3 Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

While it may seem second nature to most of us, driving a vehicle is actually a very complex task that requires high-level processing of scores of variables and voluminous bits of information in real-time. Unfortunately, to compound this complexity the modern driver is exposed to a multitude of distractions. Given the age of immediate personal communication we live in, it is no surprise that the number of serious automobile traffic incidents is on the rise. Here are three tips for driving distraction-free, or at least reducing the number of distractions and focusing our attention on the road and surroundings:

Put the Cell Phone AwayDriving Distracted

Numerous studies have proven a causal link between mobile phones and distracted driving. There are very few issues that require a driver to use a phone while driving, and even emergency calls are often not true emergencies. If you must answer the phone, pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot. When stopped in a safe place, answer the phone or call the person back. Better yet, most mobile phones and carriers now offer “driving mode” utilities or apps which prevent voice calls and texts from ringing (or announcing) on your phone and inform the caller you are driving and will respond later. This safety feature removes entirely the temptation to answer a call or respond to a text while driving. In addition, many states and localities have passed laws requiring hands-free mobile phone usage or entirely banning the use of mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle. These laws are meant to protect us, and should be followed.

Keep Passenger and Inside Distractions to a Minimum

Nothing is more distracting than talkative or unruly passengers. Babies, toddlers, and young children may distract a driver by throwing things, screaming, yelling, or simply making noise that makes a driver to take their eyes and attention off the road. Establish early on with young children (when they are old enough to understand), and adults as well, that no one should distract the driver of a car. This is particularly important with young adults and young adolescents, including especially teenagers who are learning to drive or have friends who recently received their licenses. Also, try to avoid lengthy conversations with passengers while driving. Research has shown the “simple” act of engaging in a conversation is not simple at all, and actually diminishes our ability to timely process data, make good decisions, and quickly react to sudden emergencies and situations arising in a split second. Finally, loud music and even books on tape can be distracting. Anything that allows our minds to wander, taking them from the serious task at hand – safely operating a 1.5 or 2+ ton machine at speeds that can maim or kill – is potentially hazardous.  

Avoid Food Consumption While Driving

Using one hand to eat or handle food and drinks while driving means one less hand on the steering wheel. Should you happen to drop food or spill liquid on your clothes, you’re more than likely to avert your eyes from the road and look down to check for damage. Don’t take that risk. All it takes is a moment for a driver’s eyes to be diverted and suddenly expose everyone in your vehicle (and others on the road) to a serious, possibly deadly, mistake. Eat and drink only while parked to avoid food-related distractions while driving.

Brownstein & Nguyen has assisted numerous individuals in the aftermath of avoidable car accidents. However, don’t become a statistic (or client) in the first place. Follow the above tips, and always put safety first.

2016 and Nursing Home Negligence

Having to place a loved one in a nursing home is one of the toughest decisions a family will ever make. While most nursing homes provide excellent care to residents, unfortunately mistakes and poor care resulting in nursing home negligence are far too prevalent. It’s important for families to do their due diligence when choosing a nursing home, even when circumstances arise requiring that placement must be done quickly.

Consider What Care is Needednursing home atlanta

What type and scope of care will a loved one need? Do they need assistance with daily living activities such as personal hygiene, mobility, eating, dressing, etc.? Are there special medical issues or conditions involved that require specialized medical care? Are there memory issues or some level of dementia that require a different expertise and setting? Individual needs and the type of skilled care offered by a facility are key factors in the selection process.

Ask People You Trust

If nursing home placement is imminent after a hospital stay, consult with the hospital’s social worker to get recommendations for appropriate facilities. Also talk to family physicians, trusted friends or family members to create a list of recommended facilities. Then go online and research the facilities, checking for complaints, patient reviews and the like. Also look for information provided by government agencies and third parties such as Medicare’s nursing home compare tool and third party websites like this one which compiles complaints, safety inspections and violations maintained by state agencies.

Contact Nursing Homes

Call facilities on the list and ask questions of each one. Find out exactly what skilled services are offered, staffing and patient-to-staff ratios, costs, whether there’s a waiting list, and other pertinent information for the decision process. Then, schedule an appointment to visit and meet with the director and nursing director in person. There is no substitute for first-hand observation to get a better sense of a facility and the people who will be cared for your loved one.

Ask Questions

While visiting a facility, ask questions about their Medicare and Medicaid certification. Take notice of whether the residents look well cared for, and how they are treated by staff. How responsive is the staff – are resident calls for assistance promptly answered? How do staff members talk to residents: with respect, disinterest, or worse, disdain? Be aware of bad odors or heavy chemical smells such as ammonia, poor maintenance, and general signs of lack of cleanliness. Observe a typical meal, including nutrition content, appearance and appeal of the food, and whether hot meals are timely served. Introduce yourself to staff members to get a feel for their demeanor, attitude towards family members, and manner when dealing with residents. These and other indicators can help identify signs of nursing home neglect or negligence. In short, do whatever you can to determine if a facility gives you confidence that your loved one will get the best possible care under the circumstances.

Make Unscheduled Visit

Before making a final decision on a facility for your loved one, if possible make one more visit – this time unscheduled. Arrive on a different day and observe another shift and staff from your scheduled visit.

Of course, your vigilance does not end after a loved one is placed in a facility. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home negligence, abuse or neglect, contact the law offices of Brownstein & Nguyen. We are experienced in helping families and their loved ones fight elder abuse.

4 Tips for Safe Holiday Travel

According to AAA, holiday season travel is expected to break records this year. AAA is forecasting that nearly one in three Americans will take a trip by vehicle. This means that for the first time, the number of holiday travelers expected to travel 50 miles or more from home may top 100 million. With so many individuals and families on the road, we wanted to share a few travel tips from Brownstein & Nguyen.

Number One: Vehicle Check UpBrownstein & Nguyen (1)

It is always a good idea to follow the dealer recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. However, if you are traveling farther than usual, spend a little extra time checking your vehicle before the trip. This includes making sure the tires are properly inflated and that all fluids have been topped off. Additionally, it is a good opportunity to make sure there are not any current recalls on your vehicle.

Number Two: Plan Enough Time for Travel

If you are traveling by air or over the roads, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. Living in metro Atlanta often means dealing with traffic slow downs and delays.

Number Three: Use Navigation Apps

Using your vehicle’s GPS system is helpful when traveling by car. You’ll be able to avoid congested areas and alternate routes are often suggested by in car systems. Additionally, take a look at the following apps for getting you to your destination in a safe and timely manner:


The Waze app is available on android and Apple devices. This is a community based app in which other drivers update accident and traffic alerts in real time.

Google Maps

If you do not have an in-car navigation system, Google Maps will do the job for you. Plug your phone into the audio system of your vehicle and you’ll be as good as any other driver on the road with GPS.

Number Four: Prepare for An Emergency

You never know what type of weather you’ll run into, or if your car will have a failure. It is a great idea to make sure that you have an emergency kit in your car. This should include safety flares or reflective devices to alert other drivers on the road. It should also include water to prevent dehydration should you be waiting for a long period of time. A warm blanket is ideal to keep in the vehicle as is a first aid kit.

At Brownstein & Nguyen we wish you safe travels as you spend time on the roads this holiday season. 

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.

Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents can result in severe personal injury cases, often producing catastrophic injuries to the pedestrian victim or even the loss of a loved one. However, many pedestrian accidents can easily be avoided by taking extra precautions. Whether you are walking on or near city streets, residential neighborhoods, highways or rural roads, follow these tips to reduce the  risk of being struck by a motor vehicle:pedestrian

Be More Visible

Just like cyclists must be vigilant in making themselves more visible to drivers, pedestrians must also strive to make themselves better seen by motorists. This can be accomplished by traveling on foot during daylight hours only or by walking in well-lit areas. Additionally, pedestrians can wear bright or reflective clothing.

Look Both Ways

This tip goes for both motorists and pedestrians. Before entering an intersection or driving through one, it is important that both pedestrians and drivers alike carefully look both ways. This is especially important for motorists who are driving in areas where pedestrians frequent or where children might be dashing into the roadway (such as residential streets).  

Follow the Law

There are very specific laws that pedestrians and motorists must follow. Some of these laws are the same for both. Both groups should be aware of right-0f-way laws in the areas where they frequent. In general, pedestrians (including joggers) must follow these rules:

  • walk only in designated areas and utilize crosswalks where provided
  • if there is no sidewalk, stand or walk only the shoulder of a road
  • if there is no sidewalk or shoulder, stand or walk as close as possible to the outside edge of the road
  • if on a two-lane roadway, stand or walk only on the left side of the road
  • yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road, except as above

Be Alert

While distracted driving has received much media attention, distracted walking can also pose an additional risk of suffering personal injury. Pedestrians who are distracted by listening to music, talking on a cell phone or texting may not be as alert to potential dangers around them.

Pedestrians who are injured in an accident should promptly discuss their rights with a personal injury lawyer. Contact the experienced, dedicated personal injury and pedestrian accident attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen.


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 itcanwait.com. 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.