Passing Bicycle Groups in NJ – What Drivers and Bicyclists Should Know

Posted in Bicycle Accidents, Bicycle Laws, Bicycle Safety

Recently in California several members of a group of cyclists were injured when they were clipped by a truck that was trying to pass them. Nine cyclists were on a 30-mile group ride when the incident occurred. The driver of the truck apparently tried to pass the group by squeezing between the group and oncoming traffic. Cyclists and their bikes were scattered along the road after the truck mirror hit them and knocked them to the ground. According to California’s “safe passing” law, drivers have to be at least three feet away from a bicyclist when they pass them.

However, New Jersey is one of a few states, and the only state in the Northeast, that does not have a specific “safe passing” statute setting the minimum safe passing distance between a motor vehicle and a bicycle. While general rules of caution still apply, in the absence of a safe passing law, bicyclists on group rides, as well as motorists in New Jersey, should exercise extra caution and be sure to learn and follow the rules of the road.

Here are a few reminders about passing safety in New Jersey:

  • Cyclists should not ride more than 2 abreast and should revert to single-file when traffic is approaching from the rear.
  • Cyclists are generally required to ride to the right side of the travel lane, and should keep as far right as possible given the conditions and preserving their general safety.

As cyclists have the same general rights as a “motorist,” a car seeking to pass should treat them like a slow moving vehicle, abiding by the general rules for safe passing.

May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Posted in Motorcycle Injury

Our motorcycle accident attorneys wish to remind all drivers to be aware of motorcyclists. Be mindful that the warm weather means more motorcycle riders will be taking trips to the shore, countryside, or mountains. Due to the increase in motorcyclists on the road, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Consequently, it is a great time for all drivers to remind themselves to be extra safe while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle deaths occur 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other motor vehicles. Motorcycle accidents most often occur because other vehicle drivers are not paying 100 percent attention to driving. They are not looking at everything that is going on around them and they too often take their eyes off the road ahead for a second or more.

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OSHA Announces Annual National Safety Stand-Down Campaign

Posted in Construction Accidents

Fatalities caused by falls continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA. In response to the number of fall related injuries and fatalities, OSHA launched its National Safety Stand-Down Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction. The annual event strives to raise fall hazard awareness. The 4th annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down will take place May 8-12, 2017.

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New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits Unraveled

Posted in Workers' Compensation

New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are governed under N.J.S.A. 34:15 et seq. There are three benefits you are entitled to when you get hurt at work in New Jersey: payment of medical bills, payment of temporary disability benefits or wage replacement and payment of an award of permanent disability. I will address each of these in a series of blogs.

This is the first in a series of three blogs. With regard to the payment of medical bills, the statute requires the employer to provide medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to your accident and that is designed to cure your condition. You are NOT permitted to seek treatment with your primary care doctor or specialist without the prior consent and approval of your employer and their workers’ compensation carrier. Your employer is also obligated to pay 100% of the bills. There are no deductibles, co-pays, or out of pocket expenses, including prescription medications and any other medical devices prescribed by the authorized doctor. Absent any obvious broken bones or other critical medical conditions, your treatment will generally begin with conservative treatment which might include rest and prescription medications. If your symptoms do not improve, you may be referred for diagnostic tests to help the physician arrive at a diagnosis. You may also be referred for physical therapy to help alleviate your symptoms. If that fails, you may then be referred to a specialist. This process could take weeks or months.

At some point in the process the authorized doctors will indicate that your condition is as good as it is going to get or maximum medical improvement. When this happens, the carrier’s obligation to you ends, even if you are not back to normal. You are not entitled to additional treatment that is not designed to cure your condition, even if that treatment might make you feel better. However, there are some limited circumstances under which you may be eligible for ongoing medical care and you should seek legal advice to determine if you fall within those exceptions. If you are still having complaints and problems, you will then be entitled to additional benefits which will be address in this blog series. At Stark & Stark, our experienced attorneys and legal staff can help you understand your rights. Please call us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Update on Contamination of Heater-Cooler Devices

Posted in Medical Malpractice

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a Medical Device Safety Communication update to provide new information about Mycobacterium chimaera infections associated with the use of the LivaNova/Sorin Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler System during cardiothoracic surgery. The update includes recommendations and additional steps for health care facilities to take in order to mitigate the risk of infection associated with the use of these devices.

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Medical Malpractice Claims Paid on Behalf of Physicians Decrease

Posted in Medical Malpractice

A recent database study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that the rate of medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in the United States declined substantially from 1992 to 2014. The study analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a centralized database of paid malpractice claims that was created by Congress in 1986. Researchers found an overall drop in the amount of paid claims across all specialties, but the extent of the decline was markedly different by specialty, according to Adam Schaffer, MD, lead author of the paper. The findings are published in the March 27, 2017 issue of the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.

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One Year Later E-Cigarette Victim Still Treating Burns

Posted in E-Cigarette, Product Liability

According to a recent news article, Scott Becker spent 12 days in a burn center after his e-cigarette exploded a year ago and still requires daily treatment for his injuries. Becker was quoted as saying, “These things are dangerous. If I’d known…I could have saved myself a tremendous amount of anguish.”

As discussed in previous blogs, e-cigarette explosions not only cause devastating thermal burns, but also chemical burns from the lithium batteries. The chemicals sometimes damage multiple layers of the skin because they continue to “burn” long after skin exposure. Becker suffered third degree burns including a massive deep burn in his thigh requiring skin grafts.

Many experts agree that injuries caused by e-cigarette use are on the rise and that the public should be warned about the risks. Continue Reading

The Car’s on Fire: Tips for Reacting and Responding to a Vehicle Fire

Posted in Burn Injuries

Imagine driving home from work and seeing smoke rising from beneath your car’s hood. You pull off the road and into a nearby parking lot. You call your spouse to say there is a problem with the car and within seconds, the car erupts in flames. Luckily, you exited the vehicle safely before the fire began. Luckily, no one else was in the car.

photo of vehicle fire

It is easy to see how dangerous and destructive vehicle fires can be.

This scenario was described to me recently by my brother. His wife’s car burst into flames as she was driving home from work a few months ago. An electrical failure caused a fire in the engine compartment. The vehicle was completely destroyed, but thankfully, she recognized the danger signs before it was too late and exited the car unharmed. Vehicle fires like this one happen more than one might expect and can have catastrophic consequences in terms of lives lost, severe injuries and property, damage.

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First-Year Doctors to Begin Working 24-Hour Shifts

Posted in Medical Malpractice

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced on March 10 that first-year doctors will be allowed to work 24-hour shifts in hospitals starting July 1. The cap currently limiting physicians to 16 consecutive hours of patient care will now be lifted. The new standards will allow four hours to transition patients from one doctor to the next, so first-year residents could work as long as 28 straight hours, the same as more senior medical residents.

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