Category Archives: Personal Injury

Are you an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser?

Almost any Tennessee personal injury attorney would tell you that being seriously harmed in someone else’s property in Tennessee may also require you to deal with long recovery periods, huge hospital bills, lost time at work, and debilitating injuries that might compromise your quality of life. Unfortunately, each year, many injurious, sometimes even fatal incidents happen inside establishments where owners fail to ensure that occupants and visitors are safe.

Premise owners have a duty to keep their premises free from any hazard that may cause injurious accidents. However, if you have been injured in someone else’s property, the degree to which an owner owes duty to you depends largely on your status. Here are the three different classifications of occupiers, and how they are different from each other.

  1. Invitee – An invitee is a person who is allowed to enter the property. In most cases, invitees are people who come to the property to provide the owner with some benefits. For instance, you are probably an invitee if your neighbor asks you to enter her house to teach her a new recipe. You are also an invitee if you enter a store as a shopper, or a restaurant as a diner.
  2. Licensee – A licensee is a person allowed to enter a property, usually for their own purpose. Typically, property owner owes a licensee lesser duty of care than an invitee. Some examples of licensees include salesmen, social guests, or those who have an open invitation to enter the property.
  3. Trespasser – A trespasser is anyone who doesn’t meet any of the criteria above. Usually, an owner doesn’t owe duty of reasonable care to trespassers. However, in cases wherein a trespasser is a child who have been attracted to an accessible condition of danger, such as swimming pools, the property owner could be held liable in failing to secure his/her property.
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Important Facts about Medical Malpractice

Doctors and other medical professionals hold a large degree of trust in their hands. They are responsible for the lives of patients seeking their service, and are expected to provide the best possible care they can offer. As such, they have very little room to commit errors. Even the slightest mistake could prove to be harmful and lead to devastating results.

Unfortunately, there are instances when people in medical profession fail to meet the high standards imposed on them. According to data compiled by the Civil Justice Resource Group, an estimated number of 25,000 to 120,000 medical malpractice cases lead to a patient’s death every year. What happens when this trust and responsibility is carelessly handled by some medical professionals? What options do patients have when their errors lead to harmful and sometimes even fatal outcomes?

Medical malpractice constitutes any error committed by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals due to negligence. Among such crucial mistakes include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, delayed or improper treatment, birth injuries, and wrongful death. Despite its prevalence, medical malpractice is easy to avoid. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer may tell you that all these devastating consequences could be prevented if medical personnel were more careful and diligent in dealing with patients through every step of the way.

It’s important to note that medical malpractice hardly stems from any malicious intent. Most of the time, medical malpractice cases happen due to mistakes that might seem small or irrelevant in retrospect. For example, a physician rushing to meet different patients might miss a step during examination and give a wrong diagnosis. An overworked nurse, meanwhile, could accidentally switch medication for two different patients just because there aren’t enough people on staff. Hospitals should also be held accountable in making sure they have appropriate regulations to keep their personnel from making crucial mistakes.

Every individual has the right to access quality health care. It’s heartbreaking to know that there some patients who are denied such right because of mistakes and accidents that are easy to avoid. If you or anyone you love have suffered tremendous harm due to medical malpractice, it’s important to seek out legal counsel right away. Your legal options and avenues might vary state to state, so make sure you contact an experienced attorney from your area.

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Cigarette Maker is Finally Found Liable

The winning streak that Philip Morris USA, Inc. has been enjoying for years has finally broken, and with a bang. Florida resident Richard Boatright was awarded $35 million in compensatory and punitive damages (Philip Morris was found 85% liable, but also penalized for fraud and conspiracy) for his personal injury claim against the tobacco company. He had to undergo two lung transplants for medical conditions caused by cigarette smoking. And he is likely to be just the first of thousands to make a successful bid for compensation for health problems caused by cigarette smoking.

It is common knowledge now that cigarette smoking is extremely hazardous to the health, but back in the 1960s, it was an uphill battle for plaintiffs to prove that tobacco companies had a measure of liability for their failure to warn and misleading and unconscionable (they targeted children) marketing tactics. It took years, and many appeals before the Supreme Court finally ruled that the defenses used by tobacco companies to avoid the consequences of their liabilities, including that of preemption, did not apply to the personal injury cases brought before them.

Even 46 states have made a claim against the tobacco companies in 1998 where it became apparent that:

  • Nicotine, a component of tobacco, is addictive
  • There was a causal link between cigarette smoking and certain diseases
  • Tobacco companies knew but concealed evidence about these facts since the 1960s

The states sued tobacco companies for the medical costs of tobacco-related illnesses, which eventually resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement for $206 billion.

However, it may be too early to celebrate. Tobacco companies are notorious for dodging the liability bullet; a 2000 class action (Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc.) $145 billion verdict representing about 8,000 plaintiff was vacated in 2006 because the cases were not appropriate for a class action lawsuit, and was decertified. Each plaintiff was allowed to re-file their cases as individuals, but it was only in 2014 when the first of the so-called “Engle Progeny” finally saw justice. Only time will reveal if tobacco companies will finally pay the piper.

According to the website of Pohl & Berk, LLP, if you have just recently discovered that you have a medical condition caused by cigarette smoking, you could still make a claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to gain a better understanding of your legal options.

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Defining Maintenance and Cure in a Maritime Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury lawsuits typically take a long time before it gets to trial, and even then it can drag on for months, even years. As pointed out on the website of maritime law firm Ritter & Associates, unless a case is settled quickly the plaintiff will have to be responsible for any expenses associated with work-related injury or illness, including medical expenses and lost days of work.

As an employed seaman or commercial fisherman injured or becomes ill while at work, the employer is required under the Jones Act to provide maintenance and cure benefits no matter whose fault it is. This practice has its origins from the ship owner’s duty to provide an injured seaman with room and board while on a ship even if the seaman is unable to perform his duty.

When a seaman is injured or becomes ill at work although not at sea, the employer is still obliged to provide for the worker’s necessary maintenance which is typically paid on a weekly or biweekly basis, and this includes actual expenses for rent or mortgage, food, utilities, property taxes, even homeowners’ insurance. It should be noted that a seaman in certain states who is a union member may not receive full maintenance benefits if regular maintenance costs exceed what is stated in the contract covering all union members. Also, necessary maintenance does not include Internet access or car payments.

Cure, on the other hand, refers to the employer’s obligation to pay for reasonable medical and associated expenses necessary for the treatment for and recovery from the work-related injury or illness sustained by the seaman. The employer pays for these expenses directly. These obligations continue until the seaman achieves what is called maximum medical improvement (MMI) as assessed by a doctor, which means that no further improvement of the patient’s condition can be expected.

Ironically, if you contract a serious work-related injury or illness and your employer refuses to pay maintenance and cure benefits, you may have to sue. Consult with a maritime lawyer regarding your rights in a particular situation.

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Understanding What Avandia is Before Taking It Can Save You from Life-threatening Effects

Avandia, otherwise known as Rosiglitazone, was aimed at helping Type 2 diabetes patients increase their sensitivity to insulin, a natural substance that enables the body control the amount of sugar in the blood. More than six million patients were prescribed this drug after its approval for distribution by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1999.

People suffering from Type I diabetes are not supposed to take Avandia due to their failure to produce enough insulin or produce no insulin at all. Though the medicine may be taken along with other diabetes medications or is usually taken with an exercise and healthy diet program, it may also be taken alone, even without having any food first.

Avandia is recommended only to those who are already taking the medication due to the side-effects reported against it. These side-effects, which include greater risk to congestive heart failure, heart attack and other heart ailments, were discovered after a series of studies made on the drug.

Despite such findings Glaxo SmithKline, Avandia’s manufacturer, maintains its stand on the result of its own studies that showed the drug safe for use. Glaxo SmithKline is acknowledged to be the largest pharmaceutical company in the world; it was formed through the union of SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome, two UK companies.

Those in danger of various side-effects (such as hypoglycemia, serious allergic reactions, hyperflycemia, blurring of vision, back pain, congestive heart failure, which is a condition where the heart is not able to supply enough blood to the different parts of the body, myocardial ischemia, liver failure, cardiovascular heart diseases and fatal heart attack) are not only those who are taking Avandia. Any one taking Avandia-containing drugs is also prone to suffering from any or a combination of any of its side-effects.

The fact that Glaxo failed to include in its drug’s label the risks associated with taking Avandia, it may already be pronounced guilty of negligence. And as victims, patients have the legal right to file a claims lawsuit and receive compensation. This filing will need to be done before the end of the statutory period, however. To make sure that filing is made correctly and in time, seeking the assistance of a highly-qualified legal council is advisable.

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Chain Reaction Accidents

Chain reaction accidents are usually a result of some type of reckless driving. According to the website of Pohl & Berk, it could be speeding, tailgating, cell phone related, or other distracted driver accidents. Whatever the reason for it may be, chain reaction accidents are the result of a type of negligent driving, and could be a legally actionable case. Such accidents often have serious consequences for all involved, and chain reaction accidents usually affect three or more vehicles, some larger than others. Anyone who starts chain reaction accidents could be found liable for all the consequences. With that in mind, it can be difficult to determine exactly who or what is at fault for such an accident.

In some instances, chain reaction accidents could be due to some type of mechanical malfunction or failure, such as a defective tire, air bag or brakes. This will be established upon investigation, and the manufacturer of the defective or malfunctioning part could be held liable. On their website, the lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® in Stevens Point, Wisconsin maintain that manufacturers for any type of vehicle, parts and accessories have a heavy duty of care because cars and trucks can potentially cause a lot of damage and serious injury. This is why quality assurance is such an important aspect of automobile manufacturing. Although Wisconsin is no longer a strict liability state, if it can be shown that a better design or better quality control would have prevented such chain reaction accidents, there is a good case to be made.

Chain reaction accidents can devastate a lot of lives, many of whom are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that they are largely preventable makes it even worse. If you or someone close to you has been injured in chain reaction accidents, you may be eligible to get some compensation for the damage that has been done. Consult with an injury lawyer and explore your legal options in cases of chain reaction accidents. An attorney will be able to guide you through this difficult time.

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Coping with Pedestrian Accidents

When it comes to an encounter between any vehicle and a pedestrian, the one without the wheels is apt to be the loser. Even a vehicle travelling at 10 mph can do considerable damage including lacerations, broken bones, and concussion.

In most states, cars are expected to yield to pedestrians crossing on designated areas. Unfortunately, both drivers and pedestrians occasionally do what they are not supposed to do and pedestrian accidents happen. Depending on the circumstances, both the driver and pedestrian may share fault although is some states, pedestrians who are found to be in any way at fault cannot sue the driver based on the contributory negligence doctrine. This is considered pure contributory negligence.

As a result, it can be very difficult to establish that a driver is entirely at fault. According to the website of the LaMarca Law Group, a law firm in Iowa, pedestrians involved in an accident have the right to recover for any resulting injuries and losses. That is, if you have experienced legal representation which can make your case before a jury.

In contrast, proving total fault on the part of the driver is not so necessary in New Jersey, which follows the comparative negligence doctrine. Fault is determined as a percentage based on the circumstances of the accident, and the driver only pays the portion of fault that is assigned by the jury. However, a pedestrian cannot sue the driver if the fault apportioned to the plaintiff is more than 50%. Personal injury victims should at least get financial compensation for the emotional trauma of an accident. This will not be as much though if the plaintiff is mostly to blame for the accident.

If there is a dispute about fault, let your legal representation figure out if you are eligible for compensation or not in pedestrian accidents.

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