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A sevenfold increase in opioid-related car crash deaths has recently been reported by researchers. Yet another sure sign the U.S. opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever. More drivers than ever before are dying in crashes while under the influence of prescription painkillers. Columbia University researchers released a statement discussing how prescriptions for opioids like morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone have more than quadrupled in recent years. Seventy-six million were reported in 1991 compared to the 300 million in 2014.

With numbers soaring to such heights, it isn’t surprising we are beginning to see a connection to highway deaths. The increase in drivers testing positive for prescription opioids has become a public health concern in 2017. These types of drugs are used to kill pain from serious injury. Their effects include slowed reaction times, impaired cognitive skills, and drowsiness. All things that add a significant risk while driving. While it’s true that these prescription painkiller users are driving under the influence with more regularity than ever before, researchers say they still need to do more research before any clear facts are established.

This rising epidemic has caught the eye of more than one activist organization, including MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They have voiced their concerns over the lack of reliable testing for opioids on the road and committed themselves to fighting the problem along with all impairing drugs.

A recently released study has shown obese drivers to be at a greater risk of a car accident than average weight drivers. Seventy-eight percent more likely. A body mass index of over 30 is considered to be obese. The finding showed a rise in deaths among people who weighed more than average despite the considerable increase in commercial and personal vehicle safety technology. Study results indicated this increased risk is due to other health-related problems obese people have. It also raises the issue that auto safety technology is not equipped to accommodate heavier drivers. The finding alarmed government safety officials who noted the disturbing rise in American obesity will coincide with more fatal car crashes regardless of any safety measures.


Body mass index or BMI measure body fat in relation to height. It is used as an estimate to roughly judge the portion of the body that is fat. There are four established weight ranges when BMI is considered:

According to the California Highway Patrol, the three people who died in car accidents over the four-day period starting on Thanksgiving night 2017 brought the states total roadway deaths to 20. The three people were two women and an infant, Sarah Rae Rohde, 27, of Copperopolis, her 19-month-old daughter, Arianna Harris, and Brenda McCann, 65, of Valley Springs, who died in a separate car accident. The mother and daughter pair were travelling west on Highway 4 on Thanksgiving. They were travelling just west of Holiday Mine Road at 55-60 mph when the wreck happened. Another child, a 4-year-old boy, was also in the car. The group struck a black bear that had wandered into the road. The mother and daughter were killed from the impact.

On the Monday before this accident, Brenda McCann was involved in a three-car pile-up in Valley Springs. Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Linnerman of Modesto was driving a 2005 Ford west on Highway 26, west of Vista del Lago Drive. Simultaneously, Wade McCann, driving a 1998 Jeep in front of Linnerman, stopped to make a left turn onto a frontage road running parallel to Highway 26. Linnerman failed to recognize this and the vehicles crashed. The force of the impact sent Mcann into the eastbound lane, where he was stuck by a 2014 Ford F150 pickup driven by Rudi Leon, 44-years-old, of Valley Springs. Brenda McCann was riding in the front passenger seat of the Jeep. She was transported to the Mark Twain Medical Center and pronounced deceased. Highway 26 was then blocked to further traffic for an hour and 20 minutes. No arrests were made. Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be factors in either of the collisions that occurred over the weekend. The Valley Springs accident is still under investigation, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Unfortunately for the public and CHP, deadly crashes are becoming far too commonplace in Calaveras County. According to CHP San Andreas Public Information Officer Tobias Butzler, in 2017, the number of fatalities has hit the roof. The death toll has doubled so far, this year. In 2016, there were a total of 10 mortal accidents. With less than a month left in 2017, the California Highway Patrol has responded to 19 fatal occurrences during which 20 people have been killed. The reasons are unknown, according to police but CHP lieutenants have agonized finding common themes to the fatalities. So far, no commonalities have been revealed.

Sports are an important part of academia and the growing up process. Playing sports and being involved in a team is invaluable to teaching life lessons and coping skills. Sports can also be a relief from stress for many kids or a way to excel. Sadly, as with any physical activity, there are risks of injury. This is even more true when it comes to sports like football, hockey, soccer, baseball and other contact sports. Football and soccer are said to be the two most dangerous contact sports. Sports injuries are costly, debilitating and can cause a lifetime of pain. They require significant medical expense, diminished quality of life, pain, suffering, and perhaps a loss of future earning potential. When faced with some of these losses, parents often wonder if they are able to sue to recover for them and others they may have incurred since the injury.

According to Safe Kids USA, more than 3.5 million children per year suffer severe sports-related injury. Traumatic brain injury is a commonly seen sports injury in children. It is most often cause by head blows from smashing into another player, a hard fall, or even hitting their head on equipment. Certain game moves can even cause player injury, such as “the header” in soccer. Football players not only receive a lot of head trauma but also have a significant risk for knee and ankle injury. Lacrosse is ranked as the third most dangerous sport for children. Wrestling and cheerleading are also on the list. While these sports are known to be more dangerous than others and consistently see severely injured players each year. They are still offered in school systems across the country.

These dangerous sports are offered and even required in some classes, but parents are required to sign a consent prohibiting them from suing the school or athletic organization if injury occurs. The consent form says they understand there is an inherent risk of injury in playing the game and realize their child may get seriously hurt. These consent forms work on the legal doctrine described as “assumption of the risk,” which states that when people participate in unsafe activities they shoulder the risk of injury knowingly.

When you are hurt in an accident, you just want to get better and put your life back together. Getting your claims approved by the insurance company is the last thing you want to worry about. Sadly, the insurance companies have only one concern and that is making money. If there is one little mistake, they may not pay your insurance claim, or it could be seriously delayed when you need it most. It is important to know what may cause a denial or delay of a medical insurance claim before you submit it. Doing so gives you the chance to submit the most complete claim possible and lessens your chance of issues.

Duplicate Claims

There are a few different reasons a claim will register as a duplicate. The biggest reason is when a doctor’s office does not get a timely reply for their services rendered and will resubmit the claim. The insurance company will automatically deny the claim at this point. These duplicate claim situations essentially reset the clock on the time it will take to get an approval. It also happened when two different doctors or health care providers make a claim for the same or similar services. Further information may be required before an approval will be issued.

Driving your older Toyota around Bakersfield is going to cost you a bit more for car insurance theft coverage than the other guy with a newer Toyota in Sacramento. The reason is simple. Bakersfield, California has a higher car theft rate than Sacramento, as do the Toyotas. This unfortunate combination of facts greatly affects auto insurance premium rates.

According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report released earlier last year, there were more than 7,000 car thefts in the Bakersfield metropolitan area in 2016, making it the highest rated area in the state for car thefts. Bakersfield tiered third in the country after Albuquerque, New Mexico, which took the number one spot, and Pueblo, Colorado, which came in next. The annual Hot Spots report studies automobile theft statistics from the National Crime Information Center for all of the nation’s most densely populated areas. The ranking takes factors such as population into account, which explains why an area such as Billings, Mont., which had 877 thefts, places much higher than Los Angeles, with 60,670 thefts.

There were other California metropolitan zones in the top 10 including Fresno, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Merced, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward. Initial statistics show that 2016 car thefts across the nation went up 6.6% from 2015’s 707,758 thefts, but the number has considerably declined from 1991, the year there were 1.7 million thefts, a standing record. The reports say the best way to prevent car theft is plain common sense. The insurance bureau reported from 2013 to 2015, over 140,000 vehicles were stolen with the keys left inside.

The bay region’s highways are increasingly more crowded with motorists, and the dangers increase along with them. The more motorist crammed on the roads, the bigger the risk of an accident. More and more, cyclists and pedestrians are traveling the roads along with motorists and facing the same risks. Newly released data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission showed the number of fatal automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian crashes in the Bay Area jumped 43% from 2010 to 2016.

Researchers usually point to two major factors as a cause for this uptick. More drivers and longer commutes. The sharp rise in population and the increasingly long and mind-numbing commutes account for only a portion of the increase. There was a total of 455 fatal crashes in the area in 2016. Compare this statistic with 318 in 2010. Five out of the six years showed increases in the death toll. This followed four previous years of decline. But 2016 was not the highest point. In 2003, there were 509 fatal crashes. The highest number in the 16-year span studied. Experts have some other theories for the rise including distracted driving and a slow-down in advancements in safety features like seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, and shatter-proof windshields.

Ultimately, the real problem is simply human error. Data analysts have pointed out three major factors that continually top the charts of accident causes: unsafe turns, DUI, and speeding. Unsafe driver behavior is the cause of most vehicle accidents on the bay area roads. It isn’t only the Bay Area, either. There has been a steady uptick in deadly car wrecks all across the United States since the Great Recession, which officially ended in 2009. Between 2010 and 2016, deadly accidents rose 33% in California.

Which common healthcare mistakes are behind the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits?

A medical malpractice case can arise from any situation where a patient is harmed. Be that from a doctor, nurse, specialist, or any situation which does not provide proper healthcare treatment. Great care and caution go into making sure healthcare professionals make no mistakes and thankfully, only a small number of cases occur each year. Within that number of cases that occur each year, a few errors show up more often than all the others. One thing people are often misguided about concerning medical malpractice is that just because a mistake was made, or a patient is unhappy with the outcome of a course of treatment does not imply malpractice has occurred. To be a case of medical malpractice, a healthcare professional must have acted below the standard of care.

The most frequent medical mistakes that lead to malpractice cases are delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, childbirth injuries, medication errors, surgery errors, and anesthesia errors. These types of errors happen over and over in healthcare facilities all over the country. Often, they are preventable. When one of these accidents is caused by a provider’s negligence, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

According to the Sacramento Bee, more dog bites happen in North Sacramento than anywhere else in the city, citing 2,800 bite reports, many of which required hospital treatment, between 2012 and 2017. Of the twenty-three zip codes in the area, 95815 and 95838 reported the most dog bites, 647 total. One-fourth of all dog bite reports in the city. These two zip codes cover the area from American River to the city boundary in the north and from the east boundary to Steelhead Creek. City groups such as the Del Paso Heights Community Association confronted city officials about the dog bite problem in North Sacramento only to be told there was nothing they could do about it and there was not adequate funding for animal control in the city.

Gina Knepp, the manager of Front Street Shelter and person responsible for the city’s animal control, is quoted as saying proactive measures are limited because there are only six animal control employees and never more than two on duty at the same time. A backlog of more than 270 dog bite complaints existed earlier this year.

A report from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2013 showed that when crime and social disease are a part of the community, there are also problems with animal control. In the report, impounded animals at SPCA shelters and those by the city and county of Sacramento were investigated and the highest concentrations were found in Del Paso Heights and Oak Park. The information from the report was combined with a map of the city’s worst areas for building code violations. The most dog bite problems happen in the areas with poor housing maintenance and code violations. There tends to be less fenced in areas and more dogs roaming free on the streets.

General Motors is continuously increasing the size of its fleet of autonomous cars just as more and more accidents are being reported. In September 2017 alone, six accidents were reported of GM autonomous cars being involved in an accident. All six were between autonomous cars and those driven by real people. A spokesperson for GM, Rebecca Mark, claimed all incidents this year were caused by a human driver. Their comment is that as real drivers and autonomous cars become more acquainted with each other on the road, there will be less accidents.

The question on many minds is, who pays for the damages if one of these self-driving cars happens to be at fault? With so many self-driving cars on the road, especially in San Francisco, many people are wondering who is at fault in the aftermath of a wreck and where does the insurance payout come from. It is an especially perplexing question since these types of cars are said to be manufactured to avoid that issue all together. While GM says it will take all responsibility for any accident their cars are responsible for, they also say it is too early to tell what any liability issues will entail and they are learning as they go.

Legally speaking, as soon as a car begins to drive in autonomous mode, the driver or rider is passing off all responsibility. Liability shifts to the auto manufacturer. The new Super Cruise model of the Cadillac CT6 allowed drivers to enjoy a level two of automation. In level two, drivers are still in control of the car but the car assists. The driver is still liable for all accidents he or she incurs.

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