Young Woman Smokes E-Cig Electronic CigaretteThere has been a dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes in the past few years. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.6 percent of American adults report that they have tried e-cigarettes.

Currently, 3.7 percent of adults report that they use e-cigarettes more than once per week. This means that there are now 9 million adults vaping on a regular basis, this includes many people in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

This should be good news, after all, e-cigarettes are supposed to be a safer alternative to smoking. However, recent events have raised very serious concerns about the safety of these devices.

For those wondering why their city suddenly seems to have more people out and about, a hit new game called Pokémon Go has people of all ages outside searching for Pokémon (yes, from that ’90s Japanese craze) to add to their collection.

The smartphone app superimposes cartoon characters on top of the image from the phone’s camera and, in conjunction with its GPS, creates a virtual reality game that makes it look like the Pokémon are on your street, or in parks, restaurants, businesses, etc. The app was an instant success, earning $7.5 billion in just two days, and according to Reuters, already had a higher usage rate than Twitter or Instagram less than a week after it was released.

Risks of the Game

The runaway success of the app has some undeniable benefits. Local businesses, museums, and even churches are seeing more traffic and interest because of the hordes of people looking for Pokémon to collect. Many people are going outdoors more often than before, getting more exercise, and interacting with other Pokémon Go players. But there are major risks involved in playing the game.

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The tragic death of a two-year-old boy from Nebraska in the water by Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel as the result of an alligator attack may have some families considering their own safety when they make plans for outings in similar places.

Amusement parks, with their sprawling spaces, various features and terrains, and day-long and sometimes week-long guests, are responsible for the enormous task of keeping their premises safe, secure, and as hazard-free as possible for their guests. That is not an easy task, and at times companies fail to adequately address safety hazards.

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Our South Carolina workers compensation attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson often get calls from individuals asking about Maximum Medical Improvement, and the impact it has on their case.  Maximum Medical Improvement (or MMI) is a commonly use phrase in workers’ compensation cases in South Carolina. What does it mean when your doctor says you have reached MMI? How does this affect your workers’ compensation case?

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In pursuing VA veteran disability benefits, the Special Rules for Combat Veterans Law (38 USC § 1154) provides combat veterans with a much-needed advantage in proving an in-service occurrence or aggravation of illness or injury.

The three major elements a veteran must prove is (1) a current condition, (2) an in-service occurrence or aggravation of illness or injury, and (3) a causal connection between the in-service occurrence or aggravation and the current condition.  Because combat is wrought with immediacy and uncertainty, records that might normally have been created may likely be incomplete, may not have been created, or if created they may have been destroyed.[1] Because of this, Congress enacted 38 USC § 1154(b), which states:

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Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions and other head injuries can have devastating long-term consequences. All employers must take proper precautions in order to protect workers from suffering a TBI. Construction workers, in particular, are at high risk.

Unfortunately, far too many construction companies are still falling short of their legal duty to protect the safety of their workers. If you have suffered a construction TBI in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP today to discuss your legal options.

Traumatic Brain Injuries on Construction Sites

TBIs on construction sites are a major problem. Recently, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a report exploring the frequency of traumatic brain injuries in the construction field. The study was included in the March 2016 edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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When children are out of school for the summer and look to have fun in pools and on trampolines, they see fun, not danger. Many parents, too, don’t realize the hidden dangers that trampolines and pools present to children.

However, the statistics do not lie. A study conducted by the Indiana University School of Medicine found that approximately 289,000 children suffered bone fractures as a result of accidents on trampolines between 2002 and 2011, according to USA Today. A similar study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics found that trampoline accidents resulted in 1 million emergency room visits during the same period.

Pools are not any safer. An average of 10 people per day died in unintentional, non-boating-related drownings between 2005 and 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 50 percent of these victims were children under the age of 14.

Who Is Responsible for Swimming Pool and Trampoline Accidents?

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With all the high-tech safety equipment on new cars today, it’s surprising that one of the oldest and most basic safety features could fall short of the mark on many vehicles – yet that’s exactly what a new report has found. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that “new ratings show most headlights need improvement.”

Few would argue that headlights are not one of the most essential safety features of a car. As such, headlights that fail to illuminate the road properly should be of significant concern to drivers.

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There are ways to test for alcohol-impaired driving, but it is much more difficult to determine whether a driver has broken the law by texting behind the wheel. That may change soon.

Breathalyzers are used by police officers when alcohol impairment is suspected, either when a driver is operating their vehicle erratically, or at the scene of an accident, for example. The use of breathalyzers is widely accepted and allows police officers to crack down on drinking and driving – a deadly behavior.

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Self-driving cars are coming, and in the future, they may be a common way for people to get to and from where they need to go. But a new study reveals that most people are scared to ride in autonomous vehicles.

However, the dangers of being on the road may be the same, regardless of whether you are the one driving, or the computer is in charge.  Negligent drivers are all around us, and cause thousands of car accidents per year.  Citing safety concerns, the Association of Global Automakers recently urged the National Transportation Safety Administration to “slow down” its production of guidelines for the vehicles.

Drivers Trust Their Own Skills – But Should They?

According to a recent study conducted by AAA, and summarized in an article published on AutoBlog.com, three out of every four Americans are fearful about riding in self-driving automobiles. The report found that 84 percent of drivers said that they trusted their own driving skills more than those of a car computer.

Up until late February 2016, all of the accidents in which a self-driving car had been involved had been caused by another driver, not by the self-driving car. That changed when a Google vehicle recently collided with a bus in Mountain View, Calif. The accident happened when the self-driving car traveled into the center lane to make a right turn around some sandbags, wrongfully assuming that the approaching bus would slow and let the car pass.

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