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Joplin Personal Injury Law Blog

Who's to blame if Google's autonomous vehicles get in accidents?

The world is changing rapidly these days, and sometimes the law doesn't maintain the pace of those developments. We all appreciate technological changes that help keep us safer, of course, but sometimes we forget to check into how those technologies might affect our legal rights, don't we?

When it comes to safe travel on our nation's roadways, many engineers have long dreamed of an autonomous vehicle that could navigate local streets and freeways with ease and safety. Robots, the theory goes, are likely to be much safer drivers than humans. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error. A self-driving car obeys all traffic rules, senses potential collisions and avoids them, and never gets distracted or impatient.

One year later, Wal-Mart and Morgan reach settlement

Tracy Morgan made so many people laugh on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. he also had a very successful stand-up career, in addition to other film and television commitments. Everything was going great for him -- until last summer. While in a vehicle with multiple other people, Morgan was severely injured in a truck accident that left one of his close friends with fatal injuries.

The truck involved in the accident was associated with Wal-Mart, and the driver had not slept in 24 hours. The driver was also speeding in a zone that was near construction. There was plenty of negligence involved in this wreck.

If you get into an accident, try to remember some of these tips

For those who have already been in a car accident, you know just how chaotic and bizarre the moment that follow the wreck can be. For those who haven't been in an accident, heed some of the lessons in this blog post so that you will be better prepared in case you are involved in a wreck. Though if the knowledge never gets used because you don't get into a car accident, then that's even better!

When you get into a car accident, one of the simplest steps you can take is to do nothing. Yes, that's right -- do nothing. What we mean by that is don't leave the scene of the wreck. Don't drive off; don't flee; don't think you'll get away from the law. No matter what happens, you are better served by staying at the scene.

FMCSA may emphasize behind the wheel training for novice drivers

Sometimes, there is a clear “correct” way to accomplish a given goal. If a goal is not pursued in this specific way, the goal’s outcome will not be achieved. For example, if one wants to serve beef lasagna to several guests but chooses to use eggplant as a substitute for beef while cooking the dish, one will not be able to serve beef lasagna to those guests. However, there are countless scenarios in which one may choose any number of varied paths when pursuing a specific goal.

For example, there are many options one can embrace when training a novice driver. One can place the novice driver in a simulator, teach many skills in a classroom setting, encourage the driver to learn behind the wheel, etc. There is no one “right” way to teach a novice driver how to successfully become a safe and efficient motorist. However, there may be approaches that are ultimately more beneficial than others.

The reality of robotic surgery hacking threats

Electronic technology affects an ever-growing number of objects and processes which impact the daily lives of countless Americans. There are numerous benefits to the pervasive presence of electronic technology in daily life. However, it is important to understand the potential hazards and threats which may arise from becoming increasingly dependent on this specific influence.

For example, an increasing number of medical devices and medical instruments have software integrations, wireless capabilities and can otherwise be connected to any number of additional electronics. These new structures and features can be significantly beneficial for patients, physicians, manufacturers and federal safety regulators. However, the interconnected nature of these devices and instruments can also leave them vulnerable to hacking.

Liability questions arise when self-driving cars crash

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a noise? If no one is driving a car and the car crashes, is anyone responsible for the damage? These two potentially maddening questions are really not so different from each other. And as a result, many Americans are concerned about the potential liability implications of allowing self-driving vehicles to operate on the streets of America.

Self-driving vehicles are not completely autonomous. They require a motorist to start them and to remain in the driver's seat in case of emergency. However, because the motorist in the driver's seat is not technically driving, it would be problematic to hold that individual accountable for harm caused by a crash if the car itself was doing the driving.

Permanent birth control method may place patients in danger

Patients understandably trust their physicians to recommend treatment plans which will ultimately work to improve their medical conditions as opposed to negatively impact them. Unfortunately, some dangerous treatments remain on the market even after patients and physicians alike have reported that these treatments can be far more hazardous than beneficial.

For example, a number of women is currently attempting to persuade the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take a permanent birth control method called Essure off the market. The women have used social media to educate the public about potential hazards associated with this medical device and they were ultimately allowed to voice their concerns directly to the FDA.

Patients lose when physician arrogance goes unchallenged

Being a doctor remains one of the most prestigious professions in America. In many cases, the prestige is justified because of the difficulty of the job and the skill and professionalism which many doctors display.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of doctors who behave in ways that are unprofessional and even childish. A recent article in Slate Magazine discussed a problem that leads to a terrible work environment for nurses and puts patient safety at risk. While it often goes unreported, there is seemingly an epidemic of doctors who berate nurses and other staff members and refuse to listen to any comments or questions they see as a challenge to their authority.

Honoring National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Some of our readers may believe that this month of observance is unnecessary. After all, numerous educational campaigns, technological innovations and local laws are already helping to curb the prevalence of distracted driving behavior. However, it is important to understand that distracted driving continues to kill a staggering number of Americans on an annual basis. Until this problem is significantly curbed, it will remain relevant to educate the public on the hazards of distracted driving.

In 2013 alone, more than 3,000 Americans perished in distracted driving crashes. During that year, an additional 424,000 Americans were injured in distracted driving accidents. Despite these devastating statistics, Americans continue to embrace technology that inspires distracted driving behavior.