International Infection Prevention Week

Along with the changing colors on the trees, there is a chill in the air in metro Atlanta. Both are sure signs of fall! Another sign of the season can be found at any grocery or department store with pumpkins lining curbs out front and aisles of candy and costumes. Yet, even with the spooky delights of Halloween, a much more serious fright is observed during the third week of October with International Infection Prevention Week.  

Medical Malpractice

Image via APIC

This fright is a hidden one in the everyday world around us, and comes in the form of microbial organisms that cause infection, a major concern when it comes to disease control and prevention. While the healthcare industry is aware of the importance of washing hands, the message does not always get across to the general public or even within the healthcare industry itself. As reported in our Healthcare-Associated Infection information, more than 200 Americans are expected to pass away each day as a result of an infection contracted during a hospital stay.

Obviously, infections can be transmitted through other sources besides unwashed hands. However, this is one of the most basic places to start. For this reason, we support the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) as they celebrate and promote awareness during International Infection Prevention Week. Here are a few tried and true pointers:

Infection Prevention at Work

No matter what industry you work in, whether it is healthcare, food preparation or service, education, government or private business, it is important to keep in mind general infection prevention practices. One way to prevent the spread of infection is through staying home from work or school when sick. This is not always practiced, but can easily make all a huge difference in the spread of diseases including common colds and the flu.

Infection Prevention at School

Parents of school-aged children know that colds and stomach bugs can pass through a classroom like wildfire. Encourage your child to make sure they are washing their hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before eating. Another reminder for kids and adults includes sneezing or coughing into one’s elbow rather than into their hands.

Infection Prevention with Young Children

Young children may be at a higher risk for infection, but are also carriers of germs and bacteria especially on their hands. For this reason, it is important to instill proper handwashing procedures early on. One fun way to do this is to teach children to wash their hands while singing the entire ABC’s to make sure that they take enough time to lather up and scrub.

Lack of hand washing and other preventive measures likely contribute to the spread of infections. In cases involving healthcare facilities or professionals, sometimes infections may fall into the category of medical malpractice. In the state of Georgia, medical malpractice claims in  are not easy to pursue, but the lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen have years of experience successfully litigating cases like these. Contact our Atlanta malpractice attorneys for a free consultation if you or a loved one have suffered from a Healthcare-Associated Infection.

Whistleblowing in the News

National headlines these days are full of news related to whistleblowing. Some headlines and situations are controversial due to their subject matter or details. However, the fact remains that individuals witnessing wrongdoing by the part of the government or private companies have the right to come forward with protections afforded under various state and federal laws, including the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. The act has played a major role in allowing government whistleblowers the confidence to come forward, knowing that their actions are legally protected.

One ongoing battle regarding whistleblowing involves the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and medical device approvals. The Wall Street Journal reported that the claims of the whistleblowers  regarding imaging devices for the screening of breast cancer and colon cancer were rejected as unsubstantiated. While the case dates back to 2008, fresh controversy arose in 2012 after new evidence revealed that the FDA was monitoring employee activity on government computers. This led to further questions and debate regarding the rights of whistleblowers.

AtlantaIn more recent news, at a more local level and involving animals rather than the healthcare industry, is the case of Brittany Roberts. A former animal control officer, Roberts claims she was fired after bringing forth concerns of animal mistreatment within Detroit Animal Control. After her firing, Ms. Roberts filed a detailed whistleblower lawsuit against the department and certain officials. Only time will tell the outcome of that case. However, the City of Detroit has already begun making some changes. For starters, the city’s Animal Control department is being moved from the Detroit Police Department to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Criminal conduct or fraud by an employer,  healthcare provider, or government contractor should not be ignored or go unreported. As a government or private company employee with knowledge of serious wrongdoing, you should know your rights as a potential whistleblower. In addition to legal protections, whistleblowers can receive significant compensation under certain situations. We encourage all employees to visit in an effort to be more aware of whistleblower protection programs.

If you or someone you know is dealing with blatant wrongdoing by their employer, we encourage you to call our law offices in Atlanta for guidance and advice in whistleblowing situations. With more than 25 years of experience in legal matters relating to business and employment situations, Jay Brownstein has expertly guided individuals faced with delicate whistleblowing decisions. Contact our offices today at 770-458-9060 for a consultation.

Dangers and Risks of Semi-Trailer Truck Accidents

Unfortunately, semi or tractor-trailer truck accidents are often much more serious than car accidents. Due to a truck’s increased mass and physics, a large truck is capable of doing heavy damage and can cause serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. Knowing the most dangerous risk factors can help keep you safer on the road. Atlanta personal injury lawyers Brownstein & Nguyen have assisted in truck accident cases, and want you to be aware of the following variables often involved in truck accidents in Georgia.

Wide Turns

Due to their length, semi trucks make extremely wide turns. Drivers of other vehicles may not be consider a truck’s turning radius, so they may not give the truck a wide enough berth at intersections. Novice truck drivers may also underestimate their vehicle’s size, and assume that they have more room to safely turn than they actually do. As a result, truck operators might inadvertently smash the back of side of their vehicle into surrounding objects including curbs, light poles, vehicles, and even buildings or overpasses. Depending upon the mass of the truck and the speed at which it’s taking the turn, the resulting collision could be quite serious.

Increased Stopping Distance

AccidentBasic physics dictates that the more mass an object has, the harder it is to stop moving once it is in motion. This applies to all objects, including semi trucks. Most drivers know instinctively that trucks have more mass than cars do, but they may not have that same intuitive understanding of the required stopping distance of a big truck. Motor vehicle drivers might maneuver around a truck in very dangerous ways, which could be comparatively safe around a car.

Even savvy car drivers don’t necessarily think about the increased mass that the contents of a truck create. Semis in particular have the capacity to store large amounts of cargo, which can add considerably to the truck’s mass, and in some cases increase risk with the transport of hazardous materials. That truck on the road could be empty, or it could be full of goods, which could add greatly to the vehicle’s stopping distance.


Semis are different from other trucks because their trailers must follow the lead of the tractor or cab that is driving them. This makes tractor-trailers particularly prone to a phenomenon called jackknifing, where the truck cab turns too suddenly or sharply for the trailer to follow, forming the same shape as that of a jackknife. Jackknifing is particularly common in hazardous weather and road conditions where vehicles skid, such as snow, sleet or rain. Additionally, if a semi is poorly loaded the contents may slide around when the vehicle stops. If the semi comes to a sudden stop, that rapid shift may be enough to make the vehicle jackknife.

Increased Risk on Georgia Roads

In 2011 a change in Georgia state law reduced the amount of inspectors checking trucks for safety. With less inspectors came fewer truck inspections, and consequently more unsafe trucks and drivers left on the road. This dangerous combination has resulted in more trucks on the road and less federal regulatory compliance. As a result, Georgia saw a 38% increase in commercial vehicle accidents from 2011-2013.

Whether you’re driving a car or a truck on the road, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the potential hazards of trucks, for your safety and that of your loved ones. Any of these factors can become incredibly dangerous on the road, and can take other drivers by complete surprise. If you have been involved in a commercial truck accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney that will confidently assess your case. This is especially important because trucking cases involve complex rules and regulations that are not typically present in automobile injury cases. Our team at Brownstein & Nguyen is able to assist in these types of cases. Please feel free to contact us using the contact form to the right or by calling us at 770-458-9060.

Have you Experienced Whiplash from a Car Wreck or Accident?

It is not uncommon to experience back or neck pain after being involved in a motor vehicle wreck, or car accident. Often, the unexpected impact that takes place in a vehicle collision can cause pain in the form of whiplash. The American Chiropractic Association states that whiplash is most commonly seen injury among people involved in motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash injuries involve the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head in a car crash or other accident. The whip-like movement places tremendous force on the bony structures, tissues and nerves of the cervical spine, often creating micro-tears and other damage. For more information about these injuries, check out this research article.   

Signs of WhiplashAir Bag Deployment

Whiplash most commonly involves pain and stiffness in the neck. However, WebMD identifies the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo
  • Ringing in the ears

Experiencing a headache is the most common side effect of whiplash. The resulting headache is often felt at the base of the skull after experiencing the whip-like motion from a sudden impact, typically from a rear-end collision. It is common for individuals to first experience whiplash symptoms hours or even a few days after an incident, rather than immediately after the injury. Depending on an individual’s health and other circumstances, symptoms may not be felt for up to 2 to 48 hours after the injury. This delay in symptoms is not always understood, but may be compared to the delay in feeling sore muscles after working out or other physical exertion.

If you have experienced or are experiencing a nagging headache after a motor vehicle accident, or any of the other symptoms related to whiplash injuries, it is important to you see a medical professional as soon as possible.

If you have suffered a whiplash or head injury after a car accident, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers may be able to help. Contact Brownstein & Nguyen for a free consultation regarding your legal rights today!

Improper Use of Anesthesia: Past to Present

The medical field has come a long way. For example, if we take a trip through history to the nation’s first hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one will find a historic operating theater. From 1804 to 1868, operations were performed there using only sunlight. During this time, before modern anesthesia, patients had one of three choices to reduce pain during surgery. The choices included partaking in opium, whiskey, or being hit over the head by a mallet to mask the pain of the surgical knife.

Fast forward 200 years, and modern medicine and operating standards have advanced significantly. Of course, this includes the practice of anesthesiology. However, even with the advancements in medicine and surgical practices, there are still risks involved.

Anesthesia Errors

When it comes to surgery, mistakes related to anesthesia can be even more dangerous than errors made during surgery. Such mistakes include the anesthesiologist failing to properly investicate the medical history of a patient for potential complications, or not informing a patient of the risks associated with the failure to follow preoperative instructions.

Additional anesthesia errors that occur during surgery may include:

  • Vital signs improperly monitored
  • Overdose of anesthesia
  • Improper placement of breathing tube in trachea
  • Use of defective or non-sterile equipment
  • “Waking anesthesia” (conscious while under anesthesia)

Any of the above errors could lead to a viable medical malpractice case. If you or a loved one have experienced the improper use of anesthesia during surgery, it is critical to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review your situation and to navigate the complex rules associated with medical malpractice cases. Contact the medical malpractice law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen today for a free consultation.

Back to School Drivers and the #itcanwait Campaign

Many schools in metro Atlanta opened their doors to students in early August. Among the high school students are those armed with a license to drive! In an effort to help steer students in the right direction, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is ramping up for September’s “It Can Wait” campaign.

It Can Wait

AtlantaThe campaign does not limit itself to students. It Can Wait applies to anyone behind the wheel of a car. With so many distractions in a vehicle, answering texts, emailing, searching the web, dialing numbers, and even using voice-activated capabilities only add to the dangerous mix. The It Can Wait campaign encourage drivers of all ages to remember that the text, call, email, or other task they want to do with their smart phone while driving a car can wait!

Why Is This Campaign Important?

Research shows that drivers engage in so many more activities while driving than just texting. With this data, it is critical to get out the message of stopping texting and other phone-related distractions while driving.

How can you get involved?

You can take the pledge to keep your eyes on the road at While there, you can also learn about helpful apps that help keep your eyes and attention on the road while driving to avoid the tragic consequences associated with using a smartphone or other device while driving. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and others on the road to stop the dangerous trend of distracted driving.

Construction Site Dangers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers and enforces health and safety regulations in the workplace for most industries. Many of these regulations pertain to standards as they apply to construction, record-keeping, agriculture, and general industry.

Construction is a Dangerous Tradeconstruction work accidents

With construction once again booming in metro Atlanta, it is important for those involved in the construction industry to be aware of certain facts and figures regarding workplace accidents. There are four categories of fatalities that OSHA refers to as the “Fatal Four.” These include falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions, and “caught in between” accidents. The following statistics are a stark reminder of just how dangerous working in construction can be:

  • In 2013 828 or 20.2% of work related fatalities were in construction
  • The “Fatal Four” were responsible for 57.7% of construction related deaths
  • 478 lives would be saved with the elimination of “Fatal Four” hazards

Most Violated OSHA Standards

OSHA has identified 10 workplace safety standards that are most frequently violated. Among the top 3 are fall protection in construction, hazard communication in general industry, and the proper use of scaffolding in construction.

Duty to Have Fall Protection

Safety on the job site should always be priority one. When working on roofing, framing or other building structures, construction workers are commonly 2-4 stories up and sometimes much higher. A fall from this height would most certainly cause severe injury, if not a fatality. Fall protection as required by OSHA often includes the use of a harness and rope. Guardrail systems, safety net systems, and personal fall arrest systems are often used, as well.

Chemical Hazard Communication

The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, stated: ““Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing American workers today. Revising OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard will improve the quality and consistency of hazard information, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive.” These standards have been updated, and there is now a global system in place to label and classify chemicals for more streamlined hazard communication. Images are used to help convey the various hazards associated with hazardous chemicals.

General Requirements for Scaffolding

Scaffolding use in construction has specific guidelines that must be followed. These include the capability of supporting at least 4 times the maximum weight of the intended load, use of counterweights on suspended scaffolds for balance, and direct connections to a floor or roof for non-suspended scaffolding. In meeting each of these requirements, there are additional standards for counterweights, suspension ropes, and other elements involved.

Maintaining compliance with all OSHA construction safety standards may not always be easy or cheap, but it is imperative when lives are on the line. Should you or someone you know be the unfortunate victim of a construction or work related accident as a result of OSHA non-compliance, contact our Atlanta personal injury attorney offices for a free consultation.

Business Divorce

Let’s face it, when most people hear the word divorce they think about ending a marriage. After all, by definition divorce is, “a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part, especially one that releases the marriage partners from all matrimonial obligations.” Another definition is, “Any formal separation of husband and wife according to established custom.” However, a more generic definition is, “Total separation; disunion.”Business Conflict

If you look at that final definition, total separation or disunion, you’ll notice the context does not necessarily refer to marriage of persons. It could refer to a total separation or disunion of a contract or a business.

As an Atlanta business litigation lawyer, Jay Brownstein has years of experience assisting clients with business dissolutions and divorces. While a business divorce does not involve the ending of the marital union of two people, it does involve the separation of a business.

There are numerous scenarios in which a business divorce might become necessary, varying widely from one situation to another. Sometimes when a business is formed between two or more partners, a formal agreement exists that outlines the parties’ rights upon separation. However, many partnerships do not have a written agreement. In those cases, the parties’ rights can be dictated by the circumstances and applicable law.

After a business is formed, a variety of situations can occur in which one or more partners or shareholders realize that a change must occur. Differences in business strategies, goals or financial philosophies can cause serious obstacles to the continued operation of a business. If business partners agree to part ways or dissolve a business, an appropriate agreement for dissolution, transfer in ownership, or partnership buyout can be drafted and signed by the parties. However, where a disagreement can not be resolved amicably, a business divorce may require that legal counsel take certain actions to protect a client’s legal rights (including the possible filing of a court action).

If you are facing a disagreement with your business partners and need to find a resolution that is agreeable and legally sound, contact Atlanta business dispute attorney Jay Brownstein.

Cell Phone Courtesy

Work-life balance means different things for different people depending on their occupation and personal circumstances. With the use of smart phones, many individuals have adopted a work-life integration model in which they are almost constantly available via phone, text, or email. This can be quite distracting, and contrary to common courtesy and etiquette. July happens to be National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and therefore a great time to brush up on basic rules of thumb for cell phone use in business and for personal matters. Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore offers these useful tips:Safe Driving Tips

1. Be all there.

Simply put, your focus should not be on your cell phone, messages, or emails during an important business meeting or conversation. This applies to situations across the board including legal conversations, courtroom visits, and medical office visits.

2. Keep it private.

If you don’t want others to overhear the conversation you are having on your phone, find a private location or reschedule the conversation for a later time.

3. Follow the rules.

Be respectful of your surroundings, and aware of whether or not phone use is acceptable or appropriate in those situations. Special considerations apply in movie theaters, libraries, hospitals, in educational settings, and of course courtrooms.

4. Excuse yourself.

If you are expecting a phone call, inform those you are with in advance. This will prepare them for the interruption of your meeting, conversation or time together. Keep in mind that face-to-face interactions should take precedence over phone conversations.

5. Focus on driving.

While all of the above tips are important, this one is potentially a matter of life or death. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has found that the longest duration of time in which drivers take their eyes off of the road is directly the result of text messaging, browsing, and dialing. VTTI also found that text messaging doubles the risk of a motor vehicle crash. While behind the wheel, it is critical to focus on driving and avoid distraction through the use of a wireless device.

We hope that these cell phone etiquette tips along with other safety guidelines will be useful. With distracted driving as the cause of so many fatalities and serious injuries, we can not emphasize enough how important it is to follow the final tip of focusing on driving. It is possible that you or someone you know may have been involved in a distracted driving accident, or might be at some point in the future.

The attorneys of Brownstein & Nguyen are experienced in representing distracted driving automobile accident cases in the Atlanta area. With over 20 years of representation in personal injury, the reviews and testimonials speak to the skill and integrity with which Brownstein & Nguyen represent their clients. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen today at (770) 458-9060 for a free consultation and review of your case.

Water Safety Tips

June is National Safety Month and coincides with the end of school and the beginning of summer. This makes summer swimming safety particularly important, as kids find welcome relief in pools, ponds, and puddles across the greater Atlanta area. Sadly, they may find themselves in distress and parents must often cope with grief due to a lapse in basic water safety precautions.

water safetyAt Brownstein & Nguyen, we offer these water safety tips in an effort to reduce the number of potential clients in need of legal services by one of Atlanta’s preeminent personal injury lawyers.

Swim in Water; Drink Water

Diane McKinsey, a pool lifeguard certified by the International Lifeguard Trainer Program, works at a water park. She has one piece of water safety advice for parents: please don’t drink alcohol.

Too often, she says, alcohol interferes with adults’ summer water safety awareness. Under the effects of alcohol, parents often lose sight of their children and tragedy can result. Says McKinsey, “If you and your kids are going to swim in water, then drink water — nothing stronger.”

Be Water Wise

The National Safety Council (NSC) points out drowning as the leading cause of death among children 1 to 4 years of age.  NSC recommends parents be extra vigilant around water, including paying attention to boating safety tips as well as general water safety tips.

  • No child is drown-proof
  • Lifeguards are not babysitters
  • Undertows exist in all bodies of water—pool suction fittings and drains can trap a child underwater
  • Even strong swimmers should wear life jackets—The NSC provides many additional boating safety tips at its safety-conscious website
  • As a parent, you are your child’s best protector, so get trained for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • If your child is out of your sight, first check bodies of water before looking elsewhere.

Teach Your Children Well

From three-year-olds to adults, all swimmers should learn basic summer water safety. The NSC recommends all swimmers learn:

  • Not to swim alone
  • To be prepared for an emergency
  • To avoid diving into unknown bodies of water
  • Never to push others into water or jump on others already in water

If through accident or another’s negligence, you find yourself needing a lawyer because of a water-related mishap, contact the personal injury lawyers at Brownstein & Nguyen.  Protect your rights and those who depend on you.