May 2010 Archives

May 27, 2010

Medical Malpractice Reform

medical malpractice 2.jpgThe medical malpractice system exists so that patients injured by the negligence of medical personnel can sue for their injuries. To date, it is the only opportunity for victims of medical malpractice to address their injuries in a legal and meaningful matter.

Medical malpractice lawsuits do not drive up healthcare costs. In fact, the present system saves thousands of additional patients from avoidable deaths and it provides fair compensation to those affected.

About 44,000 to 98,000 people die as a result of medical malpractice each year, according to the Institute of Medicine. These deaths can be avoided. Medical errors by health care personnel need to be prevented in order to lower this alarming number of deaths.

Tort reform may actually harm patients by focusing on costs over patient safety. In addition, the award caps that want to be implemented can also put a maximum price on a person's potential for injury compensation. This would pull some attorneys toward certain cases with higher damage caps and away from other malpractice lawsuits with less monetary value, ultimately harming many of those who truly need legal representation and financial help with continuing medical costs. This in turn does not provide a solution to the health care crisis in the United States. These limits to medical malpractice litigation instead, try to curb legal rights and costly verdicts, but do not address the prevention of medical errors.

Patients have a duty to keep better track of their own medical histories and review their medical records. Doctors also need to be questioned about anything unfamiliar or that seems unnecessary.

Victims of medical negligence deserve their day in court. They need financial compensation for their injuries and future healthcare costs and needs. If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.

May 19, 2010

The Supreme Court Rule Out Life Sentences for Some Juveniles

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On May 17, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without the possibility of parole if they have not killed anyone. This decision was made by a 5-4 vote. It was decided that the Constitution requires that juveniles serving life sentences must at least be considered for release. The Court must give the opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.

In the state of Maryland over 2,300 inmates are serving life sentences, that is almost 10 percent of the prison population. Nationwide, however, one of every 11 prisoners is serving a life sentence that is about the same rate as in Maryland. In 2005, 132,000 people were serving life sentences and in 2009 this number jumped to 140,610. This jump is believed to be due to tougher policies on crime.

77 percent of inmates in prison for life sentences in Maryland are African American, making it the state with the largest share of Black prisoners serving life sentences Nationwide. Of the 269 people that are serving life sentences in Maryland for crimes committed when they were juveniles, 226 are black.

In the state of Virginia, about 2,100 inmates are serving life sentences, nearly 6 percent of the prison population. About 62 percent of the 2,100 inmates are black. Of the 107 people that are serving life sentences in Virginia for crimes committed when they were juveniles, 87 were black.

Federal Prisons in D.C. have about 5,400 out of 200,000 inmates serving life sentences.

Nationwide, 48 percent of criminals serving life sentences are black, 14 percent are Hispanic and 33 percent are white.

The increase in inmates service life sentences without the possibility of parole has increased much rapidly nationwide. In 1992, 12,400 were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole and now that number in 2009 has risen to 41,000.

May 17, 2010

Traffic Cameras Used in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia to Make Streets Safer

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All along the streets and highways of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the use of cameras has become more and more visible. The two types of cameras used are red light cameras and speeding cameras. Some communities in these states and the district embrace the devices, while others believe them to be used solely to generate revenue during our economic downturn.

The Federal Highway Administration says "such technology can make highways safer." The National Safety Council also supports such enforcements solely for its safety benefits. Speeding is a factor in more than 31% of traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 762 people were killed and about 137,000 injured in crashes that involved red light running in 2008.

In a federal study, it was found that red light cameras cause a 25% decrease in crashes. Red light cameras are used in 441 communities in 25 states and the District of Columbia and speed cameras in about 56 communities in 12 states and the District. The Fines for running a red light camera in MD is $100, in VA is $50 and in the District is $75, while Speeding Cameras in MD is $40 and $75 in the District.

You can not have cops everywhere at all times, so these cameras allow cities and communities in the states in which they are used to decrease the amount of accidents, fatalities and to make streets safer, while gaining much needed revenue in these states. In principle, photo enforcement is valid when implemented correctly.

May 12, 2010

Buckling Up Pays Off in Maryland

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), the Maryland State Highway Administration's Highway Safety Office, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Prince George's County Police Department are in the third year of their Buckle Up for a Buck Program.

Prince George's County leads the state in motor vehicle deaths, according to the Highway Safety Office, and therefore in the weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend police officers in both P.G. County and Montgomery County were handing out hundreds of dollars to motorists who had all occupants of their vehicles wearing seat belts.

This program is intended to draw attention to the value of seatbelts. Between 2004 and 2008 an estimated 620 people died in motor vehicle accidents in P.G. County. The state of Maryland has had a primary seat belt law in affect since October 1, 1997. The law requires the use of seat belt for the driver and front seat passenger, and any other passenger under the age of 16 must be secured by a seat belt or a child safety seat. The fine for an adult not using a seat belt is $25, the fine for a child under the age of 16 not being properly restrained is $48.