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Guide to Reporting a Workplace Accident

Workplace accidents can happen in every industry. Even office settings are subject to accidents during daily operations. In most cases, the only thing that employees need to know about reporting an accident is who to notify. A supervisor or human resources professional is the best place to start when it comes to workplace accidents. They can direct you to the established reporting process. If you are concerned that your report is not being recorded, or if you are responsible for reporting an accident on behalf of your company, here is what you need to know:

Employers are required to report all workplace accidents to OSHA. All deaths must be reported within 8 hours and hospitalizations, eye loss, and amputations must be reported within 24 hours. All businesses that employ more than 10 employees have to keep up-to-date injury and illness records and they must publicly post information within the workplace. Even minor accidents should be recorded, including work-related cuts, heat exhaustion, and sprains. Failure to follow OSHA regulations can lead to fines and lawsuits.

Employees who are involved in or witness to an accident or illness have the responsibility of informing an employer about the incident as soon as possible. Even minor accidents should be reported. Remember, OSHA law prevents employers from discriminating against employees because of a workplace injury or illness, so don’t be afraid to speak out about a work-related accident.

When a workplace accident report is created, it will need to include specific information to satisfy OSHA requirements. The form can be company-created or follow a generic incident report outline. Information in the report should include:

• The name of the injured person or persons
• Contact information for all parties involved
• Department information
• Work ID numbers
• Time, date, and location of the incident
• Details about the accident including contributing factors and prior events
• Injury or illness details
• Treatment details
• Time that has been taken off as a result of the accident

More information is always better in workplace accident reports. Employers should include any supporting documents that may clarify the context of a workplace accident, and employees involved should ask for a copy of the official report to keep on file. If an employee pursues legal action after the accident, keeping a copy of the original report may discourage dishonest employers from trying to change their story.

Every employer is required to maintain compliance with OSHA regulations and keep OSHA-required records for at least 5 years. If you are an employee and you feel that a workplace accident has not been successfully reported, or your work environment is unsafe, you can report an OSHA violation. Try to talk to your employer first. If they fail to remedy the situation, you can file a complaint in writing, online, or via the phone. Legally, you are protected from retaliation from your employer if you choose to submit a complaint.

If you are unsure about your company’s reporting policies, ask your supervisor or human resources department about accident reporting. They should have an easy-to-follow plan for addressing workplace accidents and have incident report forms readily available to all staff members.

When to Contact an Attorney

Some employers will disregard the law and fail to maintain OSHA standards, or they may act against you for speaking out about the handling of a workplace accident. Without proper reporting, workers’ compensation benefits may be limited. Consult a knowledgeable Dallas work injury attorney at the Benton Law Firm for a free consultation about your workplace accident case. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to receive better compensation benefits. Speaking out against unethical practices can also prevent future accidents from affecting other employees just like you. Your attorney can help you talk with your employer and OSHA officials to make sure that safety and health issues are properly remedied.


How to Safely Stop a Dog Attack

All dogs have the potential to attack. From small chihuahuas to breed favorites like golden retrievers, the right set of circumstances can lead to a harmful situation. The best way people can prepare themselves is to understand why dogs attack and learn how to address a dangerous situation with confidence.

The top reasons that dogs commonly attack include a predatory drive when joggers, bicyclists, or cars pass by. Some dogs feel compelled to give chase, if they can. Other dogs feel the need to defend their territory. Any unaddressed excitement or aggression can lead to an attack, even though a dog would “normally” be very friendly. Others may suffer from food aggression, fear, or other unbalanced behaviors.

If you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive dog, try to stay calm. Avoid yelling or kicking or other high-energy behaviors. Avoid eye contact and stand so that your side is facing the dog. In some cases, this dominating stance of claiming your space will prevent a dog from attacking. Other times, you may find yourself being charged. Runners and other outdoor pedestrians may not have the opportunity to confront a dog before he or she attacks. Here are some tips for dealing with a dog attack in the heat of the moment:

• Try to distract the dog with something other than a body part. Wave a shoe, wiggle out of a sleeve, or use anything within reach to try to redirect the dog’s mouth.
• Ball up your hands. Protect your face, chest, and throat, and if a bite is inevitable, try to use your shin or arms to deflect the attack.
• Do not run. Trying to pull or run away can make the attack worse. Even if you are being bitten, it is important to resist the urge to pull away. Most dogs become more engaged in the behavior when they meet resistance and pulling away may cause more harm.
• Don’t be afraid to defend yourself. Raise your voice during an attack and call for help. Kick and hit the dog in the nose, head, and throat to discourage biting. Use anything nearby as a weapon. Focus on soft areas like the neck and nose. You may not completely stop an attack but you can stun the animal enough to get away. While it’s never desirable to purposefully harm an animal, it is necessary to use force during a dog attack.
• Leverage your weight. Push down with your knees and put all your weight on the animal. If possible, put your weight on the dog’s back and force its head down to the ground to prevent the dog from attacking until help arrives.

If available, mace, pepper spray, or large sticks are also effective deterrents in a dog attack. In some cases, you may even need to break the animal’s bones or choke it to prevent an attack. It isn’t a fun prospect, but knowing all of the alternatives may save your or someone else’s life one day.

After an attack, you need to talk to the owner. Try to be reasonable and sincere. The owner’s reaction will tell you a lot about the situation. Not every dog attack case leads to a dog’s death; however, owners who fail to take responsibility for their dog’s behavior may require a more aggressive approach. Contact the authorities and make sure that a police report is filed regarding the incident. Then, if you still can’t get a response, and you can prove that the dog is a threat, contact a Dallas dog bite attorney. The goal is to make sure that every dog attack situation is handled swiftly and appropriately so that the community remains safe, and you get the justice deserved after a dog attack incident.


When and Where to Report Medical Malpractice

When a doctor’s negligence leads to a misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or other preventable error, it is considered medical malpractice. Malpractice suits arise when anyone in a healthcare provider role is negligent by act or omission, which leads to treatment that falls beneath the accepted industry standards for practice and causes harm to a patient. If you suspect that your healthcare provider’s actions, or lack thereof, led to further injury, reporting the malpractice is the first step in securing the compensation you deserve.

When to Report Malpractice

In any legal dispute, the quicker you can address a grievance, the better. In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case is two years. Sometimes, you may not be aware of the negligent activity until sometime after you received treatment or advice. As soon as you are aware or suspicious of unethical or negligent activity, you will need to file a report along with a lawsuit. Contact a personal injury attorney who has malpractice experience in your area. Most medical malpractice lawsuits are not frivolous. They help patients secure the compensation and justice they deserve, and they prevent future acts of negligence from affecting others.

Where to Report Malpractice

Talk to your attorney before filing your malpractice report with the state medical complaint board. He or she can help you find the information needed to submit a report and determine the agency that will review your claim. In Texas, the state medical board handles most complaint reporting, although some cases may fall under a local medical or osteopathic society or a state licensing authority. The Texas Medical Board Complaint Form asks for contact information, patient information, details, dates, supporting documents, and the contact information of any doctor who provided a second opinion.

Malpractice complaints can be filed by anyone; however, an attorney can expedite the process to ensure that you receive justice more quickly. All complaints must be made in writing. Once the appropriate party has been notified of the complaint, an authorized investigator will conduct an investigation.

Some patients also choose to post a complaint on public forums like a consumer website. Because the review board may not take action against a physician, these public forums allow patients to reach out to others and share their positive and negative experiences with doctors and healthcare practices.

The Difference Between Reporting Malpractice and Filing a Lawsuit

Filing a report with a state board or other medical organization is separate from any pending lawsuits; however, it is common for patients to simultaneously pursue both courses of action. Reporting malpractice does not provide compensation for the patient, but it can prevent a physician from continuing to practice medicine.

If you plan on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas as well as a malpractice report, we highly recommend consulting an attorney first. Anything that you submit in a complaint report will be admissible in court and should be in line with the allegations of the lawsuit. Most attorneys will help with the malpractice process from start to finish.

If an insurance company approaches you after you file a malpractice report, be wary of any settlement offers. Some companies try to take advantage of patients and avoid a public lawsuit by offering a settlement that prevents a patient from taking further legal action. Consult your Dallas medical malpractice attorney before accepting an insurance settlement offer.

Contact the Benton Law Firm for a free consultation about medical malpractice cases. We can offer some guidance on your current situation and help you determine the best legal course of action for your case. Your first priority should be recovering from physician error, and we are ready to help you get back to your life with the best possible outcome.


Warning Signs of a Child Head Injury

In children, the warning signs of a head injury can be difficult to interpret. Whenever a small child strikes his or her head, the best course of action is to get a physician to inspect the injury. Sometimes, however, a responsible adult may not be around during the time of injury. If you leave your child with a babysitter or at a daycare center, knowing the warning signs of a brain injury can help you get your child the care he or she needs immediately. Look for these common symptoms in children:

  • Visible bumps or bruising – If you notice any abnormal bumps or bruises on the head of small children, have them evaluated by a doctor.
  • Loss of consciousness – Even a brief blackout may indicate injury and should be evaluated by a doctor.
  • Vomiting – Vomiting several times in the absence of other symptoms that indicate illness could be an indication of a head injury.
  • Head and neck pain – If your young child complains about head and neck pain or if a child who hasn’t learned to talk cries nonstop, you may want to consider talking them to a doctor. Even if you did not witness an accident, your child may have fallen or hit his or her head.
  • Abnormal communication and motor skills – Be aware of any child that is stumbling around or talking oddly, which are both signs of brain injury.
  • Difficulty waking up – Call emergency services immediately if you have difficulty waking your child up.
  • Seizure –A seizure may indicate an intracranial injury, and always requires medical attention.

If you do witness the accident that caused injury, you may be able to determine the extent of injury prior to seeking medical attention. For instance, falling down while playing may not be as serious as being hit in the head with a baseball bat. Remember to use a nurse hotline or call 911 if you are unsure about an injury.

Younger children and babies are more susceptible to severe injury from common accidents, and a doctor should always evaluate babies younger than 3 months to determine injury. Babies cannot tell you what hurts, and it may be difficult to determine why a baby is fussier than normal. If your child is older, seek medical attention within the first one or two days if minor symptoms, like pain, persist. Any of the other symptoms including imbalance, seizures, vomiting, and unconsciousness require immediate emergency medical attention.

Noting where a child has been hit can also help you assess the severity of the situation. Impact to the front or rear of the head does not result in injury as often as an impact to the side of the head. Most of the time, emergency room physicians will look at all of the above factors to determine whether your child is at risk for a more severe head injury. Unless there is a visible, severe injury, many patients are closely evaluated over a 24-hour period of time.

Even small impact accidents can lead to severe consequences over time. The way in which a child’s head is impacted heavily influences the severity of the injury. Even if you do not notice visible damage, keep assessing your child’s behavior over the next few days.

When to Contact an Attorney

The majority of head injuries in children are truly accidents and will heal over time. However, injuries caused by assault or a car accident may require long-term medical care. If you suspect that another person is responsible for your child’s injury, reach out to the Dallas child injuries attorney at The Benton Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action to protect your family and start the healing process. Call (214) 219-4878 today.


Who is at Fault in a Multiple Vehicle Accident?

When you step out of a car in an accident involving 3 or more vehicles, you may be confused about who is at fault. There are several different factors used to determine fault, and every state treats multiple car accidents differently. If you’re in a multiple car accident in Texas, here is how fault is generally determined.

• Last car – When several cars are involved in a massive rear end chain reaction, the person who caused the accident will be held liable for everyone’s vehicle damages and injuries.
• Front car – If other drivers can prove that the front vehicle in a multiple car accident was behaving erratically or stopped for no reason, he or she may be found liable for an accident.
• Middle Car – At times a middle car may be responsible for an accident, striking the car in front. If a rear driver claims that they did not have enough time to react, the driver of the middle car may be held responsible.
• Hit and run or phantom car – Sometimes, the rear car will claim that another factor, like a car that is no longer there, caused his reaction and the subsequent collision. Damage to the rear car will often clarify whether or not another car was likely involved.
• Vehicle malfunction – Some accidents may be caused by a defect or vehicle malfunction. A blown tire, bad brakes, or other factors may be to blame for the accident. If proven, a product manufacturer may be held liable for the whole accident.

More often than not, a multiple car accident includes other, secondary factors that lead to the accident. Speed, intoxication, distraction, and fatigue can all play into a multiple car accident. Police chases are another cause. The vehicle being chased may lose control or strike other vehicles at high speeds. These acts of negligence may indicate fault in a multiple car accident. In many cases, more than one person may be at fault.

In many multiple vehicle accidents, no one admits fault, and everyone may be pointing a finger at another driver. When everyone is telling a different version of the story, an extensive investigation may be necessary to uncover the truth. Often, a lawsuit may be the only way to determine fault and resolve other issues arising from the accident.

Investigating Fault

To determine who will be held liable for an accident, investigators will look at driver history, take photographs of the accident scene, and interview everyone at the scene of the accident. Because many people may be offering a different story, investigators have the job of comparing witness testimonies with the evidence to determine the truth.

Investigators may find that extenuating circumstances are to blame for an accident. During winter, if a patch of black ice causes an accident, then no one may be held liable for the accident. Other cases that mitigate fault include loss of consciousness to the driver due to a medical condition. Drivers can’t predict when they will have a heart attack, so determining fault is impossible.

Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule. If more than one party is at fault in a multiple car accident, then the amount of damages may be reduced by that percentage of fault. Anyone whose fault in an accident is less than 50% is eligible to receive compensation under the modified comparative fault rule.

If you are involved in a multiple car accident in Texas, please contact the Dallas car accident attorneys at the Benton Law Firm. Our free initial consultation can help you determine whether seeking legal action against an at-fault driver is the best course of action in your unique case.


What Causes Most Truck Accidents?

More often than not, trucking accidents are more severe than passenger vehicle accidents. Many commerical trucks are as much as 20 times the size of other vehicles commonly on the road, they inflict more damage, even at lower speeds, and often cause serious injuries to those involved. When driving a commercial truck or driving near one, it is important to always take the proper precautions.

Knowing the primary causes of trucking and 18-wheeler accidents can help everyone prepare for and prevent these life-changing accidents. Whether you drive on interstates where large trucks frequently travel, or you’re a trucker trying to improve your safe driving ability, here are the main causes of accidents and how to prevent them:

  • Distractions – Both large trucks and passenger vehicles can be responsible for accidents that arise from driver error. Distractions, like texting, sipping on hot coffee, substance abuse, or fatigue can all affect your attentiveness to the road. It only takes a few seconds for a mistake, like swerving, making a wrong turn, or misjudging distance and speed to lead to a deadly crash. Avoiding driving under the influence, driving while tired, and minimizing distractions on busy roads can reduce the chance of driver-error accidents.
  • Weather – Some accidents are caused by hazardous weather conditions. Accidents are more common when weather events make the road slick or reduce visibility. Truckers can take a proactive approach to bad weather by monitoring weather reports and avoiding driving during poor conditions. Both trucks and passenger vehicles can improve visibility during weather events by using hazard lights and driving slowly in dangerous conditions.
  • Failure to properly load a truck – A commercial truck’s trailer affects the overall performance of the vehicle. When loads are not carefully distributed across the trailer, the imbalance makes the whole structure insecure. Trucks with improperly loaded trailers are at risk for rolling over on the road or losing cargo on the highway. Follow recommended guidelines for loading your truck every time you take on a new assignment.
  • Equipment malfunction – When a manufacturer ships defective tires or improperly calibrated equipment, everyone on the roadways are at risk. Truck drivers who fail to maintain their trucks and perform regular inspections before every trip also put the general public at risk. A blown tire or loose bolt may not affect the truck very much, but there are many sad cases of parts flying off of a commercial truck and killing or severely injuring drivers following behind. All truck drivers are required by regulation to perform pre-trip inspections and to regularly maintain their vehicles.
  • Failing to follow the rules of the road – Many trucking accidents occur from speeding or failing to follow road rules. Following too closely or coming up on another vehicle too quickly can easily turn into a devastating rear-ending accident. Most commercial trucks include a black box similar to those found on airplanes. If a truck driver failed to follow the law, the information will come out after the accident.

Unfortunately, many accidents result from a combination of errors. There are many different causes for trucking accidents, but most can be remedied with a little more conscientiousness from drivers. Avoid distractions, allow adequate space for appropriate and necessary reaction time, and follow the rules to keep everyone a little safer every time you travel on the roads.

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you may be confused about liability and your ability to receive adequate compensation. If you were not responsible for an accident causing your injury, contact our Dallas trucking accident attorneys at the Benton Law Firm. We can answer many of your questions at a free initial consultation. Get the support you need by contacting us today for more information.


Truck Accidents on the Rise in Texas

Over the last three years, the number of truck accidents across the state of Texas has increased dramatically, now making the Lonestar State home to the most dangerous highways in the country. Across the state, fatalities involving trucks have increased by 50% since 2009, jumping 303 to 389 fatal semi-trailer crashes in Texas in just one year. Although any kind of truck or car accident can be tragic, vehicle accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks and semi-trailer trucks commonly cause severe damage and a higher number of fatalities in the event of an accident.

There are many factors that can result in a traumatic trucking accident. Safety violations, defective vehicles, and poor vehicle maintenance all play a part, but often the main causes of these catastrophic accidents are tired and fatigued drivers. Many of the truck drivers are oil-field workers or fracking crews who have been awake for hours on end and then fall asleep behind the wheel on our Texas highways. So, what is causing this dramatic increase in truck accidents across Texas? The answer is simple. It’s a numbers game. Since the oil and fracking boom began, there are simply more trucks on the road resulting in more traumatic accidents. According to an article published on Chron.com, Highway 72 has now become one of the states’ most dangerous highways, despite the fact that it is a mere 111 miles long.

Trucking Accidents are among the most severe accidents on our Texas roads, often resulting in multiple fatalities and catastrophic injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured, or tragically lost a loved on in a truck accident, contact our dedicated Dallas trucking accident attorney today.

 


Classification and Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are among the most traumatic of all injuries, sometimes resulting in paralysis. The terminology associated with spinal cord injuries can be extremely confusing and overwhelming yet it’s important for patients to understand fully. The current common classification of spinal cord injuries is the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale. Due to the traumatic and often lifelong effects of spinal cord injuries, if you’ve suffered an injury to your spine in the Dallas area, it is imperative to have the help of an experienced Dallas spinal cord injury attorney to help recover the appropriate amount of compensation.

What is the difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries?

If a spinal cord injury is considered “complete”, this means there is a complete lack of sensory and motor function below the location of the injury. An “incomplete” spinal cord injury means there is some level of communication between the brain and the spinal cord below the level of injury, although this can be a wide range of levels of function. The spinal cord is still able to convey at least some messages to and from the brain with an incomplete injury and some sensory and motor function below the level of the injury is possible.

ASIA Impairment (AIS) Scale:

The Association Impairment Scale created by the American Spinal Cord Injury Association provides more specific degrees of spinal cord injuries.

A – Complete: No sensory or motor function is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5.

B – Incomplete: Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5. No motor function is preserved more than three levels below the motor level on either side of the body.

C – Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and more than half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade less than 3.

D – Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and at least half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of 3 or more.

E – Normal: Motor and sensory function are normal.

Effects of Cervical Spinal Cord Injury C1- C8:

Injuries to the cervical spinal cord can cause quadriplegia, also know as tetraplegia. Depending on the severity of the injury, a cervical spinal cord injury could result in weakness in the arms and legs or complete paralysis of all regions below the level of injury. Often these types of injuries can include loss of physical sensation, bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction as well as respiratory issues.

Effects of Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury T1 – T12:

Injuries to the thoracic spine are much less common than other spinal cord injuries. This is mainly because the thoracic spine is protected by the rib cage and therefor is less susceptible to injuries. In the event that a thoracic spinal cord injury does occur, it sometimes causes paralysis or weakness of the legs. Most often with this type of injury, the arms and hands are not effected although bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction may occur as well as a loss of physical sensation below the level of the injury.

Effects of Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury L1 – L5:

Injuries to the lumbar spinal cord depending on the severity can result in paralysis or weakness in the legs. The effects may also include bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. The lumber area of the spinal cord also controls motor function and sensation to the lower abdomen, some parts of the genitals, buttocks and some parts of the leg.

Effects of Sacral Spinal Cord Injury S1 – S5:

The sacrum controls the function of the bladder and bowels as well as sexual organs. Depending on the severity of the injury, a sacral spinal cord injury can result in loss of these functions as well as paralysis or weakness of the hips and legs, feet and genital organs.

The shock and confusion associated with a spinal cord injury can be overwhelming. Dallas personal injury lawyer Jeff Benton can help. The Benton Law Firm offers dedicated and experienced legal representation for victims of traumatic injuries including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and wrongful death.


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