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The Great Paris Debacle

»Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

So, we were at the train station in Paris, France, trying to catch a train that would take us to Normandy for the day.  We had seen Saving Private Ryan and are some pretty big war buffs, so this was something we had been looking forward to for quite some time, even though I know perfectly well that Spielberg filmed the movie on the beaches of Northern Ireland, not actually here because that would be impossible.  I digress.

Some of us were going on to Ireland afterward and were planning on taking the night time ferry over, while other members of our extended family were headed back to explore more of France.  Speaking of the French, I don’t know why they get such a bad reputation for being snotty and rude.  Everyone who we encountered on our trip seemed more than happy to help us with directions, or read a sign, anything really.  I apologize.  I digress again, but it is worth noting that the French are awesome.

Anyway, as what always happens when we’re going anywhere with various members of my family, we were late.  Some of us were running to get train tickets, while others of us, with our heavy looking suitcases, ran to find the train.  When we all finally found the train, it was starting to move.  We all ran to the train.

Dad got there first, picked up his mom’s suitcase, which always infuriates mom because she can handle her own suitcase by herself, and started walking up the stairs.

Obviously, those of us without suitcases climbed the stairs much easier.  Dad, on the other hand, dad was having a rather difficult time getting up the stairs.  As he began to slide backward, he dropped both bags, which I caught and mom, because she did not want dad to fall on her, shoved him forwards.  He caught his balance on the open passenger door.  However, a train worker person, without realizing that dad’s hand was there, slammed the door shut on both of dad’s hands.  He screamed in pain, and swore, a lot, which, under the circumstances, is allowed.

While the train worker was somewhat apologetic, she did break some of dad’s fingers and half blame him for having his fingers there in the first place.  After we all got settled with our bags and everything in their place, and we got some ice for practically all of dad’s fingers, mom went off to find whoever was the most senior train official on the train, so that she might raise holy hell on them for both slamming dad’s fingers in the door, which could have been seen as an accident, but they didn’t have to be so very rude about it the whole thing. If the foreign legal system was anything like what our hometown Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers describe, we could sue for the damages.

In the end, four of dad’s fingers were broken: three on the right and one on the left.  Unfortunately, his right hand is his dominant hand.

Fortunately, because he’s such an old-school tough guy, he wrapped his fingers up with cloths and carried for the rest of the day’s activities.  He did go to a minor emergency clinic when we got to the Emerald Isle.  

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Doing Our Part Can Prevent Bus Accidents

»Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Recently, two children were injured and a school bus driver reprimanded in Chicago after a bus accident caused by an illegal left turn. The driver of another vehicle was also injured. All in all, four vehicles were struck by the bus as the driver lost control following the initial collision. Fortunately, none of the injuries were serious. Paramedics treated all personnel on the scene before quickly taking them to a hospital, and all were released on the same day.

Though this could have been a much more serious accident, it seems that lethal school bus crashes are actually very uncommon. In 2015, the magazine the USA today released a report on the subject following a crash that killed two children in Houston. The magazine looked at data on all fatal motor vehicle accidents from the period of 2004-2013 and found that only .4% of them involved school transportation. And of those fatalities, only 8% involved people in the buses. The rest were either pedestrians or people in vehicles that were hit by the buses.

What could cause this large disparity in bus fatalities? At first, it might seem like bus accidents would be especially risky. First off, they’re large vehicles and may be difficult to maneuver easily. Second, they carry many people inside of them, meaning that a crash puts a larger amount of people in danger. Third, because buses are so large, they move with much more momentum in a crash. Also, because the people riding in school buses are typically small children, they are especially susceptible to injury in an accident.

But there are a few things that may offset these risks. The size of the buses, while initially seeming like a dangerous factor, may actually help protect the people inside. The additional mass of the bus can act as a sort of cushioning, shielding the people inside in the event of a crash. School bus drivers also have many more traffic safety regulations to be aware of when driving. They must stop at railroads, travel at reduced speeds in many areas, and often cars must stop for them when driving by. Even when not required to slow or stop, many drivers will probably be more cautious when around school buses. Nobody wants to be the one responsible for crashing into a bus full of children, after all.

But just because riding in a school bus is less risky than a regular car does not mean it’s entirely safe. Drivers can always make mistakes, no matter how cautious they’re being. Or, as this Chicago Law Firm says, defects with the vehicle may lead to an unavoidable accident. Make sure children always wear seat belts when riding on buses so they are as protected as possible. And if you’re driving, be sure to give school transportation space. Stop whenever a bus has its lights flashing. We all should be doing our part to promote public safety as much as possible.

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Is Slander considered Personal Injury?

»Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Some of the more interesting cases of damage that can be legally compensated are Defamation, Libel, and Slander. These refer to lies or false information that is intentionally spread to harm someone’s reputation. Throughout this article, we will explore the differences between these three concepts, whether or not they are considered personal injury and, finally, the types of compensation that can be awarded to a victim of such crimes.

Defamation refers to any instance of one or more persons unjustly harming the reputation of another. An admissible claim of defamation must prove a few things including that someone published a false statement that caused harm and didn’t fall into a privileged category. An example of a privileged category is someone speaking injuriously while on the stand at a trial. This type of speech is protected as privileged and typically can’t be pursued legally. For a legally defensible claim of defamation, each of the above requirements must be met. What about libel and slander? Defamation is an overarching category that encompasses both libel and slander. The difference between the two is as follows: libel is written and slander is spoken.

If the requirements of defamation are satisfied, a case can definitely be made for personal injury. Interestingly, famous and high profile figures in society have a higher burden of proof to sue for defamation. This is a result from a Supreme Court decision in 1988. Higher profile individual cases must also meet the requirement of “actual malice.” This is intended to protect people that might hastily report false information without actually intending to harm the relevant person. Protections like these help explain how gossip columns and tabloids are able to get away with constantly printing false or exaggerated information about celebrities.

There are many avenues through which someone can be victimized by defamation. If the defamation causes any harm to the plaintiff’s physical or financial well-being or if it significantly damages their reputation or prevents future associations with others, the individual might have a case to sue. Typically, plaintiffs are compensated with the removal of the alleged misinformation from its respective medium (although this is increasingly hard with the advent of the internet) and financial compensation.

If you are accused of libel or slander, there are a few important arguments that you can make to defend yourself. Proving that the information you reported was true is probably the most effective argument. Furthermore, you can be protected if the statement you made was in a privileged circumstance or if you made it to ensure the well-being of yourself, a family member, the Commonwealth, a publisher, or even an unrelated third-party.

If you find yourself victimized by a case of defamation, you should perform your own research and contact an attorney to determine if your case is eligible for representation and/or financial compensation. Sacramento personal injury attorneys can help you sue for defamation in personal injury cases to rightfully compensate you for any damages to your reputation.

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Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

»Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Elder Law, Nursing Home Abuse | 0 comments

When a family decides to place their loved in a nursing home, it’s never an easy decision. Most place their family member in a nursing home because they entrust such homes to properly accommodate their loved one’s needs in manner beyond their own capacity. Though many nursing homes provide their patients loving care, others physically and mentally abuse their patients, leaving them with severe injuries and mental trauma.

Types of abuse

While some types of abuse are readily apparent, others may be more difficult to perceive. Common types of nursing home abuse include the following:

  • Physical abuse: some forms of physical abuse will be immediately apparent, but residents of nursing homes can also be subjected to other, more subtle forms of physical abuse like “use of unreasonable force”
  • Sexual abuse: we often expect victims of sexual abuse to be young, but elderly victims can also fall prey to sexual abuse. Perpetrators are often the victim’s caretakers, but other residents can also carry out abuse.
  • Negligence: negligence includes “any willful failure to provide adequate care” to patients. Even if a nursing home hasn’t directly caused harm to your loved one, this doesn’t mean they aren’t responsible for failing to prevent their suffering.
  • Malnutrition/dehydration: nursing home staff members are entrusted to actively monitor their patients’ eating and drinking habits, so residents should never become malnourished or dehydrated
  • Falls: given the severe implications of a fall for the elderly, nursing home staff members should take adequate measures to prevent falls from occurring.

For more information on physical abuse in nursing homes, click here.

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There is simply no Excuse for Harmful but Preventable Medical Mistakes

»Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in Medical Injury | 0 comments

Three different doctors injured each of their patients by operating on their patients’ wrong side of the brain; a patient complained of unexplainable pains after his surgery – the cause of the pain was a surgical instrument that was left inside his body; a patient, while undergoing surgery, was accidentally set on fire; a young man was rushed to a hospital emergency department twice due to severe headache, nausea and vomiting – he was diagnosed to be suffering from viral infection and then sent home – a couple of days after, he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that cost him his life; other cases involved a patient whose healthy kidney, instead of the damaged one, was removed, the wrong leg of a patient getting amputated, and the wrong testicle of another getting removed.

All of the cases mentioned above are true and, sadly, all those medical errors were committed by experienced and highly-skilled doctors, and in some of the famous hospitals in the U.S.

At least 200,000 thousand cases of medical errors, resulting to serious injuries or patient death, are registered in the list of medical malpractices every year; however, an article posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that the real number can be much higher because many other cases are said to be kept hidden by hospital administrators.

Thousands of doctors have been reported to have committed, and still continue to commit, medical errors, as investigations that will prove them either innocent or guilty, are still pending. Meanwhile, patients could only pray that they do not end up under the care of these doctors.

Patients (and their families) should know that if they are victims of medical malpractice, then they have the legal right to file a lawsuit against their doctors. Because a medical error is never intended, this makes it an undoubtedly avoidable occurrence. Error or accidents, including those committed by erring medical professionals, are mostly due to negligence or carelessness. Thus, all liable parties, under the rule of law, have the responsibility of compensating their injured patients for whatever consequences their unprofessional acts lead to.

According to the Law Offices of Yvonne M. Fraser, “Surgeons are highly trained medical practitioners who are expected to consistently adhere to some of the highest standards in the medical industry. If any mistake was made during a surgical procedure that you or a loved one recently underwent, you have every right to seek compensation for all of the pain and suffering that you have been made to endure.”

Along this same line of thought, the Abel Law Firm says, “We place a great deal of trust in medical professionals, especially when they are prescribing medications or performing surgical procedures. Many patients do not even feel comfortable asking too many questions or disagreeing with healthcare professionals. While this trust is often well earned, egregious errors do occur even within the medical community. This firm believes there is simply no excuse for such harmful and preventable mistakes.”

 

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Negative Side Effects of Depakote

»Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Medical Injury | 0 comments

Depakote is a prescription drug used to treat mania and other moods associated with bipolar disorder and epilepsy, seizures, and even headaches. It has divalproex sodium, which is known to soothe the nerves associated with these complications.

But Depakote is not a perfect drug, as it has been linked to several negative side effects. According to the website of the Depakote lawsuit attorneys of Williams Kherkher, you may have a legal case against a drug manufacturer for the drug’s negative effects.

Birth Defects
Pregnant women who are taking Depakote may inflict defects on their unborn children, such as malformations in the skull and brain, extra fingers and toes, heart problems, and mental problems like autism.
Medical conditions may also be sustained. The most common conditions include neural tube defects and spina bifida, which can cause brain and spinal cord damage, and facial malformations such as cleft palates, or the improper formation of the lip and mouth.

Liver and Pancreas Damage
Taking Depakote is also known to create liver and pancreas issues. If a patient is experiencing pain in the upper right abdomen, vomiting, and losing of appetite, he or she may be sustaining liver damage. Pancreatitis, or an inflammation in the pancreas, can also be characterized by vomiting, losing of appetite, and feelings of nausea.

Milder Side Effects
Aside from the devastating birth defects and damages to the liver and pancreas, taking Depakote can result into milder conditions. Though these conditions are not as devastating as the others mentioned earlier, they can still be problematic. The most common conditions include:

  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Vision problems, such as blurring and uncontrollable eye movements
  • Weight gain

The health community is aware of the issues involved in taking Depakote that it does not recommend the drug, especially on pregnant women, because its benefits may be outweighed by its risks. What makes it worse is the fact that the victim is not just the pregnant woman, but also the unborn child who may have unnecessary burdens such as birth defects.

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Construction Site Accidents: What to Do After Being Injured in Your Workplace

»Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Workplace accidents | 0 comments

It should go without saying that construction sites can be extremely dangerous. Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows that 899 of all 4,386 workplace fatalities that occurred in the year 2014 happened in construction sites. This number translates to 20.5 percent of all workplace accidents. At least 1 in every 5 workers was killed in construction sites in that year alone. Abel Law also adds that construction site accidents account for 10 percent of all non-fatal injuries all across the United States.

These numbers are so alarmingly high because construction sites are workplaces filled with hazards that can complicate an employee’s health and put him or her in harm’s way.  Without proper safety standards and protocol, workers can seriously get injured due to several different circumstances. According to McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm, some of the most common workplace accidents could be caused by defective equipment and exposure to toxic materials. Workers can also be put in harm’s way due to reckless conduct and negligent behavior from the management.

It’s fortunate that injured workers in construction accidents have the legal recourse to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.  As one can imagine, injuries suffered by workers in these situations can seriously cripple their ability to earn an income, leaving them unable to pay for medical expenses and provide for their families. Serious injuries can also have a serious effect on a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Pursuing a lawsuit allows injured workers to seek compensation that could help cover such damages. While it’s impossible to place a monetary value on one’s health and welfare, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can allow victims some peace of mind knowing that justice has been served in some way. If you or someone you know are in a similar situation, do not hesitate to consult with a legal professional to learn more about your options.

 

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Understanding Child Custody Agreements

»Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Child Custody | 0 comments

There’s no doubt that going through a divorce can be an arduous and emotionally draining experience. This is especially true for situations involving divorcing couples that have children together. In such a scenario, a divorcing couple will have to learn to set aside their own feelings—whether it be of animosity or great sadness—and prioritize the well-being of the children that are stuck in the middle of their dispute. In an ideal situation, the couple can come to an amicable decision regarding their child custody arrangement.

Navigating a child custody agreement can be thorny, but it’s important to get right because it determines how the divorcing couple will divide their parental responsibilities. Having a solid child custody agreement helps each parent to continue participating in the life of their child once outside the familiar structure of marriage. While laws may slightly differ from state to state, child custody agreements in the U.S. are generally defined as joint custody, joint legal custody, or sole custody arrangements.

Joint custody refers to an arrangement where both parents are awarded physical custody, allowing their children the opportunity to live with both parents following a specific schedule. Joint legal custody refer to situations where one parent is determined to be the primary caregiver, but both are able to share in making decisions regarding their children’s education, health care, religious affiliation, and other details involving their upbringing. Meanwhile, sole custody refers to arrangements where only one person is awarded physical and legal custody of the child, and the other parent is given visitation privileges.

Child custody agreements are finalized and decided on in court. According to the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., the factors that contribute to a judge’s decision regarding child custody arrangements include the each parent’s living situation, income, and medical needs. Judges also take into account the education and physical needs of the children, as well as their own opinions regarding the matter. The law also divorced parents the option to modify their child custody agreement. As enumerated by BB Law Group PLLC, modifications to the court’s original decision can be made due to changes in financial and living situations for one or both the parents and changes in the children’s educational or medical needs. Custody agreements can also be modified due to cases of abuse, whether from a parent or a parent’s new partner.

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Personal Injury Information: The Devastating Consequences of Reckless Driving

»Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Traffic accidents happen with alarming frequency in the United States. For the year 2015, the National Safety Council reported an alarming increase in motor vehicle crashes that lead to fatalities. Their data showed that there were over 38,000 people that died in these crashes and around 4.4 million people that reported injuries. According to Evans Moore, LLC, one of the main causes for these devastating crashes is reckless driving.

While there is no one legal definition of reckless driving, in most American states it is typically described as a situation where a driver is willfully disregarding the safety of both people and property while using his or her vehicle. Common instances of reckless driving include speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, as well as failing to signal while making turns or merging into traffic. Among all of these examples, perhaps the most alarming reckless driving behavior is drunk driving. As the Champaign personal injury lawyers of Spiros Law, P.C. point out, drunk driving is a reckless choice that claims thousands of lives every year.

The consequences of reckless driving range from fender benders to the most serious crashes. Victims of reckless driving accidents can end up with injuries as simple as a fractured arm or neck and spinal injuries. When the reckless driver in question is driving a vehicle like a truck that’s much larger compared to the other one involved in the crash, the accident could easily become fatal.  There are times when such negligent mistakes can lead to a minor rear-end collision.

Recovering from the devastation caused by a reckless driving accident can be challenging. If you or anyone you know has been hurt in a car accident, you have the legal option to pursue a personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation for the damages you’ve incurred.

 

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Legal Planning and Elder Law: Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and How to Plan for Your Future

»Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in Elder Law, personal planning | 0 comments

Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult condition to contend with. As a type of dementia, it progressively destroys a patient’s memory and other mental faculties. This makes even the most simple of tasks a challenge to accomplish as time goes by. Eventually, Alzheimer’s patients will also start to forget basic facts about their own lives and undergo significant changes in their personality. According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million Americans are currently living with this progressive disease today.

The nature of Alzheimer’s disease makes it necessary for patient to plan as much as they can for their future while still in the early stages of their illness. The National Institute for Aging emphasizes how important it is for people recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to begin examining their financial and health care directives, and make necessary updates that would help secure their future.

Legal planning for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can easily become overwhelming, so it’s important to communicate and consult with trusted family members throughout the whole process. For the most part, legal planning in this specific situation should entail gathering all of your existing legal documents and making every necessary adjustment to all of them, as well as deciding on your medical care preferences and late-stage or end-of-life arrangements. It’s also important to decide on your medical proxy or the person who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf once your illness has progressed to the point where you can no longer make them on your own.

Through this process, it would be best to seek out legal counsel and work closely with a lawyer with experience working with patients suffering from dementia. Look for a qualified elder law attorney working in your state to begin planning for your future. Those in Illinois can look to a Chicago elder law attorney from Peck Ritchey, LLC for more information.

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