Articles Tagged with personal injury lawyer

Stark & Stark’s Pennsylvania Law Monitor has a nice post about the impact of Facebook on personal injury litigation.  

An excerpt:

The Internet and social networking sites have changed the face of litigation in this country. However, there are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself, short of boycotting the Internet all together. First, be careful in reviewing the photos and posts on your social networking site. Remove anything that you would not want an insurance company lawyer to see that could help them defend against your case. Next, check your privacy settings which enable you to block certain people from seeing you on a particular site (Facebook allows this). It is also helpful to search your name in the search field and see what comes up to make sure it is acceptable (it is advisable to do this on Google and YouTube as well). Finally never accept friend requests or respond to emails from people you do not know.

Getting motor vehicle accident reports is a hassle, but is appears that it will be getting easier.

BuyCrash.com makes accident reports from Georgia, Indiana, and Kentucky  available for purchase over the Internet.  Accident reports from Tennessee will be available in the future.

Thanks to Chris Simon and the Atlanta Injury Attorney Blog for making me aware of this service.

The Springfield Injury Law Blog has given us a great post titled "8 Ways to Help Your Personal Injury Lawyer Help Your Case."   Obviously, the post informs personal injury clients how they can help their lawyer obtain a better result in their case.

It is so good I am going to reprint it here:

    1.  Give your lawyer the whole story

The conversations you have with your personal injury lawyer are confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege so you can tell the truth without fear of others finding out.  Your lawyer must keep what you say in strict confidence.  Don’t omit details about the events in an accident just because they may be embarrassing or you think make you look like you did something wrong.  A good injury attorney will take all the facts of your case and know how to present less flattering elements in the best possible light and keep the impact to a minimum.  If  your lawyer first hears about an important detail that you omitted from the lawyer on the other side, it can have devastating effects on your personal injury case.  Caught unprepared, he/she is at a disadvantage in keeping potentially unfavorable facts from hurting your case and it can make it impossible to disprove negative accusations if there is not time to investigate. Be sure to tell your lawyer everything and answer all questions truthfully.

    2.  Go to doctor appointments and follow doctor recommendations

Since you hired a personal injury lawyer, you must have an injury.  Therefore, getting well should be your first priority. You can’t do that if you aren’t going to the doctor or aren’t following your doctor’s recommendations for treatment or therapy.  If you miss your doctor appointments, you are telling the other side that you must not be hurt and therefore, don’t need any compensation for your injuries or medical bills.

3.  Don’t talk about your case with anyone but your lawyer

Don’t tell your friends, family or coworkers about your personal injury lawsuit.  Insurance companies will try and manipulate things you say and use them against you to reduce the compensation paid.  This includes not mentioning your case on your blog, Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. See #4 below.

4.  Put a hold on Facebook and Twitter

What you say in a post, tweet or status update can reveal a lot of about your activities and state of mind.  If you are claiming serious injuries, but tweet about an upcoming deep sea fishing trip or post photos of you learning to snowboard, you can be sure an insurance company will find them and use them against you.  Insurance companies are not above sending private investigators to physically follow those claiming injuries and following someone in cyberspace is just as easy and effective.  Don’t rely on privacy settings of social media applications to protect you.  It is better to avoid making any updates until after your case has closed.  Learn more about social networking and personal injury cases.

5.  Supply all requested documents on time

You will need to fill out a variety of forms and provide insurance and medical documents periodically to your personal injury lawyer.  Return any forms fully completed and provide documents in a timely manner to keep your case progressing and help your lawyer meet any filing deadlines. The legal process will naturally take long enough, see #6 below.  Don’t add to that by taking extra time to provide requested information after your accident.  

6.  Be patient

After a car accident, collecting necessary information such as police reports, information from witnesses, and paperwork from doctors takes time.  Additionally, when injuries are involved there must be a confirmation and stabilization of medical conditions so time must pass while you receive medical tests and start to heal.  Naturally, the insurance company will drag its feet before making any payments.  Do not plan on getting a check in a week.  If a personal injury lawyer tries to quickly settle your case you could lose out on all the compensation you may be entitled to receive.

7.  Ask questions

If you don’t understand something about your personal injury case, ask your lawyer to explain it. You should be aware of status of your case and what to expect along the way. This is YOUR CASE. The more you understand, the better you can participate and help your lawyer and your case.

8.  Listen to your lawyer

You chose an experienced personal injury attorney because he/she can use the law to help you maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries, lost wages and other pain and suffering after your car accident.  What a lawyer may ask you to do (or not do) or the information you are requested to provide is based on their experience and knowledge of the law.  For that reason, you should listen to your lawyer and cooperate with requests in order for you to secure the best possible outcome after your accident. 

 

 

 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released the forms for reporting on medical malpractice claims for the 2009 calendar year.

The reports are due March 1, 2010.

Here are the instructions for filling out forms as a representative of the claimant.  Here is  the link to the reporting form.

Failure to submit all of the required information on or before the March 1, 2010 deadline will subject a reporting attorney to a penalty of $100 per day.

 

Thompson Hine is a 99-year old law firm with offices in eight different cities.  Its products liability lawyers work do work in the aerospace, automotive, chemical, electrical, mechanical, medical device and pharmaceutical areas.

And they are concerned  about the implications of Section 212 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to implement a publicly accessible, searchable database of consumer product incident reports. 

The firm reports that:

[o]n September 10, the CPSC issued its "Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 212 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 – Implementation of a Searchable Consumer Product Safety Incident Database," which outlines the CPSC’s planned rollout of this database. As described below, this database has the potential to have far-reaching business and legal implications for how manufacturers, distributors and retailers of consumer products report and respond to consumer complaints.

The concerns?  First, the CPSC’s control of the database "creates the potential for an increased number of, and potentially less efficient, investigations and recalls implemented by the CPSC."

Second, there are concerns on how companies should monitor or use the new site.

Third, "the database will serve as an easily accessible tool for plaintiffs in future litigation to locate potential evidence of "alleged other similar incidents" or evidence to support a punitive damages claim. "

Fourth, "the database will undoubtedly serve as a new resource for an always creative plaintiffs’ bar searching for potential lawsuits. The searchable capacities of the database will enable plaintiffs’ attorneys to search for potential personal injury or consumer claims, as well as to identify potential class actions or mass torts."

Thompson Hine reports that the target deadline for the new public database is March 11, 2011.

Read the entire paper here.

 

 

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a pharmacy does not owe a duty of care to unidentified third parties who were injured by a pharmacy customer who was driving while under the influence of controlled prescription drugs. 

In reaching the decision, the court rejected the arguments that  pharmacies have a duty to act to prevent a pharmacy customer from injuring members of the general public and that Nevada’s pharmacy statutory and regulatory laws allow third parties to maintain a negligence per se claim for alleged violations concerning dispensation of prescription drugs and maintenance of customers’ records.

Here is the court’s summary of the facts:

On June 4, 2004, while driving on U.S. Highway 95 in Las Vegas, Gregory Sanchez, Jr., stopped on the side of the road to fix a flat tire. Appellant Robert Martinez, Sanchez’s co-worker, arrived at the scene to assist Sanchez. While Martinez and Sanchez were transferring items from Sanchez’s vehicle into Martinez’s vehicle, they were struck by defendant Patricia Copening’s vehicle.[1] As a result of the collision, Sanchez died and Martinez was seriously injured. Copening was arrested for driving under the influence of controlled substances.

Appellants, Sanchez’s minor daughters, his widow, and the personal representatives of his estate, and Martinez and his wife, filed a wrongful death and personal injury complaint against Copening, two medical doctors, and a medical association. Through discovery, appellants learned that in June 2003, the Prescription Controlled Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force sent a letter to the pharmacies that had dispensed to, and physicians who had written prescriptions for, Copening, concerning Copening’s prescription-filling activities. The letter informed the pharmacies and physicians that from May 2002 to May 2003, Copening had obtained approximately 4,500 hydrocodone pills at 13 different pharmacies. Based on the Task Force letter, appellants moved the district court and were granted leave to file a second amended complaint to add the following defendants to the action: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Longs Drug Stores Co.; Walgreen Co.; CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; Rite-Aid; Albertson’s Inc., d/b/a Sav-on Pharmacy; and Lam’s Pharmacy, Inc.

As to the pharmacies, the second amended complaint alleged that Copening was under the influence of controlled substances when the accident occurred and that the pharmacies had filled Copening’s prescriptions after they had received a Task Force letter informing them of her prescription-drug activities. The complaint further asserted that after receiving the Task Force letter, the pharmacies continued providing Copening with the controlled substances that she used before the accident. The complaint did not allege any irregularities on the face of the prescriptions themselves. Nor did the complaint allege that the prescriptions presented by Copening to the pharmacies were filled by the pharmacies in violation of the prescriptions’ language, were fraudulent or forged, or involved dosages that, individually and if taken as directed, were potentially harmful to Copening’s health.

The case was discussed in a October 31, 2009 post on this blog.

Read the opinion in Sanchez v. Wal-Mart Stores, 125 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 60 (Nev. Dec. 24, 2008) here.

David Cline, the paramedic who was killed when the private ambulance he was driving slammed into the back of a TDOT roadside help truck on Interstate 65 on October 22, 2009,  had a history of medical problems, including narcolepsy and epilepsy.  Investigators are unsure why Cline left the highway  but believe that the he suffered a "seizure or some type of medical condition that [incapacitated] him and led to the fatal crash, according to the final report released by Metro Nashville Police Department on December 28, 2009.  The story was reported in The City Paper.

The article reports that "after performing a toxicology examination, police determined Cline had an elevated level of amphetamines in his bloodstream from his prescribed medication for narcolepsy, Adderall. The same report did not find indications his prescribed epilepsy medication, Depakote, was in his system."    The article also reports that
 

Cline did have previous incidents involving seizures and car crashes. On Christmas Day 1999, Cline ran off the road and struck a utility pole after he had a seizure, and following the incident, his driver’s license was suspended. His credentials were reinstated in March of 2000. He suffered another seizure while working his day job as a Franklin firefighter, "three or four years prior" to the deadly crash.

Is Cline’s Estate and his employer liable for this wreck?  We need more facts.  Here is a general statement of the law under these circumstances:

 A sudden loss of consciousness or physical capacity experienced while driving which is not reasonably foreseeable is a defense to a negligence action. To constitute a defense, defendant must establish that the sudden loss of consciousness or physical capacity to control the vehicle was not reasonably foreseeable to 156 a prudent person. As a result, the defense is not available under circumstances in which defendant was made aware of facts sufficient to lead a reasonably prudent person to anticipate that driving in that condition would likely result in an accident.

In determining whether the loss of capacity or consciousness was foreseeable, pertinent, nonexclusive considerations would include: the extent of the driver’s awareness or knowledge of the condition that caused the sudden incapacity; whether the driver had sought medical advice or was under a physician’s care for the condition when the accident occurred; whether the driver had been prescribed, and had taken, medication for the condition;  whether a sudden incapacity had previously occurred while driving; the number, frequency, extent, and duration of incapacitating episodes prior to the accident while driving and otherwise; the temporal relationship of the prior incapacitating episodes to the accident;  a physician’s guidance or advice regarding driving to the driver, if any; and medial opinions regarding the nature of the driver’s condition, adherence to treatment, foreseeability of the incapacitation, and potential advance warnings which the driver would have experienced immediately prior to the accident. These factors, and any other relevant ones under the circumstances, would tend to establish whether the duty to exercise reasonable care was breached.

McCall v. Wilder, 913 S.W.2d 150, 156 (Tenn. 1995).   For a case in which a defendant successfully asserted the defense, see Beasley v. Amburgy, 70 S.W.3d 74 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2001).

Even if the driver has the defense, there is a question about the employer’s potential negligence for hiring a professional driver with a history of seizures and narcolepsy.   There are lots of cases discussing this area of the law, starting at least as far back as 1936:  Wishone v. Yellow Cab Co No. 1, 20 Tenn. App. 229, 97 S.W.2d 452 (1936, cert. den. 1936).

As is often the case, the information that is publicly available does not give us enough information to evaluate the merits of the claims.  The claim against Cline can only be truly evaluated after a through review of the events leading up to the collision, the physical evidence at the scene, and the medical history of Mr. Cline.  Any direct liability of the employer can only be evaluated after an investigation of what the employer knew and should have known about Mr. Cline’s history.  One wonders, however, why someone with these types of medical problems was driving an ambulance.

Today’s Tennessean has an article originally published in the  Los Angeles Times that reveals  a problem with nurses moving from state to state and leaving behind a bad disciplinary record.

The article reports that "using public databases and state disciplinary reports, reporters found hundreds of cases in which registered nurses held clear licenses in some states after they had been sanctioned in others, often for serious misdeeds. In California alone, a months-long review of its 350,000 active nurses found at least 177 whose licenses had been revoked, surrendered, suspended or denied elsewhere."  

This problem can be avoided.  "By simply typing a nurse’s name into a national database, state officials can often find out within seconds whether the nurse has been sanctioned anywhere in the country and why. But some states don’t check regularly or at all."

The article was written by reporters who work for ProPublica,  an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.  Here is the story on ProPublica’s website.   This is the second story this organization has written about the nursing profession.  The Los Angeles Times and ProPublica have also  reported that "the California Board of Registered Nursing took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses. It failed to act against nurses whose misconduct already had been thoroughly documented and sanctioned by others. And the board gave probation to hundreds of nurses – ordering monitoring and work restrictions – then failed to crack down as many landed in trouble again and again."

There is no reason why this should occur.  States should adopt policies that require checks of available resources to determine whether a nurse – or any other professional – has a disciplinary history that would impact the professional’s ability to be licensed in the state.  The failure to do so increases the risk that a citizen will be harmed.

 NHTSA has released a report concerning fatal crashes by young drivers.  The report shows that

  1. „„Youths 15 to 20 years old represented 9 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 and 6 percent of the licensed drivers; however, 19 percent of the fatalities in the United States in 2007 were related to young-driver crashes.„„
  2. Approximately two-thirds of the people killed in fatal young-driver crashes are the young drivers themselves or the passengers (of all ages) of the young drivers. „„
  3. Of the passengers killed riding in vehicles with young drivers, 67 percent are in the same 15-to-20-year-old age group as the drivers.
  4. „„Fifty-six percent of the fatal crashes and 57 percent of the fatalities involving young drivers occur on rural road-ways.
  5. In 2007, 6,982 young drivers were involved in 6,669 fatal crashes. A total of 7,650 fatalities occurred in those crashes.
  6. The 2007 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) states that overall restraint use has increased slightly from the previous year, to 82 percent. However, belt use among  people 16 to 24 was only 77 percent. In 2007, of the 15- to 20-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in all fatal crashes, 61 percent (of those whose restraint use was known) were unrestrained. Of the total fatalities in which restraint use was known in 2007, 54 percent of the vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained.
  7. In 2007, 31 percent of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 grams/deciliter (g/dL) or greater, and 26 percent of young drivers had BACs of .08 g/dL or greater. These figures are relatively similar to the overall driving population in which 37 percent involved BACs of .01 g/dL or greater and 32 per-cent involved BACs of .08 g/dL or greater in 2007.
Those of us who are parents of teenage drivers know that few things terrify us more than the thought of our children behind the wheel.  These statistics remind us that these fears are grounded in fact and that we must continue to educate our young drivers of the need for common-sense and vigilance behind the wheel.

Dianne McLeod says a debt collector killed her husband Stanley.  

According to CNN, Ms. McLeod alleges that " her mortgage company, Green Tree Servicing, for the wrongful death of her husband. McLeod said she thinks he would be alive if not for the stress caused by Green Tree’s debt collectors. She said they sometimes called up to 10 times a day and also called the McLeods’ neighbors."    Stanley , a heart patient died of heart failure.

The CNN story does not reveal the cause of action being employed in the Florida litigation.  In Tennessee, the Supreme Court has ruled that debt collectors may be liable for damages caused if they engage in intentional infliction of emotional distress, as known as the tort of outrageous conduct.  The case applying this tort to debt collectors is Moorhead v. J.C. Penny, Co. 555. S.W. 2d 713 (Tenn. 1977).   Whether conduct is "outrageous" and whether the conduct caused an injury or death is very much dependent on the facts.

What are the elements of tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress? First, "the conduct complained of must be intentional or reckless".  Second, "the conduct must be so outrageous that it is not tolerated by civilized society".   Third, "the conduct complained of must result in serious mental injury."  A causation requirement is implicit in the third element which necessitates that the misconduct "result in serious mental injury."  For a complete discussion of the law in this area in Tennessee, read Doe v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville,  154 S.W.3d 22 (Tenn. 2005).