Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

January 2016 Archives

When Can You Sue for Drug-Related Birth Defects?

Every parent prays for a healthy child. And while few of us go through life perfectly healthy, it is particularly painful for parents when a child is born with defects or medical issues due to prescription medication a mother has taken before the child’s birth.

This is an unfortunately common occurrence for mothers who used Zofran to alleviate morning sickness. The drug was designed for cancer patients, and does alleviate morning sickness. But it was not designed with pregnant mothers in mind, and now it is linked with birth defects. Zofran is not the only drug that parents and doctors have successfully claimed in court caused birth defects.

Anyone who’s been injured or sick enough to spend time in a hospital knows that those visits aren’t cheap. Beyond the bills for tests, procedures, and overnight stays, you might be missing out on pay from work. And this combination can lead to you owing the hospital a significant amount of money.

So what happens when a hospital (or a debt collector) files a lawsuit to get paid?

Too Much College Fun: When Can You Sue for Hazing?

‘Boys will be boys’ used to be an excuse for bullying, and by the time boys were almost men it was expected that anyone who wanted to join a fraternity would put up with hazing. But today bullying and hazing are — at least officially — unacceptable and this could mean trouble for traditional fraternities.

A former Kappa Alpha Psi recruit in Maryland, Johnny Powell II, is suing the fraternity for $4 million, alleging that he was severely beaten and abused during recruiting, NBC News reports. “I shouldn’t have to die to be in a fraternity,” Powell said. His is not the first fraternity hazing case at all. But all raise the same questions about what is acceptable behavior today.

Remember that viral news story about a Russian fisherman attacked by a bear but saved by a Justin Bieber ringtone? Or the college student who set his school on fire with a fireworks marriage proposal? Or how about the lonely Chinese teenagers taking cabbages for walks? Well, BuzzFeed had to get those stories from somewhere.

Those three and more came from Central European News (CEN), an agency that BuzzFeed also called “The King of Bullsh*t News.” Well it turns out CEN didn’t take kindly to that description, and is now suing BuzzFeed for $11 million, claiming the story was defamatory.

Ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, and others have made getting around town much easier -- just a few taps on your smartphone and you've got door-to-door service. And, for the most part, these services are as safe as taxis or driving yourself.

But what happens in the rare cases of an accident? If you're injured in a crash with an Uber driver or while riding in Uber or Lyft, who's responsible?

Spotting Car Insurance Scammers

When you have a car, you must carry insurance according to most state’s laws. This is meant to protect all of us in case of accidents. But unfortunately it also makes us targets for insurance fraudsters who make false claims.

Car insurance fraud costs all drivers because false claims raise rates generally. Insurance scams lead to increased rates for everyone, and can be a direct danger to you. So, let’s look at how auto insurance fraud could impact you — quite literally, in the case of a crash — and how to avoid being a target of someone else’s illegal scheme.

On January 5, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for the city of Flint and the surrounding Genesee County based on the ongoing health and safety concerns surrounding the city’s water supply. Extremely elevated levels of lead have been found in residents’ drinking water and in their blood, causing a number of serious health problems and the possibly contributing to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

State officials have announced a “thorough, exhaustive and independent” investigation into the crisis, and the first class action lawsuits against the governor and other state and city officials have already been filed. So who can be held liable for contaminated drinking water?

As we’ve learned from the Bill Cosby allegations, sometimes a district attorney declines to bring charges against accused rapists. Or if they do, it could be 10 years later. And even if a rapist is charged, convicted, and goes to jail, a victim may not be compensated for his or her trauma, pain, or suffering.

So can rape victims sue their rapists in civil court?

Can I Sue for a Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis is a legitimate claim in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and that applies to skin cancer like any other disease. But it is not easy to prove a doctor is liable for failure to correctly diagnose skin cancer.

Medical malpractice suits are complex. Proving misdiagnosis is particularly difficult because you must show that an absence of action, or failure to take the correct action, is what caused your injury. This is tougher than a suit where you show someone acted negligently causing injury. Still, people can and do sue doctors for failure to diagnose correctly, so let’s look at what you’ll have to prove.

Plaintiffs, Be Wary of Selling Settlements

If you are a plaintiff in an injury suit and are awarded damages, you can sell the money owed to you in a structured settlement. In exchange, you get an upfront payment rather than incremental payments over the years. For many plaintiffs, this can solve financial problems that piled on during the pendency of the lawsuit, and that is important.

But these deals can only be done with a judge's approval when in the plaintiff's best interest. Unfortunately, there is evidence that this is not what's actually happening.

Top 5 Deadliest Jobs

We all have days when we hate our jobs, but most of us aren't risking life and limb when we head into the office. And while on-the-job safety is improving (2013 had the second-lowest workplace fatalities since 1992), some jobs remain more dangerous and more deadly than others.

Most people might guess police officers, firefighters, or security guards have the deadliest jobs, but law enforcement officers barely crack the top 15. So who has the deadliest job in America?

Can Cellphone Radiofrequency Energy Cause Cancer?

When microwaves first came out many people were worried that they would give us cancer. Now many of us carry cell phones and there is concern that injury from radiation is making many sick.

Of course, some dismiss these concerns as absurd. But there is something to the worry — and it’s more than just resistance to change. The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute addresses cell phone radiation and the cancer connection.

It’s one of those years again, when the El Nino weather system begins dumping buckets of rain on our nation’s roadways and drivers begin to “lose all common sense.” We’ve all driven in rainy conditions before, but multiple inches of rain in a single day conditions? That’s something else.

With parts of the country gearing up for historic rainfalls in the next few months, here’s how to stay safe on the streets:

Loss of Consortium FAQ

When someone is injured or killed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, loss of consortium is a claim that family members can make. Depending on the jurisdiction, the claim is usually made by a spouse or partner of an injured person and awards damages for loss of the benefit of the family relationship.

But there are variations in state rules, and some places allow parents and children to claim loss of consortium, too. Let’s take a look at the basics of this claim.

On September 26, 2014, Noah Smith frantically called his father. He told him he had taken some pills, and that “his heart was racing, that he could not think straight, and that he was desperately afraid something was very wrong with him.” Noah then collapsed, and died of cardiac arrhythmia.

The pills he took were Stay Awake tablets, caffeine pills sold over the counter at gas stations nationwide. Now Noah’s family is suing A&Z Pharmaceutical Inc., who manufactured the pills, claiming they contain dangerous amounts of caffeine, lack proper warnings, and marketed and sold to children.

There are quite a few considerations when hiring a personal injury attorney. You want someone who believes in your case and knows what they’re doing, all at the right price. Considering many injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, what you really need from your legal counsel is experience.

So how do you evaluate your personal injury attorney’s experience? And how much experience does he or she need?

Baby Seat Injuries: Keeping Kids in Cars Safe

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But more than half of parents fail to properly install baby seats, the NHTSA found.

Improperly installing your baby seat is a big problem in case of an accident, not only because it severely increases risk to your kid. It is also likely to limit manufacture liability for the malfunction. Say your child is injured and you believe it is due to a defective car seat but it proves to be because you failed to install properly, then negligence on the part of the manufacturer is mitigated by your own negligent seat installation.

Rape allegations are serious matters for both the accused and the accuser. Even if they are disproven, the reputations of both parties remain at stake, which is why rape accusations and defamation claims seem to go hand in hand.

As evidenced by the recent Rolling Stone/University of Virginia case, these defamation lawsuits can be wide-ranging and involve parties that were neither the accused nor the accuser. And even though she's not party to the University's lawsuit, the accuser may now have to turn over documents in the case.

Can You Sue for Radiologist Medical Malpractice?

You go on a ski trip and are injured. While your friends are on the slopes, you’re in a hospital emergency room getting x-rays. The radiologist tells you not to worry, it’s just a normal break and your ankle should heal up just fine in no time.

But that turns out not to be the case and you learn later that the radiologist read your x-ray wrong. Can you sue for medical malpractice? Yes, if you are injured due to the error. Radiologists are doctors with specialized training in the use of imaging and they are liable for medical malpractice.

Should You Have a Judge or Jury for Your Personal Injury Trial?

You have sued for personal injury and the case hasn’t settled. Now you need to decide whether you want a judge or jury trial for this civil suit. Your lawyer says a jury is the way to go but you just don’t know.

Isn’t a judge better-equipped to understand the issues? Why rely on the response of a bunch of strangers who know little about the law? Can a jury of your peers possibly understand the issues in your case? All these questions are legitimate, and the answer to all of them is the same: It depends.

Can You Sue a Doctor for a Medical Marijuana Recommendation?

Last week New York’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened, and the state joined the growing number of places in the US that permit cannabis purchases for people with a doctor’s recommendation.

The question then naturally arises, given our litigious society, can you sue a doctor for medical malpractice based on such a recommendation? How does medical marijuana differ from prescription drugs?

Almost 30 million American suffer from diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes. Along with the associated health risks like an increased chance of kidney failure or heart disease, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can have a severe impact you ability to work.

Disability insurance is designed to compensate you if you too disabled to work, but does diabetes diagnosis qualify as a disability under the law?

If you have a service-related disability, you may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. But the application process can be complicated and may require extensive documentation for your claim.

Here are a few facts on the disability benefits and tips on the filing process.

Warning: Exploding E-Cig Causes Truck Accident

In what may be the first incident of its kind, a truck driver crashed into a highway guardrail in Indiana yesterday when his e-cigarette exploded in his hand. The driver’s injuries were reportedly primarily due to the e-cig explosion and not the crash and no one else was injured, local ABC News reported.

Indiana State Highway Patrol troopers who handled the crash said that they had never heard of any such accident happening before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, an e-cig advocate confirmed this claim, saying accidents were unheard of or very rare. But the alternative nicotine delivery systems have not been uncontroversial.

Most personal injury lawsuits follow a fairly standard timeline: there’s an accident, the injured party files a lawsuit, there’s some discovery and settlement negotiations, and then a trial and damages verdict. But the timeline for a medical malpractice suits can be a little different.

The length of time for any case will generally depend on its complexity, and medical malpractice claims can be more complicated than most. And there are special time considerations to be aware of in medical malpractice cases. So here’s a general timeline for medical malpractice lawsuits.

$400k Settlement for Student Thrown by High School Assistant Dean

A Staten Island student who suffered from broken bones after an assistant dean threw him to the ground to stop a gym class altercation settled his lawsuit with the city for $400,000, reports Staten Island Live. Almost five years after the alleged incident, the city said that settlement was in its best interest.

Brian Shane, a 15-year-old at a high school for students with special needs and disabilities, was in a scuffle with two other students during a gym class wiffle-ball game when the alleged incident occurred in March 2011. Now Shane is out of Staten Island and high school and the matter is finally settled.

The holidays are over, but the worst of the winter weather may still be ahead. That means icy roads, low visibility, and a lot of accidents. But that doesn’t have to be your fate. With the right preparation coupled with good decision-making, you can avoid the injuries that come from car accidents.

Here are a few ways to stay safe out on the roads this winter.

When Are Hotels Liable for Injuries?

You are staying at The Ritz Carlton and loving it ... until you slip and fall in the hotel lobby and hurt your back. Can you sue?

Yes. Hotels are responsible for reasonably foreseeable injuries on their premises caused by their negligence. But not all injuries happen due to negligence, or are foreseeable, so let's take a look at the elements of a claim and what you will have to prove to get the Ritz to pay for your hospital stay.

Ultrahazardous Activity: What Is It, Who's Liable?

Ultrahazardous activities involve a risk of injury that cannot be eliminated even by the exercise of the utmost care. Those engaged in these activities are held strictly liable when something does go wrong.

What that means is that whoever engages in abnormally dangerous activities has to pay for injuries caused as a result even when they were not negligent. The fact of engaging in the inherently dangerous or ultrahazardous activity and causing injury is enough to trigger liability.

The easy answer would be to let your insurance company do it for you. But injury claims stemming from car accidents aren’t always so simple, especially if the accident involved more than two cars or one or more parties are uninsured.

Getting sued can be a scary prospect, but there are ways to defend a car accident injury lawsuit.