Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

December 2015 Archives

Top 5: Doctors Most Often Sued

There are over 150,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed annually. A recent survey of 4,000 doctors found that nearly half, or 47 percent, were named in such a lawsuit. So, obviously lots of doctors are getting sued.

But some kinds of doctors get sued more than others, and surgeons are particularly susceptible. Here is a list of the top five types of doctors most likely to be subject to litigation, according to CBS News.

10 Signs of Potential Nursing Home Abuse

The Department of Justice estimates that one in ten elderly people are abused each year. The abuse takes many forms — financial, sexual, mental, and physical. If you have a parent or loved one in elder care, you need to be aware of ways they may be in danger.

We do not want to believe that people we trust to care for our aged would harm them. But the elderly are very vulnerable when they are in nursing homes and visitors should be vigilant. Neglect and abuse occur. Here are some signs to help you spot care gone wrong.

Pet Liability Primer: Car Accidents, Contracts, and More

You love your pets very much. They’re good friends. So when they are injured somehow — whether hit by a driver, mistreated by a caregiver, or neglected at the pet hotel — you want someone to pay for what did, or did not, happen. You wish to bring a lawsuit. Can you?

Yes. Whether your suit will succeed of course depends on the facts and what kinds of claims you make. Who, if anyone, is liable for the animal injury depends how the creature was hurt.

It doesn’t matter that they don’t hover or that they’re not boards — everyone is calling them hoverboards and a whole lot of people are getting injured on them. From simple falls to bursting into flames, these Segway minis are proving to be 2015’s most dangerous Christmas gift.

So if you’re injured on a so-called hoverboard, could you have a product liability case?

Can I Sue for Mortuary or Funeral Home Negligence?

The law recognizes that death is sacred and that it is not to be treated lightly. Society reserves death as the most severe punishment for its worst criminal law offenders and it recognizes that neglect in the context of death is particularly egregious.

Funeral home negligence does happen and you can sue when a mortuary mishandles a corpse.

Advancements in orthopedic surgery mean that athletes can return to playing after devastating injuries and the rest of us can live without chronic pain from damaged bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. But not all orthopedic surgeries result in miraculous recoveries.

So are orthopedic surgeons legally liable if you can’t return to your sport or life at 100 percent? And where do courts draw the line between a bad surgeon and a bad result?

Sue the Government for Salt Damage to My Car?

So you are sick of the damage to your car that comes with snowy winters and salted roads and you are not going to take it anymore! You’re ready to sue someone for this tort, someone like the city, and the county, and the state.

It can be done, but there are a few things you should know first.

Legal How-To: Challenging a Subpoena in a Personal Injury Case

A subpoena is a demand that a person or thing to appear or be shown in a court case. When you receive a subpoena, it is essentially a court order. If you receive a subpoena to produce something, be it a DNA sample, blood test information, computer files, photos, or medical records you are, likewise, being ordered to produce that thing.

In a personal injury case each party will make a Request for Production (RFP) using the applicable rules of civil procedure. The details of the rules will vary from state to state. But, generally speaking, court procedures provide means for parties to both seek information and challenge requests for information. You can challenge a subpoena by filing a motion to quash the subpoena.

If you’re hitting the slopes this season, chances are you’re travelling to the mountains and staying in a resort near the ski area. And chances are also that you’ll have a good time and return home injury-free.

But if you don’t, could the ski resort be liable for your injuries? That could depend on how and, possibly more importantly, where you were injured.

Do Cities Have to Plow Snow on Bike Lanes?

Cities are responsible for keeping streets clean and safe, including clearing the snow. But bike lanes are usually in the part of the street where snow plows push all the snow. So if you are a cycling commuter, you may find getting around on your bike difficult in winter.

The extent to which a city must clear its bike lanes of snow and can be held responsible for injuries that occur due to plowing negligence depends on local laws. As bike commuting becomes more common, and cities are encouraging alternative transport, municipalities will also have to make room for bikers on snowy streets and roadway planners will keep cycling commuters in mind. The future roadway may look different.

It’s not easy delivering toys to children worldwide in a single night. So maybe Santa’s sleigh rolled a stop sign trying to save some time, and caught your car right on the rear fender. Did he stay long enough to give his insurance information? And since Santa was driving a delivery vehicle for work, how does that affect your injury claim?

Here’s what you need to know if Kris Kringle crumpled your bumper:

Can I Sue for Snowball Injuries or Property Damage?

You’re dreaming of a white Christmas and everything that entails, like sledding, skating, and snowballs. But what if someone breaks a window, or worse, a skull, in a snowball fight?

Rest assured, you can sue if you are injured due to someone’s negligence. Also, you can be sued for any damage you cause to a person or property with a snowball or otherwise. The elements of negligence are always the same, regardless of how injury occurs. So before the eggnog flows and you traipse out into the snow, let’s look at negligence in a nutshell.

Holiday Injuries and Decorating Disasters

That beautiful star for the top of the tree has ruined Christmas! Well, to be truthful it was more the rickety ladder you used to get to the top of the tree, the one that caused you to topple over and fall.

If you find yourself in the hospital emergency room from a holiday decorating injury, you will not be alone. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products, and it has some pretty surprising data on holiday decorating injuries.

'Tis the Season for Slip and Falls -- Who's Liable?

Who's liable for your injury after a slip and fall accident? That depends on a number of factors, most importantly where you fell, whether it's public property, a business, or a residence.

Premises liability law makes home and business owners responsible for injuries that occur on their property. If you fall in a store or some area the business manages, like the parking lot, then the store may be liable for your injury if it was caused through its negligence. Similarly, if you are a guest in someone's home and you get hurt as a result of a failure on the owner's part, the homeowner may be liable.

Tips for Defending Against a Frivolous Injury Lawsuit

You have been served with an injury lawsuit and from your point of view, it is a frivolous claim. But you still have to defend yourself.

So how do you do that? Let’s take a quick look at negligence and how you defend it by negating the elements of the claim.

A blood clot filter can save your life. An inferior vena cava or IVC filter can prevent a blood clot from blocking blood flow to the lung, thus reducing the risk of pulmonary emboli or acute deep vein thrombosis.

But blood clot filters can also be dangerous. An IVC filter left in too long can perforate the vein or detach from the vein and migrate elsewhere, causing unintended blockages or damage. So how long is too long when it comes to leaving in blood clot filters?

We've all had a bout of food poisoning at one point or another, and we usually just call in sick, curl up in bed, and wait for the worst of it to pass. But sometimes, the food contamination may not be limited to just a dish or two, and the health effects may be more severe.

In that case, you may be thinking of filing a lawsuit against the food manufacturer, supplier, or restaurant. And if you do, you should know your rights and responsibilities when filing a food contamination lawsuit.

Can I Get Workers' Compensation for Frostbite?

Workers’ compensation is theoretically available for any injury caused by your job, including frostbite. The extent to which you can ultimately recover will depend on how severe the injury is and how much time and expense it costs in lost work and healthcare.

The specifics vary from state to state, and certain industries follow special standards, so you will have to look into the particular law that applies to you. But here are the basics on workers’ compensations claims, using frostbite as the example injury.

Businessman's $21 Million Brain Injury Verdict Threatened

A man who successfully sued a cruise line for a head injury may not see his $21 million in damages after all. The man’s former assistant has revealed that she lied about his brain injury for him before the trial and was then fired right before the case was going to be heard, reports The Seattle Times.

James Hausman won $5 million in compensatory damages and $16 million in punitive damages for an injury he sustained due to a faulty sliding glass door on a Holland America cruise ship. The company, having learned from Hausman’s former assistant that he deleted emails, tampered with witnesses, and exaggerated the severity of his injury, is seeking to have the jury verdict overturned.

Can I Sue a Nurse for Medical Malpractice?

Nurses play a critical role in medical care and they can be named in a medical malpractice suit. But realistically, your lawyer will look for more defendants, particularly institutions with serious liability insurance whose failure to monitor the nurse might also be blamed for an injury.

Negligence in medicine is often not the fault of a single individual, so the institutions that employ medical professionals are included in a lawsuit. Whoever is involved in patient care will be scrutinized and administrators of hospitals and care facilities, such as nursing homes, have to defend policies and practices, training, and more.

An essential element to any personal injury claim is proving that you were actually injured. As such, a defendant in an injury lawsuit will try to avoid legal liability by proving that you are either faking or overstating your injuries. And with the spread of social media, defendants don’t need to hire private investigators to catch you doing aerobics when you should be in physical therapy — instead they can just use your status updates against you.

The more you use social media, the more likely it becomes that a Facebook post could sabotage your injury claim. Here’s how to avoid that.

Can You Sue for Failed Hair Transplants?

You may sue if you are injured due to a hair transplant and institutions that offer such services have certainly had to defend against lawsuits. But in order to succeed in a personal injury or medical malpractice suit you will have to prove that there was negligence on the part of service providers. So, the doctors or clinicians simply failing to generate a full head of hair for you, or otherwise falling short of desired results, will not be enough for you to succeed in a negligence suit.

Assault is a crime. And if you’ve been the victim of an assault, hopefully law enforcement officials were able to identify and prosecute the perpetrator. But a criminal conviction might not be enough to compensate you for an assault.

If you’ve been injured in an assault, you may have medical bills and lost wages — who’s going to pay for that? Can you sue for damages sustained in an assault?

You Can Sue for Whiskey Fungus Injury

You can sue over whiskey fungus, or Baudoinia, if you live near a distillery and have been injured from ethanol vapors. The same applies to other ethanol off-gassing alcohol distilleries, such as scotch, brandy, and rum.

Only within the last decade has a connection been made between the black film growing in and around distillery towns and the alcohol fumes manufacturers make, reports Vice. Now, citizens are fighting back with lawsuits seeking compensation from the companies for air pollution.

We get a lot of recommendations by word of mouth, from friends, family, and Yelp. These can also be legitimate sources for warnings about stores, restaurants, even doctors to avoid. But what about handing out "Malpractice Alert" flyers to strangers in a doctor's parking lot and sending the flyer to doctors, their families, and their neighbors? A little over the top?

Not according to the Arizona Court of Appeals, who recently held that an injunction barring a disgruntled patient from complaining about his treatment was overbroad and unconstitutional.

What Damages Are Awarded in Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

Unlike other lawsuits, wrongful death claims are inevitably made on behalf of another. As the name indicates, the suit is based on a claim that the deceased died due to the defendant’s negligence, or worse.

There are two general categories of damages awarded in such lawsuits, pecuniary and punitive. Pecuniary, or financial, damages attempt to calculate the financial value of a particular life while punitive damages serve as a punishment to the defendant. Let’s take a look at both types here.

Product Liability Claims for a Defective Vehicle

If you purchased a car that's defective, you may sue under product liability law. There are two types of product liability claims used for motor vehicle defects.

Suits are usually based on the fact that the vehicle or parts were defectively made (manufactured), or based on an unreasonably dangerous design. Depending on the details of your case, you may file against anyone in the chain of creation or distribution, not just the company that sells the car under its name. Let's take a look at some potential claims you might make associated with a defective vehicle.

Can I Sue for Future Medical Expenses?

You can sue for future medical expenses. But just like every aspect of an injury claim, damages must be proven. So you will have to show why -- based on the information available now and actuarial calculations about future costs -- you will need the amount of money you are seeking for your healthcare needs down the line.

Proving damages in any case -- whether personal injury, products liability, or medical malpractice -- is a complicated matter. Your lawyer will be able to explain how it works precisely when applying the facts of your case. But here is a general view of a claim for future medical expenses.

Prescription drugs can save lives. But they can also be dangerous. Along with the life-saving effects of these drugs, they also come with potentially harmful side effects. And, in some cases, pharmaceutical companies can be liable for injuries from side effects of prescription drugs.

Here’s a quick rundown of the five most dangerous prescription drugs, their medical potential, and their potential side effects:

Suing for Cesarean Section Medical Malpractice

As with any hospital procedure that goes awry, you can sue for medical malpractice when you are injured from a cesarean section. And with c-sec births dramatically rising since the nineties, there has been debate across the United States about their necessity.

Last year in New York, one woman sued a hospital for medical malpractice because she was forced to undergo a c-sec when she wanted to give birth naturally. Doctors overrode the mother’s decision and put her in surgery, according to the New York Times. She charged the hospital with “improperly substituting their judgment for that of the mother” and of trying to persuade her by “pressuring and threatening” her during the birth of her third son.

Right after a car accident, it may be impossible to know whether you or one of the others drivers will file a lawsuit. Fortunately, you don't need to be able to see the future to know what you need to do, just in case.

And because you can't go back in time to the accident, you need to know how to prepare for a legal claim before a car accident happens. There are three important timeframes to keep in mind, from the accident to filing your case, and three ways to prepare for a car accident claim:

Can I Sue for Plastic Surgery Gone Bad?

If you have had cosmetic surgery and something went wrong, you can sue your surgeon, and possibly other parties. Personal injury suits based on medical malpractice are quite common, and you will certainly not be the first person unhappy with the results of your surgery.

But note that proving personal injury is not easy, and it's not a basis for unhappy customers to sue because they don't like their new look. It is only a basis for suit if there is actual injury that resulted from the defendant's negligence. So, let's take a look at what are some things that can go wrong in cosmetic surgery and what you will have to do to prove medical malpractice.