle. But what should you do if your child is physically unable to use a car seat? According to WRAL News, that’s the case for one Holly Springs, North Carolina, family.
The couple has two children who were born with hip dysplasia, a condition in which the joints of the hips develop out of socket. The condition is usually treated with a special harness, but the girls’ conditions were more serious and required surgery and a body cast to correct the problem; however, the cast left the girls unable to ride in a normal child’s car seat.
“Diapering and transportation are huge issues…we couldn’t go out to eat. We didn’t see family members that were far away,” said the girls’ father.
Luckily, the UNC Hospitals Children’s Clinic was able to loan the family a specially designed car seat that was designed for children with this condition. “Just to be able to transfer your child safely in a car seat that you don’t have to go out and spend $500 on is really an extremely helpful thing,” their father added.
The North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers with HensonFuerst Injury Lawyers say that it’s important to make sure your child is in properly installed car seat to prevent injury in the event of a North Carolina Auto Accident.
June and July are Fireworks Safety Months
May 29th, 2012
June and July are “Fireworks Safety Months.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 7,000 people each year are treated in hospitals for injuries caused by fireworks. More than half those injuries occurred in children. Hands, fingers, and eyes are the body parts most likely injured. In addition, fireworks also caused home and motor vehicle fires—in 2008, about 22,500 fires were started by fireworks, resulting in about $42 million in property damage.
Why Do Injuries Occur?
According to the CDC, there are six main reasons why these injuries occur:
- Availability: In spite of federal regulations and varying state prohibitions, many types of fireworks are still accessible to the public. Distributors often sell fireworks near state borders, where laws prohibiting sales on either side of the border may differ.
- Fireworks type: Among the various types of fireworks, (some of which are sold legally depending on the state), bottle rockets can fly into the face and cause eye injuries; sparklers can ignite clothing (sparklers burn at more than 1,000°F); and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.
- Close proximity: Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode; for example, when someone leans over to look more closely at a firework that has been ignited, or when a misguided bottle rocket hits a nearby person.
- Lack of physical coordination: Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely.
- Curiosity: Children are often excited and curious around fireworks, which can increase their chances of being injured (for example, when they re-examine a firecracker dud that initially fails to ignite).
- Experimentation: Homemade fireworks (for example, ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous and unpredictable explosions.
Fireworks Safety Tips
According to The National Council on Fireworks Safety, the best safety tips are:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Always have water handy–from a hose or bucket.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. If the firework doesn’t light the first time, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common safety sense: Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
State laws vary widely: Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibits the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks and the components intended to make them. The banned fireworks include various large aerial devices, M-80s, quarter-sticks, half-sticks and other large firecrackers. Any firecracker with more than 50 milligrams of explosive powder and any aerial firework with more than 130 milligrams of flash powder is banned under federal law, as are mail order kits and components designed to build these fireworks.
In North Carolina, the law allows anyone to use Sparklers and Fountains. All other fireworks, including Bottle Rockets, Sky Rockets, Roman Candles, Firecrackers, Spinners, and all Aerial items MUST HAVE APPROVAL FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES. Still, even with approval, that doesn’t mean that everyone has the knowledge to use fireworks safely.
When it comes to preventing injuries, it is always safest to leave fireworks to trained professionals.
Victims Of Eugenics One Step Closer To Compensation
May 24th, 2012
May 24, 2012
From the 1920’s all the way through the 1970’s, young women and men who were thought to be unfit to have children were sterilized by the state of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board. This past Tuesday, the victims of this atrocity moved one step closer to being compensated after the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would grant each of the 7,600 declared victims a $50,000 settlement.
According to WFAE News, there are approximately 2,000 living victims who are still suffering from the effects of sterilization, which could rack up a $10 million price tag; however, an almost unanimous vote in favor of the bill shows that most lawmakers believe it is a small price to pay to give the victims compensation. The bill’s sponsor stated that although the state cannot fix what has been done, “…we can pay compensation and we ought to do it so they can enjoy it before they die.”
Republican Ric Killian argued, “I just simply think it’s the wrong venue for what we’re trying to accomplish, and therefore I will also be voting against this.”
The bill must now pass through two more committees before going to the Senate for a vote.
This particular case of North Carolina Medical Malpractice is unprecedented, as those who committed these horrible acts were government officials. The North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers with HensonFuerst Injury Lawyers wish the victims the best of luck with their cases.
It Is National Safe Boating Week!
May 21st, 2012
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and the start of boating season. That’s why this is the perfect time to celebrate National Safe Boating Week, reminding everyone to practice safety on the water.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has partnered with the National Safe Boating Council to provide 7 safety messages–one for each day of the week. To see videos, visit the NWS site here: Safe Boating
In addition, staff from the Tampa Bay Forecast Office interviewed boating accident survivor Nick Schuyler to learn more about how others can avoid a similar accident.
Nick is the sole survivor of the tragic boating accident of February 28, 2009, when he and three other friends capsized nearly 70 miles west of Clearwater, Florida. After more than two days in the frigid Gulf waters, Nick was the only one rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Nick, a former University of South Florida football player, is very lucky to have survived the ordeal after suffering from hypothermia, liver and kidney damage, and severe lacerations.
Nick’s story began when he and three friends (including two professional football players) went out on a fishing trip. The boat capsized. Hypothermia quickly set in and took a tragic toll. During the interview, Nick provided what he believes are critical planning steps before one ventures out. Included in that is having a float plan. Nick attributed his own survival to having a life jacket available. In fact, he believes that life jackets are the most important thing on the boat. Another vital safety tool Nick discussed was the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which can help rescue teams find you in the event of an accident.
Seven Tips for Safety from the National Weather Service
- Hypothermia. Immersion in cold water can rapidly become life threatening. Should your craft capsize–or you fall in a swift river–hypothermia in water with temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s can occur in just a matter of minutes. In fact, the human body cannot survive in water temperatures in the 50s and 60s for very long because water conducts body heat away 26 times faster than air of the same temperature. The cold water rapidly causes extremities to become numb, weakening the ability of muscles to work effectively. Consider postponing small craft boating activities until water temperatures become warmer. When you do boat, canoe, or kayak; wear appropriate protective gear and clothing in the event of exposure, accident or capsize.
- Life Jackets. Before you and your family get out on the water this year, grab a life jacket and “Wear It!” Nearly 85 percent of those who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket. Wearing a life jacket is one of the most effective and simple life-saving strategies for safe recreational boating. Boaters are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board for every passenger on their vessel. Today’s life jackets are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. They are comfortable, lightweight, and perfect for any boating activity.
- Thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can be a mariner’s worst nightmare. They can develop quickly and create dangerous wind and wave conditions. Thunderstorms can bring shifting and gusty winds, lightning, waterspouts, and torrential downpours which can turn a day’s pleasure into a nightmare of distress. There are no specific warnings or advisories for lightning but all thunderstorms produce lightning. A lightning strike to a vessel can be catastrophic, especially if it results in a fire or loss of electronics. If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal or electrical devices. If your boat doesn’t have a cabin, stay as low as you can in the boat. Boaters should use extra caution when thunderstorm conditions exist and have a plan of escape. Mariners are especially vulnerable as at times they may unable to reach port quickly. It is therefore strongly recommended you do not venture out if thunderstorms are a possibility. If you do venture out and recognize thunderstorms nearby, head to port or safe shelter as quickly as possible.
- Boating Under the Influence. The effects of alcohol can be even more hazardous on the water than on land. Boating Under the Influence, or BUI, affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. These impairments can increase the risk of being involved in a boating accident – for both passengers and boat operators. Alcohol is a contributing factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities. It is illegal to operate any boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties can include fines, suspension or revocation of your drivers license and even jail time.
- Marine Forecast. Typical marine forecasts predict wind speed and direction, wave heights and periods, roughness of near shore waters, and significant weather. Take particular note of any current advisories and warnings, including Small Craft Advisories, Gale or Storm Warnings which alert mariners to either high winds or waves occurring now or forecast to occur up to 24 hours from now. Special Marine Warnings are issued for sudden increase in winds to over 35 knots (40 mph), waterspouts (tornadoes over water), and hail of ¾ inches or greater and indicate a more immediate threat. You should have a marine VHF transceiver with built-in NOAA Weather Radio channels. If you venture beyond about a 25 nautical mile range from shore, you should consider buying a good quality HF single sideband transceiver and satellite phone.
- Wind and Waves. Wind over water is usually stronger than over nearby land. Wind is the main factor in wave development and in general, the stronger the wind, the larger the waves. Individual waves are measured from trough to crest. Seas are the combination of both locally generated wind waves and distantly generated swell waves and are expressed in the terms of the Significant-Wave-Height, the mean or average height of the highest one third of the waves. It approximates the value an experienced observer would report if visually estimating sea height. The danger presented to a vessel is a function of wave steepness as well as wave height and is unique to each vessel. In general for small vessels, for a given wave height the danger increases as the wave period decreases.
- Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, or EPIRBs. EPIRBs are a type of emergency radio beacon developed for use in marine environments. 406 MHz EPIRBs are divided into two categories. Category I EPIRBs are activated automatically or may be activated manually. Category II EPIRBs can only be activated manually. Either of these two types of EPIRBs may be equipped with GPS which will help rescue forces locate you more quickly. As proven by experience, an EPIRB often serves as the last line of defense when disaster strikes. All types of EPIRBs are becoming increasingly affordable and all mariners should investigate procuring one, especially those operating in harsh environments or offshore areas.
Enjoy this boating season…safely!
North Carolina Police Crackdown on Motorcyclists
May 17th, 2012
May 17, 2012
Nearly 31,000 citations were doled out in North Carolina during the span of a week as part of the Government High Safety Program’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Campaign, which ran from April 30 to May 6.
Star News Online reports that more than 196,000 motorcycles are registered in North Carolina, where more than 4,000 motorcycle crashes occurred in 2011. This resulted in 143 deaths and nearly 4,000 injuries.
“State and local law enforcement agencies across the state stepped up patrols and conducted training during the week-long campaign to educate cyclists and motorists about the importance of motorcycle safety,” GHSP Director Becky Wallace said in a press release.
The numerous motorcycle safety courses that were taught statewide were the work of GHSP’s partnership with law enforcement agencies, as well as Bike Safe North Carolina. The groups have planned additional safety courses throughout May.
Just this week a 63-year-old Florida police chief who was vacationing in North Carolina lost his life when his motorcycle went off the road and crashed. According to the Gaston Gazette, the man had been on an outing with about a half dozen police friends when the wreck occurred.
The North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at HensonFuerst Attorneys remind North Carolina motorcyclists that an estimated 1,483 lives were saved by motorcycle helmets in 2009. Be safe and always wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 helmet, share the road, and remain visible at all times.
Judicial Budget Cut Looming Unless Action Is Taken
May 17th, 2012
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety in the General Assembly is considering a budget proposal which would cut an additional $4.2 million from the judicial budget of the State of North Carolina. A significant portion of this proposal, valued at approximately $1 million, is the elimination of all trial court administrator positions throughout the state. If the proposed budget passes the House, it will then go to the Senate, which will also be considering how best to find the cuts needed to balance the budget.
Cutting Trial Court Administrator (TCA) positions would be a severe blow to the efficiency of civil justice in North Carolina. In twelve of our busiest judicial districts, the citizens and businesses who come to our courts for settlements of their disputes will find dockets that are crowded and cannot be adequately managed. Civil justice will inevitably suffer. Criminal cases will probably be affected too, as judges will be forced to devote some of their energies to the administrative tasks currently handled by the TCAs.
This is not just an issue for lawyers and judges. Citizens and businesses depend on our courts for the efficient and orderly resolution of disputes. Businesses and individuals already complain that the resolution of disputes in court is too slow, too costly, and requires too much effort from those whose time could be better spent creating jobs or working to build our economy. Eliminating trial court administrators from the court systems in our state’s commercial hubs will only make the problem worse.
We need your help to inform and educate legislators of the importance of our Trial Court Administrators to the fair and effective handling of civil lawsuits, and to urge them not to eliminate these vital positions from the judicial budget.
Please consider contacting the legislators on the lists below to express your opposition to further cuts to the judicial budget.
House Appropriations Committee For Justice and Public Safety Committee Chairs
Representative James L. Boles, Jr.
Representative N. Leo Daughtry
Representative Pat B. Hurley
Representative Shirley B. Randleman
Representative John Faircloth
Representative Dan W. Ingle
Representative Timothy L. Spear
Representative Sarah Stevens
Representative Trudi Walend
Representative Annie W. Mobley
Representative Patsy Keever
Representative Darren G. Jackson
Representative D. Craig Horn
Representative Charles Graham
Representative Rayne Brown
Representative Alice L. Bordsen
Representative Martha B. Alexander
Senate Standing Committee Appropriations on Justice and Public Safety
Senator Harry Brown – Co-Chair
Senator Thom Goolsby- Co-Chair
Senator Ed Jones – Vice Chair
Senator Dan Soucek- Vice Chair
Senator Daniel G. Clodfelter
Senator Don East
Senator E. S. (Buck) Newton
WINNERS of the 2012 HensonFuerst PSA Contest for Bicycle Safety
May 16th, 2012
Wow! The talent in North Carolina schools is impressive!
After a tough deliberation, we are finally able to announce the winners of our fourth annual bicycle safety public service announcement (PSA) contest:
- In the middle school category, the first-place winner is Makaila Roberts, 7th grade student at West Edgecombe Middle School in Rocky Mount;
- In the high school category, the first-place winner is Alex Hendrix, a 10th grade homeschool student in Wake Forest.
And if creative talent weren’t enough, the students are also articulate:
“I wanted to focus on the importance of helmet safety for my PSA, but I didn’t want to bore my audience with just plain facts,” said Alex, who’s been making movies since he was 11. “So, I decided to make my PSA more of a story, rather than a safety alert video. Ultimately, I want people to realize that helmet safety is extremely important. I know wearing one may make you look funny or feel uncomfortable, but it’s a lot better than being on a hospital bed wishing you had protected your head.”
Makaila agrees with Alex and wants her PSA to teach viewers a lesson. “I hope people realize you are never too young or too old to follow safety rules and wear a helmet. Many teens focus on appearance and what others think about them, and this video will help people recognize that safety is more important than what you look like.”
PSAs were judged on students’ abilities to analyze the topic and produce a quality video. As the first place winners, Alex and Makaila had the choice between an Apple MacBook with movie-making software or a $1,500 gift card—both chose the gift cards. Alex plans on using his prize to upgrade his current video equipment.
The winning students’ schools also will receive monetary donations.
“I am definitely going to do something related to filmmaking in the years to come,” Makaila said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s directing, acting, writing, or editing, because they’re things that I love to do. Only the people who made impactful movies are remembered. I want to be somebody like that. Somebody people won’t forget. I want to impact the world, and I am now one step closer to fulfilling my dream.”
(Watch the winning videos here: 2012 HensonFuerst PSA Contest Winners)
“I would like to thank HensonFuerst for giving students like me the opportunity to use our talents for a great cause and to help us grow in our dreams as aspiring filmmakers,” Alex said. “I would also like to encourage all of the other contestants who entered to continue to produce such excellent videos!”
The law firm also would like to congratulate the following students:
- 2nd Place middle school winner is Jonathan Brechbiel of Raleigh;
- 2nd Place high school winner is Mark Adkins of Wake Forest;
- 3rd Place middle school winners are Karen Adkins & Lauren Brown of Wake Forest;
- 3rd Place high school winners are Jacob Bell & Jedidiah Aurillo of Louisburg.
You can watch all of this year’s entries on our website at www.LawMed.com/contest.
About the HensonFuerst Annual Bicycle Safety Contest
Four years ago, the firm represented the husband of a local cyclist who was killed by a motorist while riding her bike. Members of the firm pledged all of the attorney fees from the case to fund bike safety awareness programs, such as the PSA contest and a series of cycling safety videos. For more details about the contest, visit www.LawMed.com/contest.
New Hope in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease
May 15th, 2012
It’s a cause for hope and optimism: Today is the first day in a new push to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. According to an article on WRAL.com:
The Obama administration declared Alzheimer’s one of the country’s biggest health challenges on Tuesday, adopting a national strategy that sets the clock ticking toward better treatments by 2025 — along with help for suffering families today.
“What we know is a lot more needs to be done and it needs to be done right now, because people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones and caregivers need help right now,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the first National Alzheimer’s Plan.
The very first step has already been completed: a brand-new website—www.Alzheimers.gov—that offers information for patients and caregivers. The site provides basic information about the disease, treatment options, how to pay for treatment, caregiver services, local help resources, and Alzheimer’s disease research programs.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to spend an additional $50 million on Alzheimer’s disease treatment research this year.
“These actions are the cornerstones of an historic effort to fight Alzheimer’s disease,” Kathleen Sebelius said.
According to an article from CBS News, initial steps will include:
—A planned $8 million study of an insulin nasal spray that pilot-testing suggests could help Alzheimer’s. It’s based on growing evidence that diabetes and Alzheimer’s are related, damaging how the brain is fueled. The insulin nasal spray can reach the brain without affecting blood-sugar levels.
—Also, NIH was contributing $16 million to an international study of whether a treatment targeting amyloid, Alzheimer’s hallmark brain plaque, could prevent the disease. The study will include people at highest risk, genetically, of the disease, including Americans and a unique group in Colombia.
—The government will begin offering training to doctors and other health providers on the best ways to care for patients and their families.
“This is a strong plan that promises important progress when implemented,” said Harry Johns, president of the Alzheimer’s Association.
This is very exciting for anyone whose family has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. This disorder has a history of draining hope at the same rate it drains memory. This is good news…for a change.
To read the full story on WRAL.com, click here: Clock Ticking with New Plan
To read the full story on CBS News, click here: New Plan to Fight Alzheimer’s
Government’s new website: www.Alzheimers.gov
Driving Techniques Changing Due to Air Bags
May 14th, 2012
Ah…the “Drivers’ Ed” memories: The movies designed to scare teenagers into becoming more cautious… the drill-sergeant instructors constantly reminding us to keep our hands at “10 and 2.” It was good advice then, but as car and their safety features have evolved, so have drivers’ ed guidelines.
According to an article on WRAL.com the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, a national group of driving instructors, is issuing new guidelines that change age-old driving techniques and take into account vehicles’ newer safety features, including the advice to hold your hands in the 10-and-2 position.
“If there’s a collision and an air bag deploys, that puts your fingers and hands in the way,” William Powell, a driver education instructor in Garner, said.
The new recommendations keep hands and arms away from the path of airbag deployment. Now, experts recommend keeping hands lower on the steering wheel, at the 8-and-4 or 9-and-3 position. In addition, experts no longer recommend crossing arms when turning. Instead, they are telling drivers not to cross arms over the airbag, and to push and pull the wheel around during a turn.
“You want the air bag to be able to do its job if it’s ever deployed,” Powell said. “That means it comes out at 250 mph, and it won’t hit you in the face.”
To read the full article on WRAL.com, click here: New car safety features make some driving techniques unsafe
And we have a video about why airbags sometimes don’t deploy. Check it out here: Why didn’t my air bag deploy?
This Week is About “Celebrating the Journey”
May 12th, 2012
This week—May 13 to 19—is National Nursing Home Week. The theme for 2012 is “Celebrating the Journey,” which reminds us all to recognize and honor the lives and milestones of the older adults in our lives. According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA):
Celebrating the Journey reminds us that every life should be honored, every life’s story needs to be told and that every day we have the chance to begin writing a new chapter. Whether the day is filled with comedy or drama, nursing home residents and caregivers are co-authors and leading characters in each other’s life story.
Today is about living life to the fullest, irrespective of age, infirmity or disability. There is no fixed formula to follow or guide the process, just the quiet routines of daily caregiving, meals, activities and, let’s hope, visits from family and friends. They bring the joy that comes from the heart of a loved one.
Nursing Home Week is the perfect time to remember to spend a little extra time with loved ones who are no longer able to live independently, and to make sure that the quality of the care they are receiving is what you hoped and expected.
At HensonFuerst, we advocate for nursing home residents throughout the year. We work with residents and their loved ones to make sure that cases of abuse or neglect are addressed, and that the rights of nursing home residents are protected. That’s our own contribution to “Celebrating the Journey.”