Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What are the statistics for vehicle crashes with ambulances in the United States?

    • There are approximately 6,500 ambulance crashes each year.
    • Thirty-five percent of all ambulance crashes result in at least one fatality.
    • There are 33 deaths for every 29 fatal ambulance crashes.
    • Sixty percent of ambulance crashes occur while the vehicle is engaged in emergency services.
    • Almost 60 percent of fatalities occur in the patient area of the ambulance.
    • The breakdown of fatalities in ambulance crashes is: 63 percent of victims are in passenger vehicles, 21 percent are ambulance passengers, 4 percent are ambulance drivers, 12 percent of victims are non-occupants of any vehicles.

  • What treatments are necessary for an orbital blowout fracture?

    If the fracture is a small one and the victim is not suffering from double vision, damage to the extraocular muscles or orbital floor, the fracture should heal without surgery. Unfortunately, the majority of these fractures are catastrophic and victims usually need surgery in order to piece the orbital socket back together.

  • What causes an orbital blowout fracture?

    Victims sustain this type of fracture from a direct force to the side of their head, against the eyeball. The impact in the temple region causes the ring making up the orbital socket to become destabilized. Since the ring is made up of rigid bone, the entire socket becomes obliterated with any type of major break.

  • What is an orbital blowout fracture?

    Some of the most catastrophic injuries victims can sustain in car accidents are facial fractures, including orbital blowout fractures. The most common type is an open door fracture. This is also the most serious and involves the complete devastation of the orbital socket. The eye socket appears larger than normal and the eyeball will appear sunken back into the socket. The victim usually suffers from double vision, as well as a complete loss of feeling around the socket. This is because the infraorbital nerve is also destroyed in this type of fracture.

    A trap door fracture is less common and is usually seen in children. The break is minimal, although the infraorbital nerve is also damaged in this type of fracture, leaving the victim with a loss of feeling around the cheek.

  • How often does a drugged driving crash occur?

    It is difficult to determine just how many car accidents are caused by a drugged driver. This is because:

    • Unlike testing for alcohol at the scene, there is no roadside test that has been developed that can accurately measure drug levels in a driver’s system.
    • Some drugs stay in a user’s system for days or weeks and this makes it difficult to determine which drug was used prior to the crash and if it had an effect on the driver.
    • If a driver has tested positive for an illegal blood alcohol level, law enforcement usually do not test for drugs since they already have enough evidence for a DUI charge.
    • Many drivers who are at fault for a crash are found to have both alcohol and drugs in their system and it can be difficult to determine which substance had the greatest impact on the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.

    However, a critical fact provided by the Governors Highway Safety Association is that in one year, approximately 40 percent of drivers killed in car accidents had at least one drug in their system, and half of those drivers tested positive for two or more drugs.

  • What effect do drugs have on people’s driving abilities?

    • Cocaine and Meth: These drugs often lead to reckless and/or aggressive driving behaviors.
    • Marijuana: A driver’s cognitive functions, perception of distance, coordination, and reaction time can be affected. 
    • Opioids: These drugs include prescription painkillers and illicit substances, such as heroin. Opioids can cause a driver to become drowsy and experience memory loss and impairment to thinking and judgment.
    • Sedatives: Prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids can cause drowsiness and dizziness.

  • How many people take drugs and drive?

    According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) taken in 2017, almost 13 million people who are 16 years of age or older drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the prior 12 months. More than 21 million drove under the influence of alcohol. The survey also revealed that men are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs than women are.

  • What are my legal options if a surgeon leaves an object inside my body?

    One of Virginia’s medical malpractice laws recognizes allowing a surgical instrument to remain inside a patient’s body as an “act of negligence [that] clearly lies within the range of [a] jury’s common knowledge and experience.” What this means, among other things, is that a person who has substantive proof that an object was left in their body and that the error cased substantial harm can proceed directly to filing an insurance claim or civil lawsuit against the responsible surgeon and the hospital where the error occurred. Substantial harms from a retained surgical object include follow-up surgeries, infections, internal injuries and bleeding, and pain and suffering.

    EJL

  • Why do surgeons leave objects inside patients?

    A sponge, needle, scalpel, clamp or other surgical instrument can be left inside a patient for several, sometimes compounded, reasons.

    First, a large number of objects get used during even simple procedures. Surgeons, nurses and aides can simply lose count of, say, how many sponges (actually, rolls of gauze) they have inserted and removed while trying to control bleeding.

    Another problem is that many surgical implements are delicate. A piece of a fine blade or the tip of a narrow-gauge needle can break off without people noticing.

    A third issue is that surgical suites can be loud, crowded, confusing and high-pressure places. Even when checklists are used and when surgical teams have worked together for some time, oversights can occur.

    Regardless of the exact reason a surgeon and members of the surgical team leave objects inside patients, such errors constitute clear cases of medical malpractice. Patients harmed by retained surgical instruments deserve compensation.

    EJL

  • What object is most frequently left in patients’ bodies following surgery?

    Surgeons are most likely to leave sponges inside patients when closing surgical incisions. Needles, scalpels, blades, clamps and scissors are also prone to not being removed from patients’ bodies.

    Our Virginia medical malpractice law firm has help victims of what patient safety researchers call “retained surgical instruments.” In those cases, our clients experienced significant pain, developed infections, bled internally and required follow-up surgeries to remove the foreign objects and to repair the damage those forgotten instruments did.

    EJL