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Albuquerque New Mexico Personal Injury Law Blog

Wrongful death lawsuit alleges Amazon caused death of worker

The surviving family of a deceased 53-year-old man who worked for Amazon.com, Inc. has filed a lawsuit that claims the company's mishandling of disability benefits resulted in the man's death. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon lost the man's final appeal for disability benefits. The legal filings assert that the company found his paperwork fives months following his death.

Originally, the man took a position as a senior human resources business analyst at Amazon in 2015. The next year, he began working from home because of medical needs arising from HIV and other problems. During this time, he suffered disabling injuries after falling in the shower. He applied for benefits through the short-term disability plan offered by Amazon, and the company granted him a leave of absence.

Thanksgiving weekend busy for drunk driving

Court records indicate that the Thanksgiving holiday is a time of increased drunk driving in New Mexico. From Wednesday to Sunday around Thanksgiving 2018, law enforcement arrested 53 people for drinking and driving in Bernalillo County. During the same four-day period in 2017, 49 arrests were made. One 26-year-old man was allegedly seen by police going 115 mph on I-40, racing another car, when he was stopped and arrested for DWI.

Others who were arrested for alleged DWI during the Thanksgiving holiday included a driver who ran the light at Academy and San Mateo and a driver who crashed into a median in a parking lot. A woman who was pulled over for texting and driving in Tijeras was also arrested for DWI. According to the director of the DWI Resource Center, many drunk drivers assume they can drive safely from one place to another, but being drunk sometimes makes that assumption deadly.

Elder abuse almost twice as likely at for-profit nursing homes

Elderly New Mexico residents who live in a for-profit nursing home are nearly twice as likely to suffer health problems caused by poor care as those who live in nonprofit facilities, according to a study published recently in the medical journal Gerontology. The researchers say that many of their discoveries were consistent with severe clinical neglect. They included stage 3 and 4 bed sores, damaged feeding tubes and broken catheters.

The researchers came to their grim conclusions after scrutinizing the medical records of more than 1,100 elderly patients who were admitted to clinics in the Chicago area between 2007 and 2011 suffering from conditions that could have been caused by substandard care. They discovered that patients who lived in for-profit elder care facilities were far more likely to have been admitted due to dehydration or because their chronic underlying conditions had not been properly treated or medicated. The researchers found fewer signs of neglect among nonprofit nursing home residents, and elderly patients who lived in private homes were the least likely to have suffered abuse.

Do not shop and drive this holiday

The holiday season is upon us again. For many, this means countless trips to different stores in search of gifts for everybody on your list. For others, it means hours at a computer shopping online. Whichever way you prefer to shop, just do not do both at the same time.

As if texting and driving did not cause enough distracted driving accidents, people are now browsing the digital aisles on their way to the physical aisles. It may sound crazy, but according to a recent report by CNBC, a growing number of people are shopping on their smartphones while driving.

Accidental injuries put American lives at risk

When people get behind the wheel in New Mexico, they could actually be taking their lives in their hands. Statistics issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that for Americans aged 44 and under, the leading cause of death is accidental injury. In 2016 alone, 61,749 people were killed due to unintentional injuries; this number is more than twice the total of those killed in the same age group by cancer and heart disease combined. There were a number of different types of fatal accidental injuries, but the most common were motor vehicle crashes and poisonings.

People can take action to increase their ability to stay safe on the roads. Every year, 2 million people are injured and 32,000 more killed due to auto accidents. Driving safely can help drivers to avoid dangerous crashes; this includes abiding by traffic laws, including the speed limit, and avoiding driving while drowsy, drunk or distracted. With the rise of the smartphone, distracted driving is a growing problem.

How to drive safely in bright sunlight

Driving in bright sunlight can present some safety issues. There is a 16 percent higher chance of having a life-threatening crash in bright sunlight compared to normal weather, but there are steps that people in New Mexico can take to make it less dangerous.

Simply wearing sunglasses can help. A good pair will protect people from UV rays, and they can be left in the car so that they are always available. People who live in particularly sunny places might want to consider having their windows tinted although this should be done in compliance with state law. Sun visors can also be used to block direct sunlight without impairing the view of the driver.

Avoid dangerous driving on Halloween night

For many people in New Mexico, driving on Halloween can result in severe car accidents and the injuries that follow. As people go out to Halloween parties and spend the night trick-or-treating, they could face an escalated risk on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween night is the most dangerous time for drunk driving. More people are killed in DWI-related crashes between 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 1 than at any other time of the year.

Between 2012 and 2016, 44 percent of all those killed in auto accidents on Halloween night were linked to crashes that involved drunk drivers. In 2016, nearly half of all traffic fatalities on Halloween involved young people between the ages of 21 and 34, often traveling to and from Halloween parties. There was one bright spot in the statistics: In 2016, no pedestrians were killed in these Halloween crashes, meaning that young trick-or-treaters were spared.

Humans often at fault in crashes with self-driving cars

Many people in New Mexico are curious about the potential of self-driving cars to change the future of transportation. While several car accidents involving autonomous vehicles have made the news, these crashes usually involve something of interest or noteworthy to the general population. However, many more mundane crashes occur in areas where self-driving cars are being tested, and most of them are the fault of human drivers.

In September, three autonomous vehicles were sideswiped by human drivers. Three more were hit from behind that same month. In one case, an autonomous vehicle was hit from behind by a human driving the same car in semi-autonomous mode. People often see self-driving cars as a way to significantly reduce or eliminate the 40,000 fatalities that occur each year as a result of car accidents, most involving some form of negligent or dangerous driving. However, the technology is still years away from consumer readiness, and there are no clear government regulations for its use on the roads.

Decreasing motorcycle collisions is every driver’s responsibility

Every accident on the road is a potential tragedy, no matter what kind of vehicles were involved. Each time you set out in a car, truck or on a motorcycle, you know in the back of your mind that there is a potential for danger and major risks as you get from point A to point B.

For motorcyclists, those dangers are an even more worrisome reality as they are at a higher risk of injury or death on the roads in New Mexico. Even when motorcyclists take every possible safety precaution, their safety is largely in the hands of other motorists who share the road with these more vulnerable travelers.

Nursing home neglect can be a serious issue

Adult children looking to put their parents into a New Mexico nursing home should be careful which facility they choose. According to a new study, they may have reason to worry about neglect in such a facility. The study, which was conducted by the New York Times and Kaiser Health News, found several issues that could put a resident's health in jeopardy.

For instance, some facilities involved in the research didn't have a registered nurse on staff for up to eight hours in a day. There was also a shortage of nursing aides, and they are the ones who help feed, bathe and otherwise care for residents. A lack of nursing aides could also increase the chances that a resident is subject to abuse and neglect. However, the issue of low staffing levels in nursing homes is not new.

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