Arizona residents have an intimate knowledge of extreme heat, especially during the summer months. However, many of these residents may not know about the elevated personal injury risks associated with hot weather and the activities that it invites.
The more you understand about the kinds of personal injuries that occur in hot weather, the more easily you can avoid such injuries. This increased awareness may also help you avoid making errors that might prompt a lawsuit from an injured party. Here are four such dangers to consider.
1. Heat-Induced Driving Dangers
Hot weather can set the stage for numerous driving hazards, any of which can lead to accidents and injuries. One such hazard, road rage, can occur at any time of year but seems to create more aggressive behavior as temperatures rise.
A study of motor vehicle accidents in Spain indicates that 7.7 percent more accidents occurred in heat waves than in less extreme weather conditions. Researchers believe that the intense discomfort and fatigue created by hot weather makes drivers cranky, irritable, and more likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors.
Take special care to watch out for drivers who exhibit signs of road rage such as cutting other drivers off, honking with minimal provocation, and tailgating slow vehicles. Remain polite to such drivers at all times. Avoid eye contact with them, grant them the right of way, and maintain plenty of distance between your car and theirs.
Cars can do their part to sabotage drivers on sunny, hot days. For instance, a combination of dazzling glare and confusing heat ripples may impair visibility or depth perception. These limitations may increase the risk of collisions between two or more vehicles.
2. Heatstroke and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The advent of extreme heat also presents the danger of heatstroke. In this condition, the body cannot cool itself efficiently enough to compensate for the ambient temperature. As the body’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, physical and mental functions break down, resulting in death if untreated.
An individual left in a hot, sealed car can easily suffer severe illness or death due to heatstroke. Children or elderly loved ones left in a hot car may not have the ability to get out by themselves, with deadly results. Fatal or disabling heatstroke may also occur to workers or athletes forced to exert themselves in dangerously hot conditions.
If the actions or decisions of an individual or institution cause death due to heat stroke, certain parties may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Arizona law permits surviving spouses, children, parents, personal representatives of the deceased, or personal representatives of the deceased’s estate to file such a lawsuit.
3. Extreme Heat and Nursing Home Neglect
Seniors typically face a higher risk for heatstroke and other heat-related injuries than younger individuals. A combination of reduced sweat production, changes in the body’s fat storage processes, and underlying chronic illnesses can make elderly people more vulnerable to overheating.
Seniors who reside in nursing homes often depend on the nursing home staff to help them combat the threat of heat exposure and heatstroke. An individual who cannot get around easily could die after sitting unattended in a wheelchair under the blazing sun. Failure to hydrate elderly residents could also threaten their lives.
These additional concerns make the issue of nursing home neglect even more pressingly urgent, both for residents and their loved ones. If a resident experiences such life-threatening or fatal neglect, you, another survivor, or another qualified representative may file a lawsuit on that individual’s behalf.
4. Swimming Hazards and Personal Injuries
When temperatures soar, many Arizona residents retreat to the relative comfort of a swimming pool. Unfortunately, this practice offers risk and dangers as well as comfort. Swimmers can slip on surfaces and break bones, hit their head, sustain disabling back or neck injuries, and even fall unconscious into the water.
Unattended children with limited swimming experience run the risk of drowning in a private or public pool. Even a near-drowning incident can deprive the brain of oxygen long enough to cause severe, permanent damage.
As in other personal injury or wrongful death cases, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit related to a pool incident hinges in part on the other party’s duty of care. A public pool owner’s duty of care, which includes adherence to state and federal regulations, may prove easier to establish than that of a private pool owner.
One significant point concerns the issue of trespassing. Adults who trespass on a pool may not have a valid case for a personal injury lawsuit, since the pool owner does not owe a duty of care to these individuals. However, the same pool owners must make reasonable efforts to prevent children from trespassing and suffering harm.
If you find yourself needing to file a heat-related personal injury lawsuit, Garrison Law Firm wants to come to your aid. Contact our office today to tell us about your case and request our services.