Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, P.A.

Minneapolis Personal Injury Law Blog

440,000 U.S. deaths per year due to medical mistakes

Almost all people in Minneapolis will have a serious encounter with the health care system at some point in their lives. Minneapolitans and Minnesotans generally are blessed with one of the finest health care systems in the country. Still, there are a staggering number of deaths each year attributable to preventable mistakes.

Just how many of these preventable deaths happen? Experts estimate that 440,000 people die per year as a result of preventable mistakes. That amounts to well over 1,000 deaths a day. These deaths occur both inside and outside of the hospital setting.

Two killed in fatal car accident after pass attempt on highway

Many two-lane highways in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest wend their way through scenic places, but some of the users of these highways are not in the mood to relax and enjoy the view. When done properly, passing on two-lane highways can be a reasonably safe way for drivers traveling at differing speeds to use the same road. The problems arise when it is not done properly.

A tragic fatal car accident happened on July 15 on a scenic highway near the St. Croix River. A driver on Wisconsin Highway 35 was traveling northbound when she attempted to overtake another vehicle, according to the local sheriff's office. The driver's car reportedly made contact with the vehicle she was trying to pass, causing that vehicle to go into the ditch. The woman's car then struck another car that was coming from the other direction. That car also went into the ditch.

Grieving families support tough penalties for texting and driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of death and injury on the roads of Minnesota and the nation. Over 3,300 people were killed and 421,000 were injured as a result of distracted driving in the United States in 2012. The problem seems almost intractable: it is estimated that at any given time, 660,000 people in the country are texting and driving or using a smartphone while operating a motor vehicle.

Now some people are proposing that Minnesota toughen its laws dealing with distracted driving. The families of the victims of distracted driving are taking the lead in this initiative. One father pointed out that Minnesota does not have a graduated system for punishing those convicted of texting and driving; the same fine is issued every time.

GM sets up compensation program after car defect discovered

Minnesota drivers have probably heard about the faulty ignition switches that have afflicted certain small automobiles manufactured by General Motors Corp. The company now says that it is preparing to provide compensation to people with injury and wrongful death claims from crashes attributable to the faulty ignition switches.

Both the fault itself and GM's initial response to it are examples of astonishingly poor customer service. The defective switches easily permit the key to slip from the run position to the accessory position. If this happens when the engine is running and the car is moving, the engine immediately dies and the power steering and brakes lose power. Because the car's air bags also require power from the engine, the air bags fail to deploy in the event of a collision after the brakes lose power.

Drunk driver sentenced after fatal collision with motorcyclist

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that alcohol and driving are a bad combination. In Minnesota last year, 117 people were killed and another 2,300 people were injured in DUI accidents. A woman from suburban Minneapolis was recently sentenced to a lengthy prison term for her role in a fatal accident.

According to police, the woman made a left turn into the path of a motorcyclist. The driver of the motorcycle collided with the left side of the woman's automobile. The motorcyclist, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Countdown clocks on Minneapolis streets may be mixed blessing

Folks in Minneapolis have probably noticed the countdown clocks that have been installed at intersections throughout the city. These are designed to notify pedestrians of the amount of time they have to cross the street before the light changes. Some recent research suggests that the countdown clocks may be a mixed blessing.

The research was conducted in a large city after countdown clocks were installed at intersections. The researchers found that the number of auto accidents involving pedestrians decreased after the clocks were installed. The researchers theorized that the additional information supplied by the clocks allowed pedestrians to make accurate judgments as to whether they had enough time to cross the street safely.

Device can help bar patrons avoid drunk driving accident

At this point, most Minneapolis residents are familiar with the horrible toll that drunk driving takes on Minnesota families each year. Many of the drunk drivers involved became intoxicated at bars and restaurants. What if there was an easy way for bar patrons to see how intoxicated they were?

It turns out that there may be just such a device available. A Minnesota company manufactures and markets a machine that measures the blood alcohol content of people anonymously. For $2, bar patrons can blow into the device using a disposable straw, and it will provide an accurate reading. The machine even offers tipsy drinkers the option of calling a taxi to avoid a drunk driver accident.

Recent Minnesota fatal car accidents involving elderly

As the baby boomer generation prepares to retire, Minnesota should be preparing itself for many more older drivers on the roads. Although it is unfair to say that all or even most senior citizens are bad drivers, the risk of injury or death in a car crash does increase as a person gets older.

Hennepin County has seen a string of tragic fatal car accidents involving older people recently. On May 30, a 72-year-old man in St. Louis Park died after he was struck by a car near Xenwood Avenue and West 36th Street. A week later, an 82-year-old man in Long Lake was walking along Wayzata Boulevard near North Brown Road when a pickup truck ran him down. He also died.

Medical profession's resistance to change causes personal injury

In an ideal world, when a Hennepin County resident enters the hospital, she will be treated by medical professionals who are committed to patient safety and use medical best practices. This is the real world, however, and the implementation of best practices seems to be hampered by the medical profession's resistance to change.

This reluctance to embrace improvements was on display a decade ago when the president of a group that promoted patient safety proposed changes to hospital procedures that would improve patient outcomes. Only 2,300 hospitals implemented the group's proposals in 2004, and only 2,000 did so in 2006.

Dangerous Minnesota highway set for an upgrade

Most Twin Cities-area residents can probably think of a scary stretch of highway that they hate driving on. The Minnesota Department of Transportation and a Minnesota city and county have joined forces to do something about a dangerous intersection north of Minneapolis.

The road in question is U.S. Highway 10 in Ramsey, Minnesota. The agencies are planning to upgrade the intersection at Armstrong Boulevard to an interchange. The construction is scheduled to begin later this year and is expected to cost $37.5 million.

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