Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

May 2016 Archives

Whether on foot, on your motorcycle, or even in a car, unrepaired potholes can be a serious injury risk. A recent case in Utah proves how hard it can be to hold municipalities responsible for pothole injuries.

In 2011, Salt Lake City resident Jeffrey Wood seriously injured his left arm when he tripped in an unrepaired pothole in the street. Although city workers had visited the street over 20 times in the four months the pothole had been there, the Utah Court of Appeals found that a district court was correct in ruling that the city was not negligent failing to identify and repair the pothole.

Here’s a deeper look at that decision, and pothole injury lawsuits in general.

Recovering Lost Wages After a Car Accident

When you get in a car accident and are injured, you probably don’t think about work first thing. But work is how you earn your living, and if you don’t go, depending on your employment set-up, then the hit you feel after a car accident can be financial as well as physical.

Typically, people who are injured in a car accident can recover lost wages. How they recover and how much depends on a number of factors, including the nature of their employment, state laws, the specifics of the accident and how it happened, and whether they seek recovery by making an insurance claim or filing a negligence suit. Let’s consider some lost wages recovery basics.

States Sue Johnson & Johnson for Pelvic Mesh Dangers

Health care giant Johnson and Johnson was sued this week by the attorneys general of California and Washington for misrepresenting the risks of vaginal mesh implants, causing severe complications for thousands of women. The company responded by calling the lawsuits unjustified.

But the devices were recently reclassified as high-risk by the Food and Drug Administration and there are already product liability lawsuits against the company for injury from them. Let’s consider the claims.

Top 5 Travel Injury Legal Issues

It’s almost summertime, so time to hit the road, see the sights, and travel the high seas. But with travels come trouble sometimes, accidents and injuries, which could be costly.

Here is some advice for travelers, whatever your mode of transport, be it trains, planes, automobiles, boats, or a combo. Find out how to handle travel accident recovery.

IVC Blood Filter Plaintiffs Multiply: Should You Sue Too?

If you suffer from blood clotting complications, you have likely heard of IVC filters, formally known as inferior vena cava filters. These relatively commonly implanted medical devices have stirred up much controversy, and a bunch of lawsuits, and critics of the filters are increasingly asking if they are effective at all.

So if you have an IVC filter, should you panic? No. But you should familiarize yourself with the dangers and if you’ve been injured due to a filter then you should consider a lawsuit. You will not be at all alone — according to the Lawyers and Settlements blog, there already nearly 1,000 such cases already.

Suing Over Flawed Metal Hips Used in Replacements

After a trial in Texas this year, Johnson and Johnson was ordered to pay $502 million to five plaintiffs injured by the company’s flawed artificial hips. The hips, sold under the name Pinnacle, leached metals into patients’ bodies and failed prematurely, forcing the plaintiffs to undergo additional surgeries and endure more pain.

A federal jury was definitely feeling the plaintiffs’ pain, considering that it awarded them $360 million in punitive damages based on Johnson and Johnson hiding flaws in the product and marketing the hips aggressively anyway. Let’s look at the claims, as reported by Bloomberg News, and what this means to you.

How Do You Prove Soft Tissue Injury?

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

Soft tissue injuries are like feelings — they’re real and they hurt but they can be invisible and not everyone believes in them. For these reasons, proving this kind of injury can be difficult, or more difficult than a more obvious type of harm, like a broken leg.

Still, people do recover legal remedies for soft tissue injuries every day, so it is not at all impossible to get compensation for your damages after an accident. Let’s look at proving negligence in the context of this type of claim.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

Most insurance companies only make money when they can take payments on customer policies and don't have to make payments on customer claims. And the less scrupulous insurance companies will find any reason not to pay claims. So it's not all that surprising if your car accident insurance claim was denied.

What may be surprising to some, however, is that the denial doesn't mean you're out of options. Here's what you can do if your car insurance company has denied your accident claim.

Brain Injury: Military Studies and Legal Recovery

A brain injury can easily happen to anyone for any number of reasons. Adventurers, athletes, accident victims, babies during birth, kids at play, and military veterans, are all at risk. But treating head trauma is very difficult, and the best bet is to prevent it.

Now Defense Department scientists are focusing on pinpointing how brain cells change after experiencing explosions to learn how to improve protective equipment. Let’s consider their experiments and legal recovery for brain injury.

School is almost out; summer is almost in, and family vacations are right around the corner. For millions of us, that means a trip to Disney World, Sea World, or any of the other theme park worlds nationwide.

While a trip to an amusement park is undoubtedly fun, they're not always the safest place on earth. So what happens if you're injured during your Wally World adventure? Here are some common questions and concerns regarding theme park injuries.

Can I Get Workers' Comp If I Work From Home?

You work from home but have an employer. One day, while at home, you trip over the dog running to answer the phone, and it is a work call. You're injured from the fall and apply for workers' compensation. Will your claim be denied?

You can get workers' compensation if you work from home, but the location may complicate your claim. State statutes vary, and each claim is decided based on the specific details involved, so it is difficult to say in the abstract what will happen. Still, one contested Oregon case demonstrates the typical issues.

Types of Witnesses Involved in Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases are complex and can involve both expert and lay witnesses. These people will help to prove your case and corroborate your claims.

Depending on the details of your case and the specifics of your claim, you may have a few or many witnesses, just laypeople or only experts, or both. Let's look at how the different types of witnesses help you prove a case.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

If you've been in a car accident, especially a serious one involving extensive damage or injuries, there will probably be an investigation that follows. Whether it's the police, insurance companies, or even private investigators, someone is going to be looking into the accident.

So what does that mean for you, and any legal claims you may have?

Nightmare Rides: Do Parks and Carnivals Need Stricter Laws?

Sometimes a fun day with the family turns into a horrific nightmare, and suddenly your life is turned upside down. That is what happened to an Omaha mother who took her daughter to a carnival for Cinco De Mayo and is now fighting for stricter ride regulations.

Brace yourself. What happened to her little girl, Elizabeth Gilreath, 11, is truly horrific. The child’s scalp was partly ripped off after her hair got caught in the ride — it was torn from her eyelids to the back of her neck. The girl is recovering more rapidly than expected, reports Omaha.com.

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you know you may be able to get reimbursed for hospital and medical bills. But what if those injuries were severe enough to cause you ongoing pain and suffering? For example, what if you are confined to a hospital or your home for an extended amount of time? What if your injuries damaged your marriage or other relationships? And what if, even after medical treatment, you’ll still suffer from soreness, aches, or discomfort?

Pain and suffering, legally speaking, is generally defined as mental or physical distress for which you can recover damages in a personal injury case. So how do you make a pain and suffering injury claim in a car accident case, how hurt do you have to be, and how do you prove it?

Suing for Elderly Slip and Falls

Slip and fall injuries are much more dangerous for the elderly than anyone else and they are, unfortunately, relatively common. The problem is that when an older person falls and breaks a bone, healing occurs more slowly or not at all.

A minor fall can mean a major life change for a person of advanced age, necessitating full-time in-home care or a move to a nursing home. So let’s consider what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages in case of a slip and fall or another injury.

Calculating Car Accident Insurance Settlements

If you are in a car accident, you will likely have to make an insurance claim. There are some things you should be aware of before you get in that situation, such as what factors an insurer considers when offering a settlement for a claim.

The amount of money you can recover depends on a number of factors, including extent of damage and injury, as well as policy limits. Insurers do not have a single mode of calculation, so let’s consider general principles.

We love our pets. And we do our best to treat and train them well. But not every pet is perfect — or perfectly trained — and pet injuries happen. From the standard dog bite to our pets being injured themselves or causing us to slip and fall, injuries to pets and from pets are all too common and a common source of litigation.

Here’s what you need to know about dog attacks and other pet-related injuries:

Can I Sue My Orthodontist?

You always hated your crooked teeth when you were a kid, so the first thing you did as a grown up was see an orthodontist. The relationship started out great but now you believe your orthodontist did a terrible job on your mouth. What can you do?

You can sue an orthodontist as you would any other medical care practitioner, but your suit will only succeed if you can prove medical negligence. There must be more to the story than just dissatisfaction with the results you got. A negligence claim in a medical context is called medical malpractice. Here is how it’s established.

If you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, autism, or bi-polar disorder, you may have heard of Risperdal. The drug, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has been prescribed as an anti-psychotic that can treat those conditions. But Janssen has been in trouble for years over how it has marketed Risperdal, and now it’s in trouble for hiding the drug’s side effects.

A 2012 study of autistic boys showed that breast enlargement and diminished sexual functioning are common side effects of the drug, and new lawsuits are claiming Janssen and Johnson & Johnson failed to warn doctors and patients about the risk.

When Can You Sue Your Health Insurance Company?

Your health insurance company is supposed to help you when you are sick, so why would you want to sue them? Unfortunately, insurance is a business and in order for your insurer to manage costs and make a profit, it has to deny some claims and probably employs a fleet of people to do just that.

What this means is that sometimes people do find themselves in legal showdowns with those very entities they paid for protection in a time of crisis. But there are lots of limitations on suing insurance companies, based on state laws, individual policies, and the type of insurer. And there are some steps you can take, or may have to take, before you head for court.

Who Do I Sue in an Accident With Multiple Cars?

When you’re involved in a car accident, who you can sue will depend on a range of factors, including your state’s laws and details about who else was involved and at fault. Generally speaking, you can sue anyone who was in the crash, but specifics really matter when it comes to negligence.

Car accident cases have a lot of limitations by design. Many states have laws governing and limiting these negligence claims to particular circumstances, and insurance is expected to cover most claims arising on the road. So let’s briefly look at proving negligence and when suing is the right thing to do.

Xarelto Injuries or Fatalities: Can You Sue?

If you were prescribed the anticoagulant, or blood thinner, Xarelto and were injured as a result, you are not alone. If you choose to sue the drug manufacturer, you will also not be the first. Last month, an estate administrator was the latest to file a complaint against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and a slew of other entities in federal court in Louisiana on behalf of a deceased woman who allegedly died from complications associated with the drug.

According to the complaint, Opal Perkins was prescribed the drug to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolisms and died from a blood transfusion necessitated by gastrointestinal bleeding caused by Xarelto. Now her estate is suing the manufacturers, reports The Louisiana Record, arguing that they negligently or fraudulently represented their product to the medical community.

In a bizarre tragedy, 18-year-old college student Rebecca Kim fell to her death from an eighth-story Art Institute building window in Philadelphia last year. While police originally thought Kim slipped while taking photos from the window sill, messages on her Facebook page and other evidence led the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office to rule Kim's death a suicide.

But Kim wasn't the only casualty that day. During her fall she struck a pedestrian, 45-year-old Erica Goodwin, causing her severe injuries. Now Goodwin is suing Kim's estate, along with several other parties, and that's not the only lawsuit from the incident.

Can You Sue the Military for Medical Malpractice?

If you are in the US military and are injured due to negligent medical treatment in the hands of military healthcare workers, you can recover damages. But you may not be able to sue civilly, depending on how and when you were hurt. Medical malpractice suits are barred for active duty military injuries, although there are alternative means to recover.

It's not impossible to get around the prohibition on suing military doctors for medical malpractice, but your lawyer will likely have to do some fancy legal footwork, and much will depend on the context of your injury. Let's look at some of the relevant doctrines.

Nothing spoils a nice meal like a bout of food poisoning. And if the contamination is serious enough, the resulting sickness can lead to permanent injury or even death.

So who is liable for food poisoning, and how sick do you have to be before you can sue? Here’s what you need to know about food poisoning lawsuits:

You should always respect your elders. But you might also want to fear them on the highway. While our elderly relatives may have a wealth of knowledge and compassion, they don’t always make the quickest or best decisions behind the wheel. And as Salon points out, getting older drivers to admit they’re not as safe as they once were is difficult, if not impossible.

So if you’re unable to wrest Grandpa’s keys from his clutches, are you gonna be on the hook when he plows through a sidewalk full of bystanders?

When Can I Sue an EMT or Paramedic?

Emergency medical technicians and paramedics save a lot of lives working on the front lines of healthcare. Their roles are critical and the decisions they make at the scene of an emergency and transporting someone to a hospital can seriously influence long-term outcomes.

You might think then that these emergency medical workers are held to the same standard of care as any other medical practitioner, and you might be right in some cases. But state laws vary, and the question of whether you can sue a paramedic or EMT for injury will depend on a number of factors.

Fake Injuries and Clinics Used in Elaborate Insurance Fraud Scheme

Federal authorities in Grand Rapids, Michigan last month named four people in an indictment alleging an elaborate insurance and healthcare fraud ring. The quartet reportedly set up medical clinics and staged car crashes to defraud insurers, as well as paying people to participate in staged crashes or to make false claims, stating they were patients at the medical clinics.

The scheme went on from January 2014 to May 2015, according to a report in Michigan Live. But the patients did not receive any therapy or medical care for their alleged injuries. The defendants are accused of submitting over 100 fraudulent claims to one insurance company and were paid about $52,000 reportedly.

Suing Big Pharma

Let’s be honest, many consumers don’t have a lot of faith in giant pharmaceutical companies right now. Between the constant barrage of television ads with never-ending lists of side effects to new stories every day about supposedly life-saving drugs that turn out deadly. And that’s without even mentioning the rampant price-gouging.

While lawsuit based on a drug’s price are few and far between (and difficult to prove or win), lawsuits based on a drug’s danger are far more common. Here are three ways to sue big pharma based on pharmaceutical drug liability:

Suing for Slip and Falls: What's Your Suffering Worth?

If you have fallen and been injured, you probably want to sue someone, and that is a typical reaction. For example, the former superintendent of the Monterey, California school district is suing the city of Monterey for an injury that she says will bar her from wearing stylish heels and dancing with her husband for life.

Marilyn Shepherd is seeking $750,000 for an ankle injury from a city pothole, and her husband is making demands too. Does that mean you should sue? Let's look at her case and what it may say about your chances of recovering if you pursue your own lawsuit.