September 2010 Archives

September 27, 2010

One Third of Homeowner Insurance Liability Claims are Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog Bite Law Suits.jpgIn 2009, $412 million was spent on dog bite lawsuits, a 6.4% increase from 2008. This figure averages out to about $24,840 per claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Insurance coverage for dog bite claims provide compensation for injuries associated with animal attacks, such as medical expenses, lost wages, permanent scarring and pain and suffering.

In the United States alone, about 4.5 million dog attacks are reported each year. The majority of these incidents are not reported. Most people affected are postal workers and delivery people.
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Here are some steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the I.I.I. to prevent your dog from biting someone:

- Dog owners should consult with a veterinarian about suitable breeds for their home and neighborhood.

- Prospective owners should spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it and should make sure that the dog is not aggressive towards infants and/or toddlers.

- Have your dog spayed or neutered.

- Make sure children do not disturb the dog while eating or sleeping, and never leave a child alone with the dog.

- Socialize your dog so that it knows how to behave around other people and animals.

- Play non-aggressive games with your dog. For example: fetching the ball, as opposed to tug-of-war.

September 20, 2010

$55.6 Billion Spent on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in the U.S. in 2008

Medical Malpractice.jpgIn 2008, the cost of health care was $2.3 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That averages out to about $7,681.00 per person. The U.S. spent nearly $55.6 billion on medical malpractice lawsuits and defensive medicine, which represents about 2.4% of the entire budget. Defensive medicine however, made up about $45.6 billion of that, meaning that only $10 billion was spent on medical malpractice lawsuits in 2008.

Defensive medicine is defined as medical tests and procedures performed to avoid medical malpractice liability and not to improve the patient's health.

Researchers for the journal Health Affairs, published by the Harvard School of Public Health in September 2010, found that attempting to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits would result in only a negligible effect on the cost of health care, and reducing the cost of defensive medicine would do little more.

If we could improve the quality of health care in the United States, we would be saving a lot of money a year. By improving the quality of health care, we would reduce the need for medical malpractice lawsuits and costs, such as longer hospitalizations due to hospital acquired infections and pneumonia, bedsores, and wrong site surgeries, all of which are avoidable medical problems.

September 14, 2010

As Vehicle Deaths in MD Fall, Alcohol Related Deaths Increase by 12%

The number of alcohol related deaths in Maryland has increased by 12%, even as the national count declined. Non-alcohol related deaths in Maryland in 2009, declined by 7%. That means that 44 fewer people died in automobile accidents in Maryland in 2009, than in 2008.

The decline in automobile deaths may be associated with fewer drivers on the road, due to the recession and unemployment. People may also be taking less road trips and therefore there is less congestion on the roads and less chance for multiple car crashes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2009, 162 people died in alcohol related accidents in Maryland, while in 2008, only 145 died. Nationally, however, more than 30,000 lives are being lost a year on our highways, and a third of those involved drunk driving.

Spokesperson for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Shaun Adamec said, "O'Malley would continue to seek stiff penalties for drunken drivers and repeat offenders, and would support the ignition interlock bill if it is reintroduced. The Governor is also committed to investments in the first responder network, including $50 million for new medevac helicopters."

Despite safer automobiles, safer highways, better trauma facilities and more seat belts being used in the United States, Marylanders still drink and drive. Police Officers arrest over 25,000 people a year for drunk driving, in Maryland. Of these, more than 300 are during Labor Day weekend.

Spokeswoman for AAA in Maryland, Christine Delise said, "the organization will continue to advocate for more use of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders, as well as first time offenders with excessive blood alcohol content."

Lets hope that all these changes and stricter law enforcement will lower the number of both automobile accident deaths and alcohol related accident deaths, not only in Maryland, but nationwide.

September 7, 2010

Costs of Traffic Accidents Have Increased in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study that shows; that the costs associated with injuries from automobile crashes is more that $99 billion a year, nationwide. These costs include medical care costs and loss of productivity costs. Of this, $58 billion was due to fatalities, $28 billion for nonfatal injuries that required hospitalization, and $14 billion was for people treated as outpatients at hospitals. The study was released in August 2010. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this number increases considerably when you factor in higher insurance premiums, taxes and delays in travel, to nearly $230.6 billion. Grant Baldwin, Director of the CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention said, "This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective."

Injuries to occupants of motor vehicles, is about $70 billion, motorcyclist $12 billion, pedestrians $10 billion and Cyclists $5 billion.
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Injuries and deaths from traffic accidents, however, have been falling. The lowest level since 1961 occurred in 2008, but traffic accidents are still the 9th leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is expected that by the year 2030 deaths caused by traffic accidents will become the 5th, surpassing diabetes, HIV/AIDS and Heart Disease. In the United States, 15 to 16 fatalities as a result of traffic accidents occur per every 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths are preventable in the United States, if more laws were implemented that require helmets for motorcyclists, stricter seat belt, drug, alcohol and texting laws, as well as increasing teen rules until the age of 18.