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Honolulu Personal Injury Law Blog

When a drug addict is your surgeon

For people dealing with a serious medical condition, surgery is generally the last resort, because of all the risks involved. When the operation goes well, you still could have to endure a long, painful recovery. And if there are complications, you could end up permanently disabled.

That is why when you need an operation, you find the best surgeon available and must rely on them to treat you with the high level of care and attention you deserve. Because a reckless or careless surgeon can cause terrible damage to your body that lasts the rest of your life.

Tourists suffer more snorkeling deaths

From 2003 to 2012, the rate of tourist drownings in Hawaii was 13 times greater than the national average and almost 10 times greater than people who live there. According to statistics from the state, 102 tourists drowned while snorkeling from 2003 to 2012, while only 13 Hawaii residents drowned within the same time period. Almost one tourist dies weekly in recreation accidents involving snorkeling, swimming, hiking and scenic drives. Snorkeling is the most common of these activities that led to a deadly accident.

Some snorkels have devices added that are intended to keep water out. However, some experts believe that these devices may restrict air flow to their users and could be a cause of these drownings. Another recent and increasingly popular snorkeling mask covers the user's entire face. However, it may also limit air because there is a space of dead ventilation apparently bigger than the space contained in regular snorkel tubes. This may cause a buildup of carbon dioxide, which can cause disorientation and loss of consciousness. These masks may be difficult to remove during an emergency.

Hawaii distraction law looks the wrong way

A new law intended to lower Honolulu's pedestrian death-rate, which is among the highest in the country, is targeting the wrong cause and may not effectively deter this fatal injury. The new measure was signed into law in July and penalizes pedestrians who cross a street while looking at their cellphone.

However, this measure perpetuates the falsehood that pedestrians are responsible for their own injuries. There is almost no evidence that pedestrians are involved in accidents because they are looking at their own electronic devices.

What maritime law provides compensation for injuries?

The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a form of workers' compensation for employees who are disabled from injuries suffered on the nations' navigable waters or in adjacent areas in Hawaii and elsewhere that are used for loading, unloading, maintenance or construction of maritime vessels. It also provides dependent benefits for work-related fatalities and benefits for occupational diseases.

This law, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), covers employers of workers engaged in maritime work or in a maritime occupation. Employees include longshoremen and other workers in long-shoring activities.

Sprinklers may have stopped Honolulu fatal fire

Tourists and other Hawaiian residents face the risk of personal injury while driving, boating or participating in other recreational activities. Fatal injuries can also take place indoors, especially when a structure is not equipped with fire safety devices.

Three people were killed in a fire on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo apartments in Honolulu near Waikiki on July 14. Four other people were taken to a hospital and were listed in serious condition. A firefighter was also treated for heat exhaustion and later released.

Hawaii ranked average in workplace safety

The National Safety Council found that 13 workers are killed in this country each day in a fatal workplace accident. In its recent report on fatal accidents, the Council determined that Hawaii received a grade of a C and ranked 22nd among the states for overall workplace safety. No state received a grade of A.

The country has experienced a rise in workers' deaths for the second year in a row. According to the Council, there were 4,836 reported fatalities in 2015. This was the highest number since 2008.

IIHS says 40% of fatal car wrecks happen on 4th of July weekend

We all know that holiday weekends are the worst times of the year for drunk driving. Too many people take a three-day weekend as an excuse to drink and drive and put other people in serious danger.

You may have seen your share of impaired drivers on the streets and highways of Honolulu during the recent Independence Day weekend. In fact, the 4th of July holiday is the worst U.S. holiday for fatal DUI accidents out of any time period on the calendar, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and insurance company Esurance.

Hawaii lifeguard lawsuit immunity bill endangered

Lifeguards in Hawaii had almost total protection against personal injury lawsuits since 2002. There is ambiguity on whether this will continue, because a bill intended to remove some of this immunity is facing a veto by Governor David Ige.

Lifeguards were legally protected at every beach in the state from civil lawsuits for recreation accidents or other mishaps for the last 15 years. This law, Act 170, was scheduled to automatically expire on June 30.

Malpractice limits under review

The U.S House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation earlier this year that will restrict non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000. This bill, if enacted, would limit monetary awards for suffering, losing limbs, pain and loss of companionship.

The House approved this proposal as part of its American Health Care Act which is intended to replace the existing Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration supports this legislation.

Possible link between childhood brain injury and anxiety found

There is still so much that we don’t know about the effects of brain trauma. However, researchers around the world are learning more and more about how the brain reacts to serious injury. This important research will hopefully lead to treatments that will minimize the impact a traumatic brain injury can create in victims’ lives here in Hawaii.

A recent study suggests that childhood brain injury can have major effects much later in life than experts previously thought. Brain researchers in Australia say there may be a link between a brain injury as a kid and depression, anxiety and phobias as an adult.

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