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White Plains New York Legal Blog

Woman has stomach bloat because of surgical error

A sponge being left inside of a patient is considered to be a "never event." In other words, it is something that a New York patient or anyone else should never have to experience. However, this is exactly what happened to one woman in Japan after she underwent two cesarean sections. The two sponges left behind were believed to be the cause of stomach bloat that she had experienced for several years.

It is thought that that the sponges were left in her body after one of the operations as opposed to one being left behind each time. The woman had to undergo another surgery to have the objects removed. After they were removed, the symptoms went away. According to the doctor who treated the patient, a surgical checklist could reduce the chances that such a mistake takes place.

Why drowsy driving is a major risk in ridesharing

Drivers in New York are probably aware of how dangerous it is to be fatigued behind the wheel. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that every year in the U.S., 328,000 crashes occur because of fatigued driving with 109,000 of those resulting in injuries and 6,400 in a fatality. Among those most susceptible to fatigued driving are rideshare drivers.

A statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates that fatigue and sleepiness are inherent to the rideshare industry. Rideshare drivers often work late into the night or after long periods of wakefulness; the low fare and lack of salary incentives can frequently push them to keep working even when they know they are tired. Their sleepiness could be aggravated by conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, but being independent contractors, they are never screened for such issues.

The ins and outs of joint legal custody

Divorced parents in New York who have joint legal custody may not share physical custody as well. It is not uncommon for one parent to have visitation rights but also share legal custody with the custodial parent. Legal custody gives parents the right to make decisions for a child about issues such as religion, medical care and education.

Sharing legal custody has both its rewards and challenges. It may actually help parents develop a more functional relationship even if they are not necessarily there to start with. Because it requires communication and reaching a consensus on what are often difficult issues, parents may learn to work through conflict. It can also be healthy for children to see this process unfolding. On the other hand, simply having joint legal custody is no guarantee that this will happen. Parents may not be able to agree. One parent might even become manipulative and insist that the other has to acquiesce because of the shared custody.

Scheduling options for child visitation

New York parents can sometimes find it difficult to create child visitation schedules that fully accommodate the time they want to spend with their children. However, there are multiple scheduling options available that could suit their particular needs.

A common option for child visitation is alternating weekends. With this schedule, the children will spend alternating weekends with their noncustodial parent. This type of schedule is particularly popular among parents who have just been separated as well as for noncustodial parents who work during weekdays and are off on the weekends.

When spotting a suspected drunk driver

Roughly one-third of all traffic deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drunk drivers who continue to remain a consistent danger on all roads. During the 10-year period from 2003 to 2012 in New York, 3,752 people were killed in vehicle crashes that involved drunk drivers. That’s an average of 375 per year.

Drunk drivers are oblivious to their surroundings. If you see one while you’re on the road, be careful and get out of the way. The safety of you and your passengers always should take priority because a drunk driver can cause a major accident without warning and unexpectedly.

The dangers of inattention while behind the wheel

Drivers in New York might have heard a lot about the dangers of talking on a cellphone while driving, but one study says that drivers who daydream may be more dangerous than those who use their phones while behind the wheel. Researchers at Erie Insurance used the nationwide Fatality Analysis Reporting System to examine what factors law enforcement blamed for fatalities over the past five years. Distracted driving caused around 10 percent of the 172,000 deaths.

More than 60 percent of the distracted driving deaths involved at least one person who was simply not paying attention. Cellphones were in second place, but they lagged far behind at 14 percent.

Chores, finances can lead to divorce

For many people in New York who decide to divorce, the end of a marriage comes after a lengthy period of unhappiness, often marked by arguments and fighting. While many may assume these arguments are most divisive when they address issues around child-rearing or infidelity, even mundane topics can lead toward divorce. For example, extensive disputes over housework and the distribution of household chores can be an indicator of the potential for a marriage to end.

In one study conducted at Harvard Business School, 3,000 couples were surveyed. A full 25 percent of the divorcing couples indicated that housework conflicts were a primary issue in their marriages that contributed to the decision to divorce. On the other hand, the survey also found that couples who were able to resolve their disputes over chores by hiring outside help like a cleaning service were more likely to remain married to one another. While the elimination of the stress of the housework issue was certainly one key factor in that positive result, the couple's extra quality time together not spent on handling chores could also help to retain their romantic bond.

Distracted driving behavior and awareness on the rise

Many New York drivers recognize the risks of distracted driving even as they engage in the same dangerous behaviors, according to the results of a study produced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The findings from the survey, which was conducted in tandem with the yearly Traffic Safety Culture Index, indicate that the number of drivers who say they regularly speak on a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel has grown 46 percent since 2013. However, at the same time, 88 percent of the survey participants noted their severe concerns about distracted driving in the United States.

The survey, which aims to measure common attitudes and driving practices related to roadway safety, questioned 2,613 licensed drivers aged 16 and older. They were asked about their own behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days. Almost half of the respondents said they had spoken on a handheld mobile phone while driving, and nearly 45 percent admitted to reading emails or texts. Another 35 percent of the participants said they had recently sent a text or email from behind the wheel.

Child support collection methods strengthened

More than $33 billion in child support payments are gathered annually in the United States. The vast majority of those payments are engineered through payroll deductions. New York parents dependent upon payroll deductions for their child support might be interested in knowing that the federal agency charged with overseeing the collection process is making changes to eliminate some procedures that result in missed payments.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement works with state-level agencies to enforce obligations through mandated employer participation in the support collection process. Over 75 percent of payments come from payroll deductions, so even incremental improvements can substantially impact collection numbers. Historically, employers have been allowed to outsource reporting to third party payroll administrators, many of whom ignore the obligation or charge a premium for their services. The OCSE is working with the payroll community to find a solution to the problem of third-party fees being charged to child support agencies. This step should improve efficiency and reduce costs for state agencies, allowing resources to be better allocated.

Common injuries after a car crash

New York residents and anyone else who get into a car accident may experience mental and emotional issues. For instance, individuals involved in a car crash can have changes in mood or problems with memory. Issues with vision or hearing are also common effects of being in a car accident. People also may experience a variety of physical symptoms that do not manifest right away.

If a person gets a headache in the days after the crash, it could mean that he or she suffered a neck injury or sustained a concussion in the car crash. If the collision took place from the back or side, a person may feel pain in the lower back. This could be an indication of an injury to muscles or ligaments in that part of the body. Neck or shoulder stiffness or pain can be an indication that an individual has whiplash.

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