What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Car accidents are frequent events that affect millions of people every year. Negligent driving is one of the most common reasons that an accident occurs. Even more dangerous that negligence when operating a vehicle is recklessly or carelessly driving. This is defined as willfully and wantonly disregarding traffic laws and placing other people and property in direct danger of injury.

Although intent is not an element of reckless driving, the act of dangerous driving exceeds negligent driving. For example, speeding or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes negligent driving. However, these charges are separate than reckless driving as they do not explicitly establish excessively dangerous driving behavior.

Instances when these charges would fortify each other would include when speed exceeds over 30 miles per hour over the given speed limit or when the debilitating effects of drugs and alcohol causes the driver to carelessly operate a vehicle. Other driving decisions that would result in a reckless driving charge would include racing a vehicle in a prohibited manner, eluding an officer, and dangerously passing another vehicle with poor visibility.

Reckless driving is generally a misdemeanor, resulting in fines and possible jail time. However, the legal ramifications of reckless driving are far less severe than the possible injuries or fatalities resulting from an accident. Reckless driving can cause serious emotional and physical damage to drivers of cars and motorcycles as well as pedestrians.

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident due to the reckless and dangerous driving of another individual, consult a personal injury lawyer in your area to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and emotional distress.

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Texting While Driving: A Dangerous Activity While Behind the Wheel

Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

While DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated, is a serious traffic violation that involves either alcohol or drugs, the website of Online Schools.com found a unique way of using the same acronym, but with a rather amusing meaning – “driving while inTEXTicated.”

There is definitely nothing wrong with texting or talking with someone over the phone, but do any of these chores while driving, then the effect can even be fatal.

The Danger of Using a Phone While Driving

Records from the National Safety Council, a non-governmental and non-profit public service group established to help promote health and protect life in the United States, show as many as 1.6 million car accidents annually all due to the use of a cell phone while driving. Injuries and deaths on a daily basis, according to From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are 1,153 and 9, respectively. The sadder part of the reports, however, rest on the fact that majority of those involved in the accidents were young drivers, aged from 18 to 20, who admitted to have been texting someone at the time of collision.

The use of cell phone while driving is considered to be the worst and most dangerous form of distracted driving. Despite the recorded dangers it presents, states still vary with regard to the prohibition of the use cell phone while behind the wheel.

State Laws on Cell Phone Use While Driving

A total of 44 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and D.C., strictly prohibit text messaging (but not talking on the phone), for all types of drivers; D.C. and about 37 states, on the other hand, ban new drivers and teens any form of cell phone use.

Texting, though, is not the only dangerous activity behind the wheel. Talking with someone, whether using a handheld or hands-free phone, is even found to be more dangerous, actually causing more accidents than texting. This is because talking greatly increases the chance of keeping a driver’s eyes and attention off the road and driving task.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, accidents due to cell phone use are definitely preventable. While the federal government has ruled the use of a bluetooth headset for truck drivers to avoid their use of a cell phone, this mandate is yet to be required to drivers of smaller vehicles.

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Bone Graft Product under Fire

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

Arizona-based medical device manufacturer Medtronic is feeling the heat as an increasing number of individuals are filing claims of product liability for its INFUSE Bone Graft product. Approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) for use in specific spinal repairs, in 2004 for tibia procedures, and in 2007 for dental applications, INFUSE Bone Graft was lauded as a breakthrough in bone surgery.

INFUSE Bone Graft is used to encourage bone growth with the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2), a synthetic protein. It is used in areas where bone needs to be grown.

The product ran into trouble when complaints started coming in that Medtronic concealed potentially harmful side effects from using the product from the medical community and the public and that it marketed the product for off-label uses. Quite a few lawsuits have been filed against product manufacturers, such as Medtronic for INFUSE Bone Graft, in both federal and state courts for various injuries, including infections, bone and nerve damage, urinary complications, sterility, and some contend that there is a link between the product and cancer.

In one case, a 33-year-old construction worker decided to have bone graft surgery in 2011 when pain from back injuries sustained in a car accident persisted. He was assured that the surgery would improve his quality of life and reduce his pain. Instead, the hardware supporting the bone graft shifted to his nerve root and made his back pain worse to the point of debilitation. Revision surgery was only partially successful and now the man can only walk with a cane and is on disability as he is unable to work.

Medtronic has already paid a hefty sum in fines to the Department of Justice for off-label marketing of INFUSE and been involved in two whistleblower lawsuits as early as 2006, as well as a shareholder lawsuit that ended in a $85 million settlement. The latest legal troubles for Medtronic has not yet been referred to multidistrict litigation (MDL) but with more and more lawsuits being filed, there are speculations that an MDL is not far off.

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Morcellator: No Longer a Safe Device

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Dangerous Products | 1 comment

Hysterectomy, the surgical procedure that removes the uterus, is the second most common surgery performed on women. The National Institutes of Health states that one in every three American women will need to undergo this surgical procedure before turning 60. This is to treat different health conditions, such as: certain types of infections and cancer; reduce or eliminate chronic pelvic pain and uncontrollable vaginal bleeding; remove uterine fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus); and treat illnesses, like endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine prolapse (a condition wherein the womb or the uterus drops halfway from the cervix to the vagina or birth canal), and pelvic inflammatory diseases (or infection of the female reproductive organ).

Hysterectomy is a safe and effective surgical procedure; however, it takes time and requires a long period for recuperation. There are different ways to perform this surgery, through:

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy – A 5 – 7 inch vertical or horizontal incision is made on the abdomen.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy – Hysterectomy where an incision is made inside the woman’s body, specifically in the vagina, instead of on the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy – A surgical procedure wherein multiple minimal incisions are made (about four 0.5-1cm incisions), one of which is where the morcellator will need to be inserted and another, a tiny opening for a miniature camera, called the laparoscope, which will allow the doctor to have a view of the inside part the body where the uterus, which needs to be cut and removed, is located.
  • Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) – This procedure also makes a direct incision in the vagina. A laparoscope is used for a more accurate performance of the procedure.

The introduction of the morcellator in the early 1990 was viewed as a major medical advancement, as it helped doctors perform hysterectomy faster, safer and with greater precision. A morcellator is a surgical device designed to cut the uterus and other large tissues into very small pieces for easy suction and removal. It is used in laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomy and myomectomy, or the removal of uterine fibroids, more commonly known as myoma.

The real effectivity of the morcellator, though, has been questioned after reports were made (and studies showed) that it can cause the spreading of a cancerous tissue, the uterine sarcoma, during hysterectomy and myomectomy. Since there is no medical device that could actually detect the presence of uterine sarcoma prior to the performance of laparoscopic surgeries, the use of the morcellator, therefore, comes with a great risk.

This risk promptly made the US Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety alert on April 17, 2014, to discourage the further use of morcellators in laparoscopic surgeries. Obviously, the argument that the device is safe no longer holds water – a position held by many law firms. The website of one such law firm, Williams Kherkher, says that women who have been harmed by the device can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and seek for the compensation they may be legally entitled to receive.

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What to Do after a Maritime Accident

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Worker Injuries | 1 comment

There has been a recent expansion in the definition of a seaman under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (Jones Act), a federal law protecting the rights of an injured seaman, to include particular shore-based maritime workers. If you have been seriously injured due to negligence while working in the maritime industry and you qualify as a seaman under the two-pronged Chandris test, you may be able to file a claim for damages against your employer. Here’s what to do.

Report It

Under the Jones Act, seamen have 7 days to report work-related injuries to a superior in order to qualify for damage recovery. However, a maritime lawyer would urge the injured worker to report the injury immediately to avoid casting doubt over the nature of the injury. The assumption is that if the injury is not reported as soon as possible, it was not serious at all.

State It

The next step is to file an accident report with your company (not the insurer) as soon as you are able to do so reliably. Make sure that you describe the incident sufficiently to indicate the negligence of the employer, if applicable, which is required to make a claim under the Jones Act. While this may be difficult to do, it will help your case considerably if you establish fault early on. You should also make sure that the injury was caused by negligence and serious enough to qualify under the Jones Act or you could be wasting everybody’s time and risking your job for no good purpose. Consult with a maritime lawyer before filing the accident report, or anything else for that matter.

Get Off

As soon as physically possible, get off the ship or shipyard and seek medical attention if you have not yet received more than emergency first aid. Your employer is obliged to ensure that you get proper medical attention by arranging for a medical evacuation when out to sea or in a foreign country with no qualified physician on board, or to go to a hospital when on shore. Once stabilized, seek your own doctor and strictly follow treatment orders to avoid casting doubt on the seriousness of your condition. Your employer’s insurer should be paying for your treatment; if not, consult with a maritime lawyer to find out if you can file a lawsuit, especially if you are looking at financial losses in excess of $15,000.

Settle or File

You can choose to accept a settlement from your employer’s insurer or file a Jones Act lawsuit. Just make sure that before you settle your case that you have explored the extent of your injury or you could be getting less compensation than you need, and once you settle you can no longer file a lawsuit to recover more damages. If the insurer is unwilling to settle the case to your satisfaction, then you will have to sue them.

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