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Phoenix Personal Injury Law Blog

Death caused by allegedly intoxicated driver

On Feb. 22, a head-on collision between a Ford Mustang and an F-150 pickup truck resulted in the death of one person and injuries to two others in Tucson. The 27-year-old Mustang driver was charged with three felonies including second-degree murder, and, according to authorities, alcohol was a factor that led to the crash.

Investigators who examined the scene reported that the F-150 pickup truck was heading eastbound on Valencia Road at the time that the Mustang driver emerged from a private drive located near Tucson Boulevard. The Mustang driver attempted to travel westbound on Valencia Road, but he was unable to maintain control of his car, which leapt over the median, crashing head-on into the F-150 that was carrying three people.

Laryngeal nerve injury during birth

Expectant mothers and their infants in the state of Arizona sometimes have a difficult and risky experience before them. It is possible for conditions in the womb to be such as to cause harm to the developing fetus, and the stress and trauma of the delivery process also has the potential to inflict serious injuries. One of the most commonly encountered forms of birth trauma is disturbance of the laryngeal nerve, an important nerve located in the neck.

Paralysis of the vocal chord is one well-known effect of birth trauma, and disruption of the laryngeal nerve accounts for approximately 10 percent of these cases. It can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing. The disturbance can be first noted when the infant has a hoarse cry or a distinct noise while breathing known as stridor. However, there are a wide variety of causes that may result in these conditions, and a doctor should thoroughly examine the affected area to ascertain that stress of the laryngeal nerve is the cause.

Whiplash injuries in Arizona

Whiplash is a neck injury that is commonly seen in people who are involved in head-on collisions or other auto accidents. The condition is often a combination of injuries that occurs in the cervical spine when the head is violently thrust forward and then suddenly jerked back or from side to side. Most people are unaware that they have suffered a whiplash injury at the accident scene because symptoms do not usually develop until 2 to 48 hours after the crash.

Typically, the injuries suffered with whiplash involve a tearing, or spraining, of the vertebral ligaments. Also, the muscles and tendons that provide support to the cervical spine are over-stretched resulting in a strain, and the nerve roots in the spinal column may become inflamed. Less often, the vertebral discs may become herniated, or the vertebrae may be pushed out of line or fractured.

Woman killed in Arizona car accident

According to reports, a woman was killed in Phoenix on Feb. 16 when a SUV speeding without headlights reportedly crashed into her car. According to police, the accident happened near I-17 and Thunderbird.

Officers indicated that two people, a man and a woman, were inside of an SUV that ran a red light. Upon doing so, the SUV crashed into the side of the 48-year-old woman's Dodge Neon. She was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Law enforcement officers indicated both the man and woman are believed to have been intoxicated at the time.

Motorcycle accidents and injuries

Arizona motorcycle riders might be interested in learning about the various causes of and injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents. Although the number of motorcycle accidents in the country decreased 6.4 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the number of motorcyclists injured decreased 5.4 percent for the same period, motorcyclists still have a 26-percent higher chance of dying in an accident than people riding in vehicles for each mile travelled. According to the NHTSA, 4,668 motorcyclists died in accidents in 2013, and 88,000 were injured. The reasons include an increased number of motorcycles on the road, motorcycles' crash worth, which is less than larger vehicles, as well as their smaller size, which makes it harder for pedestrian and other drivers to see motorcyclists on the road.

Speeding, alcohol abuse and lack of proper licensing were all factors involved in motorcycle accidents. In cases where alcohol consumption was a factor, there also seemed to be a higher incidence of not wearing a helmet. In addition, older drivers also might be affected by loss of vision, slower reflexes and the types of heavier and bulkier bikes they choose to ride. However, in about two-thirds of accidents involving another vehicle, the motorcyclist's right of way was violated by the other driver.

Woman dies in single-vehicle crash

A woman is dead after an early morning single-vehicle crash in Arizona. The driver of the vehicle she was riding in has been taken into custody and is facing charges of murder.

The driver, 23, allegedly left the scene of the accident. Police apprehended him close by where he was hiding in a trucking company lot. After treatment at the hospital for a shoulder injury, he was taken to a local jail and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, second-degree murder and aggravated DUI. According to authorities, his BAC level was .147 percent. This reading is over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Cellphone use and car accidents

Motorists in Arizona are exposed to the same risks of distracted driving as everywhere else in the country. Research shows that people frequently text, talk and email with their cellphones when behind the wheel, and this distraction is a significant cause of car accidents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers texting while driving to be especially hazardous. This activity removes drivers' attention from the road more than other distractions because of the focus required to read and type text messages. A 2011 survey by the CDC revealed the prevalence of this form of distraction. Among U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64, 31 percent reported driving and texting or emailing within the past 30 days. Younger people were the drivers most at risk for this behavior. Fatal crashes involving drivers under age 20 are often attributed to distracted driving.

The dangers of driving on worn tires in Arizona

According to a recent study done by Consumer Reports, even if you're replacing your tires according to the manufacturer's suggestions, you may still not be replacing them often enough. Based on their comparison of a brand new set of tires and a set of tires that were halfway worn down, there was a fairly significant loss of traction in inclement weather with the worn tires.

According to Consumer Reports, tires are considered to be worn down when grooves on the tire reach 2/32 of an inch deep; they are 10/32 of an inch deep when new. When grooves reach 2/32 of an inch deep, they are at the point where they will fail state safety inspections and people can collect on a tire's tread warranty.

Impaired driving accidents in Arizona

Recent statistics continue to suggest that alcohol use can drastically increase a driver's risk of becoming involved in a car accident. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation's 2013 statistics, there are 107,348 car accidents a year in Arizona. Of those accidents, 777 of them result in a fatality and 34,047 results in an injury. Alcohol impaired accidents account for about 10 percent of those accidents and 32 percent of the fatalities.

There are certain types of people who are more at risk for car accidents when alcohol is involved. Young people have a higher incidence of car accidents than older people regardless of how much alcohol is consumed. Motorcyclists and those people with previous DWI convictions on their record are also in the higher risk category for alcohol-related accidents.

Younger doctors may not be experienced with measles

As many Arizona parents may know, measles are on the rise in several states including Arizona and California, and infection may result from exposure to travelers who were not vaccinated. Many younger physicians, according to a professor at the University of California in San Diego, have no experience with measles and may not recognize it.

Measles symptoms include nasal discharge, sore throat, conjunctivitis and cough accompanied by a fever. As the disease progresses, individuals develop a rash consisting of red spots that virtually cover their bodies. This contagious disease may be transmitted in a doctor's office or at the hospital. An emergency room in San Diego has established a room for patients who might be infected with measles to prevent other patients from being infected. One San Diego physician, who is the chair of the California American Academy of Pediatrics, said he excludes pediatric patients from his practice if they are unvaccinated.

*Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona, Board of Legal Specialization