What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is a lung disease characterized by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues that reduces the amount of oxygen the lungs can take in and process. Silicosis causes permanent damage to the lungs, and it gets progressively worse and can be fatal. The main cause of silicosis is breathing in crystalline silica, also known as silica dust. The dust contains particles small enough to be respirated or inhaled into the body. The tiny particles become trapped in the lung tissue, where they buildup and cause scarring, which makes the lung tissue stiff.

There are three types of silicosis:

  • Chronic silicosis: Chronic silicosis is the most common form of the disease. Exposure to low or moderate amounts of silica can cause damage to the lungs that may not show up until decades later. Often, mild symptoms appear first and worsen over time. Symptoms include swelling in the chest and chest lymph nodes, which makes it difficult to breathe.
  • Acute silicosis: Acute silicosis occurs sooner, between a few weeks and up to two years after significant exposure to a large amount of crystalline silica. This can cause the lungs to fill with fluid and become very inflamed. Patients with acute silicosis experience severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels.
  • Accelerated silicosis: Accelerated silicosis symptoms appear five to 10 years after substantial exposure to silica dust and quickly accelerate.

Who Is at Risk of Silica Exposure?

Silica is a crystal that is commonly found everywhere in nature, such as in most rock beds, mineral ores, as well as being a major component of sand. Silica dust is created when rock is being cut or polished, or sand is being used for blasting or glass blowing.

Workers who are at risk of exposure to silica dust include those in the following industries:

  • Mining
  • Stone cutting or masonry
  • Quarrying
  • Sand blasting
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Road and building construction or repair
  • Roofing
  • Plaster or drywall installation
  • Steel manufacturing
  • Ceramic manufacturing

Every year, an estimated 2.3 million workers in the United States are exposed to silica dust, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Inhaling the dust formed from processes like cutting, sawing, drilling, crushing, and grinding rock, stone, bricks, mortar, concrete, and blocks puts workers at risk of developing silicosis.

Other operations that present a safety hazard include abrasive blasting with sand, sanding concrete walls, cutting stone countertops, and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Even if the materials being used contain only a small amount of crystalline silica, if the production method results in a high dust concentration, the outcome is a hazardous level of exposure for the employees.

The OSHA has strict standards for workplaces where silica dust is present. There is a standard for the construction industry, and a standard that applies to general industry and maritime. Both detail the permissible exposure limit averaged over an eight-hour work shift and require employers to use practices that minimize exposure to silica dust.

What Are the Symptoms of Silicosis?

Some types of silicosis take years and even decades to appear, so a worker may not realize they are suffering from the illness. Early symptoms such as phlegm or a cough that does not go away may not be immediately recognized as silicosis. However, trouble breathing is a tell-tale sign that a worker needs to see a medical professional. Later symptoms of silicosis include fatigue, weight loss, chest pain, shortness of breath, blue lips, and sudden fevers.

Silicosis can be diagnosed with a chest X-ray or CT scan to check for scar tissue in the lungs. A bronchoscopy is a way for the doctor to look inside the lungs for damage via a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end. If a lung tissue biopsy is needed, the doctor will use a needle to take a sample of tissue from a nodule that can be checked under a microscope.

Treatment for Silicosis and Complications

There is no treatment specifically for silicosis. Symptoms may be treated with cough medicine, bronchodilators, and supplemental oxygen. For patients experiencing respiratory infections, antibiotics can be prescribed. To prevent the progression of the disease, it is crucial that the source of silica dust exposure be removed. In severe cases of silicosis, a lung transplant may be necessary.

Workers with chronic silicosis are at higher risk for complications from other illnesses, like tuberculosis, pneumonia, and flu. They also commonly develop other lung diseases, such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How Can Employers Control Silica Dust Exposure in the Workplace?

An ideal workplace has no materials containing crystalline silica, but this is not always possible. By using good engineering practices and controls, employers can significantly reduce the amount of silica dust produced in the workplace. There should be a written exposure control plan. The following are some of the ways to control silica exposure:

  • Using water to wet down dust prevents it from entering the air where it can be inhaled. Tools that have integrated water delivery systems for cutting, drilling, grinding, chipping, and sawing reduce dust.
  • Using localized dust collection systems, such as shrouds that remove dust at the point where it is made.
  • Operating equipment within enclosures to isolate the work process.
  • Cleaning with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums.
  • Replacing air filters regularly and avoiding dry sweeping.
  • Providing workers with the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as respirators, when controls are not adequate to limit dust exposure.
  • Limiting worker access to the areas of high exposure.
  • Providing training and education for workers about the hazards of silica dust. Workers should never eat, drink, or smoke in areas containing crystalline silica. Following exposure, they should always wash their hands and face before eating and drinking.

There should also be regular air quality testing to ensure it is within OSHA standards. Workers that work in areas of high exposure should be offered medical exams to monitor their health. Those negligently exposed to silica dust may be able to file a toxic tort claim.

Wilmington Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Fight for Those Exposed to Silica Dust

If you have developed an illness as a result of silica dust exposure, contact our experienced Wilmington toxic tort lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we represent clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Can Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems Fail in Poor Weather?

Safety systems and devices in modern vehicles are becoming more robust and complex. Currently, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in newer vehicles provide a significant amount of aid to drivers, preventing many car accidents and injuries.

ADAS are designed to work in all types of road conditions. However, a recent study published by the American Automobile Association (AAA) has found that some auto safety systems may not work as well during periods of heavy rain.

ADAS technology includes tools, devices, and computer programs designed to work together to automate and augment vehicle safety by alerting the driver to potential problems. This technology makes driving safer overall by using computer programs and algorithms, which are much faster than a driver’s reaction time. A computer can sense an obstacle and hit the brakes within a fraction of a second.

AAA researchers, in collaboration with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, performed extensive tests on various modern vehicles that have ADAS. These vehicles were tested under many road conditions and weather scenarios. What AAA researchers found was that during heavy downpours, some of the ADAS did not work properly or at all. For example, the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system sensors did not register or “see” the cars in front during heavy rainfall. Also, lane assist systems did not work as well as it should have during heavy downpours.

During the different tests, lane keeping systems did not perform properly in 17 percent of tests under ideal road conditions. Lane keeping systems had a failure rate of 69 percent in poor weather. Cars equipped with forward emergency braking that traveled at 25 miles per hour collided with a stopped vehicle 17 percent of the time. At 35 miles per hour, the vehicles collided at 33 percent of the time.

How Can Drivers Stay Safe in Heavy Rain?

Even though ADAS help drivers stay safe, motorists should not rely on technology. According to the AAA, you should take these steps to stay safe in poor weather conditions:

  • Keep your windshield clean.
  • Make sure your wipers are working properly.
  • Maintain your brakes.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit.
  • Maintain at least four car lengths of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you.
  • Put your phone away, and do not drive while distracted.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Be patient.
  • Do not respond to an angry driver.
  • Avoid driving altogether if weather conditions are particularly poor.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Drivers Injured in Weather-Related Collisions

Although ADAS are important for driving safety, you should not rely on technology to avoid a car accident. If you were injured by a negligent driver in a weather-related collision, our Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form today to set up a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

How Important Is Water Quality for Your Health?

Having safe drinking water provides many benefits and improves quality of life. With Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, as well as each state’s own water regulations, many communities across the United States enjoy clean drinking water. However, water contamination can still happen, which can cause many different illnesses.

Clean water brings many health benefits, such as:

  • Better digestion.
  • Regulates a normal body temperature.
  • Helps move nutrients and oxygen through the blood.
  • Helps control the nervous system.
  • Helps heart function.

Good water quality is even beneficial to the home as well. Many household appliances, such as a dishwasher or water heater, rely on softened water to run efficiently, saving energy. Poor water quality can calcify and harden, causing damage to these appliances, as well as the home’s pipes and sewage system.

What Are the Effects of Water Contamination?

Poor water quality or contaminated water can cause adverse effects, some even fatal. On rare occasions, bacteria-carrying microbes can infiltrate a water supply, causing a myriad of health issues, such as:

  • Fever
  • Kidney failure
  • Digestive problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches

Water contaminated with pollutants, pesticides, or other chemicals can cause serious diseases or disabilities that can be permanent or even fatal. Cancer, hepatitis, and some autoimmune diseases are linked to polluted water. There is also a high probability of skin discoloration or reproductive issues. For children and babies, exposure to contaminated water can lead to developmental issues.

Experts agree that there are likely other adverse health effects caused by lower doses of poor water quality, but those illnesses are not fully understood. Also, many illnesses caused by poor water quality are often underreported, or the sick person is not aware of the cause of their illness.

What Causes Water Contamination?

Although there are many EPA regulations protecting public water supplies, contamination is still a risk. It is important to understand that the EPA does not monitor water from private wells. Private wells are more common in older parts of the United States.

With many homes surrounded by businesses, factories, and industrial areas, water contamination remains a very strong possibility. Sewage or chemical runoff from businesses can seep into the ground if not properly disposed of, where it runs into streams and rivers, which eventually reaches to water supplies.

Other sources and their pollutants include:

  • Industries such as agriculture use pesticides and solvents that could then find their way into aquifers. Fertilizers are also a concern, as they are often used to enhance growth in product but runoff into streams and nearby water sources.
  • Natural chemicals found in the soil, such as arsenic or uranium, can be harmful to humans in large doses. Construction nearby can cause larger than normal quantities of these chemicals into drinking water just by disturbing the environment.
  • Manufacturing wastes like plastics, metals, or cyanide can infiltrate a water system when companies do not dispose of them properly.
  • Malfunctioning sewage or septic systems can cause human and animal waste to backflow into groundwater.
  • Older houses and businesses used lead pipes within their walls, and when they corrode, they could contaminate the water supply for that building. Even more modern buildings now use copper piping, which can also leave harmful biproducts. Contaminants could still reach a water supply even after going through a filtration system.

How Do I Know My Water Is Contaminated?

To keep yourself and your family safe, it is important to know what to look for should something happen to your water or if you feel sick. The best way to see if your water is unsafe is to monitor it yourself. Some steps you should take include:

  • Inspect: Inspect your water, as it may be obvious there is something wrong. Sometimes, water will look orange or brown if it has any contaminates. It could also have a strange, metallic taste or a funny odor. Purchasing a water filtration system will help rid of most pollutants, but some are harder to eliminate than others. You should contact an expert, and have your water tested regularly.
  • Test: It might be best to have your water tested at a lab. The EPA regulates the number of contaminants that are likely to be found in drinking water, such as certain metals and salmonella. Even if some of these are found in your water, it may be at such a low amount that it may not have an effect at all. You can also obtain a consumer confidence report from your local water supplier to find out about its source, the quality, and what contaminants are in your water.
  • Get help: If you do feel ill, it is best to contact your doctor immediately. They will likely determine if your illness is from poor water quality or something else. It is also possible that you may have an underlying health problem that has only become known because of poor water quality.

Should you find an issue with your water supply or have fallen ill and believe it stems from poor water quality, you may want to consult a lawyer. A lawyer can explain what action you should take to remedy your problem.

Delaware Water Contamination Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Protect Your Right to Safe Drinking Water

Having safe and clean drinking water is essential to your health and well-being. If you believe your water supply is contaminated, speak with our Delaware water contamination lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. immediately. Our skilled legal team will protect your rights. Call us today at 302-656-5445 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Are Fatal Wrong-Way Car Accidents Increasing?

Wrong-way driving may not be a top leading cause of car accidents, but when these crashes occur, they are likely to involve catastrophic injuries or fatalities. When a motorist drives the wrong way, the chance of a head-on collision is high. Even on one-way streets or roadway access ramps, driving the wrong way creates an incredibly dangerous situation for all involved.

A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that in March 2021, wrong-way driving fatalities increased. The data shows that from 2004 to 2009, deaths in wrong-way driving accidents averaged about 360 per year. That figure rose to 430 per year on average from 2010 to 2019.

What is Wrong-Way Driving?

Wrong-way driving occurs when a motorist enters a roadway going in the opposite direction of traffic. This can be on a one-way street, but in its most dangerous form, wrong-way driving happens on high-speed freeways. When a driver on a divided highway is faced with headlights coming at them, it can be traumatic and extremely dangerous. Oftentimes, however, the wrong-way driver may not be aware of the danger until it is too late.

What Causes Wrong-Way Driving Collisions?

Motorists should learn about the common causes of wrong-way collisions to prevent them from happening. Common causes of wrong-way driving collisions are listed below.

Impaired Driving

The most common cause of wrong-way driving is driver intoxication. Drivers impaired by alcohol are most often involved in these accidents, but drugged driving is also a frequent cause. The AAA claims that six in ten wrong-way accidents involve intoxicated drivers. In fact, the AAA also found that 60.1 percent of wrong-way drivers in fatal crashes were driving while drunk.

Age of Driver

Young adults are much more likely to engage in dangerous wrong-way driving, according to AAA data. These younger drivers are also more likely to be driving drunk than older wrong-way drivers. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report revealed that out of the wrong-way drivers involved in the study, 65 percent of motorists who were 20 to 39 years old were over the legal limit.

Older drivers are also associated with increased instances of wrong-way driving. Despite the fact that motorists in this demographic generally drive fewer miles overall, drivers over 70 years old had an increased risk of wrong-way driving. Possible reasons for this may have to do with age-related conditions, like poor eyesight.

Driving Alone

Another significant factor that showed up in wrong-way driving accidents is driving alone. When someone else is in the car, the driver is more likely to be alerted to the fact that they are driving the wrong way.

Unsafe Driving Maneuvers

In instances where the driver’s behavior can be determined, one factor that has been linked to wrong-way driving accidents is erroneously entering a highway at the exit ramp. Wrong-way driving is not always a mistake. Sometimes, these accidents are caused by drivers who intentionally make an illegal turn or use an emergency route to cross the median strip on a divided highway.

Poor Signage and Road Design

Sometimes, road markings or signs are missing or obscured. Often, drivers can become confused by a poorly designed road. These factors may lead to wrong-way driving accidents.

Are Wrong-Way Accidents Often Underreported?

A 2015 survey of 400 participants at the University of Central Florida found that people were aware of the dangers of wrong-way driving, but they often did not report wrong-way driving incidents. Only about 10 percent of those who directly witnessed a wrong-way driving event reported it to authorities, even though they admitted to feeling endangered by the encounter.

How can Wrong-Way Collisions be Reduced?

To address some of the age-related factors, driving courses for new drivers and refresher courses for older drivers might help. Also, initiatives to prevent drunk driving, such as an increase in sobriety checkpoints and programs to mandate Ignition interlock systems for repeat offenders, should reduce instances of wrong-way driving as well.

The AAA and the NTSB suggest that states install warnings to alert drivers when they are driving the wrong way. The California Department of Transportation and the University of California-Davis released a joint study that showed a 44 percent reduction in wrong-way driving when red reflective road markers were installed. There were 60 percent fewer accidents that occurred when flashing LED lights were used.

The Florida Department of Transportation has installed vehicle detectors that use radar and video cameras that set off rapid flashing beacons and LED warning signs to alert drivers that they are going the wrong way. Images from the closed-circuit cameras are able to be sent to a traffic authority that can respond. Researchers are seeing that these measures reduce wrong-way driving by approximately 80 percent.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Victims of Wrong-Way Collisions

Wrong-way driving accidents are dangerous, and studies suggest that they may be becoming more frequent. If you were hurt in a wrong-way traffic collision, a dedicated Wilmington car accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you identify the liability party and will fight for your rights. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we represent clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

What are Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims?

It is not easy to think about losing a loved one. When the unforeseen happens, it is important to know what to do. Understanding wrongful death claims can relieve some of the stress during this difficult time. Legally speaking, a wrongful death is defined as the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person. While this may sound straightforward, there are multiple components involved in determining what constitutes a wrongful act.

Wrongful death claims can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Wrongful or Criminal Acts: A death that occurred during the commission of a crime or other intentional and wrongful act that caused the death.
  • Negligence: A case against a party who failed to follow reasonable safety procedures that resulted in a death.
  • Default: An outstanding claim that the deceased party was entitled to prior to the death.

What are Wrongful Death Claims?

A wrongful death claim comes about when a person dies due to the legal fault of another person. These claims are centered on liability and generally involve the concept of some type of compensation after a qualifying loss. A relatively new concept, it was only during the last century that courts began acknowledging wrongful death claims. Now, each state has some form of wrongful death law.

Wrongful death claims can apply to a variety of circumstances, such as car accidents. A wrongful death claim can apply to an individual, company, or a government agency who is found to be legally at fault for a negligent act that resulted in a death.

Who is Affected in Wrongful Death Cases?

A wrongful death can create a ripple effect that impacts many people either directly or indirectly. Typically, wrongful death cases are discussed in terms of surviving family members. This is understandable considering the heavy burden on family members who have lost a loved one. The lasting effects, however, can be much more wide-ranging than the clear impact on the family immediately after a loss. Those affected by unexpected death can include:

  • Children: Orphans suffer emotionally and suffer a loss of care and support.
  • Spouses: Spouses and partners can typically sue for the loss of financial support from their loss, as well as emotional distress and pain and suffering.
  • Parents of a Deceased Fetus: This does not apply in all states, but some locations allow for a case to be brought for a loss of child during pregnancy.

In some states, any person who relied on the deceased for financial support may sue for a wrongful death claim, regardless of marital or family status.

What Causes Wrongful Deaths?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that unintentional injuries are a significant cause of death in the United States. In fact, these type of accidental deaths are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Unintentional injury deaths result in over 130,000 deaths every year. The most common types of wrongful death cases in the U.S. involve the following types of accidents:

Motor Vehicle Accidents: This includes all types of motorized vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents: While car crashes are very common, injuries and even death resulting from motorcycle accidents occur frequently as well. Even pedestrians can suffer life-threatening injuries.

Products Liability Cases: A faulty product can result in injury or death. Products liability cases can be linked to wrongful death suits.

Slip and Fall Accidents: A severe slip and fall accident can lead to fatal injuries.

Medical Malpractice: Mistakes happen in every profession. A medical malpractice suit can be associated with a wrongful death.

Accidental Poisoning: Unintentional poisoning can result from ingestion of chemicals, like those found in cleaning products, or ingesting more than a safe amount of substances, like over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Accidental Drowning: These cases are typically linked to recreational activities, like boating. However, an accidental drowning can result in a pool or dock.

Work Accidents: Workplace accidents are common, especially in hazardous environments. In extreme cases, these accidents can result in fatalities.

How Do I Sue for a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death claims are serious and must be handled accordingly. Those who suffer a loss from an avoidable death may claim damages, and they need to know the right way to receive compensation. Laws vary by state, but a lawyer can help the victim’s family understand their rights and options.

Millsboro Personal Injury Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Families Get Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

A wrongful death claim can protect a family after they suffered a loss. A Millsboro personal injury lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you with your case. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Promote Safe Driving During National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

December marks the end of the year, and during this time, many people celebrate the holidays irresponsibly and travel long distances as well. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and it is important to be mindful about safety and the wellbeing of others during this time.

Impaired driving is a major and deadly issue.  Although statistics have shown that impaired driving crashes and fatalities have lessened over the past few decades, they still account for over 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths every year. On average, 29 people die every day from impaired driving in the United States.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, fatal car accidents rates slightly increase as well as pedestrian accidents. A pedestrian accident can be caused by a drunk or drugged driver, or the pedestrian may wander into the street if they are extremely intoxicated.

Impaired Driving Statistics

Almost 70 percent of impaired driving deaths are caused by those whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was almost twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Driving under the influence (DUI) is extremely dangerous and leads to severe penalties. In Delaware, most DUI arrests consist of first-time offenders. Over 75 percent of DUIs are males, and the age range is between 25 to 44 years old. Also, over 66 percent of arrests involve offenders with high BAC levels of 0.13 and above.

Also, DUI arrests happen more frequently on the weekend days. Additionally, New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers.

What are the Penalties of Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. Also, it is illegal for a driver under 21 years old to have any BAC level. First-time offenders do not get any leniency either; one DUI charge can drastically change one’s future. The penalties for drunk driving include the following:

  • In Delaware, DUI fines can exceed $6,000.
  • Driver’s license suspension for a significant period of time.
  • Higher insurance premiums or loss of insurance.
  • Jail, depending on the circumstances and the state.
  • Drug and alcohol counseling.

DUI fines and penalties will likely increase following additional offenses, including much stricter jail times and fines. Other charges can be incurred if an accident happened and involved major injuries and significant property damage.

Is Drugged Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

Drugged driving is just as devastating as drunk driving. Drugged driving accounts for 20 percent of car accidents in the United States, with an average close to 7,000 deaths each year. Also, it is substantially more difficult to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs because there are not many available tests to make that determination.

Younger drivers are more susceptible to drugged driving than any other demographic. Moreover, from 1999 to 2010, marijuana-related car accident rates have tripled. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 60 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Marijuana can slow a driver’s response time or impair one’s judgement, but it is not the only drug that can cause an accident. Drugs, like cocaine or methamphetamines, can cause aggressive driving as well. Sedatives can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Prescription drugs can cause dangerous driving conditions too. Mixing alcohol with drugs is even more deadly.

How can I Prevent Drunk and Drugged Driving?

Communities and law enforcement alike must join together to help prevent impaired driving. Alongside DUI laws, which have significantly lowered drunk driving statistics, there are other life-saving tactics, such as sobriety checkpoints and instructional programs in schools. An ignition interlock device may be installed in the vehicle of a DUI offender as well. An ignition interlock device is a tool that measures a driver’s BAC level and prevents the car from starting if their BAC level is too high.

Some ways to prevent a drunk or drugged driving accident around the holidays include:

  • If one is going to a party or celebration and there is drinking, one should make sure to designate someone who is not drinking as the designated driver.
  • Take the keys of anyone that is intoxicated.
  • If hosting a holiday party, enlist the help of a taxi or rideshare service.
  • Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol and driving.
  • If a driver is acting suspiciously on the road, like weaving in and out of traffic, swaying onto the shoulder, or exhibiting any other stranger behaviors, then contact the police right away.

If a person is involved in a drunk or drugged driving accident, they should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer will ensure the victim receives appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Clients Injured by Drunk or Drugged Drivers

There are many celebrated holidays in the winter months, which creates dangerous situations for drivers. If you were hurt by an impaired driver, speak to one of our respected Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. immediately. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers protect the rights of car accident victims, and help them obtain compensation. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation and more information. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Advocate for Clean Water During National Water Quality Month

Even in America, some kids and adults may have trouble finding access to drinkable water. Named National Water Quality Month more than a decade ago, August provides the opportunity to recognize the importance of fighting against water contamination and its potential effects.

Why Does Water Get Contaminated?

When people think about water systems, they often picture clear, fresh water running through streams. The water makes its way downward into municipal water systems and wells, supplying everyone with water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and recreational activities. However, water can come from different sources, including the watershed and runoff.

What is Watershed Water?

Any water that makes its way into the sewers and water table comes from the watershed. That means that watershed can originate from countless sources. When someone in a residential neighborhood washes a car in a driveway, the dirty, sudsy water mixed with oils and debris drains into the nearby sewer. The water then moves into a local treatment facility where all the contaminants it contains must be removed using specific processes and equipment.

Watershed water can also include any water that goes down residential and commercial drains and plumbing pipes, including waste from bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry sinks. Since this water contains many different types of unwanted additives and even toxins, it needs to be purified before it can be usable again.

Are Water Treatment Facilities Effective?

It may seem logical to think that polluted water can simply be treated at water treatment facilities. Yet, not all water treatment works to completely rid water of contaminants, such as mercury, arsenic, e-coli, chlorine, pesticides, radioactive items, and lead.

Federally mandated, Water Quality Standards, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Water Act exist to inform water treatment facilities about how much of each contaminant may be present in potable water. However, testing can be inconsistent. Plus, people who rely upon untreated well water can end up consuming contaminated water.

How Does Drinking Contaminated Water Affect Humans and Pets?

Drinking water that includes chemicals, toxins, and unhealthy quantities of normally present contaminants can lead to a variety of health issues in humans and household animals.

Some common early and short-term responses to drinking polluted water may include diarrhea, a general feeling of nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and headaches. Long-term consumption of water that has been polluted has been linked to increased risk of birth defects in infants, Hepatitis A, some cancers, and other serious, chronic, and irreversible medical conditions.

What Should I Do to Keep My Water Supply Clean?

Any consumer can help keep water cleaner and free from pollutants by taking a few key steps. The first is to avoid putting anything in the drain or flushing it down the toilet if it does not belong there, such as over-the-counter medicines and prescription pharmaceuticals. Secondly, pet owners should always clean up any animal waste and dispose of it properly in the trash.

Next, children and adults can make wise choices about the cleaning supplies they choose, opting for ones that will have less of an impact on the environment. Finally, everyone can take steps to avoid dumping any kind of garbage on the street or in the woods where it could make its way into a water supply.

Clean water is necessary for life, and the average person relies on having around 80 gallons per day for consumption and personal hygiene purposes, among other uses. August is a reminder to keep water pollution at a minimum, so that everyone can ensure that water systems are healthier.

Delaware Water Contamination Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Counsel Individuals and Families Affected by Polluted Water

Are you experiencing health problems because of contaminated water? If so, contact one of our experienced Delaware water contamination lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. We help clients impacted by dangerous water systems. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Changes to Title IX Guidance

Delaware Sexual Abuse Lawyers: Changes to Title IX GuidanceVictims’ rights groups and others have denounced changes made to the handling of sexual conduct claims on college and university campuses under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in education. However, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos believes that the interim rule will strike a more appropriate balance between those accused of sexual misdeeds and their accusers. The decision came less than two weeks after DeVos said that she would begin a new rule-making procedure to determine how to best guide colleges and universities in handling sexual misconduct claims.

The interim rule replaces guidance issued in 2011 by then-President Barack Obama’s administration, which reminded educators of their responsibility to investigate and respond to allegations of sexual misconduct under Title IX. Although certain victims’ rights groups believed the guidance helped victims to come forward, critics believe it created a system in which the accused were often punished without legal due process.

As the guidance was rescinded, the Department of Education issued an email that criticized the earlier document and a question-and-answer sheet that was circulated in 2014, which explained how to implement it. The email stated that the documents “ignored notice and comment requirements, created a system that lacked basic elements of due process, and failed to ensure fundamental fairness.”

A new Question-and-Answer sheet includes the following information:

  • It allows colleges and universities to decide whether to continue using the lesser “preponderance of evidence” standard when deciding claims
  • It permits colleges and universities to move to a tougher “’clear and convincing evidence” standard if they deem it appropriate
  • It clarifies that schools must still “take steps to understand what occurred and to respond appropriately,” but that they must do so “in a manner that respects the legal rights of students and faculty, including those court precedents interpreting the concept of free speech”
  • It states that institutions may restrict contact between the parties, impose leaves of absence, change housing or class schedules, or take other appropriate measures, but they must not rely on “fixed rules”
  • It explains that interim measures must be “individualized and appropriate based on the information gathered by the (school’s) Title IX coordinator”

The new policy, which may be replaced if the Education Department settles on a final rule in the months ahead, places the burden on the school to gather sufficient evidence to reach a fair and impartial determination. It also requires that both the accuser and the accused are afforded written notice and other legal rights. Ms. DeVos stated that “Schools must continue to confront these horrific crimes head on. There will be no more sweeping them under the rug. But the process must also be fair and impartial.”

Delaware Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Pursue Title IX Claims for Victims of Sexual Misconduct

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you need a tough advocate. Contact the law offices of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. at 302-656-5445 to schedule a confidential consultation with a dedicated and highly skilled Wilmington sexual abuse lawyer, or you can contact us online. We will provide the compassionate guidance you need to secure the justice you deserve. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we represent clients throughout Delaware.

Delaware Correction Officer’s Request Ignored Before Fatal Prison Siege

Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyers: Delaware Correction Officer’s Request Ignored before Fatal Prison SiegeA recently released 159-page report suggests that had a lieutenant’s request to move inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center’s (JTVCC) been acted upon, he might still be alive today. On February 1, 2017, inmates in Building C took 126 people hostage in a siege that lasted 18 hours and left the lieutenant fatally injured. An independent review of the incident was commissioned by Delaware Governor John Carney. The report details years of staffing and security issues which ultimately erupted in the deadly prison revolt.

Hostage Takeover in Building C

In January, 2017, the victim, a correctional officer at JTVCC in Smyrna, Delaware, asked prison administrators to move certain inmates out of Building C. The building had a history of tension between gang members, overworked staff, inconsistent discipline procedures, and allegations of mistreatment of inmates. The facility was brimming with tension that the now-slain officer asked officials to address. The Carney report confirmed the problems in Building C.

The lieutenant’s request was ignored and less than two weeks later, disaster occurred. JTVCC inmates took 126 people hostage, including the lieutenant, who was tortured and locked in a closet throughout the ordeal. After eighteen hours of negotiation, a prison Response Team stormed the building to find the officer unresponsive. Tragically, the 47 year-old husband and father was later pronounced dead.

Vaughn’s History of Problems

Considered one of Delaware’s toughest prisons, many JTVCC inmates and employees say the siege was inevitable. Carney’s report details several issues plaguing the prison, all which went ignored in the years leading up to the officer’s death. Employees report being underpaid and overworked. In 2017, 40 percent of staffing hours were overtime. Some correctional officers reported working 16-hour shifts. At times, inmates outnumbered officers 75 to 1. They also mention a lack of consistent security procedures, leaving many prisoners armed and officers vulnerable.

Inmates claim they were neglected and abused, with no programs or activities for improvement. They cite a lack of any rehabilitative opportunities designed to prepare them for healthy and productive lives outside of prison. Inmates say their requests for access to medical care and education were consistently denied. Inmates staged several peaceful protests before the siege, with no results.

The Fight for Justice

Wilmington civil rights lawyer, Thomas C. Crumplar, is part of a team representing the family of the slain officer and several JTVCC employees in a federal civil lawsuit. The suit alleges that two former Delaware governors and several cabinet officials ignored the lengthy history of problems at the prison.

The suit also alleges that Governor Carney stopped a potential rescue attempt and waited too long to send law enforcement into the building. Crumplar says the siege victims were, “involved in protecting us and they were not given the tools.” Governor Carney has vowed to make changes addressing the problems found in the report. His recent budget proposal called for more correctional officers and higher salaries for prison workers. By seeking justice for the family of the victim and his coworkers at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Mr. Crumplar hopes for changes in Delaware prison system that will ensure the rights and safety of both workers and inmates.

Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Pursue Justice and Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

Wilmington personal injury lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are committed to helping those who have been injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence. To discuss your case with a Wilmington personal injury lawyer, call 302-656-5445 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Our two conveniently located offices serve clients in upstate and downstate Delaware, including those in Dover, Georgetown, and Wilmington, Delaware.

Understanding Your Risk of Mesothelioma

Delaware Mesothelioma Lawyers: Understanding Your Risk of MesotheliomaMesothelioma is a vicious type of cancer that most commonly attacks the membrane lining of the lungs, but it can also affect the heart and other areas of the body. Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. The people most at risk for developing mesothelioma are those who work in industries that use the building material asbestos. Eighty percent of all mesothelioma cases can be directly linked to asbestos exposure. Commonly affected professions include construction workers, plumbers, asbestos miners, military personnel, ship builders, and car mechanics.

Some people are exposed to asbestos through their environment when asbestos laced products breakdown in buildings. When asbestos is present in the environment and inhaled, the fine particles lodge in the lining of the lungs and settle there. Statistically, between two and 10 percent of people who are exposed to asbestos at some point develop mesothelioma in their lungs later in life.

A secondary risk factor for developing mesothelioma is smoking. Although smoking is not a direct causal factor, smokers who are exposed to asbestos have double the risk of mesothelioma and increased risk of asbestos lung cancer by as much as 50 to 90 percent. It is possible that smoking creates the conditions that make it easier for asbestos to become embedded in the lung lining, leading to inflammation. Other secondary less common causes of mesothelioma are polio vaccines, radiation from X-rays, and exposure to zeolites, simian virus 40 (SV 40) and erionite.

Asbestos was Commonplace

Between 1940 and 1978, asbestos was widely in use in many different forms, though after the toxic nature of asbestos was discovered, it was banned for general use. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), it is possible that as many as 11 million people have been exposed to asbestos. Even now in the United States people are still being exposed, putting them at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma takes many years to show up in the body – symptoms may first appear as many as 20 to 50 years after exposure occurs. There are four different types of mesothelioma, and pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, is the most common type. Between 70 and 90 percent of all mesothelioma cases are pleural. Between 10 and 30 percent of cases are stomach or peritoneal mesothelioma. Cases affecting the heart, known as pericardial mesothelioma, comprise approximately one percent of all cases. Testicular mesothelioma is very rare and accounts for less than one percent of cases.

Because of the direct link between asbestos and mesothelioma, experts advise that there is no level of asbestos exposure that is considered safe and acceptable.

Delaware Mesothelioma Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Fight for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

If you or someone you love has developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure in the workplace, we can help. The Delaware mesothelioma lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. have a proven track record helping workers suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Call us today at 302-656-5445 to schedule a free consultation about your case, or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we serve clients throughout upstate and downstate Delaware.