Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

September 2016 Archives

When Kyler Prescott checked into the Gender Management Clinic at San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital, he was looking for help. The 14-year-old transgender boy was being bullied and harassed by teachers and peers regarding his gender identity, and was suffering from depression and anxiety.

But instead of receiving sensitive care for "suicidal ideation" and "serious self-inflicted lacerations," hospital staff repeatedly misgendered Kyler and actively denied requests that he be referred to as male. A month after his early release from Rady Children's, Kyler killed himself.

The advances in 3D printing technology are creating a legal gray space for product liability. Generally, when a person is injured due to a defective product, or failure to warn, the manufacturer, designer, and/or the company that put the product into the marketplace can be found liable for the injury. But 3D printed objects don't exactly fit the current legal framework.

At first blush, one might think that the person who provides the design is going to be liable. However, the first question that arises is whether the design was compatible with the type of printer used. Then, it needs to be asked whether the printer caused the defect. Then, you need to find out whether it was the materials used in the printer that caused the defect.

Also, because 3D printed items require a user to print the design, you need to factor in user error and the ever elusive failure to warn on the part of designer, manufacturer, retailer, and component makers. Clearly, there are many considerations that make finding out who is liable much more difficult than one might initially think.

Technology enthusiasts across the world have been enjoying the current big thing: The Internet of Things. These things include smart lightbulbs, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart water bottles, and of course, smartwatches. After the release of Apple's update to their iconic smartwatch, there has been much discussion about whether these new wearables increase the risk of distracted driving.

While one might think, at first blush, that a smartwatch would qualify as a "hands-free" device, it is in fact the exact opposite. While notifications may appear on the screen without having to touch the screen, simply by virtue of where the watch is worn, it literally requires your hand. Viewing the screen while driving can require taking your hand off the wheel, as well as focusing on a tiny, brightly lit screen. Basically, using a smartwatch while driving is a recipe for disaster, and can make proving negligence against you much easier if an auto accident occurs.

Touring a haunted house attraction is supposed to be scary. If you rub shoulders with the Grim Reaper, you can count that as having a good time. But the dangers aren't supposed to be real. If they are, and if someone gets injured, the haunted house may face real legal liability.

In 2014, a woman was severely injured while attending the Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac, Michigan after a moving wall caused her to slip and fall. She sustain multiple fractures as well as other injuries.

Ms. Turner's lawsuit alleged that she was knocked down in an area with inadequate lighting. Mr. Terebus, owner of the Erebus Haunted House, has only commented that the operation is safe and that it has been in operation for a long time. This month, the case settled for $125,000.

Like most of us, 60-year-old Etelvina Jimenez thought she was doing the healthy thing by hopping on a gym's treadmill to get some exercise. But when Jimenez fell she joined nearly half a million Americans who are injured by exercise equipment every year.

Jimenez's brain injuries were severe and now she's suing the gym, claiming it violated safety standards by placing treadmills too close to other equipment.

When we need help treating addiction, drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics are vital resources to make us well. Unfortunately, rehab doesn't always work. And if you've suffered from substandard care in a rehab facility, you may be wondering if you can sue the facility for negligence or malpractice.

Addiction rehab clinics that fail to provide patients with an adequate standard of care can be sued for negligence and be both directly liable for their own malpractice and vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees. Here is what rehab clinic negligence looks like:

We rely on hospitals to make us well. But it doesn't always work out that way. And while hospitals and healthcare settings try their best to remain sterile and clean environments, infections can and do happen in hospitals. A Reuters investigative report found a crisis of MRSA and other drug-resistant staph infection outbreaks in U.S. hospitals, made even worse by lax reporting requirements.

So what happens if you get MRSA in a hospital or health care facility? Do you have any legal options?

Knowing a man who made threats against your family is being released from custody is a pretty good reason to have a home security system installed. Unfortunately for 64-year-old Michael Martin and 51-year-old Ricky Lee Anderson, the installation did not come soon enough. They were killed by Brandon Willie Martin (Martin's son and Anderson's nephew) in a vicious attack that also claimed the life of 62-year-old Barry Swanson, who, tragically, was at Martin's house installing a home security system at the time.

Now, the victims' children are suing ADT, claiming the home security company and its subcontractor Home Defender Inc. knew the attack was happening and failed to alert authorities. But do security system companies, or anyone else for that matter, have an obligation to report an emergency?

It’s great that there are more people getting more exercise, and easing pollution and traffic by getting on a bicycle rather than in a car. But with more cyclists on the road, there are bound to be more cycling accidents.

With bike laws and some traffic laws, states and cities are trying to protect bicyclists on the road. But does that include absolving them from responsibility in collisions? Are traffic accidents always the car’s fault or can bicyclists be held liable? Here’s a look.

There are an estimated 100 billion nerve cells throughout the human body. And with so many nerves, the potential for nerve damage is present in just about any surgical procedure, including plastic surgery.

While plastic surgery can create numbness and/or tingling afterwards and most patients experience some difference in sensitivity following surgery, what about more serious cases where pain or numbness seems never ending? If you suffered permanent nerve damage following plastic surgery, can you sue?

The good: Risperidone, an antipsychotic marketed as Risperdal, can treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and reduce irritability and aggressive behavior in autistic children. The bad: studies of autistic boys prescribed Risperdal showed they can suffer from breast enlargement and diminished sexual functioning because of the drug. The ugly: Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals may have known about the risk and failed to warn doctors and patients.

A slew of recent lawsuits have been filed regarding the side effects of Risperdal -- here's what you need to know.

After juries ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million and $55 million in two separate talcum powder-related lawsuits, the American Bar Association reported that the firm representing those women got almost 26,000 calls concerning the link between talc use and ovarian cancer. Not only that, but there are currently thousands of plaintiffs currently suing the company and its talc supplier in state courts from Missouri to Florida.

Tragically, ovarian cancer can be fatal. So how do you know whether you can sue for wrongful death if you think a loved one's cancer was caused by baby powder use? And how do you know if Johnson & Johnson is responsible?

Next to the dance floor and bar, one of the usual favorite places for party people to hang out is the balcony. This past Saturday, at just after 11:00 p.m., 31 party goers at an off-campus party at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut fell victim to a double balcony collapse.

NBC News reports that a third floor balcony collapsed, landing on the second-floor balcony, which then also collapsed onto the first floor. Luckily there were no major injuries or loss of life during this double balcony collapse.

Recently, lawsuits have been brought against the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, generically known as docetaxel. The manufacturer is being sued by cancer survivors for permanent hair loss. While the manufacturer has now updated the listed, known side effects, for all too many survivors, the update came too late. What makes these cases so compelling is that Sanofi-Aventis was aware of the risk of permanent hair loss, yet did not warn potential users of this risk.

While it is common knowledge that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy will lose their hair, the expectation is that the hair loss is temporary. Taxotere users had that expectation because they were never warned about this side effect until the FDA forced a change to the label.

When to Sue a Gun Shop

After James Holmes massacred 12 people in a Colorado movie theater in 2012, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, along with families of some of the victims, sued several online gun shops for supplying Holmes with the ammunition and supplies he used in the shooting. The lawsuit claimed retailers negligently supplied the murderer with tear gas, laser sights, and thousands of rounds of ammunition without ever running a background check.

But the suit didn't end well. After the case was dismissed, the parents of one victim actually owed one ammo dealer $203,000 in legal fees. This leaves many wondering whether you can ever sue a gun shop, and for what.

The Zika virus has been causing quite a stir over the past year, despite having been around since 1947. A scholarly article published last week in The Lancet estimates that there are 2.6 billion people living within the danger zone of the Zika virus.

Until recently, the primary concern with the Zika virus came from pregnant women, as the virus is known to cause microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. A newer concern comes as researchers are discovering a high occurrence of Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a serious condition affecting the peripheral nervous system.

Dangerous Drugs for Pregnancy

Expecting mothers will do whatever they can to make sure their babies are born healthy and happy. But often, they don't know that certain drugs they are prescribed during pregnancy can cause harmful defects.

Sadly, there is a long list of drugs that were discovered to be harmful to pregnant women and their children. Most recently, researchers and the FDA learned a morning sickness drug called Zofran can cause including congenital heart defects, orofacial and septal defects, kidney malformation, and even stillbirths. Here's what you need to know about dangerous pregnancy drugs and what you can do about them.

Normally, the amount you could recover in a personal injury lawsuit would depend mostly on the extent of your injuries and the egregiousness of the plaintiff's negligence. The more medical bills and missed work you had, the more you would be owed. And the more careless or reckless the party responsible, the more they would be penalized. But many states have tried to place a hard limit on injury lawsuits, known as damages caps.

So what are the justifications for damages caps, and are they a good idea? A recent ballot fight in Arkansas can provide a good case study.

In personal injury law, the acronym TBI used to refer exclusively to a traumatic brain injury. However, after Caroline Malatesta’s case, this may need to change. News broke last month of the $16 million jury verdict awarded to Ms. Malatesta as a result of a traumatic birth injury caused by her nurses’s negligence while she was giving birth.

A traumatic birth injury occurs when the mother is severely injured as a result of the birthing process. While medical malpractice is not a prerequisite for this type of injury, it stands to reason that when a claim for a traumatic birth injury is raised, it should be brought alongside, or as, a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim.