Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Increased Dramatically During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Road Crowd People City Traffic Street. Source: Maxpixel.net, shared under a CC0 license

 

The lockdowns of 2020 caused many departures from routine. In the case of pedestrian accidents, these changes in pattern were sometimes tragic.

Vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of the year dropped by 16.5 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Despite this drop, an increase in pedestrian deaths was registered — from 2,951 in 2019 to 2,957 in 2020!

This continuity represents an actual pedestrian fatality rate increase of 20% over 2019. The fatality rate increased to 2.2 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled, compared to 1.8 deaths in 2019.

The pedestrian rights lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represent civilians with cases of serious medical injuries or wrongful deaths caused by automobiles. If you were injured due to the negligence of a driver, we will fight for the compensation that you deserve.

 

What Causes These Accidents?

In the first months of the pandemic, traffic was light but enforcement was lax. In addition, many more pedestrians were on back roads near to their houses, owing to an excess of time spent at home and no open destinations to head to.

This may help to explain the per-mile spike in pedestrian deaths in 2020 — but it doesn’t excuse it. 

When pedestrian accidents occur, drivers are often speeding, distracted, or otherwise operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner. These are the most common causes of pedestrian traffic accidents:

  • Drunk or otherwise intoxicated driving
  • Running red lights 
  • Right turns through crosswalks without looking for pedestrians
  • Distracted driving, such as driving while texting
  • Illegally parked cars making it difficult to see pedestrians and bicycles

 

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Pedestrians harmed in traffic accidents are rarely to blame. If you or a loved one were injured on a sidewalk or at a crosswalk with no traffic signal, the driver was definitely in the wrong. Even if that was not the case, you may have had the right of way. 

Motorists must:

  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian has the right of way
  • Yield to pedestrians crossing a roadway with the assistance of a white/red-tipped cane or a guide dog. Motorists must also pay careful attention when moving past such individuals
  • Exercise “due care” by making use of all available precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, including honking or giving audible signals when possible

Pedestrians have several responsibilities when dealing with traffic as well. They should:

  • Follow traffic control devices such as red lights, stop signs and “do not walk” signals
  • Cross at marked crosswalks or pedestrian crossings when traffic control devices are present at an intersection
  • When there are no designated crossings, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

When a vehicle and pedestrian collide, the results are predictably tragic. Our lawyers have helped pedestrians who have suffered:

These injuries don’t just cause extensive pain and suffering, they also carry staggering medical expenses. A personal injury lawsuit can help you handle the heavy burden brought on by driver negligence.

 

Other Pedestrian Injuries

It isn’t just vehicles responsible for harm to pedestrians. Negligence of all kinds is to blame for many pedestrian injuries each year. 

Slip and fall injuries occur on icy and dangerous sidewalks, in open manhole covers, from falling debris from construction projects, and down slippery stairs. 

Negligent property owners may be liable for some or all of your injuries, including medical bills and other economic damages. If intangible damages occur as a result of their negligence, they may be responsible for these too.

Photo by Nout Gons from Pexels

When to Consult with an Experienced Traffic Accident Attorney

When a devastating accident occurs, it can be hard to understand the next steps. Insurance companies are not on your side. An experienced personal injury law firm like McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is best equipped to help you navigate this challenging process.

If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligence of a driver, property owner or construction project, don’t hesitate to contact our team of lawyers today. Fill out our form or call 1-866-382-4806.

 

Deadly Paraquat: Safety Measures Were Falsified To Keep the Herbicide on the Market

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Syngenta, an agrochemical manufacturer that sells pesticides worldwide, is now in the center of a legal firestorm. This comes after leaked documents, and the testimony of a company insider, revealed deadly secrets the company has long struggled to keep hidden. 

Greenpeace released a devastating takedown of Syngenta in their report titled “The Paraquat Papers”, which was published on March 24th 2021. Paraquat, sold under the brand name Gramoxone, is a Syngenta pesticide that has long been banned in numerous countries after claiming tens of thousands of lives, but is still used widely in the United States as a pesticide. The Paraquat Papers alleges that Syngenta knowingly used manipulated data to prove to US regulators that paraquat is safe for use. 

 

What Is Paraquat and Why Is It So Deadly?

Paraquat has been sold in the United States since 1964, and is used to kill weeds and grasses before planting. Paraquat is so toxic that consuming only a single tablespoon is enough to be fatal. Unfortunately, it has been consumed accidentally, and intentionally, thousands of times since its introduction in the 1960s.

Paraquat is now banned in more than 50 countries around the globe due to its deadly nature. Yet this dangerous chemical remains available for sale in the United States to this day. This is in large part because Syngenta convinced regulators they had come up with a way to make paraquat safe.

Why Is Paraquat Still Sold in the United States?

Syngenta added an emetic to paraquat in the 1970s. This is a chemical that will induce vomiting if swallowed. By adding the emetic, Syngenta stated that individuals who accidentally or purposefully drank paraquat would immediately vomit up the toxin, saving lives. The emetic added to paraquat was codenamed PP796.

The only problem? Newly uncovered documents reveal that PP796 never worked. What’s worse, is that Syngenta knew this, and still continued to tout their products’ safety. In fact, Syngenta had its concentration of PP796 declared the global standard for all paraquat-based weed killers via the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – a standard that is still in place today. 

 

Fabricated Data

John Heylings worked for Syngenta for 22 years, and has been trying to warn consumers and the company about the ineffectiveness of PP796 for years now. Heyling states that paraquat contains far too little PP796 for it to properly work as an emetic before the victim is killed by the pesticide, even for those who swallow the minimum lethal dose. 

Heylings also alleges that the concentrations that Syngenta uses are based on a report that was fabricated back in 1976, using data that was manipulated. The fabricated data claimed humans were 10 times more sensitive to PP796 than animal test subjects, instead of using the actual doses given to the animal test subjects as a reliable indicator. 

Paraquat and Parkinson’s

Heyling brought this information to Syngenta in 1990, but the company ignored him. In 2018, he again urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change its standards in regards to paraquat – yet nothing was done. This has given rise to several lawsuits in the United States, all involving paraquat.

Several farmers have claimed they developed Parkinson’s disease after using paraquat on their farms. Studies have shown that farmers who use paraquat may be up to 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after routine exposure to the pesticide. The disease can cause a loss of motor functions, imbalance, and shaking. Syngenta has repeatedly withheld warnings about the link between its product and Parkinsons, which has resulted in multiple lawsuits being filed. 

 

Paraquat Lawsuits

For too long, Syngenta has been allowed to market a deadly product in the United States, putting farmers and their families at risk. With growing public awareness of the lengths that Syngenta has gone to to keep this product on the market, the team at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is tracking this evolving story closely. As Philadelphia’s Top Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers, If you or someone you love was impacted by the use of paraquat, we want to hear from you. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 for a free consultation, or fill out our form

 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Increasing Along With Rising Opioid Abuse Nationwide

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From 2004 to 2014, health officials began to sound the alarm, as the number of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) increased five-fold. Yet the problem has only gotten worse in recent years, and 24 states across the country are now reporting increases of 100% or more for infants with drug withdrawal symptoms from 2010 to 2017. 

Opioid abuse in the United States was already reaching record levels in 2019, and the ongoing global pandemic has only worsened the crisis. The opioid epidemic has been aided by doctors inappropriately prescribing pain medication to patients who do not need it, and negligence on the part of drug makers. Although the coronavirus has dominated the headlines over the last year, the attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have been closely following developments with the ongoing opioid crisis in an effort to keep consumers informed of the latest trends. 

 

What Is NAS?

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the term used for a group of symptoms that can appear after a baby is exposed to opioids or other substances while in the womb. Once diagnosed, infants who receive treatment often get better within a few days, but NAS can also cause lifelong problems for the infant’s health and development. 

NAS can be caused by substances other than opioids, such as sleeping pills or antidepressants. It can also be caused by street drugs like heroin, and prescription opioids such as:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • Morphine
  • Tramadol
  • Buprenorphine

How Does a Baby Get NAS?

When a baby is still in the womb, they absorb their mother’s nutritional and medicinal intake through the placenta. Powerful drugs like opioids easily cross through the placenta and affect the unborn child. This can leave an infant with a chemical dependency on whatever drugs their mother is taking, just like the chemical dependency that adults develop when becoming addicted to a substance. 

When the baby is born, they will no longer receive a supply of opiates from their mother, and they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, just like an adult would. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can last days to weeks depending on treatment and severity. 

What Are the Symptoms of NAS?

Symptoms vary from case to case, depending on how frequently the mother used opiates, the baby’s gestational age (how many weeks old the baby was when it was born), or what drugs were taken. Common symptoms can include:

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Excessive fussiness
  • Breathing problems
  • Poor feeding or slow weight gain
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Lots of yawning and trouble sleeping

Recent Increases in NAS

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reported in early 2021 that NAS has increased by 82% from 2010 to 2017, while mothers with an opioid diagnosis during pregnancy have increased by 131% in the same period. 

The opioid crisis has continued to worsen over the past decade, with opioids causing nearly 47,000 deaths in 2018. Philadelphia has been hit particularly hard by this crisis, with Pennsylvania seeing over 4,000 deaths in the same year. Pennsylvania ranks as the 8th hardest-hit state in the country for rates of NAS, with nearly 15 out of every 1000 newborns hospitalized for NAS.

 

Experience Matters

Multiple studies have linked opioid exposure in the womb to physical and cognitive issues later in life. The effects of NAS can cause lifelong issues for these infants and their families, and the costs of treatment over a lifetime can be astronomical. Yet reports keep coming in of doctors and pharmacies overprescribing opioids, with full knowledge of the dangers they cause. 

The attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have successfully brought lawsuits against companies who tried to illegally profit off of opiates, including taking part in a $225 million lawsuit against INSYS Therapeutics, after INSYS paid kickbacks and engaged in other illegal marketing tactics to promote sales of its fentanyl spray, Subsys. This kind of experience is critical in bringing a successful wrongful death, medical malpractice, or qui tam lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical company or medical practice. Contact us for a free consultation today by filling out our form or by calling us directly at 1-866-521-0865.

The Difference Between Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions

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wrongful-death

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can really take a toll on the family. Often, they are not only left with grief, but serious financial troubles. After a tragedy such as this, the family has two legal options they can pursue: wrongful death claims and survival actions. Both of these options offer a way to recover damages from the person liable for the victim’s death. It’s important to understand the difference between these options when pursuing action against those responsible.

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