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Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Blog

Friday, February 22, 2013

College Campuses Are Unsafe for Women

     On the Fox News show, “The Five” Bob Beckel, one of the show’s co-hosts actually doubted the occurrence of rape on college campuses. His exact quote was: “When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?” I thought I would take a moment to share with you some of the alarming statistics concerning the likelihood of a women being a victim of rape on an American college campus. In 2010, the United States Department of Justice estimated that 25 percent of college women "will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year college period." It also noted that women "between the ages of 16 to 24 will experience rape at a rate that's four times higher than the assault rate of all women." And, it said, schools with more than 6,000 students "average one rape per day during the school year.” According to New York University's National Statistics about Sexual Violence on College Campuses, fewer than 5 percent of such cases are reported to law enforcement. The following statistics were compiled by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

• At least 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of a sexual assault during her academic career.

• At least 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001

• 48.8% of college women who were victims of attacks that met the study’s definition of rape did not consider what happened to them rape. Bureau of Justice Stats. “Sexual Victimization of Collegiate Women” 2000, US DOJ.

• More than 70% of rape victims knew their attackers, compared to about half of all violent crime victims.

• There are 35.3 incidents of sexual assault per 1,000 female students on a campus as recorded over a 6.91 month period (the academic year of ‘96 – ’97) as reported in the 2000 Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics report “The Sexual Victimization of College Women.”

• On average, at least 50% of college students’ sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use. Within the study’s nationally represented sample of college students the results found that 74% of perpetrators and 55% of rape victims had been drinking alcohol prior to the assault.

• In a survey of high school students, 56% of girls and 76% of boys [some of whom may be incoming college freshmen] believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances. Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden Crime, 1991.

     Last April, Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introduced comprehensive guidance to help schools, colleges and universities better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault. The new guidance, makes clear the legal obligations under Title IX of any school, college or university receiving federal funds to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence. The guidance also provides practical examples to aid educators in ensuring the safety of their students. Under Title IX – a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities – discrimination can include sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion. The guidance, the first specifically advising schools, colleges and universities that their responsibilities under Title IX include protecting students from sexual violence, also details enforcement strategies that schools and the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may use to end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Young women aged 16-24 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, while 1 in 5 will be a victim of sexual assault during college.

     Rape is a horrible violent crime against women. Victims of sexual assault are more likely to suffer academically and more likely to become depressed and suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, to abuse alcohol and drugs, and to contemplate suicide. The harm rape causes is long lasting and deeply emotional. If a rape occurs on a college campus, what are a school’s obligations under Title IX regarding sexual violence?

• First the school must notify law enforcement officials and cooperate fully in disclosing the identity and circumstances of the assault. • Once a school knows of a possible sexual violence, it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred.

• If sexual violence has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps to end the sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, whether or not the sexual violence is the subject of a criminal investigation.

• A school must take steps to protect the complainant as necessary, including interim steps taken prior to the final outcome of the investigation.

• A school must provide a grievance procedure for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual violence.

     We have been successful in representing women who have been the victims of violent sexual assaults. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault either at a school, college campus, hotel, or even at your job please don’t hesitate to contact my firm.

Stay Safe.

Richard F. Silber, Esquire


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pedestrians Are At Increased Risk in Washington and Maryland

Pedestrians are more likely to be injured or killed in the District of Columbia when compared to other motor vehicle accidents. In the District of Columbia, more than half of those killed in traffic accidents and 20 percent who died in Maryland were pedestrians, according to a 2010 federal study released last year.

On average, over 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in this region every year and 89 are killed. Motorized fatalities have dropped more than a one-third from 307 in 2000 to 202 in 2011. However, in this same time period, the percentage of pedestrian fatalities in relation to total traffic fatalities has increased.In 2000, there were 87 pedestrian and 5 bicyclist fatalities out of 399 total traffic fatalities (23% of the total). In 2011, there were 76 pedestrian and 6 bicyclist fatalities out of 284 total traffic fatalities (29% of the total) according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

My firm has been representing individuals who have been injured by negligent motorists for almost 30 years. Even though many auto accidents are minor fender-benders, they nonetheless result in a shocking number of severe injuries and even death.  In addition to disability, victims often experience substantial pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage, all of which may be recoverable through legal representation.   Sadly, many car accident victims never receive the full amount of damages to which they are entitled.  Many car accident victims, unaware of the full value of their claims, accept the first offer they receive from the insurance company. Insurance companies want to settle your case as soon as possible – and for as little money as possible. You need time to determine just how serious your injury is, what medical treatment or physical therapy you need, and how much your lost wages will be. 

We strongly recommend that in order to protect your rights and interests, it is crucial to retain a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured.

 

Stay Safe,

Richard F. Silber


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is Your Child's Booster Seat a Good Fit?

The seatbelts in cars are not designed with children in mind.  In a car accident or during a sudden stop, a child who does not use a booster seat is vulnerable to serious injury because the seatbelt is not positioned to properly restrain the child.  In fact, a seatbelt can actually cause additional injury to the child during an accident – for example, by cutting across the child’s stomach.

Booster seats are designed to elevate your child to a position where the seatbelt is positioned properly and will properly protect your child in case of a car accident or sudden stop.  Booster seats are not specially made for different types of vehicles, even though the seats and seatbelts are shaped and positioned differently in different models of cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans.

When shopping for a booster seat for your child, how do you tell if the booster seat is a good fit?  Highway safety research tells us that there are three important measurements to consider when purchasing a booster seat for your child:

  • The child should be able to bend his or her knees easily over the edge of the booster seat.  If the child can’t comfortably bend his or her knees over the edge of the booster seat, he or she might slouch, which might cause the lap belt to ride up onto the child’s stomach
  • The lap band of the seatbelt should lie across the child’s upper thighs and hips.  It should not lie across the child’s lower or upper stomach, or across the child’s lower thighs.
  • The shoulder band of the three-point seatbelt should cross the child’s shoulder midway between the outside edge of the child’s shoulder and the child’s neck.  The seatbelt should not cross too close to the child’s neck or too far down the child’s shoulder or arm.

What are the dangers of a booster seat that does not fit properly?  They can be very serious, and in fact some doctors refer to the following common injuries as “the seatbelt syndrome.”

  • If the shoulder belt cuts too close to the neck or too far down the shoulder or arm, it can be uncomfortable.  The child may learn to tuck the shoulder belt behind his or her head, leaving the upper torso unprotected in a car accident.  Increased forward and backward movement during a car accident increases the likelihood of brain injury, neck injury, and spinal cord injury.
  • If the lap belt is positioned across a child’s stomach instead of across his or her lap, a car accident will cause sudden tightening of the belt across the vulnerable stomach area.  Serious injuries to vital organs or the child’s spine are very common in car accidents where the child’s lap belt is positioned across the stomach.


Various consumer safety organizations rate specific models of child booster seats for how well they fit a standard 4- to 8-year old in a variety of vehicles.  The follow sites offer insight into considerations when choosing a booster seat:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Be sure to check out the safety rating of booster seats before you buy one for your child.
 


Monday, January 28, 2013

The Importance of Useable Accident Reconstruction Testimony

If you have been injured in an automobile collision, your attorney may require the assistance of an experienced accident expert to help prove who is at fault for the accident. Generally, in order to recover any compensation for your injuries or property damage, you will have to prove that the other party was somehow negligent. Accident reconstruction experts are professionals who have obtained specialized training in order to analyze the physics of the accident scene, determine vehicle speeds and movements, and effectively communicate their findings to the court or insurance company representatives.


Read more . . .


Monday, January 28, 2013

Wrong-Site Surgeries Increase in Number

Imagine that you’re a patient going in for routine surgery.  Now imagine that you’re one of 40 U.S. patients a week who awakens from anesthesia– only to find that your surgeon has operated on the wrong site.  Say for example, your right leg instead of your left leg. What would you do? Sue your doctor? The hospital? A surprising report from The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies healthcare organizations in the United States, finds that the problem of wrong-site surgery has worsened, not improved.  More and more medical patients are waking up to find that their doctors made an error in a common surgical procedure.


Read more . . .


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Richard F. Silber is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. From his office in Georgetown, he and his legal team assist clients throughout the Washington metropolitan area.



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| Phone: 202-338-0687

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